Build an HO Train Layout



       Let’s discuss building your first HO train layout. The first thing that you need to decide on is the location of your new layout, spare room, basement, garage, etc. The next thing is to decide on a track plan for your HO train layout. You can purchase some excellent track plan books for your HO train layout, published by Kalmbach Publishing Co. and others at your local hobby supply store. Or you can invent your own track plan for your HO train layout. If you decide to cook up your own track plan there are some important considerations to remember. The first one is to stick with a minimum radius for your curves of 24”. Most locomotives and rolling stock will negotiate those turns on your HO train layout without any problems. The next consideration is the base or foundation for your layout. A stable and solid base can be constructed from 2x4”s and ¾” plywood. The best height for your HO train layout is 36 to 42 inches above the floor. A 4 by 8 layout is a good size to get your feet wet for the first time. HO trains run on track that you lay down and mount to your plywood table. But before we do that we need to draw your track plan on the table in pencil. This way you can visualize what your HO train layout will look like when it’s finished. You can also make any changes and modifications to the layout by erasing and redrawing. Once you have it just the way you like it you can start by laying down your track switches first. Then lay the track sections between them, making sure to follow the instructions carefully for laying track on your HO train layout. A nice option to think about is to lay down sound deadening material first then put your track on top. Without the sound deadening your HO train layout will be a little noisy, kind of like tapping on a drum head or tin can. There are various types of sound deadening material and track that can be used for your pike. Consult with your local hobby supply store for the best type to use for your needs and budget. Now your HO train layout needs a means of powering the trains. You need to select a power supply from your local hobby supply store, they can tell you what type and size is best for your HO train layout. The next step is to connect the power supply to your track. There is no need to worry about electric shock because your layout operates on 12 to 18 volts DC.

          WOW! You’re almost ready to go! Your power supply control is equipped with a direction switch that will allow you to move your trains in either direction on your HO train layout. This allows you to back your cars into a siding and set them out to be unloaded or loaded as the case may be, and then pick them up next trip. Place your favorite locomotive and rolling stock on your track and let’s go railroading! Your HO trains can be off the shelf ready to run or you can build your own. Depending on your interests and skill level you can build your own rolling stock and even locomotives! The sky really is the limit with an HO train layout, have a wonderful time!