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Newbridge & Lockport RR (was: Help with layout shape and plan, please!)

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  • Member since
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  • From: Reading, PA
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Posted by rrinker on Friday, September 15, 2017 12:43 PM

 Strange. Always just puts me right back in the same thread after I make a posting.

My drawings are in 3rd PlanIt, I've been using it for years now. I do have prior CAD experience but that was long before 3rd PlanIt appeared and I never did CAD work, I merely went to the same class as our design guys who did allt eh drawings so I could better support them when they had a problem (I was the computer guy at that company, among other things). 

                                --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 Friday, October 06, 2017 8:02 PM

Well, it's been a few (busy) weeks here, sorry I dropped off the radar. Don't you just hate it when work and life get in the way of model railroading? :)

You could say that I was in the layout pre-construction phase, getting rid of some of the obstacles in the room.

This is what the West side used to look:

And this is the new look:

The electrical closet is gone and so is the bulkhead. Took two weeks, hour or two a day - slow progress due to time constraints, but I got it done.

The electrical box depth is 2 inches now. There would still be a pull out section on the upper deck, but that's minor compared to keeping 3x3 feet space clear for the door to swing open.

I will post my revised Givens & Druthers in another post since there were major changes there, too.

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Posted by TrainzLuvr on Friday, October 06, 2017 9:38 PM

Givens & Druthers
(updated as of Oct-6-2017):

 

Givens
--------

- Room size: 22.5’x12’ (irregular, open space/no wall with two columns on the North side with a potential to go 1’ beyond the columns into the hallway)

- Finished hardwood floor, but uneven/sloping, ~1” difference

- Ceiling: 6’5”-6’6”; pot lights, two speakers, and a central air register near the South-West window

- Doorway access on the North-East to another room

- Electrical cabinet in the South-West corner at 46.5” height, up to the ceiling, dimensions 32x30x2” (WxHxD)

- Two windows on the South side starting at 54.5” above floor level, dimensions 31x22” (WxH)

- The layout will remain in the train area (no foreseeable expansion)

- Climate controlled space

- Scale: N

- Gauge: Normal

- Full DCC operation (Roco Z21 base station, two additional boosters), RailCom in the future

- Era: Transition (steam/4-axle diesels)/post-Transition (6-axle diesels)

- Prototype: Freelance

- Region: North America

- Operating crew: 2 (1?) (most of the time, but visitors possible for ops)

- Multi-deck

- Benchwork: whatever works

- Min. radius: 18” visible (15” hidden)

 

Druthers
----------

- Track: ME Code 55 and/or hand-laid turnouts

- Min. turnout size: #6

- Single track mainline is OK, passing sidings where needed for added ops interest; or double if necessary

- Intricate track work is OK: double-slips, wyes, 3-way

- Preferred 36” aisle width, 30” is OK, 24” pinch points are OK

- Signaled operation (CTC) and option for fully computer controlled trains in the future

- Swing out bridge is OK, no duckunders (lean-under OK)

- No need to reach more than 24″ into the layout

- Prefer longest main-line runs

- Moderate length trains (8-9’, 20-25 50’ cars)

- Like yard switching and operations

- Various industries to keep the operating interest

- Staging: preferred open; beneath the benchwork is OK; loopback for re-staging

- Scenery: rolling hills, canyons, rivers, tunnels, rock faces, bridges, trees, lakes, arid areas

- Like mostly freight, though passenger service is OK for additional op. interest, 

- Like to railfan the layout

 

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Posted by TrainzLuvr on Friday, October 06, 2017 9:49 PM

Further to the changes in the layout space and Givens & Druthers, I worked on the layout shape by creating two matrices:

...and from these derived:

* #47v6 early draft - no entry point yet

They all have their pros and cons, but my focus was on maximizing the mainline run, having as many straight sections as possible, and simplifying the benchwork wherever possible.

It also finally came to my head that benchwork does not need to be 24-30" deep everywhere, or at all, for a good railroading experience. That happened after many trials of various double- and triple-deck combinations on my free-standing benchwork rig (for details in my thread on benchwork testing linked in my sig.).

Another realization was that being 6'3" tall is not a good thing for model railroading, as I fit nowhere "standard" heights are being applied (which is really everywhere as most people are of average height).

So, if I want others to operate on my railroad I will have to build it for them, not for myself...

