New train room - need ideas!

Discussion in 'HO Scale Model Trains' started by ExtremePCs, Jan 22, 2006.

  1. ExtremePCs

    ExtremePCs Member

    I've decided on this. I will leave enough room around the 4 x 8 table to walk around and back to the salt tank area. I also plan to keep the center section semi-removeable just in case. If I do move the tanks over next to the water heater, I'll just add on to the 4 x 8, lose the center, and move the 3 x 6 section closer to the corner. Will post pics once I get the benchwork done. The room is already preped with a new electrical circuit and lighting. Just have to decide if I want to put up paneling or not... The wall behind the 3 x 6 section is concrete, but the other 2 (behind 4 x 8 and the door wall) are stud walls. Concrete by the water heater.

  2. cidchase

    cidchase Active Member

    just a thought

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  3. ocalicreek

    ocalicreek Member

    interesting thought...

    cidchase...a very interesting thought. Curves might be a bit broader this way than a freestanding layout. But then again, my current layout is being built in a room that doesn't suit well to around the walls planning (3 out of 4 walls are all windows from about 30" up and the 4th has a door and a large window), so a 4x8+ is what I've got to work with.

    Was just looking through 1995 year of MR magazines the other day. Saw an interesting layout (well, just benchwork) on skids. The floor of the room was carpeted so the layout slid away from the wall 'easily'. Reminded me of other posts I've seen about benchwork on casters or other wheels.

    I wonder if anyone has ever built benchwork on the type of legs/wheel combo where the wheels lift up allowing the legs to sit on the floor? When its time to move, a lever is pushed with the foot and the table raises about an inch or so to allow the wheels to make contact with the floor.

    SO perhaps these might be options if you choose the freestanding 4x8 route. Could allow you to stretch those dimensions a bit and get a better payoff in scenic area between track and layout edge if curves are held to the same radius, or increase your min. radius. If you can roll or slide a section away from the wall then construction/maintenance would be easier than squeezing into a narrow gap to do the work.

  4. ExtremePCs

    ExtremePCs Member

    WOW. That would be cool... Only problem is that I'd have to raise the layout to at least 65" to clear the water softner. Does anyone else have their layout up that high?

  5. cidchase

    cidchase Active Member

    Still thinkin' :D :D :D

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  6. ExtremePCs

    ExtremePCs Member

    Did I forget to mention that I can't take out a home equity loan for the train romm? :D
  7. ocalicreek

    ocalicreek Member

    elevated benchwork

    Another thought. Using the platform and raised benchwork will make ducking under to get into the access aisle easier.

    My current layout under construction will be supported by freestanding metal shelving (gorilla rack) set at 48". The framing will be a box or butt joint construction of 1x4's. On top of that will be 1/4" lauan ply and the roadbed will be a homasote-like material, so rail height will be at about 52", and I'm 72" high, so watching the trains at eye level is just a slight dip down, with access to the scenery, trackwork, etc. comfortable for arm's reach. I'll probably do some work from a short stool (and old porter's step would be cool...hmmm....) but hopefully not much.

    One section will be built on a 3' high section so that the ground can fall away from the tracks (on a fill and over a bridge, crossing a road and a creek). This way the rest of the layout can be built with the base right on the frame for strength, as opposed to building the whole thing cookie-cutter and riser style. Only the depressed section needs that treatment, a savings on lumber, effort, and time.

    Also, remember John Allen dug out much of his basement to build the Gorre & Daphetid, and actually built some of it on areas he couldn't (or didn't) excavate.

    Yet another thought...there was a layout in a Christmas house/antiques place near my home town in FL. I remember there was an I-beam vertical support along one long wall of the layout area. There were at least three tracks passing in front of the beam, and one actually went through it. The builder had a hole burned/cut through the web of the beam. Kindof a cool effect to watch trains go through, because even though much of the beam was hidden with a rocky outcropping and the tracks going around clinging to a cliffside, one track went into a tunnel and emerged the other side. You knew there had to be a hole in the beam, but it still played with your mind to see a train going through.

    Point is, take the obstacle as a challenge to be overcome. What emerges in the planning process may be a really cool serendipity! Just make whatever is in front of the utilities removable.

  8. cidchase

    cidchase Active Member

    Hey, benchwork is cheap! It's the locos that send you to the bank... :D

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  9. Triplex

    Triplex Active Member

    Cid's idea with the elevated walkway is good. But if you can't build against the walls due to the windows, I'm not sure what you can do. Your plan with the 4x8 and 3x6 connected has a slight problem: there isn't actually enough room to walk behind the 4x8 section.
  10. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    I think I would just bridge the area around the water softener with a one or two track swing out bridge. In effect make your layout in two sections, one along the 13' 6" wall and the other in the "L" section between the water softener corner and the furnace. The swing out bridge would just get trains from one scenicked section to the other. Put in some strong hinges and locks with a good interlock to keep the trains from hitting the floor. When you need to add salt, swing the bridge section back against the layout and you would have access to the water softener.
  11. dsfraser

    dsfraser Member

    I think you're trying to do too much with too little. Given the size of your room, I look long and hard at N-scale. I'm limited to a 12x16 space, and would like to have three times that. Unfortunately, I'm committed to HO scale by virtue of the huge crater it has left in my bank account over the last few years.

    Another factor no one has mentioned is noise. You don't say where you live, but if your furnace runs frequently in the winter (modelling) months, you might want to frame it in to reduce noise.

    If you can move the water softener over between the furnace and the hot water tank, you'll have many more options, but still not a lot of space for an HO scale layout. And as others have pointed out, hot water tanks and furnaces, while they last a long time, do break down and ocassionally need to be hauled out. Chances are it won't happen for many years, but there's a fellow called murphy who sometimes meddles with things, and you don't want to paint yourself into a corner and be forced to tear down your layout to replace something.

    How big is the laundry room? Can you move the washer/dryer into the furnace room and use that room? Maybe tear down a wall, or move one to expand it?

    Whatever you decide upon, enjoy it.

    Scott Fraser
    Calgary, Alberta
  12. abutt

    abutt Member

    I lived with a water softener behind the layout for 25 years in my former house. I had a large house and a large basement. I allowed a 30" passage behind the layout to get to the holding tank (5' tall), the softener and salt barrel. Maintenence on a softener is on the top. Salt is heavy and you need enough elevation over the barrel to dump in the salt.

    I had to replace the softener, and even with the 30" walkway, there was a lot of grumbling from the workers.

    Point is still...don't trap anything! Burner service people need space on the sides to clean out and service. Are you hot water heat, hot air heat? You know what's needed by your service people.

    N gage is surely an option. But I like HO myself, and since my Lional childhood that's what I've run. Trick is to enjoy the hobby. Don't overlook or ignore future problems that me sour you on railroading.
  13. ExtremePCs

    ExtremePCs Member

    The laundry room is very narrow and not even as long as the furnace room area... It's next to the stairs. I did consider N scale, but I just don't see as many options for it (scenery, loco's, etc), at least at my local hobby shops. Plus my eye sight is not the greatest. I'm only 32 years old right now, and I don't imagine it's going to improve with age :)

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