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Layout size - big vs complex - attempting to capture the immensity of the prototype

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PED
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Posted by PED on Sunday, July 22, 2018 8:15 PM

You are working within your limits of space, time, budget, experience level and spouse support. So is everyone else.

You are blessed with an abundance of benefits. Unfortunately, not everyone has the level of abundance they might like to have so they work with what they have. I would guess that your first layout would fit in a small corner of your current layout and was limited in many ways. Many people asking questions today are on the front end of the learning curve as you were at one time and they rely on people like you to help them move up the ladder until they can create their own empire.

Your generous help to them is always appreciated.

Paul D

N scale Washita and Santa Fe Railroad
Southern Oklahoma circa late 70's

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Posted by hon30critter on Sunday, July 22, 2018 9:03 PM

ATLANTIC CENTRAL
Your thoughts on layout size and design are welcome.

Hi Sheldon:

I don't recall seeing any diagrams of your new layout space, but it sounds to me like you are in a pretty good place both house wise and layout wise. Yes, it will take time to set up your new layout. That is a given in the hobby. I'm sure that you will move things forward as expediently as is possible.

If you have posted pictures of your new layout space, please post a link to them.

Do keep us informed. You are a knowledgeable model railroader. I'm sure people will learn a lot from your progress.

Cheers!!

Dave

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Posted by maxman on Sunday, July 22, 2018 9:19 PM

ATLANTIC CENTRAL
It seems in the discussions on this forum there is sometimes an "us vs them" reaction about larger layouts. Just read any thread about curve radius, turnout size, train length, signaling/CTC, etc, and you will find several people suggesting that only 1 in 100 model layouts "fills a basement" (or barn), and the rest must do what they need to do - maybe so.

Since you wrote "barn", I'll jump to the conclusion you are talking about me.  If that is truly the case, I said "probably 1 in 50".  In any case I don't have an us versus them attitude.  My comments were only related to DC versus DCC, and my opinion that many home layouts are not large enough to require functional signalling (CTC) and the wiring complexities required to install it.

And I am not going to debate the difference between large and complex.  Both a large layout and a small layout can have a simple or bowl of spaghetti track plan depending on the owner's preference.

Regarding broad curves, large number turnouts, and so forth, yes that is all achievable even in a small space.  Unfortunately most (all?) the layout plans I've seen in MR and elsewhere with that criteria become so simplistic that they don't do anything for me.

I suspect that the majority do believe that bigger would be better, only because there are more options for a bigger space.  But with all due respect to Mr. Moore  I am stuck with what I have.  Home Depot does not sell a space stretcher.  So to have the ability to run a shortened train around the walls requires the use of sub-optimal radii and lower number turnouts.

So my takeaway from your comments is that if I can't meet the stated ideal layout criteria I shouldn't bother at all.

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Posted by ATLANTIC CENTRAL on Sunday, July 22, 2018 9:38 PM

maxman

 

 
ATLANTIC CENTRAL
It seems in the discussions on this forum there is sometimes an "us vs them" reaction about larger layouts. Just read any thread about curve radius, turnout size, train length, signaling/CTC, etc, and you will find several people suggesting that only 1 in 100 model layouts "fills a basement" (or barn), and the rest must do what they need to do - maybe so.

 

Since you wrote "barn", I'll jump to the conclusion you are talking about me.  If that is truly the case, I said "probably 1 in 50".  In any case I don't have an us versus them attitude.  My comments were only related to DC versus DCC, and my opinion that many home layouts are not large enough to require functional signalling (CTC) and the wiring complexities required to install it.

And I am not going to debate the difference between large and complex.  Both a large layout and a small layout can have a simple or bowl of spaghetti track plan depending on the owner's preference.

Regarding broad curves, large number turnouts, and so forth, yes that is all achievable even in a small space.  Unfortunately most (all?) the layout plans I've seen in MR and elsewhere with that criteria become so simplistic that they don't do anything for me.

I suspect that the majority do believe that bigger would be better, only because there are more options for a bigger space.  But with all due respect to Mr. Moore  I am stuck with what I have.  Home Depot does not sell a space stretcher.  So to have the ability to run a shortened train around the walls requires the use of sub-optimal radii and lower number turnouts.

So my takeaway from your comments is that if I can't meet the stated ideal layout criteria I shouldn't bother at all.

 

You are by no means the first, or only, person to take me to task about layout size, CTC, or radius/turnout size.

I would never suggest that YOU should not bother to build a layout if you only have limited space. That is MY stated goal, others will set their own goals.

I have seen many amazing small layouts.

I do know that if I had a more limited space, I would select a theme that would suit the space based on my own criteria.

Examples:

I would not run 80' passenger cars on 28" radius curves (I run mostly 72' passenger cars on my 36" curves for their more "gracious" appearance and close coupled working diaphragms).

I would not have "mainline" power pulling 12 car trains.

With limited space I would likely choose to build some sort of ISL (industrial switching layout), most likely a water front. Or model a late 19th century/early 20th century branch line, etc - something where sharp cuves and small spaces are expected.

But that's me.

But my first love is the busy 1950's double track mainline.

And I have been blessed with the space, resources and skills, and hopefully in the near future more of the necessary time.

Sheldon  

    

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Posted by ATLANTIC CENTRAL on Sunday, July 22, 2018 9:40 PM

hon30critter

 

 
ATLANTIC CENTRAL
Your thoughts on layout size and design are welcome.

 

Hi Sheldon:

I don't recall seeing any diagrams of your new layout space, but it sounds to me like you are in a pretty good place both house wise and layout wise. Yes, it will take time to set up your new layout. That is a given in the hobby. I'm sure that you will move things forward as expediently as is possible.

If you have posted pictures of your new layout space, please post a link to them.

Do keep us informed. You are a knowledgeable model railroader. I'm sure people will learn a lot from your progress.

Cheers!!

Dave

 

Thanks Dave, no pictures yet, but I will put some up when I can.

Sheldon

    

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Posted by IRONROOSTER on Sunday, July 22, 2018 10:09 PM

Well, this past year I moved into a single story that is 2300 sq ft.  The basement is the same size.  It sits on 2 acres, over half is woods.  I was already retired, but we needed to move to get my wife on one 1 floor instead of 2. 

While I could use the whole basement, I decided I could do what I wanted in 17' x 40' - 680 sq ft.   I have worked out a plan that is point to point with about 175' main line.  Since the Maryland & Pennsylvania RR was noted for sharp curves, I am planning a 27" minimum radius.  This isn't a problem because the Ma&Pa had small locomotives and short passenger cars.

This layout is smaller than what I planned in the prior house, but I'm in my 70's now and I find that even retired I seem to have a lot of non model railroading activities in my life.  So I figure I have a pretty good chance to finish this one (or at least get close).

Everytime I work on the trackplan I generally reduce the complexity.  Originally, I thought I would need 75-100 turnouts, but now I'm looking at about 50-60.  Construction should start this fall.  My plan is to build the mainline first and then fill in the yards, spurs, etc.  This way I won't get bogged down in the details before I have a long run for the trains. 

My goal is to capture the charm of a short line railroad.  And I think I can do that - anyway I mean to make the attempt.  Obviously, Sheldon and I have very different goals here.  But that's part of the appeal of this hobby - so many different ways to go.

They say you need money, time, and space for this hobby.  I have had all of these at one time or another, but somehow I have never managed to have all of these at the same time.  But I still enjoy the hobby within whatever my limitations are at the time.

Paul

If you're having fun, you're doing it the right way.
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Posted by ATLANTIC CENTRAL on Sunday, July 22, 2018 10:21 PM

Paul,

17 x 40 surely should do the Ma & Pa justice, no question, even in S scale.

As a resident of Harford County, I know the Ma & Pa history pretty well. In fact the home we are leaving is in Forest Hill, and the tracks ran right behind our house.

Best wishes for the new layout,

Sheldon 

    

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Posted by Graham Line on Sunday, July 22, 2018 11:18 PM

I've seen some 'small' layouts built in big spaces with tight curves and jammed-together track and structures, and 'big' layouts built in small spaces with flowing, spacious scenes.

Before you get to building, though, it's a good idea to herd all the furnaces, air conditioners, water heaters, laundry machines, sinks etc. into their own corner of the basement.

Have fun with the new project.

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Posted by Tinplate Toddler on Sunday, July 22, 2018 11:53 PM

The other day I bought a cap to protect my balding skull from the bad effects an overexposure to the sun can have. Somewhere on the sticker it read "One size fits all". While this may be true for caps, this isn´t true for model railroaders. They come in all shapes and sizes, from different walks of life and each one pursues his very own happiness  with the hobby of model railroading in his very own way.

From that point of view, there is never a question of "something versus another thing", be it the type of control, the choice of prototype or era, the size of a layout, the scale,or  the type of operation.

To each his own, according to his needs, wants and means!

Having said this, Sheldon, I understand your question as a mental exercise for yourself, for which you are gathering opinions before you decide which way you´ll be heading with your new layout.

I never had the space nor the means to build a layout which would fill a spare bedroom, let alone an entire basement. Even if I´d have had the opportunity for such a venue, I´d doubt that I´d have engaged in it. I just can´t picture myself building a layout that may take a decade or more to bring it up to a state in which I would begin to enjoy it. But that´s just me.

I assume you are retired or will retire soon. While this adds quite a bit of time you can spend model railroading, don´t forget to key in the fact that family, home and garden will require a lot of that extra time. I have seen many a marriage fail shortly after "hubby" retired and spent most of the time with activities not involving the family. For this reason as well as the time we have left on this planet once we surpassed the magic "60", I´d definitively vote for "big and simple" and not for "big and complex"!

 

 

Happy times!

Ulrich (aka The Tin Man)

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

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Posted by ATLANTIC CENTRAL on Monday, July 23, 2018 4:51 AM

Ulrich,

I'm not retired yet, but the wife is. And her health issues are one of a list of reasons for the move.

There really is no question in my mind, this was the goal of the previous layout, it will be the goal of the next one.

"garden"? if you mean vegetables, we buy them.......if you mean flowers, the new has has way less "gardening" but a little more grass mowing then the big Queen Anne.......I have a machine, a big enough machine.

Complex - yes I started down that road once about 23 years ago and stopped before it go too far along.......

Family is always first.

I think the main reason for my post was simply to share my thinking, and promote a better understanding on here of different approaches to the hobby.

I know my approach is in many ways not "typical". 

Take care,

Sheldon

    

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Posted by Tinplate Toddler on Monday, July 23, 2018 4:58 AM

ATLANTIC CENTRAL
promote a better understanding on here of different approaches to the hobby.

Which I am thankful for, as my own approach is very different from what usually is shown or discussed here. My illness has forced me to give up on model railroading as it is commonly understood here. The only way to stay in the hobby was to go back to my roots - a Marklin HO scale tinplate train set.

Happy times!

Ulrich (aka The Tin Man)

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

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Posted by richhotrain on Monday, July 23, 2018 5:06 AM

I get what Sheldon is saying. I just might not have started the thread with the "us vs. them" line which is sure to provoke defensive reactions.

I have what would be termed a large layout in an unfinished (but temperature and moisture controlled) basement. Being retired, I have the time and finances to support my interest in the hobby.

I agree with Sheldon that size does not necessarily equate to complexity. I chose size because I have a passion for large downtown passenger stations in the 1950s, and it takes a lot of space to model such operations.

While I am forced to rely on selective compression even with my large space, it takes a lot of room to model an area like Dearborn Station in Chicago with its six major railroads using the station, plus its 12 large freight houses, coach yard and engine servicng facilities, and freight yard.

My last layout was too complex, what with control panels, double ended yards, Tortoise controlled turnouts, etc. I am in the process of bulding a new layout on the same basic footprint, but with a lot less complexity than the old layout. For example, the coach yard and freight yard will now be stub end. My turnouts will no longer be Tortoise controlled Atlas turnouts but rather spring controlled points on Peco turnouts requiring nothing more than my index finger to activate.

Larger layouts don't have to be complex and they don't need to follow a 'more is better than less' approach when it comes to structures and yards and number of locos and rolling stock. Larger layouts simply need to take advantage of the larger space to more closely simulate the prototype.

Could I be happy with a smaller layout? Dunno, and I don't intend to find out.

Rich

Alton Junction

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Posted by BRAKIE on Monday, July 23, 2018 5:58 AM

Sheldon,I would rather have a small compact ISL that I can build and enjoy in a short time since I know first hand how fragile life is after knocking on death's door twice..

Regardless of size a modeler should never plan a layout while singing here a track,there a track,everywhere a track, track-rymes with Old MacDonald farm..

I'm a firm believer that a train should pass through a scene once and CTC single track main line with passing sidings is the best way to achieve that goal.

Larry

SSRy

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Posted by bearman on Monday, July 23, 2018 6:07 AM

I have a small 55 sf layout, a walk in U folded dog bone.  It is my third and last layout, and I will be tweaking it for the rest of my life.  Based on lessons learned from my first two layouts, the first was an 8 X 4 and the second was a complete disaster and never finished, I designed it with several factors in mind.

From the very beginning I did not want to fill up my railroad room with the layout.  Secondly, I did not want to spend time, time, time, and more time cleaning track.  My layout is freelanced but designed to offer some prototypical operation with six industrial spurs, a modest yard and two sidings.  Although I usually operate as a lone wolf, the layout is set up to provide for three operators, two running trains and one switching the yard. 

Another concession I made due to space was that I would only be able to run short trains, no more than 6 maybe 7 cars plus a locomotive and caboose, with maximum 40' rolling stock.

I have several other interests to keep me busy...golf, travel, photography, spectator sports, all of which consume a portion of my entertainment dollar.

If someone wants to have a big layout, I say more power to them if that is their interest in the hobby.  I enjoy playing with my trains as I am sure that there are any number of owners with mega layouts enjoy having lots of people over on a regular basis to operate their layouts.  

 

Bear "It's all about having fun."

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Posted by rrinker on Monday, July 23, 2018 8:08 AM

 I've been casually looking myself, even though I haven't even been here 5 years yet. The house is plenty big, I really don;t need a larger house, but as a riased ranch I loose over 20 feet for the garage, which is huge - it's listed as a 2 car garage but WITH stuff I am still able to get 2 cars and my truck all inside it. I love the pool, I'm in it all the time - except I am usualy the ONLY one to go in it on a regular basis. The maintenance isn't too bad, and I don;t spend a fortune on chemicals each year, but doing the work and then being the only one to enhoy it is already starting to get a bit old. Then there's the land - I have plenty of space for my (small) dogs, but the front in particualr is on the face of a steep hill and I am not able to cut the grass so I end up paying someone to do it. Yet riding around on the tractor cutting the grass is something I actually find enjoyable and relaxing. So I've been casually looking to see what comes up - I definitely want one floor (bad knees) and of course a basement - but I don;t really need a bigger house, just a bigger basement., A ranch the same size as my current house (1800 sq feer) with a full basemend, because the garage is to the side, would be fine. Flat land, don;t really need more than an acre, as long as it is realtively flat, and it doesn;t have to have a pool. Preferably an unfinished basement - to make this one usable I nmeed to rip everything out and redo what the previous owners did to get it in shape to be a suitable train room.

 Just that bit extra - more logically laid out, would give me plenty fo space to build what I want without going overboard. I'd be able to keep it all on one deck, greatly simplifying things, and elminating the need for a helix.

                                            --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 dknelson on Monday, July 23, 2018 10:36 AM

My own feeling is that size of space for a layout, and even size of layout, is only one factor, and not a controlling factor, in creating the impressions of realism that we all seek.  I have been to huge layouts that were so crammed with track that the first impression one gets is not unlike that of the old Lionel display layouts - it somehow can seem, well, tiny!  Related to that, sometimes selective compression -- not so much of this or that structure but rather of entire scenes: impossibly short city blocks, utility poles far too close together, narrow roads and sidewalks, too many vehicles and too many pedestrians, that sort of thing -- gets taken too far and that also creates an impression of lack of realism.

This may sound odd, but psychologically, I find that cramped aisles themselves make a layout seem cramped and thus unrealistic to me.  Related to that, track plans that place distant parts of the layout in close physical proximity -- end of peninsula "blobs" near each other for example -- also detract from realism when you can see too much distant real estate all in one glimpse. 

And at the risk of annoying many modelers including some famous "taste makers" in the hobby who worship double deck layouts due to the length of run they provide, to me I see no virtue in studiously avoiding insincere track plans that have the track going through the same scene twice or thrice, yet have double decks with track supposedly miles and miles away, but just a few inches apart, up above or down below.  One is condemned and the other praised by these taste makers.  My eyes and thus my brain are NOT fooled by this.  

Not all might agree with me but I think a layout that takes selective compression with a light touch, and which at least attempts to capture some sense of the vastness of space around the railroad, can look and feel "large" almost regardless of size.  Perhaps not an oval but an L shaped switching layout that follows these precepts can seem very large indeed if done right.

Having said that, a genuinely huge layout, Monroe Stewart's Hooch Junction, uses N scale to its best advantage and he has been pretty lavish with the space available.  

I have the space for a nice sized layout and the mainline run between staging yards is nearly 90 feet, so about 1 1/2 scale miles.  I am modeling my old home town from end to end, so I am modeling about 4 miles in that 90 feet.  Some scenes are actually selectively expanded because I do not want certain scenes to be on curves; others are compressed to fit within the tangents available.  Through trains will actually go from end to end rather quickly (this was on the C&NW's Route of the 400s so passenger train speeds were high, and freights moved fast to keep out of their way).  

I am hopeful when it is all done and operating that a sense of spaciousness will be conveyed but if I had to do it all over again, maybe I'd go with N scale on exactly the same footprint.

Dave Nelson

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Posted by ROBERT PETRICK on Monday, July 23, 2018 11:33 AM

dknelson

I am hopeful when it is all done and operating that a sense of spaciousness will be conveyed but if I had to do it all over again, maybe I'd go with N scale on exactly the same footprint.

Dave Nelson

Yes. Exactly. I've been saying this for years. Well . . . except for the do over part.

When I look at at track plan in MRR (HO scale, of course) I can easily imagine it in N scale. Exact same layout, exact same footprint. But more space. Just loosen the belt a little.

And, I also agree with Dave's comment about aisle width and clutter.

Robert 

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Posted by ATLANTIC CENTRAL on Monday, July 23, 2018 3:21 PM

Here is some of the detailed criteria for the new layout:

No double decks, I agree with Dave Nelson. I tried it and did not like it.

