N scale layout for review

Discussion in 'Track Planning' started by skipgear, May 16, 2005.

  1. skipgear

    skipgear Member

    I'm making a return to model railroading after about a 20 year hiatus. This was sparked by my 11 month old son's facination with trains and a trip to the local historical society. I didn't realize how much the railway had impacted our town in its early years. Where there is one line that runs through town now with a regular freight twice a day, there was once 2 intesecting double main lines (PRR and B&O), two turntables, a few industrial sidings, two passenger stations and numerous other interesting features to model in the space of a few city blocks. At it's heyday the B&O station had 40+ scheduled passenger trains.

    The B&O station is still intact and the PRR line has been turned into a bike path along which many landmarks still exist. I am going to use a little creative license and use the PRR line as a C&O line for now because I have rolling stock (2-3 bay Coal Hoppers) and loco's (C&O 2-6-6-2 H5, 2-8-2 USRA Mikido) for C&O.

    I'm not going for a large layout, it has to fit across the end of my office which is space that is currently taken up by some boxes so I won't really lose much space. My main concern is the grades because the plan includes two levels and the crossing meets in the middle somewhere.

    Any comments are welcome. My main interest is in the building and detailing of the railroad. I am not into prototypical opperation but I want things to be period correct and have somewhat of a logical purpose. The B&O line will mainly be for passenger service while the C&O (PRR) line will be for coaling and freight. I may add a staging yard below if there is room but at this point it is not a high priority. The layout is designed for continuous running. Switching and other operations could be added later as legs to the left and right but I have too many other toys taking up space in the room at this point.

    I am undecided on track as of yet. It will be Atlas 80 or 55, not sure which. I plan on using MT and Atlas accumate trucks and couplers on all. With code 55, do I need to worry about wheel flange height? Most will be flex track even though the plan shows a lot of sectional. It was just easier to layout a constant radius in the program with the sectional track. Minimum radius is 11".

    attached are drawings of the layout, a picture of a simple diorama that the historical society had setup and an early map of the area, pre 1900 if I remember, before B&O had a double mainline.

    Attached Files:

  2. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    You have 2 reverse loops that I see at first glance. One is the track that kind of short cuts the double crossing at the 3.0 to 4.0 foot square. The other is where it goes from double track to single track at the lower right corner. If you want to just have some trains running continuously, you will need some sort of automatic reversing switch for the one in the lower right. The other one can be isolated electrically with a double throw double pole center off switch, and you don't need to do anything with it unless you want to use that siding. If you want to eliminate reversing loops, take the short cut out, and on the right end of the layout, eliminate the siding that transfers from the inside main to the outside main at the loop. That layout looks like it would be great for scenery for continuous running. I also noticed that you have a potential short everywhere you have a crossover from the inside main to the outside main. All of these problem areas can be taken care of with blocks and double throw double pole center off switches, but if you are going to turn on the trains and leave them running, you need to insulate the crossovers so that they don't short. If you want to run two trains, you will need to closely monitor them because you have a double track mainline that becomes single track at each end. I think Bruce Chubb and others have done a computer interface to operate layouts automatically, but they know a lot more about computers than I do.
  3. Tileguy

    Tileguy Member

    In N scale, thats alot bigger layout than you think it is.
    I see 2 years worth of spare time work to get everything up running and Basic scenic'd.
    Add anoth 2-3 for superdetailing and re scenicking area's you began with and are not happy with since youve improved as you went :)

    Its a very nice and very full layout.
    It wont be hard to make huge improvements in realistic scenery over the picture shown above either.
    That is of course if you want a scale model railroad and not just a toy train set :)
    Whatever works for you and makes you happy is why this is such a great hobby.You can get as detailed as you would like or do as little as you like.
  4. skipgear

    skipgear Member

    Thank for the comments.

    I know about the reverse loops, they are there intentionally. I wanted some way to turn the train around to switch between lines without backing through the siding above the crossing. The reverse sections might be a bit tougher to wire but it can be accomplished with properly placed blocks. Any other idea's how to accomplish this to allow simplified wiring? I thought the track plan was getting cluttered as is and didn't want to add any more track if possible. Placing the crossovers solved the reverse issue without adding to the track, just the adding to the complexity of wiring.

    My plan is probably to have one line continuous running and control the second line to cure the crossover issues. I'm not ready for computer controled blocking to cure the crossing issue just yet.

    As far as the size, when I was in highschool I had a 12 x 5 layout that was capable of 3 train opperation so this is small relative to what I am used to. I am coming back into this after racing RC cars competitively for 20 years and flying for the past 2 also. It is hard to travel to races with my son at home now so I am getting this together for something to do until he is ready to go racing with me. My modeling skills are much better now than they were 20 years ago so this should be fun.

    This is what I do to support my RC habit: www.skipgear.com
  5. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    That should work fine. I just thought I would note the reversing sections in case you were a newby and didn't realise you were creating shorts. As far as your grades are concerned, the only place I see a problem is on the left end where it appears you have tracks crossing each other on three levels. That might be a steep grade to the top. I see two possible solutions. One would be to make the layout grade level for the middle track and go down into the return loop. The other method would be to make the left side return loop crossings which would require a small adjustment in the turnout for the short cut.
  6. skipgear

    skipgear Member

    That is my plan exactly for the grades. The main line crossing area is the base grade, the loop to the left is below grade and the double mainline that runs across the back will go above grade. If things work out, I may run a staging yard off of the lower loop on the left under the main layout. I plan on controling things from the notch area of the layout and that would put the staging yard right in front of me. That all depends on how the funds are at that point and how much room I have under the benchwork for the yard without making a terrible grade to get out on to the main line.

    Does anybody have any insight on Code 55 vs. Code 80? I hear different stories about reliablity and derailments from both sides. Also, will I need to make sure all my wheelsets have smaller flanges? The difference in cost between the two doesn't bother me, I work at a hobbyshop, but reliability does. The 55 looks so much nicer though but if 80 will be less headache to lay and get right, that is the way I would rather go.
  7. on Code 55 vs code 80. Nothing made in the last oh, 10 years, will have any problems with Code 55. only older stuff has a problem with it
  8. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

    One of the easier ways to simplify the wiring is to use DCC control. Check out The Gauge's DCC forum for more info, and look for the "helpful links" thread at the top.

  9. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    If your layout is high enough to allow for hidden staging under the layout, there is enough room under the left side of the layout to fit a nice sized helix to get the trains up and down from a staging yard.

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