Garage Plan Round 3 (ding ding!)

Discussion in 'Track Planning' started by ocalicreek, Jun 20, 2007.

  1. ocalicreek

    ocalicreek Member

    It all happened when I was down in California on vacation. I got an idea to expand the potential layout space in my garage by shifting a few things around, like a freezer, some shelving, etc. That opened up a whole new set of possibilities.

    Those new possibilities all got shot down one by one as I sketched them out. I also tried laying out a mainline 'by the squares' as John Armstrong suggests. While it was somewhat stimulating as an exercise, it really didn't give me any ideas I hadn't already come up with without the extra step of figuring out how many 'square squares' fit my space.

    Then yesterday on my lunch break I did a layout plan search on the Model Train Magazine Index using the size parameters for my layout. I was surprised at first that very few layouts showed up. Then I remembered that MR only features monster mega-layouts or beginner 4x8s (XYZ Central). Duh.

    So, somewhat discouraged, I stumbled out into the garage and was flipping through some old MRs when I came across the July 2006 issue featuring Bob Smaus' latest layout (sadly, now dismantled as he moves to the Seattle area...hmmm...). He had used some interesting space saving tricks to fit a nice mainline, some staging, and even a small town in half his garage.

    Combining some of those ideas with Don Mitchell's 'Road to Enchantment' Santa Fe plan from "Track Planning Ideas from Model Railroader" (pg 64) I hit on a combo that looks like it's gonna work!

    A rough sketch has been made (see below) and I'll be working on some more detailed 1"=1' sketches over the next few days to do grade checks, min and max mainline curves, siding lengths, etc.

    Soon as I get the scan resized and uploaded into the gallery I'll share it here.
  2. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    I didn't see the sketch in your post. I'm glad you found something to work, Galen. There is another size layout featured in Model Railroader besides 4 x 8 and mega empires. They have had an on again off again series on a layout in a bedroom @ 9' x 12' or so. One of those layouts might be able to be reconfigured to fit your garage space.
  3. ocalicreek

    ocalicreek Member

    True indeed, Russ. I have seen the occasional mid-sized and managable (to borrow Rice's title) layout, often as a contest or for some special reason (usually scenery & structure focused). I think it's because MR is so heavily prototype-operation driven and they think this means big layouts or making the most of a small space.

    But I'd be willing to bet that most modelers who never get published (for lack of desire or level of completion/skill) have layouts in the small to mid-sized range, either in a spare room or garage or shared family space (like Nazgul's basement).

    Anyway, the Photoshop froze up last night and by the time I got it all sorted out it was late. Hopefully later today I can get it posted.

    A preliminary grade check showed one area to be unrealistic so I'm rethinking that area. But the basic shape of the space will most likely remain the same.
  4. What scale are you in, and what is the size of your space?
  5. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    I suspect it is more a matter of geographical location. MR is published in Milwaukee, RMC is out of New Jersey. Both have their home offices in the Northeast where almost all houses have a basement, that is often wasted space in terms of living area. If you had a basement as big as your house's footprint, how big would your model railroad be? Out in the West, we don't have those big basements. Most towns in the West are designed with utilities (sewers) running 4 feet below ground level, so making a basement is a bigger feat than just digging a hole under your house! If either publication was based in one of the Western states where basements were rare, the layout plans they feature might look different.
  6. ocalicreek

    ocalicreek Member

    I have often wondered that myself, what a western publication would be like. I was intrigued when I learned of just how many 'older' modeling companies got started in California, and how many buildings that are now overused and abused (or great kibashing fodder) like an overplayed song on the radio, are based on CA structures.

    HO, and it's like this - N side, 9 feet. W side, 11 feet. E side 16 feet. S side, well, connect the W to the E at an angle and that's roughly it. There's actually 21 feet down the E side of the space, but I need to allow an aisle (or lift-bridge...I don't do duckunders unless it's a really great plan). The reason the W side is only 11 feet is due to a cable box and electrical breaker panel. The N side is a garage door for 7 of the 9 feet.

    I really will get a drawing up...really I will. I recently installed some free anti-spam/virus/etc. software and while I suppose it's efficient at catching that stuff (which I really have never gotten, ever, so how would I know?) it has slowed down my computer greatly. Plus the new Gauge/Zealot seems to be slower on my 26.4 connection. I'm learning that I have to do the photoshop resizing etc. first then get online, but heaven forbid I do both simultaneously!

