New Layout - Updated 6/4/06

Discussion in 'Track Planning' started by 91rioja, Jun 5, 2006.

  1. 91rioja

    91rioja Member

    Hello all :wave:

    To see where this all began, please reference the following thread:

    With the help of many people from here and numerous other people on another board, I have worked more on my design, and I think I may have something that works. I feel that it contains much of what everyone was trying to tell me.

    To start off with, everyone told me I needed staging. To that end, I have added a second level to the plan to accomodate staging. It is 3 tracks of 54" and a small run around that I placed on the lower level. I have left the staging open to the upper level, and you could possibly call it a yard. Since it is open to above, I also decided to add loco servicing and fueling in that area as well; it consists of 3 tracks off to the left of the staging yard. I think this is a workable solution and it will allow for running in either a clockwise or counter clockwise direction with the addition of the small run around.

    The main level will sit 3.5" above the staging (thus the open staging area). I did not have enough room to use either a nolix or helix to gain altitude, so I opted for the opening to the bottom level. The upper level still contains the coal mine, a small town, and a station. It also has the possibility of scening mountains to cover the tracks running to and from staging.

    With the coal mine, I tried to allow for some switching and realistic operation. I do know that it sits off the main with no exit, but due to space (or lack of) it could not be helped. Also, I wish the lead was longer, but, same as above. The lead to the mine is 20" and I plan on using my trusty GP9 to switch at the mine. What I see is, empties come in and are placed on the "Empty Track" by the geep. Filled loads will be compiled on the "Loaded Track" for delivery and pickup just off the main line. The 20" lead is just enough for the geep and a car.

    The station can accomodate a longer train and not hinder the main line of access to/from staging. The town team tracks can accomodate supplies coming into town.

    Whew! I think that is it. I started this plan at 7:00am Saturday morning, and it just felt like it all came together. Today, I ripped down the old 4x8 and started the new bench work. I have two sections already built.

    The larger plans can be found at:

    Let me know what you think and thanks to everyone.

    Attached Files:

  2. pgandw

    pgandw Active Member

    Looks pretty good. A couple of areas of concern that may actually be just fine:

    - for a train traveling around the loop counter-clockwise to switch the team tracks, the run-around moves must be done at the passing tracks near the station.

    - you might want to move the back edge of the staging level to just behind the front edge of the upper level. This will put the upper level closer to you for building, viewing, and operating pleasure.

    my thoughts, your choices
  3. ocalicreek

    ocalicreek Member


    Looks great! Post pics when you can.

    Sorry I fell off the face of the earth. A job change has me relocated from CA to WA, with most of the train stuff packed away until a few weeks from now when we move into a rented house and can unload the pod. I did keep the track planning paper, etc. with me (along with tools and a couple kits for spare time) but without a scanner or digital camera its just for funsies. I'm stuck using the computer at the office in my down-time.

    BTW, I did find those pics I took inside the Glen Lyn power plant enginehouse...I will eventually get those scanned in for you.

    What radius curves will you be using? How will you be constructing the grade between levels?

  4. ocalicreek

    ocalicreek Member

    Also...another thought. With the double-ended staging you've got here, you can run a 'time-freight' each direction (to use the older N&W they're called 'Manifests', my grandfather tells me) and not worry about switching facing point sidings with any run around moves, unless you really want to, of course.

    And a couple questions...why the crossover between sidings at the coal tipple? And the passing track in the staging yard...what's it for exactly? Reason I ask is it's kinda short and would limit train length. You may want to consider a lap siding arrangement of some sort, like a crossover between two of the longer tracks. This could potentially hold two shorter trains and allow each engine to run around its train in order to change direction. Kinda like what you've got on the upper level. Perhaps crossing over from the inside most track just below the engine track ladder to the middle staging track just before the curve, or from the outside track to the middle track. And if you've got the space (and can lay very reliable track) consider putting two stub end tracks off the outside track heading down into a corner instead of the short runaround. Okay...enough to chew on for now.

  5. wickman

    wickman Member

    Looks busy enuff :wave:
  6. pennman

    pennman Member

    looks good are you sure you want a duck under? been there they tends to get old quick.
    Nice job though
  7. 91rioja

    91rioja Member

    I'm Back!!!!!

    Due to a MASSIVE project at work, you all can probably tell that I have been away for a while. I am back now, and hopefully in the next few days I can post some pics of the progress I have made in the last weekend or two.

    Thanks to all

  8. 91rioja

    91rioja Member


    Glad to see you back on-line again! I know moving is the worst. Hopefully you can get you layout back up and running soon (heck a few 22" radius curves and some straights on the floor is better than nothing).

    The plan you are looking at is the old plan. I have since then made a few revisions on it. Hopefully soon, I will post some new pictures to the gallery with the new plan and the progress on the construction.

    To answer your questions:

    1) The reason for the crossover at the coal tipple is I don't know why I did it. I have since taken it out. I suspect that I deemed it an escape route.

    2) The passing track on the siding was not for storage but a passing route. Once again, since then I have taken it out. There is now a dead end storage track in its place that runs the full length of the wall.

    3) My minimum radius on the main level is 25". I have some 22" coming up from staging to the main level. That I can deal with.

