Trains.com

Subscriber & Member Login

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

Need suggestions on new layout

3800 views
20 replies
1 rating 2 rating 3 rating 4 rating 5 rating
  • Member since
    April 2003
  • 305,205 posts
Need suggestions on new layout
Posted by Anonymous on Thursday, November 6, 2003 2:19 PM
Hello everyone, I'm new to this forum, and have a life long love for trains. I had a pretty descent layout when i was about 10 (4x8 HO) and have dreamed my whole life of building something really special. I have been seriously contemplating getting back into this hobby for the last couple years and I finally convinced my wife to let me have part of the basement for my hobbies. I have rescently begun re-modeling the basement and will soon have a nice space to build my railroad so now the big question. Where do I start and what do I do? I have a few pieces of n scale stuff but nothing much and I have been reading every bit of info i can get my hands on. I can't decide on scale or a track design, I know I like MRR's that look realistic in scale and function and my space is limited to a room that is 16 x 24. I hope to include some sort of inustry and a switchyard for plenty of "play" time and I'm not into passenger trains or trolleys. My favorite trains are late steam era steam and diesel trains but I may have some more modern trains too. Any suggestions on design or theme or scale are greatly appreciated, I want this to be a long time hobby but I like everyone else want to start playing as soon as possible. I am an engineer (design) and have multiple cad programs to design with, lately I have been sketching out ideas, Click on this link to see a drawing of my hobby room http://supergenius74.kicks-***.net/avatar/room.jpg TIA shane.
  • Member since
    April 2003
  • 305,205 posts
Posted by Anonymous on Thursday, November 6, 2003 2:44 PM
Here is a drawing of an HO layout in that space using 4x8 sheets of foam/plywood and 2" wide roadbed spaced 2.5" apart. Minimum radius is 24" and most of is 36" flextrack, I haven't drawn all the turnouts but you can figure where they would be. Its bascially a double track mainline around the perimiter of the whole thing with a switchyard in the middle and some secondary lines for industry, there would be some mountains and bridges over roads and rivers too. let me know what you guys think. http://supergenius74.kicks-***.net/avatar/HOplan.jpg
  • Member since
    April 2003
  • 305,205 posts
Posted by Anonymous on Thursday, November 6, 2003 2:55 PM
Shane,

If you like the realistic stuff, you might want to check out some prototype info for a bit, combined with the book "Track Plans for Realistic Operations" (or something like that - it's a Kalmbach book).

You also might want to look for layouts that have great operational potential, like Mike Hamer's layout in Great Model Railroads 2004 magazine. It looks straightforward, but he has captured every part of the hobby - designing, tracklaying, model building, and operations - switching and running. I have seen this layout in person, and it is incredible. You have about twice as much room!

When I first got back into this after having trains as a kid, I thought I would be happy to just run some trains. However, without csounding too corny, there is a whole world out there to research and understand that will have influences on your layout, especially if you are trying to make it realistic (ok, that was corny, but true!).

Are you thinking of Nscale or HO (or something else?). HO is probably more practical for a lot of switching, simply because of the size of the rolling stock and couplers.

This is a favourite link of mine, partly because in the real Orangeville, I used to cross the yard tracks twice a day going to school. The owner has done an excellent job of capturing the real place. And if you want operations, look at his list of trains that arrive and depart the Orangeville yard!

http://www.mcswiz.com/MyLayout/Homepage.asp (The site was unavailable as of 4pm EST Thu, but this is the only time that's happened to me...)

Good luck!

Andrew
  • Member since
    April 2003
  • From: US
  • 1,522 posts
Posted by AltonFan on Thursday, November 6, 2003 3:14 PM
ISTM, that four-foot wide tables, accessible from only one side, are too wide, and will become a problem during construction and maintenance. I would not have the benchwork where I had reach more than 30" or so. (And 24" would be better.)

You definitiely want to look at John Armstrong's Track Planning for Realistic Operation, as Andrew suggested.

