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Help with layout for a huge room

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  • Member since
    September 2021
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Help with layout for a huge room
Posted by Commander Zarkon on Thursday, September 23, 2021 5:17 PM

Hello all. This is my first time here. I used to have trains as a kid (HO and N) and built constantly changing layouts for them on a 4x8 plywood sheet in my parent’s car port. Would even run them with some cars on fire etc.

Those trains are long gone and now I teach art at a high school. I was given the old shop room as the new art room and want to build a track that circumnavigates the room just over the doors. Also I want to have a way to have the trains descend and ascend to and from lower tracks. Maybe make a helix? A figure eight?

The trains will travel through different environments like a big faux tree, faux stones, a glowing mushroom forest, a waterfall, etc.

I am thinking that O is the best size because of the size of the room. Also because of the much better smoke production of locomotives in O over HO.

I currently have a Lionel diesel set in O (Norfolk Southern) but will be looking to get a couple of steam locomotives that can produce good “smoke”.

Any advice is greatly appreciated.

I calculate about 180 feet of track for the upper track. Have to determine switches, curves etc. Also have to determine how to do the grades of 2%.

Will I need some kind of booster for the electricity on that much track?

 

The room is basically 57 feet long by 40 feet wide, though there are angles etc. on the walls.

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Posted by Steven Otte on Friday, September 24, 2021 8:45 AM

Welcome to the MR Forums! Welcome

When selecting a scale, remember that the larger scale you choose the larger radius curves your trains will need. If you are considering a helix to bring trains down from the upper loop to eye level, in HO that helix must be a minimum of 40" across (to the outer limit of the benchwork, with an 18" radius), and larger would be more reliable. In O scale, toy train track would allow a tighter radius curve, but you'll never get the grade separation you need for a helix at less than a 48" radius. So you'd be looking at losing an almost 9x9-foot chunk of your classroom to helix. Since the trains shouldn't be the focus of a working classroom anyway, consider sticking to just the track above the doors. If you want trains at viewing height, build a separate shelf layout rather than trying to connect them.

--
Steven Otte, Model Railroader associate editor
sotte@kalmbach.com

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Posted by York1 on Friday, September 24, 2021 8:49 AM

Welcome to the forums!

This sounds like a very interesting project.  I hope you can post some pictures of your progress.  Keep us up-to-date with how it goes!

My kids say they want a cat for Christmas.  Normally I do a turkey but hey, if it'll make 'em happy ...

York1 John       

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Posted by SeeYou190 on Friday, September 24, 2021 9:11 AM

Commander Zarkon
The trains will travel through different environments like a big faux tree, faux stones, a glowing mushroom forest, a waterfall, etc.

Welcome to the Model Railroader magazine discussion forums. Your first few posts will be delayed by the Kalmbach Media moderators, but that ends soon enough, usually after a few posts. Please stick around through the delay and become a permanent part of the discussions.

I cannot offer much help to the questions you are asking. Track planning is not my strong suit.

However, I LOVE the idea of an O scale train going through a fantasy mushroom forrest with train cars decorated by creative high school students.

I hope you return and share pictures.

Good luck with the project.

-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 snjroy on Friday, September 24, 2021 9:48 AM

What a great project! Lionel stuff is pretty much bullet-proof, but your wallet will suffer from it. You might be able to integrate a long grade instead of a hellix. Also, you can make two wyes and a long single track for continuous running. The 3 rail was basically designed for that purpose. There are a few options with respect to radius. O27 is pretty tight, but there will be less options for the locos and rolling stock.

Good luck!

Simon

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Posted by maxman on Friday, September 24, 2021 11:56 AM

Commander Zarkon
I am thinking that O is the best size because of the size of the room. Also because of the much better smoke production of locomotives in O over HO. I currently have a Lionel diesel set in O (Norfolk Southern) but will be looking to get a couple of steam locomotives that can produce good “smoke”.

Will there be students in this classroom?  I think you should carefully reconsider the "smoke" idea.  That stuff can be pretty noxious, especially to those with asthma and/or other allergies and breathing difficulties.

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Posted by riogrande5761 on Friday, September 24, 2021 12:28 PM

snjroy

What a great project! Lionel stuff is pretty much bullet-proof, but your wallet will suffer from it. You might be able to integrate a long grade instead of a hellix. Also, you can make two wyes and a long single track for continuous running. The 3 rail was basically designed for that purpose. There are a few options with respect to radius. O27 is pretty tight, but there will be less options for the locos and rolling stock.

Good luck!

Simon 

Depends on whether the OP like toylike trains or more to scale trains.  True you could put an O scale layout in the large room he has but HO can surprisingly eat up a lot of space, especially if you want to run long trains.  I recommend going with HO - there is a large selection as well.

Rio Grande.  The Action Road  - Focus 1977-1983

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Posted by maxman on Friday, September 24, 2021 1:17 PM

riogrande5761
I recommend going with HO

For above door level?

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Posted by riogrande5761 on Friday, September 24, 2021 4:50 PM

maxman

 

 
riogrande5761
I recommend going with HO

 

For above door level?

 

 

No.  For his large room.  Wink

Rio Grande.  The Action Road  - Focus 1977-1983

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Posted by maxman on Friday, September 24, 2021 5:25 PM

riogrande5761
No.  For his large room.  

I read it as there is only one room:

 I was given the old shop room as the new art room and want to build a track that circumnavigates the room just over the doors.

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Posted by snjroy on Monday, September 27, 2021 2:15 PM

Just keep in mind that O scale locos can be quite heavy, especially the large steamers. The health and safety department might not like that kind of equipment rolling above your students' heads Smile. You can put some kind of transparent railing, but you won't see much of it anymore at that height.

Simon

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