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!

One large RR vs multiple small RRs

2314 views
33 replies
1 rating 2 rating 3 rating 4 rating 5 rating
  • Member since
    December 2018
  • 41 posts
One large RR vs multiple small RRs
Posted by schief on Sunday, November 3, 2019 8:27 PM

Growing up browsing the pages of Model Railroader, I dreamed of one day having a big basement to build an empire.

Now that I have a basement to fit those needs, the idea of making a huge railroad to fill it up seems like a task I would probably never complete.   In reality, I could go back and forth trying to decide on a scale, era, theme etc forever.

I find myself thinking about building several small railroads and the idea is becoming more and more appealing all the time.  I enjoy the modeling of scenes aspect as opposed to operation so this seems like a way to have my cake and eat it to.  Whatever scale or theme I desire, I can build and have a reasonable amount of work done in a reasonable amount of time.

Has anybody else here taken this approach?  If so, what size of layout do you typically do?

  • Member since
    January 2009
  • 4,263 posts
Posted by RR_Mel on Sunday, November 3, 2019 9:04 PM

My first train was Lionel 027 in the basement of our family home.  My dad gave it to me for my 8th Christmas present.  We built a fairly large layout in the basement.  Didn’t last very long as my dad was transferred to El Paso TX four years later in 1949, no basements in El Paso so I used a room in our garage for my layout.  I swapped gauges in 1951 to HO, smaller room smaller train.
 
I moved to Alamogordo NM shortly after I married, no basements there either.  We moved to Bakersfield in 1985 again no basements.
 
So my dream large layout has turned out to be 14’ x 10’ in our two car garage.  I have always been envious of the big layouts on the Forum but I’m very happy with my current and last layout.
 
I’m also a scenery guy and I doubt if my small layout will ever make it to even close to finished so I’m happy not having a large layout.
 
 
Mel
 
 
My Model Railroad   
 
Bakersfield, California
 
I'm beginning to realize that aging is not for wimps.
 
  • Member since
    January 2009
  • From: Maryland
  • 8,447 posts
Posted by ATLANTIC CENTRAL on Sunday, November 3, 2019 9:40 PM

schief

Growing up browsing the pages of Model Railroader, I dreamed of one day having a big basement to build an empire.

Now that I have a basement to fit those needs, the idea of making a huge railroad to fill it up seems like a task I would probably never complete.   In reality, I could go back and forth trying to decide on a scale, era, theme etc forever.

I find myself thinking about building several small railroads and the idea is becoming more and more appealing all the time.  I enjoy the modeling of scenes aspect as opposed to operation so this seems like a way to have my cake and eat it to.  Whatever scale or theme I desire, I can build and have a reasonable amount of work done in a reasonable amount of time.

Has anybody else here taken this approach?  If so, what size of layout do you typically do?

 

Well, if you can decide on a scale, basic theme and single era, you can approach building a large layout as several smaller ones connected together if you design it right.

And if you never build it all, so what?

Large layouts can be planned to be built in phases.

And, a large layout can be planned to operate in sections.

On my new layout the main yard and industrial area could be considered an ISL (industrial switching layout) all by itself, and I plan to build that first and get it operational before filling the rest of the 1400 sq ft with double track mainline.

Even after the mainline is complete, the yard and industries will be able to be operated without ever taking a train out on the mainline.

After I build the yard, industrial area, engine terminal and passenger terminal, the next leg of the layout will take me to a wye and a 10 track hidden staging yard. That will greatly expand operations long before the mainline is complete.

Eventually the layout will go all the way around the basement, with two large peninsulas, and stage about 30 trains.

Sheldon

  

    

  • Member since
    July 2006
  • From: Bradford, Ontario
  • 10,335 posts
Posted by hon30critter on Sunday, November 3, 2019 11:07 PM

Hi schief,

How many man hours does it take to build a layout? Here is one example:

Our club's new layout was started just over two years ago. We are now at the point where scenery has begun. The layout is 20' x 25' and there is a little over 600' of track including +-100 Tortoise equipped turnouts. DCC by the way.

