Intoduction and First layout

Discussion in 'HO Scale Model Trains' started by Amrap1, Nov 24, 2006.

  1. Amrap1

    Amrap1 Member

  2. pgandw

    pgandw Active Member

    Ed, that is a very steep grade - about 6%. Your engines will likely only pull a handful of cars at the very most up that grade. Some will barely do the grade themselves. Ideally, you should reduce the grade to less than 4%, which is a 4 inch rise in 100" (8+ ft).

    my thoughts, your choices
  3. Amrap1

    Amrap1 Member


    Duh....I didn't even think about the grade! I was just fitting in what I wanted for the outside loop. After reading your post, I put 5 cars on and it barely made it up on full speed. This is why I'm here. Learning thru more experienced people!

  4. Amrap1

    Amrap1 Member

    I think what my problem is...besides being new at that I don't have a vision of what I want my layout to look like when it's done. Yea I's NEVER done. If I had all the room..I'd build a layout that was a 30 foot by 3 foot modular layout like I've seen at the many train shows I've been to. I've also seen smaller double helix layouts, but I don't think I'm capable of building that. I don't want a train that just goes around a circle and I don't want to win an award for the best layout ever.

  5. rfmicro

    rfmicro Member

    Hi Ed,
    One of the reasons a RR layout never seems to be finished is because that 'vision thing' keeps changing as time passes by. You will see many folks who have finished the benchwork and laid track, but never get to the scenery because they are more interested in RR operations then they are in completing the layout.

    You have an excellent start, now comes that 'vision thing'. You bought a bunch of stuff, I'm sure, because you could invision it on your layout. So take some large lined graph paper, or use a PC graphics program, and lay out your benchwork keeping it generally to scale. Next divide your layout into sections or areas. It appears from your initial layout that you want a continuous run that can be single track or dual track so you can operate mutiple trains going in different directions. You have two end areas on your layout that will provide loop backs for continous loops. If desired, you can use switches and make one or both the main tracks into reverse loops. Perhaps you want a staging yard. Either one of those thinner longer areas of your layout would handle a small staging yard. Perhaps the other of those long, thin sections could be what is called a 'time saver' with scattered small industries for incoming and outgoing rail deliveries. On those other two bulbus areas, perhaps one could support a turntable, roundhouse and steam/diesel maintenance facilities. On the other, perhaps some mountains with with either a saw mill complex or mine operations.

    The point is to plan out what you want your layout to look like and then sketch it out to make sure whether it will all fit or not. If not then buy a bigger house with a bigger train room - not really <BG> You have obviously seen a lot of layouts on the web and perhaps certain ideas you would like to have on your own layout. As everthing has a footprint you should be able to sketch something out to see what fits and what doesn't. A saw mill can be 3' X 5' on the large size or 1' X 2' or less for a smaller version. Same with an ore mine.

    I'll sign off for now and let you develp that 'vision thing'. Good luck.

    Trent Mulkern
    Mechanicsville, MD
  6. Amrap1

    Amrap1 Member

    Went to a Train show today and picked up some good deals. I bought left and right Atlas turnouts NEW for $3 each. Picked up a NEW DCC Bachmann New York Central FT-A Loco for $15.00. Couldn't find the B unit anywhere!

    I found 2 Woodland Step 2 4% grade risers for $5 each. Funny thing was that in BOTH sets, the last section was 1/4" higher than the one before! Has anyone run into this?

    But, since I had to lower the height of my mountain, it all worked out! I don't have any pictures tonight. The wife took the camera to shoot Christmas lights...what a waste! LOL

  7. Amrap1

    Amrap1 Member

    It seems that for every 2 steps forward, I fall 1 step back. In reply #20 I have pictures of my flex-track joints. I joined about 10 pieces together and started laying them. How can I temporarily hlod them down? I tried 2 different types of pins, but the couplers hit them. Besides just flat head pins (which I don't have right now) any other suggestions????

  8. doctorwayne

    doctorwayne Active Member

    It's difficult to tell from the photos exactly what method you've used to join the sections of flextrack, or the brand of flextrack. Atlas flex has holes moulded in the centre of some ties, but you need to open them up from the underside. Atlas also makes blackened track spikes, and if you're using foam as the roadbed, simply insert a spike in a suitable hole, then push it into the foam using a pair of pliers. This will hold the track in place until you add ballast, and until that time, it's easy to pull the spikes and reposition the track if necessary.

  9. YmeBP

    YmeBP Member

    I'm just about as new as you are Ed :), i took my sons and a couple of his friends to the Philadelphia trian show and i've soooo hoocked it's not even funny. I've managed to pick up a ton of stuff on ebay and am poking around down in t he basement until i can refinish the attic for my train room in the summer.

    What type of foam is that and is it expensive?
    How does it compare to 1/4inch thick cork?

