My HO Layout

Discussion in 'HO Scale Model Trains' started by Dingo69, Jan 12, 2006.

  1. Dingo69

    Dingo69 Member

    Some of you might have read my posting in the Scale N or general chat area. Well I would love to build a HO track or a HOnm track instead of a scale N and have found a spot that might work, just the wife has not fully agreed to give up that area yet.

    Have a look and see what you think, the track is 250cm accross the top and 320cm down, current have the table about 1m deep with a man hole in the middle. Top left will be a type of mountain and a bridge will cross the area at the yards. I hope this is clear.

  2. Triplex

    Triplex Active Member

    Before I can compliment or criticize, I'd like to have some idea of what you want the trains to do on this layout.
  3. green_elite_cab

    green_elite_cab Keep It Moving!

    well already i'd like to say that run around on the left side is gonna be to small for any trains bigger than one car. unless you are running trollies.

    All of those S-curves are gonna cause destruction. Use flex track and make smoother curves.

    That big curve that goes over the tracks to the turn table are really bad to. unless you plan to go over that track, i don't think there is a crossover for that section of track. wherever it goes, Use Flex track and make a straighter line between th city and the harbour.

    This layout would only be good for trollies, and maybe some commuter trains if you get rid of those big S-curves.
  4. jetrock

    jetrock Member

    This is definitely an improvement over the last track plan, although there is still room for improvement. green_elite_cab's comments about S-curves are the most important--when you put a left-hand curved piece of track right next to a right-hand curved piece of track, creating a broad S shape, you are asking for trouble. When trains run down such track, one car goes in one direction and the next car goes in the other direction--usually resulting in uncoupling or derailment. Try straightening out some of the "wiggles" you have put into the trackwork.

    The crossover you have put in front of the turntable is a problem. Both tracks are curved. NOBODY makes a double-curved crossover, which means that you'd have to fabricate one yourself, a daunting task for a beginner and one likely to be the source of headaches in the future. I also don't see any purpose to the looping piece of track that goes in front of the turntable anyhow. Since you still don't have a yard, my advice would be to yank out that loopy bit entirely and turn it into a yard.

    I took the liberty of fiddling around a bit with your plan in MSpaint, and came up with some ideas--attached is a picture.

    First off, I straightened out the track on the reverse loop (that is what that thing is called. You'll have to wire it separately, with insulating rail joiners, and reverse the track direction every time you run a train over that bit of track or you'll short-circuit your powerpack.) I also moved back the turnout for the runaround here, in order to give you room to put a freight station or other small industry in that corner. I'd suggest a flat of a passenger station and other city stuff along the back wall to give the impression that your city is much larger than it is. Since this part of the layout will be difficult to reach from the front, I'd recommend putting an access hole here--one easily covered by making a "city block" of city buildings that you can glue on top of the access hatch. That way, you have a nice big-looking city most of the time, but if you need to get in close you can open the hatch and re-rail stuff or whatever.

    Second, I moved your turntable over a bit. Turntable tracks only need to be long enough for one loco apiece, and with your sharp curves you won't be running giant American articulateds. You have room for four locomotives--I'd recommend the Heljan three-stall roundhouse and make the fourth track for maintenance equipment. I also removed those storage tanks--locomotives are one of the most interesting things on a layout, and you want to put them where people will see them.

    Third, in place of that loopy thing and the track along the front, I put in a small yard--this is very crude and could use some improvement but you can kind of get the idea. The arrangement in front is called a "runaround" (or a "loop" in British railroad parlance) where a locomotive whose train is facing the wrong direction can loop around and push its cars into the yard tracks (the two straight tracks right above it.) You might even add a third--I just left the stub of the last switch sticking up because this is kind of a rush job. This gives you a place to sort cars and store equipment when not in use.

