Intro and input request

Discussion in 'HO Scale Model Trains' started by insinu8, Dec 27, 2006.

  1. insinu8

    insinu8 Member

    Hi folks!

    I'm a brand spankin new model railroading novice. After 40 years, I finally have the time, money and space! So....the natural course has set in and I'm hoping to minimize my pain and suffering ( although no too much, since I won't learn as much without it! )

    So, without further ado, here's the beastie:

    View attachment 33493

    uhm...this may not have re-sized the way I wanted it. I'll have to see about getting the original hosted somewhere and try a link.

    Attached Files:

  2. Illus

    Illus Member

    Try photobucket, no popups, and it's free... Just copy and paste a link to here. That plan looks great, make it bigger!
  3. insinu8

    insinu8 Member

  4. Ralph

    Ralph's for fun!

    That worked! Welcome aboard!
  5. Illus

    Illus Member

    Holy Wa! Thats a nice looking plan you have there.
  6. RonP

    RonP Member of the WMRC

    Ok your plan looks awsome and i see you have made yourself some goffer holes. Maybe make sure you can reach your hole layout still.

    When you save your picture use the save as... tab in the drop down at the bottom of the window there is a list of formats to use JPG or JPEG is best for pictures PNG is a photoshop format.
  7. lester perry

    lester perry Active Member

    Looks like a nice layout, very impressive but I see some potential problems. It appears as though you have several places where the polarity will be reversed. It can be done but can get complicated. If you are first time modeler I would like to suggest that you slow down a little. Start with a small layout and experiment a little before going this aggressive. Also I cant tell about scale on your drawing but if the blocks are 1 foot those are some small access holes. Don't take me wrong I like the drawing but I would not want you to burn out fast from frustration due to lack of experience. I messed for 2 years with a small around wall layout experimenting wit multi level, reverse loops, scenery, track laying, operations. even built a primitive hump yard before going big. Ill shut up now, maybe more later.
    Les :)
  8. Nomad

    Nomad Active Member

    WOW!! :thumb: That's the best noooby plan i've ever seen. A lot going on there.
    In front of the operation pit. is that a turntable? Also, mind telling us what you used to draw that?
  9. Triplex

    Triplex Active Member

    I hate to be the voice of reality, but even if you have access all around (and, judging by the position of the label DOOR, I don't think you do), you've created a "gopher prairie". The multiple tiny access openings - ~18" circles - will make maintaining this layout a nightmare.
  10. insinu8

    insinu8 Member

    Ron, thanks for the picture advice. I'll remember that for the future pics as my layout starts to get built.

    There is a lot that I don't know, so thank you for the warnings and advise about what to do and not to do. I cannot walk around this layout. It is ~ 4" from the north, east & south walls. I am not sure the gopher holes are a good idea given the size, Triplex. I put them in because one of the local train shop guys said, "Hey, you're going to need some access holes here, here and here in order to reach these areas" when I showed this to them the first time.

    So what I'd like is for some help with getting a better design for this layout that won't end up being a nightmare to build and maintain. I have the whole room you see to work with. I cannot move the top left corner as it is a wall. The door doesn't need any space to open since I can easily remove the door and leave the doorway.

    That being said, I am not opposed to completely starting over with the layout in ordet to preserve my sanity in the future. I can rework it, move things around, or scrap it completely. Until i'm satisfied with it and have general agreement from folks here that it's doable and reasonable, I won't buy any of the framework yet :)

    Les, yes, you are right about there being some reversing areas. From what I've read it shouldn't be too big of a problem if I use auto reversing units? I don't mind learning as I go with this and I expect a lot of learning! You would not be the first to suggest i start smaller/easier and work my way up to something this complex. However, in all my hobbies I'm the "jump in feet first and go from there" type of guy. It's no knock on the small steps approach, but if I'm going to do this and be happy with this it will have to be full sized, hairy, all-in-one kind of thing. I'm pretty sure I can learn fast enough from my mistakes (since I don't mind making them) to not burn out. If it turns out badly, I'm no hero and I'll admit I bit off more than I could chew and start smaller at that point. But for now, I'm going to dream big and try my best to get it done :) You can blame Nazgul for this, btw :) He's totally an inspiration. And, I'm hoping to get Galen or anyone else to take a peek and offer some alternate ideas.