The layout has typically been worked on during our weekly 2 hour Tuesday night sessions where there might be an average of six people doing the work. In addition to that a few individuals have been coming in for a few hours throughout the week. Not every Tuesday night was a work night. We hold monthly business meetings which may or may not take up most of the evening, and we have other tasks like maintaining the portable layout and getting ready for train shows several times a year.

I'm going to make a wild guess and say that the layout has taken somewhere between 1500 - 2000 hours to get to this point. If you are working by yourself that is the equivalent of full time work for a year. That doesn't sound particularly doable even if you are retired and have nothing else to do. However, over four years that works out to about 500 hours per year, or less than 10 hours per week. If you have some help obviously things will go faster, but you also need to add some breaks into the equation too or you might burn yourself out.

Keep in mind that this is a pretty loose estimate, and it only gets you to the beginning of doing scenery. Given your preferences that might be too long to wait before you can do any real scenery.

I'm not sure if any of the above is helpful, or just adding to the confusion. I hope the former.

Dave

  • Member since
    June 2003
  • From: Culpeper, Va
  • 7,948 posts
Posted by IRONROOSTER on Sunday, November 3, 2019 11:27 PM

My first layouts were all small - 4x8, 6x6 1/2, 4x8.  Then 11x19 and 11x23.  Then 11x31 followed by a break to build a 5x12 for a Lionel layout my grandson could run.  There were probably some others I have forgotten.

And now what will probably be the last large one at 13 1/2 x 36.

None of these have been finished, but I have enjoyed working on them all.

I also currently have a small 5x12 where I can try out stuff.

This is a hobby - do what appeals to you.  You can always do something else later.

Paul

If you're having fun, you're doing it the right way.
  • Member since
    September 2004
  • From: Dearborn Station
  • 18,300 posts
Posted by richhotrain on Monday, November 4, 2019 4:29 AM

schief
Growing up browsing the pages of Model Railroader, I dreamed of one day having a big basement to build an empire. 

Now that I have a basement to fit those needs, I find myself thinking about building several small railroads and the idea is becoming more and more appealing all the time.  

The idea of building several small layouts in one large space holds no appeal to me. You now have the large basement that you have always dreamed about, so make the leap and start building a large layout. 

You are faced with two obstacles. One, the idea of making a huge railroad to fill it up seems like a task that you would probably never complete.   Two, you could go back and forth forever trying to decide on a scale, era and theme. 

Let's tackle each obstacle, beginning first with the issue of scale, era and theme. Why would it take you forever to decide? It seems to me that just thinking about real railroads, what first comes to mind? Steam or diesel?  Early 20th Century, mid-Century, or late 20th Century? Urban or countryside? Mountains or desert? As for scale, make it easy on yourself. Rule out N scale as too small and O scale as too large, whether that is, in fact, true or false. That leaves HO scale, arguably the most popular scale.  OK, that didn't take forever. You are ready to build the layout. 

Now, it's time to tackle the second obstacle. The idea of building a large layout to fill up the big basement seems like a task that you would probably never complete.  So, build it in stages. A large layout in a large basement will probably include a double mainline, staging, sidings and yards, whatever. Start out with the mainline section and start framing. You can always add the staging later. Same for the yards and sidings. The idea is to get trains running, well before layout construction is complete. I am now 18 months into building a large layout. I am not even close to landscaping, ballasting, detailing. But, I have had trains running for months now. 

But, wait, you say, that will take forever. I will never get done. Well, hey, welcome to the club. None of us is ever done building our layout. I will tell you this. If you decide to build, say, 6 smaller layouts, you will never be done with any of them.

