T-TRAK as Home Layout

So while I would love to have a large home layout... (or even a small 'hollow core door' layout) I have  zero permanent space available to me.   The space I do have has to serve different roles at different times.  There is room for a large folding table, but that table also has to serve different roles, or even be removed on occasion.  (Luckily, the roles tend to be 'long term'.  So for example, it might serve as a sewing room for 2 months, but then a spare bedroom for a week, and then a Train Room again for a month.  )     I had great fun with my first T-TRAK experience, and started thinking about how I might be able to use that as the "home layout".    

I could have the layout on the table when the space is serving as the "Train Room", but then put on a set of shelves when the space as to be used for one of its other tasks.  At the same time, any of the modules could be taking to shows/conventions and I can "play along" with others in the the T-TRAK community.  This was the idea I had, so I set about trying out a possible plan.

Carolina Central

The Carolina Central is a very popular layout available from Model Railroader Magazine and has been converted to Kato Track by both Kato and Steve's Trains.   It is one that I have always thought about building, and the fact that it is a hollow-core door design, it would also fit on your standard 8' folding table - the exact thing that T-TRAK layouts are designed around.  So this seemed like a great place for me to start looking at.

T-TRAK Version of Carolina Central

Module List:


The Design

In the image above, you can see that I have added scenery to help show how this is generally the same as the MRR design.  One major change was that with the modular design, I was actually able to make the "staging yard" larger.  The trees in the image above are just 'filler' for where the original plan had a 'mountain' to hide the staging yard. This mountain could still be added (where the trees are) or a skyboard could be used instead, and the yard could be expanded.  I have made the top right corner module a tunnel to extend the scenic break between the 'yard' and the 'town'. (And who doesn't like to see a train come out of a tunnel. )  The front modules (the 'town') could have skyboards as well, or simply have it's scenery work directly into the back modules scenery.  

The overall size has ONLY increased by about 9" along the length - and if that really is a problem, the tracks seen on the singles could be incorporated into the quads, saving about 12" in length. Although you would lose some length on the sidings and yard, as well as lose some overall versatility (more on that later). 


The Whys

or "Why did you make some of the decisions that you did, and what are the benefits?"

If the layout uses the same footprint, why make the various compromised to make it fit into the T-TRAK plan, as well as cost more in track (need more turnouts, and more track).

Track List

As designed, here is the list of track you would need:

The Alternative Modules

Since the benefit of this design is you could have multiple layouts just by trading out some modules, I thought I would pull some together as examples.  Just these two examples would provide 3 basic layouts, and a few more with a few permutations :-D.  Below is a total of 4 alternative modules that could replace the current "yard" and "town" modules.   This means that with one more '4 shelf unit', I could have at least 3 different layouts!