I need some help

Discussion in 'Track Planning' started by oldtanker, Dec 11, 2006.

  1. oldtanker

    oldtanker Member

    This is for an HO layout. I would like a double mainline with continuous running for the little folks and some switching for the older ones.


    The larger area is 4x8, the bridges are 18"x34 1/3" and the smaller long area is 30"x8'.
    The ends on the top and right are on a wall and the others are open to include the "pit".

    I want a small town, a gravel operation, part of a US Army base and some other light industry.

    Any and all suggestions are welcome.

  2. railohio

    railohio Active Member

    How much do you want to operate: Are you more interested in realistic operations or just watching them run? What era do you plan to model? Do you have any equipment already that would require special considerations? Is this going to be free-standing in the middle of the room or against one, two, or three walls?

    Seems to me like you're well on your way to a great layout; you've identified the available space well and what you want to put it in doesn't seem to be outlandish.
  3. oldtanker

    oldtanker Member

    Brian, it is against 2 walls, top and right side. I don't think realistic ops are really going to be important and my grand children from 3 to 8 are going to help operate it.

  4. railohio

    railohio Active Member

    That makes things much easier. I'll start doodling something when I get home this evening. I'm sure they'll be some others posted by then, too.
  5. oldtanker

    oldtanker Member

    Thanks Brian, I've tried the track planning programs but all they do is make me want to assault my computer with a hammer.

  6. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

    I think you mean "fix"... :) :D sign1

  7. oldtanker

    oldtanker Member

    Andrew, no I mean ASSAULT!!!!

  8. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    Rick, I don't know how to draw or post pics which is why you will see on my posts I try drawing "word pictures" and usually end up offering what I hope are helpful suggestions to layouts others have drawn. I'm thinking the solution for what you want is really 2 layouts with a couple of connections.

    I think from previous threads that you are looking to run f-units, gp units, & switchers, all 4 axle power. If you limit yourself to 4 axle power, and resist temptation to buy modern, long chassis dash 8-44cw, sd70macs, etc. then you can run on 18 inch radius, and perhaps even a 15 inch radius on some industrial spur tracks.

    I would do the mainline on the 4x8 table. You could use a "folded figure 8" for the mainline. Essentially 2 36" x 40" loops that go up and over or down and under each other for the mainline. This would give the kids the maximum mainline operations for them to run the trains on. Do some mountain scenery, with a river accross the middle at a slight diagonal long ways. Maybe some mountains along the pit on the back of the 4x8 section. This would allow for bridges and tunnels, all the things kids really like to watch trains go through, over, and under.

    I would shift the "operating pit" to the left so that the "bridge on the right is 30" wide while the one on the left is only 6 inches wide. Make the 6 inch wide bridbge a hinged lift up for access. Your back will thank you! Put a switch on the lower tracks at each end of the mainline going over the bridge on the left and to the back side near the wall on the right. Put in insulators with double pole double throw switches so that you can operate the layout as 2 layouts.

    Now you have space to design a switching layout in a "L" shape 8' x 30" with a 18" x 30" "L" extension on the right side. the switching layout should have a double track mainline that comes off of each of the switches coming off either end of the 4 x 8. This will alow an "in" lead and an "out" lead.

    Install 2 control panels. One throttle will control the mainline from outside of the 4 x 8 section in the bottom of your picture. The other panel will be in the operating pit, facing the switching section of the layout. You will also need at least one dead end spur track that has a power routing switch, or an insulator with an off switch.

    Now I'll describe how to operate it with the grand kids. They will run a train on the 4 x 8 until they start to get bored. When they start to get bored, have them slow down the train at the facing point switch onto the switching section. Throw the switch and bring their train into the switching section. Your switch engine is already parked on the spur with the power off. As the train crosses the gap, you take it over from the industrial yard panel. Drop the caboose off the train just before you get to the switch that goes from the single track transition to the double track main through the industrial section. After you cross the switch onto the double track portion and once the last car clears the switch, you drop the rest of the train on the empty track, and move the locomotive on past the other single track to double track switch. Throw both of the switches on both ends of the single track to double track sections, and hook up the locomotive to the new train you made up while they were running on the 4 x 8 mainline. Continue backing after hook up to pick up the cabboose you dropped earlier, and then take the train back out on the 4 x 8 main on the other leg for the grandkids to run the new train. You will now have a bunch of new cars to spot at the industries. You can also use this to teach them to share. You give each child the chance to operate 5 laps around the 4 x8 or 10 laps around the 4 x 8 or whatever numbers you set. Then you bring the train to the switching section, change the cars, and the next one gets their turn to run the 4 x 8 mainline for an equal number of laps.