You got a decent piece of real estate for your layout - use it carefully.

Dan

  • Member since
    April 2003
  • 305,205 posts
Posted by Anonymous on Thursday, November 6, 2003 3:19 PM
Your actually one of the few people have asked for suggestions that actually has a good idea of what they want, but just need to figure out how to get there.

First I need to ask how well your eyesight is. As the smaller the scale, the harder it is to see.

My recommendations are personally to go with HO or S scale, (I work in HO) as those are what is known as the Mid Range scales. Also the space you have diagramed out is sufficient for a very decent layout in Both Scales. I also suggest that if your vision is such that you require bifocals, that you work with S scale as its larger size allows you to see what you are working on better. The one disadvantages of S scale though is that it is not as common as some of the others. However suppliers do exist for it, and many accessories are available from other hobbies in S scale, (Proportion of 1/64)

The space your room is shaped, in my opinion lends it self well to a railroad based on a "Belt Railway" theme, which is a railroad that travels around a city from railroad yard to railroad yard, interchanging cars from one road to the next. There is also room in the center for a peninsula or two that can house some industrial switching districts and thus provide some originating and terminating traffic in your line. Following this assumed theme, my suggestion would be to run the mainline on a shelf between 18" and 24" wide around the outside walls for your main line. I would include on the 12 foot wall at the left and the 16 foot wall at the right two yards for interchanging lines. They don't need to be very big, as a decent capacity yard of about 40-50 cars can fit in an area of about 2X8 feet with plenty of room left for structures and scenery. I would have the belt railways access toward the front of the layout as you want to showcase that the theme for your railroad is to switch cars between two railroads. Then have the main line for the interchanging road depart along the back side duck behind a few big buildings and then down into a staging track on a deck below the main level of the layout. Then along the 24 foot wall at the top, I would include your biggest yard and have that be the home yard for your railroad. This is where cars are sorted from the industrial districts and the connecting roads are sorted and then sent to their respective destinations. Along the bottom I would include the industrial district which could include an industrial branch out into the center of the room. You could also work industries in on the space left in other parts of your layout to provide even more traffic. I would rout the bench work at an angle so that you may avoid the door as you transition along your little "jaunt" you have diagramed. I would also include either a lift out bridge or a swing open gate to allow relatively unfettered access to the center of the room without having to "duck under" the layout.

For locomotives you would want 0-6-0s and 0-8-0s switchers as they are ideally suited for the tasks they are performing and you defiantly want nothing bigger than a 2-8-0 or a small 2-8-2. If diesels are your flavor I would go with many of the classic end cab switcher variants that are now so plentiful on the market with maybe no bigger than an Alco RS3 or EMD GP-7 to do the switching and transfer duties.

Should you require any assistance with this project I would like to mention I run a model railroad design business, and you can check me out at http://w3.trib.com/~mrljim

I hope I have been helpful

James
  • Member since
    January 2003
  • From: Ridgeville,South Carolina
  • 1,294 posts
Posted by willy6 on Thursday, November 6, 2003 10:07 PM
i'm limited to a 4x8..........but at least my wife said it was okay. GO FOR IT. this is the best hobby in the world.....amen!
Being old is when you didn't loose it, it's that you just can't remember where you put it.
  • Member since
    April 2003
  • 305,205 posts
Posted by Anonymous on Friday, November 7, 2003 6:56 AM
These are all great ideas, thanks everyone, I'm sure I will be coming back here for questions as I build this layout. I think I'm going to go with HO since N is so difficult to work with, I'm afraid that N scale will be more work than it is fun and I don't think even the highest quality engines and rolling stock look very detailed in N scale. Maybe some day in the future I will model in N, my eyesite is perfect so that isn't a concern, its the realism thats most important to me. 1940-1950 era with mainly steam locos and a couple diesels. Once I decide on a design I'll proabably use some good looking track like Peco or Micro Engineering and build a small section at a time so I can play a little as I go.
  • Member since
    April 2003
  • 305,205 posts
Posted by Anonymous on Friday, November 7, 2003 8:45 AM
If you like the steam of the 1950s, and are looking for a source about how a real railroad operated, you should check out Ian Wilson's series that started with "Steam at Allandale". The four books (so far) in the series are excellent, and cover all the detail you would ever want about the layout and operation of Canadian National in southern Ontario in the 1950s.