  • Member since
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  • From: Reading, PA
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Posted by rrinker on Friday, October 06, 2017 10:46 PM

 There is no 'standard height' - there is "your height". Any double deck is a compromise, the lower dick will be lower than the ideal for your height, and the upper deck will be too high. It's just another choice and compromise to get the run length - which is more important, ideal layout height, or total length of the run? I did some mockups, I think my chouce was 42" lower deck and 60" upper, or maybe it was 44" and 62". I'm 6' even. Someone who's 5'3" will pretty much never see the trains on the upper deck without a stepstool. Most people I know are about my height, if someone shorter who is not easily able to see the top deck wants to operate, there will be jobs that don't leave the lower level, including various jobs in the main yard, which will be on the lower level.

 I envision the lower deck to be generally wider, the widest spot being the yard. The upper deck will tend to be narrower, in general. Not ALL narrow, there will be ome large industries up there, like a big coal breaker. The yard and switching required for that alone means there is one place it's guaranteed to NOT be - above the main yard. It will be above one of the quieter places on the lower level, to keep people from crowding each other. 

 And there is always the "who am I kidding" concept - I will probably run this thing by myself 90% of the time anyway.

                             --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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  • From: Richmond, VA
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Posted by carl425 on Saturday, October 07, 2017 7:26 AM

My grandson will be running trains on my layout.  Right now he's about 2 feet tall.

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 TrainzLuvr on Saturday, October 07, 2017 7:35 PM

The "who am I kidding" is an interesting concept, but could I really build a layout for myself, even though I would want people to eventually operate on it?

My spouse even said to just build whatever I want as it's my railroad. She's willing to use a step-stool if needed to reach some too-high-for-her level, but would other people be as accomodating?

I've read some modelers comments who basically take that approach, building to their spec. (height) while everyone else needs to adjust to it. Does that make ones railroad less appealing or desirable to operate on?

 

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Posted by DSchmitt on Saturday, October 07, 2017 7:57 PM

TrainzLuvr
I've read some modelers comments who basically take that approach, building to their spec. (height) while everyone else needs to adjust to it. Does that make ones railroad less appealing or desirable to operate on?  

Probably not. No mater what height you chose, it will be wrong for someone.

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

I don't have a leg to stand on.

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  • From: Reading, PA
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Posted by rrinker on Saturday, October 07, 2017 10:30 PM

 For a home layout, I doubt anyone has done other than built to the owner/builder's specifications. For a public club or portable layout - there is the expected audience to consider. Our club modular layout is only about 3' high so kids can see. If I had to work on part of it at standard operating height for an extended period of time, it would kill my back - to high to sit in a chair and work and too low to bend over for long periods of time. But for working on the individual sections, they can be set on a workbench or at any desired height, so construction is never an issue.

 I've visited bunchs of layouts, public display ones tend to be what I would consider too low, but since the primary audience is families with kids, it is completely understandable. Private layouts, I haven't been to one yet that I would say is too high - even 6' is above average for males. Maybe the one thing I actually AM above average in Big Smile . My old layout was at about 48" which was ok for me and also for my ex father in law who was helping on it, and he is like 5' 7". My last layout was slightly lower but that was a compromise due to the sloped ceiling on one side of the room. It wasn;t uncomfortable for me to work on but a few inched higher would have been great. Unfortunately, a few inches higher would have cut the usable width by more than 6". 

                                --Randy

 


Modeling the Reading Railroad in the 1950's

 

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

  • Member since
    December, 2016
  • 203 posts
Posted by TrainzLuvr on Wednesday, November 01, 2017 5:51 PM

It's been a few weeks of going back and forth between variations of layout shapes so in this time I made a matrix of 4 candidates:

Each has its benefits and trade-offs and I'm not sure how to weight those against each other.

In summary, the plan is to put the staging under the top longest wall and use the blobs in 7, 8 and 9 for reverse loops/auto-restaging.

What do you think from an operational point of view...in 47v7 would it feel awkward to enter that first area on the left, go around the inner perimeter, then exit and enter the other area in the bottom right then do the same?

The 47v8 and 47v9 do not have that issue as you just follow the train along.

Then I tossed 47v2.3.1 out, and made a 3 candidate matrix:

I brought 47v4 back in as it seems to be appealing to a number of people I talked to. The 47v9 is there because it's simple to build and straight forward (no pun intended).

