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Jim’s 4×8 Model Train Layout

NOTE: I will be adding images and videos as time permits. Keep checking back for updates.

Jim’s 4×8 Model Train Layout

(with a 2×4 extension):

In November I started designing a new, small layout that could one day be part of a larger room layout. I like watching trains run but also enjoy operating. Having a large area and too much to work on sometimes creates the problem of not being able to focus and then not getting anything done, OR getting small tasks done but not really seeing much progress because it’s so spread out.

Before moving to our current house I had a 4×8 layout with “snap” switches, tight radiuses and steep inclines. I figured it was a good learning experience and I could do better plus I’d have room to really build what I wanted. Well, many years later I’ve built a lot of structures, increased my skills and learned a lot. What I don’t have is a place where I can “just run trains”…

Jim's First 4x8 Layout

Jim's first 4x8 layout. A figure 8 with an outside loop. Two trains could be run at once with block control on DC. Feb 1999

Above is a picture of my first 4×8 layout. I could run two trains at once with block control. It was fun to see them “race” each other around the layout and look like they would almost hit when coming out of the mountain tunnel at the same time. Interestingly, the bridge will be able to be used on the new layout. It was my first “craftsman kit.” I have updated it a bit, laying the rail directly on the ties and adding rail guards. I still need to fix some broken pieces and maybe repaint it.

In my “train room” (a section of the unfinished basement) I do have enough to run some trains around a little and an area where I can do some switching. What I miss is that old layout. In fact, my son who claims he doesn’t like trains had fun running a train once I got the figure eight part working on the new one! He even said, “Maybe I could build something like a building with you.” Music to my ears. More on that later though.

Follow along on the following pages as I describe my journey on my new 4×8 layout. I will describe how and why, and what I’ve learned before now and what I will learn along the way.

Next => Planning the Layout