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, faithful reproduction of a prototype, or switching.
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. You can always customize the look and feel of your layout with your own artistic touch.
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Expand Your First Train Set
If you're new to model railroading, chances are you started out with a simple oval of track in a starter train set. The next step in creating a real layout is to add switching opportunities to expand your run. Next, you'll select or build towns, stations, businesses, and scenery to give your railroad purpose and character.
You can choose any scale you like to create your layout, and you can create similar layouts with HO Scale, N Scale, or O Gauge tracks. Of course, the smaller the scale you choose the more you can fit on your small plywood base!Continue to 2 of 7 below.
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Denver and Rio Grande Narrow Gauge
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.Continue to 3 of 7 below.
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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 towns or industries, you can easily make this route go even further.Continue to 4 of 7 below.
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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.Continue to 5 of 7 below.
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N Scale Showcase
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 6 of 7 below.
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O Gauge Oval + Figure 8
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.Continue to 7 of 7 below.
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O Gauge Twists and Turns
This O gauge layout comes packed with multiple loops, a reverse loop, and several sidings. It does make for a rail-packed layout with less room for scenery, buildings, and other elements.