new layout.

Discussion in 'HO Scale Model Trains' started by ic&e_modeler, Mar 31, 2005.

  1. ic&e_modeler

    ic&e_modeler New Member

    i am having a general problem with the new layout im gonna build. i have the room and materials but don't have a plan or a prototype. i want to do something in the late 80's early 90's and with switching if anyone has an idea it would be greatly appreciated.
  2. babydot94513

    babydot94513 Member in training

    Try visting your local hobby shop and pick up a track planning publication. Kalmbach is one of the leaders, but there are others that will give you lots of suggestions.
    Have fun and enjoy the design phase - it takes a long time and you will still never be happy<g>
  3. hooknlad

    hooknlad Member

    3 years of planning for me to date - no track laid yet. The layout is all in your imagination. Think big and plan for expansion. Happy Railroading !!! :wave:

  4. Ralph

    Ralph's for fun!

    With your IC&E tag, how about the Soo Line as the basis for your layout? I just recently saw IC&E equipment fpr the first time rolling through Red Wing, MN. Cool! Anyway, track planing can be fun or annoying depending on your perspective. A lot of modelers seem to believe that the perfect plan for them has been published somewhere...and a lot of times this turns out to be exactly the case! Others use those published plans and modify them for their own needs. Its nice to have some inspiration as a guide. I went through reams of paper with track became a sort of sub-hobby for a while. :) I tended to flesh out the mainline and make decisions about that route first (continupus run? long?...double or single main?...etc...) and then filled in switching areas.
  5. Alan B

    Alan B Member

    Atlas plan 19 is a great starting point. I built my East Denver Belt by modifying plan 19. No wye and no switchback for me. I also widened it to twenty-four inches.
  6. LIRR

    LIRR Member

    Iain Rices two books on track planning (there both MR publications) offer good track plans with lots of switching.
  7. XavierJ123

    XavierJ123 Member

    I have trouble visualizing anything on paper so I am starting with a table on which I am raising the height of a track----first from 7/8 inches high to 12/13 inches high. I raised a simple long oval track with stacks of old lumber. Now I can visualize the bridges, trestles and tunnels I will use.
  8. dsfraser

    dsfraser Member

    Get a copy of John Armstrong's book "Track Planning for Realistic Operation" (Kalmbach). It is a classic, and worth its weight in gold.

    Read the NMRA standards to make sure you have adequate clearances and practical grades and track radius.

    Avoid the common newbie mistake of trying to cram too much track into too small an area.

    Decide whether you want to run with DC or DCC.

    Length is more important than width. A yard with three sidings that each hold fifteen cars is better than a yard with ten sidings that each hold five cars.

    Avoid anything wider than three feet — you won't be able to fix the derailment at the back of a 4' table, much less clean the track.

    Make sure you can easily reach all turnouts for maintenance.

    Take a good long look at your train room. Draw it out in scale, and decide where you can put shelves and peninsulas and maybe a helix if you want staging on another level. Consider where things like doors and windows and closets are, whether you want duckunders or a removable section or a blob to allow access to same. (A blob is the place where you have to stick the 4' circle to reverse the train.)

    The Armstrong book has a very good description of the basic types of layout — dogbone, folded dogbone, pretzel, point-to-point, etc. It has a good deal more, too, so buy it! (And no, I don't work for Kalmbach. :) I do wish that I'd bought it before I built my first layout. It would have saved me much grief and expense.)

    A single-track main line with passing sidings is a lot more interesting and a lot more fun than a double-track main line, at least in my opinion. It is also more realistic in the vast majority of situations.

    Don't rush to lay track. Spend as much time as you need planning the layout, until you are sure it will work for you. There are numerous computer programs available to help plan a layout.

