Subscriber & Member Login

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

The good,the bad & the ugly, what should I do now?

1248 views
25 replies
1 rating 2 rating 3 rating 4 rating 5 rating
  • Member since
    May, 2015
  • 253 posts
The good,the bad & the ugly, what should I do now?
Posted by the old train man on Saturday, July 22, 2017 9:29 AM

First the good, My layout is functional & as near to being finished as I can get it. It has several eight foot spurs,two passing tracks, about one hundred & fifty feet of atlas code 100 track, ten manual atlas switches with hand throws, The trains run fine, I can pull 25 cars backwards around the layout & thru the switches with no derailments, I use dcc wireless, I have installed led lighting,& all track joints have been soldered. Now the bad & the ugly.........The layout is only 39 inches high, Im six feet tall. When I built the layout fifteen years ago, I boarded up the window above the air conditioner with plywood (I was in a hurry to build the layout) so now when I have to replace the air conditioner I will have to tear down that part of the layout down because the train runs in front of it. The layout was built with particle board & two inch by two inch legs,with l brackets against the wall. I have had to shim up track from time to prevent derailments.If I redo the whole layout It will be me alone doing it,I have no help & I am a senior citizen. My switches are the old atlas type about 15 years old or older but they work fine. I use code 100 rail,my curves are 22 inch. I know I can salvage the scenery & buildings & some of the track but the roadbed & some of the switches will bite the dust. By the way,my wife thinks Im crazy to even consider building a new layout. So what should I do? Take the plunge & build a new layout with less of the problems mentioned above or be happy with the layout as is?Tongue Tied 

  • Member since
    December, 2004
  • From: Bedford, MA, USA
  • 17,257 posts
Posted by MisterBeasley on Saturday, July 22, 2017 10:42 AM

Well, my friend, you now have the wisdom of age.  You have learned many things NOT to do.  I'm in the same situation.  My layout would be better about 6 inches taller, too.  I build mine low because I've got the 45-degree roofline problem, and every inch higher I made my layout would have cost me two inches in width, so I compromised.

I'm taking down my layout now because I'm moving.  I look forward to a new space and re-arranging what I have to be a more functional railroad.

I'm retired but my girlfriend is still working, so I'll have time on my hands for a while.  I don't mind the effort or the challenge.  I say go for it.  It's been keeping me young for years.

It takes an iron man to play with a toy iron horse. 

  • Member since
    March, 2009
  • From: Just south of the drift ice barrier
  • 9,534 posts
Posted by Sir Madog on Saturday, July 22, 2017 10:43 AM

No other person than you yourself will be able to answer that question!

But before you do, you need to think about one more question. Aside from the height issue, are you happy with the layout the way it is? I mean really happy?

If you need more than a second to answer that question, there is your answer for your problem!

   Ulrich     

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


  • Member since
    September, 2004
  • From: Dearborn Station
  • 16,277 posts
Posted by richhotrain on Saturday, July 22, 2017 10:55 AM

the old train man

The layout is only 39 inches high, Im six feet tall. When I built the layout fifteen years ago, I boarded up the window above the air conditioner with plywood (I was in a hurry to build the layout) so now when I have to replace the air conditioner I will have to tear down that part of the layout down because the train runs in front of it. 

OK, so the layout is 39" high, and you are 6 foot tall. So far, so good. I am 6' tall, my layout is 36" high, and that combination works just fine.

How high is the air conditioner? Is it mounted below the window or in the window frame? How much of the window is boarded up?

Tell us more about the window and air conditioner.  Dimensions, height, width.

Rich

Alton Junction

  • Member since
    December, 2004
  • From: Bedford, MA, USA
  • 17,257 posts
Posted by MisterBeasley on Saturday, July 22, 2017 10:56 AM

Ulrich is right.  Ask yourself some questions.  How often do you run your trains, just to "railfan," or how often do you do switching or operations?  When I ask myself those questions, I realized one thing:  I'm a "builder."  I get the most satisfaction from my railroad when I'm building something, adding scenery, wiring turnouts, weathering freight cars.  Once it's done, I play with it a while, then ask, "What's next?"  So, the idea of re-building my layout is exciting to me, and something to look forward to.

It takes an iron man to play with a toy iron horse. 

  • Member since
    January, 2014
  • 350 posts
Posted by ROBERT PETRICK on Saturday, July 22, 2017 11:09 AM

MisterBeasley

Ulrich is right.  Ask yourself some questions.  How often do you run your trains, just to "railfan," or how often do you do switching or operations?  When I ask myself those questions, I realized one thing:  I'm a "builder."  I get the most satisfaction from my railroad when I'm building something, adding scenery, wiring turnouts, weathering freight cars.  Once it's done, I play with it a while, then ask, "What's next?"  So, the idea of re-building my layout is exciting to me, and something to look forward to.

