New layout in the works.

Discussion in 'N / Z Scale Model Trains' started by nolatron, Feb 22, 2007.

  1. nolatron

    nolatron Member

    Currently named the Subdivision, this is my plan for the new shelf layout I'm planning in our house. It's a fictional UP subdivision in "middle america" (or anyplace of your chossing where you find mountains :) ). Era is all modern locos.

    My original plan was for a double level layout with two helixes in either side, but opted for a single level in the end to help keep costs/building problems/helix woes/etc... to a minimum. and also because the first level has to be at around 50", putting level two at 60". Not the greatest heights.

    Here's the plan in it's current state:

    [​IMG] [​IMG]
    (click to enlarge)

    They yet to be named town is based on Pelle Soeberg's Daneville subdivision. I always liked that layout of track and roads, so I incorporated it into the plan.

    Not quite sure how I wanna do the scenery on the upper turnaround. I'm picturing an overpass acting as a breaker for the track heading upwards, with the lower track just wrapping around from the back in a field-y type setting as it rolls into town. In my head in looks goods at least :)

    The "benchwork" will be made using shelf standards and brackets to support 3/4" plywood for the staging level, main level, and an upper valance/lighting level.
    Similar to this: work and backdrop.html

    All track will sit on 2" risers as well so surrounding scenery can be "rolling" a little and not totally flat, especially in the mountain pass area. Speaking of, here will be an over and under pass using 2% grade incline. I should have enough space so the underpass (instead the hill) will have just enough clearance for the tallest cars to pass (ie: double stacks).

    All turnouts will be remotely operated with tortoise turnouts running on a DCC system, and a signal system will be installed.

    JMRI will be used initially for computer control. Eventually, Railroad&CO will be installed to allow for automatic running/scheduling/etc.. of trains.

    I'm pretty excited about this layout. I've got my own large office to build it in and got the wife's ok :) So that's always good. I think I've got a great track plan for me use
    (I'm more into the tech side of building/running than tedious switching operations), the shelfing system should provide a really nice looking layout, and I've still have like half an office to walk into.

    Ok, I think that's all for now :D
  2. nolatron

    nolatron Member

    Standards ordered. wee... I got 25 16.5" standards on order now to start the long and fun process of building a layout.

    I picked up the standards from

    (If you're asking yourself, wasn't there post about the two level layout here? There was. but I quickly decided against it. As much as I would like a two level layout, a single level is will be more cost effective, easier to build, and not look as clutted on the wall.)
  3. jesso

    jesso Member

    Are you still having the staging level underneath? Main level looks nice, It has a good mix of city and scenery, I like when trains have to get loaded up and then travel across the country.:)
  4. nolatron

    nolatron Member

    I guess the original was really "three" levels (2 main, 1 stage), and the current 2 levels (1 main, 2 stage).

    I'm pretty pleased with the main level. I have that bridge in the upper left acting as the cut-off scenic divider for the city. Trains will go underneath the bridge, pretend to go through some space time continuum warp and come out in the mountain pass area. :)

    And yes, there'll be staging still. I just finished playing around a bit on the staging portion actually. Instead of having the mainline just loop-de-loop around the upper left, both tracks now run down to staging, giving a "double track main" feel for the city.

    I'll have 6 staging tracks below for a couple various styles/length of trains to be ready to roll.

    Here's the latest plans:

    [​IMG] [​IMG]
  5. nolatron

    nolatron Member

    My 25 standards arrived the other day and I got a few on the wall so far.

    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    Layout height will be about 50-55", so it'll be at eyelevel. Staging (lower black bracket) has just enough clearance to reside under the main level. Main level will have 10 inches of space between levels (8" to bottom of upper shelf bracket).

    At first I thought it may not be a lot of room, but 10" in n-scale should actually be a good spacing. Plus it saves me from having to make them hills/mountains really tall :)

    I'm sure it'll all work out in the end, I hope. sign1
  6. nolatron

    nolatron Member

    I also Revised the staging yard a bit. Extended it from to 5 to 10" and basically made 3 really long staging tracks on each leg of the run-around.

