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Help with HO layout shape and plan, please!

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Posted by rrinker on Monday, August 07, 2017 5:17 PM

 I'l a little confused as to where the yellow track goes. Usually the idea of a nolix is to not have a complete lap around the room of hidden track, otherwise you just have a big helix. If you put the staging outside the pillars, going counter clockwise around the room you could have the track climbing out of the staging appear along the top wall. Still has to be on an upgrade around the penninsula but by the time it gets to the main yard you should be able to level it all out and be high enough above staging for plenty of clearance - especially as they won't be right on top of one another. After the yard you can have a track peel off from the main and drop (somewhat steep grade) to connect to the opposite end of the staging yard for a continuous run connection while the real main makes another climbing lap around for deck 2 over the yard on deck 1, and then once more across the top wall before disappearing into a track cutting throught he base of the penninsula to the upper level staging also outside the pillars. That gets you twice around the entire room, including the penninsula, plus 2 extra runs the length of the top wall. You could also run another through track through upper staging that goes downgrade left to right to connect in to the upper level main on the right wall for an additional continuous run connection.

                                 --Randy

 


Modeling the Reading Railroad in the 1950's

 

Visit my web site at www.readingeastpenn.com for construction updates, DCC Info, and more.

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Posted by TrainzLuvr on Monday, August 07, 2017 5:39 PM

Yellow is the nolix track and it goes around the walls, slowly climbing up.

It is not hidden as I'm thinking nolix should not be hidden, else why bother, might as well stick a helix in there? :)

But I'm really having a hard time visualizing your suggestion. It sounds cool that the main would branch off and reconnect with the lower staging on a steep decline, but I can't see it where or how.

I made #43 v2, with a nolix going around the peninsula. Also changed the main line colour to red so it's stands out better.

In this version the nolix starts at the same place (look up right where red turns into yellow) and climbs around the entire layout at 2.2% reaching the summit at the lower left liftout.

My interpretation of a nolix is that it's a slow climb/decent around the room, but not hidden. It extends the main line run for a long while offering an alternative to a helix.

If it was hidden then operators would be waiting for their trains to come out of whatever hidden areas the train went into, just like the helix (kinda boring).

When it's exposed and in the open, trains can go through sceniced places, bridges, tunnels etc., making the whole run more interesting to wait for.

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Posted by Colorado Ray on Monday, August 07, 2017 5:56 PM

I'm probably late to the party, but are you planning on double decking both the outside walls and the peninsula?  If so, I think you'll be sorely disappointed with your isle widths and viewing angles of the lower deck.  The average shoulder width is 18.5 inches (as quoted from a recent article on airline seating - won't go there) so your upper deck clearance of +/- 25 inches doesn't provide much wiggle room, let alone enough distance to stand back, or stoop over to see the lower deck.

I'd suggest a single mid height deck for the peninsula.  You can have a visible two lap lower level nolix (violates the once-through a scene mantra - but I think adds more drama) and once around the peninsula.  A quick grade check for 16 inch deck separation would let you use a constant 1.7% grade, or flatter at towns with steeper sections between them.  The single level peninsula would let those pesky shoulders extend up to, or over, the single deck making the entire space seem less crowded. 

Ray

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Posted by TrainzLuvr on Monday, August 07, 2017 6:31 PM

Welcome to the party, food and drinks are over in the corner, please help yourself. :)

I thought my aisle widths are "ok". The top one is 33" and bottom 40", with pinch points at 25" top and bottom of the blob.

The blob itself is not going to have much depth on the lower level due to the nolix going around it 50-54", so the middle of it is really lost space (might as well put a helix into it).

If I did a single mid-height deck for the peninsula, wouldn't it be awkward for the operators on the upper level to have to go around the peninsula to catch their train when it's on the left wall?

EDIT: Updated the above image to include aisle widths

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Posted by rrinker on Monday, August 07, 2017 6:40 PM

OK, since the last post I drew this up - quick and dirty, I was not careful with curves other than to maintain a 28" radius minimum (many are larger) and I didn;t carefully align the penninsula to the aisles would be equal, or any of that fancy stuff. Each level is on a seperate layer (that's how I roll with 3rd Planit) and a different color, starting with lower staging, then level 1, then level 2, and finally the upper staging.

lower staging

Level 1

 

Level 2

Upper Staging

(notice I got so lazy I didn't even draw a yard for the upper staging... Laugh )

                                         --Randy

 


Modeling the Reading Railroad in the 1950's

 

Visit my web site at www.readingeastpenn.com for construction updates, DCC Info, and more.