    One last suggestion that I forgot, but it may be obvious. If you put mountains and tunnels on the back side of the 4 x 8 leave "window" opennings to the operating pit so that you can rerail any cars that come off the tracks in the tunnels. Put guard rails on all bridges and in the tunnels, or maybe even use Atlas rerailing sections exclusively in the hidden tracks in the tunnels to help with railing cars or rerailing some that have derailed. Also a grade crossing in the switching section with an Atlas rerailer will make it easier to put the engines and cars on the tracks.
  9. oldtanker

    oldtanker Member

    Russ, I was thinking that with going to flex track I may put 22" curves in. Don't know yet. As it stands I'll be running switchers and Gp's, the grandkids F7s.

    Folded Figure 8???

  10. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    First think of a figure 8 where the track goes up and over itself at the crossing. Suppose it was folded so that it was 2 ovals going up and over itself. The first oval starts at bench level and as it comes out of the first turn gradually starts climbing so that it crosses over itself on a bridge when it gets back to the starting point. Imediately after coming off the bridge, the track starts back down so that it is back at bench level when it gets back to the starting point. With a 22 inch radius you will need 44 inches to make a "U" turn. The 2 ovals will need to be offset so it doesn't turn into a helix. A 20 inch radius would give you 8 inches to play with for the off set. I think with 44 inches, you will have the track running too close to the edge if you try to offset the upper and lower tracks from each other. Something might work by combining 18 inch radius with 22 inch radius. Hopefully someone who can put up pictures will see what I'm talking about and draw it for you in this thread.
  11. oldtanker

    oldtanker Member

    OK got ya! I'll have to think on that.

  12. TrainClown

    TrainClown Member

    Think think think. Seems all anyone around here wants you to do is think. sign1

    Well here is something to think about.

    Double main line.

    20" and 22" curves on main line. 18" in yard and sidings.

    Small yard.

    Lots of sidings for your discretion.

    All or part..... It's up to you.

    Scenic as you please.


    Attached Files:

  13. oldtanker

    oldtanker Member

    TC thanks, that looks very interesting.

    My big problem is no imagination and the fact that I can lead troops but have no confidence in doing something like this, go figure.

  14. railohio

    railohio Active Member

    TrainClown posted about what I was thinking about doing, just needs a little "tweaking" for improved operating. I'll doodle something later tonight and scan it once I get this bloody British lit final finished.
  15. oldtanker

    oldtanker Member

    OK Brian, Thanks

  16. railohio

    railohio Active Member

    General thoughts as I take a break from the caustic wit of Jonathan Swift:

    The double track mainline is good as-is; you probably won't be able to squeeze in a longer run no matter what you do. I'd suggest making the smaller "upper" table into a sort of a staging yard and the larger "lower" table into a switching game. You'll want a way to keep trains on the layout ready to run for the kids as they do have short attention spans and will probably want to swap trains a lot. You'll also want a yard for your informal operations for the feel of "going somewhere." A switching puzzle works for you to enjoy now and for them when they are older. I'd also suggest adding a "third main" up one side of the layout to connect the yard to the industrial district without fouling the main; this will allow you to do some running while the kids are playing. Further, I'd suggest removing as many industrial tracks from the mains as possible tracks to simplify construction and maintenence. They could all be run off two industrial branches, one from the center of the mains and one from the outside. Also consider superelevating or "banking" the major curves on the mainline to allow the kids a little wiggle room to run 'em fast. What TrainClown already has posted is a very good start for a layout like this.
  17. oldtanker

    oldtanker Member

    OK Brian, that helps, between you and TC I may have something to really brag about!

  18. TrainClown

    TrainClown Member

    Interesting input, Brian.

    I slapped this together from your suggestions as I just couldn't leave it alone, and, your ideas are good-uns.

    For your perusal.

    TC :thumb:

    Attached Files:

  19. railohio

    railohio Active Member

    What's your reasoning for the "upper" yard or is just a bunch of tracks thrown together? I'd say less is more for that part; just put a simple ladder to four or five tracks that'll hold full trains ready to go for the kids. Otherwise I think we're still makin' progress.

    Now, back to the delightfully naughty mind of Robert Herrick...
  20. oldtanker

    oldtanker Member

    I wish that I could look at a shape for a layout and see what you guys see, thanks!


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