Rich

Alton Junction

  • Member since
    July 2009
  • From: somerset, nj
  • 2,725 posts
Posted by gregc on Monday, November 4, 2019 5:07 AM

with plans to move i was considering a somewhat modular approach.  possibly 6' or more/less scenicked modules of a station or industry connected with unsceniced splines.

would allow me to focus on a module.   the arrangement of modules can change as new modules added.

greg - Philadelphia & Reading / Reading

  • Member since
    February 2002
  • From: Reading, PA
  • 26,697 posts
Posted by rrinker on Monday, November 4, 2019 7:15 AM

 How about one large layout composed of interconnected scenes? Or is it that even though you can't decide on an era or location, you still don't want a layout where the trains are going through high desert with an Old West mining town and then roll into a modern urban scene? 

 Having multiple small layouts may seem appealing, but this also limits the curve radius and other things that will restrict the equipment and train length. If you make it as all one big layout, you will be able to do whatever - run long trains, run short trians, build the curves large enough to handle the biggest modern equipment all the way down to little turn of the century stuff, etc. No one has to pick one locale or era, there aren't model railroad police to come arrest you for mixing things up. Some might take exception if you say your layout is set in New England, but you have the Rockies modeled. But if one scene is New England, and over on another part the trains run through the Colorado Rockies, it's far from the end of the world. It's your railroad, build it how you want. Plenty of layouts have represented a railroad that runs coast to coast, with widely varied scenes.

                              --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
    January 2009
  • From: Maryland
  • 8,447 posts
Posted by ATLANTIC CENTRAL on Monday, November 4, 2019 11:53 AM

To follow up on my own comments and on some of what Randy said, there is one important point that we both suggested but did not say directly.

Size and complexity are two different issues. You can build a large layout, but keep it simple.

Example, you can build an 8 track, double ended freight yard, and it has the same "complexity" at 12' long or 20' long. If you have the space, why not build it a more realistic 20' long.

A large but simple layout will be easier to build and your trains will look better.

Sheldon

    

  • Member since
    December 2008
  • From: In the heart of Georgia
  • 3,343 posts
Posted by Doughless on Monday, November 4, 2019 12:18 PM

I think it is a great idea, especially to explore different eras and themes.

I'm building a modern era shelf switching layout around two walls of a single garage.  Total space is about 25x13, which leaves about 22 x 10 in the middle.

Some day, when life simplifies and I can use the middle of the space, I will either add a peninsula to the layout to fill the center, or, recently I've been thinking about simply building a different layout in the middle. 

About an 18x6 island layout depicting logging or lumber in the SE USA about 1960, to go along with my 2010 modern switching layout around the walls. 

- Douglas

  • Member since
    December 2001
  • From: Northern CA Bay Area
  • 4,089 posts
Posted by cuyama on Monday, November 4, 2019 5:34 PM

schief
I find myself thinking about building several small railroads and the idea is becoming more and more appealing all the time.

If you would like to have continuous-running options, staging, etc., one of the challenges with this approach is that you end up with a lot of turnback curves or blobs for a given amount of straight track, since each layout independently will need them. In turn, this will usually limit the minimum radius.

A more efficient approach that I have used on a couple of custom plans is to share staging, turnback curves, etc. among several different featured scenes, perhaps set on different tiers.

It requires more planning ahead of time, but the benefits are significant.

schief
In reality, I could go back and forth trying to decide on a scale, era, theme etc forever.

If you have not yet even chosen a scale; that would seem to limit the possibilities of getting started. The choices are up to you, of course, but winnowing down at least some of these elements would pay real dividends in savings of time and money.

Good luck with your layout.

Byron

  • Member since
    December 2018
  • 41 posts
Posted by schief on Monday, November 4, 2019 9:51 PM

Thank you for all the input everyone. There are certainly some great points to consider in my planning. A modular approach is something I have thought about. The appeal is it makes a smaller bite to chew on.

I have also been looking at some railroads that take a shadow box approach. They look like an visually interesting way to provide focus on a scene. It also seems possible to better separate scenes allowing me to add some variation if I felt like it.

