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Cke1st's Trackplans Page

This page is dedicated to the many model railroaders who don't have enough room to build a layout... or so they think. These N scale track plans are small, but each has enough features to be interesting. I used Atlas Right Track software to design them. Minimum radius is 9-3/4" and grades are 2.8% unless otherwise noted. Most are displayed to the same scale. The 2x4 plans should easily fit on a 4x8 in HO scale. If anyone builds them, or uses them as a source of ideas, I love hearing about it and seeing photos!

When I design a layout, I almost always have something more in mind than "how much track can I jam into a limited space." I try to make layouts where trains can operate and train-lovers can have some fun. I also make a point of setting some space aside for structures and scenery, which seem to be nothing but afterthoughts in a lot of plans for small spaces.

Important: Atlas no longer supports their Right Track software. Because it was a free download then, I hope there is no problem with me continuing to offer it for free now. This copy was originally from the site; I offer it as-is, as a convenience to the model railroad community. I cannot accept any responsibility or liability for use or misuse of this software, and I do not offer technical support or any other assistance in using it. The user accepts all responsibility and liability for the software and its effects. This software runs on Windows XP, Vista, and Windows 7; I do not know if it works on Windows 8 or on older versions.

Atlas Right Track v8.0 Installer

I do not offer a custom track-planning service.

Sorry about the irritating blinking text, but far too many people have ignored this warning and asked me for custom plans. I have had no choice but to resort to the ultimate in web-page obnoxiousness, in order to call attention to the fact that I do not offer a custom track-planning service. Really.

To download a trackplan file, right-click on its image and choose Save Target As. Trackplans are .RAL files (Right Track Software), mostly stored in .ZIP format.

Mike's Tip: Nail & glue a strip of coved molding around the edges of your module or small layout. It adds almost nothing to the layout's weight or footprint, but it gives you about 5/8" extra width on each side - enough for an N scale ground throw or some basic trackside scenery.

New on 12/19/2012: 3 new doors
New on 09/29/2012: 4 new HO doors

The Trackplans
2x4' layouts Smaller layouts Door layouts Other people's plans Atlas Code 55 HO-scale door layouts

