Clean slate...

Discussion in 'N / Z Scale Model Trains' started by SD90, Mar 5, 2006.

  1. SD90

    SD90 Active Member

    Here is a blank page of the space I have to work with in the new place. The dimensions are in feet, each square is 1 foot, and the 2 black dots are steel posts. There is room under the stairs to run under, if need be! It's about 4'-3" high under the landing.
    -What are your ideas?
    I've drawn out about 50 track plans so far, I'm wondering if anyone has any ideas that might go in a different direction than what I've come up with. Maybe a different perspective?

  2. Drew1125

    Drew1125 Active Member

    I predict we'll be seeing some amazing things filling that space in the near future! :thumb:
  3. cidchase

    cidchase Active Member

    Holy Moly, SD90!! And N-scale to boot! It's an empire!

    I think it's great that there are no door interferences around the perimeter.
    Is part of the space to be a workbench, storage, etc? Are the walls finished?
  4. SD90

    SD90 Active Member

    I'll make a work bench somewhere, and the walls are just framed and insulated, no drywall. I don't plan on being at this house too long, so what ever I come up with, it will have to be a bit portable this time!
  5. Drew1125

    Drew1125 Active Member

    Sounds cool, Mike! :cool:
    Maybe you could do some type of modular style mounted on brackets...something you could just un-screw, & carry out when you make your next move...
  6. shaygetz

    shaygetz Active Member

    Aaaahhh, yer killin' me, just killin' me...31'x30' with an 8'x7' kick out...what I could do with that in HO, could model Montana in that with N scale...aaahh yer killin' me.:D :thumb:
  7. FiveFlat

    FiveFlat Member

    I would suggest the 8'X7' "nook" for your workbench. Then you could do a nice modular bridge that's 1280 scale feet. (whoa... a 1280 foot bridge?)
  8. sputnik

    sputnik Member

    First of all, when you said "I don't plan on being at this house too long", what kind of time frame are you thinking of? A year? A few years? A decade? If it's for less than a year, I personally would be working on engines, rolling stock, and buildings. I'm actually in such a "between" situation, and I'm working on engines (in addition to working on my brother's HO layout).

    For a space like that, assuming that I would get generous space in the future, and assuming that I'd be in each location for at least several years at a time, I would build it removable modules/sections. I'm not talking about something like an N-trak module, as those standards are rather limiting (unless you wanted to so something like that, of course). I'm talking about choosing several "scenes" (whether prototypical, or based on a prototypical scene, or completely imagineered), like an industrial area, a yard area, an engine area, a bridge scene, a "loop" scene, whatever. Instead of restricting myself to certain cookie cutter sizes that would fit in a certain SUV or mini-van, I would only restrict myself to a size that could be moved out of the basement, into a moving or rental van (or even a PODS container for storage). It's okay if certain scenes like a long yard has to be designed to be in two or more sections, simply design them that way.

    The idea (not a new one, I'm just going off of other's already published ideas) is that you only take these certain, special "primary" sections with you when you move, and arrange them as space allows in the new location. When you set the "primary" sections up, you "connect" them with "secondary" sections, which are mostly left behind (basically tossed) when you leave the current location. So, you put most of your effort into the primary sections that will be taken with you wherever.

    You design the sections so that they are "semi-permanently" attached. The frame work, subroadbed, scenery base (as in foam that is shaped for mountains), and the like is designed so that they can be unscrewed and removed without cutting. Things like trees, bushes, track, ballast, roads, etc. are installed as normal, as if everything is part of one permanent layout. That way, everything is visually seamless, and cutting scenery and track at the joints will take little effort, and the sections become removable with little damage to the layout sections (and connection in the new location won't be too difficult).

    Also, since you are comfortable with multideck arrangements, I would design the primary sections so that they just sit on the framework (and held in place with either bolts or screws or the like). Again, that way you can build the framework itself to match the location, and at the correct elevation. And you can re-arrange some primary sections as needed in the new location, without having to raise/lower or add/remove table legs/wall mounts. That will also put less stress on the sections as they are removed and installed.

    And when you are just starting out, you can simply connect primary sections with dull, unscenicked straight track from one to the other, then as you get to the secondary sections, you can redo the track in a more planned manner. That way, at least some trains can be running in the meantime.

