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New layout — HO style

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  • Member since
    September 2008
  • 194 posts
New layout — HO style
Posted by NILE on Tuesday, August 31, 2021 9:54 PM

New job, new state, new house, and you guessed it new layout.   I have a 20' x 12'6" area that is trappazoid.  It is squared in the back but angled in the front.  This is part of a finished basement, I maybe able to add a staging yard behind the wall in the unfinished part of the basement.  My trains run a lot of second and third generation deisel with auto racks, auto box high cube, and passenger trains.  So I would like 28"-32" main line curves.  So do I plan the layout first or the table?  I have built 4-5 layouts, and I have always used the room constraints to determine my table.  Then I would design the layout from there.  

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Posted by riogrande5761 on Wednesday, September 1, 2021 6:52 AM

I would not plan the table first, otherwise you might find it limits the track plan.

What I do is draw out the layout area to scale with all the walls, doors, etc. included.  Then draw out a track plan on that to what will fit keeping in mind ailes and pinch points etc.  Then you design the benchwork to fit the track plan.

Here is mine as an example:

Notice the area's outlined in red are benchwork sections that were being built to fit the layout after the track plan had been drawn.

Rio Grande.  The Action Road  - Focus 1977-1983

  • Member since
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  • From: Morristown, NJ
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Posted by nealknows on Wednesday, September 1, 2021 6:56 AM

I've done a number of layouts over the years (decades) and always figure out what space I want to use, including aisle space. I don't use computer porgrams, so the pencil and graph paper for starters. I did use kraft paper on the floor to give me an idea of the space I can use. It's a great visual of things to come.

Once I have the area, space decided, then I build my layout. 

Sounds like you can have a nice sized layout. Post some plans when you're ready!

Good luck!

Neal

Edit: Looks like riogrande beat me to some things, so a little repititive..

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  • From: Dearborn Station
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Posted by richhotrain on Wednesday, September 1, 2021 7:06 AM

I do the same as Jim and Neal. Drawings first, framework second.

Rich

Alton Junction

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Posted by Lastspikemike on Wednesday, September 1, 2021 8:49 AM

Deleted. Post duplicated instead of updating. Weird.

Alyth Yard

Canada

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Posted by Lastspikemike on Wednesday, September 1, 2021 8:50 AM

20'x13' is pretty much ideal for a home layout. Your curves determine what you can fit in.  The trapezoid shape won't be an issue since railroads don't fit into corners anyway. Whether your corners are 90 degrees or some other angle won't change the fact that you're going to be fitting curves in, assuming at least one continuous running loop.  

Its easy enough to plot curves of your chosen minimum radius into the available floor space drawn onto 1/4" graph paper. Using graph paper simplifies the scale aspect. For 20' you'll probably use 1/4" = 6". Once you see what curves fit and where the rest of the layout options appear as if by magic.

Alyth Yard

Canada

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Posted by NILE on Tuesday, October 5, 2021 8:54 PM
So I tried... and tired... and turned the paper and tried again. I have drawn up plans for five or six layouts, and at the end I always come back to the table. The advice of this forum, which I appreciate, was to design the layout first and then plan the table. I have large 2nd generation diesels pulling auto racks and E units pulling passenger trains, between the two I need larger curves. 30" should really be my smallest but I'd like to keep it to 32", and all my layouts have been double tracked. So I think around the room is the way to go. With 2 foot wide tables going around a 20' x 13 1/2' trapezoid room I'll be able to get the curves I need. I'll add a peninsula in the middle for a short line. The short line will have only four axle power and almost exclusively 50' cars. What are your thoughts?
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Posted by Lastspikemike on Wednesday, October 6, 2021 7:56 AM

NILE
So I tried... and tired... and turned the paper and tried again. I have drawn up plans for five or six layouts, and at the end I always come back to the table. The advice of this forum, which I appreciate, was to design the layout first and then plan the table. I have large 2nd generation diesels pulling auto racks and E units pulling passenger trains, between the two I need larger curves. 30" should really be my smallest but I'd like to keep it to 32", and all my layouts have been double tracked. So I think around the room is the way to go. With 2 foot wide tables going around a 20' x 13 1/2' trapezoid room I'll be able to get the curves I need. I'll add a peninsula in the middle for a short line. The short line will have only four axle power and almost exclusively 50' cars. What are your thoughts?
 

We built an along the wall multiple table system. We could have extended it all the way around but didn't want any lift out or bridge across a doorway. Accordingly, we made two end tables one 96" long by 60" wide and the other 60" long by 54" wide for return loops with radius of 24" for the inside of a double track.