No running thru the scene twice.

No hidden track that is hard to access, no staging "under" the layout, with small clearances to work on track or reach rolling stock.

In fact, my staging yards will be behind back drops, mostly wide open to the top, and many will have "operator only" access aisles.

Gracious curves where ever possible, 36" radius will be the MINIMIUM for the mainline, most will be in the 42" range.

Deep scenes to allow plenty of modeling of what is around the tracks - without crowding things. Typically scenes will be 30"-36" deep, some deeper.

Wide viewer/operator aisles, 48" is the minium goal.

More later,

Sheldon

    

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Posted by 7j43k on Monday, July 23, 2018 4:46 PM

I pretty much agree with what Dave and Sheldon just wrote.  It's nice to hear that there are others who have problems with multi-level plans.

One exception is that I have 48" minimum mainline radius.  Right now, I've got some Long Runners on a curve, and the "bridging" trailers STILL don't look right--too clunky.

David Rose had a nice trackplan here on the forum, where exposed curves looked maybe half as sharp as concealed.  Maybe even softer.  I think it was Armstrong who opined that some very broad curves out in the open looked very nice.

 

Ed

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Posted by BroadwayLion on Monday, July 23, 2018 5:19 PM

Layout of LION is BIG ... 14 scale miles of track

appears complicated ... runs 10 traains all at one time

 

But reality shows us two loops (express trains north and express trains south) and pne point to point (all local trains)

 

REALITY IS the entire layout is operated with only five GRS levers ... two for the crossover at 242nd Street and 3 for the home signals (one in and two out)

 

ROAR

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Posted by Doughless on Monday, July 23, 2018 6:11 PM

ATLANTIC CENTRAL

I've seen many a modest sized layout that displayed exceptional model work. Size is not the measure of the quality of a model railroad, nor should it be.

I have been the subject of more than a sharp comment or two, partly because I have been blessed with a large space in which to build model trains and I advocate for large curves, longer trains, etc.

My goal with a large space is not to make the layout more complex, or model more places, or squeeze in more features.

So while my layout may be "large", it is by no means complex for its size.

 

Curves - curves can eat up a lot of space, but 36" to 40" radius curves look WAY more realistic than 28" to 32" radius curves.

But my layout concept will not change, it will still be about capturing the immensity of the prototype with broad curves, long trains, lots of hidden staging, scenery with "depth", etc - not just seeing how much "more" I can squeeze in.

So I would suggest that there is a big difference between "large" and "complex". Maybe a large layout can be complex, but so can a small one. 

But a large layout need not by definition be exponentially more complex, grossly more expenive, or more difficult to accomplish.

Who knows, I may just decide to document it on here as others have.

Your thoughts on layout size and design are welcome.

Sheldon 

 

I've cut down your quote to address some of the things I wanted to.

First of all, congratulations with your downsizing/simplification decision.  Hard work, good decisions, a bit of good luck and contributions from others, can build a nice foundation for retirement.  Best wishes to you and your wife in the future, especially with health going forward.

And please document your progress with your layout.  Your posts are always interesting, and I would expect any layout build progress update would be an enjoyable read.

I have been in the hobby for about 40 years (not including a 10 year hiatus in my 20s), and I have decidied I am done with "cramming" things into a layout.  Broad curves and large rail served buildings will be the norm.  Broad curves generally means less total mainline linear footage.  Larger buildings tend to mean fewer of them.  Less mainline, fewer buildings, but more realism. 

In this sense, Less IS more.

My new layout will be a U shaped switching layout with a bit of mainline run from the interchange yard to the switching district.  Simple concept and plan.  The space will be a 25 by 14 foot leg for the mainline and district, with another 8 by 15 leg for the interchange yard/ town scene.

A somewhat large space for a switching layout.  I could do more in that space.  But realism takes preference over an alternative dogbone shaped continuous run plan. The return loops would be too tight, at probably 30 inch radius.

Since its a switching layout, 10 car trains are the maximum.  More like 6 to 8 cars being normal.  Frankly, I think long trains tend to dominate the locomotives, so I personally prefer these "shorter" trains as it helps the locomotive be the star.

8 car trains on a big 50 to 60 inch radius curve on the two cormers of the U will look nice.  I could fit 24 inch radius curves, get more mainline run, but I would lose much more realism for that extra run.  Where the curve isn't visible, in under layout staging, I'll use about 28 inch radius to get longer straight yard tracks.

Yes, LESS track, LESS buildings, means MORE realism, IMO.  Maybe its easy for me to say, since I have enough space to do what I want, but my experience says that even with a small space, the same principals of realism must apply. 

Small space means to me that a layout should have even less mainline run and even fewer buildings.  If faced with a 4 x 8 space, I'd probably just model a paper mill.  One industry but a few variety of cars.  My preference of course.

With more track and more buildings, I could probably double my operating time.  But I should get a good hour of running trains on the new layout.  That's enough for me, as building and detailing is a big part of the hobby too.

- Douglas

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Posted by BigDaddy on Monday, July 23, 2018 6:47 PM

I don't think I've ever seen a thread where one person, much less two criticized double decker layouts.  I feel strangely vindicated, for "not getting it"

Like Brakie, I have felt the cold breath of the grim reaper on my back.  I don't watch much news anymore, but a 46 yo Secret Service died from a stroke last week.  Every day is a blessing.  I have also seen my mother in law trapped in her own home, because she wasn't healthy enough to walk down stairs, in a split level home.  My own mom became fall prone, so her 2 story house no longer worked.

Currently I am spoiled by having a small lot surrounded by conservation area on two sides.  It gives me lots of mosquitos, wetlands, and the neighbor behind me plays some really obnoxious rap music with words that I can't use, but not often.

Small lot that it is, I still have a ton of branches and some end of life Virginia pine trees falling in my yard, constantly.  But I don't want to live on a lot, where I can open a window and spit inside my neighbors house if his window is open.  Those small lots are very popular these days.

Back to the layout.  I enjoy building the landscape, the buildings and laying the track.  The super detailing, the people, the pallets, barrels, dogs and fire hydrants, all look good, but are not what I look forward to doing.  Probably the layout will end lacking in these details.

Realism: my favorite memories are going from Baltimore to NYC on the PRR in the 50's and visiting family friends, somewhere on the upper west side of NYC.  When we visited, the put me behind a telescope, overlooking a railroad yard (anyone know which one?) while the grown ups visited. 

So my inclination is urban railroading and switching.  I am working with only 2 modules right now, anticipating a move, to a more suitable home.  I am still undecided whether to have point to point, or continous run.  I expect it wil be a continous run. 

Will it look like the NYC yard...no, will it look like, what I guess was a 4 track mainline on the PRR...no.  It will be good enough as I didn't get the rivet counter gene. 

 

Henry

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Posted by ATLANTIC CENTRAL on Monday, July 23, 2018 7:23 PM

7j43k

I pretty much agree with what Dave and Sheldon just wrote.  It's nice to hear that there are others who have problems with multi-level plans.

One exception is that I have 48" minimum mainline radius.  Right now, I've got some Long Runners on a curve, and the "bridging" trailers STILL don't look right--too clunky.

David Rose had a nice trackplan here on the forum, where exposed curves looked maybe half as sharp as concealed.  Maybe even softer.  I think it was Armstrong who opined that some very broad curves out in the open looked very nice.

 

Ed

 

Ed, Your choice of a more modern era would have me pushing to 48" curves as well.

But in 1953, 75' was pretty much the limit on freight cars.

As for passenger cars, I have some 80' cars, but most of my passenger fleet is "freelanced and selectively compressed", a choice I made decades ago, and a choice that I am not going to change.

I have no interest in replacing nearly 200 passenger cars...........

So most of my passengers cars are similar in length to my "fresh from the factory" 75' piggyback flats.

36" to 42" radius makes them all look rather graceful.

I will have some curves well above my "range", the old layout had several curves in the 60" radius range.

Sheldon

    

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Posted by ATLANTIC CENTRAL on Monday, July 23, 2018 7:53 PM

Larry brought up the topic of a single track mainline. Despite the fact that most rail lines in the US are/were single track, there are very important reasons to build a layout of this type with a double track mainline.

First, selective compression is less obvious, similar to some points Dave Nelson made.

Real single track mainlines go for miles between sidings. Even if I hit the projected 8 or more scale miles of mainline, that just makes the sidings and the single track between them too short.

Like Dave said - too much selective compression, too obvious, kills realism.

Long trains - my goal is 35 cars as a typical train, with 50 or even 100 car trains possible.

So while I'm here, next topic - point to point vs continuous. No contest - continuous with thru staging. Operated as point to point for operating sessions.

No "yard work" at the end of the line provides a better balance of switching to mainline running. There will be one visible, sceniced yard, mid way in the scenic/visible portion of the mainline. Some trains leave staging, and end at the yard, others are run thrus or just power changes.

Complete trains return to staging for the next session.

Which brings me to another of my modeling rules, a very important one.

Model each major feature only once - there will be only one:

Freight yard

Large passenger terminal

Engine terminal/turntable/roundhouse

Wye

Swing bridge

Flyover junction

Piggyback yard

The two exceptions will be industrial areas, and commuter/rural passenger stations.

Lets talk about industries. Virtually none of my industries will be switched from the mainline. 95% or more will be in "industrial areas", like having an ISL or two tucked into a big display layout. They will be accessed by belt lines directly from the freight yard.

Just like most major east coast cities, the switching of industries will not interfere with mainline trains.

There will be between two and three of these industrial areas. They will be close to to the layout edge and will have manual/ground throw turnouts, as will the main freight yard.

More later,

Sheldon 

    

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Posted by 7j43k on Monday, July 23, 2018 7:57 PM

ATLANTIC CENTRAL

 

Ed, Your choice of a more modern era would have me pushing to 48" curves as well.

But in 1953, 75' was pretty much the limit on freight cars.

Sheldon

 

 

I believe that's so.  My impression is that the first freight car significantly longer than that was the 85' Southern hogshead boxes built in 1961.

Pennsy's Queen Mary flat was quite a bit longer, but the "body length" was still only about 73'.

 

Ed

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Posted by ATLANTIC CENTRAL on Monday, July 23, 2018 8:03 PM

7j43k

 

 
ATLANTIC CENTRAL

 

Ed, Your choice of a more modern era would have me pushing to 48" curves as well.

But in 1953, 75' was pretty much the limit on freight cars.

Sheldon

 

 

 

 

I believe that's so.  My impression is that the first freight car significantly longer than that was the 85' Southern hogshead boxes built in 1961.

Pennsy's Queen Mary flat was quite a bit longer, but the "body length" was still only about 73'.

 

Ed

 

Ed, despite 60 years of 80' passenger cars, the railroads were very leary of those first 75' piggyback flats in '53/'54.

But obviously once they worked, it was game on for longer cars.

Happily, we are blissfully trapped in the fall of 1954 here on the ATLANTIC CENTRAL, with those flat cars and two new SD9's being the newest stuff on the line.

Who says people model the trains of their youth - I was not even born until 1957.....

Sheldon

    

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Posted by rrebell on Tuesday, July 24, 2018 12:49 AM

I built a large layout, found it started to own me. Moved and now have a much smaller space and will build a smaller layout but even more detailed than before.

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Posted by BRAKIE on Tuesday, July 24, 2018 10:33 AM

ATLANTIC CENTRAL
Larry brought up the topic of a single track mainline. Despite the fact that most rail lines in the US are/were single track, there are very important reasons to build a layout of this type with a double track mainline.

Sheldon,To my bias mind a point to point layout gives you the feeling of running a real train going from point A to point B.

Like the prototype you yard your train and go home or to the RRYMCA until your next run.

A double track main line looks and operates just fine but,the zing isn't there.

Larry

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Posted by ATLANTIC CENTRAL on Tuesday, July 24, 2018 10:58 AM

BRAKIE

 

 
ATLANTIC CENTRAL
Larry brought up the topic of a single track mainline. Despite the fact that most rail lines in the US are/were single track, there are very important reasons to build a layout of this type with a double track mainline.

 

Sheldon,To my bias mind a point to point layout gives you the feeling of running a real train going from point A to point B.

Like the prototype you yard your train and go home or to the RRYMCA until your next run.

A double track main line looks and operates just fine but,the zing isn't there.

 

Larry, I have explained before, I operate point to point.

Train leaves staging yard, it "appears" on scene.

It travels half of the somewhat long mainline, about 3-4 scale miles.

It arrives at the yard, where any number of prototype actions may occure. Maybe it terminates there. Maybe it just gets a power change. Maybe it sets out a block of cars and picks up a different outbound block.

If it is then leaving, it proceeds out of the yard and travels over the remainig 3-4 miles of mainline.

It goes off stage and terminates in the staging yard.

Double track or single track, that is point to point operation.

The world, and the rail network, are bigger than our layouts, staging provides that extra imagination of connections beyond what is modeled.

My freight yard is 20' long, even I don't have room for one at each end....

More later on staging and my "wye" junction.

Sheldon

    

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Posted by BRAKIE on Tuesday, July 24, 2018 12:56 PM

ATLANTIC CENTRAL
The world, and the rail network, are bigger than our layouts, staging provides that extra imagination of connections beyond what is modeled.

Sheldon,That's very true even my ISLs is cramped as far as realistic head room between industries.

Larry

SSRy

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Posted by Paul3 on Tuesday, July 24, 2018 10:40 PM

Sheldon,
"Us vs. Them": You know, it's kinda funny.  I've mentioned many times on this forum that I used to have a 25'x50' layout and that I'm a member of a large club that is currently building a 6300+ sq. ft. layout (not too many club layouts bigger than that).   I've never had a "sharp" comment directed at me about it, never had a "us vs. them" moment, etc.  In fact, the only comments I can recall were "Gosh, wish I lived closer to your club."  So maybe it's not the size of the layout that causes the conflict...?

I personally don't mind a train going through the same scene twice as long as there is a good reason for it.  For example, if the train goes through a scene the 2nd time 6"-10" higher, it's okay.  The illusion is that it had to travel some distance to get up there (which it does, really).  But if it goes twice through a scene going on both routes of a diamond?  Nope, that's silly and I won't do it.

Also, I like double decks when done properly.  I've seen bad ones.  They are too close together (or too far apart), have the upper level overhang the lower one, or have no lighting on the lower level, etc.  But a well done double decker can be a thing of beauty.

 

 

 

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Posted by richhotrain on Wednesday, July 25, 2018 5:31 AM

Paul3

I personally don't mind a train going through the same scene twice as long as there is a good reason for it.   

But if it goes twice through a scene.....  Nope, that's silly and I won't do it.

That's all well and good until you accept the fact that every layout is nothing more than a fixed set of scenes, no matter how large or small. It is inevitable that trains will pass through or go through the same scene more than once.

Of course, the biggest offender is the simple oval layout. But even a large dogbone shaped layout will result in trains passing through the same scene multiple times. Even a point-to-point with hidden staging cannot avoid repeating scenes except for the fact that there is no continuous running and that becomes a nuisance for most of us who just want to "run trains".

What I find to be ideal is a large layout with continuous running around a loop, preferably a double mainline, with passenger operations, yards, spurs, and sidings in between for variety.

Rich

Alton Junction

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Posted by mobilman44 on Wednesday, July 25, 2018 5:46 AM

Like many of my fellow MRs, I always wanted the biggest layout I could possibly have.......which of course was never big enough.  Even my current 11x15 room filling two level layout leaves me wanting.  Yet, I know that many out there would love to have that kind of space.

Anyway, the thing is, doesn't our imagination come into play?  After all, it is a minature world we have created, and whether its a 4x8 or a 40x80, one's imagination plays a big role in determining how much fun we are having.

 

ENJOY  !

 

Mobilman44

 

Living in southeast Texas, modeling the "postwar" Santa Fe and Illinois Central 

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Posted by BRAKIE on Wednesday, July 25, 2018 6:08 AM

richhotrain
Even a point-to-point with hidden staging cannot avoid repeating scenes except for the fact that there is no continuous running and that becomes a nuisance for most of us who just want to "run trains".

Rich,On  a point to point you go through a scene once going from point A to Point B and again when you're going from point B to point A on your return trip and that's the beauty of a point to pointer.

When I was a member of the Bucyrus HO club we was open during the county fair and after a hour or  so of loop running I was bored to tears and after the third day I was beyond bored.

Why?

Here comes my train,there it goes,here comes my train again and there it goes again,here it comes again,there it goes again and on and on and on.

Larry

SSRy

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Posted by Tinplate Toddler on Wednesday, July 25, 2018 6:22 AM

mobilman44
Anyway, the thing is, doesn't our imagination come into play? After all, it is a minature world we have created, and whether its a 4x8 or a 40x80, one's imagination plays a big role in determining how much fun we are having.

Well said!

In my 55 years in the hobby, I have builr a number of layouts in about any scale there is. None of them filling even a tiny room, but all of them fun. My current and most likely, my last layout is the smallest I have built, my mini-modular layout not counting. It´s a 2´3" by 5´3" table top train set, built with vintage tracks and accessories of a minimum of 40 to 50 years of age. It´s a set up against all the rules, with tight curves, sharp switches and all other ingtredients that qualifies it as a genuine toy train, but not a model railroad.

I am enjoying this layout more, than I have enjoyed all of my previous builts! No longer do I have to try to be as realistic as possible while never reaching that goal, nor do I have to pretend to operate my trains - I can simply play with them.

Free at last!

Happy times!

Ulrich (aka The Tin Man)

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

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Posted by Doughless on Wednesday, July 25, 2018 7:27 AM

Hmmm, I don't see an us vs them conflict.  What I see is a comparison of a preference with another preference for illustrative purposes.

I thought the point of the thread was the preference of capturing the immensity of the prototype, regardless of the space a person has to do it.  

I see it as having large radii and large buildings, properly spaced with room for vehicles; noncomplex track plan (which saves space as oppossed to complex) etc.  I'm probably leaving out other aspects.  Sort of the opposite of what was common in decades past, especially with smaller layouts and the tiny Revell, AHM, IHC buildings. 

Some may not have a preference for immensity, or pursue it differently.

- Douglas

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Posted by ATLANTIC CENTRAL on Wednesday, July 25, 2018 7:34 AM

BRAKIE

 

 
richhotrain
Even a point-to-point with hidden staging cannot avoid repeating scenes except for the fact that there is no continuous running and that becomes a nuisance for most of us who just want to "run trains".

