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Estimating the layout space you truly need, rather than want?

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Posted by ROBERT PETRICK on Thursday, May 6, 2021 10:53 AM

richhotrain
SeeYou190
richhotrain
But, for me, as a lone wolf, I would feel silly conducting "operations", using way bills, train orders, switch lists. That to me is "playing with trains". 

I feel the exact same way.

I have participated in operations on some amazing layout, but at home, all I want to do is run trains and shuffle freight cars around while my music plays.

Someday soon...

-Kevin

Someday soon?  When does the countdown start, Kevin?

Looking forward to your progress reports.

Rich

+1 (but no pressure, Kevin)

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Posted by SeeYou190 on Thursday, May 6, 2021 10:54 AM

richhotrain
Someday soon?  When does the countdown start, Kevin?

ROBERT PETRICK
+1 (but no pressure, Kevin)

Well, since I decided to add the landscaping into the house remodel before I get a layout room, we are looking at a significant additional delay. I am building very permanent landscape borders around the gardens, and installing a new irrigation system and sod. This was not in the original scope of 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 gregc on Thursday, May 6, 2021 10:54 AM

i guess this topic has derailed ... but the following gave me pause

richhotrain
My objective will be to sit on a chair, beer in hand, and watch trains run.

this makes me think that the layout should be designed for this.   there don't need to be any sidings or industrial tracks, just track running between "parts unknown".

parts unknown could simply be staging areas.

and operation could be automated to select a train (or possibly 2), align the turnouts, run it out from staging, around the layout and back into the other side of staging.

such an automated control system could be relatively simple and would be satisfying to watch while drinking  beer.

greg - Philadelphia & Reading / Reading

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Posted by SeeYou190 on Thursday, May 6, 2021 11:00 AM

ROBERT PETRICK
I'm just saying that for the vast majority of people the 'space' is fixed, and it requires a hard look at the reality of the situation. Then adjust the 'wants' to fit.

Great point. Reality is a hard thing to negotiate with.

I knew the size of my next space 4 years ago. That has given me SO MUCH TIME to think about what I really want and what can fit.

I have stated before, I am terrible at track planning, but with enough time, I seem to have resolved all my "Must Haves". I moved the location of an interchange track, figured out staging for the outside loop, managed to find a way to make the yard function, etc.

I needed to drop almost all my "Want To Haves" from the plan. Having built several previous layouts gave me the personal wisdom to know what I can live without.

Play time fun and creative model photography are the most important for me.

gregc
 
richhotrain
My objective will be to sit on a chair, beer in hand, and watch trains run.

This makes me think that the layout should be designed for this. There don't need to be any sidings or industrial tracks, just track running between "parts unknown".

Absolutely true.

My layout room (and my entire house) are being remodeled to include wheelchair access to everything. Not needed now, but I know several people that lost access to their trains due to mobility issues.

Someday I might be sitting in my chair, beer in hand, watching my trains, and still enjoying my hobby as best as I can. Maybe at this point the industrial tracks will no longer be used.

-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 richhotrain on Thursday, May 6, 2021 11:05 AM

gregc

i guess this topic has derailed ... but the following gave me pause 

richhotrain
My objective will be to sit on a chair, beer in hand, and watch trains run. 

this makes me think that the layout should be designed for this.   there don't need to be any sidings or industrial tracks, just track running between "parts unknown".

parts unknown could simply be staging areas.

and operation could be automated to select a train (or possibly 2), align the turnouts, run it out from staging, around the layout and back into the other side of staging.

such an automated control system could be relatively simple and would be satisfying to watch while drinking  beer. 

Yessir. Yes

I find myself feeling guilty about my current layout.

It is a large layout, and it is set up to run trains in and out of a 10-track passenger train station. It has a large engine servicing facility featuring a 130' turntable and a 9-stall roundhouse. It has a 6-track coach yard and a 6-track freight yard. It has 11 large freight houses complete with sidings to load and unload LCL cars.

That said, I use none of it. I am exhausted from a 3-year effort to build the layout and test the track work, the locomotives, and the rolling stock. I keep telling myself, let's go down to the layout and use all of these features. But, so far, I haven't done it.