Layouts on a 2x4' table
2x4' two-level plan Plan Name: 2x40001. The best trackplan I ever came up with. You get continuous action, the visual appeal of two levels, a branch line with interchange, and three decent-sized industries, all in 2x4' - such a deal! The crossing in front gives the look of a major junction. I'm in the process of building this one; trains are running and some basic scenery is in place.
2x4' spaghetti-bowl plan Plan Name: 2x40002. An unabashed double-track spaghetti bowl, but at least this one leaves room for the buildings. This could make an interesting city scene, especially with a two-sided scenic backdrop separating the yard from the industries.
2x4' twice-around plan Plan Name: 2x40003. The red turnouts change a simple oval into a twice-around for a long mainline run. A small yard and two big industries will keep a train busy.
2x4' out-and-back plan Plan Name: 2x40004. This is the smallest out-and-back plan you're likely to find. It works by using the yard throat as part of the main line. The red track must be wired as a reversing section.
2x4' point-to-point plan Plan Name: 2x40005. A point-to-point layout representing a short line. Trains will leave the central yard, drop off and pick up cars at the interchange at the bottom, and switch the industries en route. This could easily be made as a two-level pike.
2x4' two-level dogbone plan Plan Name: 2x40007. This up-and-over dogbone plan yields the longest mainline run you'll find in a table this size, if you can live with a really tight fit around the edges of the table. I've built it using a 49x25" table, and it was close.
2x4' rural shortline Plan Name: 2x40008. You can run a rural shortline with this plan. It looks like there's no runaround track, but the center cutoff track can be used to run around cars so you can switch all the spurs.
2x4' shortline + mainline Plan Name: 2x40009. Care to model a shortline and its interchange with a mainline? On this layout, the mainline train comes out of its hidden track, swaps empties for loads at the interchange, and returns to staging. The shortline engine picks up the empties, takes them to the coal mine, and returns the empties to the interchange. The spartan engine facilities are also at the top of the mountain. Trains will have to be short - you can't have everything!
2x4' car-service area Plan Name: 2x40010. This busy layout represents a maintenance area that can handle any freight car:
  1. Interchange track
  2. Car clean-out track
  3. Car cleaning facility
  4. Cars awaiting cleaning or repair
  5. Car maintenance shop
  6. Rip track for light repairs
  7. "Dead" car storage
  8. Engine pocket
  9. Yard office
2x4' two-level point-to-point plan Plan Name: 2x40011. A two-level point-to-point layout, great for a coal-mining or logging theme. Trains run down from the central yard to the interchange at the bottom, and back up again.
2x4' grade-crossing special Plan Name: 2x40012. For the railroader who can't get enough grade crossings, I offer this plan. There are six of them here, and only two are the same angle! The double main line allows two trains to run at once, and with all the industries, this layout would be a challenge to switch.
2x4' oval w/ branch Plan Name: 2x40013. On this layout, the inner branch line is actually longer than the main line. I'd elevate that branch about 1/2" for visual effect. Two good-sized industries and an interchange track will keep a train busy.
2x4' city shortline Plan Name: 2x40014. This busy city railroad could keep a switcher busy for hours. Here, the diverging routes from the interchange form a reversing loop, so with a little planning, you can switch the many spurs without any runaround moves.
2x4' reverse-loop module Plan Name: 2x40015. This switching module is a condensation of Fox Lake, WI, a prototypical reverse loop. Industries include a lumber yard, a warehouse, an oil dealer, a large cannery, and a feed mill. (See the Feb 1976 Model Railroader for more info.) The loop's tail could connect to a bigger layout, a fiddle yard, or staging tracks.
2x4' big-industry Plan Name: 2x40016. If you want a big industry in a small space, here's an idea-starter. I used the Walthers paper-mill complex, plus a couple of smaller industries. The plan also includes an interchange track on the right, a hidden staging track at the top, and room for some scenery.
2x4' w/ 2 scenes Plan Name: 2x40020. A scenic divider breaks this double-track layout into two scenes. One is a surprizingly big yard with an engine house; the other serves some big industry made of DPM modules. The lone runaround track will make you plan your switching moves well in advance.
2x4' loads-in, empties-out Plan Name: 2x40021. I doubt you'll ever see a true loads-in, empties-out plan in 2x4, but this one comes close. Loads go into the big industry (a coal-washing plant?) via the long curving spur, and out by the short spur; empties move the opposite direction. Two other industries add variety.
2x4' engine facility Plan Name: 2x40022. Here's a special-purpose trackplan for the modeler who loves his/her engines. An Atlas turntable and roundhouse, and a Walthers backshop, are the main attractions here. There's an ash dump track at upper right, a diesel fuel rack at lower left, and coal, sand, and water for steamers at center bottom.
2x4' industrial park Plan Name: 2x40023. If you like your industries, this layout may be what you need. The long interchange track at left feeds seven assorted industries, with room for at least 12 cars. If it weren't for the closed oval, this could be considered a switching layout.
2x4' mountain scenery Plan Name: 2x40024. This simple plan is for the mountain-scenery lover who doesn't have much room. The bottom portion of the layout features a tall trestle crossing a valley. If you don't already know how you'd handle such a scene, this plan isn't for you. The top is nothing but three staging tracks, and probably wouldn't need any scenery at all.
2x4' car-float plan Plan Name: 2x40025. Someone e-mailed me and asked for a 2x4' plan with a car float, so I drew up this one. The emphasis is on interchanging cars between the float (which could be removable) and the two diverging lines that head north and south. There are also two industries, a small engine shed and service area, and room for some harbor scenery.
2x4' level dogbone Plan Name: 2x40026. This is a folded dogbone on one level. It gives a long mainline run. You can have some fun switching cars between the industry and the interchange track, and there's room for some impressive scenery.
2x4' yard plan Plan Name: 2x40027. Engines are expensive; track is cheap. If you have a switcher and a road engine and would like to gove them a work-out, check this plan out. The four-track yard gives you room to make and break trains on the arrival track outside the oval, while the interchange and three spurs give a freight train something to do. The engine house and engine pocket complete the scene.
2x4' point-to-point Plan Name: 2x40028. Another two-level point-to-point design. This one has short runaround tracks at both stations and the interchange, so handling freight cars in any direction is doable. You could even use the runarounds as escape tracks for a switcher if a doodlebug or RDC made a run up the hill.
2x4' with no turnouts Plan Name: 2x40029. Just for fun, a layout with no turnouts! And yet you get continuous operation, a small yard, four industries, and interchange. Everything runs through the Atlas turntable, which can hold a GP-7 and a 40' car, or a SW-1200 and a 50' car.
2x4' urban layout Plan Name: 2x40030. This is essentially a switching layout with provision for continuous running. The three industrial spurs are so interlaced with the reversing connection (which is also the only runaround) that it isn't always obvious which way the engine should go to make its deliveries.
2x4' twice-around Plan Name: 2x40031. Vertical twice-arounds eat up a lot of space; this is about the best I can do in 2x4'. A small industry on each level gives a freight train something to do, but this plan's focus is the scenery and the bridges.