 

Rich,On  a point to point you go through a scene once going from point A to Point B and again when you're going from point B to point A on your return trip and that's the beauty of a point to pointer.

When I was a member of the Bucyrus HO club we was open during the county fair and after a hour or  so of loop running I was bored to tears and after the third day I was beyond bored.

Why?

Here comes my train,there it goes,here comes my train again and there it goes again,here it comes again,there it goes again and on and on and on.

 

And again, just because the track makes a loop, that does not mean you have to operate it that way..............

But display running does have its place, whether or not you enjoy it.

In addition to being more prototypical of larger cities, that is why my indusries are on belt lines off the main line. Trains can be on the mainline, with or without operators, while operators switch the yard and industries.

In my view, there are three perspectives in viewing model trains.

#1 - being the crew, engineer, conductor, brakeman

#2 - being the fixed management staff, yard master, dispatcher, division superendant, etc

#3 - being a civilian observer, railfan

Only #1 experiances the sense of "going somewhere", the rest "watch the train come and go"

Personally I take great enjoyment from all three perspectives. This is directly linked to my love of extensive staging that allows a wide variety of trains to come and go from the scene. One train leaves, another appears........

Personally, I think too much attention has been placed on perspective #1 by the current trends in the hobby. I don't always/only want to be the engineer........

More later,

Sheldon

    

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Posted by ATLANTIC CENTRAL on Wednesday, July 25, 2018 7:40 AM

Doughless

Hmmm, I don't see an us vs them conflict.  What I see is a comparison of a preference with another preference for illustrative purposes.

I thought the point of the thread was the preference of capturing the immensity of the prototype, regardless of the space a person has to do it.  

I see it as having large radii and large buildings, properly spaced with room for vehicles; noncomplex track plan (which saves space as oppossed to complex) etc.  I'm probably leaving out other aspects.  Sort of the opposite of what was common in decades past, especially with smaller layouts and the tiny Revell, AHM, IHC buildings. 

Some may not have a preference for immensity, or pursue it differently.

 

Thank you for understanding my point.

Sheldon

    

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Posted by dehusman on Wednesday, July 25, 2018 7:49 AM

A lot of this depends on how you percieve "immensity".  I worked on a real railroad, so to me they are all toys in the basement to a certain extent.

One of the flaws I see in a lot of "more is better" layouts is the concept that with a 15x20 space I can run 15 car trains and with a 30x 40 space I can run 30 car trains.  If I have a track plan that is designed for 12 ft trains and has sidings 15 ft apart, and I expand the layout where I expand it to sidings 30 ft apart and so go to 25 ft trains that sounds cool.  But I still end up with sidings that are less than 2 train lengths apart.  I have seen guys design a layout with long trains and broad curves but end up with a main line to train ratio that's about the same as a typical 4x8 layout.

I would propose that if you have the room to double the linear length of the layout, keep the trains the same size.

A 15 ft train traveling 45 ft between sidings will be more realistic, feel more prototypical, allow for more prototypical operation (whether it be TT&TO or CTC).

While a real train seems immense, it is in the real world which is even more immense than the train.

Dave H. Painted side goes up. My website : wnbranch.com

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Posted by ATLANTIC CENTRAL on Wednesday, July 25, 2018 8:10 AM

dehusman

A lot of this depends on how you percieve "immensity".  I worked on a real railroad, so to me they are all toys in the basement to a certain extent.

One of the flaws I see in a lot of "more is better" layouts is the concept that with a 15x20 space I can run 15 car trains and with a 30x 40 space I can run 30 car trains.  If I have a track plan that is designed for 12 ft trains and has sidings 15 ft apart, and I expand the layout where I expand it to sidings 30 ft apart and so go to 25 ft trains that sounds cool.  But I still end up with sidings that are less than 2 train lengths apart.  I have seen guys design a layout with long trains and broad curves but end up with a main line to train ratio that's about the same as a typical 4x8 layout.

I would propose that if you have the room to double the linear length of the layout, keep the trains the same size.

A 15 ft train traveling 45 ft between sidings will be more realistic, feel more prototypical, allow for more prototypical operation (whether it be TT&TO or CTC).

While a real train seems immense, it is in the real world which is even more immense than the train.

 

I agree completely. I made that same point, from a different perspective, when discussing single vs double track mainlines a few post back with Larry.

Rather than keep trains short, double track allows longer trains to look more believable in the model setting. And the larger space makes that effect even better.

And double track was rather common here in the east, in the era I model.

I have no interest in building a single track model railroad where trains only move two or three times their length between sidings, no matter the train length.

And again, it has to do with the three "perspectives" listed above, are you on the train, or viewing the train?

Sheldon

    

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Posted by Heartland Division CB&Q on Wednesday, July 25, 2018 8:32 AM

Sheldon ... Thank you for this thread. Also, I thank those who contributed.. 

Logically, larger layouts take much more time to build than smaller layouts. Accordingly, one should decide ahead of time how to build it. In my case, I decided to build one section at a time, and do everything including scenery before moving to the next section. After over 15 years, I am still building another section, but I am nearly done filling the train room with my layout. 

My layout design is primarily point-to-point. Actually, it is a sequence of point-to-points going from town to town as I follow about 130' of wall. The basic track plan is a double track main line with a loop at each end. There are some branch lines with single track. There are numerous industrial sidings along the mainline and on branch lines. I have Union Station in the big city and passenger stations in other towns. 

 

I have two ways of running trains on the layout.  .... One is an Operating Session in which I strive to simulate movements of freight and passengers with appropriate equipment.  ..... Second is a running session where I can run any trains I want continuously along the double track with a loop at each end. I can run 3 or 4 trains simultaneously as they follow each other around the layout. 

 

GARRY

HEARTLAND DIVISION, CB&Q RR

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Posted by trainnut1250 on Wednesday, July 25, 2018 2:30 PM

Thoughts on the topic:

 

I love larger layouts but only have space for a medium sized layout. This size limitation has turned out to be a blessing as I continue to build the layout. I will never finish the current layout, but it will reach a state of completeness that wouldn’t be achievable for me if the layout were larger.

 

I am building a double deck layout (triple deck if you include staging). The scenery on the top deck is pretty much complete. I host operations sessions on it a few times a year. The current layout full fills my goals that I set forth many years ago in the design stages. I made compromises in the design to have a double deck layout but no more so than in the previous single deck layouts that I have built. The compromises are just different.

 

If I were to start over again now, I wouldn’t go double deck. The main reason is that I found the complexity of construction for a double deck to be more than twice as complicated as building two single deck layouts. Things must be completed in sequence and there are lots of tedious parts as you do the same thing 100 times before moving to the next step.

 

As a do-over, I would go with a large single deck layout that keeps things as simple as possible in terms of track work and hidden elements. I would also continue my practice of trying to buy quality built up items as much as possible and spend the model building time on the unique items that I want for the layout.

 

For me the biggest issue is staying inspired to work on the layout. I find my inspiration from a variety of sources including the hobby press and looking at the giant basement filling layouts featured there. I also have a good local group of excellent modelers that keep me on track.  If the project were too big, I might feel overwhelmed more often than I do now, thus stalling out on the layout progress......

 

Guy

see stuff at: the Willoughby Line Site

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Posted by Doughless on Wednesday, July 25, 2018 3:09 PM

For me, train length is very important.   I model HO scale, and whenever I string more than 10 cars behind a single loco (modern era 50 and 60 footers) it looks like it starts to overwhelm the loco.  I know a real loco can handle them, but it just doesn't look right to my eye.

About 15 to 20 cars needs 2 locos, more than 20 needs 3 to look right, and so on.

Also, the idea of the train entering a town while its end is leaving another is a common design concept that I don't like.  The idea of having multiple small town stations seems repetitive on its own, made worse by the notion that the train's caboose is still in the previous town.  One large town and yard, one small town and some industries, spaced far enough apart for a 10 car train, is appealing to me.

And since I will probably never devote more than 300 square feet of my abode for a layout, short trains with a town at each end of the layout is about the only layout I'm interested in building.  I love all kinds, all sizes, but only one kind do I want to own.  With that in mind, larger buildings and broad curves are a requirement even in my relative modest space. 

Overall, I'm willing to give up the amount of distance modeled in order to have less compression.  

- Douglas

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Posted by csxns on Wednesday, July 25, 2018 5:25 PM

I have the bigest layout now than ever but still i don't know how to handle it.

Russell

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Posted by Graham Line on Thursday, July 26, 2018 11:55 AM

When our club layout was rebuilt about 9-10 years ago, there was a big nasty fight about filling every inch of the 30x60 space with spurs, sidings, sawmills yadda yadda. A design vote went 60-40 for leaving some open country between  stations, particularly in two dead-end alcoves.

Turns out that a 500-foot main and a 40-train lineup (over two four-hour sessions) eats up more operators than we usually get, for more time than most of them want to stand up.

Drawing lines on paper, and even throwing down track,  is a lot easier than planning out what a railroad will actually do.

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Posted by xboxtravis7992 on Thursday, July 26, 2018 12:11 PM

I have a small layout right now. My interest and budget in building it varies, so its better to be able to do some small projects here and there and make dramatic changes with just small things... rather than have a big empty layout that takes for ever to fill up.

However, I do want to go big someday. When I do that though I want to try a few tricks to keep it easier. Heavy concentrations of tracks really only make sense in large towns and yards. I want a future layout to have lots of empty space between those towns, single tracked mainline with a few sidings here and there en route. Spurs and industries were it only makes sense on the prototype, and even then its spaced out enough that trains will be spending some time between industries just transversing open spaces. I will also try and impose speed limits, to prevent operators from just blasting through it at full throttle, and keep things slowed down. I'll let the backdrop handle most of the scenic duty in this big open areas.

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Posted by ATLANTIC CENTRAL on Thursday, July 26, 2018 9:28 PM

Interesting replies from all, thank you.

A few more specific topics:

Action, and plenty of it. - one of the other reasons for the double track mainline is action. Here is a prototype example from history.

I live in northeastern Maryland. Just minutes from my new house, both the B&O and PRR, oops, CSX and NS, cross the Susquhanna River. The former PRR, now NS line is the once mostly 4 track electrified mainline commonly known as the Northeast Corridor, also used today by AMTRAK (it narrows onto two tracks to cross the swing bridge over the Susquehanna).

On the north side of the Susquehanna, in a liitle town called Perryville, a wye takes a line northwest up the river valley to Harrisburg, and the once 4 track mainline proceeds northeast to Phily. And there was once an interchange track with the B&O, I think that is inactive now?

The point of all this explaination is this, in the heyday of the PRR, the Perryville wye was a busy spot. A 1947 timetable for the Perryville station/tower shows no less than a train roughly every eight minutes, in one direction or another, nearly 24 hours a day.

That is the kind of action I intend to simulate. Only double track provides that level of action.

My "wye" - My layout will include a wye along the mainline. The branch end of the wye will be single track - until it goes "off stage", where it will feed an additonal staging yard, most likely about 8 tracks.

So much like the Perryville wye/Harrisburg cutoff on the PRR relates to the Northeast Corridor mainline, trains will be able to take the wye and will go "off stage", ending up in staging, or will enter the layout from that staging and proceed east or west. The wye will also be the primary way to turn a complete train.

More later,

Sheldon

    

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Posted by hon30critter on Friday, July 27, 2018 1:32 AM

After reading all of the posts in this thread I have to say that I am very happy with the layout that I designed for our club.

The towns and industrial sites are quite a distance from the main yard. If we allow for a train to pass through the scenery twice it can have travelled up to 400 ft. from the main yard to it's final destination. We will be able to run long trains without suffering the problem of having the engine in one town and the caboose in another.

There are several areas of double track which will serve as passing sidings so in fact we will be able to run two or three long trains at the same time. There are also nine 'industrial' areas fed by sidings so there will be ample opportunity to do switching and local runs too.

Dave

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Posted by SeeYou190 on Friday, July 27, 2018 9:57 AM

ATLANTIC CENTRAL
My goal with a large space is not to make the layout more complex, or model more places, or squeeze in more features. My goal is to better capture the immensity of the prototype.

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Sheldon,

.
It sounds like you are planning your last lifetime layout, just like I am. Your era is the same as mine, your choice of control system (DC) is the same, and we are both going after double track mainline action on a big-time-class-1 railroad, and we are both modeling a time from before we were born.
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I am sure you have planned exactly what you want, just as I did.
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I built my last two layouts with the intension that they would be incorporated into a much larger double track mainline layout just like you have talked about. I planned a 2,000 square foot space to build the layout in, and had grand plans for operations.
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Then I took a good long hard look at my plans and came to the following conclusions:
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1) Most of my plan was built around using materials I had already collected/built and not around what I actually enjoyed about model railroading.
2) There was no way, given the way I get along with fellow model railroaders, that I would ever have a reliable group of 10 people to operate the railroad.
3) I really enjoy playing with trains alone while listening to my favorite music over simulating a job performed by paid professionals. Turning my model railroad into a job is less appealing every time I think of it.
4) The level of detail I want to achieve, which is not all that high, would not be attainable in 2,000 square feet.
5) As we transition into retirement, my wife and I are more interested in travel, and this will require time and money taken away from railroad time and money.
6) In HO scale a train powered by an ABA set of F units pulling 60 freight cars is about 35 feet long. To avoid where it is pulling out of one town before it reaches the next town requires a distance of at least 100 feet between towns just to feel like it is going somewhere. In 2,000 square feet I could not make this work.
7) I wanted to incorporate my previous two layout into the new one so no effort/time/money was lost.
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What you are trying to do… replicate the shear massive operations of a double track mainline… I believe is an unattainable goal. The compromises you will be forced to make, no matter what size room you have to work with, might result in disappointment.
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My solution to this problem was to model only a single town, well, actually there are two towns, but only one is on the mainline.
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Trains come and go from staging, and since my town is rather small, most do not even stop as they go through. Surely the name train “Comet Express” does not stop in Willoughby, but the local RDC does as well as the “mail” train. Most freights roll right on through without stopping. Only the locals and way freights stop.
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With the space you have to work with, you could make this illusion even better.
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Your trains actually would have distance to travel before they reach your main town on the layout reinforcing the illusion this is a grand system. Maybe even 200-300 feet of “out in the open” running before they even need to stop. This makes a 35 foot long train look “at home” on the layout, and would surely help the atmosphere of big time railroading.
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This would be great for me as well, but it is something that will not happen. I have abandon the goal of the 2,000 square foot area and decided a repurposed 11 by 22 foot room in the main house will be the layout’s home. My trains will need to enter from tunnels and go directly into the city limits of Willoughby. Not ideal, but it will work.
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Your Complication VS Mass study is interesting. If I had the space of a full ranch basement to work with, I doubt I would make my current plan any more complicated. I will have about 50 turnouts on the layout as planned, and I think that would be about the same. I would add a few yard tracks because I would space the stations in Willoughby away from the yard. That would relieve congestion. So figure 60-65 turnouts on a “dream version” of my layout plans.
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So… going back to my original 6 points:
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1) Once I removed the shackles of thinking that all the stuff I have collected for the dream layout was stuff I had to use I had better freedom to design what I really wanted. It was hard to admit that my purchases were not as well thought out as I once thought. My wife was a bit upset that this was just proof I had wasted money on these things with premature purchases, but it did me a lot of good to lower the ambitions a bit.

2) I need to accept that I do not get along well with the “real” Model Railroad Simulated Operations and Rule Book crowd. The crew that would be needed to operate the railroad would never accept my version of the STRATTON & GILLETTE for being up to their standards in conformity or rivet counting.

3) I love being in the layout room alone. The real world cannot bother me in there. It needs to be my haven, and not a place where a job, chores, or work takes place.

4) Detail and fun scenes are what I enjoy. If I was going to complete a 2,000 square foot monster, there would not be time for all the little things I want. That would be unacceptable.

5) As the girls continue to drift away from home base, and as weekends on beaches mean more to us, I will be away from home more and more with my wife. Again, time to scale back the goals a bit.

6) I can live with an ABA set of EMD F units pulling a 14 car train. That is about as much train as I can see in a single glance anyway, so it works quite well for me.

7) I cut up the layout in the spare bedroom and threw away the switching layout so I could start with a completely clean slate.
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My financial situation and purchasing power has improved to the point that replacing everything was not a devastating solution, and it actually gave me the needed freedom to make plans to reach my dreams.
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So the point of this whole thing is just be sure you not only have a dream/plan of what you want, have the time to build what you want, and can afford what you want… make sure you actually know what you want, have the help to build it as required, will be able to have the crew available to run it, and… most importantly… will you enjoy what you build.
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The equation of Mass vs Compression will not work. No matter how massive your layout is, it will still be a compression. Lorrell Joiner built a truly massive O scale masterpiece layout with truly massive proportions, and incredible run distance, but it was still a compression and compromise in the end. I fear that if you set your sole goal to replicate the mass of the prototype you will only be partially successful with your results.
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That is what makes Model Railroading different than building custom motorcycles. Even with all the money and space in the world, you will still reach a limit and need to compromise on that ultimate dream.
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If you set a realistic goal based around how you have your fun, you will have better chance at success and satisfaction. This goal will be different for everyone, and it is never an “us VS them” situation. Instead, it is about identifying what you enjoy and satisfying yourself. Accept the limitations that each of us have in time, money, friends, ambition, space, motivation, skills, etc… and build something that makes you happy.
.
-Kevin
.

 

Wink Happily modeling my STRATTON & GILLETTE RAILROAD. A Class A line located in a personal fantasy world of semi-plausible nonsense on Tuesday, August 3rd, 1954.

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Posted by ATLANTIC CENTRAL on Friday, July 27, 2018 1:31 PM

Kevin,

Maybe I was not clear enough, or maybe you did not read all of my posts in this thread, but I am actually doing exactly what you suggest, I am only modeling one town (small city actually), and the three or so miles on either side of it.

The layout controls allow good display running, single operator control, or a crew of as many as 20.

I get along fine with other modelers, and around here, I could get 15 guys tomorrow night.

I'm not as well rounded as you, I'm indifferent about the beach, my wife won't get on airplanes, and while some more travel would be ok, it's not a high priority. My kids have been gone for years, thank the Lord.

I only have a few other hobbies, none of which are as big for me as model trains.

