New On30 Layout - Need Advice

Discussion in 'Track Planning' started by electric130, Dec 24, 2007.

  1. electric130

    electric130 Member

    well, i'm thinking of doing an On30 layout in my garage. this is the layout i've come up with. roughly 12'x12'
    i designed it using Atlas RTS O scale track since i figured i wanted mainly 18" radius turns and larger. yes i know theres a couple gaps, but i can work those out later.
    i want to do a mining area and a logging area. was probably going to go with the Bachman shay and a Climax that have the Tsunami sound already installed from Bachmann. let me also say that this will be my first major layout, so i don't know if i'm getting in over my head, or should start smaller.
    here, i took out the outer loop as well as the dogbone. it would be able to be added on to make the one above fairly easily. just don't know if i should start with a smaller one and expand on it, or just go big.
    any suggestions are welcome. i plan to use DCC as well. is there anything substantially better than Bachmann's?
  2. pgandw

    pgandw Active Member

    I would suggest using the HO code 100 library instead of the O track. That library has 18" and 22" radii. The On30 equipment runs on HO track, not O gauge. The only "gotcha" in planning is spacing parallel tracks further apart (and increasing vertical clearances) for the wider (and higher) On30 equipment. The HO code 83 track has a 24" radius curve as well. Both libraries feature flexible track which allow you to use the curve radius of your choice and make the track plan more "flowing".

    I would also recommend a quick read for beginners here: Space Mouse Rail Systems

    You have already mentioned a mining and logging area. How are those scenes going to fit in with your 2 track plans? What I am trying to get at is that the track plans are just track arrangements with no real purpose to them. Start from your mining and logging areas. What track, buildings, and scenery are needed to make the scene that you have in mind? Then link these scenes with suitable track arrangements that would support these industries.

    Narrow gauge railroads in particular used minimum amounts of track to achieve efficient service to their customers.

    In On30, scenery and structures are big. You have to leave room for them, and consider them in the layout planning process.

    just some suggestions for starters
  3. electric130

    electric130 Member

    thanks for replying. yeah, that's why i designed it with the O gauge library instead of the HO. 18" radii is the same as O-36 and 22" is a little less than O-45. so by using O-36 and O-45 in my layouts above, i make sure of adequate clearances. in the end, yes, i know i'll use HO track (probably the Peco On30 track), but the O gauge library seems better for doing the layouts i think.
  4. ocalicreek

    ocalicreek Member

    What sort of operation do you want? Round & round or switching, or a bit of both?
  5. electric130

    electric130 Member

    if i could have an ideal layout for this, it would have 2 mainlines for continuous running with some operating and switching. the main focus would be the mainlines though, not the yards. i mostly enjoy watching the trains run with my kids and talking about them. every now and then, throw a switch and make something different happen, but mainly just running. that's what i like with my G scale too.
  6. electric130

    electric130 Member

    I've been posting on a couple other forums and getting feedback there as well. the general consensus is that 18" turns is too tight, even for On30. so now, i'm thinking of just sticking with HO cars and doing a logging theme. any feedback on that? will that be easier to tackle than what i originally set out to do?
  7. ocalicreek

    ocalicreek Member

    I've got a Bachmann HO 3-truck shay that will not go below 18" radius, not for nuthin. No coaxing will work and the noise that comes out of it when it comes close is pretty bad. I did some flex track testing when I bought it to see what she'd do and that's when I found out what I later read - it ain't happy below 18" radius at all.

    That said, I think the climax will do it just fine. There's a growing number of HO standard gauge logging equipment as well as many nice mill kits for both modern and steam era periods. Cass, WV and the climax at Durbin are good east coast examples and there are a few (ha ha) out here in the Pacific Northwest.

    Have you ever seen Iain Rice's Liliput logger plan? May fit the bill of what you're looking for.
  8. hminky

    hminky Member

  9. nkp174

    nkp174 Active Member

    hminky is pretty good with On30. I'd check out his website and search for his threads.

    I cannot think of a single narrow gauge double track line. I'm certain that there weren't any...because the benefit of narrow gauge is the narrower (cheaper) construction costs which would have been entirely offset by double tracking it.
  10. electric130

    electric130 Member

    yeah, i've been on his site for many, many hours already. if you google "on30" his is the first site that comes up. as far as the double main line, that is more of a "it's my layout, and that's what i like to see" kind of thing. i know it's probably not prototypical, but it's cooler to watch. i'm still tossing it around though.

    off topic, but i'm from cincy originally. headed back up there this weekend.
  11. nkp174

    nkp174 Active Member

    That's cool. I follow the same rule with my train building.
  12. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    I think that has to be the first hard and fast rule of model railroading! Sometimes we may build something and enjoy it, then get more into the prototype and discover that we are dissatisfied with what we built. That's fine, it may be time to rebuild, but the most important thing about any model railroad is that you build what is fun for you. If you get it built, and then think it looks funny or it isn't fun to operate, then you need to change it to where it is fun to operate and satisfies YOU. I think most members of this site who have been modeling any length of time have built and torn down layouts and rebuilt because their interrests changed and they rebuilt to match their interest level.
  13. electric130

    electric130 Member

    and isn't going back and changing things later on part of the fun so you never get bored?
  14. pgandw

    pgandw Active Member

    Bachmann originally designed their On30 line to run on HO train set track - 18" radius. However, accurate models of large 3ft gauge prototypes (think K-series 2-8-2s) or Forney's would be difficult to coax around 18" curves in On30.

    Most everything else should handle 18" radius curves just fine. The other exception would be accurate models of some longer low-slung cars that had the wheels between wood frame stringers instead of under. For an O scale model, you are going to need some underbody modifications to get them to go around 18" radius curves.

    A logging layout in either HO or On30 would be a lot of fun. I chose HOn3 for my Oregon logging line that expanded into somewhat of a common carrier line, but that's me. To be honest, of On30, HO, and HOn3, On30 offers the most variety of RTR locomotives and rolling stock for a period logging layout, with HO being 2nd.

    my thoughts, your choices
  15. electric130

    electric130 Member

    thanks for the reply. i did look into HOn3 a bit, but after most sites suggested it was more for builders, i thought i'd try On30 first since there's more items readily available. now i'm kind of toying with just doing only logging and one mainline. i should be able to easily do 22" or larger turns on the ends with that.
  16. nkp174

    nkp174 Active Member

    Actually, now days, I would say that HOn3 isn't just for craftsmen. RTR rolling stock is becoming common...and everyone's brother seems to be coming out with a RTR HOn3 locomotive. Even On3 is seeing a boom in RTR stuff...although our track still requires hand laying skills.

    On30 is ideal for industrial/logging/mining etc... if you don't mind the lack of 30" gauge railroads in north america.

    If you want great scenery...go HOn3 and either fill your roster with RTR flat cars or try out a few of Durango Press and PSC's WSL cars. That would probably give you the most realistic roster too...but understand that getting your hands on Shinohara's track is a pain.

    If you don't mind not-quite-right-but-close-enough feel of On30 (actually more like On31)...the cheap equipment and massive size is pretty cool...especially the spectrum shay. The new Uintah 2-6-6-2t's from Precision Scale would also make outstanding power.

Share This Page