My biggest hurdle currently is scale. I am bouncing between HO and On30, size vs detail. I wish for continuous running. On30 equipment seems to be pretty short in length so I imagine required turn radius would be about the same between scales. Is this correct? If so, it comes down to how detailed I can make a scene vs how many scenes can fit in a space. Industry, like a factory with a siding is falling under my definition of a scene. A small town and a port are also on my wishlist. Perhaps I should scale up some cardboard buildings and get an idea of what kind of space I am looking at needing. As far as staging, it isn't an immediate concern for me as I wouldn't have much equipment starting out. If taking a modular approach, planning for a staging module seems easy enough to add later.

Thank you all for letting me think out loud here.

  • Member since
    January 2009
  • From: Maryland
  • 8,447 posts
Posted by ATLANTIC CENTRAL on Monday, November 4, 2019 10:07 PM

schief

Thank you for all the input everyone. There are certainly some great points to consider in my planning. A modular approach is something I have thought about. The appeal is it makes a smaller bite to chew on.

I have also been looking at some railroads that take a shadow box approach. They look like an visually interesting way to provide focus on a scene. It also seems possible to better separate scenes allowing me to add some variation if I felt like it.

My biggest hurdle currently is scale. I am bouncing between HO and On30, size vs detail. I wish for continuous running. On30 equipment seems to be pretty short in length so I imagine required turn radius would be about the same between scales. Is this correct? If so, it comes down to how detailed I can make a scene vs how many scenes can fit in a space. Industry, like a factory with a siding is falling under my definition of a scene. A small town and a port are also on my wishlist. Perhaps I should scale up some cardboard buildings and get an idea of what kind of space I am looking at needing. As far as staging, it isn't an immediate concern for me as I wouldn't have much equipment starting out. If taking a modular approach, planning for a staging module seems easy enough to add later.

Thank you all for letting me think out loud here.

 

If your interests center around the "branch line" nature of narrow gauge type railroading, the you should go for the On30.

You are correct the turning radius and such are very similar to HO, but you have 1/4" scale scenery.

Sheldon

    

  • Member since
    July 2006
  • From: Bradford, Ontario
  • 10,335 posts
Posted by hon30critter on Monday, November 4, 2019 10:45 PM

schief
I am bouncing between HO and On30, size vs detail. I wish for continuous running. On30 equipment seems to be pretty short in length so I imagine required turn radius would be about the same between scales. Is this correct?

Hi again schief,

If you have a lot of space to work with I would suggest that you not worry about "required" (i.e. minimum) radii but instead think about how big you can make the curves. Your trains will look better on larger curves regardless of the scale.

I realize that pushes you towards building one large layout, but with a larger layout you don't have to have a different scene every few feet. That speeds up the required build time significantly. I think that with On30, taking the "less is more" approach would result in a very nice layout. Being able to watch a train run through 15' - 20' of uninterrupted scenery appeals to me. Few people have the space to do it.

My 2 Cents

Dave

  • Member since
    December 2001
  • From: Northern CA Bay Area
  • 4,089 posts
Posted by cuyama on Tuesday, November 5, 2019 10:40 AM

ATLANTIC CENTRAL
You are correct the turning radius and such are very similar to HO, but you have 1/4" scale scenery.

Building on Sheldon's comment, this means that the same structure would be roughly four times the area in O than in HO. So one must plan for this in terms of overall size, obviously, but also reach and access. On30 radii and railcars are compact, but the rest of the layout isn't, necessarily.