35-45 cars will be the typical train length, longer trains will be easily possible. The layout will stage about 30 trains of that size.

I will cover some more specific topics soon.

More later,

Sheldon

    

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Posted by BRAKIE on Saturday, July 28, 2018 2:56 AM

ATLANTIC CENTRAL
Action, and plenty of it. - one of the other reasons for the double track mainline is action.

Sheldon,A single track main can and will deliver plenty of action of course while railfaning I've seen plenty of action on both single and double mains and I've seen long lulls on both.

Larry

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Posted by ATLANTIC CENTRAL on Saturday, July 28, 2018 7:00 AM

BRAKIE

 

 
ATLANTIC CENTRAL
Action, and plenty of it. - one of the other reasons for the double track mainline is action.

 

Sheldon,A single track main can and will deliver plenty of action of course while railfaning I've seen plenty of action on both single and double mains and I've seen long lulls on both.

 

Larry,

You just refuse to get it. Some of us do like "display" operation some of the time.

When I operate alone, I can put four trains on the mainline and forget about them.

While the mainline is just a double track loop with thru staging for "crew" operating sessions, it has a series of cutoffs that turn it into four seperate loops, two west bound, two eastbound. You cannot visually follow the train all the way around, it goes "off stage" then reappears at the other end of the line after making its way thru the staging area......

For visitors, or when operating alone, I can put four trains on and let them run. Then I can still operate the yard and industrial belt line while those trains just run.

You have made it more than clear that you don't have any interest in display running, but some of us do like to simply watch trains.

AND, those trains on the loops, can easily be stopped in the staging yards, and replaced with different trains randomly, so you are not always just watching the same train, or same four trains...... 

There will be capacity for about 30 DIFFERENT trains in the hidden staging.

And again, with single track, I think it is very unrealistic to have only a train length, or two, or even three, between passing sidings that in my case would need to be 30 feet long. AGAIN, you may be happy with unrealisticly short trains, I am not.

As Kevin and I have both pointed out, long trains are l....o....n....g.

You might be happy with a 12 car train, I am not.

My typical freight train is an ABA, or ABBA, or two 2-8-2's, with 35 to 45 cars, and a caboose - about 26 actual feet long.

In many cases, especially with steam power, It actually takes two, or even three locos to pull these trains. The layout does have a series of grades, typically about 2%

Typical passenger trains are two E8's, or PA's, or a 4-8-2, or two 4-6-2's, with 8 to 12 cars - about 15 actual feet long.

Yes, there will be close to 1,000 feet of staging track alone.

Single track provides lots of "mental action" for operators, but little "visual action" for viewers.

Double track, or more importantly double track with SEPARATE single track industrial belt line operations, provides lots of both.

Again, in the 1940's and 50's, trains on the PRR northeast corridor ran with 15 minute headways in both directions. Stand by the tracks for eight minutes, you saw a train - a moving train.

Sheldon

    

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Posted by BRAKIE on Saturday, July 28, 2018 8:58 AM

Sheldon,I get it all to well.. A loop layout with double track can lead to "open 'er up and let it fly" like you  seen at train shows.

A point to point is not a ugly thing and you can run 30 car trains by planing ahead while designing the basement or special building layout.

For visitor running or just train watching have a return loop in both hidden staging yards.

Larry

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Posted by ATLANTIC CENTRAL on Saturday, July 28, 2018 9:52 AM

BRAKIE

Sheldon,I get it all to well.. A loop layout with double track can lead to "open 'er up and let it fly" like you  seen at train shows.

A point to point is not a ugly thing and you can run 30 car trains by planing ahead while designing the basement or special building layout.

For visitor running or just train watching have a return loop in both hidden staging yards.

 

I can't help that you think it is necessary to restrict the track plan to enforce people's behavior. I am not running a club, I am building a personal layout for ME.

I have been in clubs, never again. Clubs are different from having a group of guys come over and operate.

A continious loop with thru staging does exactly the same thing more effectively rather than return loops at the ends.

Example - the empty coal trains always moves west, the loaded one always moves east - without having to be turned or restaged.

For actual operating sessions NO trains run all the way thru the staging - they all TERMINATE in staging - That makes it point to point.

My layout is designed to do three things with equal quality and importance:

Operate with a crew and dispatcher.

Provide simple but high action display operation.

And support interesting and relaxing one man operation for ME.

Just in case you don't understand the mainline scheme here, the mainline comes into view, it runs around the whole room, out onto several peninsulas, and as it gets back around to where it started it again disappears from view, with a view block seperating where the scenery would otherwise meet.

At that point tracks continue in the same direction around the room BEHIND the back drop. That is where the staging yards are. There is not just one giant staging yard, there are multiple ones for east and west as the mainline makes it way all the way around the room behind the back drop, eventually meeting the other end of the visable mainline.

It is a classic twice around track plan with only one loop around in view, the second loop around is the hidden staging.

So unless turned on the wye, east bound trains move east, west bound trains move west. They are only seen once in their two loops around the room, then they stop in a staging track.

Half way thru the visable portion there is a LARGE yard, engine terminal, piggyback yard, passenger terminal, feed to the belt line, etc, where all the "operation" really takes place.

Again, only ONE town is modeled. Features are only modeled once. Trains "enter" the stage, perform their role, and exit to staging.

You act like I have never operated on a point to point layout - I have, some really big and nice ones at that. But in my view there was still too much to do at each end and not enough "distance" in the middle.

Surely not enough distance for 40 car trains..............which I will not give up.

Sheldon

 

 

    

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Posted by ROBERT PETRICK on Saturday, July 28, 2018 11:15 AM

Hey Sheldon-

I've probably asked this question before, and I'm pretty sure one of the Daves has asked it recently: do you have a finalized track plan?

I know you're in the process of moving and the new space might not yet be nailed down. Your postings in this thread and in others kinda seem like you're revising and refining your Givens and Druthers and you're fleshing out a design narrative of what you want to accomplish. Has this activity gelled into a Final Plan? My interest in Layout Design (particularly layout design of others (can't help it, I'm nosy)) is how all these ideas and decisions and the compromises they induce come together and the physical layout starts taking shape. For me, the thing that really sets stuff in motion is a Final Track Plan (or something pretty close).

Just curious. Thanks.

Robert

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Posted by ATLANTIC CENTRAL on Saturday, July 28, 2018 12:07 PM

ROBERT PETRICK

Hey Sheldon-

I've probably asked this question before, and I'm pretty sure one of the Daves has asked it recently: do you have a finalized track plan?

I know you're in the process of moving and the new space might not yet be nailed down. Your postings in this thread and in others kinda seem like you're revising and refining your Givens and Druthers and you're fleshing out a design narrative of what you want to accomplish. Has this activity gelled into a Final Plan? My interest in Layout Design (particularly layout design of others (can't help it, I'm nosy)) is how all these ideas and decisions and the compromises they induce come together and the physical layout starts taking shape. For me, the thing that really sets stuff in motion is a Final Track Plan (or something pretty close).

Just curious. Thanks.

Robert

 

There is not a final plan for the new space yet. But understand that it will be made up of a series of layout design elements that will not really change from my previous space.

I never completed the new version of the layout in the previous space, but none of the basic elements will change, only expand some, and be adjusted to the new space.

I'm not really "revising" as much as simply "adjusting" for the new space.

The goals, and the methods for reaching them, are pretty set. 

The new space is not only larger, it is better proportioned for this concept.

I am a draftsman by original training, so I assure you an actual final plan is in the works. I will figure out how to publish it when it is ready enough (it is not being drafted electronically, I can do CADD, I hate CADD....).

Each of the design criteria elements I have posted in various posts in this thread are concepts I have been working on for some time now, have tested in some cases, have used in layouts I have designed for others, etc.

I don't mention it much on here, and I'm not looking for design business, but I have designed a number of layouts for other modelers over the years.

Having been at this for nearly 50 years now, I am very set in my goals, likes, dislikes, etc.

More later,

Sheldon

PS - Just moved much of the train stuff to the new house today!

    

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Posted by kasskaboose on Sunday, July 29, 2018 4:22 PM

Sheldon,

Wow! You touch on a lot of things.  What I found from seeing some layouts is no two are the same.  The differences are endless and who am I to judge one better than another? 

Do what works for you within different constraints and go from there.  Ultimately, it's your layout.  Enjoy what you have.

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Posted by ATLANTIC CENTRAL on Saturday, August 4, 2018 10:58 PM

Some photos of the new layout space:

 

 

 

 

The big wooden work bench came with the house - it has a date with a saw and a landfill......

The new layout plan is nearly worked out, and goes to the formal drawing board soon.

More later,

Sheldon

    

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Posted by BRAKIE on Sunday, August 5, 2018 4:25 AM

Sheldon,If I had that much space I would build a point to point branch line or a more likely a point to point city industrial lead around the walls.

I look forward is seeing progress photos on your new layout.

Larry

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Posted by SeeYou190 on Sunday, August 5, 2018 7:37 AM

WOW! That is quite a space. I love a blank canvas.

.

The celing looks a little low to me, but that might be the photo properties. I am 6' 7" tall, so ceilings are a big concern for me.

.

There is nothing like that here in Southwest Florida.

.

I am looking forward to updates.

.

-Kevin

.

Wink Happily modeling my STRATTON & GILLETTE RAILROAD. A Class A line located in a personal fantasy world of semi-plausible nonsense on Tuesday, August 3rd, 1954.

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Posted by ATLANTIC CENTRAL on Sunday, August 5, 2018 7:54 AM

BRAKIE

Sheldon,If I had that much space I would build a point to point branch line or a more likely a point to point city industrial lead around the walls.

I look forward is seeing progress photos on your new layout.

 

Larry,

I visted a layout not far from me years ago where the guy has a point to point ISL that fills a space this size. It was a very nice layout.

BUT, I want mainline operation as well. So I will build what I have explained. 

Sheldon

    

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Posted by ATLANTIC CENTRAL on Sunday, August 5, 2018 8:00 AM

SeeYou190

WOW! That is quite a space. I love a blank canvas.

.

The celing looks a little low to me, but that might be the photo properties. I am 6' 7" tall, so ceilings are a big concern for me.

.

There is nothing like that here in Southwest Florida.

.

I am looking forward to updates.

.

-Kevin

.

 

Thank you, yes, I'm happy. 

The ceiling is a little low, slightly less than 8 feet, but no ductwork or piping in the way. The air conditioning is in the attic, the heat is hot water baseboard.

I'm only 6' tall, so it works fine for me, especially since I long ago lost all interest in multi decks.

The details of the track plan are coming along nicely.

Just a note to those of you in other parts of the country, basements like this are "typical" around here. MOST homes are built on basements here, many remain unfinished open spaces like this. This house was built in 1964, this space has always been used as storage, work shop, and utility space.

Maybe that is why so many of my modeler friends also have moderately large layouts. Even shared with utility equipment, sometimes washer and dryer (ours is up stairs), or even a family room, these basements often still provide 800 to 1500 sq ft spaces for layouts in the "average" home.

More later,

Sheldon

 

    

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Posted by Doughless on Sunday, August 5, 2018 11:57 AM

ATLANTIC CENTRAL

Some photos of the new layout space:

 

 

Sheldon

 

Congratulations Sheldon.  Please keep us posted.

BTW, don't you love when they string Romex under the joists instead of through them?

- Douglas

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Posted by ROBERT PETRICK on Sunday, August 5, 2018 12:33 PM

Hey Sheldon-

Okay, this is good. Progress!

Robert

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Posted by 7j43k on Sunday, August 5, 2018 2:01 PM

Doughless

BTW, don't you love when they string Romex under the joists instead of through them?

 

Around here, that's viewed as an employment opportunity for people like me.

 

Ed

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Posted by ATLANTIC CENTRAL on Sunday, August 5, 2018 4:24 PM

7j43k

 

 
Doughless

BTW, don't you love when they string Romex under the joists instead of through them?

 

 

 

Around here, that's viewed as an employment opportunity for people like me.

 

Ed

 

Yes, I will be fixing a few small things, and installing new lighting, etc.

Sheldon

    

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Posted by SeeYou190 on Sunday, August 5, 2018 4:29 PM

Sheldon,

.

What is your plan for this project?

.

Do you have remodeling to do to the main house first, or do you get to jump right into your train room?

.

Do you plan to finish the whole room before you begin layout construction?

.

How much work does the layout room need? It looks really good in the pictures, but I know nothing about basements.

.

The fact that I am so far behind on my remodel schedule has me very frustrated at this point. My next step is new windows, but my travel schedule makes meeting with an installed very difficult right now.

.

-Kevin

.

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Posted by ATLANTIC CENTRAL on Sunday, August 5, 2018 6:36 PM

Kevin, 

The walls and floor are fine as is, maybe a fresh coat of paint. The walls are concrete block, the floor is concrete. There is no need for finished/drywall walls, or other flooring. Aisles can be carpeted after the layout is built.

I will most likely install a drop ceiling, but I will install it very close to the floor joists above, I have done that before.

And new lighting is a given.

The house above is move in ready for the most part. We are doing a few really simple things before we move in. And we do have some projects in mind, but they will wait until the other house is sold. But even those projects are simple enough.

Being in the construction business, none of this is difficult for me.

So as time allows, I can play in the basement pretty much right away.

What kind of windows are you looking to replace? What kind of windows are you looking to buy?

Construction motto:

Fast, Good quality, Affordable, pick two, you cannot have all three......we typically go for the second two.

Sheldon

    

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Posted by BigDaddy on Sunday, August 5, 2018 7:09 PM

ATLANTIC CENTRAL
Construction motto: Fast, Good quality, Affordable, pick two, you cannot have all three......we typically go for the second two.

Reminds me of some of the best advice in medicine.  Diabetes, Cigarettes and legs, pick two.

Henry

COB Potomac & Northern

By the Chesapeake Bay

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Posted by Doughless on Sunday, August 5, 2018 9:26 PM

7j43k

 

Doughless

BTW, don't you love when they string Romex under the joists instead of through them?

 

 

 

Around here, that's viewed as an employment opportunity for people like me.

 

Ed

 

You must be from Georgia.

- Douglas

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Posted by 7j43k on Monday, August 6, 2018 9:37 AM

Doughless

 

 
7j43k

 

Doughless

BTW, don't you love when they string Romex under the joists instead of through them?

 

 

 

Around here, that's viewed as an employment opportunity for people like me.

 

Ed

 

 

 

You must be from Georgia.

 

 

Must be a story there.  Nope.  

Oakland CA.

Where the electrical inspectors are fond of enforcing NEC 334.15C.  They typically also get huffy about ANY exposed romex below 8' above the floor.  Or the ground.

They are also fond of NEC 110.12 (neat and workmanlike).

 

Ed

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Posted by Doughless on Monday, August 6, 2018 10:37 AM

I was commenting more upon codes back in the day.  I think most everywhere current code demands romex (equivilent) be punched through the joists instead of stapled to the bottom of it or hanging.  If the homeowner wants to convert non living space to living space via drywall on the ceiling, they run the risk of punching a nail in the romex unless its away from the nailing surface.

My basement is full of romex strung along the ceiling, rendering the space permanently nonliving space unless I install a drop ceiling or hire an electrician to punch it through the joists, which is a lot of work that should have been done when the house was built, IMO.  I hate old building codes.

- Douglas

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Posted by 7j43k on Monday, August 6, 2018 11:16 AM

Doughless

I was commenting more upon codes back in the day.

My basement is full of romex strung along the ceiling, rendering the space permanently nonliving space unless I install a drop ceiling or hire an electrician to punch it through the joists, which is a lot of work that should have been done when the house was built, IMO.  I hate old building codes.

 

 

I seriously doubt the NEC EVER allowed romex to be installed under joists in a basement.

I think you are the proud owner of non-permit wiring.  Or perhaps your inspector was incompetent or bought.

There is a terrific history of electrical wiring here:

https://www.scribd.com/doc/18355180/Electrical-Wiring-History

 

Also, I just bought a copy of the 1947 NEC.  When it shows, I'll see what it says. 

Ed 

 

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Posted by NittanyLion on Monday, August 6, 2018 1:16 PM

We're in the extreme early stages of house hunting and my stomach drops when I see a rat's nest of wiring going every which way under the joists in any part of the basement. I want my train room and she wants a finished laundry room. Welp. 

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Posted by 7j43k on Monday, August 6, 2018 3:37 PM

If you find yourself afflicted with this problem, beyond the dropped ceiling that Sheldon is considering, you can also:

Put strips of 1/2" plywood on the bottom of the joists, between the romex "crossings".  Overlay that with 2 x 2's.  You can now legally attach sheetrock for your ceiling.  If you're going to get a permit, be sure to run this by the inspector first.

Or, of course, you can pull the romex back and run it through newly drilled holes in the joists.  Builds character!

 

Ed

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Posted by Doughless on Monday, August 6, 2018 4:53 PM

7j43k

 

 
Doughless

I was commenting more upon codes back in the day.

My basement is full of romex strung along the ceiling, rendering the space permanently nonliving space unless I install a drop ceiling or hire an electrician to punch it through the joists, which is a lot of work that should have been done when the house was built, IMO.  I hate old building codes.

 

 

 

 

I seriously doubt the NEC EVER allowed romex to be installed under joists in a basement.

I think you are the proud owner of non-permit wiring.  Or perhaps your inspector was incompetent or bought.

There is a terrific history of electrical wiring here:

https://www.scribd.com/doc/18355180/Electrical-Wiring-History

 

Also, I just bought a copy of the 1947 NEC.  When it shows, I'll see what it says. 

Ed 

 

 

Its one room in the basement, but its not where the furnace is so it could be livable space if properly converted.

We go to open houses.  Two more house had the same thing.  A large room in the basement where all romex wires to wire the entire house come from the panel, about 20 of them, and across the joists until they can find a path within the basement ceiling to where they can run along the joists instead of across them.  The offending rooms where the romex crosses the joists ere good sized, about 18 by 12.

I think because they were "intended storage" and not living space, that type of construction was common around here....and I'm talking circa 1996.  Of course, a drop ceiling would not really interfere, but the thing looks half s'd with all the wires running along the ceiling.

- Douglas

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Posted by 7j43k on Monday, August 6, 2018 5:41 PM

"IN UNFINISHED BASEMENTS AND CRAWL SPACES [crawl spaces added in 2008], ...cable run at angles with joists, ...[#10 and smaller] shall be run either through bored holes or on running boards."