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Posted by rrinker on Monday, August 07, 2017 6:48 PM

 I also did no grade checks, but if you reduce visible dek seperation to 16", you can get the 4 levels in., Lower staging would be pretty low, but you only need 12" or less up to level 1. then 16" up to level 2, and another 16" up to level 3. Level 3 would be, well, level, it doesn' have to climb any to maintain clearance since it sneaks behind the penninsula. As it is top level staging it can be fairly close to the ceiling level, again 12" clearance is plenty. Working down, if level 3 is at 66", level 2 would be at 50" level 1 at 34" and lower staging at 22". Or shift as desired.

                                 --Randy

 


Modeling the Reading Railroad in the 1950's

 

Visit my web site at www.readingeastpenn.com for construction updates, DCC Info, and more.

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Posted by TrainzLuvr on Monday, August 07, 2017 7:43 PM

Isn't this basically the same as I made it?

See...

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Posted by rrinker on Monday, August 07, 2017 8:13 PM

 Pretty much, now that you broke out the levels to different layers, or frames in an animated gif, as it were. Only real difference is that I climb on the first level after it leaves staging, up to the main yard, where it is level, then climbs again afterwards, rather than having a flat loop around the first level plus another track that goes off and climbs to the second level. And then the second level also has a grade in pretty much the same places until it becomes the level third level that goes to staging.

                                        --Randy

 


Modeling the Reading Railroad in the 1950's

 

Visit my web site at www.readingeastpenn.com for construction updates, DCC Info, and more.

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Posted by TrainzLuvr on Monday, August 07, 2017 8:29 PM

In my plan the lower staging is actually climbing up to the base of the peninsula, then it flattens out around it all the way to the yard. Might actually climb more, depending on where I figure the industries and towns along the way will be. Really don't want to climb too much because it takes away from the upper level separation, since I'm constrained with the low ceiling in this space.

The nolix (in yellow) also climbs up all around with constant 2.2% starting at the upper right, though I think I'd like to flatten some areas to add a siding or two.

I have no idea how will any of that work out because coming closer to the upper level, the track is really against the backdrop and hard to see unless person is short.

I would like to add another yard in the upper level, just smaller. My guess is that it should not be at the same spot as the lower yard is, no? Maybe on the opposite (top wall) although the depth there might not be favourable for a yard.

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Posted by rrinker on Monday, August 07, 2017 9:53 PM

 Especially with not a lot of room for aisle, keep the yards at different spots. Or at least put the throat of one on the opposite side as the other, so someone switching in one yard won't have to stand in the same sport as someone switching in the other.

 Climbing out of staging is where you can save vertical - you need something like 16" or more between sceniced levels in order to fit decent scenery, unless the area is very shallow. At least between the lowest sceniced level and the next one up, as this will be low by nature and if you stand close to the layout, the upper level will obstruct your view, With the second level being closer to eye level, the clearance between level 2 and the upper level can be smaller since you can still see right in.

                                           --Randy

 


Modeling the Reading Railroad in the 1950's

 

Visit my web site at www.readingeastpenn.com for construction updates, DCC Info, and more.

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Posted by Doughless on Tuesday, August 08, 2017 3:05 PM

My personal opinion is that I would be cautious about having narrow aisles with the multideck in a less-than-huge room to begin with.  I'd feel clostrophobic and uncomfortable, especially if the structure impeded my view of the trains in some way.  

Just my thoughts.  Yours may be different.

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Posted by TrainzLuvr on Tuesday, August 08, 2017 5:16 PM

I agree about really narrow aisles as I've been to at least one layout this year that had very narrow aisles - it seemed like 24" or less all along except at the turns, where people could (try to) pass each other. That layout was not multi-deck and its height was probably around 48-50".

Having said that, my goal is to have at least 30" aisles or better, with 24" allowed in pinch points, and for up to a foot or so in length. I also understand I can't compress the aisles or the people, but the space is what it is and won't change.

The only recourse I see to having larger aisles is going to a smaller scale, or reducing the effective layout footprint, which reduces everything railroading related.

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Posted by Colorado Ray on Tuesday, August 08, 2017 10:55 PM

TrainzLuvr

The only recourse I see to having larger aisles is going to a smaller scale, or reducing the effective layout footprint, which reduces everything railroading related.

 

Most railroad rights of way were under 100' wide, so you can have everything railroading related in a 12" to 15" inch shelf in HO.  Only go deeper for your main yard on the lower level and keep the upper level as narrow as possible.

This may be a generalization, but most people that want double decks do so for the long runs and operating potential.  They sacrifice a lot of space for scenery.  Those with high interest in scenery likely opt for a one level layout with wider scenes.  You'll still be able to have deeper scenes on the upper deck of the peninsula.

Personally, I'd suggest a minimum of 36" aisles in the pinch points and 48" elsewhere for a double deck layout.  If you must go tighter than that check out some of the limits in some of the more famous double deck layouts.  One that may have fairly narrow aisles as I recall is Mark Dances's Canadian Pacific.

