Newbie help please

Discussion in 'Track Planning' started by Big Mark, Jan 4, 2006.

  1. Big Mark

    Big Mark Member

    Total newbie from the N-gauge section HELP!!
    Really like this layout but it is spec'd in atlas and I dont know if I can get this in England, any ideas?
    Would also love to link the lower spur on the right onto the main line, could that be done?
    Thanks in advance
    Mark and Fiona
  2. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

    Hi Mark and Fiona,

    Are these the only requirements? I recall seeing a looped layout in your other thread. What has happened to that idea?

    The plan you show above uses Atlas sectional track, and I think you should be able to find it, even if you have to go mail order. There are some pretty good shops/well known shops that should be able to help you.

    Back to the current plan though - if you want to connect the inner spurs to the track at the lower right - try "reversing" them. You will end up with something like what I have sketched below.

    You might want to add a runaround at at least one end of the point-to-point. That will allow you to get you loco back to the front of the train, rather than having to reverse all the way back.

    If this is just the beginning of your model railroad adventures, what else do you have in mind? Do you envision a basement (or other space) empire? Just a coffee table's worth? Operating sessions with (future) club members/friends? Replicating some memorable chunk of railroad/railroad history?

    The reason I ask this last set of questions is in case you want to design this layout to be part of something bigger...

    Hope that helps.


    Attached Files:

  3. Big Mark

    Big Mark Member

    Andrew THANKS!

    that version looks very good indeed
    The loop in the other thread is still a possible but I was trying to stick with a layout that has a list of required bits that I know will work as I really have NO idea what I am doing!!

    Not really planning on joining clubs may be included in a future layout though, if we enjoy it as much as we think we will. Not into scale replication just a fun, good looking layout pref with the ability to run two trains
  4. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

    Mark and Fiona,

    While it is easier to go with a published track plan with "known" pieces to buy or otherwise acquire, just be sure that it also satisfies the "operators' " requirements too!

    I shifted from a 4x8 table in HO to a modular format because it better suits my approach to the hobby. While this means, for example, that I cannot watch my trains go round and round at home, I can run on up to 14 miles of scale mainline when the club sets up once a month... :D Plus the railroad operates more like the real thing, which is an aspect I enjoy more than I thought I would when I got started. :)

  5. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    Check Peco settrack. They have 9" radius curves and matching points, also buffer stops and other bits.
    No right angled crossing. A bit of adjustment might let you use a different crossing, but Peco don't make more than 25 degrees.
    You could do the layout partly in Flexible track (Peco streamline); you just need a saw or rail nippers and a file.
  6. kadidle

    kadidle Member

    Mark, if you follow 60103's advice, maybe put a trestle in for the crossing, might be more interesting. Drop the lower line a tiny bit, and raise the upper a bit...
  7. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

    Mark & Fiona,

    As per your other thread in the N forum, you could have the spurs acting like a switchback to gain a bit of elevation. Then cross a trestle (from southeast to northwest in the plan) to the two sidings, maybe perched on the side of your "mountain". That would give a real logging or mining flavour to the layout (if desired).

  8. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

    As per my message in the N scale forum thread, your options for running two trains with DC control are somewhat limited.

    In order to run trains with DC, you need to create at least as many electrically isolated blocks as you have locos. Ideally you will have at least twice as many (one block to operate in, and one prepared (electrically switched) to receive the loco).

    In the diagram below, I have shown the minimum two block. This gives one block for each loco. If the loco (successfully) crosses into the other block, it will be controlled by the other powerpack. This configuration (with insulated joints at the green lines) allows you to have one train running the "mainline", and the other on the switchback/spurs in the centre.

    With this very simple blocking (with one powerpack per block, and no other wiring) it is not really possible to have the train run from the top yard all the way to the other end, and then enter the switching area.

    Note that there are other wiring configurations that will allow you to run a train right through, but these get progressively more complicated (although not much more) and begin to require electrical switches that control which powerpack is connected to which block. More on that if you are so inclined...


    Attached Files:

  9. Big Mark

    Big Mark Member

    Thanks for the illustraion, really helps a lot. Would the points not isolate the seperate tracks?
  10. Big Mark

    Big Mark Member

    I was planning to use cut tracks and switches to isolate so please feel free to elaborate on the switches :)
  11. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

    Thinking about it a bit more...

    With the two trains, do you intend to have them both running at once, or do you simply want two trains to be on the layout?

    In the second case (two trains, but only one moving at a time) you can get away with one powerpack, and "strategically" located sections of track that you can turn off and on with simple electrical switches.

    For example - in the "upper yard" you could have on-off switches for each of the tracks. A train pulls into one. You turn off the power to it. Turn on the power to the other track and pull out the loco that was sitting there. Simple - two trains, one powerpack, however many on-off switches.

    To answer your question about points (turnouts) controlling the power - this is a good application for power-routing turnouts. Those that are reliable send power only to the route they are aligned for. They do not really act as a selector for multiple powerpacks.

    Should I keep going? It may be easier for you to find a book on wiring. If you stick with DC control, Atlas has some good simple books that explain how to use their brand components in a variety of situations. Makes things very simple to set up.

  12. Big Mark

    Big Mark Member

    Was planning to run both trains at the same time, one shunting in the yard ready for the second to come in and pick up.
    I will get the layout set out and then re-post with my ideas and you can let me know just what I am doing wrong if thats ok?
  13. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

    I don't think you are doing anything wrong!! In fact, you'll find that there are often several "right" answers to any given question in model railroading.

    I think there is a saying in the science world (can't remember a source) that goes something like "The opposite of a falsehood is truth, but the opposite of one truth may very well be another truth".

    I am simply trying to explore a bit to help you find an answer that works for you, which is really what it is all about. :)

  14. Big Mark

    Big Mark Member

    Thanks Andrew, I really am flying blind here and so greatful for your (and everyone here) help.
    Thanks again
  15. Big Mark

    Big Mark Member

    This is how I was planning on wiring (on my layout though)
    The wiring looks easy enough but what do the dashes stand for on the track, are they cuts in the track or just the ends of the turnout??
  16. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

    The dashes on the track are physically the ends of the turnout (or thereabouts) but electrically represent insulated gaps. This can be done with plastic rail joiners (made by Altas) or by cutting gaps in the rail with (for example) a Dremel tool, filling the gap with a bit of styrene and filing it to match the rail profile.

    The way I read your diagram, you do not have any way to "park" an engine. Say you use the right powerpack for the spurs/sidings and stop an engine there. Once you flip that block to the left powerpack for an incoming engine, the "parked" engine will also start doing whatever the left powerpack says.

    You will need to use some of the power routing turnouts (or on-off electrical switches) to turn off the track that the first loco is parked on.

    If that is the plan, then I think it will work (cross fingers ;)).

  17. kadidle

    kadidle Member

    They are isolation of the power, so the two controllers are not conflicting/shorting out. Make sure there is a tiny (very tiny if possible) gap in the trackage, and you'll be fine. You want that gap small enough not to derail a train, but large enough that when the trackage expands it doesn't close completely. You can get plastic joiners that will keep the track aligned and prevent an accidental connection.
  18. Big Mark

    Big Mark Member

    do I need to break both rails or just one?
  19. kadidle

    kadidle Member

    I cut both to avoid nasty surprises if you change things around. But then again, I'm both forgetfull and paranoid. hehehehe.
  20. Big Mark

    Big Mark Member

    Just started doing a temp layout with the track to get the final size so I can buy the correct size of board and DOHHHH!!!! guess who forgot to buy 18! ST-15 curves....
    I say again DOH!!

    Hmmm this thing is looking big:D

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