    I'm debating on adding some switches in there to help shuffle trains around. I'll see what I can fit once construction begins on it. I do plan on breaking each staging track into 2, maybe 3, staging blocks (and maybe transpoding even) to help with parking trains without visually seeing the tracks.

  7. jesso

    jesso Member

    Are you using a helix to go between the two levels?

    Also, if you want to be able to reverse your trains, it looks like you could easily run reversing lines at the beginning and ending of your staging yards, or even on the mainline of the inside one and the fourth line of the outside
  8. nolatron

    nolatron Member

    Yup, that upper right turn around will be a helix. It'll be about a 6-7 inch drop to staging.

    Hmm, didn't think about reversing. That's a great idea though. I'll have to make some space between the "east" and "west" tracks on the top area to put in a full train lengths track to hop back and forth.

    Thanks for the suggestion!
  9. nolatron

    nolatron Member

    Here's a quick revision. I added a Peco Code 80 curved turnout and now I have a 108" reverse track. :)

  10. jesso

    jesso Member

    I know I am the one that told you to add more track to your staging area, but now I am nervous about how much track you have in the area that you have indicated. Below is a picture of our club's Bend Module yard. It has 6 tracks in a one foot wide area and it can be a little difficult to get your fingers around cars without touching the other lines. From your drawings it looks like you have 9 tracks in less than a foot. You might want to lay out track and just test if you have enough room.

    Attached Files:

    • yard.jpg
      File size:
      43.7 KB
  11. nolatron

    nolatron Member

    Oh yeah, I'm diffinently going to test lay all these staging track for that very reason. Heck, I should probably do that today since I have a box of flex track.

    The plan is more of guide cause I've always changed something in past layouts due to "real-world" space constraints.

    I call aways expand the staging up to 15" as well (width of main level) if needed, and I have a feeling I will, heh.

    Thanks again for info. This is why I like having progress/track plan threads. There's always something(s) I didn't think of I'm sure another set eyes will :)
  12. nolatron

    nolatron Member

    I laid ten tracks and it looks like I can fit them into 10", but I still may have to go wide for clearance on the turns. I guess this will all get figured out come track laying time.

    As I was doing this, I thought I don't really need alot of track clearance (on the straights at least) to fingers around a car because I'm not gonna have any clearance above it to get my hand in above them, heh. If a car derails I'll just clear trains in the way and remove everything out.

    I do plan on placing several rerailer track sections throughout the staging so in case something does derail, it might be able ot fix itself.
  13. nolatron

    nolatron Member

    We're gonna need a bigger boat, or rather, longer standards.

    After playing around with design methods for the benchwork to give let me design the hills as I'm picturing in my head, and to give adequate clearance between the main level and the staging, as well as a decent viewing size for the main level I've decided I need longer standards.

    So as soon as I finish installing the current batch of standards (to see if the 25 I have is enough), another order will go in to double what I have. This will give me 33" of standard to play with. More than enough to make everything (including me!) happy. :)
  14. nolatron

    nolatron Member

    Here's a rough sketch of how I'm thinking the layout will go.

    1/2 playwood will be secured directly to brackets at 16" spacing. This should provide adequate support and prevent and sagging from occuring. At most, only 4"of plywood will overhang a bracket, so that shouldn't pose a problem either.

    Staging got dropped a lot, giving me about 7-9" of clearance under the main level. I'm not sure how long the front valance will be either, but I drew it in as 12". this would probably be secured using glue and "L" brackets attached to the underside of the mainlevel.

  15. nolatron

    nolatron Member

    In my daydreaming at work I've been thinking about this layout plan some more (nothing new there :) ) Being a more permanent type of layout I hope to last me a long time, I want to make the most of the space I'm going be using.