    There are also 1:1 templates that you can lay out on your table to see how it looks. Use these before you commit to laying track! (You can make them yourself.) Then cut a few pieces of string five feet long, eight feet long, ten feet long, and lay them on top of you templates. These are your trains. Drag them around and see how they interact. Are your passing sidings long enough? Can you get a ten-foot long train into your yard without fouling the main line? Are your runaround tracks where you need them? You will save yourself much grief if you can answer these questions before going to the trouble and expense of actually laying track. you don't want to have to tear it all up a month after it's finished, nor do you want to suffer with a clunker of a layout for any length of time.

    Spend your time now wisely. Read, draw, research, and when you get tired of that, build your rolling stock and detail your locomotives. Choose an era. Choose a roadname, or make up your own. Know what you want to end up with before you get carried away nailing track to a sheet of plywood. If you must run trains now, build a switching layout that you can later incorporate into the Main Event.

    So that's my 2¢. Maybe even 3¢. Model railroading is a lifetime hobby, so there is no need for haste. I suspect the average medium-sized layout takes ten or fifteen years to complete, from benchwork to the last tree or building. (Is there a "last"?) There is no need to get all the track down in the first three weeks.

    And remember, this is a hobby. It's supposed to be fun, so if you find yourself getting frustrated, do someting else, whether it's building locomotives or making trees or reading a good book on Alcos or designing a block detection circuit. There are many, many different facets of the hobby to explore. And if someone says to you that this is inaccurate or you did that wrong, well, they may be right, but most of the time they're just trying to make themselves seem important. They're not — this is your hobby, not theirs, and you are the only arbiter of what's right or wrong, or what's "good enough". I count rivets, but only until I run out of fingers.

    Scott Fraser
    Calgary, Alberta
  9. XavierJ123

    XavierJ123 Member

    Thanks Scott for all the time and trouble. I am doing a lot of the things that you suggested. And patience is what I have plenty of. I agree with you that this is my ball game and my ball and I will play with it the way I want to. (That sentence sounds like bad grammer :oops: )But the kids are right. LOL I already did the procrastination thing--about 30 years with a blank train table that someone built and gave to me. The track plan is from the book "Six HO Railroads you can build" by John H. Armstrong & Thaddeus Stepek--1971. I am not using the track plan, just the table. If you ask me what I am planning, it's mountains, tunnels and bridges with a few trains. Have you ever heard that expression, "Do you like a little coffee with your cream?" Well, I like a little train with my mountain. In fact, I comtemplated making a large mountain backdrop instead of just a painting.
  10. CAS

    CAS Member

    Hooknlad, are you serious, 3 yrs. and no track laid. I'm in trouble then. I been search thru books also, to see what kind of layout to do, but no luck yet for me. But it's only like a week for me.

  11. hooknlad

    hooknlad Member

    Cliff, yes it has been an interesting 3 years at that as well, I beleive that Today, yes Today, I am going to start laying track. Most of my track planning has been under the influence of some highly potent narcotic drugs, Had 3 discs removed in my lower back, an I haven't been the same ever since. There is hope though with yet another new procedure. Wooo Hooo.
    As for the track plans, my Narcotic Influence, has broadened my imagination, has included, subway stops, yes i dont know whether any model RailRoaders, have done this to date. a simple square of Lexan over and on the side of the layout will show stops etc. This will be in the "downtown" section. Creativity will also bring the layout around the basement, permitting the "zoning office" allows it - LOL [​IMG]
  12. FC Alturas

    FC Alturas New Member

    Three years of planning? I'm finally getting my 5 X 9 going after having it rattle around in my head and various pieces of paper for almost forty years. The reality started after our 25th anniversary trip to Alaska last and a trip on the WP&YR line with a purchase of a 2-8-2 Mikado Light and four cars. When we got home Genny told me that she didn't want to see WP&YR gather dust on shelf. So................. I've been busy. Now that Styrofoam, foam-core,
    E-Z Track and all the other good stuff availible now theGENLEE/XLNXPRS is taking shape.(pix soon?) Now all I have to do is get it hung from the ceiling.

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