Ran my first train in 15+ years!

Discussion in 'N / Z Scale Model Trains' started by ddavidv, Nov 18, 2003.

  1. ddavidv

    ddavidv Member

    I've been slowly collecting the pieces to start an N gauge layout, having abandoned model RRing in HO years ago. Yesterday, my Tec II from Ebay showed up, and a mad dash was made to the local train shop for terminal connectors. I have 2 Lifelike BL-2's that also came from Ebay (new) and one pathetic hopper car. Yet I was still amused for an hour running them around the track on my plain wood door. :p
    So now it's time to get serious.
    My trackplan is a lightly modified copy of the MR Carolina Central:
    Link to trackplan
    I'm now trying to figure out what industries I want the sidings to serve. It's great being King, but also hard work. :) After a lot of chin scratching, I decided to model the Western Maryland; it just seemed like a neat road and is geographically similiar to where I live in PA (and did, in fact, serve an area close to me). I'm not modelling a particular town, just an area that would be representative of the region. If anyone is knowledgable on the WM, I'd love to hear from you.
    One thing I need to get done first is find folding legs for the hollow core door. My local Lowes didn't carry them.
    Item: there was a discussion a few days ago about switches. I used all Atlas turnouts and only have problems with one, nothing a little time with a file can't fix. So out of 6 I have 1 that has 'issues'. FWIW.
    One suggestion I'd make to other newbies is, if you borrow a track plan from a layout, don't rope yourself into duplicating it exactly. I've been fighting with trying to fit a bridge into a place it doesn't make sense, and I'm much better now for having closed the book and used a fresh approach.
    Sorry for the ramble, but it feels good to be back holding a throttle again. :D
  2. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

  3. I run a door too

    Mine however, just sits on a table....you might want to try that
  4. Ralph

    Ralph Remember...it's for fun!

    That's great!!! As Masonjar said, Welcome back!" to the hobby!
  5. MagicMan_841

    MagicMan_841 Member

    I like the trackplan, it's simple and has some operational possibilites, or you can just sit back and watch the train go 'round if you feel like it. Good choice on the engines, the LL units are good buys! Also, you can't go wrong with a Tech II powepack.

    You could model one big industry using all three sidings, like a paper mill or a sawmill... or a mine on the left 2 sidings and something like a grain elevator on the right. You could also extend the two left sidings a bit.
  6. Arlaghan

    Arlaghan Member

    Welcome to the Gauge!!
  7. ddavidv

    ddavidv Member

    I actually have extended the two sidings on the left. :D
    I'm still having trouble getting used to N scale. I used Walthers catalog measurements for some of the structures I was thinking of using and I can't believe what little real estate they use up. :eek: I'm rethinking the whole 'scene' yet again. I don't want to limit myself to one or two industries. I'm putting one factory type thing in there so I can make it whatever I want. The WM was big on coal, have thought about adding some type of loading structure or maybe just a truck dump. I don't really want to run trains of just coal cars though, kinda dull and that's a lot of hoppers to buy. :rolleyes:

    I grabbed onto that trackplan because it just has a lot of the elements I was looking for, and I really like the idea of the train disappearing behind the scenery and re-emerging on the other side. I'm planning a tunnel entrance on one end and a deep cut on the other. The tunnel will be 'fake', just an entrance so I can still access all the track for servicing.

    One Q: Can someone tell me the formula to figure grades? And what is the biggest % I'd want? I can probably 'fake' a lot of grade by creative foam trimming, but want to plan ahead.
  8. ddavidv

    ddavidv Member

    Re: I run a door too

    Pure genius! :D
    I've got a few old computer desks and stuff sitting here I was probably going to throw out. Good idea. Only thing is I need to get the layout higher, closer to eye level. Hmmm....
  9. Tyson Rayles

    Tyson Rayles Active Member

    Hi and welcome to the Gauge! 1" in 100" equals a 1% grade, so if you rise 1 and a half inches in 50" you would have a 3% grade. Hope that helps you. Most recommend not exceeding 2.5% but due to space restrictions alot of people go up to 4%, some even higher. But just as you want curves as broad as possible, you should keep grades as gradual as possible also.
  10. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

    Tyson gave a good explanation of grades, but I would add that a grade on a curve is effectively a steeper grade - it is much harder for an engine to pull a consist up a curved grade than a straight one. (Ask me how I know... ;))

  11. Tyson Rayles

    Tyson Rayles Active Member

    :D :D :D Good point Andrew!
  12. Hoss

    Hoss Member

    I'll bite.....how do you know??
  13. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery


    My entire layout (all 4x8 of it) consists of curves with grades. The nature of the 4x8 is such that they are all pretty much a variation on the good ol' oval if you want continuous running. I decided a little elevation would be good for scenic variety, but it has proven to be a challenge to balance a change in elevation with being able to run the trains - and it seems more of an exponential increase in power is required (versus a linear one) when you get to those curving grades with a full consist...

    ddavidv - if you want to use those tables, try getting eye level closer to the layout (so to speak), instead of the layout closer to eye level -- Have a seat! ;)

  14. Hoss

    Hoss Member

    I see. Would two or three Kato SD70MAC's have trouble pulling a 25 car loaded coal train up a 2% grade with a 15" radius?
  15. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

    Sorry Hoss, I couldn't tell you. All my (limited) experience is with steam power... non-Kato... ;)

  16. Hoss

    Hoss Member

    Oh well....if necessary I'll just put a helper district in. ;)
  17. Lighthorseman

    Lighthorseman Active Member

    Whoa, Hoss! SD 70s...on a 15 inch radius?? :eek: [​IMG] :eek:Will they even make the curve? ...Or is this a leg-pull? :D
  18. SD90

    SD90 Active Member

    I know 3 will pull a 30 car coal trainup a 2.2% grade on my layout with 34" radius curves, so I don't think the tighter curve would make that much of a difference.

  19. SD90

    SD90 Active Member

    Now that makes things interesting!


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