  • Member since
    April 2018
  • From: 53° 33′ N, 10° 0′ E
  • 1,586 posts
Posted by Tinplate Toddler on Tuesday, November 5, 2019 1:33 PM
ManfacturerModelManufacturer
Recommended
Radius
Reported to
Operate at
(may need
adjustments)
Bachmann On30 2-6-0 Mogul 18" or greater 12"
Bachmann On30 0-4-0 Porter 12" or greater 6"
Bachmann On30 0-4-2 Porter 15" or greater 9"
Bachmann On30 2-4-4-2 Articulated 18" or greater  
Bachmann On30 2-6-6-2 Articulated 18" or greater 18"
Bachmann On30 Baldwin 4-6-0 22" or greater 17"
Bachmann On30 14-ton Two-Truck Stearns Heisler 15" or greater
Bachmann On30 1890's 4-4-0 American Inside Frame 18" or greater 15"
Bachmann On30 Modern 4-4-0 American Outside Frame 18" or greater 15"
Bachmann On30 2-4-4 Forney Inside/Outside Frame 22" or greater 18"
Bachmann On30 28-Ton Two-Truck Class B Climax 18" or greater 12"
Bachmann On30 Two Truck Shay 18" or greater 15"
Bachmann On30 2-8-0 Outside Frame 22" or greater 12"-18"
Bachmann On30 0-6-0 18" or greater
 
Bachmann On30 Rail Truck 18" or greater 10"
Bachmann On30 Rail Bus & Trailer 18" or greater 18"
Bachmann On30 Closed Street Car 15" or greater 3"
 
Bachmann On30 0-4-0 Side Rod Gas Mechanical 12" or greater 6"
Bachmann On30 Whitcomb 50-ton Center Cab 15" or greater
 
Broadway Limited On30 C-16 2-8-0 18" or greater 15"
 
Precision Scale Co
(MMI)
On30 K27 2-8-2 26" or greater 26"

 

Happy times!

Ulrich (aka The Tin Man)

"You´re never too old for a happy childhood!"

  • Member since
    November 2013
  • 873 posts
Posted by snjroy on Tuesday, November 5, 2019 3:04 PM

Interesting discussion... I have two layouts, one that is permanent (trackwork is complete, scenery is coming up), and one that is a portable O scale layout that is 90% complete. The first layout is smallish (shelf, around the wall layout in a 11'X7' room), the other portable one is stored sideways in the garage for shows. When the kids leave the nest, I am hoping that one of their rooms will become my O scale room (will depend on my wife's own secret plans of course). I like both O and HO, which is why two small layouts make sense for me.

Now if I was into HO and ON30, I would consider doing a single layout with a few removable structures to change scales (you can cheat a bit with the size of the trees). Another option is to play with the optics and do a two level layout, with ON30 on the first level, and HO at the higher level, with the illusion of distance. I think that would be very cool!

Simon 

  • Member since
    December 2018
  • 41 posts
Posted by schief on Tuesday, November 5, 2019 8:09 PM

I've been pondering on this some more, and I'm probably gonna lose some of you along the way (lol) but here is how my line of thinking went. I'm not at the point of building a big empire yet. I have so much to learn and so many ideas undecided I don't really know where to start. I do know that whatever scale I choose, I will still want to build some stand alone dioramas in the other. It's my favorite part of all this. There are a handful of HO kits I just hanker to build. I also love modeling in 1/48 scale, the detail, the figures, etc and I have been wanting to attempt scratch building structures in that.

So anyways, onto the railroad. I do have ho scale equipment from when I was younger. I set some of it up under the tree around my grandmother's old Christmas village every year. It is too small scale wise for the village. Nobody else cares but it drives me nuts. I'm sure that is something you all relate too. Anyways, it isn't the greatest equipment, toy quality I guess. But, using what you have is better than not using what you don't have I suppose. So I thought, why not build a six or eight foot shelf and just do something. It can have some switching. I can get some feel for how well structures and scenery work in the background and foreground. I can run some trains, get some experience and model. If I decide to add to it later, I can. If I decide to scrap it and start over, not much lost. I actually like the presentation of a shelf layout other than it lacks continous running, but we can't always have everything in life.