Rich

Alton Junction

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Posted by gregc on Thursday, May 6, 2021 11:07 AM

rich

someone on the forum would probably love to come over and help you operate

greg - Philadelphia & Reading / Reading

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Posted by richhotrain on Thursday, May 6, 2021 11:14 AM

gregc

rich

someone on the forum would probably love to come over and help you operate 

No doubt. I wonder if experienced operators would love my layout or hate it. Whatever the case, I think that it looks good. LOL.  Does that count?

Rich

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Posted by riogrande5761 on Thursday, May 6, 2021 12:41 PM

angelob6660

San Francisco Zephyr is the correct name for the Amtrak California Zephyr. It was renamed in 1984 after DRG&W give up on passenger service. 

I'll go with Amtrak California Zephyr which is the name I mentioned earlier and is the correct name of the train I am modeling on the D&RGW when it began running across the system in July 1983

From the wiki: 

In 1983, the D&RGW elected to join Amtrak, citing increasing losses in passenger operations. Amtrak re-routed the San Francisco Zephyr over the D&RGW's Moffat Subdivision between Denver and Salt Lake City, its original preference from 1971. The change was scheduled for April 25, but a mudslide at Thistle, Utah, closed the line and delayed the change until July 16. With the change of route, Amtrak renamed the train as the California Zephyr.[7]Music 

Rio Grande.  The Action Road  - Focus 1977-1983

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Posted by John-NYBW on Thursday, May 6, 2021 1:23 PM

gregc

i guess this topic has derailed ... but the following gave me pause

 

 
richhotrain
My objective will be to sit on a chair, beer in hand, and watch trains run.

 

this makes me think that the layout should be designed for this.   there don't need to be any sidings or industrial tracks, just track running between "parts unknown".

parts unknown could simply be staging areas.

and operation could be automated to select a train (or possibly 2), align the turnouts, run it out from staging, around the layout and back into the other side of staging.

such an automated control system could be relatively simple and would be satisfying to watch while drinking  beer.

 

I'm going from memory but I think in the first Railroads You Can Model going way back to the 1970s, the Tehacapi Loop had such a concept. It had staging yards at either end and the loop was used as a stage for a parade of trains going back and forth over the loop. I think the original 101 Track Plans book had a similar concept. I have both those books packed away and I would need to find them to verify that. This kind of operations doesn't require switching at all. Trains appear on stage in a logical sequence. Tehacapi was a single track line but had a passing siding that would allow trains in opposite directions to meet. 

PS. Is there anything that you can do while drinking beer that isn't satisfying?

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Posted by Lastspikemike on Thursday, May 6, 2021 2:17 PM

riogrande5761

 

 
Lastspikemike
For train watching 10x20 is enough.  

 

Obviously that varies from person to person.  I had built a 10x18' around the walls layout and operatoin wise it wasn't very satisfying such a short run.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V4WZYD6uNaI&ab_channel=riogrande5761

 

 

In agree completely that this is all personal. One signature tag on this site reminds us of the governing rule: my railroad, my rules. 

My purpose was two fold: to give a target size below which operations likely wouldn't satisfy a modeller and to emphasize that there are the two elements to enjoy and a layout only needs to fulfil one element to be successful: viewing trains engaged in operations ( passing through from staging to staging, assembling or breaking up trains, setting out or picking up cars, loading or unloading) requires a lot less space than virtual train rides through your scenery which require either two turn back loops (lots of width) or a decent point to point distance.

Alyth Yard

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Posted by Lastspikemike on Thursday, May 6, 2021 2:27 PM

richhotrain

It could be just me, but I doubt it since I have read so much on this forum from guys who just enjoy running trains. This would seem to be especially true for a lone wolf. I can see where operations might be fun in a club setting or on a home layout with multiple operators.

But, for me, as a lone wolf, I would feel silly conducting "operations", using way bills, train orders, switch lists. That to me is "playing with trains". I surely don't mean that as a criticism of those who do; it just is not for me.

Rich

 

Well, newsflash I guess. All model railroading is playing with trains. Anyone who finds that at all distressing should compare this to playing golf, just to pick a waste of time that is surely less beneficial than model railroading.

