Hello, and can you help?

Discussion in 'Getting Started' started by rabbott22, Dec 8, 2005.

  1. rabbott22

    rabbott22 New Member

    :wave: Hello everyone! :wave: I'm a new member and I'm also new in the world of model trains. So new that I do not even own anything yet. Let me start out by saying that I did a search tonight on model tairns and this was the first thing that came up and I'm very gald that it did. I really think that this will be the best place for a rookie like myself to get started. Next I also want to add that I have been blown away by some of the pictures I have seen so far. I DREAM of doing something like the things I have seen on here and hope to add my own pictures someday. I have always wanted to build a large scenic landscape with a couple of trains running through and now I have the room to do that. well I'm about to have the room once I get the old truck moved out of the garage. I have NO clue where to start and or what route to go. I stoped by a local small time hobby place this week to look at some trains and I found out that there are different scales (see i don't know much)... I will have about a 8'X16' space to work with my plan or what I have in my head is to have at least three - four different trains. One will be a transport type with all types of crago. another will be passenger and last will be a mix type with old cars that looks all run down. I want one whole end to be big mountain scene with at least two to three tunnels with the tracks running on a stair step if they will run up hill. Next I want to build a city in the middle that runs along a river that runs from a waterfall in the mountains to off the other end, I want the tracks to cross the river useing different types of bridges for each train. and last have a rail yard/ factory area to the city that the tairs use. I have NO idea how to lay this out. What to use and or how to get started. I have it in my head and thats it. Can you all help me? Should i go find books, videos, magazines? How do you start to lay this thing out? and of course what scale should I use? I need ideas on what to start with from bulding the base to laying out the scene to build mountains and rivers and grass? where do you order things from and what is the best things to use? You guys are going to love me:D . HEHE. thanks so much for your time . -Rob
  2. Ralph

    Ralph Remember...it's for fun!

    Welcome aboard Rob! Glad to have you and your questions! :) I invite you to browse through the fourms here; look through each scale, check out the track planning forum, etc. I think its a good plan to pick up a couple of "how to" model railroad books or magazines. Model Railroder Magazine usually does a "welcome to the hobby" orientation for their January issue (available soon this month, if not already) that describes the various scales and other info. They also demonstrate the construction of a small layout step by step that should give you information about benchwork, scenary, track planning and laying, etc.

    Above all else feel free to ask more questions. We love to talk about the hobby..and especially OUR layouts! :)

    Best wishes getting started!
  3. cidchase

    cidchase Active Member

    Hiya Rob,
    I'm with Ralph, read everything you can stand!! Your likes and dislikes will gel
    after seeing some of what other folks do (and don't do). After a little research
    and maybe a few LHS visits, you will come to some realization of your preferred scale (HO),
    loco type, (steam), etc. :D :D who said I'm opinionated??
    My suggestion on your layout space is either (1) around the perimeter with
    an access bay in the center, or (2) an E shaped layout.
    Of course, there's always 3,4,and 5!!
    It's like a blank canvas at this point! :thumb: Have a ball!! And Welcome
    to The Gauge :wave:
  4. Pitchwife

    Pitchwife Dreamer

    Welcome to the Gauge Rob. You came to the right place for answers, probably too many of them. :D :D
    First thing you might want to address is scale. HO is the most common and has more ready to roll, built ups (kits that are already put together) and regular kits than other gauges is HO. N, which is half as big, will let you do more in the same amount of space. The downside is that there are fewer pieces available (though there is still a lot) and everything is smaller. These are the two main scales. I'll let the O, G, and Z guys do their own pitch :D )
    I'd recomend getting some track planning software and play with it until it's comfortable. If you click on the Model Railroad Links in my signature and go to the Model Shops page, there are some sites for free software downloads.
    The other thing to do is read, read, read. You sound like you know what you would like to do which is a good start. There is a lot of literature out there covering every different aspect, so you should find some that will help you out.
    A word of caution, don't get overwhelmed by it all. Yes there are a lot of aspects, but you don't have to tackle them all at once. Remember, it's a hobby, HAVE FUN! :wave: :thumb: :thumb:
  5. jim currie

    jim currie Active Member

    :wave: welcome to the gauge :wave:
  6. ausien

    ausien Active Member

    Welcome to the gauge Rob, as Ralf said, and I agree, you should read, read, read, every thing you can, before you get started in making the most important decision you will make in this wonerful hobby.... THE SCALE. In which to build your empire. why is it the most important?. Well its that, that you will spend you hard earned $$$$.

    In case you didnt get cidchase`s hint he models HO Steam...and his advice on your layout space is a very valid one.. if you put a large table type of bench work in the middle of your space, unless you have arms that are 4' long you wont be able to reach the centre of your layout. to build it in the first place, and if you think you might get out of it by sitting on one side and then building.(and this has been tryed before)will fix that little problem, it wont.. if you run into problems(and you will)later, you wont be able to reach the proble and fix it with out destroying some other part of your creatation...so the type of bench work for your layout is important..The one piece of advice that I can give you, is Take your time...dont rush to get it done....But above all have fun,fun,FUN....