I will still do some modeling in 1/48 scale, dioramas and such to set on a shelf. I also have been thinking for several years now of getting a On30 engine and some cars to run around the tree at Christmas to better fit the village size wise. Then I thought (and here is where I probably start losing some folks) If i'm going to build some 1/48 scenes anyways, and I have a few On30 cars for the tree, why not just get some track and build another shelf. It isn't much more of an investment at that point. I will gain experience in how things fit together and take up space in that scale and someday when I decide to do something bigger, I'll have a pretty good feel for which scale I want to continue with. Not much lost.

So for those still following, here is where you'll probably call to get off at the next stop. I thought if i have two shelves of equal size, why not put them back to back where you can only see one side at a time. I have the space. It will make a nice display my family can come walk around and ooh and ahh. Then I thought, if HO and On30 can technically run on the same size track, why not add a curve module at each end. I would then have an HO shelf with continous running and potentially a hidden staging track behind it. I would also have a continous running On30 shelf layout with a hidden staging track behind it.   In theory.   I'm sure this will be enough to keep me modeling for several years at least. When the time comes, I can keep one and scrap the other. OR scrap them both to build something bigger with experience under my belt and a better understanding of what I want. Or fates forbid, what if I love the idea so much, I just pull a curve module out farther and continue both railroads?

I'm sure most of you are now shaking your heads and asking "why?" I'm kinda asking "why not?" It beats doing nothing.

  • Member since
    December 2018
  • 41 posts
Posted by schief on Tuesday, November 5, 2019 8:22 PM

Ulrich, (I messed up adding the quote of your radius list to the reply.)

This is awesome information.  Thank you!

  • Member since
    November 2013
  • 873 posts
Posted by snjroy on Tuesday, November 5, 2019 10:06 PM

I think that as long as you are doing something, and having fun, then you would be doing it the right way. Post some pictures if you can, we don't have many contributions here that deal with On30...

Simon

  • Member since
    April 2018
  • From: 53° 33′ N, 10° 0′ E
  • 1,586 posts
Posted by Tinplate Toddler on Tuesday, November 5, 2019 11:13 PM

Despite running on HO track (which, btw, looks a little ridiculous due to the tie spacing), On30 requires quite a bigger clearance than HO. On30 engines are wider and taller than HO scale engines, i.e. won´t fit through an HO scale tunnel portal or bridge.

Happy times!

Ulrich (aka The Tin Man)

"You´re never too old for a happy childhood!"

  • Member since
    July 2006
  • From: Bradford, Ontario
  • 10,335 posts
Posted by hon30critter on Wednesday, November 6, 2019 3:07 AM

schief
I thought if i have two shelves of equal size, why not put them back to back where you can only see one side at a time. I have the space. It will make a nice display my family can come walk around and ooh and ahh. Then I thought, if HO and On30 can technically run on the same size track, why not add a curve module at each end. I would then have an HO shelf with continous running and potentially a hidden staging track behind it. I would also have a continous running On30 shelf layout with a hidden staging track behind it.

Hi schief,

I think that the idea of having two different scale shelf layouts back to back with continuous running capabilities, and staging tracks as a bonus, is brilliant!!! It certainly seems to accomodate many of your concepts.

When do you start?Smile, Wink & Grin I can hardly wait!

Dave

  • Member since
    December 2018
  • 41 posts
Posted by schief on Wednesday, November 6, 2019 6:49 AM

Tinplate Toddler

Despite running on HO track (which, btw, looks a little ridiculous due to the tie spacing), On30 requires quite a bigger clearance than HO. On30 engines are wider and taller than HO scale engines, i.e. won´t fit through an HO scale tunnel portal or bridge.

 

 

I realize that.  I would use track with proper tie spacing on the On30 side. When running an On30 train, the HO side would only be a means for the train to pass around the back.  I would not be looking at it from that side other than maybe having something staged to reenter the scene.  