So, we exercise the fantasy part of our brains: imagining an entire miniature world as if it were real. We create the illusion and then immerse ourselves into that world. We regain some sense of our child like wonder which is so beneficial to our health. 

Or we could spoil a beautiful walk in the park trying to put a small ball down an even smaller hole using tools singularly ill designed for the purpose. 

Dont get me wrong. I enjoy a good sociable golf game but it's pretty dull compared to model railroading and it does not take me back into any resemblance  of a childlike state. 

Don't scoff. Scientific advances, great art, brilliant inventions come from our brains when they are allowed to operate in a childlike state.

Golf, on the other hand, was devised by adult Scotsmen. 

Alyth Yard

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Posted by ATSFGuy on Thursday, May 6, 2021 3:10 PM

Before building, it helps to actually draw out how big the layout will be as well of how much space you have. Keep in mind as it grows you'll have to rewire track circuits and possibly update your control system if you're running DCC.

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Posted by riogrande5761 on Thursday, May 6, 2021 4:15 PM

ATSFGuy

Before building, it helps to actually draw out how big the layout will be as well of how much space you have.

 

 
Been there bought the T shirt.  First thing is to draw to scale the room boundaries and other features, then you can see what fits.
 

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Posted by SeeYou190 on Thursday, May 6, 2021 10:13 PM

ATSFGuy
Before building, it helps to actually draw out how big the layout will be as well of how much space you have.

I'm no good at drawing track plans, so I built the whole layout full size out of cardboard!

-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 ATLANTIC CENTRAL on Thursday, May 6, 2021 11:36 PM

The topic of this thread, no matter how hard to actually define, is directly related to my idea that size and complexity are separate, and with Brent's (BATMAN) question about how many turnouts do you have per sq ft.

Turnouts are a measure of complexity on a model railroad.

Lastspikemike - my average train is 20' long - 10 x 20 is not going to do it.........

But Mike, you are correct about some of your viewing observations. Which tie directly into my approach of only modeling one "place" and letting the trains come and go. Even if that place modeled is pretty big.

On my new layout there will be about 910 sq ft of benchwork, or, about 160 scale acres, not really all that much in real life.

The little town we live near is 4,000 acres, and it is a little town.......

Complexity - so, if a model railroad has a 8 track double ended yard, that requires 16 turnouts. Lets a say a medium sized layout only has room for that yard to be 12' long.

But then the modeler get three times as much space. He has several choices.

He can try to model the other end of the line, by installing a second yard, with another 16 turnouts,

OR

He can make the one yard 25' long so it can handle more realistic trains. 

He can see how much more trackage in can cram in the new larger space,

OR

He can let things "breath" with better modeling of the those non railroad things that surround the tracks. He can use larger curves, bigger turnouts, longer sidings, etc.

His layout will be three times the size but very likely no more that 1-1/2 times as complex, and no where near as "complex per sq ft".

So my needs are:

Long trains, 35 to 50 cars, to get the effect of the 50-70 cars trains typical of the era I model, pulled by 3-4 diesels or often two steamers.

Good display running and operating session running - so my plan has five display loops where the trains can just run like a "Christmas Garden".

Signals and CTC for those operating sessions.

A nice size ISL (industrial switching layout) within the main layout, that can function with little or no interference to the mainline.

Deep visual scenes, most will be 3' of more, in a few spots the scenes will be 5-10 feet deep.

Most of you have seen the track plan, it will be "complex" enough. But considering its size, it could have been way more complex, in fact much of the complexity that does exist in the plan is in the staging tracks - hidden from view.

I can't answer the OP's question for him, but I have answered it for myself.

When we were shopping for this home, I actually rejected some with larger possible train rooms/basements.

My wife and I had very specific goals and a good understanding of our needs and wants. It was important that every aspect of the house be the right size. 1500 sq ft is the right size train room for me. 1000 sq ft could have been made to work, that's how big the old layout room was.

I know that with my skills and experiance I can get the benchwork for the new layout built relatively quickly, and get part of the layout running fairly easily.

This layout will seem large to many, and small to some who have much more space devoted to their layouts, but for me it will be just right.

The last two pieces of my "retirement move puzzle" are coming together this month, and then layout construction will get serious.

