Finally reclaiming my train-room.....

Discussion in 'Track Planning' started by guppyman, Feb 14, 2005.

  1. guppyman

    guppyman Member

    This week marks a new beginning in my house- The room I lent my nephew after we moved in is being vacated (don't ask... long story).

    Anyway- I finally get my trainroom! Well, sorta. My wife wants a guest room also... I have negotiated the guest part down to a sleeper-sofa, so it's good news still.

    Here's my situation- I have an 11.5' x 10.5 room with a 4'x5' closet (and I do get to use the closet for staging and return loops- even get to punch holes in the walls!)

    Here's a quick overview of the room (sorry for the simple paint drawing):


    I figure I can cover the window without a problem, so I'm not concerned with it's location. So what I'm looking at doing:

    I need to mount my benchwork directly to the walls- I'll also be building an overhead valance (all will need to be furniture-quality woodwork, part of the deal I made). The scenes I model will hopefully end up looking like it's on a stage between the openings So the first dillema will be how to mount everything to the walls.

    Next will be track planning... I've always had a hard time planning out what to do with my trains... I can see the scenery in my mind, but getting it transfered to paper and ultimately layed out always escapes me.

    What I'm figuring is something like this... Starting on the South wall next to the door:
    This area will be a container yard - This will be the shallowest area of the layout- I don't need a return loop from here- It will be more of a switching industrial area.

    Flowing west from there trains will enter the closet/hidden staging yard. The closet will also contain a return loop for the main layout (the rest that I haven't put down yet...).

    Coming out of the closet on the other side of the door (west wall) and wrapping all the way around to where the door swings on the east wall are where I'm having the most problems... I know I want a return loop on the east wall so that I can have continuous running. I wouldn't mind some elevation changes (no more than 2% grade)... As long as things are mounted to the walls well I figure I can come out 3 feet on the turn-around, but I'd like to keep most of the layout below 2 feet wide. I'm modelling present day in N-scale. I'm wide open to ideas on how to fill my available space...

    Oh yeah... Customers I'd like to serve....
    Some type of refinery
    Container yard (seaport)
    Coal (maybe)
    Large undetermined factories

    I like large buildings and I hope to get a few in somewhere... Anyway.... It's great to have a blank slate (finally) to work with... Now It's time to drive myself nuts figuring out what to do with it.

    BTW- This will probablly be built in stages starting on the west wall leading out of the closet. Some type of return loop at the northwest corner would be great so that in the early stages I can run trains for my daughter in and out of the closet.

    Thanks for any suggestions, questions, criticism, etc... you guys can come up with.
  2. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

    If you intend to use the room as a bedroom (even part-time) building codes may not allow you to cover the window.

    The closet looks awefully small to contain a yard/staging, return loop, and so on.

    I would build the benchwork at about 5 feet (or even more) off the floor to allow a sofa-bed or whatever underneath. This would also make it easier to have a duck under or liftout section across the door (maybe diagonally across that corner) to allow continuous running, instead of return loops.

    Here is a neat track plan for a room almost exactly that size. The best thing I think is the "surround" staging idea used. You may have seen this railroad in MRP 2001 and/or GMR 2004. Hamer/Hamer.htm

    I have been to Mike's house a couple of times, and the layout operates like a dream.

    You could take down the closet wall entirely, and put your work bench/desk in there - although you may have to go under another duckunder...

    Just some preliminary thoughts. Hope that helps.

  3. cidchase

    cidchase Active Member

    WOO, guppy!! Great train room! :thumb: :thumb:

    #1 I think losing the closet door and wall is an excellent idea!!

    #2 Change the entry door to open out on the other side of the wall.
    Make it right-hand if you need to.

    #3 Go all the way around the room. Build a hinged lift-up in front of the door.
    like MasonJar said (you can do it!!) :D :D 5' is too high fer me- 44-48" max.

    (disclaimer: Other's opinions may vary :D )
  4. guppyman

    guppyman Member

    First off... thanks for the replies.... Here's some random thoughts that I had on reading them...

    I remember seeing that trackplan... I like it but I always wondered about access to staging. I take it since you've gotten to be there first hand that there weren't any problems that weren't easily dealt with?

    I'm not sure if I can lose the closet walls.... My wife did say i could punch holes without a problem (easy to patch) but if I start tearing things down I may get my trackage rights revoked.