Ray

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Posted by bagal on Wednesday, August 09, 2017 4:39 AM

It seems to me the OP is traying to fit too much into a given space with narrow aisles being one of the drawbacks. My own layout has a 27" pinchpoint and if I was building again I would have a minium of 30". Two decks in the OP's space is always going to be a challenge. A form factor that intrigues me is the Spine Line in the April MR. It looks like it could be adapted to the OP's room. I wonder if the author of that aricle is on the forum and could comment?

Bill

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Posted by Doughless on Wednesday, August 09, 2017 11:36 AM

TrainzLuvr

I agree about really narrow aisles as I've been to at least one layout this year that had very narrow aisles - it seemed like 24" or less all along except at the turns, where people could (try to) pass each other. That layout was not multi-deck and its height was probably around 48-50".

Having said that, my goal is to have at least 30" aisles or better, with 24" allowed in pinch points, and for up to a foot or so in length. I also understand I can't compress the aisles or the people, but the space is what it is and won't change.

The only recourse I see to having larger aisles is going to a smaller scale, or reducing the effective layout footprint, which reduces everything railroading related.

 

Visual appeal is a big part of the hobby for me.  I like operations, moving cars from A to B...a purpose...but watching a train moving through a scene is a big deal for me.

I like wide vistas.  Open space.  Standing back and taking in the whole scene if I want to.

If I were to plan the layout you've just shown, stacked decks with a multideck penisula in the middle and not much room to move around, I would expect to always be looking at a lot of fascia.  For me, that would take away from the pleasurable experience a great deal.  

I see pictures of those kinds of layouts from time to time in MR, and while they are impressive in a lot of ways...um...no thanks.

My thought was that your plan is living on the edge a bit, sort of at the point where crampness might be overwhelming.  And its hard to judge whether you've crossed that line until you've built it and lived with it.

Sorry to add to your design paralysis.

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Posted by TrainzLuvr on Saturday, August 12, 2017 7:17 PM

Sorry for the delayed reply, life (!@#$&*) got in the way. ;)

@Doughless

I really appreciate the candidness, because in any situation the observers have a better POV than person(s) involved in it. And I understand where you are coming from - being able to step back and soak in the view makes sense. Especially if there is a lot of effort put into that view.

Although I am not sure scenic vistas could be modeled in H0 without a 1500+ sq.ft space, and even then, the space owners focus more on operations and less on scenery, having baren areas with just tracks and plywood. Come to think of it, I never understood that because model railroading is not just about the track but also things around it.

I guess from a POV of real railroad owners, the nature is in the way because the track can't go straight all the time and it costs money to go through/around it. :)

@bagal, Colorado Ray

I'm really trying to utilize my space to its highest potential. As I'm compressing everything else, the aisle space has to give in to some of that compression, too. I'd love to have 3-4' aisles but that would require a 15+' deep space instead of 12' that I have. 

I could remove the peninsula and only go around the walls at 30"+18" depth having a 7' aisle in the middle. But then, out of 270 sq.ft total space, half of it would be an aisle (empty). Not to mention trains running in circles, where's the fun in that? :)

Looking at H0 Spine Line, the space there is 10'x18', and 30 sq.ft of it is used up by a helix right in the middle. The N Spine Line appears more interesting to me because of the peninsula in the middle that divides and separates the space.

Mark Dance's layout is in N scale though so tighter aisle make operators be up-close and personal with the trains, which becomes an advantage. And I like the shadow box look which really frames the scenes up.

These N Scale temptations are very difficult to deal with...teasing and luring you in.

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Posted by TrainzLuvr on Monday, August 14, 2017 10:24 PM

A quick update...

I reversed the peninsula in #43, which makes it look like #42, with the yard in the same location (lower wall).

There's still more to do, yet in this version the peninsula blob is at the entrance to the layout, which begs to have a "hero" scene on it. The no-lix is going around the walls and not entering the peninsula, freeing it for all kinds of cool uses.

You can see full size levels in my folder at http://trainz.luvr.net/for_forums/ under "basement_layout_plan_ref_42_v6_..."

C&Cs are welcome.

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Posted by carl425 on Tuesday, August 15, 2017 10:41 AM

I think you are under estimating the inconvenience of building, operating and maintaining movable/removable layout sections.  One drop bridge built on straight and level track with a reasonable amount of care is a manageable task.  Add a grade OR a curve, and the difficulty increases.  Doing it five times (if I counted correctly), with multiple sections stacked above one another could be a nightmare. 

Since your benchwork experiments demonstrated your willingness to do a proof of concept, I'd suggest doing some experiments with movable sections as well before you commit to this design.  Too bad there is no way to simulate seasonal expansion and contraction (this is what proved to be a problem with my own design).

I have the right to remain silent.  By posting here I have given up that right and accept that anything I say can and will be used as evidence to critique me.

