4'x8' Track Plans for Model Train Layouts

illustration of model train track layouts

Illustration: Lisa Fasol. © The Spruce, 2018

Great model railroads can come in any size. A 4'x8' sheet of plywood makes an easy starting point. You can build a variety of track layouts at any scale whether your focus is scenery, continuous running, switching, or more.

These plans can provide the inspiration to get you started. After selecting a plan, look for tips on building your platform and get ready to embark on a hobby that can last a lifetime.

  • 01 of 10

    Expand Your First Train Set

    track plan
    Ryan C Kunkle

    These plans offer a simple expansion for the oval of track you likely received in your first train set. Adding switching opportunities creates a longer run around the oval than simply adding more track. Select industries and scenery to give your railroad purpose and character. You can find the same concept here for:

  • 02 of 10

    Denver and Rio Grande Narrow Gauge

    track plan
    Ryan C Kunkle

    It may be the size of a sheet of plywood but this layout is anything but flat. The big scenery and tiny trains combine to make a dramatic yet compact model railroad. Narrow gauge railroading is a path less traveled in the hobby, but it is a challenge with great rewards.

  • 03 of 10

    City of Industry

    city of industry
    Ryan C Kunkle

    This plan combines continuous running with lots of switching to keep your train busy for hours as you drop off and pick up freight from the customers along the line. It's the perfect plan for people who get tired of watching a train run in circles, and a great way to see what operations are all about.

  • 04 of 10

    Paper and Pines

    track plan
    Ryan C Kunkle

    With spectacular scenery on one side, heavy industry and switching action on the other, this 4x8 combines the best of several aspects of model railroading for an experience that never gets old.

    Continue to 5 of 10 below.
  • 05 of 10

    Over-Under

    track plan
    Ryan C Kunkle

    By adding a grade and folding a loop of track back on itself, you'll double the length of your run with this plan. Hiding portions of the line in tunnels or behind view blocks can make it seem even longer and more interesting. With a staging track and room for more industries, you can easily make this route go even further.

  • 06 of 10

    End of the Line

    trackplan
    Ryan C Kunkle

    For a truly challenging switching session, give this track plan a try. Turn your oval inside out and stop running in circles. Model the end of the line instead. Set out and pick up freight, turn the engine and prepare for the next run. Tight curves and limited clearances add to the challenge and force you to plan your moves carefully.

  • 07 of 10

    HO Showcase

    track plan
    Ryan C Kunkle

    Many modelers end up with more locomotives than they could ever run at once. Show them off with this track plan that uses two outer loops for running as well as a turntable and tracks to display the rest of the collection.

  • 08 of 10

    N Scale Showcase

    N scale track plan
    Ryan C Kunkle

    The compact size of N scale means a 4x8 can provide a big showcase for a large collection. This plan features a double-track mainline with broad curves as well as a turntable and yard to display your collection.

    Continue to 9 of 10 below.
  • 09 of 10

    O Gauge Oval + Figure 8

    track plan
    Ryan C Kunkle

    3 Rail O Gauge trains offer big fun with larger equipment and many operating accessories. Even a simple plan like this can provide hours of entertainment.

  • 10 of 10

    O Gauge Twists and Turns

    trackplan
    Ryan C Kunkle

    This O gauge layout comes packed with multiple loops, a reverse loop, and several sidings.