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New, OLD HO Person. Questions on HO-29 Central Midland

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New, OLD HO Person. Questions on HO-29 Central Midland
Posted by ShotgunLebowski on Tuesday, April 05, 2016 11:42 AM

Hey 

Way back in the 1980's my dad and I started to build a Layout Called The Central Midland. We ended up moving before it was finished and now as an Adult I found the 6 Layouts you can build book from the 70's and want to try and build this in my garage. 

First, I have a lot of the track from back then, assuming it's not damaged and useable, is there a way to tell if it is code 100 or 83, and other than 83 looking more scale is there anything + or - I should know?

Second, I tried to 3d model the Layout Plan using Atlas' Layout Designer using code 83 track but there seems to be some wierd fit issues especially where the mains come in to the yard? The Crossings and the switches in their software don't seem to work as defined in the book. Has anyone run into this before on this Layout Plan?

Thanks 

John

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Posted by cowman on Tuesday, April 05, 2016 4:53 PM

Welcome to the fourms.

First question, is your track nickel silver or brass?  I don't think they made Code 83 in brass.  The easiest way I know to tell if it is Atlas Code 100 or 83 is the color of the ties, black is Code 100 and brown is Code 83.  Not sure when they started making Code 83.  If it is not Atlas, not sure of the differences other than measuring.

Some folks still use brass track successfully, but most have gone to nickel silver as it does not tarnish as easily.

I  haven't used any programs to design a layout, but the standard pieces of Atlas and Bachmann track are the same length and curvature as far as I know for both 100 and 83.  Kato Unitrack has a number of different curve radii and length of straight pieces available.

Good luck,

Richard

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Posted by ShotgunLebowski on Tuesday, April 05, 2016 5:23 PM

Yeah that makes sense, I have some brass and some nickel, but the ties are all consistenlty Black. I have a lot of old flex track which i'm guessing is mostly already been cut for the original layout. 

The Software that Atlas has on their web site is fairly easy. But there are some 19d and 12.5d crossings that don't seem to want to line up very well. Perhaps my best approach is do it the old way, go to the train store get a few of these items and try and lay the yard out on my floor :) 

 

John

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Posted by BigDaddy on Tuesday, April 05, 2016 6:08 PM

I've used SCARM, which I believe is the same program but includes many different track manufacturers.  I recall there was some warning about Atlas turnouts, but as I was not using those, I did not pay attention.  The program did allow me to piggy back Walthers turnouts in a fashion that does not work in real life.

The track plan is ambitious.  It is here:

http://www.atlasrr.com/Code100web/pages/10029.htm

The assumption is you have Atlas track, but we don't know for sure.  Nor do we know which turnouts you have.  If you plan on using DCC instead of DC, powering frogs may be necessary, especially if you are fond of short wheel base locos.  Track in the 80's was not "DCC Friendly" and as far as I know, Atlas snap switch frogs cannot be powered.

Much has changed in the hobby since the 80's.  Some run on battery power, known as Dead Rail, DCS is a proprietary system that I would not recommend, DCC which provides far more control over each loco than you may want, Bachmann E-Z control and DC is still popular.

DCC wiring requires different wiring than the bare minimum that will run DC, and if you think you may be interested in it, start reading.  There is a learning curve.

 Edit Welcome to the world of MR.  Get in 9 more posts and you will no longer be a suspected spammer and your posts will no longer require approval. Come join us in Jeffrey's dinner where Off Topic is ok.

Henry

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Posted by Old Fat Robert on Tuesday, April 05, 2016 6:19 PM

John: Good luck on that layout. Many years ago when I was young, I thought the Central Midland was a great layout. At that time, we had neither the space or the resources to build it. Now I prefer layous with larger curves than what the CM had. But I would not mind taking a crack at the old boy now just fo fun. I wuld use code 83 tack and I would wire it for DC. Once again, good luck.

Old Fat Robert

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Posted by cuyama on Tuesday, April 05, 2016 7:12 PM

Here's the not-very-detailed image from Atlas' site:

Many of the Atlas sectional track published plans are designed with the expectation that the builder will have to fiddle a bit here and there with slightly off-square meetings of track and/or slightly "sprung" curves (in or out). 

