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!

Layout Design Challenge

15148 views
57 replies
1 rating 2 rating 3 rating 4 rating 5 rating
  • Member since
    April 2013
  • 10 posts
Layout Design Challenge
Posted by Stoker on Sunday, May 26, 2013 11:23 AM

Over the past few weeks I have been tossing around ideas for my layout. In this time I have acquired a fair amount of material, and the design keeps changing. I have an 11' x 11' room available for this project. Initially I was thinking that a free standing island would be the way to go, but I have since been exploring both U-shelf and Donut with duckunder designs. I am currently sold on the Donut with duckunder. I am aware of the hassle of having to duck under to access the back, but I am willing to live with this in light of the extra potential the donut gives me for design. Above you can see a basic donut design I came up with a couple weeks ago, along with a U-shelf as well. I have heard a lot of different thoughts on my design here and on other forums, and I would like to see some actual plans as to what others would do with the space and budget that I have.

Here is the basic design criteria :

11' x 11' room with entry in lower right, closet to the left of this door.

Location is coastal Mexico, circa 1880's. S scale using 16.5 mm HO track, that is Sn42 or Sn3.5

Industries to perhaps include but not necessarily limited to:

Gold / Copper  Mine

Building stone quarry

Harbor with ore loading , log loading, and fishing wharves

Cannery (Tuna and/or Sardines)

Sawmill provided with logs floated in rafts from California

~$500 total budget, about $200 of which is already spent. This does not include the base cabinets that will form the structure of the layout, they were part of the "Hobby Room" of our remodel anyways.

Here is a list of the track I currently have:

Nickel Silver:

3 #6 Left Atlas Turnouts

3 #6 Right Atlas Turnouts

1 #4 Right Atlas Turnout

1 Wye Atlas Turnout

2 - 30 degree crossovers

~20 Atlas Flex pieces (4 currently on hand)

Brass:

3 #4 Right Turnouts

3 #4 Left Turnouts

1 #6 Right Turnout

The challenge is this:

Using all or as much of what I have listed as you think is necessary, create a layout in the space that I have that includes as much of the industry as you think is necessary. This is obviously very loosely prototypical, I am not however aiming for a whimsical type of layout. I intend to use all of the NS turnouts, and may or may not use the brass as well. This is a photoshopped Anyrail plan showing the basic layout of the room with the donut I think works best.

If you think a shelf layout would be better, then by all means show me that. Here is the Anyrail Cabeza Dura Challenge plan on my skydrive  . The free 50 piece limited version of Anyrail is available here if you would like to use it, or I also have XtrkCAD and SCARM if you would like to draw using either of those. Also, if you want to just sketch something on a piece of paper and take a pic of it, that would work as well. I have heard many suggestions as to what I should do, so now is your chance to show me what you would actually do with what I have to work with. Thank all of you that decide to help my design process and have fun!

                                                       James Stoker

Tags: design , layout , Sn3.5 , Sn42
  • Member since
    December 2004
  • From: Bedford, MA, USA
  • 20,709 posts
Posted by MisterBeasley on Sunday, May 26, 2013 12:19 PM

Each of us has a particular preference of what he/she wants to do with the layout.  For some, it's operations, while others prefer just railfanning.  Personally, I'm a "Builder," and I get most of the fun creating scenery.  Your layout should reflect the sort of thing you want to do.

The layout you've sketched has minimal operating potential.  Even if you're just going to let trains run round and round, you should consider some sort of yard, and a few sidings for those industries you've described.  Plan for these things from the start, because it may be too late to add them later.

I started with a free-standing (free-rolling, actually, since I put casters on the legs) 5x12 foot layout in HO.  When I got access to more space, I rolled that section over close to one wall, and built a shelf layout to attach it to in an offset-T configuration.  It's still a roundy-round loop, really, but it's longer and there's more space for industries.  As retirement approaches and out time in this house likely grows shorter, I think more about shelf and less about island all the time.

I'll leave you with a final suggestion.  Consider a lift-off bridge, a hinged drop-down or a swinging gate to cross that doorway.  Building your layout will take years.  If you have a liftoff, for example, you'll spend days or weeks where you never put it in place to run trains over it, but if you have a duckunder you will seldom walk in the room without silently cursing it.  And, your curses will become quite audible every time you bump your head on it or rip the wiring out from beneath it.

