Proposed Large Shelf Layout

Discussion in 'Track Planning' started by Gary S., Dec 8, 2005.

  1. Gary S.

    Gary S. Senior Member

    When you mentioned starting the climb sooner, I was thinking that this would be done to ease the 3 percent grade. Now, were you intending it to get more than just the 6" of elevation change? Or do you think the 6" is good?

    As far the minimal elevation difference, the place I am most concerned about is the wide area across the top of the layout diagram where the "industrial yard" is.

    Attached Files:

  2. baldwinjl

    baldwinjl Member

    I was thinking it might be possible to reduce the grade a bit, and get a bit more elevation. Without measuring or anything drastic like that, it seems that you might be able to triple the climbing distance, reduce the grade to closer to 2 percent, and get about a foot of clearance. Especially if you can bring the loop back into the room a little, as someone suggested.

  3. Gary S.

    Gary S. Senior Member


    I will do some measuring tonight and see what kind of elevation gain I can get by lengthening the grade while keeping it at 2 to 2 1/2 percent.

    will also rack my brain about extending the layout into the open space as was suggested.

    Anyone have comments on the benchwork with the shelf brackets? I am wondering if I can get away with using 1/4" thick masonite instead of the 1/2 thick plywood. The shelf brackets will be on 18" centers.

    I plan to start putting up shelf brackets this weekend....
  4. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery


    Since you asked for comments on the benchwork approach... ;)

    I would do away with the 1/2" ply underlay all together. Use 2" foam, which is quite strong. We build 2x4 foot modules with only a perimeter frame of 3/4" x 4". There are gussets in each corner that support the foam, but no additional cross bracing is required unless you go over 24" depth.

    As far as shelf brackets, I think that you will find the practical limit of these is about 24", so I don't know what you have planned for the industrial area, and the yard. Also, if your wall has studs at 16" on centre, go with that rather than trying to get 18" spacing.

    For my part, I am planning to put my modules (mostly 2x4 footers) on shelf brackets very similar to your plan.

    Good luck!

  5. Gary S.

    Gary S. Senior Member

    Oops.... I meant 16" centers which is the distance the studs are spaced at... and me in construction too! Doh!

    Doing away with the plywood altogether was what I really wanted. Where do you purchase the 2" thick foam? The only thing I have found at the home centers around here is 3/4" thick, I was going to stick two pieces together to get the 1 1/2 inches in my drawing.
  6. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

    Where is "around here"? I am in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. With the winters we have, every home reno big box store carries the 1", 1.5", and 2" stuff. Make sure that you get the pink or blue extruded styrofoam, not the white expanded beadboard. The white stuff is not very strong, and will not work for this application.

  7. Gary S.

    Gary S. Senior Member

    The longest brackets I have seen are 18" long. The article in Model Railroader magazine I mentioned shows using 1x2 or 1x3 boards to extend the length. The brackets I am using are seriously heavy-duty and bolting the boards on to extend the length should be sufficient. Not using the 1/2 plywood will lighten the weight considerably.
  8. Gary S.

    Gary S. Senior Member

    Now it makes sense... I am in Houston, Texas, not much need for 2" thick foam insualtion! Definitely the pink or blue extruded foam, not the white stuff.

    Do you think laminating 2 or 3 pieces of 3/4 would work? Otherwise I will have to most likely order the thick stuff from somewhere.
  9. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

    Even so, I don't think that you will be able to extend them far enough in the area of the turnback loop (lower left in your plan). That calls for up to 48" depth. I think you will have to go for a few legs in that area.

    The best bang for the buck for extending the brackets is probably 3/4" paint-grade ply (better quality and more plies than regular 3/4") ripped to 3" or so. It actually will work out cheaper (and straighter and stronger) than dimensional pine or spruce.

  10. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

    Laminating the foam should work, but you might want to test first. I would use a polyurethane glue. The guys at our modular club have been using it, and it works great. Because the foam has not natural moisture content, you will have to dampen one side of the foam to get it to cure properly.

    Re: "Where is here?" - That is one of the neatest things about The Gauge. We have members from all over the world - several countries in Europe, UK, US, Canada, South Africa, Thailand, Australia, and many more I am probably forgetting.

  11. Gary S.

    Gary S. Senior Member

    I agree. In that area, I would be using a more traditional type of benchwork. Or possibly get some free-standing wood "bookcase" type shelving (or build some) to support the layout there, kind of kill two birds with one stone, layout on top, storage underneath. (but leave space and access for under the roadbed stuff like wiring and switch machines)
  12. Gary S.

    Gary S. Senior Member

    After further examination, I cannot add to the layout space in the lower left corner of the drawing below (Actually I can add about 6 inches to the 44 inches that is shown on the drawing). So I am now back to considering a helix in that location. I have been assuming everyone realizes this is HO scale.

    Question: Would a 22" radius on a 3% grade be bad for a helix? It would be a bit less than two full loops which would provide around 6.5 to 7 inches of elevation and then I could slope the entrance and exit tracks for a little distance to get 8 or 9 inches of seperation between the upper and lower levels.

    Any thoughts on the operational hassles of a helix would be welcomed! Help!ay...:/[​IMG]/
  13. Gary S.

