7' x 24' HO layout - suggestions for newbie

Discussion in 'Track Planning' started by BigJim, Nov 19, 2006.

  1. BigJim

    BigJim Member

    Hard part is done - wife supports building layout in lower level :)

    I have a large room (16 x 35) in the lower level (They call them daylight basements here) that will include a layout along with my offive and dog kennels.

    I am planning on adding a divider wall on the last 6 feet that will have storage and perhaps a hidden turn-around (see layout). I can use about 7 x 24 of the space for the actual layout. the 45 degree angle in the upper left is a concrete wall. The small notch on the upper right is just for access to a small electrical panel.

    I have a basic drawing with a single highspeed mainline shown using 30" normal eased curves in the visible area and 24" in the hidden area to the left. There is lots of room "south" of the drawing for access. The "north" side is against an outside wall with a window.

    I would also like at least more full loop "dog bone" line.

    Does the basic layout look workable?
    What should I change?
    Is the hidden loop a good idea?

    The challange - - fill in the blank area inside the main line. I would like suggestions for fairly minimal track to start with and more later.
  2. kirkendale

    kirkendale Member

    Welcome to The Gauge Big Jim
    The small electrical panel, what wall is that on? The 'top' or 'right' wall? I see you are giving yourself 4 ft by 18 in. Are you sure th 18 inches will give you enough room?

  3. BigJim

    BigJim Member

    There is no "right" wall. There is about 7' open to the right. The room is about 35' from left to right with a sliding door in the upper right hand corner on the "east" wall. I only need to slide in to reset breakers but I might consider increasing this a little.
  4. railohio

    railohio Active Member

    Looks like you're on the right track, Jim. (No pun intended.) I'd suggest one crucial change, however. Make sure you have access to the inside of the center blob. You've got six feet to reach across and that's a heckuva stretch for anyone but Inspector Gadget.

    If you were inclined to using an entirely different scheme I'd suggest making an oval with a shelf about 18" wide. You'd have a roughly four by twenty-one foot clear space in the center to operate from and plenty of room for friends to join you. You could even engineer a blob or two to jut into that area to expand the mainline a bit.
  5. BigJim

    BigJim Member

    Room Layout

    OK, I am very open to suggestions. I did want to stay away from a "duck-under" but it is a possibility. Big-Jim does have a good reach:) (6'3' 36" arm)
    There are two electric panels I need to access. They are both on the "top" wall about 10' and 14' from theright hand side (where the slider is). The room divider will be a temporary wall - single sided. Location not yet defined but I need some storage space at the "bottom" for about a ton of wood stove pellets.

    I also need to leave a lot of open space (at least 1/2 of the room) for the dogs to have some exercise area.

    I guess my operation will tend more towards "running" rather than yard work. Would like to have at least two full loops and maybe a reversing loop or two. I like the idea of a train leaving the "room" by going through a tunnel into the storage area and returning back to the track. I would like some elevation changes but want to keep grades as small as possible.

    Planning on using DCC. With this being my first attempt I would guess I will be happy with a three foot look rather than close-up realism. I am IMPRESSED by Nazgul's progress but not sure I would be able to duplicate his excellent work.

  6. ocalicreek

    ocalicreek Member


    I received your email...I'll see what I can do. Thanks for the excellent descriptions and drawings!

  7. Nazgul

    Nazgul Active Member

    I think you already have a leg up on me when I started...at least you have some idea of what you want....I didn't know squat!sign1
    There is NO doubt in my mind that your layout will every bit as good as mine or BETTER!:thumb:
    You've picked the right place to learn, ask questions, get answers, and interact with a great bunch of guys/gals:thumb:
    What little I can do to help...I, of course, will:thumb:
  8. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery


    Welcome to The Gauge. I think you are getting some good advice here from the guys. I would caution however, that it is very likely that local building codes govern the area that is to be left in front of your electrical panel. You should probably check in order that your home insurance not be impacted...

  9. ocalicreek

    ocalicreek Member

    Jim...what about a tourist line that hauls passengers in the day and freight at night? Or a regional like Vermont Rail? (www.vermontrailway.com) Check it out...you may be interested.

