How to best use this room??

Discussion in 'HO Scale Model Trains' started by Nazgul, Jan 25, 2006.

  1. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    I was thinking in terms of having a cart or removable section run around that corner in front of the pipes and valves. If you need access, just disconnect the section and move it out of the way.
  2. FiatFan

    FiatFan Member

    I've been thinking about your area and have a couple of ideas. If you want continuous running, you could put a loopback on the 4' peninsula. This would give you 22" radius curves in that area. Not too realistic but workable. Pewrhaps it could loop around a roundhouse/turntable.

    In the 5' wide area, you could use a helix with about 28" radius and put an inner loop that doubles back to the first level with 26" radius. Assuming the helix will be covered, the broader curves will reduce the chance for derailments while the train is out of sight (not that anything could ever go wrong!). The second level could be either staging or another town or two. As far as the boys are concerned, if they need access to the upper level, perhaps you could provide one of those round rolling step stools often seen in offices. They are easy to use and to move and don't take up too much space.

    Whatever you decide, good luck and you and the boys have fun!

  3. johnny b

    johnny b Member

    well since the stripper thing doesn't seem to be getting much support I do have a few things in mind . I currentlly am building in N scale and that much room would give me unlimited possibilties. I have worked a lot with HO though. The suggestions about decide what kind of trains your gonna run so you can choose your turning radius' is a good planning idea. Also consider a few things from the building (house) piont of view. Try to keep a nice clear area in front of the door you enter from. You don't want people being crammed up agianst the layout as they enter. Two you have to keep that water meter clear. Its nice to think a crawl space to it will work but a few years ago mine went bad and leaked all over the laundery room . The water dept. workers don't want to have to crawl to it and they really don't care about all your worl on your train. Also consider your lighting now . Plan to install lights over were the train will be and what kind of lights. Easier to install them now than after the layout is there . I did copy your room layout and for what it will be worth I will also try to give you some layout ideas . Good luck
  4. Nazgul

    Nazgul Active Member

    Guys, I just want to say something... this thread is the first time I've posted here and I can't believe the passion and expertise you all have and your willingness to take the time to share your thoughts and opinions. I've "lurked" here a couple of months reading, reading, and reading. It just kind of hits home when your own questions get answered.Just wanted to say, Tom I understand what your suggesting and I think that would be fine. I would probably leave the 5' end unsceniked to get some trains running for the boys and do the helix and 2nd level later...johnny b any layout ideas would be more than welcome. hadn't thought about lighting.
  5. ocalicreek

    ocalicreek Member

    TV thought

    Here's an idea for the TV.

    If memory serves me right, I recall an article in MR (actually a series) by Tony Koester on the coal branch extension he added to the AM in the adjoining room. He built a fascia and shelves into the layout and room that looked like paneling, a more refined look. There was a TV in one corner beneath the layout.

    But, his layout was set at a high level and if you're going to be making it kid friendly that may not work. Looks like your TV may fit though, if you're willing to put it closer to the floor.


    OH, layout ideas are forming in my head...
  6. dsfraser

    dsfraser Member

    Here's another thought. Put some elbows in your water line just below the ceiling. Move it as close to the wall as the meter will allow. Move the meter well above the layout, and angle it so you (they) can see it easily. Make sure you can reach the cutoff easily. Chop the pipe going into the wall and add a couple of more elbows. Lose the wall, lose the closet, and you've got yourself a train room.

    Get permits and hire a plumber to ensure it's done right. No one will object if your meter is close to the ceiling as long as it is visible. No one will object to moving the shutoff valve as long as you can reach it readily (in an emergency). It will cost a few bucks, as much as one or maybe two locomotives, but you'll have a train room!

    Scott Fraser
    Calgary, Alberta
  7. ocalicreek

    ocalicreek Member

    ok here 'tis

    First off, I like Scott's suggestions alot. With this plan below, you can stretch the peninsula out a couple more feet.


    Attached Files:

  8. ocalicreek

    ocalicreek Member


    Also, I planned in some room right infront of the TV for sitting around on beanbag chairs. The racks with toys could live under the layout, hidden behind it's tasteful skirt of course, in that general vicinity.

    The mirror at the end of the yard is an idea from Great Divide on the G&D, not original, but if done well could work in your situation. See also the Blood, Sweat & Tears website ( for that technique well done on another layout without the yard, but in an urban setting. It's in the Gallery section under Bar Harbor. (Is that pronounced Bah Habah?) In a rural scene it could be a mine in a hollow somewhere with strings of coal hoppers reflected, etc.

    Another thing I like about the aforementioned BS&T is the simplicity of the track arrangement. If you're hankerin to get trains up and running soon then think simple with room to add on as you go. Get a loop going then as their interest grows beyond that (and yours) add in the sidings, switching opportunities, etc. You mentioned in a previous post your interest in wanting to do some switching, I think.

  9. Nazgul

    Nazgul Active Member

    Thanks Scott and Galen for the great ideas. the thought never really occurred to me to move or change meter/valve. I don't think My BOSS would go for that. I can hear it now, "I thought you just wanted to put some trains in the basement and now you want to GUT it"! Spoken with love of course. But I'll float it by her and try to "bribery". Galen, before you posted I was trying different things, trying to keep access to everything, here's what I came up with, tell me what you think...anybody...

    Attached Files:

  10. FiatFan

    FiatFan Member

    Nazgul, all of the last three revisions show some promise. One thing you might consider is offering to use the area under the table for toy/game storage. This would allow you to remove the closet. Even if you go with one of the first two revisions, removing the closet will improve the useability of the room.