I tend to agree with this. Fifteen years is a pretty good run. You have a chance to learn from your mistakes. You don't have to take a sledgehammer and remove the whole shebang at once. You can replace things one section at a time. Maybe add a temporary return loop here and there so that you can continue to operate on the un-refurbished sections until the new ones are up and running.

And BTW, 39 inches is not horribly bad; it's the MDF (particle board) that would worry me.

Good luck.

Robert

LINK to SNSR Blog

  • Member since
    May, 2015
  • 253 posts
Posted by the old train man on Saturday, July 22, 2017 11:17 AM

Rich,the air conditioner is about ten inches below the layout unit but I have to raise the window to remove it & the layout is too  close to the unit to get to it. If I take the plywood out of the top of the window & remove that portion of the layout I then will be able to raise the window to get the unit out. If I build a new layout I will still run my trains in front of the unit but I will allow enough clearance so I can easily get to the unit. The reason I put plywood at the top of the window is to cut down on the afternoon sun heating things up. The layout is upstairs right below the attic. 

  • Member since
    February, 2007
  • From: Shenandoah Valley The Home Of Patsy Cline
  • 1,748 posts
Posted by superbe on Saturday, July 22, 2017 12:31 PM

I'm confused. The layout is 39" high and the A/C is 10" below the layout. That would put the window sill and the A/C just above the floor.

Is this correct?

Bob

  • Member since
    May, 2015
  • 253 posts
Posted by the old train man on Saturday, July 22, 2017 12:37 PM

Bob,Yes it is.

  • Member since
    September, 2004
  • From: Dearborn Station
  • 16,277 posts
Posted by richhotrain on Saturday, July 22, 2017 2:05 PM

the old train man

so now when I have to replace the air conditioner I will have to tear down that part of the layout down because the train runs in front of it. 

Let me ask you this question.

Do you need to replace the air conditioner now?

Or is this a future concern?

Rich

Alton Junction

  • Member since
    January, 2010
  • From: Chi-Town
  • 6,723 posts
Posted by zstripe on Saturday, July 22, 2017 2:09 PM

Old train man,

How wide is the layout in front of the AC.......lot of trackwork etc? Is it possible to cut a path through the benchwork, make both sides stationary and use two lift out sections in the cut-out. Sounds like a lot of work...but beats starting all over, unless Your not happy with the present layout per Ulrich's suggestion.

I took sections out of My layout about three yrs. ago, but I had built it in sections just so it could be moved after I'm gone. Gave it to the two youngest of My 8 Grandkids. The size had just become too much for one person and I don't care what anyone will say about age...until at least they experience it.....the mind says yes, but the body says no, on not just the layout. I was pretty healthy and basically still am....I just can't do what I want all the time. I will be 75 in three months am a disabled Vietnam vet and it's caught up to Me.

Entirely Your call on replacing......only You know Your vehicle (body).

Take Care! Big Smile

Frank

 

  • Member since
    May, 2015
  • 253 posts
Posted by the old train man on Saturday, July 22, 2017 2:38 PM

Rich, the air cond. is 15 years old & it could go at anytime,just thinking about the future.

  • Member since
    May, 2015
  • 253 posts
Posted by the old train man on Saturday, July 22, 2017 2:45 PM

Frank, Im a little older than you are so hang in there. I thought about the lift out but it may be more trouble than its worth.  I could tear out in front of the window enough to bring track close to the outside edge but thats a lot of work also.

  • Member since
    September, 2004
  • From: Dearborn Station
  • 16,277 posts
Posted by richhotrain on Saturday, July 22, 2017 3:21 PM

the old train man

Rich, the air cond. is 15 years old & it could go at anytime,just thinking about the future.

 

What's that old saying?

If it ain't broke, don't fix it.

Leave it be.

When the time comes, I like Frank's idea. Cut out a path to the window, replace the A/C, and replace the cutout section of the layout.

Rich

Alton Junction

  • Member since
    May, 2015
  • 253 posts
Posted by the old train man on Saturday, July 22, 2017 6:02 PM

Rich, you have a very credible point, thanks to all for input.

  • Member since
    September, 2004
  • From: Dearborn Station
  • 16,277 posts
Posted by richhotrain on Sunday, July 23, 2017 4:22 AM

Any way that you can photograph the site?

Rich

Alton Junction

  • Member since
    January, 2014
  • From: Cresskill, NJ USA
  • 534 posts
Posted by gdelmoro on Sunday, July 23, 2017 6:33 AM

Can you work from the outside? If you can remove the interior parts usually you fan then pull it through. You will need 2 people.