On the HO side, I would need to make sure a main track that goes through the entire shelf had enough clearance for the On30 train to pass through.  Perhaps that means hiding a tunnel entrance behind a small hill or structure or something. I'm sure I'll come across many more puzzles to solve as I build, which most railroads probably present at some point during construction.  Part of the fun I guess.

  • Member since
    December 2018
  • 41 posts
Posted by schief on Wednesday, November 6, 2019 6:54 AM

hon30critter

 

 
schief
I thought if i have two shelves of equal size, why not put them back to back where you can only see one side at a time. I have the space. It will make a nice display my family can come walk around and ooh and ahh. Then I thought, if HO and On30 can technically run on the same size track, why not add a curve module at each end. I would then have an HO shelf with continous running and potentially a hidden staging track behind it. I would also have a continous running On30 shelf layout with a hidden staging track behind it.

 

Hi schief,

I think that the idea of having two different scale shelf layouts back to back with continuous running capabilities, and staging tracks as a bonus, is brilliant!!! It certainly seems to accomodate many of your concepts.

When do you start?Smile, Wink & Grin I can hardly wait!

Dave

 

 

Probably at the start of the new year I'll begin building one of the shelf modules.   I may do six foot, or plan for eight foot using two four foot sections.  Starting out I'll just build one of them until I have something somewhat functional.  There will probably be some refinements before I duplicate the sections.

  • Member since
    July 2006
  • From: Bradford, Ontario
  • 10,335 posts
Posted by hon30critter on Wednesday, November 6, 2019 11:41 PM

schief
Probably at the start of the new year I'll begin building one of the shelf modules.

scheif, I wasn't trying to push you. I'm just eager to see your concept develop.

If you want continuous running how will you do the return loops at each end of the shelves? Those will take some space even with tight radii.

Dave

  • Member since
    December 2018
  • 41 posts
Posted by schief on Thursday, November 7, 2019 8:47 PM

hon30critter

 

 
 

 

scheif, I wasn't trying to push you. I'm just eager to see your concept develop.

If you want continuous running how will you do the return loops at each end of the shelves? Those will take some space even with tight radii.

Dave

 

No worries Dave, I didn't feel you were pushing at all.   I guess it will look like a bit of a dogbone island.  What I imagined was the one side is a shelf layout where the train runs through, goes around the turn and uses the shelf on the opposite side to travel down and reenter the scene from the start.  The back side can also stage some cars.  When I want to run the other scale RR, everything switches roles.  I don't intend to have any long engines or cars so I will probably build to the minimum radius.  The actual shelf part will be the focal point.

It may work, or not.  Really I just want to make two separate small railroads as a means to try things out and learn, and have a place to put structures I build.  I thought this may be an idea to allow that while getting the benefit of continous running when I want while sharing some resources. If nothing else I will learn how to build with modules.  I won't have an investment in tons of engines or rolling stock.  It will probably be scrapped at some point once I have a better idea of what I want.  I most likely will even move on something bigger before I get finished.  I feel that for me, it is time to build something to be hands and stop sitting around drawing on paper and wadding it up in the trash forever. I think a lot of us often do nothing in this hobby because the "big dream" picture is way too daunting at first.  Or, we sometimes take too big of a bite and get frustrated.

  • Member since
    July 2006
  • From: Bradford, Ontario
  • 10,335 posts
Posted by hon30critter on Friday, November 8, 2019 12:12 AM

schief
I feel that for me, it is time to build something to be hands and stop sitting around drawing on paper and wadding it up in the trash forever. I think a lot of us often do nothing in this hobby because the "big dream" picture is way too daunting at first.

I had great plans for a model train empire. I spent years refining the plan using 3rd PlanIt. I held off starting construction simply because I chose to do things with the family rather than cloister myself away in the garage. Unfortunately, my back decided to mess up badly about the time that we were free of kids. If I had started building when I first got into the hobby, even if I had only spent a couple of hours a week on it, I would have been able to do all the hard stuff before my back problems cropped up.

