Going to start over...

Discussion in 'HO Scale Model Trains' started by J. Steffen, Jan 27, 2009.

  1. J. Steffen

    J. Steffen Member

    I can add something to the do's and don'ts thread. Don't keep building to your layout if you arent happy with the way it's heading. I have a 8X16 ft layout that I haven't touched in almost a year. Mainly because I didn't like the way it was heading. Think I'm going to tear it down and restart. I should be able to use most of the old materials.
  2. steamhead

    steamhead Active Member

    I think you're right....That happens to me (and probably most of us..) as well. If I've put something off for some time, it's probably because there's something wrong with it. Once you realize this, it's better to set it right, even if it means tearing down a section, or the whole layout. Maybe some of it is OK. If so, keep it and work from there.

    Good luck..!!!:thumb:
  3. Ronson2k3

    Ronson2k3 Member

    Everyone can learn from what they have done in the past. Every layout is a stepping stone to the better layout yet to be built. I'm sure there are sections when you were working on yours that didn't go the way you had envisioned. This is disillusionment and most likely why you stopped. I've built 4 layouts in my lifetime. Over time building techniques and modeling tools equipment change so it's an ever changing process of growth and renewal.

    I read a quote at a fiction writing blog I'm on. "If it's worth doing right it's worth doing it wrong a few times first".

    Before you begin deconstruction. Take pics of your layout as it sits now. If you don't have them already. That way you will have a reference to look at when you build again. I'm not trying to say "so you don't make the same mistakes" but so that the things you really liked can be improved upon when you build again. Plus you'll have the before :( and after :) effect too.. ;)
  4. J. Steffen

    J. Steffen Member

    Gotta change the whole shape. Maybe an L shape, point to point maybe.
  5. Ronson2k3

    Ronson2k3 Member

    I'm going to make a multideck myself. 4 layers (1 staging) with a helix on both ends. It's all in the benchwork arrrrgh.. I'm to one day expand the second deck out from the main area of the layout. I have a 14'x5' space to work in currently. Reach will only let me use about 3 feet of sceniked area. I can perhaps extend that a bit but I'm modeling the Big Sandy river valley so it's pretty mountainous.

    1 hidden staging well unseen of course for the most part.
    Op Level 1. Main working yard and river front + big city terminal railroading
    Op Level 2. Main mountain running 2 - 3 towns + expansion to more layout (hopefully)
    Op Level 3. Coal operations 2 working coal mines to switch out.

    Helix at both ends from staging to level 1 (representing an adjacent subdivision as it passes over the Big Sandy. Then continuing the helix up to level 2 from level 1 at the West end of Russell area. Then at the now south end of layout a spur line (helix) to two mines on the third deck.

    I wish I could use the closet the sits right beside where the main helix will go but we all know what the women in our lives would say.. Been there got the T-Shirt ;). Building a helix in a closet does have it's downside too if you'll pardon the pun :)

    I figure the helix will take up 40 inches on the one end (the other end is hidden) so no worries. That will leave me with 11'x5' rapping around the corner about 2'-3'. The Spur line will originate and terminate at the second level so no need to run trains back through to get to the helix up to the mine area.

    I think one of the keys to make a multi-level work is to have very different scenery on each one. You have to continue to a degree (for continuity) but with quite varying scenery you don't get the impression it's one long elevator ride between levels.. The rail is actually going somewhere ;)

    The helix will decide where the levels will be placed. Rotations x Grade. The helix has to have an entrance and exit so those points are where the level will reside. I will adjust up or down to get the levels where it's best for eyes to see and hands to work. Trains will be quite a bit shorter then today's monsters (15-20) cars as I'm modeling the late 50's. So I'm hoping to hide the entire trains inside the helix when moving from level to level. Depending on the length of the helix I can make trains shorter or longer (hopefully longer perhaps). Time dust off the calculator :)

    I've got an good idea of what I want. Track charts/Topos' for the area. I've modeled it a bit in Blender (3d modeling program). Don't have a completed track plan as yet but I'm close. Then it's getting the materials up the stairs and building.. ;)

    I wish you luck with your re-model. Be sure to keep us updated :)
  6. J. Steffen

