N Scale 2' x 4' layout for $500

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N Scale 2' x 4' layout for $500 - Model trains - MRH Article May 2013Click to read this in landscape orientation … Click to read this in portrait orientation …







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Dave O's picture


I think this layout would have been a better choice for the winner than the 'layout' which actually won (and used 'free trains'???).  Although an HO layout would perhaps be a better scale for someone just entering the hobby, the N-scale equipment today is fairly reliable and as the author stated, the model railroad can occupy a much smaller space.  Well-thought out design and nice write-up.  Thanks.


Now my personal scale may be HO, but I would not put it above - or below - any other scale/gauge combination.  My father, after all, can't stand HO, for his hands want to play with O, in a manner you simply don't handle HO trains.  Attitude is a far bigger matter versus the size of the trains.

I very well enjoyed this layout, for one it is very doable and it has plenty of action, while it is just generic enough that it could be "anywhere," hence it does not shoehorn the beginner into a specific place or prototype.  And that I feel is extremely important...

The concept very well proves N scale is a prominent competitor for not just seasoned modelers, but for those starting out.  It's number one money saver?  You can get a whole lotta railroad...in very little real estate!!

N Scale 2' x 4' layout for $500

The under $500 2x4' N scale layout is a great idea for those with only a little space, and yes if you buy second hand stuff carefully you can do something fun for under $500 easily.

A few years ago while being a very frustrated HO scale modeler with no space for a layout, I built a 1200x600mm layout which is basically 2x4', which I housed in a coffee table I also built out of very cheap materials.

Even in the smallest dwellings there is room for a coffee table, so it provides a practical use, some light entertainment, and also keeps the trains dust free.

There's a slightly average video here to see what you do with a continuous run style layout with reasonable track length in this size. Basically a squashed double figure eight, it provides some hypnotic viewing with a decent length train.

2x4 n scale under $500 layout

I agree, this is really neat. I am a 70 year old newbe building a 28" X 70" portable layout and it was very helpful to see his layout. You hardly ever see anything about portable layouts.

Bremner's picture

mine is a 16"x85", and I am

mine is a 16"x85", and I am still under budget with a Kato loco, MT, FVM, IM and Athearn cars...if it was a $600 budget, I could have nicer buildings!

I am an N Scaler in AZ, modeling the Southern Pacific, BEFORE the Borg

Track plan

The photos of the layout look great. However, is it me or does the track plan and the finished layout not go together. Am i missing something here or have I missed something in the article?

Dave O's picture

Confused ... or not

'georonn' ... I was confused the first time through as well; however, I came to the conclusion that the layout photos are from the submitter's layout, which does not use the same trackplan as his entry for the contest (although they do seem to share the 2' x 4' footprint).

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