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Layouts smaller than 2x4'
2x3' two-level plan Plan Name: 2x3. Two levels and three industries in a minimum size - 2x3'. Grades are around 4%. Even in this small space, one train can switch the upper level and the grain elevator while another takes laps on the main line, without interfering with each other. The track and bridge at upper right can double as an interchange.
2x3' end module Plan Name: 2x3mod01. This is one end of a possible shelf layout or modular pike. It includes a small yard, industrial spur, engine house, and a passing track, all in 2x3'. The shelf to which you connect it can be as narrow as 6 inches.
2x3' switching layout Plan Name: 2x30003. A busy switching layout. Cars appear on the interchange track at upper left, and are spotted at one of the five industries.
2x3' plan Plan Name: 2x30004. If you absolutely must operate realistically in 2x3', this simple-looking plan may meet your needs. The upper-left interchange track connects to three industries on two spurs, and the freight station can serve as a fourth industry.
34x22-inch plan Plan Name: 34x22_01. Interchange and three industries on a 34x22" table. Note how the mainline runs between the spurs, visually breaking up the "racetrack," and that none of the spurs parallel each other. This would make a nice demo layout.
Tiny 30x21-inch plan Plan Name: 30x21_1. The smallest layout I can design with standard track sections and still include two industries. The table is only 30x21". Even in this tiny size, the spurs run at different angles to avoid unnatural symmetry.
If you don't have room for this one...
Switching layout in 4' x 6-inch Plan Name: 4x06. A minimum-size shelf switching layout, with seven industries in a space 4 feet long and only 6 inches wide. The siding with the rerailer is the interchange track.
36x36-inch shelf layout Plan Name: 3x30001. This switching layout is bent around a corner, so it only takes up 5 square feet. In that limited space, you still get 6 industries and interchange. The curved center gives your switch engine the chance to run a little.
1x5-foot switching layout
Plan Name: 5x1_01. If you can spare 5 feet in length, you could build this linear spaghetti-bender. A busy chemical works takes up the left side, while the center and right hold three more industries and the interchange track.