  10. BigJim

    BigJim Member


    I had thought about blocking the panel and wouldn't consider it if it was a main panel. The house has an outside panel with the main breakers and meter mounted on two posts near our transformer, a large "main" panel on an outside wall of the house with most of the major breakers, a medium sized sub-panel in the lower level, a small sub-panel in the breezeway, a medium sub-panel in the detached shop, a large switch mounted on an outside wall for the backup generator and then the one that might be partially blocked. That one is very small, flush mounted and only has breakers for the stuff that can be switched tio the backup generator.

    I think the "code" issue is to be able to disconnect the house in case of an emergency. Everything required to accomplish that is accessable from outside. If I put a picture over it they could inspect all day and never find it. I know where everything is and it is still a major chore to find the correct breaker when one blows.

  11. BigJim

    BigJim Member

    Double reversing loop main line

    Well the research continues.

    I am considering doing a main line that does a full loop around the table with two reversing loops in the 6' wide "fiddle room" to the left. The secondary inner loop will also enter & exit the fiddle room. The back loop will be about 4.5" higher at the fiddle room so the reversion loops will be stacked. The outer line is minimum 28" radius in the visible area and 22" in the fiddle room. The visible portion of the track is about 15' from the fiddle room wall to the right hand side of the track. Max grade is 2%.

    Will this be OK for long passenger cars?
    Does this make sense?

    Is there a problem "auto switching & reversing polarity" on both loops with 2 sensors on each loop as the train approaches the 2 track side of the turnouts to change it to the track with the train? I don't care which side of the loop the train takes going into the loop. I would like to be able to have free running operation of the outside main line on occasion. The fuzzy area "front center" is a two direction crossover. (Best to use two separate rather than a single "four way"? I plan on using DCC.

    If this makes sense for the two "main lines" I would like some ideas for adding some switching areas.

  12. Triplex

    Triplex Active Member

    28" radius is good for passenger cars, as long as they have truck-mounted couplers.

    I would question the purpose of having one mainline loop-to-loop and the other continuous. Maybe that's because I only design for intensive operation, assuming that no train will ever be left running unattended. How do you intend to use the two mainlines?
  13. pgandw

    pgandw Active Member

    The LDSIG rule of thumb (http://ldsig.org/wiki/index.php/Curve_radius_rule-of-thumb) says that you need 36" radius curves for good tracking, and 60" if you want automatically couple passenger cars togther on curves. You can cheat the 3x (36") suggestion by doing some or all of the following:

    - use 30" curves provided you have good access to the curves AND you don't try to couple a very short car (40 scale ft or less) to your passenger car train. You won't be able to couple full length passenger cars together on a 30" curve without a lot of fiddling.

    - to use 26-28" curves you will need special coupling arrangements - either truck or special swivel mounted couplers - and be prepared to test.

    - to use 24" radius curves you will need truck-mounted couplers, testing each car, and possibly some additional underbody modifications.

    Walters advertises their heavyweight cars as needing a 24" minimum radius, but reports are that some individual cars need more.

    To save yourself a lot of grief and improve appearances, I recommend using Athearn or other "shorty" passenger cars (60-70ft) on 22" radius. According to reports, Rivarossi/IHC/ConCor 80ft passenger cars will run on 22" radius (and sometimes less), but you usually will have to replace wheel sets and/or trucks, and retain truck mounted couplers.

    my thoughts, your choices
  14. ocalicreek

    ocalicreek Member

    Fred has given you some great info, but I think the most valuable word he used was "test". It's well worth it to solder together a few lengths of flextrak and make a string radius tool (or buy the fancy measuring tape radius tool from Micro Mark) then tack down the track on a sheet of homasote. Beg & borrow a few long passenger cars if you don't have any and a smooth running loco then wire up the track and run them back and forth through each curve. Do this several times for each radius and make notes on how they run. The experience will be valuable. Has anyone else done this?

    ALSO, if you don't have it already, I highly recommend John Armstrong's Track Planning for Realistic Operation. Even if you don't plan on doing any realistic "operation", the helpful hints and general techniques will be worth the price of the book in contributing to smooth operation and an overall enjoyable experience just running trains.


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