My saving grace has been the Barrie Allandale Railway Modellers and their new layout, which I designed by the way. Now 'my' layout is being built for me!Smile, Wink & GrinLaughLaughThumbs Up

Dave

  • Member since
    November 2013
  • 873 posts
Posted by snjroy on Friday, November 8, 2019 6:46 AM

If continuous running is what you are looking for, you might want to consider running two tracks in parallel. That way you can run two trains in opposite direction and reduce the "dead viewing time" associated with a view block.

Just a thought.

Simon

  • Member since
    July 2006
  • From: west coast
  • 4,809 posts
Posted by rrebell on Sunday, November 10, 2019 8:37 AM

You can build a layout 30'x15' in 6 months full time or less if you work smart. I finished a layout in aprox 3 years working on it very part time with a lot of scratch building. The trick is planing and working smart. So many people want to do things the hard way. I have seen people stuggle with basic benchwork. My new layout benchwork will take one day for a 11x13 plan including basic foam base.

  • Member since
    February 2002
  • From: Reading, PA
  • 26,697 posts
Posted by rrinker on Sunday, November 10, 2019 10:19 AM

 Benchwork goes pretty quickly for me, with nothing more than a cheap miter saw (not a fancy compound one, and only a 10", not 12", still plenty to cut up to 2x4s) and a decent battery drill/driver to drill pilot holes and run screws in. Now that I found you cna get adapters to use the new 20V lithium packs in the old 18V ni-cad tools, I will have 2, so I can keep the drill in one and the screwdriver bit in the other and work even quicker - the batteries for my old (12 years old now) 18V are beyond salvage, so I figured the tool was pretty much useless, but I found they have adapters to use the same packs as my no 20V lithium drill in the old one - plus it makes the old one a lot lighter.

 An open grid with risers type of design should go even faster than my previous flat tops - there's even LESS precision involved. The only time things need to be precise is when you clamp and attach the risers to keep the subroadbed level or on a smooth grade. As long as enough of the riser extends into the joist to get a good attachment point not too close to the edge that it splits the wood, it's good enough. Now, my Dad taught me better carpentry than that, so I will be measuring mine, but really, when it comes down to it, if the rise is 3/4" shy of being flush with the bottom of the joist or 1/2" longer than being flush with the bottom of the joist, it's not going to make one bit of difference. 

 Heck - the grid base doesn't even need to be level! The TRACK, or rather the subroadbed, needs to be level or on a consistent grade, and that's controlled by the risers. Again, not the way I was taught to build things, so I will try to make mine as level as possible, and account for the fact that I guarantee my basement floor is not level. But if you're no expert (and I don;t claim to be) and things come out a little wonky, it doesn;t mean you can't still have smooth track on top of all that stuff no one will see once scenery is in place.

 My problem in 'finishing' in a reasonable time is that I like running trains too much, so once I get far enough along with the track that I can run trains, progress grinds to a halt when for 4 out of 5 times I end up running trains instead of working on completing the layout. And I can't just stick with one aspect of the hobby until I've completed everything that involves, and then move on to something else. On my last, room size layout, I would have one section of benchwork with the glue drying, and I've be laying track on a previous section instead of building still more benchwork. In one corner, I had a gap for the longest time, because it wasn't a simple square corner. My standardized sections didn;t completely fill the distance along the one wall, plus the corner had a protrusing section for what was one of the support columns of the house, so i couldn;t just make a simple right triangle and fit it in there, it had to ne notched, or somehow accomodate that odd corner. I think I stared at it for 2 days thinking of ways to handle it, then the next say I pulled out the saw and tape measure and cut up some scraps and screwed it all together in an hour.

                                 --Randy

 


Modeling the Reading Railroad in the 1950's

 

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

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!

Search the Community

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
Model Railroader Newsletter See all
Sign up for our FREE e-newsletter and get model railroad news in your inbox!