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Building a new club layout? (Title shortened)

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  • From: Bradford, Ontario
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Posted by hon30critter on Thursday, July 06, 2017 9:35 PM

rrinker
Maybe a lift bridge, not a model of a bridge but a lift up section.

Either would work, but the bascule bridge was way cool! It was done quite well and the drive system was very smooth.

Dave

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Posted by hon30critter on Tuesday, July 18, 2017 1:12 AM

Just to bring you up to date, the layout design committee had a meeting on Monday evening to re-discuss the use of the clubhouse space. You may recall that the club executive had made a 'firm' decision about how the space was to be allocated. However, three of the members of the layout design committee disagreed with the way the space was divided up so we asked for a review.

To make a long story short, the three of us who wanted the space allocation reviewed got what we wanted. The executive committee agreed to approach the landlord about removing a couple of passive walls (non-structural) and to go from a dedicated storage room to under layout storage.

The dynamics of the meeting were very interesting. We proved that reasonable discussion and idea sharing does produce the best results. One member of the executive was pretty adamant that the plan wouldn't change, and he had some very valid reasons for doing things his way. By the end of the meeting, not only had he agreed to change the plan and remove the walls, but he was the one who came up with the best new plan. And, he still gets essentially what he wanted in the first place! Win, win, win!

The only roadblock now is to get the landlord's permission to remove the walls. The lease allows for that sort of thing as long as it is approved in writing by the landlord so we don't think it will be a problem.

Onward and upward!!

Dave

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Posted by richhotrain on Tuesday, July 18, 2017 3:56 AM

Dave, that is excellent news. Good work by you and your fellow members.

Was any decision made about that portable layout?

Rich

Alton Junction

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Posted by hon30critter on Tuesday, July 18, 2017 5:36 AM

Hi Rich:

richhotrain
Was any decision made about that portable layout?

Yes. We have decided to keep the current portable layout for the time being, but at some point in the future we would like to replace it with a new portable layout that can be tied into the main layout. That will be a few years in the future.

When the executive members made their original space allocation plan their chief concern was that the space be condusive to a 'club' atmosphere. They wanted enough space for a lounge area where members who were not running trains or working on the layout could sit comfortably without being crammed in, and they wanted new potential members to get a good impression when they first came into the clubhouse. Both criteria were well thought out. We have accomplished both of those goals and increased our permanent layout area by about 200 sq. ft.

We still have to have the approval of the landlord to remove two passive walls. If we get that then we are away to the races!

Dave

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Posted by richhotrain on Tuesday, July 18, 2017 5:56 AM

Good luck with getting the landlord's approval. Hopefully, he will be cooperative.

Rich

Alton Junction

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Posted by rrinker on Tuesday, July 18, 2017 6:04 PM

Perserverence pays off! Hopefully no probems with the landlord. Shouldn't be, since the walls are non-structural. Still get a club room but best of all more layout space. People shouldn't be sitting around in the lounge anyway, there's a railroad to build and run! Big Smile

                                 --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 hon30critter on Wednesday, July 19, 2017 12:36 AM

Hi Randy:

We got verbal approval on Tuesday to remove the two walls in the storage area. All we need to do is send the landlord a letter requesting permission in writing. The landlord wasn't in favour of messing with the kitchen which is fine. Our new plan leaves the kitchen area intact. In fact we will benefit from having the kitchen counter space available because one of the little details we forgot was a place to put things down like locomotive boxes.

We have also received several suggestions from our members regarding what features they would like to have on the layout, and we also got a couple of suggested track plans. I'm sure there will be more coming in the next couple of weeks. There are some interesting suggestions, several of which the layout planning committee hadn't thought of.

I have also done some research regarding lumber sources. The best deal so far is furniture grade 3/4" x 4" clear pine dressed on all sides. The dimensions are actual size, not nominal. It is $1.16 CDN/ft. Interestingly, narrower boards are more expensive. The supplier said it is related to high demand for the 3/4" x 4" size. I'm sure we can rip the boards into narrower strips when needed. The same supplier also offers 3/4" 9 ply 'sound' (i.e. no internal voids) furniture grade plywood. That would be the 'Cadillac' choice. Unfortunately it comes in large sheets and the cost to rip it into 4" wide strips or narrower brings the price up to well more than $2.00 per foot. Poplar wasn't much cheaper unfortunately. I love working with poplar. We are going to explore lumber mills in the rural areas of Ontario to see what they can offer.