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Posted by rrinker on Tuesday, August 15, 2017 2:14 PM

A good reason to include metal and/or engineered wood products rather than plain dimensional lumber for such things. We have a lift bridge for access on the club modular layout and therehave been (for nearly 10 years now) no issues with it. And not only does the temp and humidity vary at different venues (some have AC, others do not), the bridge section travels and is stored in oen of the trailers along with the layout sections, which are parked in an unheated space.

 With a bit more space tow ork with, I came up with a design that does not need a liftout for access. All I need is a sction I can take apart when needed for furnace or water heater replacement. For that I plan to have a 6 to 8 foot long section that is bolted to adjacent benchwork instead if continuously attached. Gaps at the joints in the rails, and something like PowerPole connectors for the track bus. Scenery will probably be continuous - when I have to remve the section I'll cut through it, and then once back in place, patch up the scenery.

                                       --Randy

 


Modeling the Reading Railroad in the 1950's

 

Visit my web site at www.readingeastpenn.com for construction updates, DCC Info, and more.

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Posted by railandsail on Wednesday, August 16, 2017 9:25 AM

TrainzLuvr

It seems I have quite a bit of soul searching to go through then. I grew up around trains, had relatives work on the railroad. I honestly can't poinpoint exactly what I like about trains, something about machines on tracks that always appealed to me.

I like watching trains pass-by or shunt cars around, trackwork disappearing into the distance, or curving through the valleys, signals changing aspects or turnouts switching points; I like freight just as much as passenger trains; steams, diesels, electrics, no matter, I like it all. :)

I don't even know where to start if I was to narrow things down. And I'm not sure I want to take away from the wholeness of experience that trains are to me. Sigh.

If I was to build a "chainsaw" layout, what kind of a layout do I build, how big, what shape, scale? Do I just find a plan on the internet I like and dive into it?

As I was tired of imagining various curve radii, I though it would be worth while seeing them instead, and comparing the scales as well as cars in real-world space.

Those autoracks are on the 26" curve, and it appears barely enough for them, although that flatbed has the same footprint as autoracks and it seems it could make the 24".

And then the sad realization of the size of H0 curves needed to make a full turn and how it fits (or doesn't) inside my space. To the right is a mockup of a small yard made with compound ladders. Not fitting much as the track before and after the yard would need another foot or more, and then make the turns.

My space seems incompatible with H0 as my train area depth is only 12' which falls short of two full turns at 28" and a decent aisle space in-between. :(

Looking at N, I could make full turns at 16" or 18" radius and have multiple aisles in-between.

 

Interesting subject thread, and particularly interesting diagram of long cars on curves. I need to come back and read thru this long thread as I plan my dbl-deck, around the wall, peninsula HO track plan in my new 12x16 dedicated train shed.

I think I will post a new subject thread on my plans.
Brian

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Posted by TrainzLuvr on Wednesday, August 16, 2017 8:37 PM

@carl425, rrinker

The problem I have been running into is the available space in the lower left (the layout entrance). Going from the bottom wall to the left wall does not leave much space for a large enough curve and a straight section in the entrance point.

I'm already encroaching into the passageway to the room on the left side, and if anything, I wish I could pull back to the right rather than go further into that space. Yet the column stands to the right, immovable in all its might of solid bricks covered by drywall. :)

If I can't get the entrance section straight I will have to deal with some curvature in it. :\

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Posted by rrinker on Wednesday, August 16, 2017 10:48 PM

 I'm working on another variation that doesn't cross the entrance corner. It leaves no room for a penninsula with a turnback curve, however you could build a narrow penninsula for a branch line - akin to the cement plant in my last layout. That's with all curves at 30" radius. 

                      --Randy

 


Modeling the Reading Railroad in the 1950's

 

Visit my web site at www.readingeastpenn.com for construction updates, DCC Info, and more.

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Posted by railandsail on Thursday, August 17, 2017 1:19 PM

rrinker

A good reason to include metal and/or engineered wood products rather than plain dimensional lumber for such things. We have a lift bridge for access on the club modular layout and therehave been (for nearly 10 years now) no issues with it. And not only does the temp and humidity vary at different venues (some have AC, others do not), the bridge section travels and is stored in oen of the trailers along with the layout sections, which are parked in an unheated space.

Randy

How long is that lift bridge you spoke of, and what material is it constructed of??

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Posted by rrinker on Thursday, August 17, 2017 5:40 PM

 The opening is about 3 feet. It's ,ostly wood, steel hinges. The moveable part is U shaped, 2 side rails and the base where the track is. The sides are fairly thick as well, also U shaped, and there is a tread plate across the bottom to tie it all together.

                           --Randy

 


Modeling the Reading Railroad in the 1950's

 

Visit my web site at www.readingeastpenn.com for construction updates, DCC Info, and more.

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