    So I've been thinking about that staging level. First I would extend the whole the level to be 15" deep (same as the main). then I would take outter-most mainline and turn it into a 2nd main level with scenery and a backdrop about 5" from the edge. Behind the backdrop would remain the staging tracks.

    Not only does these extend my mainline run, it still gives me ample staging tracks. Seems like a waste to have that *entire* second level be nothing but hidden staging you know.

    Of course, I would have to figure out a way to still give me some kind of access back to the staging tracks if a derail occurs. hmm.

    I'll play around with the track planning software tonight (of course I didn't my laptop to work today, doh!) and see what I can come up with.

  16. nolatron

    nolatron Member

    Here's the latest plans for the layout.
    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    I tweaked up the upper level a bit, and gave the lower level an overhaul. Staging was re-split into two different yards to avoid most of the shuffling a single lond yard required. The backdrop on the level will be a sort of split backdrop. The far back with be a full length sky backdrop, and then in front of staging will be a shorter maybe 4-6" backdrop just give some illusion of a backdrop and help hide staging. I'll have to mock this up once the bench

    The benchwork was also expanded to 15" to match the upper level to fit scenery, buildings, etc... Haven't decided for sure if I want to the simulate an interchange on this level or just make another industry. I like the look of a diamond crossing so I may keep it just for show.

    I also decided to go with Code 55 track. I like the prototypical look of it over code 80, and I know I'll probably kick myself for not going with code 55 right off the bat. So I'm making the switch.

    I have about 40 pieces of code 80 flextrack I'll have to toss up on ebay to sell and replace with code 55.
  17. nolatron

    nolatron Member

    I decided having that mountain pass up on level 1 was sorta wasting a lotta of good space, so I did some swapping around and moved stuff on Level 1 to Level 2 and vice versa. I think it's really starting to come together now and giving me the best use of the space.

    My 2nd batch of shelf standards and brackets arrived over the weekend so I'll be finishing that up over the next week or so. My stupid power-drill is dying on me so I may have to replace that first before I can do any futher work.

    [​IMG] [​IMG]
  18. nolatron

    nolatron Member

    Howdy all,

    Been a while since my last update, but mostly cause not much has happened. Finally got all the shelf standards installed, and brackets up. I'm in process of mounting a 2x2x15 piece of wood to each bracket. This will help for support of the top plywood, make mounting that easier, give me place to drill hole or two for cables, and give me a little for under benchwork electronics.

    Today I picked up some 1/4" plywood from lowes to start seeing how the top bencwork will look.

    Well, I ran into one of these "It looks better on paper than in real life moments."

    It's the turn-around on the bottom of the layout. The two levels of 36" deep shelving just isn't going to work as I hoped. It's too deep for the shelf brackets, the top level seems to swallow up the lower, and it just doesn't look good.

    So now I'm trying to figure out what to do. The obvious solution is to just do a point to point layout.

    I'm thinking of putting small yard at each level's end now to simulate the deliver of freight from one city to the next.

    The "mountain pass" area with remain on the lower level but only on the north wall, with staging behind.

    The west wall would then be turned into the 2nd yard.

    One crazy idea could to swap the office doors to swing outward into the front room and build two removable bridge to span the doors and then just run a small maybe 5" deep section along that east wall back to helix. If I wanted to keep the option to run continuously.

    Hmm... What to do...
  19. Travellar

    Travellar Member

    I'll admit I have NO expieriance with detachable sections in N-scale, as I have enough problems with the permanant stuff lining up. However, I might advise you against anything with potentially catostrophic consequences from an unexpected visitor.

    "Hey Honey, did you..."
  20. nolatron

    nolatron Member

    Hah, yeah. After standing in the room and looking around, I dropped the ideaa of the door bridge. Mainly cause the lower level run into the computer monitors and and stuff (and I just rearranged the office to avoid that, ehh).

    So some sort of point to point seems to be the way I'm probably going to go now.

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