The Podunk and Urbanopolis in HO/HOn3 & N

Discussion in 'N / Z Scale Model Trains' started by TrainNut, May 18, 2008.

  1. TrainNut

    TrainNut Ditat Deus

    As I have eluded to here and there in previous threads, I have been slowly designing a new layout. My wife works from home but real soon, she will be moving her home office out into real office space. Yep, you guessed it – I get her old office space for my new layout.

    The new layout will have two gauges and two scales – HO, Hon3 and N. I have two young boys, ages 6 and 3 and I wanted to make this new layout somewhat interactive for them. I am going to accomplish this in two ways.
    - The first way will be constructing the HO track (DC) down at their height. This way, I can get each of them an HO train that they can operate themselves.
    - The second way will be by making the underneath of the layout kid friendly - sort of. “What does that mean?”, you ask. Let me explain… Every layout we have ever visited, the kids seem to be especially interested in seeing the trains go through the tunnels and underneath the scenery. I figure, why not incorporate that. The plan (at least in theory) will be to make it so that they will have a couple pathways (kid tunnels if you will) underneath the benchwork so they can follow the train around the layout not only above ground, but below as well. This will make more sense if and when you study my graphics.
    Why the other gauge (HOn3, DCC) and the other scale (N, also DCC)? Because I have one HOn3 engine that I would like to run with the majority of my collection in N scale.

    Let's see your plan you say? Okay, but first let me set up a mental image... All three sizes (HO, HOn3 & N) will be seperated at different heights with HO on the bottom, HOn3 in the middle and N scale on the top. Keep in mind that the scenery will flow seemlessly between the three and I am also going to try and use forced perspective to help tie them together. It will kind of look like this...

    My two engineers:mrgreen: have carefully calculated the HO level to be 30" above the floor (AtF). The HOn3 will be another 4" above that at 34"AtF. The two N scale levels will be another 4 inches and 7 inches above that respectively at 38" and 41". Finally, I will also have a helix climbing up to a shelf 10" above the main yard for a grand total of 48"AtF. Thanks go to Woodone for that idea!
    You want to see the plan? Have I got a plan for you! From the bottom up, Green is HO, Purple is HOn3, and red is N scale mainline with the other colors also being associated with N scale (yard, engine maint. facility, side tracks etc.).

    Grades are limited to 2% except in the helix which will be 3%. The layout sits in a corner next to some double French doors and will be viewable from the top and the left sides. I probably should mention that grey is future structure sites. Along the bottom wall of Urbanopolis, I plan on having a big city scene backdrop that wraps all the way around to the quarry or so and then I will have some built out buildings in front of that that will help hide some passenger train parking tracks and the helix. If you follow the layout around from right to left, it will proceed from city (Urbanopolis) to country (the farm) through some mountains (top right) to a valley town (Podunk) around the corner to some more mountains (Helix mountain). Stretching from the outskirts of Podunk to the top of Helix mountain, I am hoping to put an aerial tramway similar to the cable car set by BRAWA. Inside Helix mountain will be a... :phelix leading up to that shelf I was talking about over the Urbanopolis shown here...
    On this shelf will be the simple little town of Highyup serving some industries and terminating at a small engine maint. facility. I tried designing in a small radius reverse loop up here but it just took up too much space.

    Just how big is this sucker you ask? Not that big. I'm actually a little fearful that I'm trying to pack too much into too small of a space but... what the heck... I'm going for it!:eek:

    A while back, I submitted a preliminary model for comments. Though the plan has changed a little since then including the addition of the helix and second level, this was what the model looked like...

    Well, you say, that's real neat and all but boy is that first plan confusing! Let me simplify it for you! Let's start with the HO line. All it is, is a simple loop with one siding.

    And, 4" above that is the HOn3. Another simple loop with one siding and a spur.

    Finally, if you take away the HO and the HOn3 leaving only the main level of N, it would look like this...

    For the longest time, I was not completely happy with this layout because I could only ignore one N scale train at a time. I then came up with a couple ideas that would allow me to brainlessly ignore two N scale trains at a time. In this graphic, you can see how by adding two bypasses, I conveniently came up with two seperate mainlines shown in red.

    Well, that was sure a mouthful and I hope you stuck with me all the way through. Surely there was a lot of stuff I failed to explain so let's open this up to questions and comments time! Yes, you over there sitting at the keyboard?:wave:
  2. nachoman

    nachoman Guest

    Holy moly, that is a ton for me to look at! All I can say right now is great drawings and I like the concept.

  3. pikeyser

    pikeyser New Member

    Thank you for all of the detail

    Thank you for all of the meticulous detail in your drawings and your explanations of what you are doing. I remember your small model and I am pleased to see that it is becoming a reality. There is too much to take in during a single viewing. I find that I must review your work over a much longer period of time than One reading permits. Thank you again for all of your work. Paul
  4. TrainNut

    TrainNut Ditat Deus

    Thanks for the comments. There are two things I really enjoy that totally consume me - designing model railroads and designing houses. Designing houses would be a lot more fun if you did not have to deal with clients! Visit often and feel free to ask anything that occurs to you. I love answering questions.
    On the top left, you will see that the N scale double mainline does a half circle out towards the corner and back. I am envisioning that to be uptop an arched collonade bridge similar to this...
    My inside radius is 11 and the outside radius is 12-3/8. I see some examples of this type in the walthers catalogue but either they don't list a radius or the radius is too small to make sense. I'm thinking I might have to build my own. Anybody have any ideas on how to do this type of thing?
  5. UP SD40-2

    UP SD40-2 Senior Member

    TrainNut, I LIKE IT!!!:thumb:
    my dad and i built a 2 scale layout one time(N & HO), it was hard to separate the scenery between the two scales in places, and make it look right:oops: , but i am really interested to see in pictures how you over come this. i am really glad to see your going to give that mudhen a place to run:thumb: .
    it looks like quite a task to do, but the outcome will be well worth it:winki: .

