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Layout Plan "HO railroad that grows"

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Layout Plan "HO railroad that grows"
Posted by RetiringRich on Saturday, August 02, 2008 9:15 PM

Years ago I built the above mentioned layout. I have most of my old and I mean old magazines and books. I can not find the book for this layout. I seem to remember it was an oval with 2 reverse loops and some sidings/yard??? I am thinking of possibly building this layout. Is anyone out there with the layout plan? I am only looking for general track plan hand sketch so I do not think the book publisher would get upset. (I bought the book in the 60's.)

MRR: Put this in your layout database.

Thanks in advance for any replies.

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Posted by trainboy414 on Sunday, August 03, 2008 8:27 AM
i have that book my dad purchased it new for a dollar. i will try to get pics up soon.
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Posted by corsair7 on Sunday, August 03, 2008 8:33 AM
 RetiringRich wrote:

Years ago I built the above mentioned layout. I have most of my old and I mean old magazines and books. I can not find the book for this layout. I seem to remember it was an oval with 2 reverse loops and some sidings/yard??? I am thinking of possibly building this layout. Is anyone out there with the layout plan? I am only looking for general track plan hand sketch so I do not think the book publisher would get upset. (I bought the book in the 60's.)

MRR: Put this in your layout database.

Thanks in advance for any replies.

That book served as my plan for my ill-fated excursion into HO-scale back in the late 1970s. I took it up to phase three if I remember correctly. The problem was that the apartmetn we lived in was too small to run the layout except when I was the only one home. It eventually got moved to may parents home in Canarsie and I gave up on it because it was too much to travel there on the weekends. So I made the transition to N-Scale since that was a manageable size.

It was a great book that really gave me a basic understanding of benchwork, wiring and even making a layout that was manageable for someone without much wood cutting experience.

Irv

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Posted by OhioRailroader on Sunday, August 03, 2008 11:19 AM
I think that was the first layout I built when I was around 10-12. And I still have the book. I might use it to build a layout with my son, when he's old enough, and build it so we can connect it with my Free-mo modules.
John McManaman Ohio Valley Free-mo Website - http://www.trainweb.org/ohiovalleyfreemo Ohio Valley Free-mo Forum - http://ovfm.ipbfree.com
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Posted by markalan on Monday, August 04, 2008 6:31 PM

I had this book when I was young.  I remember it well.  If you'd like a copy, check out this link.  There are 25!!! copies available from $1.00 to $28.85.

 

http://www.abebooks.com/servlet/SearchResults?sts=t&tn=HO+railroad+that+grows&x=0&y=0

 

Mark Alan

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Posted by CNE Runner on Monday, August 04, 2008 8:14 PM

Wow...you have brought back some great memories. I used that book to construct my first layout (not counting the circle of track under the Christmas tree) many years ago. I just looked through all my model railroad treasurers and I guess that particular book was a casualty of moving. My dad and I spent many hours constructing both the layout and the folding yard that was featured towards the back of the book. Yes, it was a spaghetti bowl track plan; but it gave me an invaluable start in the hobby.

As will many things from my youth, it was pushed aside for cars and girls (although not necessarily in that order). Thanks for the memory.

 "Keeping my hand on the throttle...and my eyes on rail."

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Posted by on30francisco on Monday, August 04, 2008 10:46 PM
I still have that book. I built that railroad in the 70s and still think it's a good railroad for a 4x8 or even larger table.
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Posted by wjstix on Tuesday, August 05, 2008 7:44 AM
I still have the book, bought it back in the eighties. It's a good plan, but I think the final result was a little too "busy". If I were ever to build it I think I'd only go to about step three - oval with one reverse loop and the industry spurs. That would leave more room for scenery and get rid of the pretty steep grades to boot.
Stix
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Posted by CNE Runner on Tuesday, August 05, 2008 8:57 AM

Another memory resurrected...steep grades. At the time my dad and I built The HO Railroad That Grows, I was in junior high school and only could afford one engine. Dad convinced me to build the Varney Consolidation (remember those?). The engine came out fine (with lots of help from my very talented father) but was typical of its era (late 1950s) and could barely make those steep grades to the upper level. I think the maximum amount of cars I could pull up grade was 6. Yes, I should have stopped earlier in the construction process and allowed more room for scenery and industry...live and learn.