    Rob any questions that you may have.... ASK....you will always find an answer here, from the most friendlyest bunch of modelers on the internet.....have a good one..steve
  7. rabbott22

    rabbott22 New Member

    Thank you all so very much. I have thought about the basic table layout with a center hole and have thought about makeing it the lake and have it removable from underneath but that will take some work and planing, and I'm not sure I want a lake that big in the center. I will go and find the software download as I think that will be a fun place to start. I will not know the true size of the space I will have to play with till I get the old truck pulled out and do some work around the walls to clean it all up and of course I have to ask the wife on how much space she will let me have hehe.. But once I know that I can get to work on getting a layout. As for scale I like the HO becasue of everything that is out there for that scale. but I have heard that they will not pull cars up hill and that they turn over easy. also they don't have all the sound effects.. etc. as the next scale up. so I will look into that more. sound efects are cool but my plan is to have them go up a little slop and I don't want to give that up if I don't have to. and one more thing Do any of you know of a good supply store that I can get some catalogs from? I would like to start looking over some things. I can find books on How to but I can't find any catalogs where I can order things from. thanks again. -Rob
  8. cidchase

    cidchase Active Member

  9. Ralph

    Ralph Remember...it's for fun!

    With proper weighting and good couplers on the cars, and well laid smooth trackwork HO scale equipment runs beautifully and has few derailments. Sound is available in HO. Not that I'm making a pitch for that scale (even though I model it!) :)

    By the way, I was in a book store today and didn't find the January Model Railroader but I see they've published a special magazine with a title something like "Model Railroading Step by Step" that seems to provide info on all the basics. Worth a look!
  10. Will_annand

    Will_annand Active Member

    Welcome aboard Rob, :wave: this is the best place to be. :thumb:
    I have been hear just under 2 years, my layout is progressing very slowly. Real life keeps getting in my way :D

    I think the first thing to do would be to grab the free Atlas Right Track planning software. Play with plans from the two major scales, HO and N scale.

    Decide on the benchwork first. Giving yourself 36" ailses. Do you want an around the wall layout? You will need some form of "duck-under" to get to the midle of it.

    If you want continuous running trains, remember you need a minimum of 36" to turn around HO and 19" to turn around N Scale. Actually I would say you need 44" in HO and 24" in N Scale to have the cars "look good" while going around the curves. Several people here love to create track plans.

    My layout is N Scale in an 11.5' x 6.5' alcove of my living room. I started out thinking HO Scale, but I decided on an N Scale "M" shaped layout. I found I could get more into the layout.

    Good luck on yours. :wave:
  11. rabbott22

    rabbott22 New Member

    thanks guys.

    Thanks agian. I will go look for that this weekend. I have a question on the turn size for HO and N scales. I see that HO needs a much bigger turn that takes up allot of space. I do want at least 3-4 different trains all running at the same time on different track. becasue of this am I causeing myslef to blow out the space I will need to make the room for all 4 to fit on one area? if I can't have 3-4 then 2 would be fine. I just have this dream layout in my head and I am starting to think I am going way to big. at first quess I think that I will have at least an 6'x10' foot area. and if i'm lucky and my wife lets me I may have around 9'X14' but that is pushing it.
    I downloaded the software "Atlas Right Track planning" but it looks like it will take some time before I can figure it out. I iwsh I could just tell or rough draw my dream and have someone tell me what i could or could not do.;)
  12. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    A wide radius for ho scale is 30 inches which would work out to a circle 5' in diameter. Either 6x10 or 9x14 will give you plenty of room for wide radius curves. For a lift out access hatch, almost any type of scenery can be made to lift out.You can do a lift out in a section of a city. Make the seams in the gutter where the street joins a sidewalk and they will be hidden nicely. The La Mesa club's Tehachapie layout at the San Diego Model Railroad Museum has an entire hill that I think is something like 5'x9' that is on wheels and can be rolled out of the way if they need access to the tracks next to it! If you make a lake to lift out, make sure you don't make any straight cuts. Draw out the outline of your lake, and cut it out. Then make your banks run down to the edge of the lake. Cover your access hatch with whatever you are going to use to simulate water, and have the lake lift out leaving the banks behind. Again the seams won't even be noticeable.
  13. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    I have a layout that goes around a 16 foot square rrom -- the shelf varies from 6" to 30". I haven't put anything inside bacause we wanted that for sitting. I managed to cram almost 30 guys in there for a club meeting.
    You can get larger curves with little space cost if you run around the room.
    Do you want to run your trains on separate tracks or following each other? parallel tracks in HO need a 2" spacing, so 22" radius plus 2" (for double track) takes you to a 48" curve and you need 2" on the side of that. a 4track line would only be up to a 28" radius.
    See if you want to run trains or switch cars or a mix. You could put in narrow peninsulas with no loops that could be industrial areas or a passenger station, but allow you to run around the outside.
    Look for track planning books by John Armstrong. He had a lot of ideas and techniques. His "Givens and druthers" table is a very concise list of what you want from your railway.
    Consider also how many people will come over to run trains with you. Most of us find it's not more than 3. Also consider how big your friends (and you) are; this will affect the aisle widths. 36" will take most people one at a time, and will allow 2 moderate people to pass. (There's a funny cartoon of two of the NMRA senior executive jammed in an aisle.)
  14. Pitchwife

    Pitchwife Dreamer

    See Rob, I told you you'ld get too many answers. :D :D :D
    Every thing everyone is telling you is good advice and valid points. Get the software, decide what you would like to include in your layout and see how that fits in your available space in each scale. Post some plans to give these guys more fodder and then sit back. :D :D
    Remember though, in the end it's YOUR layout so pick through the advice (all of it good of course :D ) and do what will make you happy.
    This is my favorite phase, because you can build up, tear down and rearrange to your heart's content and not waste more than a little time. :thumb: :thumb:
  15. rabbott22

    rabbott22 New Member

    Yes I'm getting super advice and I can't sleep now trying to plan this out. I'm not even ready to build a plateform yet and I have allerday placed my trees in my head.:D I can tell now that I need to slow down with the small stuff and start working on what I have to work with. I'm going out now to work on that old truck and try to get it running so i can get it moved outside. Then I will have a beter idea on my space. Thanks again everyone and I will be back once i get a little farther.

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