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From what vantage point do you like running your trains?

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  • Member since
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From what vantage point do you like running your trains?
Posted by HO-Velo on Monday, June 10, 2024 9:33 PM

While nursing a sciatic nerve flare-up in late winter I popped for an adjustable height rolling chair to operate from.  My switching layout is 48" high and before raising the chair my eyes were about 3-4" above the track.  Though my back is better I still like operating from this perspective occasionally; down close to the action gives me greater appreciation for the details and weathering.  

Regards, Peter

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Posted by richhotrain on Monday, June 10, 2024 9:42 PM

Ahh, sciatica, the plague of my adulthood!

I am 6' tall and my layout is 36" high. My favorite vantage point is sitting in a wheeled office chair.

Rich

Alton Junction

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Posted by maxman on Monday, June 10, 2024 11:56 PM

Another vote for eye level.

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Posted by FRRYKid on Tuesday, June 11, 2024 2:40 AM

richhotrain

I am 6' tall and my layout is 36" high. My favorite vantage point is sitting in a wheeled office chair.

Rich 

Sounds very familiar. My layout is about 36" high as well. I have an old office chair I use as well. I even pulled it out to help with a very needed non-railroad outdoor project.

"The only stupid question is the unasked question."
Brain waves can power an electric train. RealFact #832 from Snapple.
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Posted by "JaBear" on Tuesday, June 11, 2024 4:03 AM
Sciatica, oh joy of joys!! Bang HeadBang Head Sigh
 
Best vantage point is eye level, which is unfortunately not practical for operating as you don’t have the reach. That is, without knocking everything over within arm’s length!
 
If I get round to building my own layout, the height would be about a similar height to Rich and FRRYKid, with a depth of 30 inches. (Not sure about the second levels height!!!)Smile, Wink & Grin
 
Slightly Off Topic 
 
Some years back, we, the Club, built a Thomas layout for train shows, especially with children in mind. So, the two loops of “mainline” was at 32 inches, the Thomas loop was at 37 inches, and the top line was at 42 inches. The layout was DC, the three bottom loops were wired with hand held throttles so the kids could run the locos while the top line was on a “To and Fro” unit.
 
The Bear, being a big kid, (nothing much has changed) got to “supervise” the layout at shows, and had a cutdown adjustable swivel office chair which was not only comfortable but had the advantage of bringing me, a 6”3” bearded biker type, down to the kids’ height which was not intimidating to them, though some of the parents looked sideways!!
 
I found the smile on kids’ faces, boys and girls, being able to control a train was more than gratifying.
 
Cheers, the Bear.Smile

"One difference between pessimists and optimists is that while pessimists are more often right, optimists have far more fun."

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Posted by rrebell on Tuesday, June 11, 2024 9:41 AM

I can stand or roll around, height about 3' and I am 5' 5"

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Posted by kasskaboose on Tuesday, June 11, 2024 7:14 PM

The layout height is ~52 (had to check for more confidence!).  I like the height with my 5'9" height.  Not sure what's a suitable height honestly.

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Posted by MisterBeasley on Tuesday, June 11, 2024 8:05 PM

I like a tall bar stool with a back.  It's comfortable and gives me a good view.  My structures all have detailed roofs and look good from above.  I can drag the stool around or just walk around to different viewing spots.  I have plug in throttles with plugs all around, and a couple of radio throttles which work everywhere.

The center is a good spot to control most turnouts from the main control panel.  I like to watch my trains, but it's important to be able to run them, too.

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

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Posted by Water Level Route on Wednesday, June 12, 2024 5:20 AM

Not near the layout at the moment, but the highest point on mine is around 50" (assuming my memory isn't failing me at the moment).  Definitely wouldn't want it any higher simply due to the need to be able to reach in to uncouple, throw switches etc.  I find that reaching across my yard to do those tasks (around 48" high) is perilous with long sleeves on as they can contact rolling stock.  (I'm 5'8")

Mike

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Posted by Track fiddler on Wednesday, June 12, 2024 6:51 AM

Good morning

Eye level low to grade is preferred.  Also it is my opinion, taking pictures from the same prospective has more realistic results.  Perhaps the same prospective as standing in view of a prototypical railroad scene. 

Of course viewing part of the layout behind higher elevations, sometimes eye level needs to be higher, the same as looking downhill.

When taking a picture, I'll put my phone camera down on grade, not only to stabilize it for a more clear picture, but the photo seems to turn out more true to life. 

When taking a trackside photo peering up at a bridge, I'll actually turn the phone upside down to get the lens closest to grade as possible.  Then you can see the detail underneath the bridge as well as the side, for a more interesting photo.

Thanks Peter, interesting threadYes

 

TF

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Posted by gmpullman on Wednesday, June 12, 2024 7:12 AM

Track fiddler
Eye level low to grade is preferred.  Also it is my opinion, taking pictures from the same prospective has more realistic results.