Also, because all of these plans are walk-ins, there is no complete full circle and so two helices are needed. I'd like to avoid having two helices but it seems there's no way around it unless I put a swing-gate/drop-down bridge instead.

I just can't find a nice out of the way spot for a single helix...

How does everyone feel about the trains going through the same scenery twice? Or having to walk around the blob to get the train on the other side of it?

The track would go towards the back of the benchwork as many have done in the past, in a separated/elevated area, but it would provide for only one helix needed.

I also thought that utilizing 12" of the area in the hallway below the columns has potential, and that's why these 3 layouts have track on both sides there. Although, it makes it awkward to come back to the helix to climb to the next deck...

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Posted by TrainzLuvr on Saturday, November 25, 2017 5:23 PM

Just a quick update to this thread.

Finally selected a layout shape to go with, and it's #40v3. Also, named the railroad "Newbridge & Lockport" to make it distinct, rather than calling it a "no name railroad." :)

I started posting updates to my website and also there's an ongoing thread on nScale.net forums.

Thanks everyone for your help in this thread.

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  • From: Reading, PA
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Posted by rrinker on Saturday, November 25, 2017 7:05 PM

 So you are more or less doing things the same way I am - staging with turnback, traverse the room, helix to second level, traverse the room again to another staging with turnback. I figured this to be the best way to get the most track without any duckunders or lof up areas. I originally was going for a plain straigh staging yard, but the space int he next room where the curves are isn't big enough to long enough tangent tracks plus a turnback curve at minimum radius. But I CAN do JUST the curves at well over minimum radius - thus curved staging tracks. There may be some serial staging, as even the shortest track with this method ends up longer than my typical train size.

 You can probably easily double track this as well, turning the entire thing into a giant dog bone - that's what I'm doing. Single track would be good, but it doesn;t fit the character of my prototype which, aside from some branch lines, was almost all double track, even back in the early days.

                    --Randy

 


Modeling the Reading Railroad in the 1950's

 

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

  • Member since
    December, 2016
  • 203 posts
Posted by TrainzLuvr on Saturday, November 25, 2017 8:56 PM

Yes Sir!

Actually I am contemplating to double track it as I do not have a prototype, so anything goes on my railroad. :)

I'm still not sure about staging and classification yards being next to each other like this, but I've seen other people do it...Others have told me to put the classification yard half-way on the railroad and, next to the helix so it can serve both decks. So, I managed to do both.

Trains leave the staging, climb up to the 1st deck with the helix on the left, go through the main classification yard, traverse the 1st deck, climb up the other helix (in the left column) to the 2nd deck, probably enter a smaller classification yard somewhere on the way and traverse the 2nd deck in the process, descend down the first helix to the staging, loop around and auto restage.

Rinse and repeat.

  • Member since
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  • From: Reading, PA
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Posted by rrinker on Sunday, November 26, 2017 9:54 AM

 Wait, that sounds way more complex than it needs to be. Why 2 extra levels for staging? If you come out of that staging enad just enter the lower deck, run around the room until you get to the helix, then repeast, with the two staging yards stacked on top, you've got twice around the room with no need for all sorts of extra levels, just 2, and on either the lower or upper level you have lots of room for the operational yard along the top wall.

 You could conceivably put an additional backdrop down the staging yard and hide all but say 2 of the tracks so the two visible ones could be a small classification yard or an industry/ Yes it gets bypassed when a train exists the other end of staging, heading back the way it came, but so what? Think of it as a branch. On one level keep say 2 tracks visible for an industry, on the other level just keep one track visible for a run through scenery.

No need for 3 helices and 4 levels of layout. 2 levels is already a compromise when it comes to deck heights. Especially when the area that would have 4 levels is below the LOWEST part of the ceiling.

                          --Randy

 


Modeling the Reading Railroad in the 1950's

 

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

  • Member since
    December, 2016
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Posted by TrainzLuvr on Sunday, November 26, 2017 9:58 AM

I apologize for not being clear, it's just one staging. Trains come from it and return back...

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Posted by TrainzLuvr on Wednesday, December 27, 2017 10:10 PM

It's been awhile since I posted here, so I thought why not make an update. By the way, continuous updates are on my Website where I'm documenting the build and also on the nScale.net forum thread.

I'll post a few photos, as they are worth all the words. This benchwork is all for the Staging level, at 31" from the floor.

