Subscriber & Member Login

Login, or register today to interact in our online community, comment on articles, receive our newsletter, manage your account online and more!

Open to input on new layout

1659 views
13 replies
1 rating 2 rating 3 rating 4 rating 5 rating
  • Member since
    February, 2018
  • 3 posts
Open to input on new layout
Posted by sundson on Friday, February 09, 2018 10:50 AM

Hi all! My 12 y.o. son was gifted a collection of late-80s N-scale locos and rolling stock. We went with Kato unitrack for ease of set-up and adaptation later. We are working with limited space in his room and have landed on building on ~3'x5' foam on wood frame. Open to input on the layout - primarily the different switching options. Trying to find a good balance between industrial interest as well as having a small switchyard. For now trying not to have to invest much more in track/switches. We will also integrate a mountain tunnel in the upper left corner so we're keeping that space open. Thanks!

Layout 1 - bigger switchyard 

https://photos.app.goo.gl/xlvULD6UQrBx6Drq2

Layout 2 - additional industry branch

https://photos.app.goo.gl/4vQeFwfQzXwWELRt2

 

  • Member since
    July, 2006
  • From: Central Vermont
  • 4,023 posts
Posted by cowman on Friday, February 09, 2018 7:33 PM

Welcome to the forums to you and your son.  Glad there are some young folks that want to do something besides look at a little screen and twiddle their thumbs.

First, I hope someone will come along that can make your references clickable, I'm not much of a computer person.

If you are a subscriber to MR you can go to the Track Plan Database (click on How To on the dark line at the top of this page) and see what they have to offer.

Another good source of ideas is John Armstrong's "Track Planning for Realistic Operation" many helpful hints there.

Sorry I can't be of more help.

EDIT:  Since you are new here your posts have to be reviewed by one of the moderators, so if you answer something and it doesn't show up immediately, that is why.

Good luck,

Richard

  • Member since
    January, 2009
  • 2,886 posts
Posted by RR_Mel on Friday, February 09, 2018 7:49 PM

cowman

 

First, I hope someone will come along that can make your references clickable, I'm not much of a computer person.

 

 

Welcome Richard and son.

 

Layout 1 - bigger switchyard 

https://photos.app.goo.gl/xlvULD6UQrBx6Drq2

Layout 2 - additional industry branch

https://photos.app.goo.gl/4vQeFwfQzXwWELRt2

 
 
 
 
Mel
 
Modeling the early to mid 1950s SP in HO scale since 1951
  
 
My Model Railroad   
 
Bakersfield, California
 
I'm beginning to realize that aging is not for wimps.
 
 
  • Member since
    December, 2004
  • From: Rimrock, Arizona
  • 10,746 posts
Posted by SpaceMouse on Saturday, February 10, 2018 12:32 AM

sundson
Trying to find a good balance between industrial interest as well as having a small switchyard.

Your first plan is workable, as all your switching can be done in the same direction. 

The second one is not because your locomotive cannot get around to the other end of the train. The loco can only bring the train in head first, and you can't drop a car off if your locomotive has to get out. In other words, you need to provide a runaround track.

Another thing. you are running your loops very close together so that when you are running the train on the loops you will be running through the same scenery. After a while it will probably seem like a waste of time to travel the same path twice to get somewhere. Might as well save the track. 

It was suggested that you look at some track plans. When you do, try to figure out why the tracks are laid out the way they are. Real trains don't waste track without purpose. Neither should you. 

Chip

Building the Rock Ridge Railroad with the slowest construction crew west of the Pecos.

  • Member since
    July, 2006
  • From: Bradford, Ontario
  • 8,583 posts
Posted by hon30critter on Saturday, February 10, 2018 1:08 AM

Both plans have two 'S' curves in the top right of center. I would suggest eliminating them or you might experience some derailments in those areas.

If you have a right hand turnout, try replacing the top center left hand turnout and the right hand curve leading into it with a right hand turnout and see where the track takes you from there. The main line will then run straight across the top of the layout. The inside top track can then follow the same route just by moving the right hand curve a bit to the right (east).

Dave

 

  • Member since
    July, 2006
  • From: Phoenix, AZ
  • 1,554 posts
Posted by bearman on Saturday, February 10, 2018 4:12 AM

WOW, a 12 year old in the hobby.  That's great!  I am not sure about that S curve between the RH turn out and the crossover at the bottom.

Bear "It's all about having fun."

  • Member since
    December, 2004
  • From: Rimrock, Arizona
  • 10,746 posts
Posted by SpaceMouse on Saturday, February 10, 2018 8:25 AM

sundson
We are working with limited space in his room and have landed on building on ~3'x5' foam on wood frame.

Something to consider. The footprint in his room is the table plus the walking area around it. So figure a 3x5 table layout is really taking up conservatively, 7 x 9 feet.  You could build something longer and narrower against the walls and take up far less space--unless you are already putting that up against the wall, then you have a reach problem. 30 wide on a table is all an adult can reasonably expect to reach without damaging what is in front of it. 

Also, your designs are going right up to the edge of the table. This is an invitation for disaster. You could bump the table at the wrong time or even hook a locomotive with a shirt sleeve and send everything to the floor.

One last warning. My son got a Hogwart's Special train set for Christmas one year. I did  pretty much what you are doing now. I used EZ Track in HO, but it was the same type of easy-to-use prefab track on a sheet of plywood. He was interested in it for a couple weeks then I couldn't get him near it. The entire family decided it should be Dad's layout. 

And that is how I got into the hobby. 