Gary

  • Member since
    May, 2015
  • 253 posts
Posted by the old train man on Tuesday, July 25, 2017 6:03 PM

Well, I just looked at the layout real close & I found out half of the layout was laid without roadbed, just ballast , that bothers me, so should I rip up half the layout just to put cork roadbed under it or grit my teeth & bare it or build a new layout? Your input would be appreciated.Confused

  • Member since
    September, 2004
  • From: Dearborn Station
  • 16,277 posts
Posted by richhotrain on Tuesday, July 25, 2017 7:07 PM

OK, Old Train Man, you are starting to get on my nerves.  Laugh

Just kidding.

Let's fact it, there is no way you're gonna grin and bear it, especially with that 15-year old air conditioner driving you nuts.

And, it would be foolish to take up half the layout to lay road bed, knowing that sooner or later, the air conditioner is going to go kaput, requiring more of the layout to be removed.

So, the answer is staring you in the face.

Tear down the layout, remove and replace old air conditioner, and then build a new layout.  Yes

Rich

Alton Junction

  • Member since
    May, 2015
  • 253 posts
Posted by the old train man on Tuesday, July 25, 2017 7:43 PM

Rich, I know your right but it is easier said than done. I guess Ill bite the  bullet  & start the tear down ,  one  inch at a time ,I get tired just looking at whats before me, thanks Rich.

  • Member since
    March, 2009
  • From: Just south of the drift ice barrier
  • 9,534 posts
Posted by Sir Madog on Tuesday, July 25, 2017 7:50 PM

Before you tear down your current layout, start to make plans for your new layout!

   Ulrich     

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


  • Member since
    May, 2015
  • 253 posts
Posted by the old train man on Tuesday, July 25, 2017 8:02 PM

Sir Madog, Im ahead of you,  I have been planning just in case for three weeks now.

  • Member since
    September, 2004
  • From: Dearborn Station
  • 16,277 posts
Posted by richhotrain on Tuesday, July 25, 2017 8:10 PM

the old train man

Rich, I know your right but it is easier said than done. I guess Ill bite the  bullet  & start the tear down ,  one  inch at a time ,I get tired just looking at whats before me, thanks Rich.

 

Remember that old saying.

It is darkest just before the dawn.

When you first raised the issue of the aging air conditioner, my inclination was to recommend leaving it alone.

But with this latest revelation about the missing road bed, it becomes a matter of time until this current layout needs to be dismantled.

Which brings up another old saying. There is no time like the present.

And, we aren't getting any younger.

So, quickly mourn the old, and then start the new.

Rich

Alton Junction

  • Member since
    January, 2017
  • From: Southern Florida Gulf Coast
  • 567 posts
Posted by SeeYou190 on Tuesday, July 25, 2017 8:20 PM

How to find out what you really want:

.

Flip a coin, heads tear it down, tails keep it.

.

Now look at the coin, are you happy with the result, or disappointed? Now you know what you really wanted.

.

This does not really work, but it is fun.

.

Good luck with your dillema.

.

-Kevin

.

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

  • Member since
    May, 2015
  • 253 posts
Posted by the old train man on Monday, July 31, 2017 9:49 AM

Zstripe was right...........I was in the process of removing some of the layout & it became painfully apparent that I was not able to do the whole layout over ,so I redid part of it & that will have to do, as far as thr air conditioner is concerned, when it goes out  Ill get it fixed, thanks all ,  gotta soak my back some more now......Ick!

  • Member since
    January, 2010
  • From: Chi-Town
  • 6,723 posts
Posted by zstripe on Tuesday, August 01, 2017 9:10 AM

the old train man

Zstripe was right...........I was in the process of removing some of the layout & it became painfully apparent that I was not able to do the whole layout over ,so I redid part of it & that will have to do, as far as thr air conditioner is concerned, when it goes out  Ill get it fixed, thanks all ,  gotta soak my back some more now......Ick!

 

What can I say?......The mind says yes and the body says No...and You said You are a little older than 75.....good luck My Friend. I do a lot of different things still in My life...but it sure takes a lot longer...at times painful....in My case....more so at times...do to My gift from Vietnam. I don't take the pain pills I am supplied with..only when pain becomes highly unbearable for the drugs are addictive and I really do not want to become dependant on them.....I'd rather keep My senses.

Take Care! Big Smile

Frank

Subscriber & Member Login

Login, or register today to interact in our online community, comment on articles, receive our newsletter, manage your account online and more!
Popular on ModelRailroader.com
Model Railroader Newsletter See all
Sign up for our FREE e-newsletter and get model railroad news in your inbox!
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT

Search the Community

Users Online

ADVERTISEMENT
Find us on Facebook