Need help

Discussion in 'Track Planning' started by Rob24, Mar 27, 2008.

  1. Rob24

    Rob24 New Member

    Hey guys, Please bare with me here I am a big time NOOB! lol....
    I am sure I left out a bunch of info you may need to help....

    I finally have an idea of what I want to build. It's going to be HO.
    I am going to start off fairly small. My bench work is going to be a corner setting. It will basically be an "L" shape with two 3x8 sheets of plywood. If my math is right, one side of the "L" will be 5' and the other half will be 11'.
    I am not modeling this after anything inparticular. I would like to put some hills/mountains (because It will be fun to build). I would like two different parts. One being an Iron ore "site". The other part will be an intermodel/container yard. This will require some space as I want to put multiple sidings next to one another to get the real affect.
    Here is my dillema: I tried the Xtrakcad. I really don't have the patience to learn how to use it. I need some help with some track plans. Can anyone help me?
  2. RobertInOntario

    RobertInOntario Active Member

    Just offhand, I'd suggest going to your Local Hobby Shop -- you can buy small booklets of track plans. Atlas has published several booklets, for example. I have 2-3 such booklets but I basically "winged it" when I built my layout. There was a price to pay for doing this (derailments and a lot of relaying of track)! so following a published guide is probably a good idea! Cheers, Rob
  3. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    Rob24: Do you envisage any type of continuous running? A 3' wide table limits you to 15" radius curves which are very sharp for HO (18" radius, train set track, is merely "sharp"). This will limit you to short cars and locomotives -- not a problem for Iron Ore cars, but a limiter for intermodal.
    But you may just be thinking of running from one yard to the other. Your 5' section will seem pretty small soon; when planning you need to allow a foot for each turnout.
  4. Rob24

    Rob24 New Member

    Yes I do invision a main line. I could very well switch to two 4x8 sheets. The reason I was thinking 3x is, it would be easier to reach the back. I could just as well keep it off the wall.
  5. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    If you are going to make some sort of continuous run, you should use a 4x8 in order to get at least a 22 inch radius. In fact it would be better to add an extra few inches to the side of each end to allow a 24-26 inch radius. Make the entire "L" shaped bench a solid one piece unit, and put it on casters with wheel locks on the ones in the front. You can pick up locking casters designed for mechanic's roller cabinets from Sears, Lowe's, Home Depot, etc. Install a small masonite wall (2-3 inches high) along the back of the layout and to the side beginning at the point you can't reach with the layout in place against the wall. That way if the train derails in an unreachable spot, you can roll the layout out to get to the back, and the masonite retaining wall will keep rolling stock from falling off the layout.
  6. you could trim a 4x8 in half sort-of diagonally (a curved line is better), then place end to end for easier reach and still have the 22" curves at the ends.
  7. Triplex

    Triplex Active Member

    It's better to either have 48"+ wide benchwork away from the walls, or 30"- benchwork along the walls. What actual space are you building in?
  8. Rob24

    Rob24 New Member


    My basement is huge.This is all the space I want to use right now. I can adapt a little bit.
  9. tetters

    tetters Rail Spiking Fool!

    I realize you might have seen this.

    It will help the members decided what your goals are and what you envision your layout to be.
  10. Rob24

    Rob24 New Member

    I hope I put the info in the right places.


    I really didn't think of a name
    Scale:HO Gauge:STD

    Prototype: (what does this mean?)
    Era: Modern
    Region: Midwest

    Space: Huge basement but would like to use one corner. I have invisioned two 4x8 sheets for the top of the bench work. I would like to do an "L" shape in the corner. I can and will adapt.
    Governing Rolling Stock: Intermodel and ore cars

    Relative Emphasis:


    Scenic realism
    Mainline Running


    Operation Priorities:
    1. Container yard Switching
    2. Container yard loading
    3. Main-Line operations
    4. Long Freight Train Operations
    5. Small Taconite operation perhaps a loading/unloading "area"?????
    6. Lots of switching to keep my kids entertained
    Typical operating Crew: ___1___ plus minimal help from the kids. I will be doing most of the hands on stuff. But need to keep them entertained. They can push buttons.___ Eye Level (Owner) _??_In.
  11. CowDung

    CowDung New Member

    How old are the kids? I am currently in the planning stage for a basement layout with my 3 and 4 year old boys.

    I'm thinking of a 5x15 foot rectangular layout with 2 oval-like mainlines (one for each boy) and a switching area in the middle. At their ages, they like to put stuff on the flatcars and run them around a couple of times, change loads and run around some more.
  12. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    You can run your narrow shelves for most of your operation, then add a larger section for a "turn back" or balloon track at each end to allow for continuous running. If you allow space to walk around the ends of the layout, and cut a diagonal at each corner so the bench work kind of hugs the track on the balloon tracks, you should be able to reach everything. You can help your reach even more if you can narrow the bench work at the approach to each balloon track to 24 inches or less to let you reach the front half of the balloon easier. The other trick you can use on the balloon tracks is to curve the entire balloon out slightly toward the center of the room to give yourself access to the back of the balloon track if needed. If you are planning to run modern big diesels, which would be appropriate for Iron ore operations, you will need at least 24-26 inch radius curves. Atlas used to make sectional track only in 15, 18, & 22 inch radius. With the new larger locomotives that are commonly in use now, they offer either 24 or 26 inch radius ( I don't remember which). I would also agree with David about the 5 foot section being too short for what you envision. Depending on the size of your basement, I think you would find it much more satisfying to have a longer leg on that side as well. Also remember that those long modern diesels that need the bigger radius curves will also not work on a 4 switch, you will need to use at least #6 or #8 switches where ever you plan to run a long diesel. A yard that is operated with a short switcher can be condensed by using tighter radius and #4 switches, but your lead where you hook up the big road power to pull those trains will need to be bigger radius and bigger switches.
  13. Rob24

    Rob24 New Member

    So I have been playing around with RTS 8.0 I think it's from Atlas. Much easier to use. I still have so far to go.

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