    Regardless of whether you are doing a sectional or a permanent type layout, starting with desired scenes and locations is always a good place to start. Then arrange those scenes and add/remove as priority allows. You could either do this on the computer, or if you are more comfortable, cut out pieces of paper to size, and fit them around something like your graph paper plan. And remember, just because you have the space doesn't mean that you have to fill every inch.

    But yeah, I would do a sectional approach, where everything is still visually seamless, but you won't destroy the layout when removing it for a move (like so many people have found fatal to the layout, like Bruce Chubb found out when he tried to simply save sections of his permanent home layout).

  9. eightyeightfan1

    eightyeightfan1 Now I'm AMP'd

    Just my opinion..I would use that alcove as my workshop area.
    Have to agree with every one here. If you're not going to stay at the house, probably a modual type layout would be best. Would be adaptable for the next"Empire".
  10. Triplex

    Triplex Active Member

    Assuming you're going to be staying in this house long enough to actually build more than a couple modules/small sections...

    This is a big space, so I won't be drawing up any detailed plans without a very good idea of a direction to go in. Prototype? Locale? Era? Traffic density? Train length? Operational emphasis - freight/passenger, mainline running/en route switching/yard switching?

    That's one advantage of a layout this big - being able to make individual scenes larger, in addition to having more of them.
  11. sputnik

    sputnik Member

    Yeah, what he said.

  12. Pitchwife

    Pitchwife Dreamer

    My advice, when you move, take the basmement with you! sign1 sign1
  13. SD90

    SD90 Active Member

    Here is one idea I'm thinking of. It is a simple point to point, but the staging yards are beside each other, and could be finished as a real working yard, complete with a switcher crew, wye, engine facility and some industrial.
    -There is a paper mill west of the staging yard also, a switcher can pull a drag out of the main yard and run through the staging yard, to switch out the paper mill and back again.
    -The main yard would be 60 feet long, and 2 feet wide. I don't have the track arangement on this plan, that may have to wait until it's built! I would like the focal point of the layout to be the main yard.
    -I want to have a large grain elevator on the west end of the yard too. That will be another switcher job, to pull and spot the elevator, then a grain train can run east, through the 2 sidings and into the staging yard.

  14. Will_annand

    Will_annand Active Member

    With that much space Mike I would try something I have been thinking of...

    I like scenery, so I would try 30-36" deep shelves around the room. The last 6-12" would be nothing but scenery, I would make 6-12" x 36" dioramas and set them in place. Al little ground cover to hide the split and there you have it. Modular scenery.

    You say you want it portable, so modular construction is in order. Tracks on front 24", modular scenery on the back 6-12".

    Just a thought.

    I would also leave the 7'x8' alcove as a work area. bring the layout across the wall, but have a 36" lift out bridge in the center of the 8' gap.
  15. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

    If you are only going to be there temporarily, I would second (third?) the suggestion of some modules that could be incorporated into a future layout - whether that future is modular or not. You haven't answered the question, but if you are only going to be there for the next year, then i don't think that you really want to invest in a built-in empire...

    Some potential module (sets) might include the paper mill or the grain elevator you said you wanted.

    Also think some more on Triplex's questions - answers to those might help you avoid drawing 50 more track plans.

  16. Triplex

    Triplex Active Member

    Do you really need a 50'-60' main yard, even with 20' trains? That's a bit of overkill - one rule of good layout design is that it's possible to have too much car capacity in a yard. With short trains, a yard three times as long as the trains is perfectly reasonable, because ladders take up a lot of space. But at this length, they'll be short in comparison.

    Do you like your staging yards visible, or hidden? Anyway, I see a problem with the basic track arrangement. A train that heads into staging cannot leave it again without backing up.

    There's a big open space in the middle that you're not using... :D

    Overall, what's most important is that I know your goals in this design.
  17. roenickrox

    roenickrox New Member

    I'll trade house with you. My basement is too small for HO and yours is to big for N.
  18. Will_annand

    Will_annand Active Member

    No such thing as too big for N. My layout is in an 11.5'x6.5' space and that is too small for N. :D

    Lots of things are way too small for HO. Our club needed 16x40 for our HO layout. :thumb:

    What I would give to have the space that Mike has... what I could do with 900sq feet of space. train97 lots of room for the complete CVR Shortline, not just Cheltenham to Orangeville.

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