Atlas track layout for newbie??

Discussion in 'Track Planning' started by aslan, Jul 11, 2006.

  1. aslan

    aslan Member

    What do you guys think of this set-up? I know that it would restrict some creativity but what about this versus buy track individually, etc.? Any wisdom you could share would be greatly appreciated.
  2. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    I think there are two main problems with ordering that layout. 1. I've never had much luck getting Atlas turnouts to work properly. The switch points are stamped from sheet metal, and tend to "roll over" and let the rolling stock drop between the rails into the ballast. 2. The layout is made from Atlas snap track, which means you will have track joints every 9 inches. If you don't run drop wires for every track section (very tedious!), every joint is a potential spot for a bad electrical connection. That might be a nice layout for a first layout, but I would use flex track, and Peco switches.
  3. Triplex

    Triplex Active Member

    If you think that, this isn't the layout for you.
  4. Nazgul

    Nazgul Active Member

    Hi Stan,
    I'm a newbie myself who owes what little I know to the good folks here. To offer an opinion on this layout, I have to ask you a question: what do you like about it? Is this something just to learn on or will this be your layout for the forseeable future? I see that it fits on a 10'x6' table. Is that the space available to you? Do you have more? If you post a drawing of the space with measurements and obstructions I'm sure everyone here can give you more choices. My biggest piece of advice would be...don't sell your self short. take it one step at a time and you'll accomplish more than you thought possible. It really comes down to what you expect from this layout.
  5. aslan

    aslan Member

    Thanks Steve for the comments.
    Here's what I'm thinking: I'm looking at the layout as if the "8" were on its side. On the left lower corner would be some sort of mountain pass. (I'm thinking of eliminating the turnout in the left circle.) On the far left would maybe be a bridge (just an idea). in the right circle would be a town and on the right corner would be a tunnel. The middle crossover going from left to right would be elevated. At the top would be a railroad yard set up.
    My layout is going to be 6 X10, which is one of the reasons I was intrigued by the layout. An earlier post said the Atlas turnouts are not that good. Maybe I misread some of the posts about Atlas track but I was under the impression that Atlas made very good track. Am I wrong?
    Finally, I am not thinking about making this into a huge layout. The layout is being shared with a 1965 Mustang Fastback (very involved with out local Mustang club. So the 6X10 would be all that I would have room for.
    Thanks again for any wisdom you (or anyone else) can give.
  6. jetrock

    jetrock Member

    Generally Atlas track is good, but their turnouts are sort of cheap.

    About the plan: I suspect that the crossover in the middle is meant to be a crossover, not an over/under setup. Getting the track to go over/under and still meet up with the rest of the layout in the appropriate places would probably require some extremely sharp grades, sharp enough that locomotives wouldn't be able to climb them.

    6x10 is plenty of layout. One thing to keep in mind is length of reach: a 6' wide table means that if you have to reach or adjust anything in the middle of the table, it is 3 feet away. Keep in mind that you'll have to reach over trackwork and scenery, which is kind of delicate.

    In general, this plan is pretty wide open, with broad curves and not a lot of overly busy trackwork. Personally I would remove one of the reverse loops (one half of the "X" in the middle of the layout) which would free things up considerably and eliminate the need to elevate the track in the middle to cross over the other line.
  7. pgandw

    pgandw Active Member

    For an island-type 6x10, there are really only a few good options.

    1) Blow up a good 4x8 plan, substituting 22" radius curves for the 18" usually found.

    2) There are a few good 6x10 plans out there. Dec '64 through most of 1965, Model Railroader did a progressive 6x10 project railroad called the Ma and Pa. They started out with a simple oval and a few spurs and ended up with quite a layout ( a loop-to-loop with contiuous run). I probably would have stopped before they did, but that's really an individual choice. Lots of how-tos in the series, and again, you can stop expanding the trackwork anytime you like. Flex track with 22" radius curves and Atlas #4 (really 4.5) turnouts were used. Most MRs tend to be reasonably happy with the Atlas Custom-Line turnouts, but other brands of your choice could be substituted.

    Thinking inside the box instead of outside, a 6x10 with a center operating pit (accessible by a swinging or hinged section or narrow duck-under) would give a totally different perspective. You would be looking at the trains from inside the curve instead of outside, which generally looks much better. Also, you could possibly expand to where your aisles around the 6x10 would be, making your layout even more sweeping.

    A water wings or U shape could also be worked into a 6x10 space if you can tolerate a 24" wide aisle.

    The Atlas published plans tend to fall short on switching opportunities and a convincing scenic theme, but long on watching trains roll. I strongly recommend you think about what your vision for your layout is, and what kind of operation you would likely most enjoy. Present those on the forum as your "druthers" and your space (and other hard restrictions) as your "givens", and the design experts can help you design the layout you will be happy with (and not want to tear up as soon as it's built) for years to come. Search through the track planning threads for more ideas, particularly this one: Then use those creative juices to satisfy yourself, and share your discoveries. We'll be cheering you on!

    yours in planning
  8. aslan

    aslan Member

    Fred and others
    Thanks so much for the information!! When I started thinking about doing a RR a couple of months ago, I didn't realize all that went into it. I am doing a lot of reading, here especially, as well as the standard books. I'll definitely be checking in with all of you.

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