First attempt at an N scale layout

Discussion in 'N / Z Scale Model Trains' started by BillW, Mar 15, 2009.

  1. BillW

    BillW New Member


    My typical niche in the context of model railways formerly involved scratchbuilding structures and freight cars in HO scale. Although I've had aspirations to build some sort of HO logging themed railway, I never seem to take the plunge and begin construction. In fact, I have never really built a full layout from start to a scenic finish. At the moment, my basement is cluttered with bench work where this HO railway was supposed to begin.

    A couple weeks ago, I was reading the gauge and found a thread where another member was attempting to scale down a small HO layout into a smaller 2'x2' N scale railroad. The original track plan was taken from Linn Westcott's 101 Track Plans for Model Railroaders and the simplicity of the plan had me consider building it into a 2.5'x2.5' N scale layout. This little layout seems like a within reach goal for a procrastinator such as myself. Here we are a few weeks later and I've already laid down the roadbed. In total, I have spent about $250 to get into N scale. That price includes all the lumber (fascia, sub-roadbed, bench work), a locomotive, more than enough track and cork, and miscellaneous supplies (paint, Sculptamold, water modeling material).

    The small railway has a little over 12' of running track. I modified the original plan by eliminating a short siding. This is strictly a watch-the-train-chase-its-tail type layout with no exciting operations whatsoever. My modification to the plan resulted in maximum 4.4% gradients on the inside loop and 3.4% on the outside. Curvatures throughout are set 10.5" radius.

    The bench work is straight forward open grid design of screwed together 1x3's and lumber scraps I found around the house. I added T-nut's and bolts to the 2x3 legs to act as levelers on uneven surfaces.

    Sub-roadbed is 1/2" good one side plywood and I transferred the track plan to the sheet using a full size plan I drew on newsprint.

    Currently my N scale fleet is only an Atlas CN gp-9 and a Trainman 40' boxcar. From a short test run of the locomotive I must say I was surprised with the finesse of the unit. It seemed to run as smooth as my HO Kato AC4400.

    Here is the sub-roadbed all cut out prior to adding the grade risers. I had to splice it together from four parts as I only purchase a 2'x4' sheet of plywood.

    I thought about my grade calculations for about a week before finally adding the risers to the cutout. In total, I have allowed a 2.75" space between the crossing tracks. As well, I used my belt sander to level off some of the poorly countersunk screw heads.

    My latest progress involved laying the cork roadbed. Track and roadbed shall be laid down with construction adhesive instead of traditional track nails. I worry track nail could deform the code 55 flex. As well, the nail heads are unsightly next to the smaller N scale models.


    Here we see a CN 6060 fridge magnet easing itself down a future pile trestle across a bench work creek.

    I plan on scratch building the 3 required bridges and 1 culvert. As well, I may add a snowshed to a section of the inner loop. I suppose I should add the mountain first though.

    I'll keep you posted,
  2. umtrr-author

    umtrr-author Member

    Very nice, solid construction.

    A 2 3/4 inch clearance is more than generous for N Scale (although there is that 1:1 Scale fingers issue!).
  3. KATY

    KATY Member

    Please keep posting your progress. Looking real good!
  4. Sirfoldalot

    Sirfoldalot Member

    Very nice benchwork - looks solid enough for "O" scale.
    Nice job on the track sub roadbed too!
  5. BillW

    BillW New Member

    I have not made nearly as much progress as I would have liked in review of the past couple weeks. On the positive though, the layout does have track laid and trains running. Yesterday was rather warm so I lifted it outside and spray painted the track. I kept things simple and used a tip I remembered in an old Model Railroader. I purchased Tremclad in primer gray, flat black, and flat brown and used the brown as my base colour. I added a few highlights of the other colours to provide some variation of tie tone. All in all I think the overall result is pleasing. It is certainly better than the initial brown plastic and shiny rail look. I attempted to save track cleaning time by spreading oil over the surface of the rail head but I found that this process resulted in a mess over surrounding ties. Because of the oil, I'll have to touch up and clean a few areas separatly. It is easier to pick the still-soft paint off with a finger nail and go over the rail with a track cleaning block. I'll post some more photos soon.
  6. fifer

    fifer Active Member

    Nice Bill , Keep us updated with pictures. I would like to see the painted track.
  7. kishonadish

    kishonadish New Member

    Look forward to seeing the finished pics

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