    Liftout... Ok.... Now I'm scared. I've thought about doing one but always wondered if I could make it work. I'm sure I could but have never really worked out the 'how to' part of it. It's definately something I will keep in mind.

    Not sure if the wife will let me have the door open into the hallway, but I think she'd be open to taking the door off completely (as long as the trainroom doesn't look like a tornado hit it all the time). Her goal is to have everything nice and presentable any time guests come over. So I either keep it shut off or keep it neat and tidy (and keeping it shut off won't help the first time she wants to use it as a guest room).

    Do you really think 4' x 5' is too small to do much with in N-Scale? If it's in the closet, it doesn't have to be pretty, just functional.

    Anyway- great feedback so far... Thanks a lot. Now if only my nephew would start moving his stuff out... (Hopefully tonight).
  5. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

    Hi guppy...

    Sorry, I failed to read the part where you said "N-scale" so I assumed HO. I think that you can fit more of a yard/staging in the closet, but consider the length of trains you want to run. Are they less than 4 -5 feet?

    Mike's access to staging is via the corners, where he has (tight) triangular spaces. He also has mirrors up on the wall so you can see what is going on. Finally, he ran trains for several months before putting all that landscaping in the way, so his trackwork is perfect... He has ot had a derailment in there in a long time. (he did have a "meet" at the diamond though...!).

    I think that you will have to keep the door because of the guest use, but what about a pocket door?

    The liftout section should not be all that hard, you just need to make sure that you get the wiring right so that nothing operates (or nothing nearby) when the section is out. Alternatives include a swing gate, lift gate, or drop gate.

  6. guppyman

    guppyman Member

    Interesting discovery made after talking to my wife about this thread... She figured I was going to do some type of lift bridge anyways....
    I had intended to leave things wide open so evryone could go in and out, but now I am looking at a continuous run around the room.

    Gee... who'd of thunk that talking to your wife about your train plans would end up giving you more than you thought you'd get?

    So now....
    I'm looking for a good all the way around the room plan for my room.

    Another nice thing that came from talking to her- I quit smoking today and am having a hard time with it... she just told me that if I've quit for a month, she'll go buy me a new loco or something.... think I may change that something into a Zephyr and build this thing DCC. :D
  7. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

    Hey guppy...

    Good news! Continuous will let you avoid the extra width required for return loop(s), so you will/could actually end up with more space in the room.

    And congrats on quitting... just think of the money that used to go for smokes can go to railroading...! :D By the way, I got a Zephyr last fall, and it is great.

  8. Will_annand

    Will_annand Active Member

    Great news Guppy, your wife sounds like mine. My club attended a model railway show over the weekend. My wife came down for a short time to have a look. She came back and pointed out a couple of things I should do on my layout, also said one vendor had two locomotives like the ones I already had, but that she could not afford them, she gave me $30.00 so I could pick up both of them for $80.00 tax in. Gotta love that.

    With that size room and a big closet, you can have a great layout in N Scale.

    Andrew is correct, take your smoke money and put it in a jar marked "Train Fun", you will have lots of new stuff in no time.

    Good Luck on the new layout.
  9. Pete

    Pete Member

    Hi Guppy
    You're going to have quite an empire in that space!
    Just wondering, could the entrance door to the room be re-located to, say near or even in, the closet? That would allow for three and a half virtually un-interrupted walls. Knock out the closet walls and build your workbench in there and still have room for raised storage/staging tracks - your workbench height would be 30" or so with the tracks being 48" (or whatever) high. The layout could then be built in a backwards G shape.
    Just throwing out some ideas...


    Attached Files:

  10. Doc Holliday

    Doc Holliday Member

    Hey G_man,
    Could you have your wife call mine? :thumb:
  11. guppyman

    guppyman Member

    I had a great suprise today.... I came home to find that my nephew moved out while I was at work!

    So I went in with a tape measure and made some quick measurements.....


    I have a little less space than I thought, but not too much. Unfortunately I can't knock down walls or move the doors, but she is saying to go thru the walls into the closet (I think she's curious how I'm gonna pull that off).

    Anyway.... The section on the left where I have 7' 3.5" is where I think I am going to start.... I'm giving myself 3 feet to come out on that side.... I figure I can build a stand alone section right there that will eventually expand into the closet and also around the room the other way.

    So anybody have any ideas for a 7' x 3' layout with expansion possibilities on either end?

    Happy days are here at last.... I think it's time to go kiss my wife!

Share This Page