    I'm running on a 20$ per week train budget and trying to find a good underlayment. I found a great website for felt and plan to buy a couple rolls of balck green and brown for my bed and roads. :D

    Didn't see in the faq, is it o.k. to post links to store websites where we find deals?
  10. Amrap1

    Amrap1 Member

    The flextrack is Atlas. I slid one rail back and feed a slid out rail from the next section into the first one, thus "joining" the two pieces. I did this with all the track. I bend a piece of copper wire into a --u-- shape and solder it between the joints. I did try pins to hold the track down, but the heads stuck up too high. What I need are long pins with flat heads. Kinda like a gutter spike or 16 penny nail BUT pin sized.

  11. Amrap1

    Amrap1 Member

    Welcome YmeBP.....:wave:

    Train shows can really hook you! Some people I've talked to get hooked on OLD trains, some just love the way a good layout looks. For me it's the layouts. Keep going to them. You'll learn alot and get some great ideas. My Post #26 above tells of some great deals I found this weekend.

    The foam I have is 1 1/2 insulation foam from Home Depot. Three 4x8 sheets were under $40 and I figured I'd have some extra to build up for mountains/hills and I could cut into for a river or lake. I'm not sure I made the BEST decision. I went with what I've seen done in some videos and nobody that saw the pictures I've linked too seem to question it.

    I figure I must be on the right TRACK sign1
  12. YmeBP

    YmeBP Member

    Thanks for the encouragement!! It was a little daunting at first i wanted to have everything perfect before i started but my 2 sons were all over me to get the trains going so we just jumped in last night and got them all finished off today :).

    Having issues w/ the trains derailing though, i think my grades are wrong.

    Currently my layout is just a collection of the dc sets that i've been picking up. I plan to purchase a dcc controller and wire my locos for dcc after xmas. Hopefully i can find a sale or two. The astroturf is nailed into concrete, so it doesn't move around. I guess i can slide some of that siding under it. It should stretch enough to keep it tight. I only nailed down 3 sides. I'm going to talk w/ some travel agents to see if i can get throw away posters of colorado or something for the walls.

    I just won a lot of regular atlas tracks (the old school slide connector tyco type), to go w/ the set i picked up at a yard sale. I think i like the old school a little better for cost but man that power loc sure does stay put and i don't have to keep rejoining the connections.

    What type of pins would hold in that foam? 40$ is about 1/2 to 1/3 the cost of comparable cork and it's about 10 times thicker.

    Here is the link to the felt place.

    Trying to hook up w/ a local club there are tons in this area thankfully.
  13. Amrap1

    Amrap1 Member

    Speaking of deals or cheap/free materials....

    I drove down a new housing development street the other day and happened so see a guy throwing foam insulation cut offs into a dumpster! I asked him if I could have the scraps and VIOLA.....more foam!

    Warning....ask first! Don't just take. I took wood out of a dumpster at a building site without asking and got ran out of the area with a threat to call the police!

  14. YmeBP

    YmeBP Member

    I've been hunting down some of that foam and i'm not having much luck. I've called a couple of home depots and they have no idea what i'm tlaking about. I'm going to head down to the home depot on saturday and see what i can come up w/.
  15. zedob

    zedob Member

    Yes, as a matter of fact. I just figured the foam cutting machine operator wasn't paying attention. It's no big deal. Of all of the WS risers I've bought, they all ended up getting hacked up and made to work. I used them at first when I was working out my trackplan on my old shelf layout, but in the end I used the pink foam and cut it cookie-cutter style then raised the roadbed to the required height with shims, which made the transition from flat-to-grade-to-flat, smooth.

    If you haven't purchased any of the Kalmbach MRRing books on track planning, operation, scenery, etc. I highly recommend that you do. The first two are mandatory, to me, because they spell out why and how the real railroads work. I've always been a scenery guy and operation was the last thing on my mind, but for my next layout I wanted it to have more of a reason for it's existance. I must have read Track Planning for Realistic Operation by John Armstrong 100 times and still use it for reference.

    They're about $20 US ea, but worth every cent, plus more. The savings in re-doing things will more than pay for their initial cost. You might want to check Amazon or ebay for them.
  16. Amrap1

    Amrap1 Member

    Made some good progress this weekend! Sorry I can't upload pictures direct to my posts. I can't seem to get them small enough to upload here. Be patient with this noob and check out the links. Any and all suggestions welcome.

    Not too sure about the bright colors on the "downtown" buildings. They look too new/fake. I probably should have aged/weathered them. So much to learn!

  17. Amrap1

    Amrap1 Member

  18. cidchase

    cidchase Active Member

    Hi Ed, maybe a grade crossing with the road continuing on under the bridge?
  19. Amrap1

    Amrap1 Member

    Resized Bridge picture.....I Hope......


    Attached Files:

  20. Amrap1

    Amrap1 Member

    More pictures.....

    Attached Files:

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