# Pre-planning questions

Discussion in 'N / Z Scale Model Trains' started by OwenCPR, Jan 14, 2006.

1. ### OwenCPRMember

Ok.....so I have moved into a new house of which I have been "allocated" about 405 square feet of space in the basement for the new layout (less stairs, furnace and hot-water tank).

I model 1972 for CPR between Crowsnest Pass and Grand Forks (Alberta to British Columbia) and intend on continuing passenger service through the layout even though the prototype got rid of them about ten years earlier (so there will be heavyweight and streamlined passenger cars as well as a mix of every freight car known except modern centrebeams, autoracks etc!).

Am planning on a triple deck layout to give me the mainline run that I want (the multideck layout format is something I am not particularly adverse to).

I want to run thirty car trains and under so this works out to about nine feet for thirty 40' box cars exclusive of motive power and caboose (to set the length of yards and sidings excluding yard leads etc).

Am interested in comments from the members on the following:

1. Minimum curve radius;

2. Deck height levels;

3. Deck separation;

4. Anything else!!!

Thanks in advance!
2. ### tonphil1960Member

Owen,
I too am getting back into MRR after a long absence. I understand the minimum radius you should go with is 10-12 ", you would need so a total 180 degree turn would require 20-22 " you can go smaller with flex track but to keep it realistic I would not go smaller. You want to run passenger cars which are long to begin with.
I am going with 48" high for my benchwork so bending down is not needed and the layout is nice and high for viewing.

This is my opinion, TONY
3. ### TriplexActive Member

You've got a lot of space for N, so you can take 16" at least for the minimum radius.

Three decks are always hard. With two, you may be able to find heights which make them easily viewable. With three, you have a problem. They can't be very far apart vertically. Therefore, the top two can't be much more than 12" wide, so you can still see the bottom deck.
4. ### coasterMember

Owen --

A good rule of thumb -- particularly when you're running passenger equipment -- is to go with as wide a minimum curve radius as possible. Even with equipment that's advertised as being able to handle smaller radii, performance (and appearance!) is a whole lot better with broader curves. Everything just looks more . . . well, right, frankly. As to whether three decks are that much harder than two, you might want to take a look at this month's (February) Model Railroader and check out what Bruce Chubb's gone and done in his rebuild of the HO scale Sunset Valley. (Honestly, I'm not sure just how many levels he's built there!)

-- Paul
5. ### OwenCPRMember

Thanks guys....forgot to mention a couple of things......I do operating sessions with three others (including SD90 with his Laggan sub) here in Calgary....all are multidecks (two are doubles and one is a triple deck)so am not daunted re the size and maintenance. I want min #6 switches and plan reverse loop staging at the end of each level (one on the bottom and one on the top). There will be at least three yards of any significance - Crowsnest Pass, Cranbrook and Nelson. One of the main reasons for modelling this region and ere is that it has everything.....unit coal....aluminium smelters, Paper mills, mixed freights....connections with BN and UP and with a little licence....passenger ops.

Thanks for the tips re min curves....I think 18" will probably suffice.....will have to experiment with the layout depths and heights with a mock up before I get started.