Small, Smart and Practical Track Plans

Discussion in 'Photos & Videos' started by roryglasgow, Mar 18, 2002.

  1. roryglasgow

    roryglasgow Active Member

    Based on the good reviews of this book given by several of you here on The Gauge, I used my $20 Hastings gift card that I got for my birthday to buy a copy of it. The careful thought and details that Mr. Rice puts into these layouts makes them really come alive.

    I'm not all the way through the book yet, but so far I've been inspired by the Mount Galena Mines Railroad. It even has me seriously considering HO again! <Shocked facial expressions and gasps all around.>

    Anyway, all I wanted to say here was "Thanks!" to everyone who recommended this book, and to encourage those that haven't seen it to take a look at it if you're trying to figure out how to cram a layout into a small space.

    Thanks!

    -Rory
  2. shamus

    shamus Registered Member

    Hi Rory,
    Is that book by Ian Rice, if so does it have the "Lilliput Logger" in H0 in it please.?

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  3. billk

    billk Active Member

    Shamus - It's by Iain Rice (unusual spelling) -- Lilliput Logger sounds familar -- I don't have the book with me but will check in about 8hrs if no one else replies by then.
    Regards, Bill
  4. shamus

    shamus Registered Member

    Thanks about the name Billk,I could do with the track plan plus any photo’s/drawings and the story that relates to it.


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  5. billk

    billk Active Member

  6. roryglasgow

    roryglasgow Active Member

    Shamus,

    No, it doesn't have the Lilliput Logger layout. The link BillK provided looks interesting...

    It does, however, have an HO layout called The Linked-up Logger, which is designed to fit around the edges of a 12x12 bedroom.

    My favorite layout name in the book is called Last Train to Lake Wobegon. I wonder if Mr. Keillor has ever seen this one! I remember he once told a story about an old man who had a train layout in his barn... :)

    -Rory
  7. shamus

    shamus Registered Member

    Thanks Bill for the link,

    Rory, can you post a photo of the trackplan "Linked-up Logger" so I can drool over it.

    Shamus
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  8. roryglasgow

    roryglasgow Active Member

    Shamus,

    I don't know what the legal ramifications might be, but here it is.

    The layout is actually a series of dioramas connected by removable link sections. The dioramas bascially fit in the corners, with the links running in areas where it wouldn't be desirable to have shelves (like in front of windows).

    The layout is printed across the binding between the two pages, so the left-side doesn't quite line up correctly.

    -Rory

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  9. roryglasgow

    roryglasgow Active Member

    And here are Mr. Rice's drawings of the dioramas. Each one is self-contained, and each could function as a small layout by itself.

    The layouts in the book make heavy use of external and/or hidden elements for staging trains--like removable cassettes, sector tables, and sector plates. The idea is to isolate the staging elements from the layout as much as possible, so that as much space as possible can be dedicated to scenery and running trains.

    I definitely recommend this book. It has some great ideas!

    -Rory

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  10. Bill Stone

    Bill Stone Member

    Wet blanket time.....

    I hate to rain on anyone's parade, but I have a cautionary note to sound here.

    I admire Iain Rice's ideas and his sketches, but I would suggest caution in expecting to be able to build his track plans --- particularly if you don't want to build custom turnouts.
    I've noticed that he seems to draw his track plans in a very freehand manner, and many of his turnouts have curves in them. To see if this was just my eyes playing tricks, I've tried to redraw one of his trackplans (from the book) using stock standard turnout sizes, it just would not work in anywhere near the same space.

    I expect that most of us would find his passing sidings way too short. And I feel he is far too free with reverse curves also. There was a thread here a while back in which several of you said that reverse curves are okay, and the prototype does it too. Okay. But just because you may be able to get away with it, doesn't make it good practice if it can be avoided. Reverse curves DO present the potential for trouble.

    Bill Stone
  11. roryglasgow

    roryglasgow Active Member

    Yes, there are a number of...difficulties...with the plans he presents. But his purpose was to show how to integrate various techniques that can make smaller layouts more worthwhile, not provide out-of-the-box track plans. I don't have a space in my new place where I can build one of these layouts exactly as shown in the book, but I have gotten some good ideas on how to design one on my own.