I'm with TF and the other 'eyeball-level' guys here. I like to have this guy's perspective:

 BnLE_ore-hopper-1 by Edmund, on Flickr

(I've since weathered these Bessemer ore jennies)

 PRR_EF-15_2_tone by Edmund, on Flickr

I like to be 'in' the scene if possible. While running trains I'll often squat (while I still can) to get a low-angle view and see the signal lights gleaming off the stainless steel and listen to the wheels as they clack across the rail joints.

 PRR_diner by Edmund, on Flickr

Cheers, Ed

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Posted by riogrande5761 on Wednesday, June 12, 2024 1:24 PM

Of course it depends on if you have a layout or not.  So any vantage point would be nice eh?  I'm busy working on scenery base, painting track, masking etc. I haven't really run any trains since I tore my last layout down in 2017.  I didn't even begin to errect mine until 2020 because I decided to finish my basement in 2018 and remodeled kitchen in 2019.  Had to take care of my elderly mother for a year April 2022 - April 2023. 

Pushing forward and hopefully so I an try running trains this summer from any which way I can!  Stick out tongue

Rio Grande.  The Action Road  - Focus 1977-1983

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Posted by MisterBeasley on Wednesday, June 12, 2024 3:18 PM

Photography is different.  I also like the Eye Level of the Little People approach.  I have a small point-and-shoot camera which is still better than a cell phone camera.  It has a tripod mount, and I've got a full sized tripod and a six inch tripod, so getting the angle I want is easy.

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

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Posted by richhotrain on Wednesday, June 12, 2024 6:31 PM

When I was a kid, I had my American Flyer layout on a 4' x 8' piece of plywood on the basement floor. Now that was fun.

Rich

Alton Junction

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Posted by BATMAN on Wednesday, June 12, 2024 9:52 PM

Lawn chair, trackside.Laugh

Or from up above if I have a lot going on.

Brent

"All of the world's problems are the result of the difference between how we think and how the world works."

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Posted by cowman on Wednesday, June 12, 2024 10:08 PM

Plan is to have the layout at the little peoples eye level when I am sitting on my stool.  When standing I should get a drone,s eye view and can easily do the 2' reach without damaging scenery.  Great gtrandson's stool is taller, so he should be able to get a good ground level view.

Good luck,

Richard

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Posted by fwright on Sunday, June 16, 2024 3:00 PM

Ideal height depends on how you want to operate your layout.  For a spectator - watching trains run - eye level can be great.

For switching, eye level doesn't work unless the layout is highly modified to have all spurs in front of the main line, no buildings obstructing track view, lower scenery in front, etc.

If you use pick uncoupling, track height needs to be below shoulder level, and may need to be lower as you go back from the front edge.  This is to avoid catching hands, shirt sleeves, arms, etc., on the scenery.  Same for visually lining turnouts.

If turnouts are up at eye level, you need indicator lights for turnout position.

This is to say nothing of maintenance - for which somewhere between waist and armpit height is preferred.

If you have true roll-around seating - both floor and layout framing must be suitable - you can have 2 different heights.  Without roll-around seating, your seat becomes a fixed point cockpit for operation of the layout.

For the present, I am using the double slot shelving system to have adjustable heights for my modules until (if ever) I can decide what height I really want.  So far, around 50" (what Free-mo uses) is winning out.  That's about as high as I can comfortably operate a switching layout at.

Fred W

 

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Posted by hon30critter on Sunday, June 16, 2024 5:02 PM

I prefer to look at model trains when I  am standing and the layout is about 40"above the floor. Unfortunately my back will only allow me to do that for a few seconds. Then I resort to a rolling office chair set fairly high.  If that gets uncomfortable I will move into my wheelchair. It is very comfortable and it's puts my view just above the tops of the trains. I may get a couple of thick seat cushions to raise me up in the wheelchair.

Cheers!!

Dave

I'm just a dude with a bad back having a lot of fun with model trains, and finally building a layout!

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Posted by Darth Santa Fe on Tuesday, June 18, 2024 8:57 PM

I put my layout on a motorized frame so I can choose sitting, standing or eye-level depending on my mood.Big Smile

_________________________________________________________________

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Posted by Tophias on Wednesday, June 19, 2024 8:14 PM

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B08SSKRT9M/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o02_s00?ie=UTF8&th=1 

Dave, I can recommend this seat cushion. I have one at my layout work desk and is comfy and has a 4" rise.

Regards, Chris 

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Posted by Southgate 2 on Friday, June 21, 2024 1:56 AM

I'm 6'1. My layout is 4'10 at track level. That produces a nice VIEW level for me, not necessarily a great OPERATING level. The layout room is also my work space, benches almost all the way around the 10'x19' room, under the layout, which is also a major reason the layout is so high.

I need to get or make some sorta highchair, since when I'm in a relaxed operating mood, I don't feel like standing to do so. Yeah. I think I'm going to work on that. Dan

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