The HO Railroad That Grows layout is an excellent one for a beginner (although there are many superior ones available). I think if one built a larger model (larger than the 4 x 8' original), there would have been more space for scenery etc. My layout was located in a spare bedroom and Mom insisted that I always keep the yard extension folded when not in use. Ah...when life was so much simplier...

 "Keeping my hand on the throttle...and my eyes on rail."

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Posted by R. T. POTEET on Tuesday, August 05, 2008 11:08 AM

My second N-Scale endeavor twenty-five years ago was the HO Railroad That Grows. As I have said in other places I have been giving serious consideration to a highly stylized version as my next layout.

This layout was the first N-Scale layout which I at least completed to the point of running trains on the mainline; most of my trackwork was down when a "Yes, Sweetheart" remodeling project forced me to demolish it before I ever got to a scenery stage. My N-Scale version was built on a 4.5' by 10' platform which butted against the wall on the "airline" end; I utilized 18" and 19¼" radius curves except on the lower level reverse loop where it was 15". My "rough sketch" planning was going to allow me close to twenty switching points - roughly three times the number as on the Horribly Oversized-Scale version; the acreage on my layout was almost four times that of Linn Westcott's version and this allowed me to shorten the lower level oval and reduce the grade on the "airline" to less than 2%. I acquired my wire-armature tree building technique from this book.

I hardly ever pass up the opportunity to visit (two rail) O-Scale layouts and I was touring one at an NMRA convention - Kansas City, 1984?. This layout was a walk-in U-Shape design constructed in its own dedicated building; the track plan kept striking me as familiar and when I inquired about it he informed me that it was his version of the HO Railroad That Grows. He of course required numerous pop-up access points but it looked real good in that scale. I started three more N-Scale layouts in that house before my "Yes, Sweetheart" wife and I split the sheets in 1990 and I have always wished that I had gone back to that plan.

From the far, far reaches of the wild, wild west I am: rtpoteet

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Posted by fwright on Tuesday, August 05, 2008 3:48 PM

Ah, memories....

There were similar dual reversing loop 4x8 plans in 101 Track Plans and in the Dec 1966(?) issue of Model Railroader.  And the 1965 MR project layout - the Ma and Pa - was a similar design in 6x10 with 22" radius curves.  I was a big fan of the dual reversing loop design until I built one as a teenager.

My big problem with those small layouts was the precisely timed toggle flipping needed for continuous running through the reversing loops.  God help you if you were trying to run 2 trains at once.  At least 3 rail O eliminated the hassle for reversing loops, leaving only block toggle flipping for 2 train ops on shared trackage!  Today, with DCC and auto-reversers, those plans are much more practical operationally.  I would certainly not consider reversing loops on a small layout again without DCC and auto-reversers.

my thoughts, your choices

Fred W

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Posted by RetiringRich on Monday, August 18, 2008 8:56 PM

 

 

Just checking back. Is anyone going to post at least a sketch.

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Posted by DeadheadGreg on Monday, August 18, 2008 9:37 PM
can someone post some pictures of this layout?  or trackplan?
PHISH REUNION MARCH 6, 7, 8 2009 HAMPTON COLISEUM IN HAMPTON, VA AND I HAVE TICKETS!!!!!! YAAAAAAAAY!!!!!!! [quote user="jkroft"]As long as my ballast is DCC compatible I'm happy![/quote] Tryin' to make a woman that you move.... and I'm sharing in the Weekapaug Groove Wake up to find out that you are the eyes of the world....
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Posted by BlueHillsCPR on Tuesday, August 19, 2008 7:41 AM
 RetiringRich wrote:

 

 

Just checking back. Is anyone going to post at least a sketch.

