Here's what I have to work with

Discussion in 'Track Planning' started by Quinn222, Nov 27, 2006.

  1. Quinn222

    Quinn222 Member

    I've got half the garage, but with some limitations. As you can see on the plan at one end I have to have access to the electrical panels and there is a water heater. There is a 24" bench that runs the full length of the garage and about 16feet of it is available for use as part of the layout. There is storage underneath it which must be retained.
    Now for the tricky part. I live in Hurricaine Country. In case of a major storm the layout has to move into the house to make room for the second car in the garage. The part on the bench will be permanant. If I add the area in green as the layout I only have the one spot where things would need to be joined. I could also split the rest of the green area in two somewhere to make it fit into the house. That dark line down the middle is a scene divider.
    In terms of a plan I love what Nazgul has been doing and thought about a variation of that, but I don't have access all around since that bench is against the wall so it would put parts of the layout out of reach. Recently I've been looking at Cliff Powers layout and even though it's way bigger that I have room for (or skill for! I'm new to this) most of it is on 24" deep benchwork. I could do something like that. We're thinking rolling hills, not mountains and a rural landscape. Some elevation changes, continuous running with some switching and a yard (down near the electrical boxes I think. The only equipment I have is a beautiful Pennsylvania Railroad pre-war K4 Pacific. Any ideas? Input? (HO scale by the way)


    Thanks, Christina
  2. LongIslandTom

    LongIslandTom Member

    You can do what many of us with limited space do-- build modular.

    In the space you colored green, you can fit four 2ft. x 4ft scenicked modules in that space, connected by unscenicked curved-track modules... That way the layout remains portable and can be packed away for easy moving.

    Some people do really amazing stuff with modular modeling. Check out Bob Boudreau's Fundy Northern modules:

  3. Collyn

    Collyn Member

    if you want countinous runnung like you said you need at least 48" to turn around or a duck under/ lift up section
  4. Quinn222

    Quinn222 Member

    I have 48" in the wide green section and there is enough room to play with that I could add a few inches if I need to. I was thinking continuous running in that area. It's 4x14 and the aisle is 3 ft. wide, so I could borrow a little bit from there if I need it.

    I originally drew this plan (simplified with no spurs ar sidings and I'd curve the track some probably) using 18" radius. But then I thought if I keep the continuous running to the green area I can do something interesting there and I can broaden the table at the end near the water heater probably by a foot if I need to (to five feet). I could also cut off the angles inside the aisle in the base of the 'u' to give me a little more room there. I have access to the far right side from both sides so I was thinking the return track there going back to the grey bench can be hidden in a tunnel. I alse have access to the green area from both sides. It's only along the top that I have single side access.

  5. LongIslandTom

    LongIslandTom Member

    If portability is important, you definitely want to build modular. Standard modular building practices would be to use 2ft. x 4ft. modules. I suspect you will most likely need to break down the layout on average 3 times a year (that's the average times per year the southeast gets hit/sideswiped by hurricanes, right?).

    This would be the ideal modular layout in your situation I think:

    Attached Files:

  6. Quinn222

    Quinn222 Member

    I'll have to look more into modules. I do know we don't want any unsceniced areas, even it it is in modules it's going to have to look as though it isn't, totally seamless. Having to move it is something that would probably happen once every three or four years unless we have a really bad year like 2004. I'd only have to worry about it if we were getting hit with a three or higher. I wish we had basements here but if you try to dig one what you get is an indoor pool.
  7. LongIslandTom

    LongIslandTom Member

    You can scenick the connecting curve modules if you want.. Most of us in modular clubs don't bother because they simply connect one member's modules to another.. But for your own application yea nothing wrong with scenicking the curve connects.

    As far as moving a layout around goes, the reason why modular clubs usually go with 2x4s is because that's the largest size one can move easily. Any bigger than that, it's very difficult to manhandle.

    Even a blank sheet of 4x8 plywood requires at least 2 people to move around, and even then one can only get that through a door with difficulty, and seldom without bumps here and there. If a piece of 4x8 plywood has been scenicked, forget it. Move it through a door and you will invariably get some damage to the scenery.

    There will be seams where modules join, but you can disguise them reasonably well (like the Fundy Northern I linked to earlier).

    Other options if you want a big solid layout:

    - Put it on a rotating frame. When not in use, rotate it into a vertical position for storage. There have been many articles over the years in Model Railroader and other magazines on how to do this.

    - Put it on winches and pulleys, and lift it up and suspend it from the garage ceiling and park your car underneath..

    All these will still involve seams though.

    Good luck whatever you choose! :thumb:
  8. Quinn222

    Quinn222 Member

    I'm really intrugued by the module idea. My dad and I are building it together and he's fairly frail so modules would be a great way for him to work on it without feeling overwhelmed by something too big.
  9. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery


    Take a look over at the Modular Forum. There's some good info there, and the first thread has a bunch of resources. Like any other part of this hobby, there are several "right" answers to the modular approach, but sounds like your Dad might benefit from the samll square footage, weight, and portability aspects to be sure. One thing I really like is no crawling underneath to wire it...! ;)

  10. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    I think that if it is always going to go together the same way, and doesn't need to be integrated into a modular club, you should think "sectional" rather than "modular." It may seem like splitting hairs, but in modular railroading, all of the modules need to hook up to all of the other modules in any configuration that fits the desired set up. That means that tracks have to be precisely positioned at the ends of the modules so that they always meet the other module's tracks no matter which other module is used. In your case, you can put down your track wherever you want it to meet your requirements because the layout will always be put back together the same way.

    To take the layout apart, you can't do seamless scenery unless you are willing to cut through the scenery to take the layout apart and then redo the scenery when it goes back together. There are a couple of tricks you can do to minimize the break between sections.

    1-Run your roadbed, ballast, and ties all the way to the edge of the benchwork, then just use pieces of rail and rail joiners to connect track where it bridges the sections.

    2-If you are modeling open country, put the sctions together with a piece of butcher paper or wax paper clamped vertically between the sections. Build scenery up to the paper, and when it is complete remove the paper. You will only have a small seam between sections.

    3- If you can bridge the sections with structures, or parking lots, or both that are on separate bases that lift out. Some borders of shrubs made from ground foam, or other materials to hide the edge a bit wold camouflage things nicely.

    Finally, if the layout sections are on castors they would be easier to move during the hurricane season.
  11. Quinn222

    Quinn222 Member

    Russ, your idea is more along the lines of what I was thinking. I can fit several fairly large pieces into the house. I have a 4x8 right now for my holiday loop and we don't really worry about how anything looks when bringing stuff in for a storm, we just cram it all in. I have 12 foot wide doors into the house so fitting it through the door isn't really a problem either. So maybe if I combine the idea of modules with the larger size of 'sections' I'd have the answer.

    I was thinking just one large piece that attached in the two foot spot between the green and the grey. If I had folding legs then I could just tip the whole thing onto it's side to get a car in. That seems frought with danger though for scenery. Pieces I could move and keep upright would be safe I'd think. I'm going to use foam, so with any luck it will not weight too much.

    I lived here for 25 years and never had to bring anything in for a storm until 2004/5 season. I don't want to push my luck and make any assumptions though at this point!

  12. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    Sections don't have to be large, in fact they can be the same size a modules. The difference is that modules, strictly speaking, are built to standards that allow interchangeability. If I build a module for use on the modular club layout, I have to run a double track mainline, and the two tracks have to be set at 6 inch and 8 inch centers from the front edge on both ends. A sectional layout isn't rstricted to those sorts of design limitations.

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