Guest Contributor: Ryan Watson
Track is arguably the most important element in any model
railroad layout. It is the main attraction of your setup and therefore
planning a track that keeps the viewer fascinated in your layout is
absolutely necessary. Whether you are just a beginner or an experienced
model railroad enthusiast, researching different track plan options will
add life to your layout.
Since N gauge is one of the most popular scales, this
article discusses different layout plans that you can use in your N scale
The Small Oval N Gauge Track Plan for
An oval n gauge layout plan is one of the most basic and
simple track plans to begin with. It takes minimum space in your railroad
and is easier to start with. It can be as little as 46 inches x 25
inches, which makes it manageable. If you are only just starting the
hobby then this is a great track to start with and can potentially be
expanded as you progress.
There are certain modifications that you can add in your
trackage to make it more interesting like adding sidings that run along
the main train track or in the center. You can also improve the effects
in your setup by simply designing a backdrop for your model
configuration fits on a 2ft x 4ft baseboard.
Double Oval N Gauge Layout Plans
Adding another oval in your simple oval N model railroad
track plan will make your layout a bit more interesting. It could be 70
inches x 28 inches with four turnouts that allow your train to move in
Using two ovals in your track plan will allow you to add two trains in your
railway that may move in different directions. Here you have the option of
dividing the track electrically which will allow you to control both the trains
N Gauge Plans With
Another track design option would be a layout with three
siding and two turn points. The longest siding on the track could hold 5
wagons, whereas the other two sidings could accommodate 3 wagons
One thing that you should keep in mind while using a layout plan like this, is
that the longest siding should be long enough to support the longest locomotive
in your railroad. You could also add curves and then make the required changes
to the track plan to add buildings, sceneries and other accessories in your
Runaround Loop for an N Gauge
Adding a runaround loop in your model railway will make it
more interesting. However, adding a loop in your track will pose some
wiring challenges. To park a locomotive in the extended loop you will
have to wire it separately, which can be a bit challenging if you are not
using digital command
and control. Needless to say that the loop should fit your layout
and should also be long enough to accommodate the locomotive that you are
using in your model railway. Curves should not be too tight otherwise you
could experience a lot of derailments.
There are other N gauge plans that you can add in your model
train layout to make it more interesting and challenging. As you work
with different tracks and gain more experience, working with different
track configurations will not only become easier but it will also become
more enjoyable. To make your railway setup more interesting you can add
accessories and backdrop to add a touch of realism in your
N Gauge Railway
N Gauge Model Railway
Small N Scale
Is an N Gauge Railway Right for
Making the decision of which scale to model can be daunting. A
simple loop of track in any scale would fit in most homes, but the
attraction of having a train run around a simple loop fades quickly.
Plans to expand the layout begin to form as soon as the modeling bug
bites, which leads to the first conflict – where is this layout likely to
be built? A roomy basement is the ideal location, but often the budding
railroader will have to consider portability or restricted space. This is
when the scale question becomes critical. Choosing a scale to model is a
commitment well worth considering at length before the sawdust starts to
HO-scale is the
most popular modeling scale in the world today. There are literally
thousands of products available in that scale, and the equipment and
structures are convenient to work with for people with average skills.
Putting derailed rolling stock back on the track is relatively easy, and the
entry level cost is reasonable. HO-scale popularity notwithstanding, N-scale
offers some distinct advantages. At half the size of HO-scale, the biggest
draw for the modeler is the sheer amount of railroading that can be done in
a relatively small space.
N-scale products began appearing in
about 1962. The first locomotives were quite crude and ran poorly. As with
most products, either consumer demand drives improvements or consumer apathy
eliminates the product from the market. Fortunately, demand has driven huge
improvements. It is now possible to buy N-scale products that are every bit
as detailed and well-running as any other scale model. Kato, Athearn, and
Micro-Trains manufacture beautifully detailed and superbly running
locomotives and rolling stock.
For those so inclined, super-detailing parts are also available. A
good magnifying headband, strong lighting, and a good set of small tools are
necessary if a lot of N-scale detailing of rail equipment or structures is
to be done. Working on N gauge track plans details is more challenging than
a larger scale, but not difficult to master with the proper tools.
Surprisingly detailed layouts have been created in about the space of a home
As far as products are concerned,
N-Gauge has a slightly smaller selection than HO. Some esoteric rolling
stock only appears rarely, or is in limited production, but keeping an eye
on places like eBay can often produce opportunities to acquire items that
are rare and/or out of production. The pricing of N-scale equipment is about
the same as HO-scale, so there’s no economy of miniaturization. N
scale has benefited from the demand of being the second most
popular modeling scale, but with demand goes price!
Read the two N gauge books featured above for some
really helpful tips and ideas. One of the downloadable books covers getting
started, scenery, structures etc., and the other one features a wide range of N
gauge model railway track plans with parts lists.
Model Train Resources
N Scale Model Railroading
Click Here To Watch
N SCALE TRACK PLANS
From Plan To Performance
Click Here To Watch
decide on a layout plan and whether or not you are investing in a standard
modular arrangement, the next decision you will make is just what railway track
you will put down. There are details in other resources regarding the meaning
of “code” types in different rail scales, and a Google search will give more
information on the subject that you probably want to know. As you progress in
your modeling, you will certainly come to choose a size of rail that suits you
best, however actually laying the rails falls in the category of ‘rail
code independent’ methods.
into three general types: sectional track, flex track, and hand laid rail. Hand
laying rail is an advanced technique and beyond the scope of this webpage, but
it does have the advantage of being exceptionally realistic if done correctly.
Hand laying is most common in HO and larger scales.
track is found in straight and fixed radius curved pieces of various lengths as
well as special arrangements such as crossovers, turnouts, slip switches,
re-railers, and siding bumpers. Sectional track is easy to work with, but tends
to end up with gaps or overlaps when trying to create an irregular or free-form
track sections are short; straight sections are usually less than 12 inches in
length, and can be found in various stock length pieces. Curved sections are
available in a variety of radii and lengths as well.
Flex track has
to be one of the greatest model railroad developments in history. Where the
sectional track has both rails that are firmly fixed to the tie webbing,
sectional track has one rail that is only loosely attached and slides easily
within the webbing attachment so that the track can be shaped into any radius
curve or bent around objects easily.
track is usually found in 30 inch N gauge lengths, 36 inch HO-scale lengths, 40
inch O-scale lengths, and is typically cut to fit with a special rail cutting
tool that looks like a pair of side cutting pliers.
modelers find that flex track makes for much less work in the long run. Curves
of any radius are easy to do, although you may want to take the time to draw
the curve radius with a compass made from an old yard- or
There is a an
advanced technique for installing flex track on a layout. Some modelers pull
out half of the moveable part of the rail and trim so that the rail joints are
staggered and not both at the end of the section. This is a very good practice,
but it also requires a good deal of care to get the bare rail from the adjacent
section properly placed back in the tie web and to make the joint true and
without a kink. It may also be difficult to accomplish this on a curved
section, so if you want to use the technique it would be wise to practice on
some flex track sections before you get to the point of laying your track for
One last tip
track. When creating curves, make sure the sliding rail is on the
inside of the curve!