Hi. Newb looking for advice

Discussion in 'Track Planning' started by mistressmotorsp, Feb 1, 2007.

  1. Hi all. I've been lurking for a while, but I am ready to start building a layout and would like some suggestions (you all haven't heard that before, right?)

    I've been out of trains for 25 years. Used to have HO, but the current house doesn't have room. But, my 11 year old really wants to build a layout with me. An N gauge door layout will fit just fine. So, these are her (yes, her) givens and druthers:
    1. Must be able to run two trains at once
    2. Size will be 36x80, we already have the door.
    3. Gotta have a bridge and a tunnel and a reasonable long mainline run.
    4. Absolutely don't care about eras, road names, etc. If it's pretty, it goes on the layout. If a Santa Fe engine pulls Southern passenger cars, so be it.
    5. This one's mine - I like engines, so I wanted to be able to keep several on the layout and switch them out often.
    6. Good first time learning experience for building scenery, wiring, etc.
    7. Running trains is more important than realistic switching, although some switching should be available.
    8. Must allow for some long passenger cars and steam locos, at least on the outside loop.

    I looked all over the place for decent track plans, and basically took one we both liked from http://www.naisp.net/mfischer/m_train2.htm and modded it to allow a second mainline and for Kato Unitrak instead of Atlas because I already have a bunch of Unitrak. Except for one loop, I was able to design a min radius of 12.375 inches or larger.

    The only area that concerns me is the highlighted 11" radius loop around the yard that also has a 3.4 degree incline. How bad is this? Any ideas on how to mod the layout to avoid it? I figured I needed 1.75" of height to clear, is that enough or too much? The opposite grade is 2%.

    Of course, any ideas on other parts of the layour would also be appreciated. Thanks in advance for any help.

    If the picture doesn't load, here's the link:


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  2. Jim Krause

    Jim Krause Active Member

    I'll just say welcome. I'm an HO and On30 modeler so I'll leave you in the capable hands of some great N scalers here on The Gauge.
  3. prodigy2k7

    prodigy2k7 Member

    I like that inner loop line, pretty interesting how it goes over the middle area.
    Im also HO, but a newbie :p lol
  4. Triplex

    Triplex Active Member

    You'll probably need 1.75" from railhead to bottom of bridge - about 2" or more railhead-to-railhead.
  5. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    That looks like a great design you have posted. In order to get all of your "over/unders" to fit without having the grades too steep, and still have enough clearance between the track and the bottom of the bridges, I would suggest building the layout on a piece of foam @1-2 inches thick glued to the door. On the inside loop, carve the foam away to make a cut going out of the crossover switches at top of the drawing to help get under the track in both places where it crosses over. Then you will have to make a grade to gently bring the upper track back down to grade level through the entire straight section at the bottom of the drawing, so that you are back to grade as the train goes into the curve at the right end of the layout.
  6. tetters

    tetters Rail Spiking Fool!

    I'm new at this too, but I was thinking the same thing as Russ. Make the under track go down while having the over track go up.
  7. Thanks for the suggestion. I think it would be easy (as I was going to use foam over the door anyway) to make the upper siding go down under the bridge. In the yard area, though, I really wanted that whole area to be flat, which means my grade really can't start until after the last turnout in the upper right. I suppose I could change my mind and have a very slight (0.5-1.0%) grade through the passing siding/main to get the tracks under the bridge and have the rest of the yard tracks be flat from where they turn off the main. This could work since all the turnouts for the yard start at what would be the "low" end of the main. This would certainly solve the grade problem and get me under 3% at the critical point. I also suppose I could make the steep grad always be the "down" direction, but what fun is that?

    Any other ideas out there?

  8. The mockup has been started. Everything is just temporary while I check track, etc., but it works! My 4-8-2 pulls happily along the entire layout. Still need to try backing trains around to see what happens, but I'm optimistic. Still also need to add elevation to the outer loop and put the whole darn thing on 2 inch risers since I'm going to have a creek cutting through a bunch of the layout.

    I think before I do anything else, I'm going to make a skirt for under the door to hide wiring, mount controllers, etc.

    Stay tuned...


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  9. prodigy2k7

    prodigy2k7 Member

    Pretty nice looking. =)

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