    Loren, I used a program called RailModeller. The demo version was free and I couldn't find anything else like that for my Mac :) Also, yes, that is a turntable (Walthers).

    I'll give you all a bit of history (short though it may be) about how this all got started.... I blame my girlfriend for taking me to a local hobby store about 6 months ago. I walked over to the model train area and started looking around....I left the store with a little 2-6-0 DC steamer (it was on sale, so why not?) and a starter pack of Bachmann EZ track. It took me exactly 6 hours to end up right back at the store buying more track...and more and more and more. I had filled up the entire floor space with this stuff and was not satisfied. I pulled the whole thing apart each night and set up a new track layout each night for two weeks. That was a hell of a lot of fun! But still, it wasn't enough. I remember deciding that I wanted to have more than one locomotive running on the rails so that's when I found this local train specific shop and everything went downhill from there. I scrapped all of the EZ track (anyone in the market for a room full???) the Bachmann controller (I bought a Digitrax Zephyr) and started planning on the fly in the store. I was enthralled by the DCC + sound locos so I bought one (okay, two) of them, a basket full of Code 83 track + switches and headed home. That evening the plotting became much more serious as I certainly did NOT want to be putting this lovely track on the carpet! I went to the home depot, bought a pile of 3/4" plywood and ordered WAY too much of the blue polystyrene(thinking ahead to multiple levels of landscape) and then started building up tables for the decks....

    THEN I started worrying about the track layout. Can you see a pattern here? I can't wait. I just literally can't wait to get going. So I've got this layout plan, two tables with a big oval and some turnouts and all 6 (yes, 6 by now with 3 more on the way) locos all running around on it while I plan for the future. The existing stuff is scrap unless I can incorporate it in the permanent design and that doesn't bother me at all.

    What I'd ultimately like, if it's feasible, is to keep the coaling and gravel areas(since I already bought the buildings) and have the dock for a intermodal facility. Everything else is negotiable. Well, except for wanting to have at least one (preferably two) constantly running loops while I'm messing with the switching and other fiddly-bits.

    Sorry for the long windedness of this, but I'm just completely hyped up about the possibilities! I eagerly look forward to any and all input!

    Thanks a million!
  11. Triplex

    Triplex Active Member

    But you can access it from the left (west) side? Then the first thing I suggest would be eliminating the connection between "coal" and "gravel" and rearranging some track so you can walk into the layout from the left, along where the river is now and into your current operating space.
  12. insinu8

    insinu8 Member

    I am moving this thread over to the Track Planning for the Future forum.
  13. insinu8

    insinu8 Member

  14. nkp174

    nkp174 Active Member

    insinu8, welcome to the hobby and to the forum!

    I would suggest checking out the book selection at your local hobby shop (LHS). There are plenty of helpful books there (my favorite is 101 trackplans by Linn Wescott). John Armstrong and others have also written tremendous books about railroad planning.

    I would strongly recommend starting off small with something that you can finish and then either junk it or incorporate it into a newer, larger layout. I can only recall one model railroader who incorporated his original 3'7"x 5'8" layout into his 27'x 34' masterpiece...generally we learn alot from our first layout. Here's his for inspiration:

    What locomotives did you purchase? Such details are very important ;-)

    Also, another reason to start off modestly is to allow you to find out what scale/era you like the best. I love HO for a standard gauge (56.5" gauge track) layout, but I prefer On3 or Sn3 for narrowgauge (On3 is 1:48 scale, 36" gauge track, Sn3 is 1:64, 36"). Other people love logging railroads with On30 equipment (30" gauge). I prefer On3 through the Rocky Mountains with little steam locomotives pulling wooden cars...and HO for mainline steam engines pulling manifest freights accross the midwest.
  15. AlienKing

    AlienKing New Member

    Actually, PNG is the replacement for GIF and was not devoloped by Adobe. "PNG was created to both improve upon and replace the GIF format with an image file format that does not require a patent license to use." (wikipedia:

    It's lossless and supports transparency. It compresses very well with technical drawings and such, since they have large amounts of single colors without much gradiant. IMO, its about the best format you could use for track plans.

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