Perils and pitfalls... yeah, I'm a newbie.

Discussion in 'Track Planning' started by LeeC, Mar 5, 2005.

  1. jetrock

    jetrock Member

    Do'h^2! It's N. I'm not sure who does a 3-way N scale turnout, but if it's in the track planning software maybe you can do it...
  2. LeeC

    LeeC Member

    Fleischmann (which is what I am using) also do the 3 point turn out (in N gauge which is what this is) in both manual and electric flavours. I can picture loads of you all going "oh no, not Flesichmann!" but it's what the starter kit I bought was in so I've stuck with it.

    Typical that someone likes the 3 point turnout after I redesign that section to get rid of them :( Ah well, I'm discovering that sometimes, things happen like that.
  3. LeeC

    LeeC Member

    Well, here we are still in the design phase [​IMG] but this is it! This is the one I am going to build! I am off to York show later today (Sunday) armed with wallet and parts list to see what I can find as inspiration for scenery etc... It's my first ever show so I'm pretty excited.... All I need to do now is to leave this damned trackplan alone and stop fiddling with it.

    As you can see, lots of compromises and changes have been made to the layout. I have removed the top right access hole because there was actually a rather large wooden structure in the room that I can't remove. It's only a couple of feet high so I will build over it. It forced me to bring in the top loop so I wasn't reaching over the raised section of the mainline if a derailment happened though. I have added a lift up access hole in the lower left corner although I am hoping that the wide radius curves should minimise problems in that area.

    There's a bit more info on the layout in general on the image... my back is returning to normal so hopefully, construction can start soon [​IMG] One thing I am planning on doing with the layout is fully lighting it (nothing new there I hear you shout) then dropping a light sensor into the lighting circuit so that as I dim the lights in the room, the lights will come on as they should. It's just a novelty feature... It'll sort of feel a bit more real if I don't have to flick a switch to make them come on...

    Anyway, here's the final, final, plan.


    Doh! Just spotted industry 3 sending stuff to a sawmill that doesn't get mentioned... :oops: I'll sneak it in somewhere... maybe.
  4. Tileguy

    Tileguy Member

    The station area is this complex Why???

    I think you may have Overthought this a bit.
    Take a hard look at what you want to be able to do.Minimize the trackage to accomplish this.Complexity for the sake of immediate conveniance is not prototypical.If the railroad had a choice of putting in that complex trackwork or making you as an engineer back a train up, guess what,you would be backing the train up ;)

    This all appears very Haphazard to me.(its ok,we all did the same thing in the beginning,and some of us still are LOL )
    Have you ever visited the layout design Sigs primer???
    I am going to strongly urge you to visit and study this.You will need to make some very tough decisions but at this point you first need to know what all of those decisions are.
    Here is the link.
    Please, spend some serious time here and cmon back and give us your thoughts on what you learned and what decisions you have made :)
  5. cidchase

    cidchase Active Member

    Hi Lee,
    I like your layout. :thumb: It seems fairly complicated but I think you can do it.
    If it was all easy we would none of us have a job :D :D :D You have a lot of
    features and possibilities and it seems fairly well thought out, to me. I can
    see that you like the challenge of it! You know your own potential for "sticking-
    to-it" better than we do, and this layout is going to require a good dose of it!!

    I've seen photos of rather complex prototype trackage, and I guess there must
    be a reason for it in real life!! :) I have no problem with that, but you will have
    to see how it actually fits together as you do it. Be prepared for a certain amount
    of test fitting and "trial & error." :D :D

    BUT (BUT) please consider your access. I think you should "dummy up" some of your tabletop to see if you can really work comfortably on those extended
    reaches. You might be 6'-11" and have no problem but you did mention your
    back. :eek: :eek: Anyhow, Best of Luck with it!!!
  6. LeeC

    LeeC Member

    Do you mean "why have I made it complex" or "why do I think it is complex"? Not sure which way this question is meant, can you clarify please?

    That's pretty much what I have done but it still came out like this. I don't quite understand the "overthought it" bit, how do you mean exactly? One question to put back to you though... If real railtrack was free, do you think railroad companies would build track that was convenient (i.e. let trains run more fluently/faster/cheaper) or track that expended time (and money) by making trains shunt backwards and forwards to achieve a simple goal? Real railroads are governed by financial implications to a far greater degree than us buying an extra couple of points from the model shop.

    My decision was pretty straight forward... Build a layout that I will enjoy running. Nothing to do with reality because we don't have the scale space to be real. Nothing to do with functional industries because they're just scenery items to make it look nice. My logic for their function is purely to justify their existence. I like things to have a reason for being there, nothing more. I don't believe that our task is to recreate real life with a layout but to build something that maybe real life could be but isn't... it's fantasy at the end of the day, none of it is real.
  7. LeeC

    LeeC Member

    I have been to my first model railroad exhibition today. If there ever needed to be a physical representation of the saying "one man's meat is another man's poison" then this would be it.