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

  • Member since
    April 2013
  • 10 posts
Posted by Stoker on Sunday, May 26, 2013 12:34 PM

I am not concerned about the duckunder, and you can rest assured that building my layout will not take years. I have single handedly built entire 1:1 scale houses in a year.  This has already been hashed out in my previous posts both here and elsewhere. This layout will exist for a couple of years maximum, I am not trying to make the ultimate or most detailed one ever, just having some fun. I understand the desire to make "prototypical" switching layouts with no option for turning around, and I can tell you for certain I am NOT doing that . Watching a train go back and forth over the same 8 ft of rails has about as much attraction as watching ice melt to me. I have already heard all of these blanket negativity comments and they are as useful as a screen door on a submarine.  Thanks for your input such as it is Mr B. , but I am asking for some actual useful suggestions in this thread.

                                                     James Stoker

  • Member since
    July 2004
  • From: Weymouth, Ma.
  • 5,199 posts
Posted by bogp40 on Monday, May 27, 2013 7:44 AM

If you could utilize more space, eliminate the closet, move the workbench and change the door to outswing, an around the wall layout will work much better within the space. Normally, most are concerned w/ tearing up and relocating walls, etc, but this should be a simple task as a builder. BTW, what's up w/ the in-swinging 36" door to such a small space? If the entry door is placed in an alcove can it be moved to the "closet back wall" also? All these mods can be returned to existing if nec.

Modeling B&O- Chessie  Bob K.  www.ssmrc.org

  • Member since
    September 2004
  • From: Dearborn Station
  • 23,182 posts
Posted by richhotrain on Monday, May 27, 2013 8:42 AM

Stoker

I have already heard all of these blanket negativity comments and they are as useful as a screen door on a submarine.  Thanks for your input such as it is Mr B. , but I am asking for some actual useful suggestions in this thread.                                         

That's the problem with guys like Mister Beasley who tends to offer polite, courteous and helpful advice.  Better to cut it off early rather than implement any useful suggestions that could get in the way of your planning. 

Rich

Alton Junction

  • Member since
    December 2007
  • From: Dayton, OH
  • 268 posts
Posted by stilson4283 on Monday, May 27, 2013 10:11 AM

Take a look at Scott Perry's HOG plan:

It gives you a know plan, just change the scenery and industry list.  Here is the parts list other trackplan images can also be on the yahoo group:

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/HOGRR/

519 Atlas Rerailer Code 83 3 $5.75 $17.25
563 Code 83 Custom-Line(R) Turnouts w/Nickel-Silver Rail & Brown Ties -- #6 Left Hand Turnout 6 $13.95 $83.70
564 Code 83 Custom-Line(R) Turnouts w/Nickel-Silver Rail & Brown Ties -- #6 Right Hand Turnout 3 $13.95 $41.85
561 Code 83 Custom-Line(R) Turnouts w/Nickel-Silver Rail & Brown Ties -- #4 Left Hand Turnout 1 $13.95 $13.95
562 Code 83 Custom-Line(R) Turnouts w/Nickel-Silver Rail & Brown Ties -- #4 Right Hand Turnout 3 $13.95 $41.85
500 Code 83 Flex-Track w/Brown Ties - 36" 18 $3.25 $58.50
552 Code 83 -- Insulated Rail Joiners (Pack) 4 $1.50 $6.00
$263.10

It can be portable if you bolt the sections together, with the narrow benchwork you should be able to get the scenery done fast.

Chris

Check out my railroad at: Buffalo and Southwestern

Photos at:Flicker account

YouTube:StellarMRR YouTube account

  • Member since
    July 2006
  • From: Pittsburgh, PA
  • 1,780 posts
Posted by JoeinPA on Monday, May 27, 2013 1:23 PM

richhotrain

Stoker

I have already heard all of these blanket negativity comments and they are as useful as a screen door on a submarine.  Thanks for your input such as it is Mr B. , but I am asking for some actual useful suggestions in this thread.                                         

That's the problem with guys like Mister Beasley who tends to offer polite, courteous and helpful advice.  Better to cut it off early rather than implement any useful suggestions that could get in the way of your planning. 

