Some help creating my layout

Discussion in 'Track Planning' started by Elite Lancer, Nov 11, 2005.

  1. Elite Lancer

    Elite Lancer Member

    OK, I'm a bit new at making layouts, but this is what I have planned so far:


    The circle is a round house and the lines are track. The roundhouse is going to be on a higher elevation and so I want to make the track below the roundhouse (the area where there are switch tracks) going through a tunnel on the side of the hill the roundhouse is situated on.
    I want my layout to be in a mountainous region for cargo trains (mainly transporting coal and ore). It will be in N scale. Now how could I improve this layout? Any help would be much appreciated. :)
  2. ScottyB

    ScottyB Member

  3. Triplex

    Triplex Active Member

    Engine terminals and roundhouses are more usually built on level ground. Besides, you won't have much room to gain elevation in those lead tracks.

    What about spurs, sidings, yard?

    What size is it? Since you're planning on a roundhouse, I'm assuming steam era - what's the largest engine you expect to run?
  4. Elite Lancer

    Elite Lancer Member


    2.5 feet wide (enough to fit through a doorway) and about 4-5 feet long. Again I'm still planning this out so I don't know if I'll have it set permenently on a table I make or have it be able to be taken apart and moved. But the dimensions I gave are about what I can have for now, maybe a bit wider.

    Types of trains:

    I think I'll have small to large trains on this track. Mainly medium size ones. I'll probably have one small train for pulling small cars (maybe it's own track). I'll have one large train for pulling heavy loads like 90 ton copper cars.

    Other stuff:

    Have a mine, coal loading station, small yard, some roads, a crane (for almost no reason), and an unloading station.
  5. Triplex

    Triplex Active Member

    On this size of layout, even 10 freight cars would be big.

    Maybe 13" radius curves if radius is a priority, which it would be with steam. That's a "conventional" curve - should theoretically handle heavy 2-8-2s and 4-6-2s; in practice, also 4-8-2s and some 4-6-4s, 2-8-4s and even 4-8-4s.

    If you're interested in coal operations, a mine would usually be the first thing you put in.
  6. Elite Lancer

    Elite Lancer Member

    Um...what do all those numbers mean? :confused:
  7. Drew1125

    Drew1125 Active Member

    The numbers that Triplex mentioned are the wheel configurations of steam locomotives...i.e. "2-8-4" means the loco has 2 pilot wheels, 8 driving wheels, & 4 trailing wheels...these terms are used ti ID & classify loco types...for instance, if you say "2-8-4", you are talking about what's known as a Berkshire, or Mountain class locomotive...
  8. Elite Lancer

    Elite Lancer Member

  9. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    Your size is just about right to use a hollow core door on a pair of saw horses for benchwork if you want an easy build.
  10. Elite Lancer

    Elite Lancer Member

    My layout update

    I've had this layout done on paper for weeks but it was just too annoying to digitize it the way I wanted it so I just remade it on my Paint program. It looks a bit big but it'll definatly cover less space if I make it. Anyways here it is:


    Any comments or suggestions?
  11. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    I keep wondering as I look at your layout plans, what is the point of your turntable? It doesn't appear to serve any purpose other than turn a locomotive around. The last drawing shows 6 "wyes" within a train length of each other, 4 of them on a crossing in front of the turntable. Why? You have multiple choices for mainline routes, but no real switching interest. The layout allows trains to run over various routes in aimless circles. I've tried to follow it around to see if you have any return loops, but I get lost following it. I'm not trying to be critical, just trying to understand what you want this layout to do for you.
  12. Elite Lancer

    Elite Lancer Member

    The roudhouse is for storing trains (and maybe train cars) and is not meant to be part of these routes. I arranged the tracks so that so that no matter which way the train comes out of roundhouse it will be able to go directly onto the main tracks. Although I could accoplish this by having just one track coming out of the roundhouse it just made more sense to me to have 3 entrances/exits because one entrance/exit just doesn't seem logical to me traffic-wise, plus it just looks better that way too.

    I'm aiming for it to do many different routes. The main route is the train goes up the ramp and then goes up the mountain to the mines to pick up coal. Then goes down the mountain and turns down one of those "Y"s. Then it goes through a tunnel to get to the drop off station which is on a slightly higher elevation due to the mountain it is next to. Now as the train goes through the tunnel it rises very slowly to reach this elevation. Then the train reaches the drop off station and drops off its ore. Then it repeats. I made it so that it can do many alternative routes because it's just boring if it doesn't.

    I'm thinking about putting in a yard/miniyard for the train cars but that doesn't matter much to me. The train could just drop off its train cars somewhere before entering the roundhouse.
  13. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery


    I would recommend that you think about what you want to do with the layout...

    Do you want to watch trains running through scenery?
    Do you want to operate it with some friends or by yourself?
    What industries interest you? How are they set up in the real world?
    Which aspect of model railroading do you like most - e.g. running trains, building models, building benchwork, etc, etc.
    What cars and locomotives do you like?
    What part of the country/world do you want to model?

    By answering these questions and others, I think you will end up with a better plan. What you have there is quite ambitious for a door-based layout (even in N), in terms of how much track there is.

    Unfortunately, railroads don't build alternative routes because the same one all the time is boring. Now, you may of course absolutely ignore that, as it is your railroad. But providing answers to those questions will help us help you.

  14. Triplex

    Triplex Active Member

    That plan would have to be big even in N. No way it could fit on a tabletop. Those tight curves make me think of trolleys rather than trains. If the curves were 15" to allow for reasonably large steam power, the layout would be 15' x 20'! Then there would be the access problems... Even in N, don't expect to fit multiple loops side-by-side on a single section of benchwork.

    That's a turntable you keep drawing, not a roundhouse. The roundhouse is around the turntable, and the combination takes up a lot more space. You can't store engines on a turntable alone. Cars are never stored in roundhouses.
  15. Drew1125

    Drew1125 Active Member

    I agree with Andrew...

    It appears from the ideas that you've put forth, that you definitely want a layout with continuous running, rather than a point-to-point type setup...nothing wrong with that...a lot of modelers prefer watching trains run to doing switching ops...
    But you definitely need to scale back the scope of your plan...There's just too much there to be logistically feasible...Why not try a simple figure-8 arrangement? This would give you that over/undeer thing that you seem to want, while still giving you room for scenery, structures, sidings, turntables, etc...
    The idea is to start with something somple enough that you could get it up & running in a reasonable amount of time, discover what you do, or don't like about it, & move on to more advanced/complex projects later...Otherwise, if you try & do too much to start with, you're liable to get stuck in a rut, & lose interest...

    Whatever you decide to do, good luck to you, & be sure to keep us posted! :)
  16. Elite Lancer

    Elite Lancer Member

    So in other words you're saying tone it down a bit. Yeah I guess I didn't really think this one through all the way. However that figure 8 arrangement gives me a good idea for my revised layout. Plus, I could steal some ideas from this layout I found which was built on a 3 foot wide door (exactly my size needs):


    Oh and Triplex, I know it is just a turntable I drew. I didn't draw the roundhouse because it isn't a super high detail version of my layout. ;)
  17. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

    There was a really nice little door-based layout (Nscale) in that "how-to" edition that Model Railroader put out earlier this year (the one that come with the "World's Greatest Hobby" DVD). It used the front 2/3 for operations and scenery, and the back - hidden behind a hill - for staging and to provide continuous running.

    EDIT - looking at that picture again - maybe that is it... very similar anyway.


Share This Page