    Fourth, I added a small industrial district in the bottom corner, on a shelf to fit the available space. I'm not sure if you have the room for this, but it would allow you to add several more industrial customers to your railroad. The shelf would be about 120cm long and 40cm wide. Note that this includes a crossover so you can run around cars and switch them at will. Having several industries here creates the impression of a large industrial district, separate from the central-city location of the passenger and freight station to the lower left.

    It looks like you have room for a really big mountain in that back corner! You could even put a little Swiss cottage (I'd recommend making it an N scale model, in order to enhance 'forced perspective') near the top! You'll definitely need an access hatch so you can crawl under the mountain to rerail trains, or just to crawl inside and mutter "hurr hurr hurr, i'm the dwarf under the mountain!!"

    I'll be darned--this layout has some good potential for operation, scenic display, and railfan-style continuous running. The mountain, city, industrial area and harbor are kind of close together, but generally you're facing different directions to look at them so the transition isn't as obvious. Operation could include shipping between city and harbor in both directions, making and breaking of trains in the yard, commuter service between harbor city and mountain city, or the ever-popular "turn on the powerpack and watch the trains go round and round." For passenger operation, I doubt you'd want to put overhead on the whole layout but a small passenger outfit with a diesel or steam loco and one or two passenger cars would fit quite well--or a self-powered vehicle comparable to the American "doodlebugs" for local limited passenger service on non-electrified lines, I'm not sure what European analogues there are.

    Attached Files:

  5. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    A single reverse loop inside a circle is frustrating. You can cross over but you can't cross back. If you come forward out of the turntable, you have to back around the reverse loop.
  6. Glen Haasdyk

    Glen Haasdyk Active Member

    Jetrock has done an excellent job of suggesting improvments. The yard is an excellent Idea. I'd almost go as far as suggesting removing the reverse loop but that's more my perference than nessesity.
    I could see you adding evenmore tracks around the turntable if you wanted.
  7. Dingo69

    Dingo69 Member

    First thanks for the help.

    I am still coming to terms with the RTS program never using it before this week. The idea of these plans is to give you all an idea of the space I have and my ideas to hear your advice, lucky so, as my original plan had lots of mistakes.. I have seen the flexi tracks in the shops but could not find them in the program, but have made a not to ensure I use them in the real design.


    Basically this is my first time with a model train set and would like to simple learn and set thing up with my son, the idea of building a landscape and having an active train running through it appealed to me, mind you my son thought a car racing track on a landscape would be great, so we could race each other but that required far to much room. (He just wants to bet me).


    As I am planning on build this on a foam base and had planned on the main track going over the one to the turn table, so the turntable track would be grooved into the foam a bit and the big curve raised a bit (or visa versa). I was of the intention that any train going to the yards would not be a full length train and therefore a slight more grade could be used.


    Once again thanks for the great advice.

    The looping track in front of the turntable was my tunnel track as I still intend on have mountain in the top left corner, the track that goes to the far top will go through a cutting in the mountain/hill while the lower track goes through the tunnel, the track which goes to the turntable and joins the main track again was going to be a small village with a small station and such, meaning any freight trains/express train would go through the tunnel and any local trains and trains heading to the yards would go through the small town.

    The idea of changing the small village into the yard is a good one, considering the crossing area is pretty narrow anyway, but I would still like to have the tunnel and where you have place the 2 top yard straight tracks is the manhole which I need in order to work on the mountain area as the width of the table their would be almost 1,5m wide (I am tall but not that tall).

    The industry flats area, is possible but not at the current time as it would mean a major change to the room, which until I have finished the first step will leave out.

    Will work on a new version using you ideas and show you all, (just a point I will purchase some flexi tracks but as I can not find them in the software I have I will have to use S bends to represent the curve but they will be flexi, will try and not it on the plan).