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Layouts on a 78x30" door
Yard & roundhouse on a door
Plan Name: 78x30_01. This one is for the modeler who likes to watch 'em roll, with an occasional break for yard switching. The mainline curves are 11-3/4" and 13". Two hidden staging tracks improve operating variety, and the yard will hold roughly 24 cars.
Industrial park on a door
Plan Name: 78x30_05. This is the same plan as above, but with an industrial park instead of the yard and roundhouse. Seven industries will keep a way-freight busy.
Three scenes on a door
Plan Name: 78x30_04. This plan uses scenic dividers to make three separate scenes - prairie on top, city on the bottom (with staging hidden in a mill building at the very bottom), and a mountain pass on the right end.
Three-lap pretzel on a door
Plan Name: 78x30_03. For those who like to watch a train run, here's a three-lap "pretzel" plan. It includes one big and two small industries, and a tiny yard. Operationally, think of the engine facility as where trains swap engines to get over the mountain district.
Folded dogbone on a door
Plan Name: 78x30_06. Here is an up-and-over folded dogbone. The yard is small, but so are the passing sidings, so short trains will look good on the long mainline. The double bridges will look good, too. 11" minimum radius.
Double-folded dogbone on a door
Plan Name: 78x30_07. Here's another folded dogbone, arranged differently. The yard is at middle-height, and the approaches to each end drop or rise to gain the required clearance. The big industry at left is the railroad's reason for being. The interchange track at upper-right could easily connect to staging tracks. There are no reversing connections, though they could be easily added.
Twice-around plus oval on a door
Plan Name: 78x30_09. An outside oval with a 13" radius, plus a two-level twice-around inside it, let you run two trains at once without too much monotony. The little town has switching possibilities, too. The spurs in the right-hand corners lead to staging.
Heavy mainline action on a door
Plan Name: 78x30_16. This variation on my double-track oval plans uses tighter curves (9-3/4" and 11"). In exchange for this, you get one more staging track, a passing/runaround track up front, more industries, and a "behind-the-scenes industrial park" that can take any kind of freight car.
Mountain railroading on a door
Plan Name: 78x30_21. This plan is for the railroader with lots of coal hoppers who wants to see them roll. There's not a lot of room for operation, although I provided a coal mine, a truck-dump tipple, and an undefined industry. The emphasis is on the mountain scenery - the grades, the tunnels, and the long bridge or viaduct crossing the valley.
Traditional-style door plan
Plan Name: 78x30_10. This is a fairly traditional-style plan. You can make & break trains in the yard, using the inner of the two tracks in front as an arrival/departure track. Two trains can run at once, one on the outer loop and one on the inner, up-and-over loop. A few industries are also provided.
Switching layout on a door
Plan Name: 78x30_22. Here's my first try at a door-sized switching layout. Trains run from the interchange and yard at the bottom, along a winding branch connection to the industrial park on the far end. Eight industries in a wild configuration of tracks will keep your switcher busy.
Four times around layout on a door
Plan Name: 78x30_14. New 12/19/2012 If you want a long mainline run, I can't do much better than this. At the expense of some scenic realism, I pack in four complete laps before a train has to retrace its steps. I also give you a small yard, three industries, and an interchange track. A busy, track-filled layout like this would probably look best as an urban scene.
Interlaced figure-8's on a door
Plan Name: 78x30_19. New 12/19/2012 This is an attempt to fit John Armstrong's Granite Gorge & Northern onto a 30"-wide door. It requires some heavy compromises, like 4% grades and the elimination of all passing tracks. The track colored in orange has to rise above the rest of the second level in order to clear the yellow track beneath it. But if your space is limited and you want to run two trains through mountain scenery, this could punch your ticket.
Double-figure-8 layout on a door
Plan Name: 78x30_20. New 12/19/2012 This is a rather simple layout for someone who wants the effect of a two-level pike without a huge investment in turnouts. The three-track yard at upper right is really a one-track yard with an interchange and a small industrial spur, and there is one more spur at ground level and two at the raised level. The minimum radius is 11", so you can run big modern diesels on it. This could also be an effective demo pike for shows.
Interlaced figure-8's on a door
Plan Name: 78x36_07. Now this is the best plan I've ever come up with. It's a variation on John Armstrong's Granite Gorge & Northern (see below), preserving all of the original's benefits on a 3'-wide door. A few industries and two single-ended staging tracks are provided for operating interest, but this is mostly a plan for the train-watcher.

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My variations on other people's plans
Granite Gorge & Northern
Plan Name: ggn2. My second take on one of the neatest plans I've ever seen, John Armstrong's Granite Gorge & Northern. My original version of this plan was 3-1/2' x 6' and has probably drawn more interest than all my other plans combined. This one is 4' x 6-1/2', and the extra space let me raise the minimum radius from 9-3/4" to 11", reduce the worst grade from 3.5% to 3%, add another passing siding, and fit in a short staging track at upper right, among other improvements. In response to many requests, this plan comes with a bill of materials. If you have room for a full 4x8, the staging track can wrap around the right end and branch into a hidden staging yard. There's no need to try and figure out how to scale down the original cookie-cutter carpentry; Woodland Scenics' risers and 3% inclines will do the job just fine. The original plan needs 5x9 in HO and is from Seven Step-by-Step HO Railroads (originally Six HO Railroads You Can Build), by Atlas Tool Co.
Unhinged & Horizontal
Plan Name: n11. A few useful modifications to Atlas' plan N11, the Unhinged & Horizontal. By rearranging the yard throat, I can fit four freight-yard tracks in place of three. I also added an engine house and a third industrial spur, without crowding things too badly. The original is from Nine N Scale Railroads, by Atlas Tool Co.
John Allen's Timesaver Plan Name: tymsaver. John Allen's famous Timesaver switching-puzzle layout, using Atlas N scale sectional track
Pennsylvania & Potomac Plan Name: 2x50009. An N-scale variation on John Armstrong's Pennsylvania & Potomac, originally a 4x8 HO pike. (From 101 Track Plans by Kalmbach) This one needs 2' 3" x 5' and can be run as a continuous loop, an out-and-back, or a point-to-point. The red track is a reversing section. Plan used by permission, courtesy of Kalmbach Publishing Co.
Lake District Ry. Plan Name: lakedist. The Lake District Ry, from 101 Track Plans. Three times around on a 3x4' table. This would be a pike to make scenery and watch trains run, although there are a few spots for switching. There is no runaround track, but all spurs except the top one are trailing-point for a train running counter-clockwise.
Plan used by permission, courtesy of Kalmbach Publishing Co.