For this reason, some of the Atlas plans may not be reproducible exactly in CAD, where all joints are square and the curved sections are used as-is. There may also be some differences in the dimensions of the Atlas components over the decades. Either of these could be issues here.

Another challenge with that plan is the long reaches over sections of the layout unless you are willing to crawl under and pop-up -- especially if one or more sides are against a wall.

In that much space (considering aisles), there are likely better choices, depending on your interests. As drawn, the curves are tight and grades are demanding. If you have a bit more space, you might be more successful in reworking the plan for a larger area.

Good luck with your layout.

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Posted by ShotgunLebowski on Tuesday, April 05, 2016 10:32 PM
I’ve kept up a little bit with the Hobby at a Distance, I have an NCE Starter Kit for DCC. I’ve watched a few videos on making sure that the mains are bus fed every few feet etc.
I’ve been going through the old equipment in order to categorize it Upgrade vs Junk. Some of the Older Rolling Stock is definitely parts/decorations but since I do Build Models I bought a lot of the Nicer Assemble Car Kits in the 90’s when I had a small layout. I definitely want to get my Rivarossi Big Boy DCC..
I’ve already hesitated a little bit on this Layout, I have a lot of space in the garage but something else might be more interesting. I have the 101 Model Railroads book two, and whatever I choose will get some modification. Out of the 101 Book I’ve been drawn to #39,, #46(or similar..) ,#55
So far it looks like all my track is old atlas, I have a bunch of switches NIB from a couple Hobby Store Closeouts here in Seattle.. But I’m not married to any of it J
Right now, I am working on a Set of two Sante Fe Freight Trains ABBA with the Stewart FT’s I have. I’m much better 20 years later at Painting and have Multiple Airbrushes and a Booth so I am going to go crazy with them!!
Thanks for the input.

 

John 
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Posted by Sir Madog on Wednesday, April 06, 2016 9:49 AM

John,

even with some of the stuff you need to start building on hand, a layout will put a certain demand of time and money on you. Before rushing into something you may not like at a later stage, start small, test, exercise and hone your skills!

MR´s project layout of this year is a nice little layout to try your hand on. You may even have sufficient "leftovers" from the past to get started on it!

A lot has changed in terms of track plans since the 1970´s and 80´s. The biggest cahnge is that we try to plan the way real railroads did and still do it. Atlas track plans as well as those in the book you mention aim putting as much track as possible into a given space, leaving little room for a realistic looking scenery.

As with many aspects of life, the "Less Is More" approach also goes for model railroading!

 

   Ulrich     

People of my age don´t tan, they simply rust!


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Posted by Steven S on Wednesday, April 06, 2016 10:19 AM

You want marinara or alfredo with that bowl of pasta?

Sir Madog
As with many aspects of life, the "Less Is More" approach also goes for model railroading!

I agree with Ulrich that this is a bit outdated.  This is an example of a "more is less" trackplan.  More track means less room for scenery and industries.  Look at those spurs.  They seem to be placed with no purpose.  There's no room for industries for them to serve.  They seem to be there just for the sake of being there.  There's also a switchback with barely enough room to hold the loco, much less any cars.  That renders the spurs useless.  Somebody said "There's a little space here, let's squeeze in some more track."

And you're going to have several levels in the vertical direction.  That means steep grades in order to gain enough height in such short distances.

Personally, I think this trackplan would be a headache to both build and operate.

Steve S

 

 

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Posted by fieryturbo on Wednesday, April 06, 2016 10:35 AM

I got the impressions that a lot of the (larger) Atlas plans were purely designed to sell track.  Makes sense from a business standpoint.

Julian

Modeling Pre-WP merger UP (1974-81)

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Posted by ShotgunLebowski on Wednesday, April 06, 2016 1:23 PM

Hahah , well if you look at their website it is $1,900 for the Code 83 Track. The same things you guys mention already were creeping in to my head. Lack of Structures, no real destination to operate as a railroad. I do remember some trains when we did have it running originally having trouble with the grades. But it was cool. 

Can anyone recomend a good site or book that has ideas I can morph?