    PS Have you read The Silmarillion?
  11. ocalicreek

    ocalicreek Member

    3 plans


    the first pic, I like it alot. Seems to be a good use of the space, and the allotment you've left for getting between the layout and closet is tight, but passable. Just keep in mind what you might want to put there. Simple and scenic may be best, since any industry (or complex trackwork) that's a pain to access won't ever get serviced.

    next pic seems simple enough, but unless shared space is a huge concern, go with the first one over this one. The extra mainline you get from the first one will be worth it since you can include a straight section between turnback curves to avoid a sharp continuous s-curve. Unless, of course, you're going with an up-and-over or figure eight or some other configuration with reverse loops, where straight trackage is built in. But in the case of the up-and-over, you'd still want as much room as you can get to reduce grades (unless you're sticking with short trains and/or geared locos, or double headers/helpers)

    plan 3...pretty cool, just offer that long wall as a place for some nice shelving/storage units (and the air hockey?) as incentive and a way to placate the closet demo. Now the long blob sticking out into the room, I'd do away with the round end and just make it a long branch. And I'd push it as far into the room as I can go, at least as far as the door. Run it a branch line out to a mine, or to a little town with a timesaver built in. Use access from both sides as an opportunity to really detail some fun scenes. OR, make it a yard/terminal for staging the trains that will run around the layout. Just incorporate a way to turn locos - perhaps the simplest will be a wye leading into the yard. I wouldn't make it a major passenger terminal, since the curves you've got available don't lend themselves to long passenger equipment.

    Okay, keep the good creative juices flowing! Just don't get analysis paralysis! Pick a good plan after you've narrowed them down, set a timetable and build it! Like someone said on another thread, benchwork is cheap (compared to the rest we need to build our miniature worlds).

  12. cidchase

    cidchase Active Member

    Yes, I'm with #3, but extend the peninsulas out as far as possible instead of having the yard extend out into the room. More room for extended scenery and elevation changes, if desired. Loco direction can always be changed using a crossover, which is less proto as far as operations go, I think, but easier to incorporate into the layout.
    I also like #1, which is basically your original idea, but #3 seems like you have better use of the stairs end of the room.
    Just my ideas...:) :)
  13. Nazgul

    Nazgul Active Member

    Tom, under table storage..great idea. I also agree the closet should go. (yes I've read the silmarillion) loved it! O.K. GUYS These are my 3 favorites...WHICH ONE?

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  14. FiatFan

    FiatFan Member

    I would go with #3. You can put up view blocks down the center of the two peninsulas and give the feeling of separate scenes. This will also allow you to move along with the train. If the boys are involved, they can each have an operating area. The long stretch along the wall can be hidden staging. You can also allow for continuous running with very little difficulty and it will not detract from the realism of the scene.

    Best of luck!

  15. ocalicreek

    ocalicreek Member

    well, it depends

    I'd say now is the time to bring in your other druthers. What other variables will guide the layout's construction and design?

    framework height?

    railhead height?

    legs or shelves?

    box frame or L girder?

    And the more aesthetic decisions, like:



    And what balance do you wish to find between playing-with-trains and operations? (not to start a big discussion, but let's face it, folks, we all fall somewhere on this spectrum) How much switching vs. continuous running? How quickly do you want to be up and running? Control systems - DC, DCC?

    A freelanced steam era layout set in WV coal country designed for continuous running with a branch line up to a mine, a mining town, and an interchange with an actual prototype run with wireless DCC built on L-girder and riser framing with hand-laid track will be very different from a...

    Hoosier road in the 60's hauling grain with level crossings and interchange with other roads, fictional or otherwise, out in the middle of nowhere with a grain elevator as the major industry built on foam sheets and box frame construction using DC cab control at fixed control panels and flex track...OR

    A completely freelanced "I just wanna run trains" layout set down with sectional track (please don''s just an example...use flextrack at least) on a framed plywood base with paper grass mats and plasticville snap-together buildings. Hey, if that puts a fire in your boiler, go for it! Just figure it out before you cut that first piece of wood, or foam, whatever.

  16. Nazgul

    Nazgul Active Member

    After careful consideration, weighing all the pros and cons, I've "decided of my own free will" to WIFE'S idea

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  17. zedob

    zedob Member

    Wow, boy did she whittle down your options. What is it now, 18" x 30"?
  18. johnny b

    johnny b Member

    I think #2 will give you a nice layout space and atill leave you some good space for the TV ( with room to sit back and watch it).
  19. FiatFan

    FiatFan Member

    Now, that's funny!! hamr

  20. Nazgul

    Nazgul Active Member

    Gentlemen, I've learned more in the last few days then I have in a long time. Not just about model railroading but also about compromise. It is a difficult balancing act between what I would like and what the family needs. I am not at home at the moment so I can't post a picture of the (final??) bench plan but I will do so later this afternoon. In essence it is an abbreviated version of #3 that will allow for future expansion as the room becomes less playroom and more trainroom in the comming years. It is also the largest practical bench plan I can have and still allow the room to be utilized for other family activities. I believe, in the long run, that will be a good thing and will allow me and the boys a better opportunity to get the plan going and see "results" sooner so their enthusiasim wont waiver. I will also attempt to answer the specific questions raised about height, era, steam/diesel,switching/continuous, ect. at that time.
    So stay with me...I've got a feeling THAT was the "easy" part.sign1

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