Rich

Doesn't this remind you of another recently departed poster?

Joe

  • Member since
    February 2005
  • From: Southwest US
  • 12,914 posts
Posted by tomikawaTT on Monday, May 27, 2013 1:45 PM

My suggestion, which I would like to consider useful, is to go to an around-the-room with a removable bridge (rather than a duckunder) that will allow free access to the closet/workbench area when not operating, combined with a swing-down curve on the back of the entrance door.  The, "Other end of the bridge," curve, if built at a normal around-the-room height, should allow plenty of clearance above the workbench.  Suggested bridge structure?  A 96-inch steel stud, installed open side up like a rain gutter.

Beyond that, my choice of prototype, scale and operational, "Givens and druthers," wouldn't be of much use to you, and I'd rather suggest a potential career path than try to design a layout for a stranger based solely on the available space and available pre-manufactured track components.

And, believe it or not, there is a use for a screen door aboard a submarine.  I leave revealing what it is as an exercise for the dolphin-wearers among us.

Chuck (Ex-USMMA Cadet-Midshipman, Retired USAF MSgt modeling Central Japan in September, 1964)

  • Member since
    October 2005
  • From: Detroit, Michigan
  • 2,202 posts
Posted by Soo Line fan on Monday, May 27, 2013 2:38 PM

JoeinPA

richhotrain

Stoker

I have already heard all of these blanket negativity comments and they are as useful as a screen door on a submarine.  Thanks for your input such as it is Mr B. , but I am asking for some actual useful suggestions in this thread.                                         

That's the problem with guys like Mister Beasley who tends to offer polite, courteous and helpful advice.  Better to cut it off early rather than implement any useful suggestions that could get in the way of your planning. 

Rich

Doesn't this remind you of another recently departed poster?

Joe

Well, it was getting kind of boring around here Devil

Jim

  • Member since
    September 2003
  • From: Southeast Texas
  • 5,381 posts
Posted by mobilman44 on Tuesday, May 28, 2013 6:12 AM

Stoker,

Do yourself a big favor and design your own layout.   You have everything set out to work with, and the only plan out there that will work is the one you create to your own satisfaction.  No one else can do that.

One suggestion I have........... design your layout without considering what turnouts or whatever else you have.  A layout (usually) is a long term thing, and having to go buy a couple more new turnouts should not be a deciding factor. 

Remember, those leftover turnouts often can be used for sidings and such.

 

ENJOY  !

 

Mobilman44

 

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

  • Member since
    April 2003
  • 305,206 posts
Posted by Anonymous on Tuesday, May 28, 2013 11:35 AM

Stoker,

IMHO, you are asking for a little bit too much. Designing a layout of the size you are asking for is not done within a few minutes - it´ll take hours if not days to do it. You won´t find many people in here who are willing to dedicate that much of their precious spare time for just a "How nice, but ..."

If you are not sure how to design a layout, get one of the excellent Kalmbach books on how to design a layout, make your first draft and post it here. There will be a lot of folks helping you to work with you - on the basis you have provided.

  • Member since
    September 2004
  • From: Dearborn Station
  • 23,182 posts
Posted by richhotrain on Tuesday, May 28, 2013 12:46 PM

Sir Madog

IMHO, you are asking for a little bit too much. Designing a layout of the size you are asking for is not done within a few minutes - it´ll take hours if not days to do it. You won´t find many people in here who are willing to dedicate that much of their precious spare time for just a "How nice, but ..."

Ulrich, are you saying that you are not going to accept the challenge and show him what you would actually do with what he has to work with?  LOL

Rich

Alton Junction

  • Member since
    July 2006
  • From: Pittsburgh, PA
  • 1,780 posts
Posted by JoeinPA on Tuesday, May 28, 2013 1:43 PM

Apparently Stoker has posted his "challenge" on another board and castigated us for being us.