On the smaller end table we "cheated" by adding 4-6" deep arch shaped extensions to two sides of a 48" wide table for broader radius curves while  still making a little more room to access the center of that table. For grade changes we used the Woodland Scenics foam riser system to connect the man table tops to a 4" higher area made from 1/4" plywood on a combination of 4" risers and 4" high plywood blocks. This created a kind of two level layout incorporating an upper loop and a longish tunnel under that. 

There are a number of advantages to building an along the wall layout from a series of custom sized tables screwed together with wiring connectors at each joint. Simplicity of construction is the main advantage. Facilitating a move to another home was also a big advantage as things turned out.

Once you have concept drawings it can be useful to just build. Changes to the  drawn plans are very likely. Eventually you run out of ideas on paper and starting to build is the way to make progress. Another advantage of table tops is you can more easily realign track, even make major changes, without having to modify any benchwork.

Alyth Yard

Canada

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Posted by Bigjim7 on Wednesday, October 6, 2021 9:08 AM

If your doing a around the room shelve layout then whats it matter what you do first, I would just build the shelve first. Most like 24in wide. Then draw out your plan on the shelve,

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Posted by snjroy on Wednesday, October 6, 2021 9:43 AM

You can certainly build a shelf, then draw out the mainline. But you will not maximize the space by doing it that way. I would reproduce the room on paper, like Rio Grande suggested upfront, and draw scale circles in the corners, and connect them. Your preferences for yards and infrastructure should dictate how the mainline will look like between the circles.

You need to make a decision whether you want a liftout or point to point. You will find some good threads on liftouts on this forum (search using Google...). Two return loops would be difficult to manage because of the reach issue. Point to point using diesels can work well, using escape tracks. I opted for a liftout myself - it's not rocket science if you learn from others. As for the peninsula, I would avoid a plan where the track is close to the edge - elbows will become your worst enemy. You might have room for a circle within the peninsula, to allow a mainline going in the peninsula, going around a loop, then exiting the peninsula without turning around. Only a paper plan can tell you if that fits...

Simon

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Posted by rrebell on Wednesday, October 6, 2021 10:13 AM

I start with basic ideas on paper and then lay it out on the floor with junk track, real and paper turnouts etc. to see if things really fit, cardboard cut outs work great too. Since you have a larger space you will only be able to do a smaller bit of design before needing to use stuff for the next section but this way you can discover what really fits and how a slight change can change a whole area and avoids proublems like too short sidings or passing tracks.

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Posted by BATMAN on Wednesday, October 6, 2021 11:08 AM

Well, I'll be the contrarian. After not being able to come up with a track plan due to a huge window, three doors, a large opening into the room, and a fireplace, I gave up and on paper filled the room with benchwork and then drew in the track plan. All of a sudden by doing things backwards I was making great progress. I tweaked both the benches and track plan and have been delighted with what I ended up with ever since.

First, I bought this huge pad of graph paper at Staples for $7.00 and drew out the room. The 1" squares equal one foot. With one-inch squares, it was easy to ballpark radiuses using a pencil compass. My main line radiuses are 34". 

 

 Once I got the benches built I made these radius guides out of appliance cardboard. I made several different sizes.

The layout would have been much different if I had not had to leave access to the two rooms on the right, one of which is our guest bedroom. The wife was concerned with the width of the passageway thinking it should be wider, I told her it was the same as the doors and if they can't get past the layout, they won't be able to get through the door. Made sense to her.Laugh

 

Note the notch for the door on the right.

The room is not ideal but I'll take it. We are sort of house hunting and the wife dismisses any house without an appropriate trainroom. My kind of gal.Thumbs Up

 

 

Brent

It's not the age honey, it's the mileage.

https://www.youtube.com/user/BATTRAIN1/videos 


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Posted by jjdamnit on Wednesday, October 6, 2021 1:12 PM

Hello All,

Congratulations on your new endeavor!

John Allen the "Wizzard Of Monterey" on planning:


"A model railroad should probably start with a concept.
Why?
Because much knowledge about railroading, experience in model railroading, and thought are required before a proper concept for a model railroad can be formed.
These requirements are seldom possible on a first pike. Mine was no exception."
- -John Allen; Gorre & Daphetid Railroad.

Approaching your design phase from the perspective of what you want to model might aid in how you model.

NILE
My trains run a lot of second and third generation deisel (SIC) with auto racks, auto box high cube, and passenger trains. So I would like 28"-32" main line curves.

Many might consider the following suggestion a, "Cart before the horse" kind of thinking but...

Think about beginning your track plan by laying out the industries in your given space on paper. Then figure out how to link them via rail.

Once you have this "concept" then you can work out the details of track and benchwork to achieve the pike that will give you the most satisfaction.

Hope this helps.

"Uhh...I didn’t know it was 'impossible' I just made it work...sorry"

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