second mirco layout

Having had so much fun with our first micro layout, Nick wanted to move on to something more ambitious. After pouring over my 30 year stack of Narrow Gauge & Shortline Gazettes, Nick wanted to do a small lumber layout and we chose On30.

Bachmann On30 Porter 0-4-0s can negotiate a 12″ minimum radius and Nick wants a large trestle.

I had an idea but was having a hard time describing it to Nick so I made a quick planning model in 1/8″ = 1″ scale. The footprint is 30″ x 4 feet long and about 4 feet tall.

Nick's micro layout planning model

I made a pencil sketch to show how the bridge would look.


The lower back will have room for a separate small town/logging camp area. We may do this in HO scale.

Nick's micro layout planning model

We labeled lots of the construction dimensions on the planning model so it’s acting as kind of a 3D blueprint.

The frame is made of 3/8″ x 4″ plywood planks ripped on the table saw and connected with 2×2 blocks glued and screwed. We added casters so it is easy to roll around.

Nick Fitting the Pieces Together

Nick with the Power Drill

Next we built up the sides and made an oval of plywood as the roadway.

Nick Drilling

We’ll cut away the portion that will be spanned by the bridge.

Nick Drilling

It looks like we’re going to be building an On30 (not On2-1/2!) micro layout and the typical question has come up.

When you say “micro,” how micro do you really mean?

We want to run trains round-and-round so we need a loop. The size of a small layout is dominated by its turn radius. The size of the turns will be decided by the size of the motive power. I have a bunch of Bachmann Porter 0-4-0s in On30 around so we’ll use these to rule the design.

Bachmann Porter 0-4-0

I love the Internet. A quick Google of “minimum radius porter 0-4-0” returned a link to a pdf:

On30 Commercial Loco and Car Minimum Radius Guide¬†written by the infamous “Professor Klyzlr” [BTW, Professor Klyzlr, I would link into your site but it has no home page.]

And the data the Internet On30 community has given is that Bachmann says 18″ radius but people find that 12″ is a practical minimum and 6″ is absolute minimum. I’m going to shoot for 10″ radius — but I’m going to test that.