Dave

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Posted by rrinker on Thursday, July 20, 2017 9:24 PM

 I assume that plywood rip price is having the lumber yard rip it?

I have seen many simple jigs to use a regular circular saw (no trying to handle full sheets of heavy plywood on a table saw, which you should never do without extension tables for support). With a bunch of people to help - what's it come out to if you do the ripping yourself? I am toorn - I'd like to get decent plywood and rip it, but having no help, I'd definitely have to pay to have it done. No way I can move full sheets of 3/4" plywood myself. I've built all my previous layouts with regular dimensional lumber, I might just do the same again. I never had any warping problems, which was the main reason to use a 9 ply or better hardwood plywood ripped into dimensional lumber.

 Sounds like you are moving ahead nicely, with a good consensus of members. Glad the top down approach was squashed without much issue, as a club then all full members whould have a say. Good too that specific committees are willing to take input from the rest of the members as well. Good recipe for success.

When i was in the other club that was just building, we ended up effectively overbuilding the benchwork, but that was mostly because 2x4's were a lot cheaper than fancier stick lumber. It didn't look as pretty before the scenery went on, but it was solid and didn't totally kill the budget.

                        --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 rrebell on Friday, July 21, 2017 10:57 AM

Using regular lumber is better for most model railroaders as you lose a lot of the bennifits of ply when you screw things together if you don't know what you are doing, far less fogiving of mistakes.

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Posted by hon30critter on Saturday, July 22, 2017 12:02 AM

rrinker
When i was in the other club that was just building, we ended up effectively overbuilding the benchwork, but that was mostly because 2x4's were a lot cheaper than fancier stick lumber. It didn't look as pretty before the scenery went on, but it was solid and didn't totally kill the budget.

Hi Randy:

2 x 4s would be cheaper but 1 x 4s would be easier to work with. I have spent some time searching for sawmills that are fairly close to Barrie and could supply what we want. Pricing is a bit more complex because most of them are quoting in 4/4s thickness rough cut in board feet, not linear feet. At first the price seems pretty good, but then you have to add in ripping and planing charges so the price advantage soon disappears. To further add to the confusion, Home Depot offers 1" x 4" x 8' supposedly good quality boards for $2.04 ea., in stock only. Just try and find 500' - 700' of that in decent condition in the stores. You would have to hit every Home Depot within 100 miles!

Dave

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Posted by hon30critter on Saturday, July 22, 2017 12:08 AM

rrebell
you lose a lot of the bennifits of ply when you screw things together

rrebell:

You make a good point. Screwing straight into the end of a piece of plywood won't give the strongest joint. However, as you say, there are ways around that, one of them being the use of corner reinforcements. That is a good idea with clear lumber too.

Dave

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Posted by hon30critter on Thursday, July 27, 2017 5:48 AM

The track plan is coming along nicely. One of the committee members, Henk, has come up with a plan that gives us a lot of what the members want. My plan sort of turned into a spagetti bowl so I have put it aside for now.

Now the challenge for the club seems to be how to keep the members entertained while the new layout takes shape. It seems the club is currently in the doldrums. The design committee and the executive are discussing ideas for how to keep some life in the weekly meetings. We have proposed some railfanning and a BBQ which are great ideas, but they tend to be single events. One thing that has been happening is that almost nobody is bringing trains to run on the existing portable layout. Most of the problems that we had with the portable layout have been cured, and what is left to do won't interfere with running trains. I think I'm going to suggest that everyone bring their trains and give each person some running time.

