track plan layout help

Discussion in 'Track Planning' started by trainbyer, May 1, 2003.

  1. trainbyer

    trainbyer New Member

    I have just negotiated the takeover of a room in our basement for an o guage layout and am need in help of layout design. It is likely that I will upgrade to Atlas track from O-27. I am interested in incorporating the following:

    Reverse loop
    multiple train operation

    any other cool ideas

    The room measures 13'8" by 15'10". I have been told that the size does not lend itself to building a second layer. This is probably ok.

    If someone can help with design of a layout, it would be much appreciated.
  2. TrainClown

    TrainClown Member

    Welcome toThe Gauge

    Hi trainbyer.

    Where is the door to the room? On what wall & how much wall space on each side? (you know, north, south, east, west wall)

    Are windows going to be a problem? If so, where are they located?
  3. trainbyer

    trainbyer New Member


    Thanks for your reply. The room is 13'8" (East/West) and 15'10" (north/south) using map directions. At the southeast corner of the room is an area that measures 6' (east/west) and 7'5" (north/south). The door is located in the south side of the east wall. Hope this makes sense to you. If not, I could fax.

    Am thinking of using Atlas O guage track and possibly some flex track. Kind of prefer meandering curves versus racetrack type of layout. Will most likely keep it to one level given space constraints.
  4. trainbyer

    trainbyer New Member

    P.S. There is a window on the north wall in the center of the room. Think I can adjust benchwork heigth to accomadate.
  5. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    You mentioned O27 and Atlas O guage track. I model in ho and am not familier with all of the various O guage offerings. Are you going to be using ac or dc power? One design feature that would lend itself to O guage better than ho is that an around the walls layout could have a scale sized draw bridge at the entry door to give access to the room and still allow for train operation with fewer compromises. If you wired in a light, so that someone outside the layout room would know the bridge is down, and perhaps a doorbell to let you know to stop the trains and raise the bridge for access, you would be able to get a long mainline run, and perhaps avoid having to use a reverse loop entirely. O27 is a 27 inch diameter, I think. That would make a nice tight reverse loop, but would limit the size of equipment you could run on the layout.
  6. TrainClown

    TrainClown Member

    Layout Plan for Mr. Impatient

    OK, here we go.

    Room size = 13'8"x15'10"
    Main Line = 84'
    Sidings = 41.2'
    Max Elevation = 13.5"
    Track elevates at 3.5%
    Large Curves = 42"
    Small Curves = 31"
    One 54" curve below "M" passing siding
    3 Bridges
    4 Tunnel Portholes
    2 Passing Sidings
    2 Reversing Crossovers
    1 Industrial Siding (you could add more)
    Light yellow is 0 elevation.
    Dark yellow gives you an idea where the mountains start. I tryed to turn the plan with the compleat elevations into a j-peg, but it was to hard to tell where the track ran so I tones it down.
    A = Main down town area.
    B = Town dividing reversing track.
    C = Siding for industry.
    D = Reverse siding, entrance to Yard/Staging area.
    E = The wrong side of the tracks, residential area.
    F = Yard/Staging area.
    G = Passing Sideing.
    H = Lower tunnel entrance to helix.
    I to J = Track skirts the outside of the mountain.
    K = Track emurges from tunnel at its highest elevation and proceeds accross a tressal bridge.
    L = Water Fall.
    M = Mountain passing siding.
    N = Small town.
    O = Tressal bridge or track supported on pylons.
    P = Mine or Lumber Camp, Town or Wilderness.
    Q = Where track comes back to 0 elevation. Town, industry, gravel pit, open up river into lake, logging camp, or whatever.
    R = River, to add beauty to the scean, or power to an industry.
    S = Smaller gurder bridge.
    Arrows and numbers indicate elevation of track at that point.
    Layout base is 4 feet wide.

    I hope you like the plan. The print-outs have more detail. If you want to build it, I supose I could send them to you. Anyway, I had fun working it out.

    An original TrainClown design. :confused: :p ;) :D
    Drawn to scale.

    P.S. I had to turn the plan on it's side to get it to post. Don't strain your neck.

    Attached Files:

  7. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    What is the diameter of the helix? It looks like it might be too small to gain enough elevation without an excessive grade. You need to gain enough elevation to get the track plus the road bed and subroadbed over the top of the lower track. Is that 5 or 6 inches in "O" scale?
  8. TrainClown

    TrainClown Member

    Helix Diameter

    Hi Russ,

    The Diameter of the helix is 42". By my calculation the circumference would be 11.5 feet, and at 3.5% grade, this would rise the surface of the track 7.961538461538 inches.

    Mabie my calculations are off. Here is how I worked this out.

    diameter of a 42" circle is 11.5 feet (or 138")
    13 inches makes a 3/4 inch rise at 3.5% grade

    138 divided by 13 = 10.61538461538 times .75" = 7.961538461538" in one compleat revolution.