There is no exception for intended storage.  Or any other use, for that matter.

Just because a new house was permitted and inspected doesn't necessarily mean anything.  A co-worker and I once had a contest to identify the most code violations in any of the boxes we had to open up to work in.  This for a relatively new house in beautiful Marin County.

Ed

 

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Posted by Track fiddler on Monday, August 6, 2018 6:47 PM

Ed is correct. You can do this if you want sheetrock on the ceiling. Or as an alternative put furring strips between the wires and put steel plates over the wires. That is admissible too.

As a licensed contractor I am very familiar with all building codes.  The electrical code states any electrical wiring shall be a minimum of an inch and a quarter from any framing surface. Most electricians keep their wiring an inch and a half away from framing suface as exactly 1 inch and 1/4 spacing can fail an electrical inspection.

Unfortunately it is very common to see electrical wires stapled to the bottom of the rafters in most furnace/ utility rooms when they are classified as unfinished.

There's a fine line upon resale. These rooms still need to be classified as unfinished. Time and time again I see houses I am doing work in up for resale. 

Many realtors selling these houses are including the unfinished rooms square footage as habitable living space. Habitable living space reflects the price of the property...... I see it time and time again and it's a crying crock.Super AngryOff TopicWhistlingConfused

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Posted by ATLANTIC CENTRAL on Monday, August 6, 2018 7:04 PM

And now folks, the wires in the picture that are running diagonally, are RG6 cable TV and phone wires, not romex...........they will be moved.......I too am an electrician.

Second, others can do what they like, and what codes allow, but I will not put drywall on a basement ceiling. It is just an invitation to have to rip a hole in it later for a plumbing or electrical repair or up grade.

Sheldon

    

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Posted by Doughless on Monday, August 6, 2018 7:42 PM

For consideration by OP or others.  I've seen black dryfall painted basement ceilings and they look great, especially when the black ceiling is in the shadows of the backside of the new lighting.  The ceiling virtually disappears, which seems to give the room extra height.

Not sure if it would produce dust over time, or having an open ceiling would be detrimental to a layout in general.

- Douglas

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Posted by ATLANTIC CENTRAL on Monday, August 6, 2018 8:18 PM

Doughless

For consideration by OP or others.  I've seen black dryfall painted basement ceilings and they look great, especially when the black ceiling is in the shadows of the backside of the new lighting.  The ceiling virtually disappears, which seems to give the room extra height.

Not sure if it would produce dust over time, or having an open ceiling would be detrimental to a layout in general.

 

Again, my plan is to install a drop ceiling, the house has hot water baseboard heat, so pipes go around various parts of the perimeter. Most of the heating pipes are up above the joists, or tucked neatly near the sill, but I will not cover them up, or other plumbing and electrical wires, with drywall.

I have not decided for sure yet, but I may want to build a valance above the layout. In which case I would build a "ceiling" inside the valance for the layout lighting, and install a drop ceiling over the aisles.

In any case, the mechanicals of the house will not be made inaccessable by such construction.

Sheldon

    

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Posted by Track fiddler on Monday, August 6, 2018 8:36 PM

ATLANTIC CENTRAL

And now folks, the wires in the picture that are running diagonally, are RG6 cable TV and phone wires, not romex...........they will be moved.......I too am an electrician.

Second, others can do what they like, and what codes allow, but I will not put drywall on a basement ceiling. It is just an invitation to have to rip a hole in it later for a plumbing or electrical repair or up grade.

Sheldon

 

Good man I will side with that one.

Easy access.... it's not a matter of if there is a problem upstairs, it's a matter of when. I think like you think. It's amazing how many of my advised customers don't.Zip it!

I have installed microtrac suspended ceilings with Sandstone drift 2x2 recess inserts that look better than drywall anyway..... good plan good plan you have my blessingThumbs UpWink

PS. I didn't read this whole thread it's too darn long. Yes a good looking well done suspended ceiling in the basement is the way to go.

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Posted by SeeYou190 on Tuesday, August 7, 2018 4:34 PM

ATLANTIC CENTRAL
What kind of windows are you looking to replace? What kind of windows are you looking to buy?

.

I am looking to replace the garbage windows that were installed in the house when it was built in 1987. During the late 1980s small windows were all the style, so that works in my favor lowering the price of everything.

.

The master bedroom window will be a soundproof double pane window with a "blackout" interior blind. I am going to sleep like a baby!

.

The remaining windows (the house only has six other windows) will be whatever is the least expensive way to get a Category 5 rated impact window. I am so sick of the shutters going on and off twice a year.

.

I am open to options in the train room, I really have not figured that one out yet. I would like a window AC unit in there so I can keep it climate controlled while the rest of the house is opened up. I also do not want the room to be a death trap in case of a fire, so I need a window to escape from if necessary.

.

-Kevin

.

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Posted by jeep35 on Tuesday, August 7, 2018 5:34 PM

Sheldon,

I think you are "spot on". I think that large (or small) complex layouts are maintainence problems. Prototype railroads don't like complex trackwork because it is expensive to maintain. I believe you made the correct choice in a large layout but not an overly complex layout. By the way, when you were listing the things in you current home you won't have to deal with, it hit home with me. We have a pool, flowerbeds/landscaping, fences to maintain. I told my wife it's like living on a ranch. ALWAYS something to fix, paint or tend to. Best of luck with your new home.

Jim

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Posted by Doughless on Tuesday, August 7, 2018 7:29 PM

ATLANTIC CENTRAL

 

 
Doughless

For consideration by OP or others.  I've seen black dryfall painted basement ceilings and they look great, especially when the black ceiling is in the shadows of the backside of the new lighting.  The ceiling virtually disappears, which seems to give the room extra height.

Not sure if it would produce dust over time, or having an open ceiling would be detrimental to a layout in general.

 

 

 

Again, my plan is to install a drop ceiling, the house has hot water baseboard heat, so pipes go around various parts of the perimeter. Most of the heating pipes are up above the joists, or tucked neatly near the sill, but I will not cover them up, or other plumbing and electrical wires, with drywall.

I have not decided for sure yet, but I may want to build a valance above the layout. In which case I would build a "ceiling" inside the valance for the layout lighting, and install a drop ceiling over the aisles.

In any case, the mechanicals of the house will not be made inaccessable by such construction.

Sheldon

 

Sheldon, I understand your preference for the drop ceiling, which I think would work and look great.

Judging from your response, you may have misread my immediate post as saying dryWALL, not dry Fall, a type of paint you may be aware of.

For those that aren't, dryfall (Dry Fall?) is a type of paint mainly used on ceilings where the mist and splatters dry quickly, on the way down, as to not drip or stain whatever it hits.  The dust gets swept up off the floor after the project's finished.

That would leave the ceiling open to all mechanicals, and the deep black paint makes the ceiling and clutter disappear, since it sits above the downward pointing lighting.

Just a thought for those who may not want any cover over their ceiling.

- Douglas

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Posted by 7j43k on Tuesday, August 7, 2018 9:01 PM

If you have an "open" ceiling, you have a LOT of surfaces to collect dust:  pipes, wiring, ducting.....

And there's no reason to assume it's all going to stay up there.  Not to mention possibly "stuff" coming through the subfloor gaps, if there are any.  A ceiling, either solid or dropped, will minimize dust.  

And, if it's white, make lighting more even and efficient.

 

Ed

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Posted by ATLANTIC CENTRAL on Tuesday, August 7, 2018 9:13 PM

Doughless

 

 
ATLANTIC CENTRAL

 

 
Doughless

For consideration by OP or others.  I've seen black dryfall painted basement ceilings and they look great, especially when the black ceiling is in the shadows of the backside of the new lighting.  The ceiling virtually disappears, which seems to give the room extra height.

Not sure if it would produce dust over time, or having an open ceiling would be detrimental to a layout in general.

 

 

 

Again, my plan is to install a drop ceiling, the house has hot water baseboard heat, so pipes go around various parts of the perimeter. Most of the heating pipes are up above the joists, or tucked neatly near the sill, but I will not cover them up, or other plumbing and electrical wires, with drywall.

I have not decided for sure yet, but I may want to build a valance above the layout. In which case I would build a "ceiling" inside the valance for the layout lighting, and install a drop ceiling over the aisles.

In any case, the mechanicals of the house will not be made inaccessable by such construction.

Sheldon

 

 

 

Sheldon, I understand your preference for the drop ceiling, which I think would work and look great.

Judging from your response, you may have misread my immediate post as saying dryWALL, not dry Fall, a type of paint you may be aware of.

For those that aren't, dryfall (Dry Fall?) is a type of paint mainly used on ceilings where the mist and splatters dry quickly, on the way down, as to not drip or stain whatever it hits.  The dust gets swept up off the floor after the project's finished.

That would leave the ceiling open to all mechanicals, and the deep black paint makes the ceiling and clutter disappear, since it sits above the downward pointing lighting.

Just a thought for those who may not want any cover over their ceiling.

 

No, it is not something I am familiar with. Sounds like something you spray, not really the type of work we ever do.

We never spray paint interiors, personally, I consider spray painting drywall an inferior process intended to save time at the expense of quality.

I just recently purchased a sprayer to paint some cedar shutters, the jury is still out on its effectiveness.........

Sheldon

    

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Posted by ATLANTIC CENTRAL on Wednesday, August 8, 2018 9:32 PM

SeeYou190

 

 
ATLANTIC CENTRAL
What kind of windows are you looking to replace? What kind of windows are you looking to buy?

 

.

I am looking to replace the garbage windows that were installed in the house when it was built in 1987. During the late 1980s small windows were all the style, so that works in my favor lowering the price of everything.

.

The master bedroom window will be a soundproof double pane window with a "blackout" interior blind. I am going to sleep like a baby!

.

The remaining windows (the house only has six other windows) will be whatever is the least expensive way to get a Category 5 rated impact window. I am so sick of the shutters going on and off twice a year.

.

I am open to options in the train room, I really have not figured that one out yet. I would like a window AC unit in there so I can keep it climate controlled while the rest of the house is opened up. I also do not want the room to be a death trap in case of a fire, so I need a window to escape from if necessary.

.

-Kevin

.

 

It's hard for me to imagine a housewith only 7 windows. My new house has 22, the big Queen Anne has 54.....

What kind of house is this? How is it built? What material are the current windows? Are they casements, double hung, sliders?

One of my favorite brands is Sierra Pacific. Pella and Marvin are good as well.

Or are you looking at stuff like vinyl replacement windows?

They vary a lot in quality and features.....and price.

Sheldon

    

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Posted by richhotrain on Thursday, August 9, 2018 3:37 AM

ATLANTIC CENTRAL
 

It's hard for me to imagine a housewith only 7 windows. My new house has 22, the big Queen Anne has 54.....

What kind of house is this? How is it built? What material are the current windows? Are they casements, double hung, sliders?

It depends on how you count "windows".

When we built our current home 20 years ago, I still clearly recall our builder telling me that there were 44 windows in our home in response to my request to upgrade from Norco to Andersen. Said it would be hugely expensive to upgrade.

I believed him and decided to stick with Norco. Later, as I began to replace the inferior Norco windows, I realized how he counted 44 windows. There are lot fewer than 44 window "openings" cut into the walls, but I have casement windows with two or three "windows" in each opening in most rooms. Actual openings total 16.

Rich

Alton Junction

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Posted by ATLANTIC CENTRAL on Thursday, August 9, 2018 5:21 AM

richhotrain

 

 
ATLANTIC CENTRAL
 

It's hard for me to imagine a housewith only 7 windows. My new house has 22, the big Queen Anne has 54.....

What kind of house is this? How is it built? What material are the current windows? Are they casements, double hung, sliders?

 

 

It depends on how you count "windows".

 

When we built our current home 20 years ago, I still clearly recall our builder telling me that there were 44 windows in our home in response to my request to upgrade from Norco to Andersen. Said it would be hugely expensive to upgrade.

I believed him and decided to stick with Norco. Later, as I began to replace the inferior Norco windows, I realized how he counted 44 windows. There are lot fewer than 44 window "openings" cut into the walls, but I have casement windows with two or three "windows" in each opening in most rooms. Actual openings total 16.

Rich

 

True enough, but here in the 1901 Queen Anne, there are only three locations with mulled pairs/tripples in the same rough framed openings.

But from a cost standpoint, a factory (or field installed) mulled pair is twice as expensive as a single, that's two windows.

I would possibly agree that a factory mulled pair of casements is one "window" operationally and aesthetically, the industry still considers it two "units".

In the case of my Queen Anne, the windows are virtually all double hung, and even those mulled together are pretty widely sperated because they required weight pockets between them, so the mullion trim is 6 to 9 inches wide.

Traditionally, the industry considers the two sash in a double hung window to be a "unit" and each casement sash to be a "unit", they count sash openings.

The Queen Anne unit count is actually 55, but I don't really count the stained glass fixed window diamond in the stairway.

Just ask my wife who painted the 100 plus pieces of replacement sash before I installed them.

I did not count the basement windows, or 6 door transom/sidelight windows in that 54 count.......

Lots of windows......

Sheldon

    

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Posted by richhotrain on Thursday, August 9, 2018 5:26 AM

I agree with you, Sheldon, on casement windows. There may be three in an opening, but each is replaceable without touching or interfering with the other two.

Rich

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Posted by Doughless on Thursday, August 9, 2018 6:08 AM

7j43k

If you have an "open" ceiling, you have a LOT of surfaces to collect dust:  pipes, wiring, ducting.....

And there's no reason to assume it's all going to stay up there.  Not to mention possibly "stuff" coming through the subfloor gaps, if there are any.  A ceiling, either solid or dropped, will minimize dust.  

And, if it's white, make lighting more even and efficient.

 

Ed

 

That was my concern as well.  I've seen open ceilings with everything painted black and it looks great.  But those were rec rooms/ game rooms.  Even in commercial places like bars and restaurants it works well.  

A train room needs to be free from dust as much as possible. 

- Douglas

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Posted by ATLANTIC CENTRAL on Thursday, August 9, 2018 6:20 AM

richhotrain

I agree with you, Sheldon, on casement windows. There may be three in an opening, but each is replaceable without touching or interfering with the other two.

Rich

 

Rich,

When it cones to replacing windows, there are a lot of variables. When we restored the Queen Anne, we did not replace the "window", we only replaced the sash in the windows. The jamb, sill, interior and exterior casing/trim is all original and undisturbed. 

And most importantly, the glass size and sash details are architecturally correct and are a good match to the orginals. We used a product commonly called a "sash kit".

Most current slide in replacement widow systens destroy the "architecture" of the window. 

And installing new construction windows in an existing building can be very intrusive to trim and siding.

Sheldon

    

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Posted by SeeYou190 on Thursday, August 9, 2018 6:21 AM

ATLANTIC CENTRAL
It's hard for me to imagine a housewith only 7 windows. My new house has 22, the big Queen Anne has 54..... What kind of house is this? How is it built? What material are the current windows? Are they casements, double hung, sliders?

.

It is a typical late 1980s Florida house. Concrete block construction, poorly executed Pseudo-Spanish styling. Miami Vice interior fixtures. I cannot wait to finally paint over the pink exterior. There are very few, and small windows, to meet insulation requirements and lower costs.

.

The front window is almost 10 feet wide, and in the back I have a 16 foot wall of sliding glass doors that all open into recessed openings in the building, so it a little more open than it sounds. The front of the house faces West, so when designing a Florida house, that is where you put the fewest windows, or the afternoon/evening sun will kill you.

.

There is one window in the front, three on the North side, two on the East, and one facing South.

.

The lack of windows makes adding a train room much easier. There was only one small window in the old Master Bedroom, and it will be on the staging side of the layout design, so no window opening problems at all with my 11 by 22 space.

.

.

-Kevin

.

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Posted by ATLANTIC CENTRAL on Thursday, August 9, 2018 7:02 AM

So Kevin, is it a wood frame house with dryvit stucco, or a masonry house?

Are the existing windows wood, or metal, or vinyl?

Are they casements?

Sheldon

    

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Posted by SeeYou190 on Thursday, August 9, 2018 9:54 AM

ATLANTIC CENTRAL
So Kevin, is it a wood frame house with dryvit stucco, or a masonry house?

.

It is what is called a "CBS" house, which I think stands for Concrete Block w/Stucco. I removed the hideous arches out in front of the door immediately after buying the house. The rest of the 1980s nonsense is finally going away as well.

.

The windows are metal framed horizonally sliding that I cannot emphasize enough are GARBAGE. The only trim is a marble shelf at the bottom of the window, typical for 1980s Florida.

.

I do not know what a casement is.

.

The roof is already upgraded (and battle tested) to Category V standards, CBS is by default CATV, so the windows are all that needs to be replaced for storm safety.

.

My lot is only 2 feet above sea level, but the house is elevated 8 feet above street grade, so I am storm surge safe at CATV levels for flooding on north side strikes.

.

We are in the heart of storm season right now.

.

-Kevin

.

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Posted by ATLANTIC CENTRAL on Thursday, August 9, 2018 10:30 AM

Kevin,

Ok, that tells me a lot, I now know how your windows are installed and how to replace them.

A casement is a more vertical window hinged on the side, that opens with a crank.

I only know a little about you storm requirements, but I would think you hsve local manufacturers making high quality vinyl frame replacement windows with the necessary specs.

Your old windows need to come completely out, and new ones installed. This is not generally the case with wood windows in wooden houses.

Because your new windows need to be very close to the exact size of tbe old windows, an "off the shelf" product is unlikely.

Custom wood windows can be very expenive, but are generally the best quality. Exterior surfaces are typically aluminum, fiberglass or vinyl clad.

About the train room a/c, a window unit is a bad idea, better to use a thru the wall or mini split system.

Sheldon

    

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Posted by maxman on Thursday, August 9, 2018 10:33 AM
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Posted by SeeYou190 on Thursday, August 9, 2018 12:10 PM

ATLANTIC CENTRAL
Because your new windows need to be very close to the exact size of tbe old windows, an "off the shelf" product is unlikely.

.

Actually, they are all in the catalogue of "standard" sized window openings in concrete block homes. It seems since the house is made out of "legos" that are 8 by 8 by 16, there are only a few sizes of window openings possible.

.

Lucky me, because that saves some serious dollars over custom built units.

.

-Kevin

.