    4) The grades between the levels will be constructed with WS foam inclines, the longer of the two being 2% and the shorter one being 3%.

    5) Benchwork is 1x4 select pine with a 1/4" plywood base. On top of the base is 1" extruded blue foam.

    Pictures will be up in the gallery soon!

  9. 91rioja

    91rioja Member


    Due to the size of my room, I have to have a duckunder. I am in the under 40 crowd, so hopefully it shouldn't be a problem. The base of the layout is 48" off the floor.

  10. pennman

    pennman Member

    Under 40??

    Hmm, not sure how to take that one..LOL Under forty dam kids??sign1 I have the same issue only in N scale a 14x12x14FT space I went with a U shape with eith end to end or a dogbone at the ends(still planning). Our old layout had a duck under wasnt real happy with it, but since have seen some nice designs for removable and bridged sections
  11. 91rioja

    91rioja Member


    When I said "under 40", I meant it; I'll be 39 in November. I guess I should have said the "Just under 40 crowd". sign1

    Anyway, I have posted pictures in the gallery here. The can be found under the Member's Categories in 91Rioja's Layout Progress. Or maybe this link will work. . . .

    I invite ya'll to take a peek.

  12. pennman

    pennman Member

    welcome to the Hill HAHA

    Nice looking area for the layout looks like your making a big jump from what you had.
    Is it N scale? Let me know how the foam construction goes, with the new layout I'm planning I will be using a lot of foam for the first time.:thumb: :wave:
  13. 91rioja

    91rioja Member

    Pennman, it is HO scale. So far the foam has been great to work with.

  14. 91rioja

    91rioja Member

    To DCC or Not to DCC

    So, I am now wondering something. . .

    I am at the point where I am going to start laying track. I have been thinking about DCC and I guess before the first piece of track is placed I probably make the decision. Here is what I have that I will be working with:

    Bachmann Spectrum 4-8-4 with DCC
    2 Athearn BB Diesels w/o DCC
    1 Athearn RTR Diesel with DCC quick plug
    1 Atlas 20+ year old Diesel
    Using Atlas Customline Switches
    MRC Tech4 260 DC powerpack

    If I go DCC, I'm thinking Digitrax. How hard would it be to install decoders in my old diesels, or is it even worth it, seeing what I have in stock?

  15. pennman

    pennman Member

    The dreaded DCC question

    Go for it!!, I have over 100 engines and I'm just converting over to DCC, I retired from the Army and went home to see a modeling buddy of mine and he had DCC and I fell in love with it it makes running so much easier and smother, my biggest issue is converting everything I have.
    Digi trax is the best system Ive seen you can get the super chief for about 350.00 and never have to worrie about expanding:wave:
  16. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    You need to prioritise your favorits engines in order of preference, then do them one or two a week until all of your engines are converted. That way you can also spread out the cost of decoders over an extended period of time, as well. One other thing earlier you mentioned that you are 6' 4" tall, so that you could reach 30 inches or so. N scale usually looks better as close to eye level as possible, but the higher the layout, the shorter your reach will be. If the layout is built at armpit height, the reach will be the length of your arm. If it is at waist height, you can bend over an reach farther, but you will lose the up close viewing you get from a higher layout.
  17. pennman

    pennman Member

    Layout high

    No my layout is going to be around 48" tall I want my grand kids and nieces and nephew to be able to enjoy it as well going to tall for just that perfect look isnt always the best thing the kids have to be able to reach it as well.
    BTW I have been doing about 3-8 engines a month that and convertions of couplers on cars and buildings ECT-ect I think I have more cars and buildings than I have room for layout. but as the saying goes he who has the most trains wins
  18. 91rioja

    91rioja Member

    Couple of Questions

    So now come the next part. . .

    1) Are there any resources on the web that tells which kind of decoder will fit into which loco?

    2) Are all decoders made equal?

    3) With DCC, does one still need to follow the premise of block wiring like we use for DC?

  19. pennman

    pennman Member

  20. 91rioja

    91rioja Member

    Construction Update 07/14/06

    Well, it seems that I hit my first snag. It seems that the Woodland Scenics foam track bed for HO comes in two different heights. The long sheets are higher than the bevelled track bed. I had that great idea to get some of the sheets and use to cut out my switch pads and use the bevelled stuff on the straights and curves. Well, let me tell you how that worked out for me. . . not very good. Thankfully I had only laid about 48" of the stuff. So, I got to start over. It was in my yard/staging area, so no real harm, no real foul.

    Pennman, you wanted to know about the foam. I love it! I mounted Luan plyboard (about 3/16" thick) to my bench and covered it with 1" foam. I went to Lowe's and got the tube of NailPower Foam Board Adhesive to glue the foam to the plyboard. That stuff rocks! Just give it time to dry correctly. It is a solid as a rock now. I also am using the DAP Kwik Seal Tub, Shower, Sink, and Countertop Latex Adhesive Caulk to place my foam roadbed and track. That stuff rocks too; since my minor screwup, I can say that using the latex caulk really helped in removing the foam from the foam. A putty knife was all it took to get what I had done back up off of the bench. So I am sold on Latex Caulk now.

    Gosh, can I add any more sponsors to my above list?????:D

    Back at it.


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