 

Here you go.  Trackplan.

Hope that helps you out. 

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Posted by wjstix on Tuesday, August 19, 2008 8:09 AM
It's occured to me over the years that this trackplan might work well as an N layout if built to the same dimensions. 18" radius curves etc. Reducing the scale to N would cut the grades roughly in half (i.e. they'd be only half as steep, like 2% instead of 4% or whatever).
Stix
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Posted by CNE Runner on Tuesday, August 19, 2008 9:55 AM

The problem, with this forum, is that I get interested in many of the topics and then go out and spend money! All kidding aside, after I read this thread (and responded once) I decided to purchase a copy of The HO Model Railroad That Grows. My favorite money pit, eBay, had a copy for auction and I was fortunate(?) enough to win it for the princely sum of $0.99 (+ $2.23 for shipping). I have no desire to build this layout...and haven't the space to do so if the desire was there (my present layout is a varient of the Timesaver and is of the fold-down variety which is located in my garage...we do what we must.

Somewhere along this thread it was mentioned to eliminate the upper level...I wholeheartedly agree. Having the upper level introduces a whole new set of problems not the least of which is that horrendous grade. Maintainence was an issue due to the upper level's overlay of some track work (of course we used Atlas brass track in those days). I also think the upper level reinforced the notion that this layout plan was of the spaghetti bowl variety. I do remember the yard extension (if memory serves me right it was fold-down) was well designed for the times...and it could serve as a good staging yard.

These are just some thoughts from some very old memories. I haven't yet received my copy; but you can bet I will spend several enjoyable hours looking it over. Someone mentioned N-scale and this plan...that would be truly awesome! I would imagine additional real estate would be available for structures and scenery (the original HO version was rather cramped - if I remember correctly). At 63, my eyes are no longer what they once were and N-scale is just too darn small. Good luck and if anyone decides to construct this layout; please post some pictures...maybe MR will run an article.

 "Keeping my hand on the throttle...and my eyes on rail."

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Posted by DeadheadGreg on Tuesday, August 19, 2008 2:06 PM

hahaha, no kidding...  someone had their layout in MR a while ago, and it was almost EXACTLY the same track plan.  It was some Appalachian-themed RR...  5x9...   it said that he had since torn down the layout by the time of publishing, and I remember him saying that he layed the track directly on the plywood or something....   gah this is gonna bug me now

PHISH REUNION MARCH 6, 7, 8 2009 HAMPTON COLISEUM IN HAMPTON, VA AND I HAVE TICKETS!!!!!! YAAAAAAAAY!!!!!!! [quote user="jkroft"]As long as my ballast is DCC compatible I'm happy![/quote] Tryin' to make a woman that you move.... and I'm sharing in the Weekapaug Groove Wake up to find out that you are the eyes of the world....
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Posted by cuyama on Tuesday, August 19, 2008 3:08 PM
 DeadheadGreg wrote:

hahaha, no kidding...  someone had their layout in MR a while ago, and it was almost EXACTLY the same track plan.  It was some Appalachian-themed RR...  5x9...   it said that he had since torn down the layout by the time of publishing, and I remember him saying that he layed the track directly on the plywood or something....   gah this is gonna bug me now

That would probably be Ken Keyser's Western Maryland in the July 2004 Model Railroader. Expanding it to 5X9 helped Mr. Keyser with the minimum radius and a bit with the grades, but the layout was still pretty cramped. But it was a well-done layout in terms of scenery, to be sure.

Edit: Subscribers may find it here:
http://www.trains.com/mrr/default.aspx?c=a&id=1334

I recently reworked Mr Keyser's basic idea into a still-larger area for a client and more space really helps. We were able to get a decent yard with an engine service area and several industrial tracks into the larger space.

