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Model Train Resource O-Scale Track Plans To Inspire Your Own Layout Designs

Updated on December 12, 2016

© 2011 by Aurelio Locsin

One of the larger scales, O-scale has proportions that vary by country. In the U.S., it’s 1:48. In Continental Europe, it’s 1:45 to 1:43.5, and in the UK, it’s 1:43.5 or 7mm to the foot. The bigger size allows greater detail in the locomotives, rolling stock and scenery, though does require more space. These track plans are just some of the examples.

Pennsylvania and Western

The Pennsylvania and Western is a steam-and-diesel railroad that sprawls around a dedicated room measuring 52 feet long and 28 feet wide. (Click “Trackplan” on the left frame to view the layout design.) This doesn’t count the 10-by-12-foot extension that houses the Horseshoe Curve. The mainline runs for 550 feet or five scale miles through meat packing facilities and stock pens, a roundhouse, a brewery, a reservoir and a warehouse. Some of the aisles are a generous four- and five-feet wide. Most interesting are some pages devoted to how the room was prepared, and how the layout was constructed

Appalachian and Ohio Railroad

Another behemoth, the Appalachian and Ohio Railroad has a track plan that seems just as big as the Pennsylvania and Western, though total dimensions aren’t listed. It does have a continuous mainline of 525-feet, with subsidiary lengths of 155 feet at Kayford and 75 feet at Fillmore Heights. At least four main yards, with two on a lower level, allows many staging possibilities. Among other features are a 15-foot Ohio River Bridge that provides a nod-under entrance to the space, a Chub CMRI signal system with CTC panel in a dispatcher’s office and 100 feet of double track for opposing train movement.

MTH Real Trax

Unless you think that entire garages or basements are needed for O-Scale, MTH boasts far smaller loops created using its Realtrax layout software. Scroll to the bottom of the page for eight examples. The smallest 3-by-6-footer is a simple oval with two sidings. The largest 13-by-22-footer has 42-inch radius curves, and allows cycling through the oil business from oil well to tank farm. Each plan also shows the number of MTH modular tracks needed to complete the pike. This set has curves in five radii, ranging from O-31 to O-82.

Somerset County Traction System

Traction requires tight radii and has one-car consists, making it ideal for O-scale layouts. The Somerset County Traction System is anything but tiny, measuring 40 feet long and 28 feet wide, not counting loop extensions. Set in 1957, the line interchanges with a standard-gauge steam/diesel company, and a narrow gauge steam/critter quarry railroad. Additional interchanges are available by car float. Check out the photos for some great shots of a rock crusher, rolling green hills, several small towns and a turntable.

Micro Layouts

Micro-layouts are defined as those measuring about 1-by-4-feet in area, and some intrepid souls have managed to pack O-scale operations into these diminutive spaces. The Clayville and Butterwood Traction Railway has a block of four businesses and a right-of-way by a small station in 36-by-30 inches. Union Street, near the bottom of the page, includes a traverser in a Scottish shelf only 12 feet long. The Chicago Fork (mid-page) has 4 square feet of warehouse operations in a 3-2-2 Inglenook. And Ash Valley Farm Supplies uses foamcore baseboard construction and balsawood structures to place an Inglenook in 12-by-36 inches.


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    • alocsin profile image

      alocsin 6 years ago from Orange County, CA

      You don't have any pics of these layouts on the web, do you?

    • alancaster149 profile image

      Alan R Lancaster 6 years ago from Forest Gate, London E7, U K (ex-pat Yorkshire)

      Before 'Thoraldby' I built a smaller layout called 'Reeth', based on a scheme a railway company had in the early part of the 20th Century to build a line on from Richmond (Yorkshire) towards the Pennines via Reeth to take the lead away, but by the time the cash was available lead imports were gaining on the home-mined product. When my son was younger I built him a small layout with two units measuring a total of 8'-0" called 'Kirkrigg', a freelance effort based on the Yorkshire Dales with mostly scratch-built structures apart from a small kitbuilt platform signal cabin from Wills Finecast and a gangers hut from Cooper Craft as a coal depot office. He discovered computers and girls (in that order), so I've 'inherited' it back until such time as he wants it again for his own son (no kids yet, but who knows?)

    • alocsin profile image

      alocsin 6 years ago from Orange County, CA

      I have quite a few British layout books, alancaster149. I love the fact that they take up very little room and are highly detailed.

    • alancaster149 profile image

      Alan R Lancaster 6 years ago from Forest Gate, London E7, U K (ex-pat Yorkshire)

      There's a book you might be interested in, called 'Layouts for Limited Spaces' by Nigel Adams, published in 1996 through The Silver Link Library of Railway Modelling, ISBN 1 85794 055 5. Some of the layouts are in 7mm finescale. From p.13-22 there are prototype layout drawings, and there's no shortage of graphics and black/white close-ups. The examples are all British outline, but you can use your own imagination as to what suits. Each to his own, eh?

    • alocsin profile image

      alocsin 6 years ago from Orange County, CA

      I've actually though about this too, alancaster149, mostly because it's getting harder to see HO as I get older. At least everything is still quite visible in O scale.

    • alancaster149 profile image

      Alan R Lancaster 6 years ago from Forest Gate, London E7, U K (ex-pat Yorkshire)

      This is a scale I've sometimes thought of going into because of the detailing options. I like the image you have above, of the electric loco trundling over the brick bridge with its train (unfortunately mostly out of view) headed by what looks like a boxcar. Bachmann has recently started producing unpainted ready-made locomotives for British 'O' Gauge, as you say 1:43. The prices are prohibitive, though, at about £1,000 for a small 0-6-0 tank loco! There are kits available - wagons/carriages as well as locos, but you still need a mortgage, unless you join a club. Handsome, nevertheless!


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