Any other suggestions besides hiring ladies of the night?Smile, Wink & GrinLaughLaughClown

Dave

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Posted by carl425 on Friday, July 28, 2017 8:58 AM

Well, since you preemptively rejected my first suggestion (strippers) here's a few others:

  • Modeling clinics - have the members teach their skills to each other
  • Guest speakers - buy them dinner and a lot of RR employees might be willing to tell you about their job - do it roundtable style so they don't have to prepare anything - just answer questions
  • Build a few task specific carts to carry all the tools and suplplies needed for that task. They can be rolled around the space when construction begins. Maybe a cart for benchwork that holds the chop saw, screws, glues, drills, one customized for storage of track laying tools, one for scenery...
  • Paint the walls
  • Build/install the storage shelves that will be under the layout
  • Start on backdrops
  • Build structures

BTW, I've been following this thread all along and I find it to be an interesting discussion, but I have to say it's confirmed my decision to remain a lone wolf. Smile

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 hon30critter on Saturday, July 29, 2017 1:31 AM

carl425:

Those are some good suggestions!

I particularly like the idea of building some task specific carts so that the necessary tools and supplies are readily at hand when construction is taking place.

Getting the walls painted is currently in the works. We haven't decided on how to do backdrops yet. There are quite a few obstacles like outlet boxes and conduit that would have to be worked around or buried so we are just going to go with a light sky blue for now.

Under track storage will use RubberMaid style totes without shelves. We will implement a retail style inventory control system where there will be a master list showing all the bits and pieces, which tote(s) they are in, and where the totes are located. We have already warned the members that if they don't put stuff back where it belongs they will be super glued to a wall!

We have agreed that we should give all club members the opportunity to learn while the layout is being built.

Before we can start building structures we need to finalize the track plan. The available space is proving to be a challenge in many respects, but we are making progress.  We have several possible yard and locomotive service area plans as well as the Allandale passenger station sort of worked out, but it seems that the hardest part has been including enough industrial and commercial sidings to make operations interesting. We have included elevation differences which a lot of members wanted. We are trying to stick to a 36" min. radius on the visible main line but we may have to compromise on that a bit.

Thanks for your input Carl. We will take the strippers on advisement!LaughLaughLaugh

Cheers!!

Dave

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Posted by hon30critter on Tuesday, August 01, 2017 1:04 AM

The layout design committee had a productive meeting on Monday night.

We have a couple of track plans that show promise and we have posted those so the membership can add their comments and suggestions.

We are going to look at reducing the minimum visible track radius from 36" to 32". The 36" radius return loops and curves eat up a lot of real estate, and they are limiting the space available for sidings and structures. I'm sure many of you are chuckling because you predicted that would happen, but give us a break - we are learning as we go.

Due to conflicting obligations the committee may not be too active during the month of August, but do stay tuned.

Dave

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Posted by richhotrain on Tuesday, August 01, 2017 5:30 AM

No laughter from this quarter. I determined long ago that a 32" radius curve is the ideal compromise for a track intensive layout. Good move, Dave, on the part of your club.  That extra 4" may be critical in providing for additional track needs such as sidings.

Rich

Alton Junction

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Posted by rrebell on Tuesday, August 01, 2017 9:31 AM

You could also go with a smaller radius, much smaller, in areas that will be hidden. Knew one layout where the space for a return loop was just not there as they wanted a 42" radius because they were into passenger trains. They went for the 42" on one side of the loop and something like 27" (if I remember right, may have been even smaller) on the unseen part.

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Posted by Phoebe Vet on Tuesday, August 01, 2017 10:56 AM

You can go tighter curves than the mfgr recommends if you don't mind it derailing frequently.

Dave

Lackawanna Route of the Phoebe Snow

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Posted by hon30critter on Wednesday, August 02, 2017 12:07 AM

Phoebe Vet
You can go tighter curves than the mfgr recommends if you don't mind it derailing frequently.

LaughLaughLaughLaugh

I think we will try to stick with 32" radius on the visible track and 28" radius on hidden track and in the yard.

Dave

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Posted by hon30critter on Wednesday, August 02, 2017 12:17 AM

We showed the members two preliminary track plans on Tuesday evening and they were received quite well. What we didn't get was many suggestions of what people wanted to see at the various sidings.