The HO Railroad that Grows book was a very useful introduction to the hobby, but besides the layout in the MR referenced above, I don't think I've seen a layout fully built to the plan. And certainly none fully built-out in 4X8 in HO. It was pretty tight, though not atypical for the era. The choice of Snap Switches was understandable given the build-it-over-time approach, but is limiting in terms of engine size and car lengths, expecially since the main took the diverging path through a number of Snap Switches.

I built most of the original layout in HO on a 4X8 in the 1970s, but the steep grades, tight curves, poor rolling characteristics of Athearn BB kits, and the poor performance of the Tyco and Athearn BB engines I had at the time doomed the layout. I'm sure I'm not the only one who found it a bit frustrating along the way.

But why in the world would this layout "bug you"?

Byron
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Posted by Texas Zepher on Tuesday, August 19, 2008 4:02 PM
 on30francisco wrote:
I still have that book. I built that railroad in the 70s and still think it's a good railroad for a 4x8 or even larger table.
Ok SanFransico, (and everyone else for that matter), Please elaborate.  Why do you think it is a good railroad?   I remember seeing it, even when I was in Jr. High, and thinking the opposite.
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Posted by BlueHillsCPR on Tuesday, August 19, 2008 4:13 PM

 Texas Zepher wrote:
 on30francisco wrote:
I still have that book. I built that railroad in the 70s and still think it's a good railroad for a 4x8 or even larger table.
Ok SanFransico, (and everyone else for that matter), Please elaborate.  Why do you think it is a good railroad?   I remember seeing it, even when I was in Jr. High, and thinking the opposite.

Ok, I never said I thought it was a good layout, I just made the plan available to those who needed it.Smile [:)]

I bought the book years ago for the concepts taught rather than the layout described.  I have never built the layout either and agree the grades, snap switches, radii, room for scenery/industry etc. are all issues with the plan as it stands. My 2 cents [2c]

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Posted by kf4mat on Tuesday, August 19, 2008 5:22 PM

Okay, dumb question time here at newbie central. I clicked on the link for the Western Maryland RR. Just out of curiosity how come every track plan I see always gives an Era? I can't seem to find a reason for that to matter or is there some law that I am unaware of that says if this track plan dates itself in the 50's and you get caught running modern equipment on it you can be finned $10,000 and up to 2 years in jail.

 

Tom 

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Posted by swoodnj on Tuesday, August 19, 2008 5:35 PM
Many times MR includes a "theme" with track plans to give readers an idea of what can be done with the layout rather than just show a black and white track plan. Only issues could be if you took a turn of the century layout with tight curves and low bridges and ran your SD70s and double stacks on it!
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Posted by fwright on Wednesday, August 20, 2008 11:37 AM
 kf4mat wrote:

Okay, dumb question time here at newbie central. I clicked on the link for the Western Maryland RR. Just out of curiosity how come every track plan I see always gives an Era? I can't seem to find a reason for that to matter or is there some law that I am unaware of that says if this track plan dates itself in the 50's and you get caught running modern equipment on it you can be finned $10,000 and up to 2 years in jail.

Tom 

It's not that the plan is unusable in a different era, region, etc.  But the trend has been away from generic track plans because they often don't work very well or aren't particularly realistic for a given prototype, region, or era.

Most modern layout design efforts are based around a particular theme - an idea or vision that the designer wanted to showcase in/on the layout.  Layouts that actually feature the vision that is the model railroader's head tend to be a lot longer lived than layouts built around somebody else's vision.

Also, most designers see track planning as just one key aspect of designing a layout.  In order to showcase a vision, an operating scheme, scenery outline, region, prototype, and era must be thought out - it's not just a track plan.

