best 4x8 layouts...

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I'm not sure if this is the right place for this, but although I'm pretty sure I have a good layout design in my head, I'd like to see some more track designs. I have looked at ALOT of track plans, but it seems to be better if I can see the real thing! If anyone has a really neat 4x8 layout that has good variety, could you post pics of it? There is simply nothing cooler in this hobby (IMHO) than building something and showing it off or seeing someone show off something they built! I just need some ideas guys! Any layout that is 4x8 in dimension! Thanks guys!!!!



Drum Driver
I love both those layouts...Always enjoyed seeing them...So much in so little area...great planning.....Saw your pics in Modelrailroad Planning 2007 Harold...bout ran off the road when my girl friend was looking thru the mag on the way to Virginia and she said,"Thats nice!!" and I went, "I saw that on modelrailroadforums...COOL!!!!"...Your a master!!
awesome guys!

great looking layouts! I'm planning on doing the "black river junction" featured in Model Railroader. Seems like alot of railroading in a small space, but I like every one of the ideas that I just saw! Thanks alot guys! Feel free to post more layout pics!



Diesel Detail Freak
awesome guys!

great looking layouts! I'm planning on doing the "black river junction" featured in Model Railroader. Seems like alot of railroading in a small space, but I like every one of the ideas that I just saw! Thanks alot guys! Feel free to post more layout pics!

Was that the one with the switching/interchange in the center of the layout?

I really like that one myself, and thought it would make a nice layout to run, until I get the space for what I want,
Here's mine, this will have a good mountainous scenery but very little space to make towns, infact I'm worried that I won't be able to place any buildings :S



Fleeing from Al
Dont' forget about flats like we were discussing for your river terminal. You can make what looks like a larger town with only about 6 inches space by using building flats.
You can make what looks like a larger town with only about 6 inches space by using building flats.
Yes I already placed my eyes on the folowing building, but I doubt I have enough space for it too :S when I placed both rails I had only left 3" from the backdrop, and this building is 3 1/8", so I will now try to build it myself out of 2" polistyrene place a loading platform and see how it fits, then I have to remember that the rails will be burried in concrete, so the whole part will be a big working area, and trucks can drive all over the place. Then as said in my post, I will simulate a tunnel for cars and trucks to avoid the road inconvinience.

I will post another picture of the layout with the polistyrene building and rails, on my thread.
At last! A discussion about 4x8s that doesn't have people shooting the post down in flames!

I've posted the layout I intend doing on this thread, and agree with MaxiTrax that buildings and the like are the most difficult things to incorporate in a decent 4x8.

By the way, Maxitrax, I was going to have a crack at that plan, too. Good to see you've got as far as building it.

To finish, if anybody else has good 4x8 plans, BRING EM ON!!......

(realises he's getting too exuberant....)


Em, thats all... bye...

I build a 4 x 8. Now I am building a 30" x 8 switching layout and a 10 x 11 around the walls. The 10 x 11 occupies the same space my 4 x 8 did.

The 4 x 8 is very limited and I think it is an art to get a good one for the space. But all things being equal, many people build a 4 x 8 simply because they think that's all the space they have. We all know the argument that a 4 x 8 takes a minimum of 10 x 12 floor space and there are much better options for that space. I strongly recommend trying all your options before building a 4 x 8.

That said, I can still appreciate a good 4 x 8--but most of them I see built are somewhat lacking and anemic.
Maybe people don't think like I do, but that sounds like a challenge - what's the best (by consensus) 4x8 plan that can be built?

Most people would say "Why?", but I say "Why not?" I personally derive a challenge from getting the best out of a situation where there are limitations of some kind, and I personally have been mulling this idea over for some time.

So, how's about it? Does anybody out there think I'm off my rocker, or are people at least prepared to give it a shot?

I would appreciate other peoples views (and plans!) :D

When I was in college, I entered a contest to write a short story in 250 words or less. While it was a challenge and an interesting experiment, most people would agree, that the constriction of the word requirement limit the quality of the story. A story with more than 250 words can be fleshed out and become more interesting.

The challenge of the 4 x 8 as far as I'm concerned is to create the illusion of going from here to there. The example I posted had two cities and a distance to travel between them. Each city was isolated from the other visually. A person working one town was intellectually separated from the other.

Most 4 x 8 are loops and sidings. You see the train from above and in never leaves your sight. It is the ultimate toy train layout.

However, in the same space much easier and better if you use the around the walls shelf in the same space. Most people become fixated on the 4 x 8 because that is what they think is the ultimate starter layout.

This does not mean that you can't choose the 4 x 8 as an art form any more than you can't choose the 250 word short story.

The question I would ask though, is do you want a layout or a challenge?


Fleeing from Al
I think a 4x8 layout can work fine but the first thing that has to be set in stone is scenery or lots of operation. You can't have both in 4x8. The 4x8 posted by Harry G. is a great example of an operations oriented layout. Lots of switching opportunities with six industries, a passing track, and a nicely located runaround track. However, the buildings are going to be about the only scenery on this layout. There's no space left for even a small hill let alone anything else that might act as a view block. As Chip said, you'll see all the trains, all the time. Nothing wrong with that as long as operations are your main interest.

On the other end of the scale, we have Chip and Maxitrains. They both have layouts with relatively few operational opportunities but great scenery. Lots of cool scenes to create and look at but an operations guy might be bored pretty quick. I also like scenery so I would be happy with one that has more scenery and less track but I think we're in the minority from all the 4x8 layouts I've seen.

Finally, we have what Harold is doing. He's using a view block that goes right down the middle of his 4x8, creating two 2x8 layouts. One side looks like it's devoted to more scenery and the other side looks like it's going to be set up for more switching and operations. If you have unobstructed access to all sides of your 4x8, this might be a great way to combine two types of layouts into one.

So, I think the question is not just "What's the best 4x8 plan" but "What's the best 4x8 plan for my style of modeling". I don't think there's anything inherently good or bad about a 4x8 space but it can made good or bad if your don't think about things like this before your start.
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Take a look again at my layout. There is lots of scenery, but I have a silver mine (with mine switching) and a team freight at Rock Ridge and nine industries plus engine service at Train City. Both towns had passenger service. When I added 3 staging tracks I was also able to add an interchange.

I think you can have both. What I had to live with was

a) the yard throat in a tunnel

b) a 3.1% and a 3.7% grade

c) Industry tracks that doubled as a yard when needed. is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to - An online railroad bookstore featuring a curated selection of new and used railroad books. Railroad pictorials, railroad history, steam locomotives, passenger trains, modern railroading. Hundreds of titles available, most at discount prices! We also have a video and children's book section. - An online model railroad bookstore featuring a curated selection of new and used books. Layout design, track plans, scenery and structure building, wiring, DCC, Tinplate, Toy Trains, Price Guides and more.