    I think this is right so there should be no problem with this helix design. I checked out some 0 gauge posts that deal with grade of track and they said they had a 5% grade and there train went up it no problem. So I figured a 3.5% grade would be good here.
    What do you think of this grade for 0 gauge?
  9. Thortrains

    Thortrains Member

    Try the RR track software, or the freeware from Atlas. If yo uwant an idea of what Atlas track cando, visit my website and look at the o / O27 plans. Some use the Atlas track geometry.
  10. Jim T

    Jim T Member

    I came up with a rise of 4.83" in 138" at a 3.5 per cent grade. I could be figuring this wrong. Also, I got 132" for a 42" diameter circle. I wonder how many more different answers we can come up with for this, LOL!

  11. cidchase

    cidchase Active Member

    I'm agreeing with Jim, 42" dia = 132" circumference, and a 3.5%
    grade would rise 4.62", top of rail to top of rail. With 1/4" underlayment and about 1/4" (?) of track height, the clearance is reduced to 4-1/8". I dont think that's sufficient for O gauge, but keep pluggin'.
  12. TrainClown

    TrainClown Member


    I'm confused? Isn't 3.5 per cent the same as 3.5 degrees?
  13. K.V.Div

    K.V.Div Member

    Re: ?????????????????

    A percentage point is 1/100th, which means that a 1% grade will climb 1 inch every 100 inches and that on a 3.5% grade the track will climb (or drop) 3.5 inches every 100 inches.

  14. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah


    The formula for converting a 3.5 percentage grade to degrees is either:
    arcsin (.035) or arctan (.035)
    where arcsin means "the angle whose sine is". At reasonable grades, the difference in the formulae is less than the accuracy of my carpentry. :D
    You can probably check this in an Excel spreadsheet.
    if you take sin(3.5 degrees) you'll get a larger number than 3.5%.
    (And watch out for radians.)
    --B. Math.
  15. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    One trick that could be used to get a larger helix diameter would be to put a warehouse next to the track going into the yard with a backdrop behind it to hide the helix, then run the helix through the backdrop and inside the warehouse. The other possibility is to do a "Tehachapie" type loop instead of a helix. I don't know if the grades are less that way, but something like masonitefor the base of a short bridge crossing over the track, you might "buy" a few precious fractions of an inch.
  16. trainbyer

    trainbyer New Member

    Response to TrainClown

    Hey--you did a great job on the layout. It's going to get built. We cleaned all the crap out of the room this weekend. If you wouldn't mind, send me the plans with the details to:

    Mark J. Bronder
    3241 Browning Street
    Lincoln, NE. 68516
  17. TrainClown

    TrainClown Member

    Revamped Track Plan

    Way to go Mark!

    That makes it all worthwhile. And by the way, I wouldn't want to give you a plan that would not pan out in real life, so after a few minor details were pointed out to me by fellow members I have revised the plan to real world specs in the helix size and grade department. Here is what it looks like now.

    There is a new tunnel between "T" and "U". This allows the mountain to be bigger to accomodate the 52" helix. This gives the head room needed so the train will clear the track overhead. I think 6" clearance will be enough.

    Attached Files:

  18. trainbyer

    trainbyer New Member

    hey clown

    here is another thought or question for you. what if i limited the control area to the 7'x6' area of the room and built benchwork over the entire 13'8x 16' area. would need to access by hatches and wiring would be kinda of pain.

    but my question is this. is it worth the additional surface area for running trains?
  19. cidchase

    cidchase Active Member

    Hi trainbyer,
    You most likely need access hatches anyhow. Unless you have 6 foot long arms,:rolleyes: there's no way you can reach into the corners of that layout for doing scenery or track work. Hey Trainclown, can you lay in some access :) so trainbuyer doesn't have to reach over more than 24-30" to get to his tracks, etc.?
    I've got zero experience with O-gauge layout requirements, but
    it seems some things are not scale-specific. :D :D

    I really do like the layout since you fixed the helix. :)
  20. TrainClown

    TrainClown Member

    More Details

    Hi Mark,

    I think there is a balance between layout area and workable space. Don't forget when the layout is growing, you will want to show it off. Don't make the mistake of making your train room hard to visit and hard to work on. This is a massive layout, and if you get it all completed then you can add on to what you have fairly easily. Just think if you got 4 friends and you, all train watching, you would be gratefull for the extra room.

    There is a lot of modeling to be done as the plan is. I have also taken into account what would happen if the train derails on an outside part of the track. You should be able to reach the poor thing without destroying anything.

    In my opinion it is not worth filling in the whole space with layout. I've had a "duck under" and it was just a pain in the rump, and the back too. My dad and I had a bridge that was supposed to be raised and lowered to provide access, but it proved to be such a hassel that we never opened it. With 125 feet of track, I would think the few extra feet you would gain to be not worth the strain.

    I know the base looks like it is made up out of 4'x8' sheets of plywood, but its not. The layout's base consists of an outline frame with strategically placed stringers. Whole portions of the town areas are meant to be removed. This will make modeling the towns easier to manage as well as completing the scenery. Also, in an emergency, such as a major derailment you can't easily reach, the portions can be removed. The mountain will be hollow and open underneath, so if there is a derailment in the tunnels, then you would duck under the mountain to retrieve the stricken train. This would also be access for track cleaning. If you lay your track carefully, then you reduce the chances of a derailment.

    All these details and more are in the master plan. :D

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