See: http://members.rogers.com/canadianbranchline/

Andrew

Note: The Orangeville layout link above is working as of this morning. Check it out!
  • Member since
    April 2003
  • 305,205 posts
Posted by Anonymous on Friday, November 7, 2003 5:38 PM
Well not to stick my head in the lions mouth, but take a good look at ON-30. Runs on ho track but uses o scale (1/48) structures and people. My current layout is being planned for this. I have the bachmann stuff and it is all amazingly detailed for the price. Plus a heisler is coming out to compliment the shay, 2-6-0, 0-4-0, 0-4-2, plus others such as a 2-8-0 by broadway limited, which has sound and DCC for only 250.00. Check it out. Bill
  • Member since
    August 2002
  • From: Corpus Christi, Texas
  • 2,377 posts
Posted by leighant on Tuesday, November 11, 2003 7:53 PM
Limited to a 16 x 24 room? LIMITED?? if only.....
lemme see what I come up with. (pause)

?LIMITED!?!?!?
  • Member since
    September 2002
  • 7,452 posts
Posted by ndbprr on Wednesday, November 12, 2003 8:31 AM
What ever you do you will change it. I suggest you take time getting the trackwork in the yard as perfect as possible and all the glitches taken care of so it can be used is another layout some day. Questions you will need to answer are:
1. Prototype railroad or freelance?
2. Mainline or branchline or both?
3. frequent traffic or infrequent
4. through trains or locals
5. Particular industries it serves
6. what part of the country will you model
7. city or rural
8. True to the prototype or a representation

None of these are right or wrng answers. They are what you want. They will guide you to a direction to take when drawing up a plan and executing it. If you are like the rest of us what you thought would work on paper will require some tweaking and in some cases total changes once you start building. So get the thing operating before putting in major scenery so you have the least rework to do. Above all keep it fun. Nobody needs a second job (except to pay for everything).

  • Member since
    April 2003
  • 305,205 posts
Posted by Anonymous on Wednesday, November 12, 2003 9:33 AM
I know 24' x 16' is big compared to alot of people but I have a basement with approx 24' x 50' of room that could potentially be an incredible layout but my wife keeps me on the sane side of things so I am "limited" to this size, i bet others wi***hey were this "limited" :-). I'm partial to big steam locomotives, my G-grandfather was an engineer, my grandfather was a switchman, and my father was an engineer, lots of family history with railroading. So my focus is going to be 40's era with mainly larger steam locomotives. I originally wanted things like a big mountain and a roundhouse but decided they were a bit beyond my realistic options and have settled for something with big curves, switchyard, some industry (i was thinking of a beer industry theme) and a 2 track mainline with a branchline and try to sqeeze as much out of my space as possible, so i came up with this http://supergenius74.kicks-***.net/avatar/newplan.jpg which is a sort-of dogobone design with 2' wide ailes for access and 30" wide space for most of the track, check it out and give me opinions, thanks.
  • Member since
    April 2003
  • 305,205 posts
Posted by Anonymous on Wednesday, November 12, 2003 10:47 AM
Hmm....24" isles, i'd be careful there, it'd be a tight fit.