    I wandered round over 40 layouts with great interest. What I came away with was the thought that, they may be expertly modelled, the scenery might be fantastic, the track might be realistic and accurate to the real locations, laid well and soldered to avoid all problems, the trains might be spot on for the era and situation (most suffering from severe over-weathering though)... but some of them were just downright boring to me. Maybe it's a fault of exhibition layouts because of how they are shown but I didn't leave feeling overly inspired to match many of them. I wouldn't have minded the space some of them took up mind you.

    More than anything, I came away convinced that layouts are very personal creations. I saw 3 foot by 2 foot shunting yards that made my layout look like a basic oval but all it did was shunt backwards and forwards. The person who built it obviously loved it, I thought it was a waste of some good engines and a turntable because it did so little.

    It made me realise though that the minute you put your creation, or potential creation into the public eye, you have to deal with opinion as much as advice. Every bit of "opinion" you incorporate into your layout is one bit less of "your design" that exists. These people built a layout that was "their dream", I have to be careful that I don't end up building everyone else's dream rather than my own. It all makes you think a bit doesn't it?...
  8. Matthyro

    Matthyro Will always be re-membered

    Lee what you say about railroad exhibitions and shows is true but then everything you see there has to be portable and as such, don't have the feel of a permanent home or club layout. Now there are some modellers who like module building so they can get together with others and make up huge layouts but they do lack in operating interest. What they are good for is running long trains. If a club in your area ever has open house or viewing times then go and have a look. If there happen to be Gauge members in your area it is fun to visit each other and see what they do.
  9. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery


    I'll have to respectfully disagree, and also invite you to the HOTrak meets! ( We can put together some massive layouts (our January meet had 14 scale miles of mainline), but we can operate with the best of them. We had two yards, and more than 3 dozen industries on-line in January...!


    You are right - layouts are personal creations, and ultimately you are the only one to live with your decisions, but there are some ideas/guidelines/suggestions that apply to all layout design. Hopefully, you can use the collected wisdom of the Gaugers to make your plan work for you.

  10. seanm

    seanm Member

    Like your pareticular layout or not, I think you have said it all right there. Thanks for reminding us!

    Lee, do what you like! You may change your mind in five years or five months, but it all doesn't matter if you are having fun!

    Please keep us posted with pictures and updates!!
  11. Matthyro

    Matthyro Will always be re-membered

    I would like to see your club in action Andrew. Don't know when I will get to Ottawa though. My views are based on what I have seen here at the Toronto shows where trains just run around the the extent of the modules. It does give something for non model railroaders to see what can happen and kids usually love it so it is an introduction
  12. Tileguy

    Tileguy Member

    Lee, while i dont have time to get into all of the particulars at the moment i would ask you this.Please do not take offense and feel the need to defend your decisions.
    You asked for input and I gave it,this is just my opinion and it cost you nothing.You can use it to help or ignore it as you see fit, either way i wont be offended
    I still would really urge you to visit the site i posted and read all of it.
    As you are new to the hobby i trult believe you will find this helpful.
  13. Dorcas

    Dorcas New Member

    Lee I am quite staggered re your layout. It is almost the same as mine, the position of the freight yards and the turntable, I have 3 tracks around the perimeter , but I have ceased work on placing ballast on the track from (what would be on your plan ) the right hand track . I do not no exactly what I am going to do . Possibly rural, small country sidings then a town or city..I am 76 only 18months ago after a 35 years “Sabbatical” from RR then made some stupid errors finished up with N gauge. One of your contributors asked the question re scenery etc and that’s what I have to contemplate now. I did not know of all the info that was available on the various forums until recently but I an amazed that you and I have a similar area an a similar layout. When I become a little more proficient I will try to send a pic’ to you.
    Dorcas (Alias Tom. Straughair Australia.)
  14. LeeC

    LeeC Member

    Absolutely no offence taken or intended in any way. I just couldn't understand which way some of your input was meant to know what to do with it.

    I did have a look at the site and it seemed to be research... prototype... research... prototype etc... I felt that it didn't tell me anything other than "If you want your layout to be like a real place, make sure you research it all thoroughly first." I don't want my layout to be like a real place so I don't want to do loads of research. Unless I was blinded by the things I wasn't interested in, I don't feel as though that site told me much. [​IMG]

    I am sure that the info there was of great use to those people designing a certain type of layout. It didn't seem to cater for the "in my mind, I imagine a layout like this..." type of person. I am reading far too much timetables, industries, operations and prototypes type stuff in a lot of places and I don't want to let that all get in the way of the most important factor... my imagination.

