Double oval subway layout

Discussion in 'HO Scale Model Trains' started by patgin, Nov 30, 2006.

  1. patgin

    patgin Member


    I will built a NYC subway layout and I would like to have a double oval to make a double track line but each track goes to the opposite direction. Track need to be closer to the other as much as possible (like the elevated track in NYC). My idea is to see an elevated track and buildings from one side and to see an underground subway station from the other side. So one half of the layout will be on elevated track and will enter a tunnel in the center of the layout to go to the undergroung station (she will be at the same level as the elevated track, it's just a 2 in 1 layout) and finaly exit the tunnel to continue to the elevated track.
    I hope you understand, this is a plan to help you understand:

    tunnel section l ============subway station============ l
    l ll ==========subway station========== ll l
    l ll ll ll ll l
    l ll ll ll ll l
    -----tunnel exit----l ll ll ------------------wall------------------------- ll ll ltunnel enter
    l ll ll ll ll l
    eleveted section l ll ll city city ll ll l
    l ll ============================= ll l
    l ================================= l

    The layout will be 4X8 but could be expanded to 5X8 if neccessary.My question is, what should be the best, curved and straight tracks or all flex track? In both case, how many of each will I need to buy? I want the track at 2-3 inches form the edge of the layout.
    2 Life-like proto 1000 R17 4-car subway will operate on this .

    What do you think of that? I need to know before starting to build.
    Thanks to everyone.
  2. patgin

    patgin Member

    Sorry, my plan is now a spaghetti......he was ok before sending the message
  3. LongIslandTom

    LongIslandTom Member

    Hi Patrick,

    Try using Microsoft Paint to draw up a rough sketch of your plan.. It will work better than keyboard characters. Make the drawing a 640x480 jpg, save it and attach it to your next post.

    Good luck!

    P.S. sorry I didn't get a chance to reply to your PM.
  4. patgin

    patgin Member


    You're right. So this is a plan that I draw...important think to know is that the track (elevated or underground ) will always be on the same level/height.

    Attached Files:

  5. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

    Flex track is cheaper, and will allow you to create a tight clearance if you want (although not really recommended for reliable operation).

    Atlas also makes sectional track, with 18" and 22" radius curves that would make it easy to do the double oval you want on a 4x8 table.

  6. jetrock

    jetrock Member

    Actually, traction equipment is generally capable of much tighter turning radii than conventional model railroad equipment. I'm not sure how tight of curves that subway car models can take, but models of the El and streetcar layouts sometimes have curves as tight as 6-8" radius in HO scale. For an articulated car I suspect that curves would have to be broader, more like 12-15" radius. However, you can't get commercial track in that radius, so flex track is the way to go.

    It sounds like you do have the right idea, though: insted of resorting to extreme grades to move the track up and down on a flat plane, you simply drop the table so half the train is "el" and half is subway!
  7. LongIslandTom

    LongIslandTom Member

    Hi Patrick,

    Yep, that should work quite well.

    As a matter of fact, that is exactly what the IRT company did on the 1/9 line on the West Side of Manhattan-- The 1/9 line is below ground as it goes north, until it hit the valley at 120th street.. There, the track remains level but goes above ground onto a trestle, cross the valley, then ducks back under ground at 136th street. Very neat!

    Check out the photos at :


    Notice how the subway line emerges from under Broadway, crosses the valley, then ducks back underground, all the while maintaining perfectly flat level grade. Pretty neat.
  8. nkp174

    nkp174 Active Member

    I'd recommend going with flex track. If you have the budget...I'd try to get some smaller rail than normal...something like code 55 which I think micro engineering makes...but you'd have to make sure it's compatible with your trains (some older model trains like AHM hudsons and bachmann John Bulls don't tolerate code 83 turnouts very well)
  9. Stuart

    Stuart New Member


    Set teack is the way to go build this type of layout, yes flex is cheaper but the set track give you a template to work with when building the elevated sections.

    This link will give you some help on making your own elevated stuff.
    Hope this helps

  10. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    Patrick: to add to the fun, Peco make the imsulating chairs that go under the 3rd rail; the also make a smaller sized rail that fits in them. However, this is all hard to find in the USA.
    You could make do with small nails and small rail soldered to them.
    There is also a kit that makes a reasonable elevated structure.
  11. patgin

    patgin Member

    Thanks to everyone,I will now build the support...I will have to choose between 4x8 or 5x8....probably 5x8...wealways need more placec....
  12. LongIslandTom

    LongIslandTom Member

    The New York City subway (NYCTA) and Long Island Railroad (LIRR) third rail brackets for HO Scale are available from Image Replicas:

    The NYCTA and LIRR 3rd rail system uses a truck-mounted pickup shoe that slides over the top of the 3rd rail.

    If you want to model the Metro North commuter railroad (another commuter system ran by the MTA), they use a different 3rd-rail system where the pickup shoe slides under the bottom of the 3rd rail. These are available from Model Memories:

    These are all decorative, of course... The models like the LifeLike R17 Redbirds still uses the two running rails on regular HO track for power. The 3rd rail is just there for looks.

    Hope this helps!

    Me, I'm exploring the possibility of kitbashing a few HO-scale P32AC-DM locomotives now that I have found a place that sells the Athearn AMD103 Genesis locos for cheap ($23 for a powered AMD103 at Toy Train Heaven). Amtrak, Metro North, and the Connecticut DOT all own P32AC-DMs and I love the way they look. These use the under-the-3rd-rail pickup system.

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