Looks good otherwise, but what are you doing with that ittle nook just in fronmt oft he door? in bioth diagrams you'd ignored that nice little spot that could effectivly be used for a helix for storage of those trains not being used (yes soon you'll probably have more engines and cars than woould be used on the layout).
  • Member since
    April 2003
  • 305,205 posts
Posted by Anonymous on Wednesday, November 12, 2003 11:45 AM
well the "nook" is for viewing the majority of the layout and for my tools/workbench/computer etc. needs some room for extra hobbie things so I want to leave it open. the 24" wide aisles are good for me, i'm not fat so i fit just fine through it, my office at work has 24" between my desk(s) and its never been a problem. I want to be able to get to the trains but the majority of my time will be spent in the "nook" area.
  • Member since
    April 2003
  • 305,205 posts
Posted by Anonymous on Wednesday, November 12, 2003 3:12 PM
Looks like a good plan, but I am concerned a little about acess along the sides and top of the layout along the back. If it is about chest hight you might be fine reaching back that far. But if its set higher so you can have more of a grounds eye view, I think it could be.
  • Member since
    April 2003
  • 305,205 posts
Posted by Anonymous on Thursday, November 13, 2003 6:40 AM
I'm, 6 foot tall so even a layout mounted pretty hight i think i could reach at a max of 30" , here are a couple designs that someone sent me, I like them alot check them out.
http://supergenius74.kicks-***.net/avatar/geniusdog.jpg
http://supergenius74.kicks-***.net/avatar/geniusloop.jpg
  • Member since
    April 2003
  • 305,205 posts
Posted by Anonymous on Thursday, November 13, 2003 7:19 AM
Hmm..yea that's more like what i thought of for that room layout. The first one really suits it better.

I try to avoid duck unders as much as possible, but you coudl always just bridge it there instead.

Jay.
  • Member since
    April 2003
  • 305,205 posts
Posted by Anonymous on Thursday, November 13, 2003 2:02 PM
yeah i agree, i would make a duck-under if thought it would be worth it because it doesn't bother me to have to do that, but I think it would be somewhat pointless, I will think about it. How about this, i took his design and kinda modified it. I really need the nook area at the front, I'm planning on some tools, work bench, and my computer desk to be there so I will leave that open for now. I took his idea and made the curves even bigger, i will obviously add more track but this is the "basic design" with mainline and branchline with swtichyard. the max radius is 38.5" and the min is 18", boy am I having fun just coming up with all these ideas.
http://supergenius74.kicks-***.net/avatar/newest.jpg
or check out this one for fun, the world's most insane duck-under!
http://supergenius74.kicks-***.net/avatar/duckunder.jpg

  • Member since
    April 2003
  • 305,205 posts
Posted by Anonymous on Thursday, November 13, 2003 3:21 PM
LOL< that second one is just plain silly. it'd be a nightmare to maintain, much less watch the trains ;)

as for the first one, that looks good. Hmm..the big oval loop seems just right for a mountain, or a hill with a town up top that can be serviced by a single end line.

Yes it's fun doing the layouts. i swear i've redone the plans for what i want ot do next at least 30 times now and still modifying it and trying different looks. one of these days i'll settle on something and start building it all.
  • Member since
    February 2002
  • From: within earshot of CP
  • 64 posts
Posted by scotttmason on Thursday, November 13, 2003 4:29 PM
Strongly suggest breaking up the areas with track that's parallel to viewer. Think of any callendar shot of trains and they are almost always a 3/4 view front or back. Its more exciting having action running toward and away from viewer.
Got my own basement now; benchwork done but no trains, yet.
  • Member since
    April 2003
  • 305,205 posts
Posted by Anonymous on Thursday, November 13, 2003 7:46 PM
My fictional will cover three walls of the basement. It is divided into three main areas. Melmatt is the port, Marcstadt is the Capital and will be in the foothills, Royston will be in the alpine part of the land. This way I will go through the seasons. In Melmatt, the port area is complete with a busy harbor, an island where people fish and a beach with swimmers. There are palm trees around the town. The train from Melmatt to Marcstadt will rise in elevation into the foothills, from there to Royston in the mountains covered in snow and is a skiers paradise. All this is from my imagination and I am sure if you sit down and just think it out, you will come up with something that will give you just as much fun.

Subscriber & Member Login

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

Users Online

There are no community member online

Search the Community

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