    :deano: -Deano
  6. TrainNut

    TrainNut Ditat Deus

    Thanks! I have not even begun to think about how I'm going to frame it yet what with all the different levels and scenery dropping below the track levels as well as access underneath for the kids and hidden tunnel access.:eek::eek::eek:
  7. bigsteel

    bigsteel Call me Mr.Tinkertrain

    ill be very interested to see how you incorporate scales with forced perspesctive and scenery.but form what i can tell this will be a great looking layout :thumb: --josh
  8. Ralph

    Ralph's for fun!

    I like the whole concept and all of your graphics are impressive!
  9. jesso

    jesso Member

    Wow! That looks like a great layout! The graphics are very nice. Do you have access to the left-most side of the layout? What is HOn3? I take it that you have two trains in HO and HOn3 and will put them into the sidings? Where are you going to put all your great N scale bridges?

    The new layout looks like fun. Make sure that you get lots of pictures and maybe videos of the old layout before you take it down.
  10. TrainNut

    TrainNut Ditat Deus

    Questions... COOL... I like questions.
    Yes, the left side of the layout faces the kitchen. I told my wife that I would get a curtain wall to slide across there when I was not working or operating and she told me no way not to hide it because she wanted my work on display for everyone to see. Guess I'm kind of lucky there. I hope she continues to feel that way for a while!
    On the left half of the layout, you can see a big thick black line running up the middle and then curving to the right. That will be a 1" thick partition providing a view block between the two sides. I'm not exactly sure how I am going to do that just yet but I have given it some thought.
    HOn3 is narrow gauge HO. Same scale, different gauge. Normal HO has a scale distance of 4'-8 1/2" between the rails while HOn3 has a scale distance of only 36" between the rails. This is my HOn3 engine...
    We actually don't have any working HO engines at the moment but that will change once I get a working loop of track... and yes, I plan on having two... one for each son.
    I'm not sure where all the bridges will go just yet. I will have another canyon on this layout similar to the other layout. It is right below the text that says Babble Creek. Perhaps I can use some of them their and spread the rest around elsewhere.
    I'd love to take videos of my old layout... 'cept I've never figured out how or what equipment and software I need to do it.
  11. Highlander1

    Highlander1 Member

    Brilliant Kps posted on the progress. :thumb::mrgreen:bounce7

    Cheers H
  12. RonP

    RonP Member of the WMRC

    That is a fantastic design you have there Train nut.

    The plan itself looks worthy of museum work and I cannot believe I missed this thread.
    What kind of issues are you facing with the design ? I have a 2 and 4 yr old and can talk on that level too.
  13. TrainNut

    TrainNut Ditat Deus

    I think I've pretty much got the track design nailed down. I'm sure there will be a thing or two (or three or four) that needs modifying once I start getting it built but till then...
    The thing I'm kind of dreading now is figuring out how the benchwork is all going to come together what with the 5 different levels and the need for access underneath.
  14. RonP

    RonP Member of the WMRC

    Could hanging the lower levels with threaded rod be an answer for you ?
  15. TrainNut

    TrainNut Ditat Deus

    Hmmmmm, that is a very interesting idea I had not considered yet. I was going to use threaded rod for the helix but underneath?...... Looks like I'm goin'ta'haf'ta play with that idea. Thanks!
  16. RonP

    RonP Member of the WMRC

    No prob I have built a few bar's and threaded rod came in real handy for that minimalist look and I think thats what you are asking for.
  17. seanm

    seanm Member

    TrainNut.... Thanks for your comment on my design in the Layout Planning section.

    I see what you mean! Our ideas are somewhat similar!!

    I see you have gone the extra step and built a scale mode of the scale model.... Did you find that helpful? I have never gone that step in the past. Did it help you discover any OOPSs? Did you mention the scale of the scale model? (I can't recall).

    Someone was mentioning threaded rod. I used that for my last helix. If you do that, the lesson I learned was that it would be better to have open ended holed (like U's) where the rods attach to the sub roadbed so they could be put in from the side instead of vertically. That was a real pain working spinning nuts above my head....yuck!

    Keep the progress info coming!!
  18. TrainNut

    TrainNut Ditat Deus

    Yes, building the model was very helpful. I didn't discover any big oops's but it did help me to see some areas where I had some pretty drastic elevation differences. The scale turned out to be 1/1920. Thanks for the info regarding the threaded rod. I've never built a helix before much less trying it with the rod so I'm sure it'll take a couple tries before I come up with something I'm happy with.
  19. RonP

    RonP Member of the WMRC

    I learned was that it would be better to have open ended holed (like U's) where the rods attach to the sub roadbed so they could be put in from the side instead of vertically.

    That is a very good idea. tearing it down then would be a snap. You gave me a great idea that will come in very handy. I don't think I have ever seen what I am thinking before.
  20. TrainNut

    TrainNut Ditat Deus

    Do either of you have a picture or sketch showing what you are describing? I'm having a hard time envisioning this.

Share This Page