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Advice needed

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  • Member since
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  • 24 posts
Advice needed
Posted by OldTrainFan on Monday, May 30, 2011 5:13 PM

So, I've begun looking at a U-shaped 5'x9' HO layout. I'm finally getting close to running trains again! However, I've come across a bit of a roadblock.

The original trackplan calls for a soda bottling company, a cardboard box company, a small intermodal yard and a fruit packaging company. Well, I don't have the time or creativity to search around for buildings or rolling stock to fit these. I do, however, have an ADM grain silo (fully built by yours truly), a feed and seed (again built by me) and several other rural buildings. I'm trying to figure out what else I'll need. For simplicity, I have some modern oil tankers, hoppers, bulk flatheads and a flatcar, gondola and about five or so boxcars. Along with these, I managed to acquire two passenger cars, but that's for a future expansion. I'm trying to figure out some more industries I can manage to squeeze in here (I can probably fit about four or three), and came up with the idea of adding an oil loading station and oil tank, a small finished lumber company and the two buildings I described above. I'll get the original trackplan up when my camera decides to start working again and hopefully that will give yall a clearer idea of what I'm trying to accomplish here.

Also, the benchwork...this will be a doozy. I'll be attempting to build domino style benchwork, detailed in the 1999 edition of Model Railroad Planning. There's three main dominoes, but the problem is I have no idea on how to build these. I was wondering if anyone had any experience building these and had any tips or tricks to speed up construction.

  • Member since
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  • From: Sorumsand, Norway
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Posted by steinjr on Monday, May 30, 2011 11:33 PM

OldTrainFan

So, I've begun looking at a U-shaped 5'x9' HO layout. I'm finally getting close to running trains again! However, I've come across a bit of a roadblock.

The original trackplan calls for a soda bottling company, a cardboard box company, a small intermodal yard and a fruit packaging company.

 Sounds like Linda Sand's plan from MRP 1999. It's a good plan.

 

OldTrainFan

Well, I don't have the time or creativity to search around for buildings or rolling stock to fit these. I do, however, have an ADM grain silo (fully built by yours truly), a feed and seed (again built by me) and several other rural buildings. I'm trying to figure out what else I'll need. For simplicity, I have some modern oil tankers, hoppers, bulk flatheads and a flatcar, gondola and about five or so boxcars.

Along with these, I managed to acquire two passenger cars, but that's for a future expansion. I'm trying to figure out some more industries I can manage to squeeze in here (I can probably fit about four or three), and came up with the idea of adding an oil loading station and oil tank, a small finished lumber company and the two buildings I described above.

 Okay.

 A standard industry for small switching layouts is a warehouse or food processing plant with several doors. Gives you several industries for the price of one - you can decide that some loads (say refrigerated goods) needs to be unloaded at door 3, some loads (say beverages) at door 2, and some loads (say canned goods) needs to be unloaded at door 1. And then you have three indystries.

 Another popular type of track is a team track/transload track. Where you can leave any kind of car - and the customer will show up with a truck of some kind (flatbed, enclosed, tank truck or whatever), to unload the car. The same  track can be used for delivering lumber, tank cars of chemicals, covered hoppers of grain, boxcars with pallets of something, gondolas of structural steel shapes for a construction project or whatever.

You can also model industries that are not on the layout. Have a track that disappears behind a building in the corner - it is the spur leading to the airplane factory, or the Window glass factory, the paper plant, the steel mill, the military base or whatever.

 Cars that get pushed into that track will later be picked up by the plant/base switcher. You may need to sort the cars into some specific order so they are presorted for the plant, and then you push them into that track (where the end of the spur is hidden). Suddenly you have a big industry to switch for, without having to find room for the buildings.

 The ones that take up a lot of space without giving much in the form of switching interest on a small layout is the industries that takes a number of bulk cars for loading or unloading - where you pull or push say 4 or 5 or 6 identical cars into the spur, and that's it.

OldTrainFan

I'll get the original trackplan up when my camera decides to start working again and hopefully that will give yall a clearer idea of what I'm trying to accomplish here.

