Best N scale Layouts (4×8, 2×4, 2×3 and more!)

There’s something really satisfying about modeling small N scale model trains layouts. Their tiny size also means that no matter what kind of place you’re living in, you’ll be able to find one that suits your needs.

So chances are good you’re on this page because you’re not sure what type of model layout you want. Well, we’re here to help!

The numbers in the title refer to feet. So a 4×8 N scale train layout plan is just a layout that fits in a 4×8 feet (which is roughly 1.25×2.5 meters for non-Americans) area and so on.

Building a layout can be a personal thing because it totally depends on your personal preference. Are you building an early 1800’s American Wild West-style train layout, or a futuristic Japanese bullet train layout? Maybe you’ve got a big 8×8 area to work in, whereas the next person can only fit something in a 2×3. It’s totally dependant on you!

Before you start though, you need to know what you’re going to be building on as well! Are you going to spend the time to build a permanent model train table in your garage, or just use an old trestle table? A really popular method is to use a door as your base.

Hollow-core doors layouts are an excellent choice to consider! They’re super light and maneuverable, but still strong enough not to buckle under your layout. They’re a cheap alternative and will fit most of the sizes below.

An N scale door layout usually fits on an average door of 80×36 inches or roughly 3×6 feet.

So on that note, let’s dive straight into some n scale layout plans and have a look at a variety of different track layouts to hopefully give you some kind of idea about what you can do with your own n scale layout.


4×8 N scale Layouts

4x8 L shaped n scale layout

This great little L-shaped N scale set-up is roughly 4×8 feet, although it’s just slightly larger than described.

This layout is designed with a Minitrix N-scale track plan that combines a double mainline look-alike with a small branch track, giving tons of opportunities to expand and show off your N scale trains.

rectangle 4x8 N scale layout

This is a more traditional n scale layout in 4×8. It’s a track plan with a double mainline, two train stations and one yard, all snugly fit into the one space.

This is perfect for someone who wants to get the most bang for their buck!

n scale 4x8 layout

This 4×8 n scale layout is awesome as it allows for tons of extra detailing to take place, while still letting the trains take centre stage.

This complete track plan features an industrial area, a small town and two independent railroad lines – one for a passenger train and another for the freight train.


2×4 N scale Layouts

2x4 N scale layouts

Want a small n scale train layout? This cool little N scale track layout in 2×4 design is set up so that the train will loop back on itself before returning to the station. It includes a small terminus station from which the trains are departing, and completing the route in the shape of a long reverse loop and then returning back.

Looping back like this, however, can sometimes cause a few problems. This will require special wiring in order to prevent short circuits in the track route. You can use a special reversing loop set like the Fleischmann 9199 or from another manufacturer to help prevent any issues.


Simple oval 2x4 n scale layout

This is a super simple 2×4 n scale track plan with an oval layout and a dual branch inside of it. While there’s nothing overly groundbreaking about this design, if you’re looking to start or get into the hobby of N scale modelling, this is the perfect type of track to start with.

It’s designed so that you can do a number of different things; dual rails at the top if you want, a terminal inside the oval, or even a model mountain anything else you can think of!


2×3 N scale layouts

N scale layout 2x3

This layout is technically a little smaller than a 2×3 layout (1×3 in fact!) but is perfect for those people who only have a small layout inside their homes.

Designed more for showing off your n scale locomotive, it’s designed to be reminiscent of the old Inglenook Sidings puzzle designed by Alan Wright.

2x3 N scale Layout

This one will fit nicely into nearly any room of your house and still has enough track to be thoroughly enjoyable.

It’s a compact little layout in a 2×3 N scale track layout plan with an oval route featuring a small train station, cargo branch with rolling stock storage yard and a turntable with four tracks.


3×6 N Scale Layouts

This great n scale track plan in 3×6 is built running a double main-line, so you really get more train for your line with this layout!
It also includes 2 areas for train stations as well as a yard in the middle! Plus, it’s got an awesome tunnel in the top left, that’s an awesome way to add some height variety to your layout.

