New layout - comments welcome

Discussion in 'Track Planning' started by TerryR, Dec 20, 2002.

  1. TerryR

    TerryR Member


    I've been lurking for a while but this is my first post.

    I'm starting out on my first layout and the space I have available is 10' x 10'. I've pretty much decided on N scale and I've been doing a lot of reading. Now it's time to actually start building something.

    Hopefully, there's an RTS layout attached to this message. These are my design criteria:-

    - I'm basing my layout loosly on France - I want to include some scenes that are important to my wife & I (e.g. the hotel we got engaged in etc.) and I really like the TGV trains. I plan to run a pair of TGVs "swapping ends" along the two straight sections and one or two freight trains running continuously around the loop.

    - Operations aren't a big deal for me. I plan to have the whole thing under computer control - probably using CTI modules (

    - The layout is sparser than most I have seen but most of the ones I have looked at seem cluttered to me. I have a lot of space and would like to use it. I figure I can always add more later (or is that a dumb idea?)

    I'm going to have a lot more questions as this progresses but I guess that will do for now.

    Any and all comments are welcome - I don't offend easy and I would rather know I'm doing something stupid before I do it ;)


    Attached Files:

  2. billk

    billk Active Member

    Neat concept, Terry. here's some (I hope) constructive comments.

    - Watch out for "S" curves - a curve in one direction transitioning directly into a curve in the other direction. Try to have a straight section as long as your longest car or locomotive between the curves. If you haven't already, read John Armstrong's Track Planning for Realistic Operation - it explains why.

    - It looks like you have room to expand the loops a little. This would be a good thing since it would make the radii of the curves larger. The larger the radius, the better it looks and the less problems you'll have. If you check out the book mentioned above. also look at how to make transition curves.

    - You might consider putting a few sidings in. I know you said you're not interested in operation, but it will give your freights something to do besides go round and round, in case you get bored.

    - Try to make all the track accessible within 2 or 2-1/2 feet. Your plan didn't show where walls were, if any. Plan on derailments is the worst places!
  3. TerryR

    TerryR Member

    Thanks Bill.

    I should have mentioned that the grid is 1 foot and that there are walls (or other obstructions) on 3 sides - the only clear side is the one on the bottom of the diagram.

    With the center area open, I think most everything is within 2-1/2 feet except the top left corner. I'll take another look at that and see if I can pull that loop in a bit closer.

    The curves are 11" radius on the freight loops and 13" & 15" on the mainline. Does that sound reasonable?

    I knew about transition curves and the real layout will have them. The S curve thing is new to me though - I guess I need to track down that book!

    Should I add the sidings now and maybe not use them or add them later when I feel the need?

    That's a great signature :cool:

    Thanks again,
  4. Clerk

    Clerk Active Member

    Terry, I agree with Bill. He has some very good ideas.
    By the way. We don't use the "stupid" word here. Nothing is stupid. Almost all information is given as honest opinion. Some might not be so bright but still valid.
    Enjoy building your layout. Post some pictures as you progress. We all would like to see them.
  5. TerryR

    TerryR Member

    I've incorporated most of the suggested changes and I've thrown in a few random buildings in one of the industrial areas. They probably won't be like that in the real layout, it's just to give a feel for how things might fit together.

    Attached Files:

  6. shamus

    shamus Registered Member

    Hi Terry, nice looking plan, but take care when you wire up the two reverse loops, if you need help with it, just ask.


  7. TerryR

    TerryR Member


    Many thanks for the offer. I will be needing some help when I get to that point.

    Unfortunately, I have had a minor setback - the friend who promised to haul away the junk from the basement (in exchange for keeping some of it) has changed his mind :( This wouldn't be a big problem except that I threw it all into the garage in preparation and it's now blocking the entrance to my basement so I can't get the wood in to start on my benchwork! I'm going to have to get a dumpster and I don't hold out much hope of that happening Christmas week.

    Anyway, I've attached a picture of the SNCF (Situation Normal, Can't Function) as it now stands.

    I would like to post progress pictures as I go along (assuming I ever actually make some progress :rolleyes:) Should I carry on with this thread or start a new one on another board?

    Attached Files:

  8. rockislandmike

    rockislandmike Active Member

    Spurs also add some visual interest even if they're not used for operations. Even just a siding used for storing empty covered hoppers, for example, would add some visual interest as the train passes behind them.

