Top 7 O Scale Model Train Layouts

Majority of O Gauge model train layouts contain three rails, evenly spaced apart. The interesting aspect of an O Gauge train rail is that the middle rail is the positive one so in other words it’s the hot rail while the other two outer ones are grounded. The practicality of this method becomes evident when a rather large model train layout is built  and the third rail becomes advantageous for more complex layouts.

Keep in mind that most 3 rail o gauge track is sectional, meaning that the paces are rigidly constructed in certain length or curve diameter. One of the most recent and advantageous things to help out O Gauge modelers is the ability to purchase flexible track sections, which can be bent to conform to creative design techniques without hindering the layouts ability to perform feats of wonder. Plus, track switches allow the track sections such as two tracks to diverge or merge together, which was not possible during its inception.

O Gauge – The granddaddy of them all, Lionel has made O Gauge track since 1915, and today’s O Gauge track looks almost exactly the same as that which rolled off the assembly lines in the 1950s. When people talk about their old train set with its three rail track, this is usually the type of track they are talking about. O Gauge track is all metal, usually with three crossties per section. It uses rounded, removable pins to connect the track sections together. O Gauge track is very easy to work with and can be cut into a variety of lengths if needed. If you want a classic, nostalgic look to your layout, O Gauge is certainly worth a look.

O Gauge Track Plans

If you’re a beginner in model trains, the O gauge track plans are a good starting point. They are very easy to use and you can customize them easily with their removable pins. 

Just take a look at Lionel Trains for a good idea of how great an O gauge layout can be. This company has been producing tracks since the early 1900’s, and they have certainly mastered the art of it. 

Some modelers might be looking to build a full track from scratch. If you’re one of them, you can find 7 stunning examples below for inspiration. But before we dive into that, let’s cover the basics. Check out some O gauge track plans below for a better understanding of how these layouts are created.

Twice Around O Gauge Track Plan

twice around the track

The Twice Around O Gauge is one of the most popular track plans around. It has elevated tracks for trains to climb up and down on. This is especially a good choice for those who get bored with a flat track from point to point. This track plan also has a double loop, which leaves plenty of space for structures and greenery.

Lionel 3×5 O Gauge Track Plan

lionel o gauge model train layout

Want to pack as much as possible in one model railroad? Go with this track plan! The Lionel 3×5 O Gauge Track Plan features a figure 8 with 027 curves, the tightest curve that you can use. At first, this plan may look confusing, but you’ll see how easily the trains can move around it with the turnouts in action.

PRR Atlas Complex O Gauge Track Plan

The Atlas Complex O Gauge Track plan is actually simpler than it looks. Basically, it’s a combination of two figure 8s with many crossovers. This allows trains to move between two lines and operate in reverse. With four lobes serving specific purposes, up to 3 trains can run at a time without difficulty. Use this for your train set if you want to operate multiple trains at once!

Moving on to photographs of O Gauge model train layouts… These images are of real model train layouts that stand out in their technique, detail and understanding of rail curvature and how to avoid derailments.

4×8 O Scale Model Train Layout

o scale model train layouts

Here is the previous model railroad from a different perspective. From here, you can see how much space you can save with an O scale 4×8 train layout. You can add tunnels, mountains, bridges, and plenty of other elements. While this layout’s landscape is filled up, notice that it doesn’t feel cramped at all.

4′ x 8′ O Scale Layout with MTH Track and Lionel

4x8 o scale model train layouts

Lionel trains have been making model railroads for a very long time. It’s not a stretch to say that they make some of the finest ones around – especially when it’s an O gauge! The one you see in this image is a 4×8 O gauge built with K-line accessories. Built with houses, buildings, and lush foliage, it’s a beauty worth showing off to family and friends. Take a closer look and use it as inspiration for your next layouts!

L Shaped O Scale Model Train Layout

If you plan to place your model train set in the corner of the room, it’s best to get an L shaped O scale layout. Its shape allows it to fit in that section of any area without difficulty. Plus, you get to fit as much parts as possible without taking up too much room! Here you can see that even when the two tables don’t seem connected to each other, the modeler still managed to achieve a continuous layout. 

2 Rail O Scale Layouts

2 rail o scale model train layout

Building structures can be a lot of work, but there’s nothing like tasting the fruit of labor. The tunnel you see in this image was built with ready-made portals that were cut down. To get that worn and torn look, the modeler used rubber rock molds with some of it crushed up for the boulders. To finish it off, some model rocks were added to the sides.

Close-up View of 2 Rail O Scale Layout

2 rail o scale layout track

In another section of this layout are two rails with a close-up of where they meet. This type of set-up allows you to bring in model trains to park with ease. The background of the layout is yet to be added, but the yellow houses at the right and the other model buildings already paint a vivid picture.

O Scale Switching Layout

The modeler of this railroad found a clever way to keep their trains running without end. By using a 3-2-2 Inglenook for switching, they’ve created tracks that can maintain a never ending loop. While it’s clearly only the skeleton of the set, it’s still impressive how something like this can be achieved on top of a 30” x 72” folding office table. If you want something similar but afraid you don’t have enough space, see how this compact layout was made!

World’s Largest O Scale Train Layout

world's largest o scale model train layiut
image source

Here’s an O scale train layout that’s sure to impress anybody! You can find this modern marvel in Chi-Town Union Station and West Oakland Railroad Museum, Michigan. It’s so big, that it actually goes around the entire museum. It can fit more than 36 running trains at a time across its two miles of 12,000 feet tracks.

Christmas Themed O Scale Model Train Layout

o scale model train layouts

Notice the multi-loop track and mountain range in the backdrop. The O gauge scenery contains a snow scene that is always essential when building a Christmas themed O scale model train layout. 

Right at the foot of the mountain is a little town with a station. It’s always a good idea to add houses in a Christmas-themed layout as it reminds us of cozy evenings spent at home during the happiest season.

 3-Rail O-Gauge Model Train Layout

3-rail O-gauge model trains

Here is a unique 3-rail O-gauge model railroad. The builder of this amazing layout ensured each single detail of the layout was scaled to perfection. It contains so many realistic parts and scenery, it’s totally a must see!

Random O Scale Photos

o scale model train layouts

Pendon Museum | Modelling the past for the future

o scale model train layouts

A long view of Evaleight town and station. Layout by the Sussex Downs Group of the 009 Society.

o scale model train layouts

This was an enjoyable post to conjure up given the lack of love O Gauge layouts, photos and videos get. Please expect more O Gauge in the near future plus videos of individuals layouts that outshine most HO Scale and even N Scale layouts.

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