 Something more or less along these lines?

 This is an adaptation of Linda's plan - same basic idea, stretched to 6 x 10 feet, and maybe with some embellishments added here and there. But the same basic plan.

 

OldTrainFan

Also, the benchwork...this will be a doozy. I'll be attempting to build domino style benchwork, detailed in the 1999 edition of Model Railroad Planning. There's three main dominoes, but the problem is I have no idea on how to build these. I was wondering if anyone had any experience building these and had any tips or tricks to speed up construction.

 I'll let someone else have a swing at discussing making sections.

 Smile,
 Stein

 

 

  • Member since
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Posted by OldTrainFan on Tuesday, May 31, 2011 11:35 AM

With camera, MRP 1999, Walther's catalog and rulers in hand, I ventured into the dark depths of the basement to measure out and get a rough idea of what I can realistically fit on the two dominoes.

Upper right domino, used to hold the intermodal and plastics factory, now has my ADM silo and a planned lumber co. I believe I can fit both ends of the Walton & Sons Co. side-by-side, with the office somewhere closer to the edge of the aisle. Along with a bit of modifying, I can fit the ADM silo...nobody needed that goofy truck access anyway. :P

Upper left domino, housing the feed and seed and eventually the oil loading platform. If I were feeling adventurous I'd add a fifth industry, but I honestly don't know if I can fit anything other than a small warehouse I inherited from a friend of mine after he moved on to HOn3. You can just barely spot it and a German trailer in the background of this next shot, detailing the right domino a bit more.

  • Member since
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Posted by gandydancer19 on Sunday, June 5, 2011 5:31 PM

A basic box frame is all you need.  My modules are 7 ft by 18 inches.  I used 1x3 furring strips mostly.  So I built an outside frame, glued and screwed together, and added two other braces cross-wise equally spaced.  This makes four box-like sections.  Then I added Luan for the top, glued and nailed.  On top of that I glued down a one inch sheet of foam.

The following photo should help.

Elmer.

The above is my opinion, from an active and experienced Model Railroader in N scale and HO since 1961.

(Modeling Freelance, Eastern US, HO scale, in 1962, with NCE DCC for locomotive control and a stand alone LocoNet for block detection and signals.) http://waynes-trains.com/ at home, and N scale at the Club.

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Posted by OldTrainFan on Tuesday, June 7, 2011 2:27 PM

Alright, I think I have the general idea down in terms of benchwork. Now, this is probably one that's going to cause me more headaches than anything...how would I wire all of this for DCC? I'm hoping to somehow convert most (if not all) of my locos to DCC.

  • Member since
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  • From: Winnipeg, Manitoba
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Posted by Seamonster on Tuesday, June 7, 2011 3:58 PM

My benchwork is dominos.  As a previous poster said, it's basically a box with a top.  I used 1X4 lumber for the frame.  If you have a table saw, some people recommend cutting 4" strips from 3/4" plywood as it's straighter and more stable than dimensional lumber, but it doesn't hold screws or nails too well in the end grain.  I was fortunate to get nice straight pieces shopping at a "real" lumber store, not a big box store.  My sections are 2' wide and 4' or 6' or 8' long, depending on what was needed to fill the area.  I glued and screwed the lumber together, and put the short end pieces the full 2' width to make better mating surfaces when they are joined together.  The long sides, of course, have to be shortened by 2X the thickness of the wood.  I glued and screwed short pieces of 2X2 in the corners for bracing.  I used a framing square to make sure the frame was square before leaving the glue to dry.  I put a 1X4 brace across the centre of the 6' section and two braces across the 8' section, 1/3 of the way in from the ends.  Before installing the braces, I drilled 3 large holes in each one for the wires to pass through.

I topped it with 3/8" plywood, glued and nailed down.  Then I painted the entire underside white.  This protects the wood from moisture and also makes it easier to see the wiring and the terminal strips, etc. when I'm working underneath the layout.  I painted the edges brown, but you can use your favourite colour.  I glued 2" foam to the top of the plywood, but that's optional.  Not every one likes foam or even 2" of it.