    Take Charlie's diorama, for instance. In another thread he's talked about building another diorama that presents a different scene from the city scene he has now. It's a great idea because you can pack a wide variety of settings into a small area without worrying about making a "logical transition." Rice's Linked-up Logger is exactly that sort of plan, and he gives useful ideas on how to make such a layout work--and where it might be the ideal type of layout to build.

    I guess about the only layouts that you can take verbatim would probably be sectional plans like those published by Atlas and Kato.

    Just trying to get the blanket into the dryer... :)

    -Rory

    P.S. - Speaking of which, I just remembered that I have a load of clothes that need to go into the dryer! :)
  12. kettlestack

    kettlestack Member

    What is a "reverse curve"? (at 62 I guess I'm still learning :D ).

    I know of reversing loops, reversing Y's, but I thought a curve is a curve is a curve! :confused:

    (I'm not trying to be funny with this question)

    Errol
  13. billk

    billk Active Member

    Hey Errol - A reverse curve is just an "Ess" curve. When a train is on a curve, the cars are at an angle to each other, but when one car is one one curve of the ess and the next is on the other part, the angle between them is twice as bad. See Armstrong's "Track Planning" book for a better explanation. His rule of thumb (I think, I'm speaking from memory) is to connect curves going in opposite directions with a straight at least as long as your longest wheelbase. Not so important with wide curves. He also points out where to find hidden reverse curves, such as where you have a crossover from one track to another.
  14. shamus

    shamus Registered Member

    Hi Errol,
    My climax is going down grade on a reverse curve, there is around 2" of straight track in the middle.
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  15. Bill Stone

    Bill Stone Member

    Bill (K) is exactly right.

    The smaller the curve radii, and the longer your rolling stock, the worse the potential for problems. Long wheelbase, rigid-frame locos would obviously have troubles, but also long cars will try to push their couplers in opposing directions near the intersection of the curves, which can cause derailments and/or uncouplings.

    Shamus probably gets away with it as he is running relatively short cars and locos, but also because he seems to have all the model railroad elves and gremlins on HIS side!

    He must have lived a far more pure life than I.....

    Bill (S)
  16. billk

    billk Active Member

    Shamus and Errol - The "reverse curve rule", like about everything else, may not apply to Shamus' logging layouts. A two inch straight is probably approaching the lengths of the wheelbases, the speeds are relatively slow, and derailments gets turned into photo ops!
  17. kettlestack

    kettlestack Member

    Thanks guys, all is clear to me now including the dynamics of it.

    (An Ess is an Ess is an Ess is a curve followed immediately by a curve in the opposite direction) :D :D .

    BTW.... Shamus leads a charmed life or he has terrific sub-contractors :D .

    Errol
  18. Drew1125

    Drew1125 Active Member

    I am a big fan of Mr. Rice, & he & some other British, & European modelers have given me many new perspectives on the broadly defined "model railroading".
    I would like to acknowlege that Bill Stone makes some valid observations about the book, & I would be the first to say that this book is definitely not for an inexperienced modeler, who's looking to build an exact copy of a published plan.
    For me, the book pointed to some new ideas to incorporate into a layout, like backdrops, lighting, & staging ideas. These are some ideas that I've been trying out on my current N scale layout that Rory mentioned above...the track plan is my own, & I used standard commercial track components.
    One major thing I've come to realize over the years is that a model railroad doesn' t have to be the size of a bowling alley to provide lots of enjoyment...In fact, for me, the small layout is the ONLY way to go.
  19. kettlestack

    kettlestack Member

    Well said Charlie,
    I'm kinda jealous of your layout, the way you've mounted it, (you can get at the underneath for any future wiring). It's compact and has all the operational aspects of "The Timesaver" which was a gem in itself. You've got immense pleasure in scratchbuilding just about everything on it and each item you put into it makes it NOTICEABLY more complete.

    Yep, small is beautiful, and truth be told, don't be surprised if I follow some of your ideas when I start on my N gauge pike (Max <2' deep by 6' 4").

    Well done sir.

    Errol
  20. Drew1125

    Drew1125 Active Member

    Thanks Errol,
    I went with N scale mainly because it was what I had the most of laying around...but I do believe that the same approach would work in the larger scales as well.
    I've come to realize that a model RR doesn't have to be an intrusion into the livijng space in the home, but can, if done right, be an accent to it. Once again, this was an idea put forth in Iain Rice's book, & these insights, as far as I'm concerned, far outweigh any shortcomings in his trackwork.

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