Go ahead and start building with your best guess of what would be fun for you and your son. You'll learn what you like and don't. Then your second layout will be closer to what your interests are. 

Chip

Building the Rock Ridge Railroad with the slowest construction crew west of the Pecos.

  • Member since
    July, 2006
  • From: Central Vermont
  • 4,023 posts
Posted by cowman on Saturday, February 10, 2018 8:55 AM

Thanks for setting up the links Mel.  Someday I may learn how to do more here, but for now I have to settle for writing, no pics or diagrams.  Unfortunately my IT grandson-in-law just moved from the trailer next door to a house15 miles away.

I am not a great track plan designer, but building my first, small layout and working on my current plan I have found a few pointers. 

If you put your yard inside the loop, you get a longer mainline run.

As mentioned above your loops are close together.  If you seperate them a little and put in some sort of scenic divider, even a low one, between the tracks, your train can go somewhere out of sight, makes it seem a bit more realistic. 

If you can get to both long sides of your layout, a scenic divider down the middle can add a lot.  You can have two completely different scenes if you want.  On  my 4x6 HO layout, my divider runs sort of down the center at a slight angle.  One end the train disappears through a rock cut, the other a clump of large trees.  Buildings, tunnels, bridges and other things can be uset to mask the disappearing train.

Good luck,

Richard

  • Member since
    January, 2017
  • From: Southern Florida Gulf Coast
  • 2,559 posts
Posted by SeeYou190 on Saturday, February 10, 2018 9:05 AM

Welcome to the Model Railroader forums, and Welcome to your son for joining the hobby!
.

I started my first "real" train layout when I was about the same age.

.

The most important thing is to keep everything "completable" so that he gates a sense of accomplishment as he moves along. Make it something that is a lot of fun. He will learn so many skills in this hobby.

.

Keep in mind that very soon his interests will switch to girls and hanging out, so the layout will become dormant for a while. It was always nice to have the trains to some home to when girls and socializing did not work out.

.

There is so much to learn and read. People in here will post a lot of good advice. Please don't be a stranger.

.

-Kevin

.

Happily modeling the STRATTON & GILLETTE RAILROAD located in a world of plausible nonsense set in August, 1954.

  • Member since
    July, 2006
  • From: North Dakota
  • 7,746 posts
Posted by BroadwayLion on Sunday, February 11, 2018 12:03 PM

Well, I'd let your son choose.

I hope he has enough time to work on it, second year at Hogwarts can be a bear.

 

ROAR

The Route of the Broadway Lion The Largest Subway Layout in North Dakota.

Here there be cats.                                LIONS with CAMERAS

  • Member since
    February, 2017
  • 59 posts
Posted by originaldirtguy on Sunday, February 11, 2018 5:44 PM

As others have said, so cool to see a youngster getting involved (even for a short while). Lots of stories of folks getting the bug when they're young, then getting bitten again later in life. It's an exciting hobby no matter when / how the bug bites.

Personally, I like layout one. I would second a couple thoughts folks have already shared:

The S-curve in the top right seems problematic, especially with a turn out involved. You could switch to a right hand turnout and eliminate the S.

Something I see as a posibility (as has been pointed out) is to put a diagonal divider (mountain, backdrop, etc) in the middle to divide the "north half" from the "south half". The way you have this laid out, the north half could be a town with the station and the other spur servicing a small industry or two. The south half could be modled as a more industrial area. Maybe lose one track from the yard and place it off the spur in the middle? You could put two industries in the middle, and have a yard (or two additional industries) at the bottom.

Probablly more than you were asking, but I tend to blab :)

Here's a pic of something similar that I did, specifically the two industries being served from the top.

Brownsville

Hope this help!

s~

On YouTube at It's My Railroad

  • Member since
    February, 2018
  • 3 posts
Posted by sundson on Tuesday, February 27, 2018 10:23 AM

Thanks for all the input! I didn't realize my posted had actually been accepted. Any way to set notifications for that?

Not realizing we'd gotten some input, we've progressed on our project.

As you can see, there were some terrain elements we were planning which explains the upper S curve to some extent. The white in the lower right is the hint of a larger lake the the outer track skirts a bit. It may not all make real-life sense but we're having fun trying to sample a variety of elements in a small space.

So far in all of our test runs with a variety of rolling stock the curves haven't been an issue. We thought those would create some interest. My son wanted to run two mainlines (using two controllers--not ready for DCC yet $$), hence the tight track. We've created some division with the mountain that bleeds into the middle.

We considered a longer, skinier layout but we are just limited trying to fit this in a bedroom that also actually functions as a bedroom. Some day we will have a "train room" like some of you. 

Thanks again. Glad to glean input. I'll keep a closer watch on my posts.

  • Member since
    July, 2006
  • From: Phoenix, AZ
  • 1,554 posts
Posted by bearman on Wednesday, February 28, 2018 9:17 AM

If fyou are going to navigate those S curves,  then you are going to have to slow your train way down.

Bear "It's all about having fun."

  • Member since
    February, 2018
  • 3 posts
Posted by sundson on Thursday, March 01, 2018 3:53 PM

bearman

If fyou are going to navigate those S curves,  then you are going to have to slow your train way down.

Thanks. We've now made some adjustments to flatten the S out by moving some straight track in between the two curves. 

Subscriber & Member Login

Login, or register today to interact in our online community, comment on articles, receive our newsletter, manage your account online and more!

Users Online

There are no community member online

Search the Community

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
Model Railroader Newsletter See all
Sign up for our FREE e-newsletter and get model railroad news in your inbox!