For legs, I just used 2X2s bolted in from the long sides up against the 2X2 braces in the corner.  There are many other ways to make legs.  I suppose on the 8' domino they should be in from the corner but it seems stable enough.  I used bolts so that the legs can be removed for the day when it will have to be moved out of the house.  I drilled holes in the bottoms of the legs and inserted T-nuts.  I screwed carriage bolts into the T-nuts.  I chose carriage bolts because that allows me to use a wrench on the square part under the heads to adjust the level of the legs.  Hex head bolts are okay too, just a little harder to adjust with a wrench being right against the floor.  The sections are joined together with two bolts through the ends.  I used a laser level and a spirit level along with some very careful eyeballing to get each section level with each other and level overall, using clamps to hold the sections together before drilling the holes for the bolts.

I used two methods to join the track across sections.  In some places I just ran the track across the joint and will use a cutoff disc to separate them when the time comes to move them out.  In other places, I took a technique from the N-Trak people and use a short piece of sectional track to go across the joint.  That piece can be taken out for moving.

To join the wiring between sections and to make it disconnectable (is that a word?) I attached barrier terminal strips at one end of each section and let the wires hang loose at the other end with spade lugs on their ends.  I numbered each barrier strip terminal (easy to write on the white paint with a felt pen) and numbered the spade lugs by writing on their insulation.  Some people prefer connectors such as the Cinch-Jones connectors that the N-Trak folks use, but they are hard to come by.

I hope this helps you somewhat.  I'll have to let others help you with DCC wiring as I run DC.  (I'm old fashioned!)

 

..... Bob

Beam me up, Scotty, there's no intelligent life down here. (Captain Kirk)

I reject your reality and substitute my own. (Adam Savage)

Resistance is not futile--it is voltage divided by current.

  • Member since
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Posted by OldTrainFan on Tuesday, June 7, 2011 4:35 PM

I guess what I'm asking is less method and more explaining to a newbie how it should commonly be done. The only experience I have with wiring a model railroad was using a terminal track. Is that basically the same idea here? And I've heard a lot about dividing power along the railroad and making "power subdivisions". What do all these mean?

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  • From: Sierra Vista, Arizona
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Posted by cacole on Tuesday, June 7, 2011 5:58 PM

Hollow Core doors from Home Depot or similar source are perfect bases for a domino-style layout.  They have ones that are primed and plain with no cutouts for locks or hinges, in widths from 24 to 36 inches and a length of 80 inches.

All you need do is build a supporting framework.

  • Member since
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  • From: Sorumsand, Norway
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Posted by steinjr on Tuesday, June 7, 2011 10:24 PM

 Wiring for DCC is pretty simple, especially for a smaller layout. Run two wires under the layout - one from each terminal on the controller. Call them e.g. "near" and "far", or "red" and "green" or something like that (they won't be "plus" and "minus", since you have alternating current with square pulses rather than DC on the track).  Wire feeder wires from this "bus" to the tracks. Done.

 You do not need power districts. Power districts are for larger layouts where you want to have circuit breakers located so that power only goes off for part of the layout in case of derailments causing shorts, instead of the power going out for the whole layout (DCC is more current than DC, so you want to cut power when there is a short, so you don't cause stuff to melt from the heat). If you have a layout with 10 people operating, it is nice that things doesn't stop for everyone when one derails.

The other use of power districts is if you have lots of engines running at the same time, so they together pull more current than is delivered by the main power supply/command station - in that case you can have "boosters" delivering power to other power districts - say having a larger engine terminal being it's own power district.

 Neither of these are likely to be true for a small layout.

 Another thing about DCC is that things happens faster. On DC a passing short might cause a brief arc, and then the train continues. On DCC power will go out and everything stops. So some turnouts may need some rework, if they are liable to cause brief shorts. Or you can just buy DCC friendly turnouts and go with that.

 You can read a lot more about wiring for DCC at Allan Gartners web site: http://www.wiringfordcc.com/

 Smile,
 Stein

 

 

 

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