    Just my two cents.
  9. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    Terry: It looks to me as if the curve in the top right has become tighter in the redraw. You might want to check it.
    Are the blue lines rivers?
  10. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    Not sure where the thread belongs. Keep it here until construction begins or someone complains. (Check Rory Glasgow's Copper Ridge thread on the N gauge forum.)
  11. cidchase

    cidchase Active Member

    Hi Terry, and Happy Birthday!!!
    I think you have a great space to work with and a great vision for it!!! Here are my observations (please keep in mind that I know nada about the area you're modelling except a few things I looked at on the web)
    Incorporating some changes in elevation can contribute a lot to the character of a layout. You have the space and, I believe, prototypical geography for this.
    Amboise is served by non-TGV trains, a local from Tours, and maybe direct from Paris. You already have plans for the low speed line on your layout, and maybe these could go along the river also.
    Your TGV termini could be Tours and Orleans, both of which boast some industry.
    The Chateau overlooking the river would be a really cool structure!
    The CTI equipment looks very capable and seems easy to use according to the website, I haven't seen it before. You need a Cab control for each loco, so you're dropping $400 right off the bat, plus several brain modules. It does seem to eliminate the control panel completely, which could be a real good thing.
    Are you planning on DCC?
    I'm shuttin' up now. Looks like a real interesting project! Keep us posted....
  12. TerryR

    TerryR Member


    Good eye! The top curves did get tighter on the drawing because I added some short straights to get rid of the S curves and RTS got all confused when I tried to move everything else around to make them fit. They will stay at 13/15" radius in the real layout. I'm just using the plan as a general guide anyway.

    The blue lines are rivers.


    Thanks for the birthday wishes. I got a Dremel which is going to come in very useful :)

    The prototypical geometry isn't that big a deal as it's a sort of "alternate universe" France anyway. I want to include a few items that are widely seperated in the real France. I have thought about elevation changes but I am already concerned that I am biting off more than I can chew for a first layout. I was going to leave the track work level and add the elevation in the scenery. I could be persuaded otherwise...

    Similarly, I don't think I'm going to add any more track just yet. I'll revisit this after I get this track working and before I start the scenery.

    The chateau is in my plans. I'll probably just do one side of it up against the back wall.

    As I understand it, the CTI brain modules can replace the Cab controls and they work with DCC. I'll be talking with their tech. support before I make the final decisions on this.

    Thanks all for your suggestions.
  13. TerryR

    TerryR Member

    Progress is finally being made. I got my framing done today. It's all 2x4s screwed & glued. It's probably a little stronger than it needed to be but I'm planning on (maybe) moving at some point in the near future and wanted something sturdy so I could ship it. The 4 sides are built as seperate modules and bolted together.

    The legs aren't as rigid as I had hoped. I'm still hoping the plywood top will make the whole structure more rigid. If it doesn't, I will add some cross bracing.

    If anybody has any more comments on the layout, I'm still open to making changes but, as things progress, will become less so :D

    Attached Files:

  14. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    If you're thinking of moving anytime before they cart you off, make sure the layout can be dismantled. We demolished a friend's layout which fit very tightly in a small room, and we had great trouble getting at a number of screws that had gone in easily when it was built. Also check how your legs are mounted so that you can get them off when the time comes.
    On the same lines, make sure you screw your top on from the bottom. Otherwise, you cover the screws with scenery and can't change things or have roadbed with an inch and a quarter of #8 sticking out the bottom.
    If you're looking at sectioning it to move, have you put extra studs where the sections end?
    You may need to use some diagonal bracing or triangles of plywood to hold the legs solid.
  15. TerryR

    TerryR Member


    Thanks for your comments. The benchwork has been designed to be moved so I don't anticipate any major problems.

    The four sections, which you can see in the track plan, are built as free standing units and then bolted together (see image). The bolt holes are tight enough that the bolts act as dowels and locate the two pieces exactly (I hope!) Every section has joists at both ends.

    All the leg screws are put in from the outside and the leg joints are not glued.

    I plan to move it (if necessary) with the plywood still attached to the frame so it won't matter that they can't be separated.

    I will put multi-pin plugs or leave enough spare wire between sections so that the wires can be cut and rejoined later.

    None of the rivers or other major features will cross a section boundry. Hopefully, the only thing I will have to cut will be the track itself.

    Is there anything I haven't thought of?

    Attached Files:

  16. TerryR

    TerryR Member

    And progress continues...

    Attached Files:

  17. TerryR

    TerryR Member

    And some more...

    Attached Files:

Share This Page