    Gary S. Senior Member

    Well, after a few more hours of thought, I am back to not using a helix! I am going to go with your suggestions of lengthening the tracks that are at grade. After scaling everything, I can get 7" of difference in the height of the levels, and that is only with a 2% grade. Plus, I can leave around 10 feet of level track at the industrial area on the lower left, so I can put a passing siding there.

    Things are looking up, but now am having trouble designing the area on the other side of the layout, coming out of the staging areas.
  14. GeorgeHO

    GeorgeHO Member

    Your upper level seems to be a single line with no switching, and no purpose other that to give the train a longer travel. If you take the upper right portion, and curve it away from the wall, you can use the space in the back for access, and widen that upper level to include a small town/industrial area, and run the lower level train directly underneath, through the mountain, which will also break up the lower level for you.
  15. Gary S.

    Gary S. Senior Member

    The upper level is pretty much being used to extend the length of travel as you mentioned. There is a skinny 12" wide industrial area on the right side of the diagram for upper level industries.

    I have taken your suggestion and extended this area around the corner into the area along the top of the page. Still tinkering, but like the idea. Thank you!

    I've pretty much got the max outer limits of the layout defined now. Modifications on how much of the space to use for the upper and for the lower is still open to thought.

    Will post a new diagram on Monday, and maybe some of you can give some suggestions before I actually start on this.
  16. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery


    Did you get to that new plan? Looking forward to seeing it...

    I agree with some of the posts above about the "extended" travel time. I think this is the part of the layout that is not sitting quite right (with me of course - it is just my opinion).

    I think that having the tracks on a different level is a good start at making the layotu seem bigger. I also think though that it will take more than this to make it believable. If you are going to go to the trouble of different levels, there should be more "mix and match" - more hidden track, more industries or at least destinations on the second level, rather than just an extended "return".

    Although this is just a brief message, and probably not really helpful in and of itself, I will try to find some examples, and add extra info. In the mean time, I hope it serves to help your planning, and doesn't just confuse.


    PS - One example that comes to mind is Don Jane's New England layout. While his is around the walls, it's actually a triple loop. Trains pass through the same area three times, although on different levels, with different destinations on each loop. It serves to disguise the loops, and also makes the layout seem bigger with a different stop on each loop. His layout appeared in a MRP or GMR within the last serveral years.
  17. Gary S.

    Gary S. Senior Member

    Thanks for the reply. I'm still tinkering with the design. I meant to draw it up to scale and post it here, but ran into some unexpected duties which delayed me from doing that yesterday. Got the rough draft attached here.

    I definitely want the opinions and suggestions of you more experienced people here at The Gauge. The drawing pretty much shows what I am limited to as far as the actual extremities of the layout go.

    I made a pencil drawing to scale, but this is the best I have for posting here. Dimensions can be roughly guessed at by comparing to the 27 foot width.

    The slope of the grade is 2% and seems to work nicely. I have approximately 30 feet of track that is on this grade to create the seperations shown.

    1. I plan to run trains that are from 6 to 7 feet in length max = engine, caboose, and 10 to 12 forty-foot freight cars. Each of the three industry areas should be long enough for a passing track if needed (where in your opinion?)

    2. Any suggestions on the actual layout of the industry areas is welcomed and NEEDED... also, any modifications of the levels is requested... for instance, the shape of industry area #1 is subject to change

    3. Is hidden track warranted? Would the layout be better with some? Where would you include it?


    Attached Files:

  18. Gary S.

    Gary S. Senior Member

    These are my thoughts on train operation: (I am an operational newbie!)

    Possibility 1: Through freights - Stage trains on upper staging and lower staging tracks. One train leaves upper, one train leaves lower. Run both trains to opposite ends, using passing sidings, and go into the staging track left vacant by the other train at the end of the run. Possibly even have more trains leave staging with maybe 3 or 4 trains on layout at once.

    Possibility 2: Same as above, except set out and pick up cars at various industries on way to the other staging area. Again, trains could be doing this in both directions.

    Possibility 3: Local freight switches industries on the layout, delivering cars from one industry to another industry at different industry areas

    Possibility 4: Question: Would the industry area #2 be big enough to warrant a switcher moving cars to the various industries, cars dropped off by trains coming from the staging areas or other industry areas?

    5. Anyone see any other possibilities?

    Industries I have thought about:

    Industry A: Tank farm, small refinery (ships chemicals out in tank cars to Industry B and off the layout (staging))

    Industry B. Plastic pellet manufacturer (recieves chemicals from tank cars and produces plastic pellets, ships pellets out in covered hoppers to Industry C and off the layout (staging))

    Industry C: Plastic molding company (receives plastic pellets in hoppers and makes plastic products, molding, ships them out in box cars to staging)

    Industry D: Machine shop, metal works, (builds and repairs machinery to be shipped on flat cars and gondolas to off the layout, would occasionally build equipment for industries above and ship them by rail)

    Industry E: Packing house, cannery (receive goods in box cars from off the layout and ships packaged items in box cars

    That's all I've got for now, any suggestions on this aspect of the layout?
  19. Gary S.

    Gary S. Senior Member

    also: some of these industries would be flats against the backdrop where possible
  20. baldwinjl

    baldwinjl Member

    If you want to squeeze a bit more separation out you don't have to level out the main through the yellow area. Just where the turnout in to the yard is (as long as you are gentle).


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