This neat 3×6 n scale train layout is built using flex tracks and turnouts from Fleischmann, a German model train manufacturer. This 3×6 layout is equipped with 3 different train stations that all have plenty of room for decorating and interesting layout ideas!


3×5 N Scale Layouts

Moving into only a slightly smaller layout, this N scale track plan 3×5 is made up of three concentric ovals and is aptly named the Eye. The great part about this layout is the large area in the middle with a shunting area for plenty of space for different designs to suit everyone.

Now, this is a 3×5 layout that’s really had some work to it already. Here you can see the rectangle double main-line loops back in on itself and even goes over the top of itself up the top there. So this is an awesome layout if you want to give an incline and a bridge ago as well!

There are a lot of different ways to set up your n scale layout depending on the size and price you have in mind.

Hopefully, this at least helps you get started on your journey to building an N scale layout. If you want to take a look at some other layouts, check out these Layouts for Small Spaces guide.

Otherwise if you need a train to put on your new layout, take a look out our model train guide!

25 thoughts on “Best N scale Layouts (4×8, 2×4, 2×3 and more!)”

  1. Hi Peter,

    My son Harrison and I are planning to build a new N-Gauge track layout, and very much like the examples you have posted on your website.

    By any chance, do you have any of the track layouts in SCARM format? I’d like to start with a defined kit list and perhaps adapt from there.

    Many thanks,

    Abraham Barnes

    Ps I tried the contact page, but it kept saying there was an error.

    Reply
    • Hi Abraham,

      Unfortunately I dont have anything in Scarm at the moment.
      In the future I hope to be able to build some in there to replace the ones above!

      Thanks for letting me know, I’ll fix it now!

      Reply
      • Hi folks…can I suggest that for Scarm, you copy the image of the layout that interests you, save it as a *.jpg and use that as the background. You can resize it (keeping the same proportions though) until it fits the baseboard you set in your new Scarm file. You can then simply lay your track over the rails in the image, adjusting as you see fit until you’re happy with it.
        Good luck

        Reply
  2. Question I have a 16″ x 18′ ledge. I would like to use N gauge and would prefer an oval shape of some sort. Is this possible?

    Reply
  3. for the cool 2×4 layout with reverse loop

    i tried laying this on a kato unitrack using rail modeler and something doesnt seem to match..are u using another manufacturer sizing?

    Reply
  4. Possibly, but it would involve extremely tight curve radii. Probably wouldn’t be able to run any locomotives, come to think of it.

    Reply
  5. Peter Smith:
    Regarding DCC, how does the DCC controller “know” what loco the command is for? Somehow it seems the DCC controller and any loco equipped with DCC on a layout would have to be linked. Does this happened automatically or does the loco and DCC have to be programmed?
    Dave Berner

    Reply
    • The locomotive has a control board in it where you change the number of the locomotive to any 1, 2 or 4 digit number specific to that locomotive. The only constraint on the number is that the DCC system must recognise it. Not all DCC systems recognise 4 digit numbers as a locomotive number.

      Reply
  6. My father passed some yrs ago. Found an Atlas N Scale Starter Set #4448-4 Union Pacific in box in his garage. Are these still sold and do you know its worth?

    Reply
  7. PETE, I USE KATO EZ TRACK N.SCALE I LIKE THE 4X8 SHOWN ON THIS DISPLAY ,WOOD U HAVE A LIST OF THE SIZE OF TRACK USED. IT WOOD VE HELPFUL 4 ME. THANKS. MIKE M.

    Reply
  8. Looking for.
    My trains and layout book were lost during my move. The book was from around 1968. The N gage layout was a 4 x 8 2 tier. The top tier had a dual figure 8. The lower tier had a dual oblong track with many rail yards.
    Any help finding the layout will be appreciated.

    Reply
  9. Hi Peter,
    I am interested in building the design below listed on your site. Any chance there are any plans or more specifics about the layout for me to follow? Thanks.
    minimc@aol.com

    3×6 N Scale Layouts
    This great n scale track plan in 3×6 is built running a double main-line, so you really get more train for your line with this layout!
    It also includes 2 areas for train stations as well as a yard in the middle! Plus, it’s got an awesome tunnel in the top left, that’s an awesome way to add some height variety to your layout.