Joe

  • Member since
    July 2004
  • From: Weymouth, Ma.
  • 5,199 posts
Posted by bogp40 on Tuesday, May 28, 2013 3:06 PM

Oh well, after "slamming"someone as decent as  MrBeasley I gave up on any working w/ this guy. Happy Trails

Modeling B&O- Chessie  Bob K.  www.ssmrc.org

  • Member since
    October 2005
  • From: Detroit, Michigan
  • 2,202 posts
Posted by Soo Line fan on Tuesday, May 28, 2013 4:56 PM

Always a good strategy to make friends: Come in and make nasty comments to well liked forum members who offer up help Dunce

Like Joe said, he has his "challenge" posted on just about every forum available. I wonder what the winner gets?

Jim

  • Member since
    September 2003
  • From: Southeast Texas
  • 5,381 posts
Posted by mobilman44 on Tuesday, May 28, 2013 5:31 PM

Before this thread gets locked, may I add..........

I've been playing with trains & building layouts for almost 60 years.  The design, benchwork, track laying, wiring, etc., etc., are as much of the hobby to me as running trains on a finished layout.   I just don't fathom why folks would want others to design/build a layout for them.   That learning process, and skill development is all part of the hobby experience.

Of course we can help our fellow MR, and trade skills or advise or critique.  And, I understand that there are some folks that literally can't do certain things due to handicaps or "whatever",  and of course they need and should get help.  But I don't think this thread relates to that situation............

 

 

ENJOY  !

 

Mobilman44

 

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

  • Member since
    December 2004
  • From: Bedford, MA, USA
  • 20,709 posts
Posted by MisterBeasley on Tuesday, May 28, 2013 5:40 PM

Let it go.

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

  • Member since
    May 2007
  • From: East Haddam, CT
  • 3,272 posts
Posted by CTValleyRR on Tuesday, May 28, 2013 5:49 PM
Sure he's posted his challenge, but has anyone taken him up on it? I pm'd him on Sunday offering to help him design one, but under extremely different terms than he set out. Obviously, I haven't hesrd anything..... I guess because we are a bunch of idiots over here, and we get a little annoyed with rank newbies who slam folks who are trying to be helpful. I was somewhat critical of him, but if he's going to go badmouthing people on other forums, then I'll go ahesd and criticize in public. I told him that I had three issues with his challenge: 1) he must be open to criticism and suggestions, 2) anybody can design a layout with the restrictions he proposed: a loop of track around the donut and 2-3 sidings, and 3) he needs to forget about the budget and be realistic about what he's going to need, how much it will cost and how long it will take (he probably got offended because I told him that we like to take our time and do it right rather than just slap it together).

Connecticut Valley Railroad A Branch of the New York, New Haven, and Hartford

"If you think you can do a thing or think you can't do a thing, you're right." -- Henry Ford

  • Member since
    May 2007
  • From: East Haddam, CT
  • 3,272 posts
Posted by CTValleyRR on Tuesday, May 28, 2013 5:52 PM
Btw, Joe and Soo Line -- can you keep us, er, posted on his success elsewhere? Enquiring minds want to know.

Connecticut Valley Railroad A Branch of the New York, New Haven, and Hartford

"If you think you can do a thing or think you can't do a thing, you're right." -- Henry Ford

  • Member since
    September 2004
  • From: Dearborn Station
  • 23,182 posts
Posted by richhotrain on Tuesday, May 28, 2013 5:52 PM

CTValleyRR

I guess because we are a bunch of idiots over here, and we get a little annoyed with rank newbies who slam folks who are trying to be helpful.

And therein lies the problem.

Rich

Alton Junction

  • Member since
    April 2003
  • 305,206 posts
Posted by Anonymous on Tuesday, May 28, 2013 10:30 PM

Folks who know me also know, that I like to design layouts, if I can be of help. I have done that a number of times - for good friends in here and other forums. Quite a few of those designs were (or are being) built, which I deem as an honor.

There are others in here - Paul, Byron, the late Stein, just to name a few, who have spend hours of their time to help forum members to come up with a layout design (more than just a track plan) which will give their builders hours of joy and entertainment.

But simply stating "this is the room I have, this is the track I have - now do the work I should do, or ..." is not really inviting the help and support the OP may be looking for.

Good luck to the OP in his endeavor to find someone foolish enough to hitch a ride on his train.

  • Member since
    February 2005
  • From: Southwest US
  • 12,914 posts
Posted by tomikawaTT on Wednesday, May 29, 2013 12:20 AM

tomikawaTT
Gurgle

And, believe it or not, there is a use for a screen door aboard a submarine.  I leave revealing what it is as an exercise for the dolphin-wearers among us.

