Evolution of a N Gauge - 3' x 5' Layout for the absolute beginner

The Compact Advanced Plan 2 x 4


Following up on some requests for a smaller version of the Advanced Tutorial Track plan, I have produced a condensed version to fit 2' x 4'. Which is less than half the size of the original. This should also assist those who have asked for a HO version as it can easily be scaled up to 4' x 8', simply by doubling each radius and siding length.



At the same time I have addressed some of the issues that have been bugging me about the old plan. This version has the absolute minimum amount of track necessary to meet the operations scheme, whilst none of the tracks run parallel to the baseboard edge. This reduces the clutter, provides a more pleasing flow to the track and gives slightly more room for scenery. The number of turnouts in the original plan scared away a lot of beginners, and some more seasoned builders, so the number of turnouts has been reduced to 11, thus reducing maintenance and cost.


All turnouts are Atlas #4 but Peco Medium radius will also work. This layout would also be a good test bed for code 55. Whilst simple in concept this plan is for the more advanced builder, as only 3 peaces of sectional track have been used. The rest is flex track, in order to produce the curves. It should, however, be doable with sectional track track. I have used sectional track to test the fit, but have not yet produced an Atlas Right track drawing. Accurate construction is required as the track is within 0.5" of the baseboard edge at two points, whilst the siding lengths are critical to operation and must be neither lengthened nor shortened. For those who do not wish to use DCC (yet) the wiring has been reduced to only 4 blocks plus one isolated track (loco pocket).

The key operational elements have been retained and include the yard, the timesaver, an Interchange/fiddle track and a continuous run main line. The yard is self-contained and may be operated without fouling the main, as can the time saver. Operations can be simple to challenging, with potential for two simultaneous operators or train crews.


An XtrkCad version 3 drawing file is available here, which will allow you to test run the operations as well.


This should make a good Project and result in a truly portable version of the tutorial layout, a great way to demonstrate and teach operations at local shows and or swap meets.

A section on operating this layout will follow shortly.


If you would like to build this layout, then go ahead, but please keep us updated of your progress at n_tutorial@yahoo.com (Refer to the Index Page for subscription information).





Copyright 1999 2002 C. A. Roper

Last updated Thursday, March 28, 2002

No part of this text or plan may be reproduced, in part or whole, other than as an aid to building a layout for your personal use, without the express permission of the author. For information or to give feed back contact caroper@caroper.com.