A New Beginning

Discussion in 'Track Planning' started by Zfein23, Aug 31, 2005.

  1. Zfein23

    Zfein23 New Member

    After my UP loco ended up in a dozen pieces on the floor after derailment, I've decided to scrap the project of adding to my current 8x4 layout.

    I started building it without any planning, and ended up adding on rigged up pieces here and there.. it ended up being a disaster. So now I want to start over. I only have three weeks before I'm off to college, and I may be moving out even sooner, but I don't want to lose this dream, and I really don't want to put it on hold for four years. If I get it started now, it's something I could do on weekends and the such.

    Now for all the technicals. I have all the equiptment I need. Plenty of track, cars, buildings, etc. All I would need to purchase is new benchwork and scenery materials.. all in all I would think around $100 to $125?

    The main question I have is this: I have about a 15' by 8' area in the corner of my basement to construct the layout. Should I redo the 8x4 I have now? Or should I do a wraparound type I usually see here? My main goals are to have room for a small town, a large factory area, and room for two trains running simultainiously. Thanks in advance to anyone who reads or replies!
  2. shortliner

    shortliner Member

  3. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery


    I would highly recommend a modular approach to building. You can join the modules to go around the walls eventually.

    Building 2x4 feet at a time in lightweight modules means that you could even work on stuff at college if you wish, as they are easy to transport. They also offer a small amount of real estate to cover, making them somewhat easier to finish.

    Click the link in my signature to check The Gauge's modular forum. You may need to go to "Display Options" and change "From the" to beginning, as there has not been much activity in the last little while. The first thread is links to other resources you might find useful.

  4. Triplex

    Triplex Active Member


    A 4x8 is really a small layout in HO. In that space, you can probably build something bigger. What kind of access does that 15x8 area need? How many sides have walls?
  5. brakie

    brakie Active Member

    Zach,I concur with Andrew..You see by building your layout in sections/modular you can build and complete one section at a time before moving on to the next and another advantage is when you finish school and move into your own home you can take the layout with you.
  6. Ralph

    Ralph Remember...it's for fun!

    Hi Zach,

    I'm guessing that you'll find precious little time for modeling once you start school but, like you, I wouldn't want to completely lose the bug for model railroading during that time. The module idea is a good one if you're able to design something with a long range plan. Another possibility is creating a smaller shelf styled switching layout that would let you get something done a little more quickly and let you enjoy a finished layout. (that maybe could be later inegrated into something larger)

    Good luck in school and happy modeling!
  7. Zfein23

    Zfein23 New Member

    Thanks for all the input guys.

    Modular does sound like a good idea. I think I have enough time before I move out to get up all the support benchwork, that way once I move out, I can work with all the lightweight stuff. I now know that I'm moving out sooner than I had planned, I'm getting an apartment off campus (which is much too small for any trains.. at all). The apartment is about 25 minutes from my current home, and about 10 minutes from my school. I would still be returning home almost weekly to do laundry and the like, and I also drive a pickup, so I think my plan is still feasable (that is if my girlfriend lets me use my desk as a modular construction site. [​IMG]

    Anyways, some more details on what my plans are: I have attached a few images, one is of the area I have to build my benchwork. The 15' by 8' area has a wall along one length, and one width, with a door on the width side. The other width side is where some basement storage is kept, which has been slightly rearranged to allow access.

    I was thinking for the benchwork (shown in the second image), three main sections, which I could divide into seven 2' x 4' modules. I would have a 8' x 4' main section; I would use this to set up the town buildings and large factory I currently have, also to make use of some of the 24 pieces of 22" radius curved track I have. Another section would be a 4' x 4' turnaround area, that would allow for some scenery, preferably a tunnel and mountain area. The last section would be a 2' by 4' connecting section, that would house a small yard.

    I'm still working with the track planning software to get everything just right. I don't want another foul up.[​IMG]

    Attached Files:

  8. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery


    What you are describing is sometimes called a "sectional" layout - designed to be taken apart from time to time. It is not a truly modular layout, in that it can only be assembled one particular way. One drawback to this is it is relatively inflexible. You will need to have a similar, if not identical space to reassemble it once you move.

    I can appreciate that you want to use every available squre inch for trains (who doesn't? ;) ), but you might want to consider some other points. With your workbench and layout taking almost all the available room, do you have enough space for friends to help you run this empire? (Is that something you planned?). Do you have or need staging for running trains? Do you have or need additional storage, enough workspace, a paint booth, shelving, etc to fit in there as well?

    As you have illustrated it now, I have a few comments:

    1) In the upper left corner - that is a looooooong reach into that corner, for construction, righting derailments, etc.

    2) Does the dashed line represent a wall, or just the limit of the space available. If it is a wall, you will have the same reach/access issues there.

    3) I assume from the fact that you state "turn around areas" that continuous running is important? If this is just an assumption, have you considered point to point, or some sort of switching layout that may not require as much of the room?

    4) What sort of track plan do you have in mind. This is really more important than planning the benchwork. How do you know that you won't require a triple-decked super empire to capture all the railroading you want to do? ;) :D

    5) Related to (4), could you tell us about what era/location/theme/industries you have in mind?

  9. Triplex

    Triplex Active Member

    Do you mean double track?
    There's no such thing as too small. Check out http://carendt.us/ and see what can be done in less than four square feet. Of course, there is such a thing as "too small for the type of railroading you want" - believe me, I suffer with that a lot!
  10. sumpter250

    sumpter250 multiscale modelbuilder

    I had a modular layout while I was on active duty, and had to move every three years or so.
    I built the modules 24" X 3'-10 1/2" so I could use two 4' X 8' sheets of plywood to make a shipping case. (3/4" + 46 1/2" + 3/4" ** plywood + module + plywood ** = 48").
    the case could be disassembled for storage until the next move. When packed, screws were driven through the plywood case, into the module frame, making the whole thing one solid piece. Hey, I was dealing with lowest bidder movers! :D
  11. Zfein23

    Zfein23 New Member

    I do mean double track, but only in some places, the idea is for one track to run primarily hopper cars, and service a large cement plant I have built. The other track would service a few small buildings that are part of a small town (10 or so buildings) that I have. My main goal is to have two seperate trains, both running at the same time, with no switches needing to be thrown. To be honest, I want to sit back and watch.

    I'm working with Atlas's track planning software, trying to use all of the track I have now.. a lot of 9" straight pieces, 18" and 22" radius curves, and a handful of switches, mostly left. I have finally got a tentative track plan drawn up. The inside track will run a short train, it's only a 15" radius. The outer loop will run the bigger hopper train, with the siding leading into the plant. The red is the border of the table, there will be access to the layout on all sides except the back (at the top of the drawing), the blue area is the small town, the green area is where the plant will be (it's Walther's Cornerstone Valley Cement by the way), and the remainder would be primarily landscaping, I have plenty of trees, and still have a full bottle of Woodland Scenics Realistic Water. What do you guys think of it so far?

    Attached Files:

  12. Triplex

    Triplex Active Member

    Minor quibbles: There's an S-curve problem on the outer loop near the left inside corner of the benchwork. Also, any double-track layout should have two crossovers, one facing-point and one trailing-point, so you can transfer between the mains. I'd advise another crossover to the left of your current one - with right-hand turnouts. I don't think you need to bother with a separate runaround, since all spurs are trailing-point (assuming both mains are one-way).
  13. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

    If you move the current crossover to the right, and add an opposite one near the top left (as suggested by Triplex), you will create a good side runaround as a by-product...


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