To give a specific example:  my favored era and region is 1900 on the US North Pacific coast.  My car lengths, train lengths, and locomotives are relatively short when compared to modern or even transition era modeling.  A passing track length of 6ft (a dozen cars plus locomotive) is quite adequate.  18" radius curves are viable provided I keep passenger car length less than 60ft; 22" radius curves are reasonable for even a good-sized HO layout.

These parameters are probably not very useful for a modern era layout.  Designing for modern era in the same space would mean less track, something on the order of 30" radius curves, and passing sidings at least twice the length.  Structures would be much larger and take more space.

So by providing the fact that my layout plan was designed around 1900-era rolling stock, I clue others that using the same plan for modern era is likely going to require significant revisions and a fair amount more space than my plan shows.  Also, somebody modeling Illinois, Indiana, etc is probably not going to be happy with the curves, grades, and elevation changes I have used to represent the Pacific Northwest.

hope this answers the question

Fred W

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Posted by R. T. POTEET on Wednesday, August 20, 2008 2:39 PM

Fred W;

Good post with points well taken about "generic" layouts and why they don't always work transitioning to different eras. I remember somewhere sometime way back in the stone age there was a trackplan oriented around the Q's bridge spanning the Ohio River at Paducah, Pennsyltucky. The brass hat had grown up in that area and that's what he wanted as the linchpin of his layout and that's what he got. This bridge was built in the 1920s I believe and is still carrying traffic today so his layout would have been any era you want!

I always get tickled with those posts inquiring about "Can I run my <HO-Scale> Big Boy on my 18" radius curves?" H-E-double hockey sticks yes but they look like H-E-double hockey sticks doing it. Designing a layout oriented around the 1920s with Consolidations lugging around 40' boxes on 18" radius curves is one thing; trying to lug 89' flats behind an SD90 on the same layout would be <to me> just a little comical. And this holds true with the the HO Railroad That Grows; this layout was orientated around that 40' boxcar era and would not work well as a modern era HO-Scale layout.

My N-Scale HO Railroad That Grows was built with the 18" radius curves intact which would allow operation of almost all equipment including those 89' flats. Instead of the airline taking off of the lower oval at the far end of the layout I achieved through running capaciity utilizing the airline by the installation of a right hand switch in the lower reverse loop and crossing the main; I put another right hand switch in the oval just short of this crossing. My airline began at the point where these two lines joined. From the point where the airline joined the lower oval I would route a train into the lower reverse loop and then take the right hand switch to cross the lower oval and gain the airline. I could thereby put a train on through-running over the airline while I shoved cars on the industries off of the lower oval.  

From the far, far reaches of the wild, wild west I am: rtpoteet

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Posted by RetiringRich on Wednesday, August 20, 2008 2:58 PM

Thanks Kevin and Byron for posting.

I was thinking of doing this in N scale code 55 but it looks a little steep even in N for grades. I was also thinking of 5.5 X 10 also so maybe I could try doing it with RTS and little creative license may make it feasible. Byron, I think I saw that layout when I was looking through the database but it did not click as being that one. I guess the extra space at thr top-left threw me.

I like the HO layouts since they scale (no pun intended) nicely to N. I like bigger layouts and when I retire in 2 or so years one half of a basement will be dedicated to my layout.

Thanks again.

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Posted by tom steadman on Tuesday, April 15, 2014 7:48 PM
Hi do2nloaded it from another site a couple of days ago, sorry can't remember witch and at the moment can't find it again as i wanted to have another look of the pictures of the complete layot. Orginally going to build it when i was in the flat but never got built, now building it in auran trainz with the latest thing in a virtual room as well, what next a virtual railroad in a virtual room kind of funny. My version has the alterations from how to operate your model railroad and some of my own including the fiddle yard moved to top right connect to the main layot by a y . You can have through trains traving the full length of the line an also inbound trains using the other side of the y , a little hard to explain here. Also wrote a waybill program for it, well it was a inproved version of one that already existed in qbasic with the authors permission now compiled into exe form TOM

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