Some question about getting started

Discussion in 'Track Planning' started by rsazz, Feb 9, 2007.

  1. rsazz

    rsazz New Member


    I had built a layout when I was a kid in the 70's (and enjoyed it alot) and kept everything (train, tracks, buildings) and my 2 young boys (ages 3 & 6) found the boxes, so I showed them the stuff and they became really interested in it. So I took them to a couple local train shows, now the boys and I really hooked. Santa brought the 6 yrs old a train set for Xmas.

    So I made a plan for a layout. Now a few questions before I go to far in the wrong direction are:

    1) I thought about using some of my old track in the new lay out. Is this wise?? I know I will have to give it a good cleaning (it was stored pretty good).

    2) I will need to buy some new track, and if I use my old track also what type of track would I buy code 83 or code 100??? My old track is from a 1970's Tyco set.

    3) What is the best method to clean track, track eraser, a liquid claener or both??

    4) I'd like to make it DCC is there anything I should take into consideration as far as the layout goes before I get started?

    Any thoughts? Thanks, Rick
  2. steamhead

    steamhead Active Member

    Hi Rick,

    WELCOME to The Gauge. You'll find all the advice here that you may need from a very good bunch of people, all very knowledgeable and willing to share their experience.

    Now to the business at hand. 70's vintage track is more than likely brass track (yellowish in color). Depending on how fond of track cleaning you are, you could use it. But it may turn out to be a poor choice if you hope to move beyond the run-around- a-circle stage, particularly if you ever get into Direct Command Control (DCC) for controling your trains. DCC is very sensitive to the even slight power interruptions which dirty track may cause. But even to get good DC running, your track needs to be clean. So, for this reason I would stash the old track and invest in the nickel silver type. As to the size, most modelers probably still use code 100 (I do) even though it's not truly to scale, it's easier to work with when you have to re-rail a car or locomotive. It's also somewhat less expensive than the other, smaller codes.

    I'll let others pipe in with track cleaning advice, as I am biased to using my Track Guard...

    Good luck, and visit often...!!! :thumb:
  3. radar

    radar Member

    #1 the old track is probably brass would not recommend it
    #2 the old track is going to be code 100
    #3 track eraser
    #4 watch out for reverse loops even with dcc the rules still apply.
    #5 WELCOME ask the question and you shall receive an answer.
  4. rsazz

    rsazz New Member

    Thanks for the replies guys. My old track is the brass rails. I kinda thought it would be better to buy new track, but figured I'd ask anyway.

    Next question, here is the layout I came up with. It's 4'x8' with a 30"x80" wing. The turns are all 18" radius. Does anyone see any potential wiring or DCC issue with it. Having never do this before I really don't know what to look for.
    Thanks, Rick

    Attached Files:

  5. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    Your Tyco track may not even be brass. A lot of train set tracks were steel. That stuff is really bad for rusting and getting dirty.

    Regardsing your proposed layout. The two tracks entering your yard from the outside loop combined with the outside lop form a big wye. It is handy for turning trains around, but you will need to wire it and insulate part of it to avoid a short much like a reverse loop.

    I'm not sure what purpose the double crossover serves in the yard, it doesn't seem to have enough track past it to park much and it doesn't serve as a run around track either.

    You have a lot of room for more industry tracks if you want to. Otherwise the yard is quite a bit bigger than the number of industries you have on the layout to work.

    I think your proposal is a good start on a nice layout, and I'm sure you will get some excellent ideas to improve it within a couple of days.
  6. Squidbait

    Squidbait Recovering ALCO-holic


    I think you're hearing the right stuff here. Ditch the old track, it's going to prove more frustrating than it's worth.

    As for your trackplan, I think you're trying to stuff too much in, it's (pardon the slur, Lionel afficianados) going to look like a Lionel layout from the 1950's. Very toylike, and not (IMHO) too enjoyable in the long-term. Then again, that's a matter of taste.

    I'd suggest you look at building a somewhat simpler layout, that will give you room to run a couple of trains, do some switching,but also have room for some scenery and buildings.

    Model Railroader magazine did a project layout that's about the same size as yours called The Black River Junction. It's not a bad track plan (although I wouldn't use the Kato Unitrack that they do; it's nice enough, but very expensive), and it builds up into a good-looking layout with interesting operating possibilities.

    Welcome back to the fold! :)
  7. cidchase

    cidchase Active Member

    I can see where the yard crossover would be useful for swapping out motive power. The locos could swap go onto a train which would have to back around the layout. I think the outer loop should have a line continuing up and tieing in to a turnout at the top of the diagram. Then you have a continuous run on both loops (2 trains) or, since you have the crossover between the loops, a continuous run for one train which would travel the entire stretch of both loops with no switching required. Actually, I like it! (I'm no expert)
    Get new Code 83 track (try trainworld .com) and your choice of turnouts and crossovers, pros and cons for all options. Just keep reading!!
  8. steamhead

    steamhead Active Member

    That track plan looks almost exactly like what I had in my old layout. I had a return loop in the inner loop with sidings on the right hand side and a small yard on the left.
    In the extension I ran a couple of tracks into the triangular area betwee the yard and the main line and set up an engine service facility. Had a LOT of great hours operating it...!!!

    Good luck...!!!:thumb:
  9. Triplex

    Triplex Active Member

    I don't think that layout's too crowded. It could certainly be better designed for operation - and I don't necessarily mean formal operation. The issue is, what do you want? A full classification yard? Ability to run two trains? What sort of scenery? Etc.
  10. Squidbait

    Squidbait Recovering ALCO-holic

    Here's the Black River Junction plan mirrored so it's similar to your space use.
  11. rsazz

    rsazz New Member

    Great feedback everyone, thank you. Real helps me since I'm a newbie.

    Squidbait, thanks for the link and posting the track plan, some elements to consider in there.
    Russ, thanks for point out the big wye, it's things like that, I really need help with. I might take that
    double cross out in order to simplify things for me.
    Cidchase, I like the idea of the 2 continuous loops.

    Triplex, Here's what I am after, the ability to run 2 trains (important because I have 2 young boys).
    I'm really not interested in formal/accurate/real operating layout this time around. I want something my 2
    boys will enjoy using (later I'd like to build an accurate operating layout for myself). For scenery what I had
    in mind was mountains in the upper left and lower left corners. The outer loop will run up in the mountains
    with a bridge connecting the 2 mountains. The lower loop will have tunnels in each mountain. The center of
    the inner loop will be a town (the boys like that idea, otherwise I'd have another turn out in there).

    Triplex you mentioned "It could certainly be better designed for operation " Please share your thoughts
    with me, I'm interested (goes for anyone else too).

    Everyone, Thanks again, keep the info coming.
  12. Squidbait

    Squidbait Recovering ALCO-holic


    I don't think you want to confuse "running 2 trains" with "2 trains running". Your plan shows 2 loops of mainline, and while you could indeed run 2 trains independently, I think you'll find the boys will grow bored with watching them go 'round and 'round.

    If you go with a plan like the Black River one, you can still run 2 trains, but there has to be some cooperation and interaction, since they can't both be on the main at the same time (well, OK, with DCC they could, but you know what I mean).

    I think you'll find that getting them to do more than just run in circles will keep them interested longer than the racetrack plan. Just my $0.02...

  13. rsazz

    rsazz New Member

    Squidbait, I like your points about the interaction between the kids running the trains. So I showed the Black River (link & plan) to the boss (the 6yr old) he liked it with the exception he wanted more buildings and roads. So I think I'll try to add a couple more turn outs to the plan I was ponduring, trying to keep enough open space for the building.

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