HO Layout 5'x12' -- Criticisms and Comments are appreciated.

Discussion in 'Track Planning' started by CowDung, Jun 21, 2007.

  1. CowDung

    CowDung New Member

    Submitted for critical review is my latest track plan. Ideally, construction will begin this fall to have something for the kids to use during the Winter months.

    Nominal size is 5x12 with a wall along the left side. The bottom (front) side is pretty wide open and the other sides are open enough to provide enough access to the tracks.

    It will likely be a midwestern style landscape (relatively flat). I don't plan to keep to a strict era, but I'm leaning toward something where my steamers and older diesels can coexist--maybe 1930-1960...

    Along with myself, the primary operators will be my kids (ages 2 and 4). Most operations will be freight runs in continuous loops with occasional stops at various places for cargo pickups/dropoffs.

    The radii are all 22" and 24".

    I'm planning to run 2 trains at once--perhaps more once I get around to implementing a block control system. I have no plans on doing DCC.

    Attached Files:

  2. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    I like it. Kids generally like to watch the trains run, and you have room to run 2 in oposite directions with out interfering with each other. You also have enough industrial sidings to make for some interesting operation and you put in an access hatchto allow you to reach the back of the layout. I'm also glad that you resisted the temptation to try to fit a yard into the layout. In my opinion, yards require just too much space to be usable to include one on a small layout. You can also use that third track to the inside of the 2 ovals on the left to go from industry to industry without disrupting your kids fun with their trains. I think that layout is close to perfect for a table of that size in the space you have for it. At ages 2 and 4, your kids may be a bit young to operate the trains themselves, but the 4 year old is certainly close to an age to start operating a train.
  3. CowDung

    CowDung New Member

    Thanks for the kind words.

    The kids love running the train around the little single loop I put down on some scrap wallboard last winter--hopefully the additional loop will end the "It's my turn now" arguments...
  4. tillsbury

    tillsbury Member

    Certainly he is. My 3-year-old is quite happy driving trains, selecting locos and chaging turnouts. No, correction, he's *very* happy usually... :mrgreen: Although that's on DCC, so he doesn't have blocks to worry about.

    I do like that plan, and agree that you've managed not to shove too much into it. I run N-scale but the same problems exist -- adding bits and pieces to your plan can ruin it. Try to avoid the temptation and just build what you've drawn!

  5. ocalicreek

    ocalicreek Member

    If you plan on using kadee couplers and uncoupling magnets, then the access hole may not be necessary. That's also assuming the layout is low enough for a standing adult to reach in to rerail. Should be fun.
  6. CowDung

    CowDung New Member

    If all goes as planned, I will have a computer controlling the blocks and switches so the kids can operate without having to manually switch the blocks...
  7. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    I forgot that a layout designed for 2 & 4 year olds to operate will be down near 12 inches off the floor. If you leave a strategically placed "parking lot" on your layout as a place to put a hand for support and balance, a 5' wide layout 12 inches off the floor would not need an access hatch.
  8. CowDung

    CowDung New Member

    It's actually going to be a bit higher (it helps to keep the Pugs off the mainline). The layout we currently use is a bit lower than normal table height--around 30 inches high. The boys currently stand on stools, but I'll probably build a continuous step along the side for them. The stool actually helps them find their 'operator station' position. The only disadvantage is that they sometimes forget that they are standing on stools...

    The access hatch is there more for the boys as it is for me. I figure they would like to have an 'inside' view of the trains going around them.
  9. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

    DCC is essentially a LAN for trains. All sorts of automated operation is possible, from simplifying reverse loops, to full-on signalling and automated control. But the biggest advantage to a mid-sized layout like yours is the simplification of the wiring - no block required for basic operation of trains.

    Of course, with young operators, you have to balance the ease of operation (PRO) with the fact that you can have "cornfield meets" (CON)... ;) :D

  10. CowDung

    CowDung New Member

    I already have acquired most of the stuff I need for an automated block control system. I get lots of obsoleted/spare parts from work for free/cheap. I am a controls engineer in my real life, so the wiring and programming don't bother me.

    A click or two on the computer screen will let the kids choose the route for the trains to follow and the blocks will automatically switch on/off as the sensors detect the train approaching the next block. The kids can still control speed and start and stop the trains like they do now.
  11. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

    Excellent - complicated wiring like that scares me a bit ;) :D so I am happy to have DCC make it simple for me.

    Just goes to show that there are all sorts of "right answers" - not to mention skill sets - in this hobby :)

    I am sure the kids will have loads of fun!


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