 

John

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Posted by Steven S on Saturday, April 09, 2016 11:24 AM

It would probably be best if you would sketch out the space you have.  Draw it to scale.  Include any doors, windows, closets. 

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Posted by ShotgunLebowski on Saturday, April 09, 2016 12:27 PM

I can do that. This is what Saturdays are for right.. 

This is what I am working on to run on whatever I build.. 

Stewart FT ABBA

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Posted by shanny10 on Saturday, April 09, 2016 8:30 PM

My daughter and I started to reassemble this layout from a move 8 yrs ago and found the lack of space for buildings and a nice flow to be rather disappointing as mentioned earlier. I originally got this layout up and running in DC with my youngest son but we never put any strutcures in place nor did we get around to scenery due to my being in business and a lack of time. My daughter and I have removed all track and are now rethinking track plan around another in the track plans here in MRR. You dont have to copy a design as is but look over them and pick out what it is you like about them and piece them together to fit your space and wants. We picked the MA & PA and changed out the engine facility for one from the Pennsylvania RR Eastern Division and are adding in a second main along with second deck for the logging and mining and maybe more staging. This is a freelance design only cause it has all things we want, not into ops or prototype like some, just having fun with what we have. Whatever you do the people here can help design and are really helpful. 

 

Ken Amos Jr

Shanny10

B&O, C&O, PRR

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Posted by Mirobro on Saturday, April 09, 2016 11:27 PM

My father and older brothers had "6 Layouts you can build" dating from the early 60's. I remember always wanting to build this layout also. I think the problem you are running into with the yard throat is that back in the 60's, Atlas had a different design for their 12.5 degree crossings. As i recall they were almost a right and left to match with the #6 turnouts. #6 turnouts don't diverge at 12.5 degrees. To make the yard throat work you would need to use Peco's #6 crossing that do match #6 turnouts.

Modeling the Continental Northern Railroad @ michaelbromander.com
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Posted by ShotgunLebowski on Monday, April 11, 2016 5:53 PM

Hopefully this image shows up I measured the garage. Might need to click on the text. 

 

Garage Dimensions

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Posted by cuyama on Tuesday, April 12, 2016 11:09 AM

That's a generous space and you have many options. Placing at least part of the layout against one or more walls would be very space-effcient.

These layouts may be less track-dense than you wanted, but they give an idea of how the benchwork might be arranged overall in roughly the same or less area, although not the same room shape. Benchwork need not be rectangles.

HO logging layout in 13' X 19'

Relaxed sectional HO Granger layout in 18' X 23'

If you happen to have Model Railroad Planning 2015, the HO "East Bay in the Present Day" layout is another example in about 14' X 23'

A lot depends on what kinds of things you'd like to see in your layout. If you indicate those, folks may have other recommendations.

Good luck with your layout.

Byron

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Posted by Nickel Plate Road on Tuesday, April 12, 2016 11:10 PM

ShotgunLebowski
Way back in the 1980's my dad and I started to build a Layout Called The Central Midland. We ended up moving before it was finished and now as an Adult I found the 6 Layouts you can build book from the 70's and want to try and build this in my garage

Hi John,

I too toyed with the idea of building the C.M - but upon further thought I found there was no real room for scenery of industries to servce. It is a fine layout if you just want to see trains run? 

Right now I am in the middle of much the same problem. I have two 8x4 with a 27"x6' bridge. I spent a Saturday laying and relaying track and I just wasn't feeling the love. I am trying to weave in sections of the Michigan Central R.R Grayling yard along with NPR/NYC and pieces of Atlas track plans or right here at MRR. Research a section of real road you are by or have an attraction too. I hope this helps good luck brother Cool Angelo

Freelancing MCRR/NYC Northern Division - Angelo

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Posted by ShotgunLebowski on Wednesday, April 13, 2016 9:27 AM

I've been watching lot's of videos and reading some books. I live in Seattle, there is lot's of train activity around here. But I was always Partial to Sante Fe Diesels, and Union Pacific Steam Engines(Big Boy's). So, I'm stuck with the dilema do I model this area as a fictitous Sante Fe Route in the 50's ish or do I try and model the real Sante Fe. I think I am looking in the wrong spots there, I haven't found a decent site that has track maps.. 