    On a HO/HOnm track is the 3-4% grade still the maximum or due to the larger scale can you go more? (Just trying to work out the cutting, on a 200cm straight at 4% grade the cutting could be no more than 8cm high, no a lot)

    Again thanks for the help, and this plan and space appeals to be more than the other version which would only handle scale N.
  8. Triplex

    Triplex Active Member

    Grades are the same in all scales. Even 3-4% is tough in any scale, but with the short trains you'll be running on this size layout, it should work.
  9. green_elite_cab

    green_elite_cab Keep It Moving!

    in RTS there should be an flextrack button on the tool bar on top of the window. click it, then end of track A and then clike end of track B. the flextrack will connect the two tracks. then use Shape Flex Track button right under it to bend the track the correct way. you use thsi by clicking and dragging little circles on the older versions, and the newer versions i think a windo come up, and you move a slider and the track bends as you do this. you should be able to form smooth virtual flex track.
  10. Dingo69

    Dingo69 Member

    I am still fighting over which room, as to place this setup in my office is possible (the wife is not 100% sure ) but will make my office tight and I use it for computer work. There is one more option short of making the kids share a room ;-0

    That is the cellar, now the problem here is that in winter it does get cold being Switzerland and all, its possible to have a heater in there but obviously that would only run while I am working so how does cold effect tracks and trains as I do not really want to have to pack all the trains and wagons up each time.

    Temperature would be between 5c -10c (so thats about 41F-50F) at the coldest in winter as it is a room which is not insulated.

    The advantage is that it has a 4m * 3m wall.
  11. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

    You can save a lot of space, and get "double duty" out of any room by going up high, and around the walls. Using a table is the least effective use of space, as it occupies a lot of the floor, and requires room around all sides.

    If you put the layout at ~48"+ (125cm+) off the floor, you can get a desk with a computer, or a workbench, or even a sofa underneath.

    What does your office space look like?

  12. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    Dingo: I don't think the cars should be too badly affected, but you may run into problems with the layout -- wooden framework and metal track expanding and contracting differently. Also humidity considerations.
  13. Dingo69

    Dingo69 Member

    Thanks everybody for you help and advice. My decision has been made, due to the local area having a very good Maerklin shops ( very little else is around here) I will buy the major stuff through the internet but its always good to have a local supplier. I am not sure but will most like go for the Maerklin C Tracks, these are the ones with a base on them, which have disadvantages and advantages, would like to hear comments on these 2 types of tracks. C and K tracks.

    I will build the table as mentioned about in my office which the measurement on my first posting with some changes.

    An idea I have had from visiting the local club is to have inside the mountain the below system and have a like 2 layers the top on the "table" and tracks under the table for a type of rail storage yard and more tracks to give the train more running room.

    Before I buy this was think of making it and was wonder what height would be need to pass the trains through, or better yet anyone has a plan :D.

    Here is the club layout:
  14. lester perry

    lester perry Active Member

    I built one myself that worked very well. My problem was it was 14 feet around and made 4 turns that is a lot of track and time i could not see. I no longer have it or should say them i had 2. I built a level platform to start on. Measured around it found it was 14 feet. wanted 4 inches clearence so I devided 4 by 14 came up with little more than 1/4 inch. so I raised first level 1/4 inch every 12 inches useing blocks of wood cut to length. after one time around just need blocks on each side of track 4 inches tall to continue rise. I hot glued them in place it was easier & faster than nails or screws. It is very simple to do. I have some pics I will have to look for them.

  15. Dingo69

    Dingo69 Member

    Thanks Lester, did you check our the link on the bottom of my posting, not a bad idea. In Switzerland we are a bit short of space, so I do not really want to use the valuable space on a Yard for the wagon so was going to place them under the table with a window in the side to get access.

    My idea is to have this inside a mountain with a type of window on the back of the mountain to see if, so its not obvious to see but you can learn over a bit and look in.

    The table/mountain will be open from under, so I can get access to the tracks under the table and in mountain, but obviously as you said do not want to much other wise you can not see it. have a few ideas (open sections with bridges, clear plastic areas and such),

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