Accuracy of trackplan and scenery

Discussion in 'Track Planning' started by tonphil1960, Jan 16, 2006.

  1. tonphil1960

    tonphil1960 Member

    Hi all, I am in t stages the planning stages of a N layout. I do want to fit a much reality as far as trackage and buildings. The question is how far apart would each city, town, station be if I have say a 6foot run how many cites industries can be fit in this space? The layout is u shaped,, starting from the left,,,

    14"x50" long, off that a 12"x70" and a large section on the right 28x50.

    Help Thanks Tony
  2. tverskaya

    tverskaya Member

    If you have some kind of visual obstacles, like woods or hills, then urban and industrial features can be located fairly close to each other without getting a too crowded look on the layout. However, if you decide to opt for very open fields, you'll probably need to leave more space in between to get the illusion of distance between places. I don't dare giving exact distances - that depends on the exact situation and others will most likely have better thoughts on that.
  3. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

    Most modellers do selective compression of two sorts:

    1) Compress the industry or city itself somewhat. E.g. The freight house was really 900 feet long. In full HO scale, that's about 10 feet. So make it 4 feet long, and include the main doors, office, etc, but trim away some of the repeated loading bays.

    2) Distances between industries or cities/towns. This is where is becomes almost impossible to come even remotely close to achieving realistic differences. The best you can do is "frame" your scene (town, industry, etc) so it is somewhat isolated from the other scenes on the layout. Then run trains that will fit into the "frame".

    In your case, I would suggest that you start with three scenes. You seem to have three distinct areas, helped in part by the U-shape of the layout. Start laying out your "essential" industries here and see how quickly the space fills up.

  4. Triplex

    Triplex Active Member

    How much you compress reality is entirely up to the individual modeller. You just have to test what looks right for you. Different people can suspend disbelief to different degrees.
  5. jetrock

    jetrock Member

    There is really no way to accurately model the distance between towns on a model railroad unless you own a large stadium or aircraft hangar. A six-foot run in N scale is equal to 960 feet--how many towns do you know of that can be completely represented in 960 feet? That's 320 yards--maybe two city blocks.

    The way to do it is to cheat. Things like view-dividing backdrops, scenery tricks, forced perspective, shadow boxes, limited perspective, and other ways to make the viewer think they're seeing more than they are.

    Simplest, though, is the backdrop. Say you've got a 4x8 loop layout. From just about anywhere on the layout, you can see the whole loop. Kinda boring. But by sticking a backdrop in the middle of the layout, something maybe 2 feet high and 6 feet long, you now have two 2x8 foot areas totally invisible to each other. So you can model a bustling city yard on one side, and an industry out in the middle of nowhere on the other.

    Your U-shaped plan is ideal for this--just design three scenes, one for each section, and the corners are transition areas between scenes. If you're standing in the middle of the U, your attention is focused in one direction--you have to turn 90 degrees for the other sections to be visible. Which allows that division of space to take place in your mind instead of on the layout. If you have access to both sides of that large space, you could even put a divider in the middle of it and have, potentially, a fourth visually separated scene that wouldn't be visible at all from the rest of the layout.
  6. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    Another way to separate scenes is the "shadow box" method. Create a scene that has to be observed through a limited opening. Then make another opening for the next scene. Separate them with a backdrop or other divider.
    A rectangualr board with an X shaped divider neatly gives 4 scenes. You can even make them different parts of the country or different seasons.
    Not suggested for someone who is into intense operation.
  7. sumpter250

    sumpter250 multiscale modelbuilder

    In N scale, a quarter of a mile is 8'-3"! That's approximately 13 telephone poles, not even two medium sized buildings. I found out just how big N scale really was when I built the drydock, on an Ntrak module.
    That's reality. Selectively compressing reality down to something that looks real, is the art of building a layout.............unless you have a room the size of the superdome to build your layout in! :eek: goldtoth1 :D
  8. tonphil1960

    tonphil1960 Member

    Stadium, Superdome, Hanger!! You guys are killing me.

    Yes I understand what you mean I am trying to plan this out now. I don't want to use scenery for a divider as the layout is up against a wall?? You would have to look over everything else to see the back side. Can it be done like this, I guess so. I am doing maily a city and suburban layout. Maybe the cities can serve as a divider?
    I am confused about how to lay it out though, can I run my last city,station,industry right up against the begining of the loop where the train would start?

    Wow I am dizzysign1 Thanks Tony
  9. jetrock

    jetrock Member

    With the shape of layout you have, it is fine if the layout is against a wall--I assume that the 12"x70" (the longest part) is up against the wall. As I mentioned above, if you are viewing the layout from the middle of the "C" you won't be able to see the whole layout at once--allowing you to separate the layout into several distinct scenes.

    If the layout is mainly city, is it all set in one city, with one end of the layout downtown and the other end in the suburbs, for example? Such a layout would allow you to simulate both passenger traffic (commuter trains) and freight (cars from downtown industries brought to and from an interchange yard located on the edge of town) in several distinct stages--for example, heavy industry on the far left, a downtown scene in the center including a couple of manufacturing sites and a commuter-rail passenger station, and a suburban scene and yard on the right, with another passenger station. Or you could put the yard in the middle, as there will be the most room for straight track there.

    With the room you have, the only place you could possibly put a loop is the large table on the right--I assume that the rest of the plan will be an out-and-back configuration?

    I have a long, flat, against-the-wall layout--I separate my scenes with a railroad overpass that runs through the middle of my layout. A yard is on one side, an industrial/residential area on the other. The overpass is only four inches high but provides a view block that separates one scene from the other.
  10. tonphil1960

    tonphil1960 Member

    Thanks Jet, The whole layout is against 3 walls, Very small room. I think I have something figured out now though.


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