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Posted by Nickel Plate Road on Wednesday, April 13, 2016 7:31 PM

ShotgunLebowski
. I think I am looking in the wrong spots there, I haven't found a decent site that has track maps.. 

John,

 I use google maps to follow tracks and see how they're laid out. If I find something interesting I switch from map to satellite and see which industry is there and research it. Today I found out that Rogers City in upper, lower peninsula had a limestone quarry on the old Detroit and Mackinaw RY.

Sant Fe (BNSF) has a long and colourful history, try Facebook for fan/history page I use wikipedia a lot to get basic info and sometime their links are awesome to follow up on. It also has a "railway portal" with tons of useful info. In the end, it's your railroad, have fun mix it up if you're off by a few years, I won't tell...

peace out

Angelo Star

Freelancing MCRR/NYC Northern Division - Angelo

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Posted by BMMECNYC on Wednesday, April 13, 2016 9:39 PM

ShotgunLebowski

I've been watching lot's of videos and reading some books. I live in Seattle, there is lot's of train activity around here. But I was always Partial to Sante Fe Diesels, and Union Pacific Steam Engines(Big Boy's). So, I'm stuck with the dilema do I model this area as a fictitous Sante Fe Route in the 50's ish or do I try and model the real Sante Fe. I think I am looking in the wrong spots there, I haven't found a decent site that has track maps.. 

 

Look a bit south on the west coast.  BNSF and UP both operate in Portland, OR.  You could run a model of UP 4014 in present day modeling, taking some liberties with the running of a Big Boy in that area. 

Rule 108: In case of doubt or uncertainty, the safe course must be taken.
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Posted by cuyama on Wednesday, April 13, 2016 10:49 PM

ShotgunLebowski
I live in Seattle, there is lot's of train activity around here. But I was always Partial to Sante Fe Diesels, and Union Pacific Steam Engines(Big Boy's). So, I'm stuck with the dilema do I model this area as a fictitous Sante Fe Route in the 50's ish or do I try and model the real Sante Fe. I think I am looking in the wrong spots there, I haven't found a decent site that has track maps.. 

As you probably know, in the Seattle area, any BNSF tracks today were primarily Great Northern and Northern Pacific in the 1950s. The historical societies for those railroads probably have a lot of information for the area, including track charts industry switching guides, etc. Much of that will be restricted to members, of course.

But historical USGS topo maps publicly available and are great for an overall arrangement of tracks. There are various map scales available for different periods. Not the easiest website to use, but worth the effort to learn.
http://ngmdb.usgs.gov/maps/TopoView/

For specific track layouts, Sanborn insurance maps are great, although they become less accurate after about the 1920s/30s. These are online as a paid service, but many local library systems have free access for those with a library card (typically for their own state’s records only).

Either of these would give you a good start to narrowing down specific areas.

Byron

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Posted by ShotgunLebowski on Wednesday, April 13, 2016 10:53 PM

I did find one route map that seemed to indicate the Grand Canyon Route for Sante Fe went all the way up to seattle. I did want to keep my time period 40's to 60's , diesels , and late steam. I guess it doesn't matter where I choose to model and what engines are on it , my train :) But I do like the idea of making it more realistic operationally. The original plan that i was thinking about the Central Midland operationally probably wouldn't be all that fun just to watch trains go round and round lol :) 

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Posted by cuyama on Wednesday, April 13, 2016 11:05 PM

ShotgunLebowski
I did find one route map that seemed to indicate the Grand Canyon Route for Sante Fe went all the way up to seattle.

Edit: Maybe by connections on other trains, but not in Santa Fe trains or on Santa Fe tracks. Nothing says that it couldn't happen in your world, that's what's great about model railroading. But it didn't happen in the real world.

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Posted by Chas 80 on Friday, April 15, 2016 2:22 PM

After years of reading the M.R. forums, this particular post prompted me to join in. While new to the forum, I have been an active model railroader for many years. Like so many others, my first experience with model railroading was the Lionel Christmas present left under the tree.