    Alright...thanks for listening. Back to work!
  7. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    You are probably aware of this, but those kit builders like Leo Campbell, Suydam, etc. actually founded the modular club we were in in Orange County as a way to promote their products in shows before anyone else thought of modular railroading.
  8. Triplex

    Triplex Active Member

    That's not very large. How much are you trying to fit in?
    You'll probably need at least the lift bridge - HO turnback curves will eat up much of the available space.
  9. using the 22" curves (the wider sectional track curves, and pretty much a minimum for larger engines (6-axle diesels, steam with 10 or more axles, autoracks, passenger cars) means 44" for a turnback curve... nearly 4 feet...

    given your space requirements, and lack of a liftout, I'd put one turnback on the 16 foot section, and the other only about 8-9 feet down the 11 foot section, creating a layout closer to an e than a u in shape

    you'd have a spiral entrance into the layout.
  10. ocalicreek

    ocalicreek Member

    Alrighty, let's see if this works. I posted this picture in the there should be a

  11. ocalicreek

    ocalicreek Member

    Aha! Yes! Now, AS YOU CAN SEE, here's a rough sketch of my space with some notes. This plan was drawn using 30" squares as a guide for the mainline curves (that works out to about 26" radius). It shows the 'new' location for the timesaver, the exterior door, the placement of the offensive electrical and cable panels, etc.

    HOWEVER, this is sketched in 1/2" = 1' measurements and as drawn represents a layout area of 8-1/2' from the wall out towards the center of the room (top to bottom of the sketch) and 17' from the garage door into the garage (R to L) with a 6" allowance for the door track and door.

    I have since adopted 9' from the wall and 16-1/2' from the door (minus the 6" makes for 16' of usable space). Adept readers may notice that 11' from the garage door along the wall runs into the electrical panels as drawn. The cable box is actually high off the floor so the layout can be built beneath it, but it's best if access to it is maintained, even if from an adjacent aisle.

    And one more thing...uh, how did I end up being a

    Not complaining....just curious.
  12. ocalicreek

    ocalicreek Member

    Huh...looks like EVERYBODY have become "
  13. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    Galen, if you wanted to use the space under the cable box, you could make a branch line on a table mounted on wheels that could be moved into place when operating. If it was constructed the right size, it could be rolled into you operating aisle for storage when not in use to leave the electrical panels unobstructed.
  14. ocalicreek

    ocalicreek Member

    Good idea Russ. I guess great minds think alike. I had contemplated doing just that with the timesaver module, but even though I built it to be operated from both sides (like a peninsula) it really does have a side that's best viewed as the front.

    The other idea I had for that space between the side door and electrical panels was a fiddle yard/vertical shelves for train storage. I'd run a line from the layout height onto a shelf, with other narrow shelves above it. At the end of the track would be a Rix rail-it permanently mounted to just roll cars onto the track. The other shelves would not have track, but a molding lip to keep cars from drifting off the edge. A removable bridge section would link the storage/display shelves to the layout.

    I'm off today and will be sketching a bit so perhaps another plan to share soon!
  15. ocalicreek

    ocalicreek Member

    Just uploaded a second file...and I gotta fix the first link/thumbnail since I moved the plan into a folder which will hold any subsequent plans.

    Here's the next one:

  16. ocalicreek

    ocalicreek Member

    Huh...looks like I'm back to being a Senior Member again. Oh Well.

    Also wanted to say, that if anybody wants to submit a potential plan for this space, please do. I'm still kicking ideas around.
  17. TrainNut

    TrainNut Ditat Deus

    All I can say is that I hope you have better luck railroading in your garage than I did... but then I live in Phoenix. The temperature in my garage varies from a low of around 40 degrees in winter to a current high of near 115. Nope, I don't even have a window AC unit. When I had a layout in my garage, the expansion and contraction resulting from the temperature extremes made an awful mess of my track laying attempts. I've actually got pictures of that layout somwhere on here....
  18. ocalicreek

    ocalicreek Member

    Thanks for the comments, TrainNut. I am pretty fortunate to live in Western Washington in an area that, while wet, is pretty temperate. Last summer we had a week of 90's-100's temperatures...hopefully this summer we won't get that hot.

    We've only been in this house since September of last year so I really don't know what the summers are like in this garage. But if they are too hot then we may be able to add an AC vent to the garage.

    I've used a tiny space heater out there in the Winter and that suffices. The walls are insulated and drywalled/finished and even the garage door is insulated.

    Also, my wife graciously agreed to leave the car outside during the summer so that helps moreso with construction (if I ever get to that stage) but also with the temperature.
  19. BigJim

    BigJim Member


    Don't be worried about using a lift bridge. I made one with the pivot point about 4" back and 1" down from the surface. (1/2" brass tube).

    The bridge looks like an "H" with the sides extended on both ends. One end has the pivot the other end uses the extensions to align. The track on the bridge extends about 1" on each end to the joint has both tracks on the same piece of cork. I put two pieces of half round plastic rod aligned with the tie ends. With the flex track this shifts the end of the tracks for perfect alignment as thebridge comes down.

    Things a a little messy right now but will try and add some pictures in a few days.


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