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Atlas Code-55 Track Plans
Because the new Atlas code-55 track uses longer sections and wider curves than their code-80 track, I found that most of my 2x4 layouts just wouldn't fit in 2x4 anymore when converted to the new track. For this reason, I settled on a new "standard" table size of 2-1/2x5, which isn't so big that you can't call it a "small" layout. I've drawn several bridges, which Atlas does not yet offer in code 55; it shouldn't be hard to replace the track in a code-80 bridge with a 5" piece of code-55 flextrack, or a 6" piece cut to fit. This might be the first collection of Atlas code-55 trackplans to hit the Web.
2x4' demo layout Plan Name: 55_2x401. A good beginner's layout on 2x4, with interchange, small yard, and two industries, plus room for some scenery. This would also make a nice demo layout. Note how none of the spurs runs at the same angle as the others, which helps avoid a toylike look.
2-1/2x5' figure-8-within-oval Plan Name: 55_2x501. A 2-1/2x5 variation on the classic figure-8-within-the-oval scheme that has been featured in several Atlas track-planning books. This one adds an interchange track and better possibilities for switching.
2-1/2x5' point-to-point Plan Name: 55_2x502. A multi-level point-to-point shortline in 2-1/2x5. The train interchanges with the real world in the front, and winds up a mountain to its main customer at the top, with a lesser customer halfway up. I've drawn it as a coal hauler, but ore mining or logging would also work well.
2-1/2x5' oval w/ branch Plan Name: 55_2x503. A 2-1/2x5 variation on a theme I love, the oval with elevated branch line. On this one, the upper and lower tracks leading off to the right could easily become connections to staging yards.
2-1/2x5' switching layout Plan Name: 55_2x504. Here is a basic switching layout, also in 2-1/2x5. On the near side of the scenic divider is the interchange, the runaround track, and a station, so your doodlebug or RDC can have something to do. On the far side are three industries, arranged so the track looks a lot busier than it really is.
1/2x5' shelf layout Plan Name: 55_4x06. A bare-minimum-size shelf switching layout, five feet long and six inches wide. The cyan track is the interchange. Five industries (the white block at the right is an unloading ramp for flatcars) provide room for at least nine freight cars, sometimes by a very convoluted route.
Midwestern town on a door
Plan Name: 55_door1. This plan uses the usual 80x30" door to make a typical little Midwestern town. The industries are a grain elevator, oil dealer, team track, and combination passenger/freight station, with an interchange to another railroad off the lower right. Single-ended staging for three trains is provided behind the scenes.
Double-track industrial park on a door
Plan Name: 55_door2. This plan uses the 80x30" door for a double-track main line and a busy industrial park. Double-ended staging is provided behind the scenes. I meant to enter this plan in Atlas' track-planning contest, but was too late.

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Atlas HO-Scale Code-83 Door Track Plans
Declining eyesight has forced me to "turn to the dark side" and scale up to HO. But I still need to maintain portability, so my plans have to fit on my three-foot-wide door. By using super-tight 15"-radius curves and short rolling stock, I come up with layouts that not only fit into such a small space, but that can play host to operation, not just orbiting trains.
36x78 oval
Plan Name: HO_36x78_01. My first attempt, which I'm in the process of building. It shows one scene on a short line somewhere, with a big industry, a small one, and even some staging behind the view block. One possible prototype would be the Skaneateles Short Line in New York state, which used GE 44-tonners to service a Stauffer Chemical plant.
36x78 British-style layout
Plan Name: HO_36x78_06. By removing one of the above oval's ends, we turn the plan into a British-style layout, in which trains enter the scene, do their work, and depart. Four staging tracks (very generous for a tiny layout) will provide decent variety in feeding trains into the depot scene.
36x78 figure-8
Plan Name: HO_36x78_02. A figure-8 with spurs. The three spurs inside the curves support a variety of industries, while the one leading up from the crossing is the interchange track. This would be a good layout to surround with buildings to create an urban scene.
36x78 oval w/ spurs
Plan Name: HO_36x78_07. This layout can give you some realistic operation in a bare-minimum space for HO, plus continuous running. It is drawn as a granger shortline with a grain elevator and a feed-and-seed dealer, but it will do for nearly any scene or industry. Cars enter the railroad via the interchange track at left, get sorted in the small yard, and delivered to the main industry at top and the less-used industry that shares track with the yard.

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