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Posted by emdmike on Thursday, August 9, 2018 7:59 PM

I am cursed/blessed with a small train room, 9 foot by just over 8 foot.  Right now I am working on my micro traction layout for show duty.  But under a 4x8 sheet of plywood is the beginnings of a shelf type layout going around the walls for a future HO layout when I have enough "stuff" stockpiled up to build it.  Yes the curves will be way to tight, but like Sheldon, I will be working within the confines of my space.  Our whole house is 975 sq foot and that includes the small 1 car attached garage.  Tons of others told me to go with N scale, but HO is small enough for my eyesite.  I think, some of the complaints against those with huge layouts is with the higher cost to todays trains(perceived/real or not) causes many modelers to want to see smaller high detailed layouts and other ways to beat the high costs of model trains.  Not all have access to excellent train shows or shops that get in estates, both are a great way to beat high costs.  When I build my layout, it will be a series of scenes that I saw many times riding a festival excursion train as a child in Logansport, Indiana.  But I am going to proto freelance that railroad beyond the yearly excursion to be more like a shortline.    Mike the Aspie

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Posted by ATLANTIC CENTRAL on Friday, August 10, 2018 12:16 AM

SeeYou190

 

 
ATLANTIC CENTRAL
Because your new windows need to be very close to the exact size of tbe old windows, an "off the shelf" product is unlikely.

 

.

Actually, they are all in the catalogue of "standard" sized window openings in concrete block homes. It seems since the house is made out of "legos" that are 8 by 8 by 16, there are only a few sizes of window openings possible.

.

Lucky me, because that saves some serious dollars over custom built units.

.

-Kevin

.

 

I'm sure there are people in the window industry that cater to that market, but there are no specific industry standards on window rough opening sizes.

Historically, windows are sized based on "sash sizes" and each manufacturer will then have slightly different rough opening or "unit sizes" based on the design of his product.

Again, I am not refering specificly to sliders like you have, but to all types of windows.

If you are building a home here, you will need to know the brand and type of windows before you frame the openings in the walls.

So if all of your windows are even units of concrete block (refered to as CMU's, concrete masonry units), and there are vendors making products in your region for that market, great.

Concrete block individual homes are rare in this region. They enjoyed some popularity 50-70 years ago, but most had brick vineer exteriors, not stucco.

And few houses here are build in the style of your home.

Most individual homes here are wood framed, even if they have brick veneer exteriors.

Stucco and Dryvit are not very common here.

Sheldon

    

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Posted by 7j43k on Friday, August 10, 2018 9:30 AM

7j43k

 

 
Doughless

I was commenting more upon codes back in the day.

My basement is full of romex strung along the ceiling, rendering the space permanently nonliving space unless I install a drop ceiling or hire an electrician to punch it through the joists, which is a lot of work that should have been done when the house was built, IMO.  I hate old building codes.

 

 

 

 

I seriously doubt the NEC EVER allowed romex to be installed under joists in a basement.

I think you are the proud owner of non-permit wiring.  Or perhaps your inspector was incompetent or bought.

There is a terrific history of electrical wiring here:

https://www.scribd.com/doc/18355180/Electrical-Wiring-History

 

Also, I just bought a copy of the 1947 NEC.  When it shows, I'll see what it says. 

Ed 

 

 

 

My copy has arrived.  The requirements for romex on ceiling joists in unfinished basements are the same as currently.

Running 14 and 12 and 10 gauge romex underneath those joists is a violation, and has been at least since 1947.

There was not in 1947, and there is not currently, any exception for utility rooms and storage spaces or any other "special room" in basements.

 

Ed

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Posted by ATLANTIC CENTRAL on Friday, August 10, 2018 9:46 AM

I knew that, I just got some popcorn while you guys discussed it, and again the wires in the picture are low voltage and will be moved....

Sheldon

    

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Posted by 7j43k on Friday, August 10, 2018 9:58 AM

Sheldon,

Hopefully it's warm, salted and buttered.

I figured YOU knew that.  But on hearing that romex-on-the-bottom-of-joists is apparently REAL common in some parts of the country, I thought it might be appropriate to examine the Code implications.

 

Ed

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Posted by ATLANTIC CENTRAL on Friday, August 10, 2018 10:27 AM

7j43k

Sheldon,

Hopefully it's warm, salted and buttered.

I figured YOU knew that.  But on hearing that romex-on-the-bottom-of-joists is apparently REAL common in some parts of the country, I thought it might be appropriate to examine the Code implications.

 

Ed

 

Agreed

    

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Posted by Doughless on Friday, August 10, 2018 10:44 AM

7j43k

 

 
7j43k

 

 
Doughless

I was commenting more upon codes back in the day.

My basement is full of romex strung along the ceiling, rendering the space permanently nonliving space unless I install a drop ceiling or hire an electrician to punch it through the joists, which is a lot of work that should have been done when the house was built, IMO.  I hate old building codes.

 

 

 

 

I seriously doubt the NEC EVER allowed romex to be installed under joists in a basement.

I think you are the proud owner of non-permit wiring.  Or perhaps your inspector was incompetent or bought.

There is a terrific history of electrical wiring here:

https://www.scribd.com/doc/18355180/Electrical-Wiring-History

 

Also, I just bought a copy of the 1947 NEC.  When it shows, I'll see what it says. 

Ed 

 

 

 

 

 

My copy has arrived.  The requirements for romex on ceiling joists in unfinished basements are the same as currently.

Running 14 and 12 and 10 gauge romex underneath those joists is a violation, and has been at least since 1947.

There was not in 1947, and there is not currently, any exception for utility rooms and storage spaces or any other "special room" in basements.

 

Ed

 

Thanks for digging that out. That was my original understanding too, which was the basis of my original post on the subject.  That it is a code violation.  

What I heard locally was that if its considered non living space it didn't matter. (maybe that means the inspector gives it a pass). Which I then retorted that stringing it under the joists would pretty much render any basement room non living space, maybe even the whole basement. 

What I have seen, its usually limited to one room, strung along the joists until they reach places where it can be tucked up along the joists.

Many houses down here were built that way during the boom times, aparently.  I'm talking mid 1990s, (before the engineered joists, either the I-beam joists with the easy hole punch out or the truss looking joists).  Obviously strung that way for speed of construction with thick 2x joists.

 

- Douglas

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Posted by 7j43k on Friday, August 10, 2018 11:14 AM

Doughless
 

Thanks for digging that out. That was my original understanding too, which was the basis of my original post on the subject.  That it is a code violation.  

What I heard locally was that if its considered non living space it didn't matter. (maybe that means the inspector gives it a pass). Which I then retorted that stringing it under the joists would pretty much render any basement room non living space, maybe even the whole basement. 

Prior to 2008, this rule did not apply to crawl spaces, which certainly can be viewed as "non living space".  Perhaps that's where this curious "interpretation" came from.  But a basement is not a crawl space.

Perhaps, on the building plans, that area that most of us call a basement was called a "non living space subterranean enclosure".  Thus obviously not a basement.  Y'all throw up the cable, quick-like, y'hear?

What I have seen, its usually limited to one room, strung along the joists until they reach places where it can be tucked up along the joists.

Many houses down here were built that way during the boom times, aparently.  I'm talking mid 1990s, (before the engineered joists, either the I-beam joists with the easy hole punch out or the truss looking joists).  Obviously strung that way for speed of construction with thick 2x joists.

"...strung ALONG the joists..." is OK

"...tucked up ALONG the joists." is OK

crossing underneath ain't

 

Ed

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Posted by Doughless on Friday, August 10, 2018 7:38 PM

7j43k

 Y'all throw up the cable, quick-like, y'hear?

  

"...strung ALONG the joists..." is OK

"...tucked up ALONG the joists." is OK

crossing underneath ain't

 

Ed

 

Yes Ed, they are strung underneath in the several houses I've seen.

Just one more house story.

When we were looking for houses here, I noticed as I'd walk along the floors, there were dips in the floors throughtout most of the houses.  The realtor either claimed to not notice them or said that settling can be bad here in the Georgia clay.  I didn't believe it, no sign of drywall crack repairs or similar things.

We ended up buying the house with the most leve floors, but there was a really bad sag in one of the upper bedrooms.  Well, we finally replaced the carpet, and after going through various theories about what the sag could be, we decided to just rip up the subfloor to see what was going on. 

Yep, the joists were installed with the crown side down in that part of the room, about 7 of them.  When the house was built 25 years ago, the saw guy did his job, marked the crown with an arrow, but the framers installed the joists with the arrows pointed down, LOL. 

About 10 linear feet with a one and half inch sag at the valley.  We spent the $2,500 to have new joists sistered to them.  Funny thing is, the three previous owners of the house just lived with it I guess.  I couldn't.

Ok, back to trains for me.   

- Douglas

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Posted by 7j43k on Friday, August 10, 2018 8:11 PM

Douglas,

May I inquire where this hotbed of building innovation is located?  I must say, I am impressed at their abilities.  If not their competence.

My house is a pretty neat old house (1914).  But I did finally notice a problem with the flooring at the back of the house aligning with the back wall and cabinetry.  Turns out the bright lads built one side of the building longer than the other by 8".  So the back corners aren't 90 degrees.  On the plus side, that's the only screw up I've ever found.  I do love this house.  Only wishing it were 4000 sq ft larger, for what are probably obvious reasons.

 

Ed

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Posted by Doughless on Saturday, August 11, 2018 7:44 AM

7j43k

Douglas,

May I inquire where this hotbed of building innovation is located?  I must say, I am impressed at their abilities.  If not their competence.

My house is a pretty neat old house (1914).  But I did finally notice a problem with the flooring at the back of the house aligning with the back wall and cabinetry.  Turns out the bright lads built one side of the building longer than the other by 8".  So the back corners aren't 90 degrees.  On the plus side, that's the only screw up I've ever found.  I do love this house.  Only wishing it were 4000 sq ft larger, for what are probably obvious reasons.

 

Ed

 

I'd rather not say.  I don't want to compromise my home values. I'd just as soon practice the American way and pass the problems along to the next guy.Wink

I think it was also the early days of migrant labor, and not so highly skilled, so I'm told by people in the area.

I think its just a reflection of the boom times when anyone who can swing a hammer thinks they're a builder, and the city/county doesn't have enough inspectors to keep up or the fortitude to slow things down.  We had that problem back in the midwest too.

It also depends on the trade. Some things are done really well.  Real stucco, hardly a sign of a crack or repair in 25 years.  Water diversion details in the gables.  Trim work throughout the house with nice tight joints. But other parts of the house obviously had the B team assigned to the task.

My beef is that nobody ever thought to fix the problems, they just lived with them.

- Douglas

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Posted by SeeYou190 on Sunday, August 12, 2018 7:02 PM

Doughless
Yep, the joists were installed with the crown side down in that part of the room, about 7 of them. When the house was built 25 years ago, the saw guy did his job, marked the crown with an arrow, but the framers installed the joists with the arrows pointed down, LOL. About 10 linear feet with a one and half inch sag at the valley. We spent the $2,500 to have new joists sistered to them.

.

Wow, suddenly having a single floor house with no basement built on a concrete slab is seeming likle a great thing!

.

-Kevin

.

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Posted by maxman on Sunday, August 12, 2018 7:37 PM

Doughless
Yep, the joists were installed with the crown side down in that part of the room, about 7 of them. When the house was built 25 years ago, the saw guy did his job, marked the crown with an arrow, but the framers installed the joists with the arrows pointed down, LOL.

Doesn't the arrow mean "this side down"?

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Posted by ATLANTIC CENTRAL on Sunday, August 12, 2018 7:43 PM

SeeYou190

 

 
Doughless
Yep, the joists were installed with the crown side down in that part of the room, about 7 of them. When the house was built 25 years ago, the saw guy did his job, marked the crown with an arrow, but the framers installed the joists with the arrows pointed down, LOL. About 10 linear feet with a one and half inch sag at the valley. We spent the $2,500 to have new joists sistered to them.

 

.

Wow, suddenly having a single floor house with no basement built on a concrete slab is seeming likle a great thing!

.

-Kevin

.

 

And living on a concrete slab is fine in Florida, but you would not want to live on one here.

In this climate they make a house cold and damp, no matter all the attempts at insulation and moisture barriers......

But what bothers me most about concrete slab houses, is plumbing repairs......

There is something about jack hammering up floors that I would rather avoid.....

Happy to live in houses where the mechanical systems can be accessed with minimal intrusion into the finished spaces.

As I said earlier, this is why I will not put drywall ceilings in the basement.

In my new house especially, (not that it is very new, built in 1964) I can repair/replace plumbing, wiring, heat, A/C with little or no damge/disruption to the finished spaces.

As for all this stuff going on where Doughless is, I can't speak to that, but we sure don't have those kinds of problems here as a general rule.

Now, would you like to know why most houses here have basements and VERY few are built on concrete slabs?

It's simple. Foundations need to go below the frost line to prevent winter ground freezing from moving the building and cracking the foundation. The 100 year freeze depth here is 30", so foundations must be 36" below grade.

Even a poured slab foundation must have a perimeter curtain wall that goes 36" below grade.

So, lets assume for a minute you are going to build wood frame house with wood framed floors. You need to dig a 36" deep, 24" wide trench all around the perimeter for the footers. Then the code says you need 24" in the craw space, so either you build the house 24" above grade, or you remove more soil material to get your 24" crawl space.

If you build the house 24" above the original grade, that means you will be building 5' high concrete poured, or CMU foundation walls, 36" below grade, 24" above grade.

And now the IRC (International Residential Code) says your crawl space must have a "rat slab", a concrete floor, even if it is not finished smooth.

So you have dug a big whole, bought enough concrete to pour a floor, and built walls 4-5 feet high.

At that point it does not cost much more to dig out the whole thing, build 8-9 foot walls, and get a concrete finisher for that floor.......and there you have it - a basement!

Every house should be built on one. They make the living space warmer in winter, drier year round, they are space for water heaters, HVAC systems, and other mechanical/electrial equipment freeing up space on the "living" floors.

Wood framed floors are nicer to walk on, they are warm and soft, not cold and hard like stone.

Basements are very low in "cost per square foot" to construct, and they make the house easier to "service" down the road. 

Sheldon

 

    

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Posted by ATLANTIC CENTRAL on Sunday, August 12, 2018 8:48 PM

maxman

 

 
Doughless
Yep, the joists were installed with the crown side down in that part of the room, about 7 of them. When the house was built 25 years ago, the saw guy did his job, marked the crown with an arrow, but the framers installed the joists with the arrows pointed down, LOL.

 

Doesn't the arrow mean "this side down"?

 

I hope this is sarcasm......

    

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Posted by richhotrain on Sunday, August 12, 2018 9:14 PM

ATLANTIC CENTRAL

Now, would you like to know why most houses here have basements and VERY few are built on concrete slabs?

It's simple. Foundations need to go below the frost line to prevent winter ground freezing from moving the building and cracking the foundation. The 100 year freeze depth here is 30", so foundations must be 36" below grade.

Even a poured slab foundation must have a perimeter curtain wall that goes 36" below grade.

Up here in Chicago, the frost line is 42 inches. Years ago, I had a room addition built onto the back of the house. The contractor built it on a "trench footing". Two problems. The foundation for the addition was not built on virgin soil and the footing did not go down 42 inches. In fact, the trench was only about 32 inches deep. The room addition began to pull away from the house to the extent that we had to tear it down. To make matters worse, the exterior of the room addition was brick. A structural engineer told me that a brick weighs 42 times more than an similarly sized piece of aluminum siding. That added weight put even more stress on the trench footing. We have long since the sold the home after restoring it to its original footprint.

Rich

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Posted by richhotrain on Sunday, August 12, 2018 9:18 PM

ATLANTIC CENTRAL

Every house should be built on one. They make the living space warmer in winter, drier year round, they are space for water heaters, HVAC systems, and other mechanical/electrial equipment freeing up space on the "living" floors.

Wood framed floors are nicer to walk on, they are warm and soft, not cold and hard like stone.

Basements are very low in "cost per square foot" to construct, and they make the house easier to "service" down the road. 

Not all houses can be safely built on foundations. The high water level and the proximity to sea level make basements a rarity in Florida.

Rich

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Posted by ATLANTIC CENTRAL on Sunday, August 12, 2018 9:44 PM

richhotrain

 

 
ATLANTIC CENTRAL

Every house should be built on one. They make the living space warmer in winter, drier year round, they are space for water heaters, HVAC systems, and other mechanical/electrial equipment freeing up space on the "living" floors.

Wood framed floors are nicer to walk on, they are warm and soft, not cold and hard like stone.

Basements are very low in "cost per square foot" to construct, and they make the house easier to "service" down the road. 

 

 

Not all houses can be safely built on foundations. The high water level and the proximity to sea level make basements a rarity in Florida.

 

Rich

 

Very true, and they don't have frost issues with frozen ground.

But back in the day (late 19th Century), in places like Florida, many houses were built "up out of the ground" on shallow basements for all the benifits they provide, rather than on concrete slabs floating on the sand........

And I will confess a strong bias against living in that climate/environment to begin with......

Sheldon

    

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Posted by ATLANTIC CENTRAL on Sunday, August 12, 2018 9:53 PM

richhotrain

 

 
ATLANTIC CENTRAL

Now, would you like to know why most houses here have basements and VERY few are built on concrete slabs?

It's simple. Foundations need to go below the frost line to prevent winter ground freezing from moving the building and cracking the foundation. The 100 year freeze depth here is 30", so foundations must be 36" below grade.

Even a poured slab foundation must have a perimeter curtain wall that goes 36" below grade.

 

 

Up here in Chicago, the frost line is 42 inches. Years ago, I had a room addition built onto the back of the house. The contractor built it on a "trench footing". Two problems. The foundation for the addition was not built on virgin soil and the footing did not go down 42 inches. In fact, the trench was only about 32 inches deep. The room addition began to pull away from the house to the extent that we had to tear it down. To make matters worse, the exterior of the room addition was brick. A structural engineer told me that a brick weighs 42 times more than an similarly sized piece of aluminum siding. That added weight put even more stress on the trench footing. We have long since the sold the home after restoring it to its original footprint.

 

Rich

 

Both big mistakes on the part of that contractor. Where was the inspector?

Everybody knows footers need to be on virgin soil and/or tested for compaction for the soil type. Yes, masonry is heavy, very heavy.....