Both track plans were based on 36" minimum radii. By next Tuesday we hope to have the plans revised to 32" radii and we will shade the specific areas where we want suggestions for industries, towns, passenger stations or whatever. Then we will give the members another couple of weeks to give us any additional input. After that the design committee will make the decisions. We have clearly informed the members that they have their chance to speak up. Anyone who wants to critcize the plan after that will be told that they missed their chance. We have to move forward on this.

Carl425 - everyone thought your suggestion of building carts to keep all the tools and supplies close at hand for each of the various jobs was a good idea.

Dave

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Posted by rrebell on Wednesday, August 02, 2017 10:03 AM

I have carts from Harbor Freight, something like $35 when on sale.

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Posted by hon30critter on Sunday, August 13, 2017 10:55 PM

To keep all of you who are following this thread up to date, I have had second thoughts about using Peco Code 100. Thanks to (edit) Byron (cuyama) I have a much better understanding of Peco Code 83 turnout geometry and it is pretty clear that they are a much better choice for things like crossovers as well as other turnout situations in general. As a result I am in the process of converting my club layout plan to Peco Code 83. So far, so good. The next step will be to convince the layout design committee to go along with me. I will have a go at that on Monday night. I'll keep you posted.

Thanks again Ed!

Cheers!!

Dave

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Posted by hon30critter on Tuesday, August 15, 2017 4:23 AM

We spent quite some time discussing the pros and cons of going with Peco Code 83 on Monday night. The committee members were receptive to the idea, but we decided to do a bit more research before making a final decision. The club has a lot of older rolling stock so we want to have a good understanding of what implications Code 83 may have in that regard.

The two possible track plans have been fairly well refined. I'm going to polish them both so we can present them next week and ask the members to vote.

We are pretty happy with the progress that we have made with the layout designs.

Dave

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Posted by hon30critter on Tuesday, August 15, 2017 10:34 PM

To add to my last post, I want to thank the forum members who have taken the time to contribute to the discussion. Our plans are far further ahead than they would have been had I not had your help.

Thanks,

Dave

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Posted by hon30critter on Wednesday, August 16, 2017 12:23 AM

I just had a very sobering experience. I finally got around to pricing the components for the club layout. Most of my guesses for what the various bits would cost were pretty close, with one major exception. Peco Code 83 turnouts must be made out of gold!! I can get a Peco Code 100 Large Electrofrog turnout for $24.00 Cdn. I can get a Peco Code 83 #8 Electrofrog turnout for $55.99 Cdn. Ouch!! Those prices are before any bulk purchase discounts that we may get, but even if we were to get 20% off (wishful thinking?) the Code 83 price would still be beyond what the club would be willing to spend. That kind of resolves the issue I think, although I will still suggest that we consider using Code 83 turnouts in the crossovers based on cuyama's advice on the track spacing thread.

Darn, that wasted at least a gallon of good rye that I had put back in the last hour!Smile, Wink & GrinLaughLaughLaughDrinks

Dave

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Posted by rrinker on Wednesday, August 16, 2017 7:29 AM

 Woow, that's a huge difference. From Modeltrainstuff the difference between a Code 100 Electrofrog medium and a Code 83 #5 Electrofrog is $18 vs $26. Even the MSRP in USD is not double between the two. Based on USD MSRPs on those, the Code 100 is selling under MSRP in CDN, the Code 83 is selling at or above MSRP in CDN - so someone's pulling a fast one with the Code 83 there.

 So - how far from the US border are you guys? You can basically get the Code 83 in the US for what you pay for the Code 100 locally. It's like Prohibition in reverse - instead of sneaking truckloads of booze from Canada to the US, you'll be sneaking truckloads of model railroad track from the US to Canada. Parts made in England, which maybe makes it more ironic.

                                     --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 Water Level Route on Wednesday, August 16, 2017 8:03 AM

rrinker
It's like Prohibition in reverse - instead of sneaking truckloads of booze from Canada to the US, you'll be sneaking truckloads of model railroad track from the US to Canada. Parts made in England, which maybe makes it more ironic.

LaughThat's hilarious Randy!

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Posted by maxman on Wednesday, August 16, 2017 4:23 PM

Sorry, but I forget.  What exactly was wrong with the Atlas code 83 #8?

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