AH-OOO-ga     AH-OOO-ga

"Take 'er down!  Dive!  Dive!  Dive!"

Gurgle, gurgle, gurgle, gurgle, gurgle, gurgle, gurgle, gurgle, ....

"That's a wrap, folks.  Roll the closing credits..."

Chuck (Modeling Central Japan in September, 1964 - half a kilometer above sea level)

  • Member since
    October 2005
  • From: Detroit, Michigan
  • 2,202 posts
Posted by Soo Line fan on Wednesday, May 29, 2013 8:21 AM

You want me to design that ??????????????


Jim

  • Member since
    January 2013
  • From: PA
  • 481 posts
Posted by Schuylkill and Susquehanna on Wednesday, May 29, 2013 1:11 PM

I could design a layout for the available space, but the $500 budget is a layout-killer (sorry.)  The buildings and scenery on the layout will come close to $300, and the track will be another $100, even using all the track you have.  Roadbed will be about $100, depending on how much track there is and what material is used.  Benchwork and plywood subroadbed will be another $100,  Next you have electronics and train control.  A DCC system will cost about $150-200, plus $20 per locomotive for motor-only decoders.  $100 per locomotive for sound decoders.  A DC block system would be time-consuming and difficult to wire, and the price of the power packs, rheostats/cabs, and all the block control switches would easily be $150.  Plus wire.  Plus figures.  Plus details.  Plus rock molds.  Plus more plaster when you run out in the middle of a hill.  Plus trees when you realize that the "forests" are too open.  Plus........

The good news is that this price will be spread out over 2-5 years depending on how much time you spend working on the layout.  I would plan to spend $300-500 per year on the layout and have it done in 2 years.  Rolling stock and DCC system sold separately.

S&S

 

 

Modeling the Pennsy and loving it!

  • Member since
    May 2003
  • From: Santa Fe, NM
  • 1,169 posts
Posted by Adelie on Wednesday, May 29, 2013 5:14 PM

OK, since everyone is up for a challenge, in two weeks my better half will be away for about 5 days. My challenge to you is to come down to Hooterville, build some of my scenery, paint some of my undecorated rolling stock, and then clean up the layout room before she returns.......while I drink beer, watch the Stanley Cup playoffs, and offer constructive criticism from time to time.

No doubt, I'll have to come up with some system to deal with the onrush of takers to that challenge.

On the bright side, there is a TV in the layout room.

- Mark

  • Member since
    September 2004
  • From: Dearborn Station
  • 23,182 posts
Posted by richhotrain on Wednesday, May 29, 2013 5:20 PM

Mark, if I accept the challenge, would you be willing to share your beer?  Can you make sure that you have plenty of Fritos on hand?   And, if the Blackhawks are still in the playoffs, can i watch TV instead of working?

Rich

Alton Junction

  • Member since
    May 2003
  • From: Santa Fe, NM
  • 1,169 posts
Posted by Adelie on Wednesday, May 29, 2013 6:10 PM

Hey, the wife is going to be gone.  This work project could take a lot of different directions!  The only limitation is the TV downstairs won't get the game unless it is on NBC.  For their various subsidiaries we have to sit in the family room, in front of the flat screen, and think through how we are going to attack the projects (aka planning).

Oh, and the flat screen is visible from the deck and grill.

- Mark

  • Member since
    December 2004
  • From: Bedford, MA, USA
  • 20,709 posts
Posted by MisterBeasley on Wednesday, May 29, 2013 8:16 PM

Hooterville, eh?

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

  • Member since
    December 2008
  • From: Heart of Georgia
  • 5,086 posts
Posted by Doughless on Wednesday, May 29, 2013 8:39 PM

Don't know why people were quick to poke fun of Hooterville.  Compared to most places, its percentage of  "talent" was always very high.  Wink

- Douglas

  • Member since
    February 2012
  • From: Moscow, Ar
  • 91 posts
Posted by DGX GP 38 on Wednesday, May 29, 2013 10:50 PM

No kidding! I always wanted to have a big drink from that water tank :-)

Bryan B.

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!