Layout room overview as of December 27, 2017

South side of the columns (yet unnamed LDE)

Aisleway looking down the Lockport branch line

Right now my focus is on the Staging level and hope to be done with the benchwork soonish (early January 2018), then I can do its track laying, wiring, testing, and more testing...

This is the Staging level plan, as of today.

There are other documents on my website regarding the build, so instead of me duplicating the information, please see it there.

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Posted by mbinsewi on Thursday, December 28, 2017 6:52 AM

Wow, steel studs, don't think I've ever seen benchwork built like that before.

Looking good.

Mike.

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Posted by SouthPenn on Thursday, December 28, 2017 10:24 AM

I'm a little late to this thread, and I haven't read every post, so excuse me if this has been covered before.

In the corner, you have a box labeled 'electrical panel'. I don't think it's prudent to build anything in front of it. But, if your local building code allows you to build in front of it, I would make the benchwork as narrow as possible. Just wide enough for the track.

I noticed in your drawings and pictures you have electrical receptacles along the wall under the layout. You might want to consider putting a few in the front fascia. It really makes it easier than crouching under the layout just to plug something in. It would also allow you to have receptacles all the way to the ends of the peninsulas. A company called 'Wiremold"  makes boxes and raceway that would allow you to use your existing wall receptacles. If you run any wires through the metal studs, be sure to install the plastic bushings in the studs holes first to prevent the metal from cutting into the wires.  

 

South Penn
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Posted by TrainzLuvr on Thursday, December 28, 2017 11:46 AM

The electrical panel is 50" off the floor, 30x30" box. It will be accessible from the aisle as the benchwork there won't be deeper than 18" and upper deck will have a removable section. There used to be a full door there closing the cabinet, but I got rid of the whole thing including the bulkhead on that wall and rebuilt it all slim. :)

Before:

After:

I was planning to put some outlets on the metal studs below the benchwork - do you think I should mount them closer to the aisle instead and beneath the benchwork?

I don't want any interefence from the AC power, so would have to make sure sufficient distance from the main bus, or always crossing and not parallel.

Already got the plastic grommets for the studs, thanks!

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Posted by SouthPenn on Thursday, December 28, 2017 2:58 PM

You can put the receptacles where ever is most convenient for you. Mine are in the wall below the layout and are a real pain. I need an extension cord just for a soldering iron.  

I would keep rail power and AC power separated as much as possible. Crossing over should not cause any problems.

Maybe someone else on here that has AC and track power can help.

South Penn
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Posted by rrinker on Thursday, December 28, 2017 5:09 PM

 Crossing at 90 degress would be no problem. Also don't bundle 120VAC wires to any low voltage - any failure of insulation could make the whole layout hot. Definitely protect all corners of the metal studs, they will slive right through even an outdoor extension cord. That goes for both any 120 volt lines as well as all the layout wiring. They make plastic inserts for the standard holes in the steel studs, definitely use them.

 Since the 120 volt lines would be running across the benchwork from back to dront, you already would have any crossing with low voltage or signal lines at 90 degrees, so there should be no issues.

Another option is to make something portable - use a short heavy duty extension cord (longer than the benchwork is deep) and cut off the female end. Wire that to a standard duplex outlet in a plastic box. Put a plate over it. Glue some magnets to the box. Now you can have an outlet stuck on the front of the benchwork when you need it, and move it to the next work area as needed. One crawl under the layout for the entire work session as tools would be connected at the front in the box.

                           --Randy

 


Modeling the Reading Railroad in the 1950's

 

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

  • Member since
    December, 2016
  • 203 posts
Posted by TrainzLuvr on Thursday, December 28, 2017 8:14 PM

I think outlets are necessary throughout the layout for those small DC adapters that power all kinds of things on the layout. We got bunch of those around on the club layout too, so I figure I should prepare for it.

In any case I will ground the entire metal framework to the Earth ground. One can never be too sure, right? :)

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Posted by SouthPenn on Thursday, December 28, 2017 9:45 PM

I also twisted my layout wires because I am running DCC.

South Penn
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Posted by TrainzLuvr on Sunday, February 11, 2018 7:48 PM

Quick update - it's been over a month since my last post and more things have happened on the layout.

I finished the peninsula, installed twin track uprights (standards), and painted everything sky blue. Basically the benchwork foundation is complete.

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