    Reply
  10. Hi,
    The late Alan Wright has some excellent N gauge layout’s especially intended for small spaces that is less that 6 square feet, as does Carl Arendt. My question would it not be helpful if a materials list was included with the plan? Especially the Allen Wright plans. Very difficult for old eyes to see the part numbers on the actual plans!

    John in Australia

    Reply
  11. Talk about frustration. Saw your 2×3 N gauge layout recently and it would fit my needs as a good small layout for the grandchildren. However I can see that it may have originated from Peco setrack which is a good starting point, but I was hoping that I could purchase the sections I need from my local supplier, but trying to read the part numbers is nigh on impossible. Is this intentional or would you be kind enough to let me have those details. It would certainly make life a lot easier for us of a certain age with diminishing faculties.

    Reply
  12. Hi Pete. Some great layouts. What radius curves are used in this layout:

    “This is a more traditional n scale layout in 4×8. It’s a track plan with a double mainline, two train stations and one yard, all snugly fit into the one space.”

    That layout is perfect for me . Any more info about it you can pass on? I love the change in grade, the tunnels, the double main line, the yard… It has it all.

    Reply
  13. Hi Peter. how can I get more info on this 4×8 layout?

    “This is a more traditional n scale layout in 4×8. It’s a track plan with a double mainline, two train stations and one yard, all snugly fit into the one space.”

    Thank you!

    Mike

    Reply
  14. Hi Peter,

    When I open the page, I don’t see any pictures except for the one way on top of the page. Is there anything I can do to get the pictures? Thanks in advance.

    Frank

    Reply
    • Hi,

      Never mind. A browserproblem. I normally use Brave, which aparently sometimes has a problem with embedded links. Firefox is OK.

      Kind regards,
      Frank

      Reply
  15. I’d like some more details on the first 3×6 layout you have posted.
    I see 2 areas of crossover. One near the top right corner, and the other on the entrance to the yard, near the middle. Just wondering where you see the inclines/declines going, and at what grade? What did you have in mind?

    Thanks in advance.

    Reply
  16. Very well thought out 3″x6″ double track. I am going to attempt to plot it using RailModeler for Kato tracks. I will interested to see the elevation map and grades. Then I may start building it. The curved turnouts is something new, never used. It would be interesting to see if Kato has these.

    Reply
  17. Like your variety of layout ideas. I had a 4’x8′ HO layout during my teen years long ago and enjoyed it so much. Especially making my own buildings and scenery from scratch using all kinds of materials. Then later in life I built my first N scale layout on a 48″x54″ baseboard. I hung it from the ceiling over my bed and lowered it to whatever height I desired and raised it back up to go to bed. Now I’m retired and the remnants of my old N scale layout are sitting on the basement floor begging to be revived since 1992. Had lots of ideas but no way to try them out due to lack of space and track parts.
    I would like to encourage anyone who wants to try various track plans before they build a layout to download one of the free track-planning software programs available online. In just a few days of toying around with 2 different track-planners I was able to create several N scale layouts and test them. I then decided on a 54″x80″ layout. Total inches of track equals 1028.50″. Using Atlas Code 80 track because it is what I had in the old layout. I have had lots of fun just running the simulated trains on my computer screen and feel like it’s a hobby of it’s own that I can enjoy before the real layout is built. I used Atlas Track Planning Software(version 1.9.1) free download and it offers 3D viewing. Then I used XTrackCAD(use version 4.0.3a) software to draw the Atlas layout in it and it offers simulated Trains to run on it. Running the trains helped me see my ideas in action before spending a dime on anything and it all can be modified for any new ideas.
    Atlas Track Planning Demo is found here: https://shop.atlasrr.com/t-software.aspx
    XTrackCAD here: https://sourceforge.net/projects/xtrkcad-fork/files/XTrackCad/Version%204.0.3a/

    Reply

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