    I'll run some trains till I get fed up of seeing them, then I'll send them to the storage yard and bring out some new ones. I might send some trucks round the industries but they won't have much purpose other than to create a bit of interest in that area.

    I think where my mindset might differ from most railroaders is that I don't really have that much interest in real trains. I have 2 books from years back (when I tried to model a train in 3D), no photographs and no real desire to sit watching the real thing. I just love watching model railroads though so perhaps that's why my layout doesn't seem quite right in railroad terms. It's also perhaps why I don't enjoy reading about all the real life stuff.

    My consists will contain rolling stock I like the look of rather than ones that serve a purpose or that fit an era or place... I'll try and get a photo of my train stock so you can see what I mean. The diehards would go mad [​IMG] but that's how I am going to be running the layout... pure cosmetic, time passing, thought provoking, unrealistic enjoyment.

    I won't be offended by anything that anybody has to offer... but that doesn't mean I won't debate things I don't agree with... I'll always explain why though.

    Dorcas: I look forward to seeing your layout... Great minds eh?? :D
  15. Lee:

    Its fine. Remember, in the long run, Model Trains are just toys for very big boys :)

    Run it how you like it.
  16. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    Lee, run what you like; it's your railway.
    We've got room for all the variations. One fellow I knew relly cut down his modelling projects: one type of locomotive. Last we saw, he'd done the OO and O Deltics and was working on one in 7.5" gauge.
  17. jetrock

    jetrock Member

    One question about the track plan: Where is the passenger station? You've got some nice complex passenger station/platform trackage, but no lovely Victorian passenger station to loom over the trains! I suppose there is room for one just behind the passenger sheds.

    Which leads me to my one question: What is the purpose of the long spur just behind the passenger sheds that leads to what looks like a two-door enginehouse? I don't think it's an enginehouse, since you have a turntable and roundhouse, but was unsure of its purpose.

    The reason I ask is that if you got rid of that spur you'd have a smashing place to put a really cool station. But if it has some purpose, then never mind...

    ...if you wanted to do something REALLY odd, you could model ONE INSIDE WALL of the passenger station (with lots of big windows) right up against the edge of the layout, suggesting that the station itself is "off the layout", and the observer would get a view as though he was standing in the station looking out the windows!
  18. LeeC

    LeeC Member

    As seems to be the continuing trend with this layout, the final, final version has been revised. I haven't posted another image as I am sure you are all tired of seeing the same old layout with minor changes. The spur you mentioned was one of many things added and removed for various reasons. Usually because they started as good ideas in my head and rapidly became bad ideas and had to go.

    The central area is now completely empty (at the moment :D) so yes, a station is now possible. I love the idea of the inside wall of the station on the edge of the layout, I would never have thought of that.

    I actually printed the whole layout out last night at 1:1 scale to get an idea of size and everything. It was a worthwhile effort as I can now visualise the empty spaces better. I can see how big or small buildings are in relation to the space they will occupy. I just want to build something now....
  19. LeeC

    LeeC Member

    I can hear the groans from here [​IMG] "What you're all shouting, haven't you started building yet?"

    Well, no... I actually bought some books on rail design and function and they gave me some interesting ideas about station function etc... After reading them, I decided that my layout needed some tweaking and this is the result of that tweaking...


    I decided to twist the station to get away from the parallel lines scenario. I thought doing this would make the viewing angle more interesting looking into the station area rather than over it. It also reduces the reach into the back area of the layout that was a constant nag in the bag of my mind.

    I would be grateful if someone could confirm my theory about the red section. I am sure that I will have a polarity issue if I don't isolate at least one end.

    The lower staging area was starting to feel a bit pointless so I added a platform and will build the station on the wall (so to speak). I have bought a nice set of DMU's so it gives me a nice point-to-point run for those. They will run into the upper terminating line in the main station area.

    Closing the upper area in by moving the station will restrict scenery building to some extent but I think the benefit gained by the altered view of the station should add something back.

    I am sure many will still find things that could be improved with this or things that they don't like... but I am learning, slowly [​IMG].

    Thanks for looking... and commenting if you do so.
    Lee C

    P.s. Ignore the scale of the building near the upper station... It's something I had tagged to a smaller platform that keeps hanging on in there.
  20. steamhead

    steamhead Active Member

    I concur with the opinion that you have too much track, particularly for N-scale...Those little-bitty cars are hard to handle, and if you have to do it among hundreds of them it could be frustrating. Also, one of the benefits of the smaller scale is to be able to run trains through a more "natural" setting, that is, one more like the real world, but your layout looks like one big yard (which is not bad, mind you, if you are into yards..) Keeping track of the turnout settings could be a handful...Anyway, have fun, and keep us posted on your progress.

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