New to forum - Mini layout tour

Discussion in 'N / Z Scale Model Trains' started by Arlaghan, Sep 10, 2003.

  1. Arlaghan

    Arlaghan Member

    Hello everyone, I am new to this forum, and thought it would be appropriate for my first post to be a photo tour of the N scale layout I am currently working on. I've only been in MRR since March or so, and only recently have I begun this layout... here is my progress:

    Here is a 1:1 trackplan (Plan #1 from Mike's Track Plans) on top of the already completed benchwork. It just consists of a 2' x 4' piece of plywood with 1x2 strips around the perimeter and one down the center for added stability. The sawhorses are tempory.

    Here, you can see the lower level area with the track and roadbed already in place. Where you see the faint wavy line is portion of track that begins to climb at a (not quite 4%) incline:

    In this shot, you can see part of the second level temporarily in place (that whole section of foam can be removed and lifted out, as I still need to work on stuff beneath it) and an indication of where I plan to put a timber trestle bridge, that spans the lower branch with a timber truss bridge:

    Here is the same, but from the other side. Here you can see another proposed bridge that leads off of the layout and into your imagination. You can also see more clearly the wavy line where the inclined track will be:

    This is a progress shot of the truss bridge. At this point, it still needs "shoes" and to be stained:

    Here is the first stage of the curved timber trestle, with the already completed truss bridge in its place. The trestle is attached to a piece of cardstock that can be removed when I'm ready to do the scenery in that area (to keep it clean) and then it will be glued down permanently.

    Here is a closeup of the trestle, after cross bracing is put in. At this point, the stringers, ties, and guard rail timbers still need to be put on, and the whole thing stained:

    Here is a closeup of the completed trestle (minus rails - can't do that part yet until I do the surrounding scenery) with focus on one of the two water barrels. This is my favorite picture, to date:

    And, lastly, here is a shot from a cool angle. In the distance, you can see the Heavy Mikado (a Kato C&NW #425) engine:

    Thanks for taking the time to look! Opinions/Suggestions are welcome!

  2. atsf_arizona

    atsf_arizona Member

    Great trestle!


    I saw your trestle over on Atlas Forum, it looks GREAT.

    Keep us posted on the progress of your layout.
  3. Ralph

    Ralph's for fun!

    Welcome aboard! That trestle and truss bridge are beautifully done! Looking forward to updates!
  4. Blake

    Blake Member

    Nice work, and welcome to the gauge. I see you have joined us despite your experience on the chat last night :D :D :D You asked for suggestions, here is one, keep doing what you are doing! Your bridges are absolutely great and your execution of the entire railroad is well organized and focused. I am impressed by the fact that you have only been into model railroading for a short time. Keep up the good work.
  5. Catt

    Catt Guest

    Alex and John,welcome to the Gauge. I think you'll find we are a friendly bunch here.

    Alex the layout is lookin' good.John ,have you got pics to post?
  6. SD70BNSF

    SD70BNSF Member

    Wow and Welcome


    Welcome to The Gauge. That's a great layout and a really great trestle. I am inspired to try one too. I made baby steps on my proposed layout. I started moving some furniture out of the area in the basement that will become the train room. Keep us posted on your progress!
  7. Ray Marinaccio

    Ray Marinaccio Active Member

    Welcome to the Gauge. Great looking layout. I like your woodwork on the trestle and bridge. Keep the photos coming.
  8. Tyson Rayles

    Tyson Rayles Active Member

    Welcome! :D Very nice trestle and bridge! :cool:
  9. Matthyro

    Matthyro Will always be re-membered

    Welcome to the Gauge Alex and John.
    It is good to see how your layout is progressing Alex. The truss bridge and trestle areexcellent. Did you scratchbuild them?
  10. Arlaghan

    Arlaghan Member

    Thanks Guys!

    The bridge and trestle are both scratch made... I used basswood strips and some wire for the steel rods. I stained them both with regular ole Minwax... a mixture of Provincial and Natural to tone it down a bit... maybe 1:3 or 1:4... I just eyeball it until the color matches.

    The bridge was straight-forward in building - just make jigs for it and it's pretty easy to get it together. The trestle was another story since it is curved and on an incline to boot! I had to take off 1mm off each bent ... not something I will be looking to do again any time soon!

    I'm off to work on it some more! I get a lot of help and suggestions from you folks on the chat. :D :D :D
  11. SD90

    SD90 Active Member

    Welcome to the Gauge!
  12. TomPM

    TomPM Another Fried Egg Fan

    Welcome to the Gauge.

    Looks like you are off to a great start with the layout. The bridges are gems. Very nice work.
  13. zeeglen

    zeeglen Member

    Excellent work! Out of curiosity, what is the incline grade of your trestle? Looks like from one of your photos there will be a second bridge extending off the upper level. How big do you plan to make your layout when finished?

    One suggestion if you don't mind - you described the platform as a "2' x 4' piece of plywood with 1x2 strips around the perimeter and one down the center for added stability. The sawhorses are tempory."

