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Posted in Layout Designs by Rob Chant. (Last activity on Sunday, January 31, 2021 at 15:46:30 AST.)

O SCALE: Canadian Pacific Rail Barge Scene in Proto48

Here is something a little different. It is a 3'x10' layout (with a staging cassette added) done in O-scale of a rail barge operation. One possible locale for the scene would be on the Canadian Pacific somewhere in British Columbia in the mid 1970s. If I was doing the layout, I would try using Proto48 standards, since I have always loved the look of Proto48 wheel-sets. I see this layout as being a good starting point for someone that wants to give Proto48 a try, or wants to practice hand laying some track, or just wants to take detailing rolling stock to the max.

Track Plan:

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Overall view of the layout:

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3D screen captures from the layout:

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TAGS: Type: 3 Turnout Layout, Type: Beginner Layout, Staging Options: Car Float, Staging Options: Cassette Staging, Layout Size: Compact Layouts, Type: No Run-Around Track, Theme: Single Station / Town, Theme: Waterfront, Canada (Provinces): British Columbia, Canadian Railways: Canadian Pacific Ry

User Comments:

Posted by Chris Cardinal on Tuesday, October 15, 2019 at 12:49:56 PM.

Hi Rob. I think this is the perfect entry-level layout for Proto:48. In fact, I think I may actually build it, adding some flavour from the CP’s Slocan Lake operation for an extra dose of realism. Hmmm...

Posted by Robert Chant on Tuesday, October 15, 2019 at 1:47:09 PM.

Thanks Chris ... I'm sure you were just as impressed with the photos of Slocan Lake as I was ... this was done for a member of a railway forum that was quite taken by those photos as well ... adding the Proto48 was more me than him ... but he liked that idea as well.

Posted by Joe Krepps on Sunday, January 31, 2021 at 10:24:13 AM.

First, very grateful that you've made your designs available to everyone! LOTS of inspiring designs!
At 60, I realize there are no "bad" scales or gauges! Anything railroad related can be interesting so, I'm going to model "everything" but, in little, extended ironing board bites, 2-3 extended boards for larger scales.
Question; I've been a lifetime HO scaler, with occasional dabbles into smaller and larger scales. I realize I'm answering my own question but, here goes. Is it safe to say that designing for O scale is pretty much doubling the dimensions of HO? I know that might sound obvious but is there anything that doesn't translate well by merely doubling the size?
Very grateful for your time and effort!! You have a new fan! :)

Posted by Robert Chant on Sunday, January 31, 2021 at 3:46:30 PM.

Hi Joe,

First off ... thanks for the kind words ... much appreciated. As for your question ... the doubling of HO dimensions is the easy answer and it will work ... but sometimes it is not the best answer depending on the track plan.

If the HO track plan is a straight shelf or an L-shape shelf that is 18-inches or less wide, then doubling will work and also give you some wiggle room since the rescaling factor when going from HO to O scale is actually 1.765 instead of 2.000. (So, 1 inch in HO scale actually equals 1 25/32" inches in O scale, not 2 inches). There will be an access issue if the shelf is much wider than 18-inches in HO scale if you just double the shelf wide. (In the case if an 18-inch wide shelf, if you use the actual conversion factor of 1.765, then the shelf will only be 32-inches, not 36-inches.)

The biggest problem is with the "people space" in the plan. If aisleways are 36-inches in the HO track plan, then they will be 72-inches when doubling which (I consider) is a waste of space. The "people space" doesn't really need to be doubled when converting the plan. Also, the blobs at the end of a peninsula can be huge.

If the blob in the HO plan is roughly 5x5-feet that will translate to 10x10-feet in O scale. That may not sound like a lot, but the "HO scale blob" only required 25 square feet of floor space, while the "O scale blob" requires 100 square feet (4 times as much!). You will find that good O-scale plans take this into consideration, and try to use to the interior space of a blob more wisely which is a much smaller issue in HO scale.

A much less considered problem actually comes from the type of track used. If you look at the bottom of all my track plans, you will see that I always list the type of track used to draw the plan. Sometimes, even using a different brand of track can cause problems, even in the same scale. The reason is that not all turnouts are of the same angle, although they may be labeled as the same frog number.

Sometimes manufactures round off the frog angle just to give a commonly known frog number (#4, #5, #6). So, #5 turnouts from two different manufacturers may not have the same actual frog angle which can cause some problems if changing the type of track. This can even be more of a problem when going from one scale to another, if the track plan leaves very little wiggle room for track alignment, which many smaller track plans do (including some of mine).

Take care,

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