Sheldon 

    

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Posted by Outsailing86 on Thursday, May 6, 2021 11:54 PM

I'm vaxxed. I'll come over

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Posted by NorthBrit on Friday, May 7, 2021 5:21 AM

Estimating the layout space I truly need, rather than I want?

I am not really interested in running long trains.   I prefer trains of two or three carriages long  or four to five hoppers, boxcars in length.  I like them to run thru scenery.   A reason to be there.

I need a layout  that is easy to operate by myself;  yet can be operated by upto three people.   (When the grandchildren are here.)  Therefore,  as much as I would like a huge area for a layout,  the 11ft x 8ft space I have is ideal.

If I did have a bigger room I would still run short trains.   They have  (to me) a certain charm.

 

David

To the world you are someone.    To someone you are the world

I cannot afford the luxury of a negative thought

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Posted by Lastspikemike on Friday, May 7, 2021 8:28 AM

Having built one 20x10 layout and now redesigning it to accommodate to a new space and now building a completely different layout in a square space about 12x12 one observation I have is don't be tempted to fill the whole space with track.

If you want to run a switching yard sure, fill the space for that with track. Staging yards sure, as much track as you can usefully squeeze in and still manhandle cars. Urban industrial areas from the time when stuff was moved in and out by train (pre 1970's mostly) still make entertaining small railroads and benefit from lots of short spur sidings and a runaround here and there.

But if you prefer watching trains run and you're not modelling urban sprawl then you should be careful how much track occupies your field of vision.

Twin track looks great on paper but basically halves the impression of visual space. Even a passing siding you need to have will make the railroad look shorter. 

Alyth Yard

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Posted by SeeYou190 on Friday, May 7, 2021 9:26 AM

NorthBrit
Yet can be operated by upto three people. (When the grandchildren are here.)

Uh-oh, something I had not considered in my design!

Big Smile

-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 NorthBrit on Friday, May 7, 2021 9:46 AM

SeeYou190

 

 
NorthBrit
Yet can be operated by upto three people. (When the grandchildren are here.)

 

Uh-oh, something I had not considered in my design!

Big Smile

-Kevin

 

 

Oh you must.    You must.  Big Smile

 

Mindst you 'they are in charge'.    Models of Superheroes  (any scale)  all over  the place.     Your locomotives will  travel faster than you ever thought.    Then when they have to leave and you ask them to put the locomotive in a certain place,  that locomotive suddenly can travel at two miles an hour.

Great fun.

 

David

 

 

 

 

To the world you are someone.    To someone you are the world

I cannot afford the luxury of a negative thought

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Posted by SeeYou190 on Friday, May 7, 2021 10:23 AM

NorthBrit
Then when they have to leave and you ask them to put the locomotive in a certain place,  that locomotive suddenly can travel at two miles an hour.

Oh that sounds like so much fun.

My neighbors behind me have a child about 5 or 6 that visits every couple of weeks. I try to be outside and listen to the negotiations when they are trying to get her out of the swimming pool. What fun!

-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 riogrande5761 on Friday, May 7, 2021 1:07 PM

SeeYou190
My neighbors behind me have a child about 5 or 6 that visits every couple of weeks. I try to be outside and listen to the negotiations when they are trying to get her out of the swimming pool. What fun! -Kevin

So many parents let the kids dictate to them.  My little sister would be nice, but very firm and take no BS.  

Rio Grande.  The Action Road  - Focus 1977-1983

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Posted by SeeYou190 on Friday, May 7, 2021 5:30 PM

riogrande5761
So many parents let the kids dictate to them.  My little sister would be nice, but very firm and take no BS.  

Not the parents. Either a neice or a very young little sister.

It is absolutely adorable to listen to her not want to get out of the pool.

Cuteness on level 11.

-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 York1 on Friday, May 7, 2021 6:40 PM

It helps to realize that the layout is not a museum exhibit.

I had spent hours getting some trees just right.  When my five-year-old granddaughter reached across the track, she knocked a bunch of stuff over.

Normally, if I had done that, I would have been upset with myself.  But I didn't mind that she did it.  She was amazed at watching trains moving, and she loved the whole layout.

Fixing some trees and rerailing some cars when she left did not hurt me at all.

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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