    J. Steffen Member

    Wow, good luck on that. I'm going to have to keep it simple with one main line and a couple of turnouts. I'm having so many problems with the switches that I have. I'm extremely disappointed. The consist wont stay on the track. About half the cars make it through and the rest want to go off in another direction. I think that keeping it simple will be my best bet...
  7. Kanawha

    Kanawha Member

    What kind of turnouts are you using Jeff?
  8. Triplex

    Triplex Active Member

    Maybe some of your cars have deep flanges and you're trying to put them through a turnout with shallow flangeways? Oh... this is HO, that problem's more likely in N. Maybe some switches aren't throwing all the way? Or some cars are out of gauge?
  9. csxengineer

    csxengineer Member

    same issue, but in n scale

    I am so sick of derailments on switches, that I might change my layout to a continious run with only a few sidings, and more train watching. I've been at this for decades, and nothing changes, switches=problems..grrrr.
  10. Mountain Man

    Mountain Man Active Member

    Sound advice. :thumb:
  11. nkp174

    nkp174 Active Member

    I've found that there are usually other issues that turnouts bring out:
    1) flange depth
    2) wheel gauge
    3) vertical curves
    4) I've never had luck with Atlas Snap Switches...never had problems with the Custom Line

    Still, if you don't enjoy switching, then switches are just an added hassle/cost. My mainline has 3...and two are for the wye leading to the future yards. Obviously, my layout is for continuous running.
  12. ZeldaTheSwordsman

    ZeldaTheSwordsman Thomas Modeler

    Continuous running is nice, IMO. I enjoy watching a good-sized train chase its tail around the layout.
  13. steamhead

    steamhead Active Member

    Hi...Continuous running has its attraction for many of us, and I've built it into my layout. But I like switching and moving cargo between destinations, so I've got (so far), two "major" yards and about 15 destinations for my freight, with close to 50 turnouts doing the routing. I don't think I've ever had a problem attributable to a turnout in over 5 years of operation.
    No...I'm no wizard. I just used what I (and many) believe to be among the best turnouts - Pecos, and took my time with the trackwork. I had two previous layouts and was plagued by many of the problems you are experiencing. That makes for a LOT of frustration. On my current layout I made it a point to make the trackwork as "perfect" as possible. It is a might more work...but the results are well worth the effort.
    Don't swear-off on turnouts....just use good ones & care in laying them...

    Good luck..!!:thumb:
  14. ZeldaTheSwordsman

    ZeldaTheSwordsman Thomas Modeler

    The E-Z track turnouts are okay. But the manually-operated ones are insulfrog, no power in the center, so you have to up the throttle or the train stalls. I do like sidings. My plan is a continuous run main line with a harbour siding, a carriage-storing siding, and spurs that run to the layout edge so that I can join expansions to the layout. The harbour and fish warehouse are actually right next to the "start" terminus, which someone on MRF said was stupid. Nothing a well-placed backdrop won't fix. (I swear, we need a smug emoticon)
  15. Sawdust

    Sawdust Member

    Hey Jeff
    Hang in there on the turnouts. I like a continuous run myself but there's nothing wrong about having more than one main line. Pecos are the best way to go. Our tracks are like the foundation of a house, if it isn't right anything you put on it will be bad. Take your time laying them, check all your specs,wheel spacing,throws being short,connections in the rails,car weights etc. Turnouts are a part of the layout that can make things interesting. :thumb:
  16. MidnightRR

    MidnightRR Member

    You must be doing something wrong.

    I've been at this for decades myself and have never had problems with track switches causing derailments, in N scale, HO scale, or On30.
  17. J. Steffen

    J. Steffen Member

    Sorry it took me so long to get back to you guys. I'm using the Atlas snap switches. I don't think its the cars because the derailments are random. I don't know, maybe just redo the whole thing in a dogbone pattern. Something simple like this:


    This is a rough sketch but this was what I was thinking. The ends sections would be about 4X4 and the two center pieces would be around 2X8
  18. Triplex

    Triplex Active Member

    A lot of people find Atlas Snap-Switches unreliable. Custom-Line are better.
  19. nkp174

    nkp174 Active Member


    All trouble spots on the old HO layout were eliminated by eliminating the snap switches. Many people like Shinohara (walthers), Peco, and Micro Engineering...but I don't think they are close to worth it for performance as I've always found Atlas Custom line to work flawlessly (and for only a $1 more or so than their snap line).

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