Sheldon

 

    

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Posted by richhotrain on Monday, August 13, 2018 4:55 AM

ATLANTIC CENTRAL
 
richhotrain

 

 
ATLANTIC CENTRAL

Now, would you like to know why most houses here have basements and VERY few are built on concrete slabs?

It's simple. Foundations need to go below the frost line to prevent winter ground freezing from moving the building and cracking the foundation. The 100 year freeze depth here is 30", so foundations must be 36" below grade.

Even a poured slab foundation must have a perimeter curtain wall that goes 36" below grade. 

Up here in Chicago, the frost line is 42 inches. Years ago, I had a room addition built onto the back of the house. The contractor built it on a "trench footing". Two problems. The foundation for the addition was not built on virgin soil and the footing did not go down 42 inches. In fact, the trench was only about 32 inches deep. The room addition began to pull away from the house to the extent that we had to tear it down. To make matters worse, the exterior of the room addition was brick. A structural engineer told me that a brick weighs 42 times more than an similarly sized piece of aluminum siding. That added weight put even more stress on the trench footing. We have long since the sold the home after restoring it to its original footprint. 

Rich 

Both big mistakes on the part of that contractor. Where was the inspector?

Everybody knows footers need to be on virgin soil and/or tested for compaction for the soil type. Yes, masonry is heavy, very heavy.....

Sheldon 

I knew a lot less about construction back in the 1980s when the room addition was built than I do now. When the contract called for a "trench footing", I assumed that meant a total excavation of 9 feet, just like the basement, a poured footing, and then a foundation wall built on top of it. The day that construction began with a shallow trench, I almost called off the entire project. Had the contractor excavated 9 feet and poured footings, that room addition would still be standing today.

Rich

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Posted by ATLANTIC CENTRAL on Monday, October 29, 2018 7:38 PM

So we are now moved into the new house. Things are pretty busy here, but I am working on my track plan details when time allows.

I will explore additional layout design related topics as time allows.

Sheldon

    

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Posted by SeeYou190 on Tuesday, October 30, 2018 5:23 AM

You are ahead of me.

.

My house renovation is at a stand still until I get some time at home to meet with window contractors and plumbers.

.

Keep the updates coming.

.

-Kevin

.

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Posted by ATLANTIC CENTRAL on Wednesday, October 31, 2018 3:08 AM

Kevin,

Thanks for the interest. I have much more to explore as this layout moves forward, looking forward to everyone's thoughts.

I guess my advantage is that I do my own windows and plumbing......and electric, etc.

Sheldon

    

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Posted by SeeYou190 on Saturday, November 3, 2018 9:53 AM

ATLANTIC CENTRAL
I guess my advantage is that I do my own windows and plumbing......and electric, etc.

.

I do my own flooring, painting, framing, and of course... demolition.

.

I have done lots of minor plumbing, and I installed my own sprinkler system.

.

I do not touch wiring. I do not have the knowledge or experience for window replacement.

.

I need a closet flange relocated in the bathroom. Once that is done and the windows are installed, I am "clean and green" to move forward at good speed again.

.

Hopefully my first spike will go down in January 2020.

.

-Kevin

.

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Posted by richhotrain on Saturday, November 3, 2018 10:30 AM

SeeYou190
 
ATLANTIC CENTRAL
I guess my advantage is that I do my own windows and plumbing......and electric, etc..

I do my own flooring, painting, framing, and of course... demolition..

I have done lots of minor plumbing, and I installed my own sprinkler system.

.I do not touch wiring. I do not have the knowledge or experience for window replacement.

I admire you two guys for your plumbing skills. Never mastered the pipe soldering so I stay away from plumbing. I pay a plumber to replace shutoff valves.

Now, electrical work is a whole nother thing. I am an amateur unlicensed electrician. Laugh

Rich

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Posted by Doughless on Saturday, November 3, 2018 11:25 AM

Same here.  I can install outlets and light switches, but I call a plumber for plumbing.

Gotta install lighting, build 52 inch high table shelving to replace existing storage in the room where staging will be, and get my workbench set up in the train room.

Then I'll order homasote roadbed from Cascade Rail Supply and start the layout benchwork.

I've got unused vacation days between now and New Years, so hopefully I'll start laying track by January.

- Douglas

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Posted by SeeYou190 on Saturday, November 3, 2018 11:30 AM

richhotrain
Never mastered the pipe soldering so I stay away from plumbing.

.

I don't solder! All my plumbing is plastic.

.

If I need to repair a pipe that must be metal for code... I call a plumber. A plumber will also relocate the closet flange. Too much for me.

.

-Kevin

.

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Posted by saronaterry on Saturday, November 3, 2018 1:04 PM

Great news, Sheldon!

I look forward to progress photos!!

When I designed and built my house I was lucky that my FIL and BIL are Master Electricians. They did the hard stuff at the panel and meter, I hooked up outlets, lights and switches. Everything besides  that, I did myself. Plumbed the whole house. When my well driller came to hook up the house, I ran around checking connections! LOL! No leaks.

As Sheldon has said, sometimes being a contractor comes in handy!

Post a track plan when you can!!

Terry

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Posted by PRR8259 on Saturday, November 3, 2018 4:36 PM

My philosophy of design is/was "less is more".  I had limited R/W and love the wide open spaces.  Went for along shelf layout, single track, folded dogbone, on insulation foam with lightweight plaster scenery.  Part of the layout on the narrow shelf has the appearance of a double track railroad, but is not.

I have next to no buildings at all (one barn, actually) and the rest is open country scenery, with a couple passing sidings and one spur siding.

Two boys and three cats later, the years have been a little hard on scenery.  The layout needs a refresh and re-scenic...but we will move relatively soon, so I'm waiting...and just running trains.  It's a layout designed for trains to keep moving.

Part of it definitely captures rural desert, very sparse, inhospitable terrain.  Is it Mojave desert? or Northern Nevada? idk.

In hindsight, had I more money and ambition, I would have chosen Abo Canyon, New Mexico, especially now with the double track railroad, on two independent alignments, with multiple major bridge structures, etc. but then how would I have fit it in?  Along with Cajon Pass and Tehachapi, each a most amazing piece of railroad (no disrespect to fans of Horseshoe Curve or Marias Pass).

Buildings? We don't need no stinking buildings...

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Posted by ATLANTIC CENTRAL on Saturday, November 3, 2018 8:48 PM

SeeYou190

 

 
richhotrain
Never mastered the pipe soldering so I stay away from plumbing.

 

.

I don't solder! All my plumbing is plastic.

.

If I need to repair a pipe that must be metal for code... I call a plumber. A plumber will also relocate the closet flange. Too much for me.

.

-Kevin

.

 

Now anyone can even do copper plumbing - can any of you say "Sharkbite!"

https://www.supplyhouse.com/SharkBite-Fittings-595000?gclid=Cj0KCQjwjvXeBRDDARIsAC38TP71N-QsYmigWOQS7LcpPPbs3mOAMC6M0BBoLDYir_fRXM_hePG1GvAaApikEALw_wcB

But seriously, I can solder copper pipe, rather well actually.

Electrical work, I've wired factories, shopping centers, sky scrapers and pumping stations - houses are pretty easy.

But a man should know his limits.......

It's been a crazy week here, we just got a new grand daughter Monday.

But I will havesome more discussion topics here soon. And when the track plan is far enough along, I will get it scanned and post it. 

Sorry no web site of my own, and no time/interest in doing so. And the track plan is being drawn the old fashioned way, graphite on mylar.....

More soon,

Sheldon

    

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Posted by ATLANTIC CENTRAL on Saturday, November 3, 2018 8:57 PM

PRR8259

My philosophy of design is/was "less is more".  I had limited R/W and love the wide open spaces.  Went for along shelf layout, single track, folded dogbone, on insulation foam with lightweight plaster scenery.  Part of the layout on the narrow shelf has the appearance of a double track railroad, but is not.

I have next to no buildings at all (one barn, actually) and the rest is open country scenery, with a couple passing sidings and one spur siding.

Two boys and three cats later, the years have been a little hard on scenery.  The layout needs a refresh and re-scenic...but we will move relatively soon, so I'm waiting...and just running trains.  It's a layout designed for trains to keep moving.

Part of it definitely captures rural desert, very sparse, inhospitable terrain.  Is it Mojave desert? or Northern Nevada? idk.

In hindsight, had I more money and ambition, I would have chosen Abo Canyon, New Mexico, especially now with the double track railroad, on two independent alignments, with multiple major bridge structures, etc. but then how would I have fit it in?  Along with Cajon Pass and Tehachapi, each a most amazing piece of railroad (no disrespect to fans of Horseshoe Curve or Marias Pass).

Buildings? We don't need no stinking buildings...

 

John, you will see when I publish the track plan how my layout will be large but simple.

It will however involve enough track to support lots of operation, and stage lots of trains.

And, to each their own, western scenery does nothing for me. I've been out west just a few times, it was interesting, but I find the lush green east must more beautiful.

So that's what I model.

I'm not sure from your comments if you read the earlier part of this thread or not?

I like action and long trains, I like operation and display running, I like switching and passenger trains.

The goal of the layout is to do all of that.......

Sheldon

    

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Posted by 7j43k on Saturday, November 3, 2018 9:02 PM

ATLANTIC CENTRAL

 And the track plan is being drawn the old fashioned way, graphite on mylar..... 

 

First, pull a piece of burnt stick from the campfire.  Then go chop down a mylar tree.

 

Nope.  Not me.  Not anymore.  Electrons!  Photons!  Yeah!!!!!

 

Though I do confess that ink on vellum is impressive as all git-out.  I had a fantasy of doing an ink tracing over a GN R-2 erection drawing.  Even got the drawing.

 

 

Smart-assedness aside, I AM looking forward to the layout drawing.  Your wants and needs for layouts are very close to mine, and I want to see how you develop them.

 

 

Ed 

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Posted by ATLANTIC CENTRAL on Saturday, November 3, 2018 9:38 PM

7j43k

 

 
ATLANTIC CENTRAL

 And the track plan is being drawn the old fashioned way, graphite on mylar..... 

 

 

 

First, pull a piece of burnt stick from the campfire.  Then go chop down a mylar tree.

 

Nope.  Not me.  Not anymore.  Electrons!  Photons!  Yeah!!!!!

 

Though I do confess that ink on vellum is impressive as all git-out.  I had a fantasy of doing an ink tracing over a GN R-2 erection drawing.  Even got the drawing.

 

 

Smart-assedness aside, I AM looking forward to the layout drawing.  Your wants and needs for layouts are very close to mine, and I want to see how you develop them.

 

 

Ed 

 

Ed,

Back in the day, as a draftsman in an engineering office, I did lots of ink on linen. We did work for the WSSC (Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission) and they required it for record copies of all their drawings.

We also inked most of our lettering with the Leroy system......

CADD is fine, I learned it years ago, but never wanted to spend the money for a full scale setup here in the home office.

And in my work as a residential dsigner, it has few advantages and the big disadvantage of actually taking longer for simple projects.

The bigger and more complex the project, the more effective CADD is at saving time, no question. But I can draw a typical residential floor plan before most CADD operators can plot the major lines.....

And I have no patience for learning propriatary sofeware like the various track planning offerings......by the time I would learn that, I could draw four track plans by hand.....

More soon,

Sheldon

    

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Posted by PRR8259 on Saturday, November 3, 2018 10:27 PM

Sheldon--

I read the original post but not the several posts in between...

For the record, I was one of the very last civil engineers in Pennsylvania to come out of college and learn to do plans the traditional way: pencil survey data reduction ie plotting (often by high school interns), then checked and traced in ink, and yes, my nickname was "Leroy" because I did ok with the Leroy pen set.

Also: I was also one of the very first to have Inroads design software thrown at me with the "here it is, learn it, use it" statement.

So I fill a rather unique niche in the working world: I have a lot of experience with using the cadd software to design things, and most other people my age or even slightly older are managers who are only capable of doing redline markups. I can get into the cadd files and do all kinds of things they don't always appreciate or understand the value of.

Not sure that I have the .pdf of my track plan...I changed jobs too many times since we built it.  I'll look...

Of course I'll take a look at Sheldon's plan when I have the chance to do so.

Best Regards--

John

P.S.  Sheldon is absolutely correct: the design software has inherent setup time involved for any project.  It is almost not worth it at all for small projects.  We can draw cross sections at 25' intervals and then import from the cross sections to a design surface for those little jobs.  It is much faster than using the high fallutin' Inroads 3D modeling process.  I work with engineers who don't want to do it the "old school" way like that, anymore, but it saves time and money.

If you are HDR (the big time engineering firm that actually did the new track alignments in Abo Canyon, New Mexico, if I recall correctly) and you are designing a project like that: big challenges to clear existing track alignment and keep it in service during construction, many alignment alternatives, very steep terrain, significant environmental and right-of-way concerns (neighboring landowners) that IS when the high fallutin' 3D modeling software is absolutely essential.  It saves monumental amounts of time.

In the model railroad world, most of my friends drew rough sketches on paper, and then just started building and test fitting one step at a time.  I'm not sure the model railroad design software is that essential for the average layout.

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Posted by ATLANTIC CENTRAL on Saturday, November 3, 2018 11:03 PM

PRR8259

Sheldon--

I read the original post but not the several posts in between...

For the record, I was one of the very last civil engineers in Pennsylvania to come out of college and learn to do plans the traditional way: pencil survey data reduction ie plotting (often by high school interns), then checked and traced in ink, and yes, my nickname was "Leroy" because I did ok with the Leroy pen set.

Also: I was also one of the very first to have Inroads design software thrown at me with the "here it is, learn it, use it" statement.

So I fill a rather unique niche in the working world: I have a lot of experience with using the cadd software to design things, and most other people my age or even slightly older are managers who are only capable of doing redline markups. I can get into the cadd files and do all kinds of things they don't always appreciate or understand.  They are managers, I'm a project engineer "beneath" them...now my firm is outsourcing to india...

 

John,

Despite any talents at a desk or a drawing table, by the time I was 23, I was a project manger for a medium sized commercial/industrial electrical contractor.

Then my father offered me a chance to be in business for myself - that spoiled me - I sold MATCO TOOLS for seven years. I did not get rich, but I learned a whole lot.....

So most of my life I have been self employed. And when I have worked for others, it has always been relatively small companies, and I seldom stayed more than about 3 years.

My resume has more different job descriptions in 40 some years than any 5 people you could find.

One time I went on a job interview at a car dealership to be the shop foreman/service dispatcher - I had never done that job, but I sold them on the idea that I could do it, and I got the job, and did very well.

Construction - plumbing, refrigeration, electrical, carpentry - in the field and in the office, car business, retail, mobile tool business, home inspector, residential designer, historic restoration consultant, property manager - it's a long list.

My secret - I was never afraid to quit a job and try something else.

Now, people get on a list to have me and my small team work on their houses.....

I don't think they can out source the restoration of this to India:

And I have fun almost every day at work.

This past week I have been restoring the leaded glass side lites and transom on an 1863 mansion.

Sheldon  

    

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Posted by agrasyuk on Sunday, November 4, 2018 12:21 PM

Doughless

Same here.  I can install outlets and light switches, but I call a plumber for plumbing.

"want it done right - do it yourself" at least in my case always proved true. i suppose such thing as responsible professionals does happen in nanture, but so far i have quite a bad luck (i only know of HVAC guy)

we purchased our abandoned for 4 years home from bank. Bank hired plumber to fix the leaks from burst frozen pipes. what can i say, it takes baker to properly bake bread, it takes computer software developer to properly instal plumbing. i have no good words for that "professional", as i ended up removing at least 25% of drywalls to get to the supossedly fixed leaks. it was madening task, i was exploring posibilities to sue that dude for damages, but couldn't locate.

my point - soldering pipes is not a rocket science. practice for a bit and you will have an edge on any plumber if only for one reason - unlike hired plumber you actually CARE to do a good job.

Regards

Anton.

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Posted by ATLANTIC CENTRAL on Sunday, November 4, 2018 12:39 PM

agrasyuk

 

 
Doughless

Same here.  I can install outlets and light switches, but I call a plumber for plumbing.

 

"want it done right - do it yourself" at least in my case always proved true. i suppose such thing as responsible professionals does happen in nanture, but so far i have quite a bad luck (i only know of HVAC guy)

we purchased our abandoned for 4 years home from bank. Bank hired plumber to fix the leaks from burst frozen pipes. what can i say, it takes baker to properly bake bread, it takes computer software developer to properly instal plumbing. i have no good words for that "professional", as i ended up removing at least 25% of drywalls to get to the supossedly fixed leaks. it was madening task, i was exploring posibilities to sue that dude for damages, but couldn't locate.

my point - soldering pipes is not a rocket science. practice for a bit and you will have an edge on any plumber if only for one reason - unlike hired plumber you actually CARE to do a good job.

 

As a construction professional myself, l will say this.

You get what you pay for. If you hire the cheapest guy...........

Banks with foreclosures hire the cheapest guy.........

Also, as a real estate investor myself, I NEVER want sellers to fix stuff, they too are motovated to hire the cheapest guy and do the minimum to get by.

Sheldon

    

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Posted by carl425 on Sunday, November 4, 2018 12:45 PM

ATLANTIC CENTRAL
As a construction professional myself, l will say this. You get what you pay for.

As a customer of construction professionals, I've found I've had to modify this advice.  You don't always get what you pay for, but you never get what you don't pay for.

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 ROBERT PETRICK on Sunday, November 4, 2018 12:49 PM

ATLANTIC CENTRAL

Also, as a real estate investor myself, I NEVER want sellers to fix stuff, they too are motovated to hire the cheapest guy and do the minimum to get by.

Sheldon

Agree 100%.

When I was looking for a house and the ad said or the real estate agent said anything along the lines of "Finished basement", or "New paint and carpet throughout" . . . no thanks, pass. I wanted to see what the bare naked unadorned space looked like.

Robert 

LINK to SNSR Blog


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Posted by ATLANTIC CENTRAL on Sunday, November 4, 2018 4:06 PM

carl425

 

 
ATLANTIC CENTRAL
As a construction professional myself, l will say this. You get what you pay for.

 

As a customer of construction professionals, I've found I've had to modify this advice.  You don't always get what you pay for, but you never get what you don't pay for.

 

There are bad apples in every industry...

 

    

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Posted by 7j43k on Sunday, November 4, 2018 5:41 PM

agrasyuk
i was exploring posibilities to sue that dude for damages, but couldn't locate.