I started modeling for real in the early 70s. At the time I was living in Aspen, CO. Caboose Hobbies was always a stop whenever visiting Denver. I have completed five layouts. Each was one dismantled when we moved on to other homes. My scale choice has been HO. I remember brass track & fiber ties. Technological improvements have made modeling much more enjoyable for me. It is possible to build a layout that is pretty much bullet proof if one is willing to spend the time.

My first two layouts were built in garages. Space was not a problem, but being removed from the house was an issue. My next two layouts were in attic or loft spaces - neither spacious nor comfortable.

I doubt that there are many track plans I have not studied. The HO29 Central Midland always interested me and became a favorite of mine.

In June of 2004 my wife and I retired and moved into a new home that just happened to have a spare room that could house both our hobbies - computer/photography for her and MRing for me. Best of all - HO29 would just fit.

The point of all of this is that I am delighted with the layout. I have to disagree with the nay-sayers. I do not find the plan too track dense, the grades too steep or the curve radii too constricting. I also enjoy being able to work the yard while having the other trains doing the loop-de-loop.

I did slightly modify the plan, but my railroad is for all intents and purposes HO 29   . It has give me 10+ years of fun and still provides me with more things to do.

I hope my photographer/wife can capture some of my RR. for you to see.

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Posted by last mountain & eastern hogger on Sunday, April 17, 2016 4:11 PM

Chas 80
In June of 2004 my wife and I retired and moved into a new home that just happened to have a spare room that could house both our hobbies - computer/photography for her and MRing for me. Best of all - HO29 would just fit.

Whistling

BTW Chas,

What exactly is HO29,  Don't believe I have ever heard of it.

Johnboy out.........................

from Saskatchewan, in the Great White North.. 

We have met the enemy,  and he is us............ (Pogo)

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Posted by DSchmitt on Sunday, April 17, 2016 10:08 PM

last mountain & eastern hogger

 

 
Chas 80
In June of 2004 my wife and I retired and moved into a new home that just happened to have a spare room that could house both our hobbies - computer/photography for her and MRing for me. Best of all - HO29 would just fit.

 

Whistling

BTW Chas,

What exactly is HO29,  Don't believe I have ever heard of it.

Johnboy out.........................

 

Atlas HO Track Plan #10029 which was in their Plan Book #13 Seven HO Step By Step Layouts.   http://www.atlasrr.com/Code100web/pages/10029.htm   Also known as the  Central Midland.

 

I tried to sell my two cents worth, but no one would give me a plug nickel for it.

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Posted by ShotgunLebowski on Monday, April 18, 2016 11:25 PM

I have been looking at a lot of track plans. The Basic area I have roughly 10' X 22'. This plan has caught my eye as soemting that could work with some modifications. 

http://mrr.trains.com/how-to/track-plan-database/2011/02/red-rock-green-river

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Posted by Chas 80 on Tuesday, April 19, 2016 11:47 AM

Shotgun Lebowski...

Just noticed your most recent post. I am glad you are still considering HO29. You should be able to build it in the space you have. One side is just a tad longer that 10'. I am talking about inches, but they are critical. If you decide to go with it, I can make a few suggestions with regaard to spots where I had problems.

I much enjoyed building the layout. In fact, I have spent the past three days working on it. It is a layout that continues to keep me engaged. None of my others did this so well. I will look forward to seeing what you decide.

Chas 80

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Posted by cuyama on Tuesday, April 19, 2016 1:25 PM

ShotgunLebowski
I have been looking at a lot of track plans. The Basic area I have roughly 10' X 22'. This plan has caught my eye as soemting that could work with some modifications.  http://mrr.trains.com/how-to/track-plan-database/2011/02/red-rock-green-river

You may be aware of this, but that's actually an On30 (sometimes called On2½) track plan, so although the track gauge is the same as HO, many other elements are about twice as large (or four times in area). It is mislabeled on the artwork. Track-to-track spacing and other dimensions would need to be adjusted.

So you could probably accomplish more in the same area in HO, but this plan would be a relaxed approach in HO. It's not exactly a match with the interests you outlined earlier, but it would certainly be buildable. And of course, a lot depends on whether your 10'X22' area assumes aisles all around or is bounded by walls (as is the published plan).

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