    If you will be taking the platform off the sawhorses, a trick to eliminate the tendency of the plywood to warp and twist corner to corner as you handle it, depending on the thickness you used (and maybe break scenery). Two additional corner-to-corner braces really work well to improve the stability in the diagonal directions.

    Keep those photos coming!
  14. jawatkins

    jawatkins Member

    Very Cool

    Hi Alex

    Welcome to the Gauge. Love what you've done for being in this hobby for such a short period of time. Looking forward to seeing more of your progress. I'll bet you were one of those kids who built things with popsicle sticks when you were younger! (Just kidding:D )

    Can't wait to see it completed!
  15. Arlaghan

    Arlaghan Member

    Thanks Again!

    Rough calculations has my incline at about 3.75%. It was intended to be 4% as follows:

    My foam sheets claim a thickness of 3/4" on the packaging. So, what I did was determine what number 3/4" was 4% OF. Turns out to be 18 3/4". So, I knew that for every 18 3/4" of track, I would rise "one sheet" of foam. I needed to clear 3 sheets of foam so that I would have room to run my train below, so I built my incline over the course of three such "risings". However, when all is said and done, 3 sheets of foam (which should have totalled 2 1/4") ended up being 2 1/8" instead (Those liars! :rolleyes: ) But it worked in my favor, and not against it, as 3.75% is not as bad as 4%! Preliminary tests had my mikado pulling 6 of my heaviest cars up a 6% incline, even at slow speed settings, so pulling 2 or 3 (all I got room for) up 3.75% should be a breeze!

    As to your other question, I hadn't really planned on making it any bigger than this. I have a larger garage layout that I worked on with a friend, but he has been MIA for some time, and to get my fix (and not have to wait for him - we split the costs) I started this mini layout with the intention of getting my wife involved. At best, it succeeded in diminishing the dirty looks I get when I buy train stuff! Actually, she offers to help now and then, but with school and work, she's plenty busy. The cross bracing is a good idea... I will look into doing it, carefully, as I got all my wiring fixed to the underside of the plywood.

    Judy, actually I was! Only not with popsicle sticks. I was a cardboard kind of kid... I made castles, houses and, when I mastered wood later in life, ships! Trains is my latest endeavor.
  16. jawatkins

    jawatkins Member


    to the children who have the imagination to see the oridinary and make something extraordinary. Creative children grow up to be creative adults (which you most certainly are, as well as the others on this forum) who make our world an interesting place to be. And kudos to the parents who encourage their children to be creative and "think outside the box" (cereal box, if you'll excuse the expression). It shows that with a little ingenuity, we can accomplish most anything and not have to spend tons of money to do it.

    Great work.
  17. Drew1125

    Drew1125 Active Member

    Very impressive modeling, Arlaghan!
    I'm a BIG fan of the SMALL layout!
    :cool: :cool: :cool:
    And welcome to The Gauge!:)
  18. zeeglen

    zeeglen Member

    Re: Thanks Again!

    Having a significant other taking an interest in your hobby and working with you on it is one of the best things about the hobby. Not everyone is so lucky! Kinda like your own private 2 member RR club, especially if you both have talents for different things that complement each other.

    Do you have rubber traction tires on your Mikado? Mine had trouble all by itself at 6% grade till i added the tires.

    I ran into a bit of trouble on my last layout and want to steer you clear b4 you get too far. You're right about the styrofoam, it is not exactly 3/4". It's thickness varies too, which can cause problems when cork roadbed and Peco turnouts are laid directly on it. Check your turnouts and make sure they are absolutely flat - all mine came out of their boxes with a slight upward bend in the rails at the points, had to straighten them (afterwards when the problems showed up - thank goodness i hadn't ballasted yet!). If the rails are bent or the styrofoam is uneven at the point end this can tilt the Mikado locomotive body upwards in the front and raise the pilot wheels just enough to prevent them from rolling into the points properly and thus derail. Had to really fiddle with making the rails perfectly straight and flat to get rid of the problems. Diesels were much more forgiving.

    Next time i will place 1/4" plywood on top of the stryofoam to make sure all trackwork and turnouts are resting on a perfectly flat surface without the bumps and ripples in styrofoam. All bit more trouble at tracklaying time to save much more trouble later.
  19. Arlaghan

    Arlaghan Member

    Oh yeah! You got that right. I got the traction tires almost RIGHT AWAY :) Without em, the mikado could barely handle a 3% grade all by itself. Well, it could, but at speed... if you put it to a crawl, the wheels would spin out trying to climb.

    I'm not using Peco track... Granted, I can only run the train on the lower level, as there's no way to get to the top level yet, so far I've only had derailments due to turnouts thrown against me. I installed (well, in the process of) caboose industries manual ground throws, and they made a world of difference. I've not had a derailment since!
  20. rcwatkins

    rcwatkins Member

    Nice little bridge you got there. :)

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