Page updated:December 09, 2014

CTT Big Steam
(aka Twice Around the Room)

BigSteam FSTO 2D

Big Steam, evoking memories of the classic trains of yesteryear.  This layout design, 12ft X 8ft, is a nice, mid-sized, action packed O-gauge layout.  We have modelled it using modern track systems -- Lionel FasTrack and GarGraves tubular track.  See below for S-gauge version.

Big Steam is an interesting layout for its size.  You have nested loops going around the perimeter, a small industrial area, and a five track yard with space to make/break short trains with a switcher. 

Above is a plan view of the Big Steam design using FasTrack.  The smallest radius curves used are O-31 to maximize penetration into the corners.  BigSteam GGRVO 2DThe yard ladder utilizes O60 turnouts for a track centerline spacing of 5.5 to 6 inches.

At left is the Big Steam layout using GarGraves plastic tie track and GarGraves turnouts.  Some of the outer/inner loop curves have been expanded to O42, but the corner in both the tunnel and the 135 curve into the bridges over the yard are O32.  Using GarGraves O54 turnouts in the yard ladder allows shrinking the inter-track spacing to about 4.25 inches, allowing the addition of two more yard tracks.  One of the drawbacks of using this lead-in track configuration in the yard is making/breaking trains requires moving out onto the mainline.  This is alleviated a bit in the thrid variation on this them, shown at right.BigSteam RCSO 2D

Here we used two Ross Custom Switches curved turnouts to move the divergence between yard lead-in and the mainline up further along the curve, making the curve available for consist manipulation.  Some space is picked up at the upper left, but more is picked up a lower right. 

One of the problems with many small to medium-sized layout designs and yards, is insufficient lead-in track for moving consists.  There are yard spurs but insufficient space for moving consists without using the mainline, a problem if you are using systems such as DCS or TrainMaster to control more than one train simultaneously. 

In the last design we also included a connector track that adds one reversing loop to this design, so that it is possible to reverse train directions on the fly.   Unfortunately there is no real space for adding a second reversing loop, so you will have to back a train down to reverse a second time..

BigSteam RCSO 3D

3D rendering of Big Steam using GarGraves and Ross Custom Switches O track, with O-scale structures.

BigSteam GGRVO 3D

3D rendering of Big Steam using GarGraves O track, with Lionel structures.

Big Steam in S-gauge

BigSteam-GGRVS-2D-V2Just to see what can be done in another gauge, we present two variations in S-scale (1:64).  These both use GarGraves S-gauge track and American Flyer accessories. 

At left is a plan view of one of the Big Steam variations in S-gauge.  Minimum curve radius is S-42, most of the turnouts are S-42, some are S-72.  Because of the 33 per cent reduction in size from O to S-gauge there is now room for a six-track yard with two sets of turnouts for maneuvering locomotives between stubs and a yard lead for bypassing the ladder.  You can do real yard work using this arrangement, something hard to realize on a layout of this size.


3D rendering of Big Steam using GarGraves S track, with American Flyer structures.

RR-Track for Windows is produced by R&S Enterprises