Whilst real railways tend not to be built in a circular or oval form, many model railway enthusiasts favour such designs as they allow the operator to sit back with a cup of tea and watch the trains trundle around a circuit of track.
I designed this minimum space N gauge railway layout a few years ago. The challenge to fit as much operating potential and scenic interest into a small model railway meant that I spent a lot of time tweaking the design before construction. The railway layout baseboard measures approximately 117cm x 56cm which is approximately 46 inches x 22 inches. In order to fit as many features as possible into this oval design I used Peco Setrack components with first radius points and curves.
I designed this model railway to use with the level crossing at the front and the station area at the rear. I planned the model railway with a definite front and back so that scenic development allowed rolling stock movements to be observed from the best vantage points.
My first decision when developing the track plan was to position the passing loop opposite the area where the station platform was to be located. This was to enable a train to be held at the platform whilst another travels around the circuit.
It can be annoying to constantly lift off a train of coaches when operating minimum space model railways or micro layouts. It is worth noting that the siding directly in front of the passing loop is long enough to accommodate three 14cm long coaches or a diesel multiple unit when not in service.
This version of the traditional oval model railway layout baseboard might appeal to the individual who has very limited space but does not wish to compromise on visual interest and potential for varied freight and passenger movements. By adapting the design lots of other scenic development could be possible, for example replacing the lake with a selection of model houses in order to create a small village.