RAILEX 2024    Model Railway Exhibition


How Much Room Do I Need?

Obviously what you can build inside will depend to a large extent on the space available. I've always thought I'd love to live in one of those stately homes which have a gallery. Some of these are 100 feet long - boy what a layout you could have there!

When thinking about a layout, there is a useful rough rule of thumb for a layout called the rule of thirds - the first third of the layout is the bit where the train is “coming into the layout”, the second third is where the train is “travelling in the layout”, and the final third is for the train to “be in the layout”. So for a layout to look good, and say it has a station at the right hand end, and a bridge at the left hand end, you need the distance from the bridge to the right hand end of the station to be at least 3 times the length of a typical train.

Here we need to first establish what kind of indoor layout would be acceptable. It may be that what you would like isn't really possible, so look at the alternatives. They get smaller as you go down the list.

I want more than one station and a loop

You're going to need quite a lot of space, so let's look at the norms of each scale in terms of curve radius and circle diameter:

Scale Minimum radius curve Circle diameter plus some scenic space
2mm 600mm 1.4m
3mm 750mm 1.8m
4mm 900mm 2m
7mm 1500mm 3.2m

I want main line action

Here we are going to need long trains, so let's look at how much space a short main line train of a loco and 8 coaches would take up

Scale length of a short express train
2mm 1.15m
3mm 1.7m
4mm 2.3m
7mm 4m

I am happy with branch line operation with one or two coaches

Here the trains are much shorter, so again lets look at what length we need, and an overall layout length using the rule of thirds:

Scale length of a two coach train 3 times length 3 times length plus storage
2mm 0.3m 0.9m 1.2m
3mm 0.45m 1.5m 2m
4mm 0.6m 1.8m 2.4m
7mm 1.15m 3.5m 4.7m

I am happy with an end to end layout

This could be a station to fiddle yard, or an industrial scene with off scene storage. There are very acceptable layouts in as little as 2 feet long all the way up to enormous!

newcomers/indoorlayout.txt · Last modified: 2021/05/14 09:40 by rogernoble

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