You are supposed to sue the bank.  The bank sold you a defective product.  You have proof, because you made careful documentation of the problem and what you were forced to do to fix it.  I presume you can find the bank.

I was going to sue a bank.  Had my lawyer start working.  They settled for all the money I was asking for.  Right away.  GOOD lawyer!

 

...you will have an edge on any plumber if only for one reason - unlike hired plumber you actually CARE to do a good job.

 

 

I guess you and I travel in different circles.  I prefer mine: 

I actually know people who take pride in their work.  They CARE to do a good job.  Even when they are working for someone else.

 

Also, CARING to do a good job doesn't mean you will do a good job.  Knowing what you are doing also is quite helpful.  Or so I've observed.

 

I did a small bit of home repair for a bank.  What I found is that they just wanted someone they could trust to make the problem go away.  And not come back.  The pay was actually quite good.  And they didn't constantly question me about what I was doing.

Maybe after you sue the bank for damages they might revise their hire-the-cheapest-guy approach.  Because he won't be the cheapest, after you're done.

 

 

Ed

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Posted by ATLANTIC CENTRAL on Saturday, December 22, 2018 3:06 PM

OK, so we have had a lot going on, moving, getting the old house ready to sell, family stuff, and I have been busy at work, which has been made more complex by an exceptionaly high amount of rainfall this whole past year.

But despite all that, work on the new track plan is coming along. 

Again, the concept is already well established and not changing. I am simply finding the best way to fit it into the new space.

It quickly evolved to only two choices of benchwork configuration, one allows a slightly larger freight yard, one has much better "people flow" regarding the aisle ways.

The people flow won, the freight yard will still be 10 tracks and about 20' long.

With any luck, I will post a preliminary version of the track plan in about a week.

Sheldon

    

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Posted by SeeYou190 on Saturday, December 22, 2018 6:00 PM

How many operators do you anticipate needing to make the layout work?

.

-Kevin

.

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Posted by hon30critter on Saturday, December 22, 2018 6:43 PM

ATLANTIC CENTRAL
But despite all that, work on the new track plan is coming along. 

Hi Sheldon,

Glad to hear that you are making progress. Your yard sounds impressive even if you have reduced the size a bit. I am a strong believer in having comfortable aisles. When I did the club's track plan I made sure there was plenty of aisle space and we are glad we did it. There is only one spot where people have to move to allow another person to get past. Of course, that's always where everybody stands!

Dave

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Posted by ATLANTIC CENTRAL on Saturday, December 22, 2018 7:25 PM

SeeYou190

How many operators do you anticipate needing to make the layout work?

.

-Kevin

.

 

The layout will support a crew of about 10 for full blown operating sessions. Operations will be adaptable to smaller available crew sizes.

Full blown operations will include a dispatcher and yard master. 

BUT, it will also be easy to operate by just one person.

The double track mainline will have cutoffs that convert it into four separate display loops.

The main yard connects directly to an industrial belt line without entering, crossing or fouling the mainline. This allows several operators to conduct switching operations and yard operations without disturbing mainline trains.

There will be hidden staging for at least 26 trains, possibly more.

So even a sole operator could put two trains on display (the four train display mode does partly tie up the yard) and then work the industries by himself.

Mainline trains can operate with a dispatcher or without the dispatcher via wireless throttles and local tower controls.

Sheldon

    

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Posted by ATLANTIC CENTRAL on Saturday, December 22, 2018 7:31 PM

hon30critter

 

 
ATLANTIC CENTRAL
But despite all that, work on the new track plan is coming along. 

 

Hi Sheldon,

Glad to hear that you are making progress. Your yard sounds impressive even if you have reduced the size a bit. I am a strong believer in having comfortable aisles. When I did the club's track plan I made sure there was plenty of aisle space and we are glad we did it. There is only one spot where people have to move to allow another person to get past. Of course, that's always where everybody stands!

Dave

 

Thanks Dave. The current plan for the yard will support the average train size, largest trains will have to be doubled in and out but the yard leads will easily support that.

About a third of the staging tracks should support trains larger than the yard.

Freight train lenghts to be in the 30 to 50 car range.

Two passenger train staging yards will support trains in the 12 to 15 range.  

Sheldon

    

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Posted by SeeYou190 on Saturday, December 22, 2018 7:34 PM

ATLANTIC CENTRAL
The layout will support a crew of about 10 for full blown operating sessions. BUT, it will also be easy to operate by just one person.

.

That is interesting. My layout is planned to be easy for one operator to run, and also only one for a full blown operating session. 

.

It is just for me.

.

-Kevin

.

Wink Happily modeling my STRATTON & GILLETTE RAILROAD. A Class A line located in a personal fantasy world of semi-plausible nonsense on Tuesday, August 3rd, 1954.

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Posted by hon30critter on Saturday, December 22, 2018 7:49 PM

Sheldon,

The layout sounds impressive! I'm sure that you and a lot of other people will get a lot of enjoyment out of it.

Dave

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Posted by Paul3 on Sunday, December 23, 2018 11:15 PM

Sheldon,
Designing layouts is fun, isn't it?  Especially with experience.

With your passenger ops, are you going to be doing terminal switching with them, or just running them as unit trains?

At my club, we kind of do both...it just depends on who is running the passenger terminal at the time.  When it's an experienced hand, they put the incoming trains away (coach yard, sleeper track, commissary, baggage/express) along with the power, and then dig out and make up new trains.  If it's an inexperienced operator, they'll attempt to turn the incoming trains around or just leave 'em for the next operator to turn.  We're on a fast clock at the club.

On my old home layout, I did a turn-based passenger ops where the passenger operator ran a dozen trains in order.  The first four trains were pre-staged, and each end of my layout had a number of stored cars.  After the first four trains, the operator had to make up the 5th train using some of the cars from the 2nd & 4th trains plus one or two of the stored cars.  The 6th train had to use cars from the 1st, 3rd, and 5th trains.  And so on.

And all this was completely prototypical as the New Haven used various pieces of equipment multiple times a day.  In fact, I used a NH consist book and a timetable to plan it all.  In real life, what was sent West on the "Merchants Limited" came back East later that night on the "Commander", etc. 

But no clocks.  On my layout, it took as long as it took.  Some of the guys at my club who were also operators on my layout want me to do the same thing at the club...but man, that'd be a lot of work.  I'd have to move everyone else's passenger equipment out of the terminals and bring in my own fleet of equipment...then put it all back when we're done.  Not sure I want to do that, but it was fun to operate like that.

I say all this because there aren't too many passenger operators.  And by that, I mean folks that switch around passenger trains and not simply use them as fast unit trains that zip from one end of the layout to the other, getting in the way of freight trains.  I was just curious which operation type you favored.

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Posted by ATLANTIC CENTRAL on Monday, December 24, 2018 12:00 AM

Paul,

There will be indepth passenger operations.

There will be a small coach yard and service facilities.

The passenger station will be a thru station able to handle 3-4 trains without fouling the mainline.

Some trains will terminate/originate here, others will just swap cars, get power changes, etc, some will just make a stop.

There will also be commuter service to several nearby stations with doodle bugs and RDC's. The doodle bugs will run in pairs back to back. And the west bound commuter run can be run with steam as its last station stop is on a wye.

In addition to ATLANTIC CENTRAL trains, C&O, B&O and WM passenger trains will use the station via several interchange connections (some of which are the same direct cutoffs to the staging that create the four loop display mode).

I have a lot of passenger cars, about 200 or so. Counting the station tracks, I am hoping to stage at least 12 passenger trains, and most will be in the 10-15 car range.

Passenger power is mostly diesel, PA's, E units, FP's, but we still have some Mountains and Pacifics pulling lesser trains and mail runs, and a few 10 wheelers for that commuter when needed.

I have no fixed opinion on fast clocks, I have done a fair amount of both. That choice will evolve if and when a crew evolves. I know lots of people around here in the hobby, but I have not had time to stay active in the local round robin.

This move is part of a big life change for us that will allow me time for modeling, so I will see who is interested when the time comes.

Sheldon

    

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Posted by SeeYou190 on Tuesday, January 1, 2019 6:14 PM

ATLANTIC CENTRAL
a few 10 wheelers for that commuter when needed.

.

Were 4-6-0 locomotives still being used on low priority passenger/mail/express trains in the mid 1950's?

.

If so, I need to add one of these to my "must buy" list. There is a NYC prototype that has a hint of a USRA look to it that would look great with the rest of my roster.

.

.

-Kevin

.

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Posted by ATLANTIC CENTRAL on Wednesday, January 2, 2019 4:15 AM

SeeYou190

 

 
ATLANTIC CENTRAL
a few 10 wheelers for that commuter when needed.

 

.

Were 4-6-0 locomotives still being used on low priority passenger/mail/express trains in the mid 1950's?

.

If so, I need to add one of these to my "must buy" list. There is a NYC prototype that has a hint of a USRA look to it that would look great with the rest of my roster.

.

.

-Kevin

.

 

On some roads yes. Ironicly, many 2-8-0's, 4-6-0's and 2-8-2's outlasted big modern steam.

And I agree, that is a good looking loco.

My track plan is coming along nicely, over the holiday I worked out few possible problems with excellent results. staging should now easily reach the 30 train mark and have easy access and easy construction.

More later,

Sheldon

    

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Posted by Tinplate Toddler on Wednesday, January 2, 2019 4:48 AM

ATLANTIC CENTRAL
Ironicly, many 2-8-0's, 4-6-0's and 2-8-2's outlasted big modern steam.

In my country, steam engines were built and put in service as late as 1959. However, one of the last ones to be taken out of service when steam traction ended were pre-WW I built 4-6-0 of a 1906 design and not the sleek-looking, much more efficient 2-6-2 which were supposed to replace them.

Happy times!

Ulrich (aka The Tin Man)

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

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Posted by SeeYou190 on Wednesday, January 2, 2019 7:26 AM

ATLANTIC CENTRAL
On some roads yes. Ironicly, many 2-8-0's, 4-6-0's and 2-8-2's outlasted big modern steam.

.

Tinplate Toddler
In my country, steam engines were built and put in service as late as 1959. However, one of the last ones to be taken out of service when steam traction ended were pre-WW I built 4-6-0 of a 1906 design

.

I have put that thought into my locomotive roster. I am aware that some of the first steam locomotives to be retired were modern designs for several reasons.

.

1) The high profile trains they were assigned to were among the first to be dieselized.

2) They were not suitable for low priority or local service.

3) The maintenance costs were much higher.

.

The STRATTON & GILLETTE roster is mostly USRA desings, except for the articulateds. I do not like the look of the USRA 2-6-6-2, and not a huge fan of the 2-8-8-2.

.

I was not aware that some 4-6-0 designs lasted that long. That is exciting for me because I have always loved the look of that NYC F12 4-6-0.

.

-Kevin

.

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Posted by 7j43k on Wednesday, January 2, 2019 11:26 AM

Depends on the railroad.

The last working steam on the SP&S was 4-8-4's and 4-6-6-4's.  Around '55 and '56.

There's some shots of their last and biggest Challenger doing some interchange switching towards the end.

The SP&S got diesels to save money.  And the biggest money saving, for them, was in switching.  So they got switchers.  Then a few passenger diesels, probably because the GN told them to.  Then road switchers, because they could switch, and "road".

 

Ed

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Posted by ATLANTIC CENTRAL on Wednesday, January 2, 2019 4:11 PM

Kevin,

As it turns out, at least of few of those NYC F12's made it into the early/mid 50's.

B&O B-18's lasted until 1953.

PRR G-5's ran into the mid 50's

ACL - two of their K-15s 10 wheelers ran until 1955

Both 10 wheelers on the Ma & Pa ran until 1955

Just to name few.

What don't you like about the looks of these:

They are one of my favorite locos. The ATLANTIC CENTRAL has three, and I have two C&O versions as well.

Sheldon

    

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Posted by Medina1128 on Thursday, January 3, 2019 9:12 AM

I feel lucky in that we live in a rarity; a duplex apartment with both a garage and a basement; with over 1100 sq. feet of space. Luckily, the furnace and hot water heater are situated under the stairs. 

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Posted by ATLANTIC CENTRAL on Saturday, February 9, 2019 10:32 AM

Medina1128

I feel lucky in that we live in a rarity; a duplex apartment with both a garage and a basement; with over 1100 sq. feet of space. Luckily, the furnace and hot water heater are situated under the stairs. 

 

I took a look at your photos, nice work. 

When you say duplex apartment I assume you mean two houses that share a common wall? They were once very common here, but the 1980's was about the last time they were popular as new construction.

1100 sq ft is a nice sized space, my new layout will be just over that in terms of actual space used by the layout.

The track plan is progressing well, but final drawings have been slowed by a very busy work schedule. 

The original list of goals for the layout have been achieved to about 90%, with only a few small compromises.

I am looking forward to sharing the track plan and getting everyones thoughts.

I have found a very interesting source for signal heads for the signal system, more on that later.

Staging capacity has exceeded expectations in number of trains.

I was not able to increase the minimum 36" radius in some places, but many curves are in the 42" to 46" range.

The visible main line run of double track is right at 200', the hidden staging loop run is about 140'.

There will be 30 hidden staging tracks that range from about 10' to 22' in length. Shorter staging tracks will generally be reserved for passenger trains.

There will be visible sidings that will plausibly stage two additional passenger trains and 3-5 more freight or passenger trains depending on the nature of the specific operational scheme in effect.

There will be two lift out/duck under sections. One to enter the layout, another to get from the layout area to my workshop area.

I am considering some sort of motorized lift for the main layout entrance, more on that later.

Overall, complexity of construction has been avoided, benchwork will mostly be simple table top, open grid with track elevations between 40" and 46" above the floor.

More to come,

Sheldon

    

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Posted by SeeYou190 on Saturday, February 9, 2019 10:46 AM

ATLANTIC CENTRAL
slowed by a very busy work schedule.

.

I can sing that same song along with you.

.

-Kevin

.

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Posted by ATLANTIC CENTRAL on Monday, June 17, 2019 6:33 AM

So I just thought I would take a minute and update this thread.

A series of unexpected personal and work issues have slowed progress on the final version of the track plan and will no doubt delay the start of layout construction until fall.

More later,

Sheldon

    

  • Member since
    January 2017
  • From: Southern Florida Gulf Coast
  • 6,392 posts
Posted by SeeYou190 on Monday, June 17, 2019 6:43 AM

Once again... I sure feel your pain.

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Travelling for work so much this year has completely stopped my home remodel, and there is not any way the contruction of the STRATTON AND GILLETTE railroad will begin in January 2020 as planned.

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It looks like a 12 month delay.

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So sad.

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-Kevin

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Wink Happily modeling my STRATTON & GILLETTE RAILROAD. A Class A line located in a personal fantasy world of semi-plausible nonsense on Tuesday, August 3rd, 1954.

  • Member since
    August 2013
  • From: Richmond, VA
  • 1,790 posts
Posted by carl425 on Monday, June 17, 2019 8:34 AM

At least you have a legitimate excuse.  I've had a "final" plan for almost 2 years and I'm about 75% finished with the basic benchwork.  I have nothing on which to blame my lack of progress except for procrastination.

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.

  • Member since
    April 2019
  • From: Pacific Northwest
  • 743 posts
Posted by SPSOT fan on Monday, June 17, 2019 4:23 PM

Living overseas I am unable to build a layout for many reasons. When I visit the US I have all the right conditions to build a layout except enough time. Overseas, I lack the reasources (mainly a hobby shop) and know I will someday have to leave the layout behind, so I lack modivation and nothing happens, even with stuff I can do. And cost is always a concern...

Regards, Isaac

I model my railroad and you model yours! I model my way and you model yours!

  • Member since
    January 2017
  • From: Southern Florida Gulf Coast
  • 6,392 posts
Posted by SeeYou190 on Monday, June 17, 2019 5:51 PM

ATLANTIC CENTRAL
Kevin, As it turns out, at least of few of those NYC F12's made it into the early/mid 50's. What don't you like about the looks of these:

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Sheldon, The USRA 2-6-6-2 has the air pumps on the front of the boiler, which always looked wrong to me. Since I already have a B&O 2-8-8-4 as my only articulated, I have decided to use similar designs from Eastern lines for the remaining articulated locmotives.

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I think the N&W Class A, N&W Class Y6b, and B&O Class EM-1 all look very good next to one another. Also, they are all available undecoracted, have reputations as good runners, and can be found reasonably priced.

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SPSOT fan
Living overseas I am unable to build a layout for many reasons. When I visit the US I have all the right conditions to build a layout except enough time.

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Isaac, While I have been without a layout, I have been very happily occupied taking staged pictures on a 30" by 30" board for the "show me something" thread.

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This has almost become a hobby all in its own, and does not require much in space or resources.

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It keeps me active in the hobby and is a lot of fun.

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-Kevin

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Wink Happily modeling my STRATTON & GILLETTE RAILROAD. A Class A line located in a personal fantasy world of semi-plausible nonsense on Tuesday, August 3rd, 1954.

  • Member since
    January 2009
  • From: Maryland
  • 8,750 posts
Posted by ATLANTIC CENTRAL on Monday, June 17, 2019 11:09 PM

Kevin, agreed, those locos have a good family look despite some differences.

I have most them in one form or another as well.

As a B&O modeler, I have EM-1's and have considered them for the ATLANTIC CENTRAL (ACR) as well.

The ACR has its version of the N&W Class A, with different tenders.

As well as Proto Y3 2-8-8-2's that have been convered to 2-8-8-0's in B&O tradition.

And as a C&O modeler, we have the Allegheny.....

The front air pumps are very much a C&O thing, other roads did it, but not to the degree of the C&O. If you don't like it, you don't like it, that's fine.

The B&O and C&O had lots of tunnel clearance problems. As boilers got bigger and locos longer, stuff hanging on the sides was a problem.

The B&O mounted a lot of air pumps on the pilot deck, and a few on the smokebox front, but the C&O liked the smokebox front. It has also been said that front mounted air pumps, smokebox or pilot deck, were used to balance weight and reduce slipping.

But the C&O loved those 2-6-6-2's for lots of reasons, so much so they bought the last 10 in 1949, the last mainline steam built by Baldwin.......one of which will be returning to steam soon.

And I love my little "baby" Mallets, both C&O and ACR.

Sheldon

 

  

    

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