New layout

Discussion in 'FAQs' started by Sparks, Jun 20, 2002.

  1. Sparks

    Sparks New Member

    This is my first layout. It is HO Scale. All of it was given to me by father before he passed away. He had not ran the trains or had a table up for about 12 to 13 years . So i had a lot to clean when I got them. I have a 8' x 41/2' layout now. The track is nailed to the plywood. I have all Spurs and switches wired and I have tested all of it. And I am ready for the next step. But i am not sure what that is? I didnt put any foam down. I didnt know about it until after I put it all the track down and had it wired. I want to put mountains in one corner with a creek on it going to a small lake in the middle of the table and a spot to put a spur going to a mine on the mountian. Where should I start or should I start all over with foam? Also I have brass track but i found a lot of nickel silver flex track. This is my first layout. So lots of imput would be appreciated.
  2. th4sb

    th4sb New Member

    hello sparks.i would lose the brass track,although a few still use it perhaps.nothing wrong putting track directly on the plywood but it will look better if you lay down some roadbed first using cork and or foam strips.(woodland scenics)i my self use sure your trains will run on your layout but i would take my time and replace the brass and read a lot of books and or articles on track laying.of course you will learn a lot reading the forums and seeing what other modelers are doing as far as laying track and in kansas.......
  3. Matt Probst

    Matt Probst Member

    If you're serious about joining the hobby on a "full-time" basis and would like to keep your layout in good condition, I would take up your brass and re-lay track with nickel silver for the fact that it conducts electricity better than brass. Also, I'm wondering from your post if the track is nailed directly to the plywood or if you have some kind of sub-roadbed under it:confused: .
    If I were you, I would take the time to visit a local hobby shop and buy some good literature about the hobby, subscribe to one of the leading model railroad magazines and be prepared to do a lot of reading on the subject before attempting much more. An excellent book on scenery that I recommend to everyone is called "MODEL RAILROAD SCENERT AND DETAILING", BY Albert A. Sorensen. Not sure if it's still in print.
    Hope this helps a little bit!!:)

    Matt--Hershey, Pa.
  4. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    Hi Sparks:
    Welcome to the hobby, welcome to the-gauge.

    Don't worry about the order of doing things. For a first layout, even getting the track working is good.

    Unless you are planning to put in bridges and rivers under the tracks, you can add scenery to the top of the flat areas. If you know what you want, good. You might want to lay your scenery on top of the layout without fastening it down. That lets you shift it or replace it. The foam scenery is good for that.
    Just saw you want to put a creek in. You could model it a bit higher than the rails and run it into the lake, but not out. If you want it under the tracks, you'll have to saw into the plywood top unless you can model a shallow culvert. Just watch out for the braces under the plywood. (look at the book HO Railroad that Grows: it's over 40 years old but the ideas still work.)
    And remember that there are other ways to do anything in model railroading--some will be better for you than others.
  5. Matt Probst

    Matt Probst Member

    Hey Th!! Were we on the same wavelength, date and time or what!:eek: :eek:

  6. Sparks

    Sparks New Member

    yes it is on the board.
  7. Sparks

    Sparks New Member

    I am thinking of putting 1" blue foam over the whole table so I can carve into the foam not the table.
  8. Matt Probst

    Matt Probst Member

    Depending on how realistic you want your layout to be, there are two problems with track laid directly onto wood. Visually speaking, real railroads don't lay track directly onto the ground. They're built up with "beveled" sides to allow for drainage and are ballasted. The other problem is that when model trains are run on track like you have, usually the vibrations create an annoying sound. A sound deadening roadbed such as the cork or homosote types will contribute greatly to your realism.
    There are some newer roadbed products out there that may or may not fit into your budget and I can't give you any pros or cons about them. I use cork myself because A: It's relatively inexpensive. B: It's easy to work with. C: Tracklaying goes quicker for me.
    Homosote is very popular with many model railroaders and is available at Home Depot or Lowes in 4x8 sheets that is easily cut and formed as a good roadbed, though it can be pretty dusty to work with I hear.
    Good luck with everything and I hope this helps a little!!!

    Matt--Chocolatetown, Pa.
  9. Tyson Rayles

    Tyson Rayles Active Member

    Sparks welcome to the Gauge! I agree with the others pretty much. Brass is NOT the way to go and I would use a layer of foam on top of the plywood. As far as sub-roadbed goes yes if you are doing a mainline or well maintained shortline. I use AMI Instant Roadbed but it is pricey. However I model a not so well maintained shortline so I only needed it for the mainline railroads connection to my yard. Another connecting shortline railroad to my railraod in real life laid its tracks right in the dirt (no ballast at all) and I will be doing the same. Does this mean you should do it the same way, NO, do what ever pleases you! This is just another idea for you to ponder (pondering is one of the best things about model railroading :D ). One thing you might consider though is sketching out your track plan and posting it in the track planning forum. You might get some good ideas from there that will help you avoid some of the more common pitfalls like too steep of grades and too sharp of curves. Whatever you do the best of luck and keep us posted! :)
  10. Vic

    Vic Active Member


    Hi Sparks and welcome to The Gauge.

    Like all the others have said I would "deep six" the brass track. That was state of the art years ago but nickle silver is much better.

    I cover all of my layout with Homasote and like Tyson I have many aeras where the track is laid directly on the ground. I only have raised roadbed on areas where there would be a "fill"

    Just take your time and don't try to do everything at once. A model railroad is never really "finished":D :D :D
  11. Sparks

    Sparks New Member

    Last night I bought 2 4' x 8' 1/2" blue foam. I Planned to put one sheet on the top of the table. And use a sheet for land scaping. I also found some black and white cork road bed but it is real stiff and hard to make a curve with it. Have not made up my mind weather i am going to use the road bed I found.
  12. th4sb

    th4sb New Member

    sparks.most cork roadbed comes as one piece which seperates into two is layed on the layout and can be bent to 15 inch radius or less if it needs to be.i use 18,20,22 inch radius track but thats another story.see if in fact your cork can be in kansas........

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