Train Shack Complete Ready for layout.

Discussion in 'HO Scale Model Trains' started by Hookedtrout, Sep 1, 2004.

  1. Hookedtrout

    Hookedtrout Member

    Well it's been awhile since I posted and I have now completed the shack I built so I would have a place to put my layout. I'm ready for any advice, the shack is about 9' 6" X 11' 6" on the inside. I'm thinking of building the deck in an L shape down the 11 foot wall and across the 9 foot wall 4 or 5 foot deep. That will be the next step any advice on size? Is 5' to deep to reach across and work over? How high off the floor should it be? Is putting down the 2" blue foam board the best way to go? I plan on having some mountains with a tunnel and a river and some bridges. I'd also like to take the track up along the mountain side at some point.

    Well I'm totally green to this and I'm asking alot so I'll stop here before I get into all the track and controler questions and save them for the next step.

    Here's a link to the shack I built it turned out really nice and should work great.

    Thanks, Hook
  2. Tyson Rayles

    Tyson Rayles Active Member

    Why are your windows at knee level? Are you planning on building the layout above them? As far as is 5 ft. too far to reach in, how long are your arms and how tall are you? I'm 6'3" with a reach of 80" and 32" is as far as I care to reach in and work on something.
  3. Hookedtrout

    Hookedtrout Member

    As for the windows, it was an old shed/chicken-coop that I restored and that just happens to be where the windows were. Chicken-coops had low windows to keep the light low so the eggs would hatch so I'm told. The L shape I'm planning on doing will only actually go completely through one window and I'm not that concerned about covering half of it up.

    As for reach, it all depends on what I have to stand on I guess, my concern is that the shed isn't all that large so I don't want to have a small deck and limit what I can do and I don't want to do the domino effect either. The layout will be more designed for my 6 year old son so I want it to go in a complete circle rather than a shelf type with lots of sidings. I want a few sidings but more of a full circle track.

  4. Fred_M

    Fred_M Guest

    30 inched is all I can reach, and even then I sometime break things near the front edge. When I had a 4 by 8 against the wall long ago there was no way to reach a train on the back edge of the 4 foot, let alone do scenery work, or clean it with a brite boy. If you go five foot you will find that model railroading isn't fun. Fred
  5. Muddy Creek

    Muddy Creek Member

    Of course, you can always put in a convenient access hole or two if it lets you use your space as you see fit. Cover it with a removable foam hatch cover with the full scenery treatment and you won't even know it's there.

    A 6 year old would be real handy for scooting under to clean tracks & rerail trains. I know. I was a 6 year old and spent a lot of time scooting under my father's layout which was about 5' to 6' deep with conveniently placed access holes. (Hint: careful with screws & nails protruding through the bottom of the layout!)

  6. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    A local "o" scale club uses reinforced roadways on the layout as walkways to access hard to reach areas. Roads may be too small in ho scale, but some sort of heavy duty walkway would help reach problems in the back. You might even put the reinforced parts under removable buildings or scenery that would hide it until you needed to use it.
  7. Woodie

    Woodie Active Member

    Looks good. Hook. :)

    As far as width, and height? It's really up to you and your physical stature. I think that 5' is too wide. How do you fare at the dinner table? reaching for the salt, or ketchup or whatever? How far is that reach that is easy? If its far enough to reach that you need to ask "can you pass the salt please" or lift yourself out of your seat, then it's too wide. Remember that if your modelling "where the salt is", you are leaning over and reaching like that for a long time. Not just the few seconds to "get the salt".

    As far as height? stand straight, and where your elbow is, is just about right. maybe an inch or two lower. Again, stand at the kitcken table for two hours putting out the cutlery and taking it back, and putting it out again, in place, nice and neat and precise see how you think you would cope, reaching right across the table, with having delicate long stemmed wine glasses in place as you do it and see how you feel, with reaching that far, and leaning over something at "table height". Have you ever done coooking preparation standing at a table, rather than kitchen bench height?

    Modelling your layout for many hours, and getting pleasure out of it, must be easy and not awkward. Also consider access underneath it too, as you will spend many hours under there, working upside down, wiring, drilling soldering, drilling, hammering and eeerrr screwing. ( :p :rolleyes: :eek: ) at some of the most unimaginable angles and postures.

    What do you reckon of those hints and thoughts?
  8. cobra

    cobra Member

    I'll echo what was said above regarding the 5' depth . I think down the road you will be very unhappy with trying to work with such a depth . A carefully planned 3 foot depth can provide as much mrring fun as you can handle . Ten years ago , in the old house I had a layout with areas that were 5 ' deep and ran into many difficulties that took the fun out of it . Unless you are providing access holes ( that can disrupt the flow of things themselves ) rethink this area of your plans . You'll be much happier you did so .

  9. Hookedtrout

    Hookedtrout Member

    I think I could come up with a 3 foot depth plan, I guess my question would be is 3 foot wide enough to make a turn for a circular layout in HO, again I'm new to all this and 3 foot doesn't seem like much room to have a turn and put in much as far as houses etc.

    Thanks for everyone's input thus far.

  10. Doc Holliday

    Doc Holliday Member

    Hey Hook,
    I'll second those that say 5' is too wide. I really wanted some depth of scene and originally planned on building a modification of Atlas' Super Pretzel layout. My benchwork is a 7'-6" x 11' "L" with one leg being 4' wide and the other 5' wide. I put the whole things is on height-adjustable rolling casters so I can move it out to get behind it to reduce the reach to the back side. Even so, it is still way to far. :cry: I'm 6' tall and my layout is a low 42" (it's in my basement with a low ceiling). If you do go that big, I suggest that you also consider wheels or a cutout "access" hole in the middle.
    That's my $0.02 worth. (The invoice is in the mail.)
  11. Fred_M

    Fred_M Guest

    You dog bone the ends so that you can walk around the ends which will keep the max reach managable but allow you to use fair sized curves, excuse my crude drawing, but i'm a MRRer, not an artist. Fred

    Attached Files:

  12. Hookedtrout

    Hookedtrout Member

    Great suggestions I like the drawing and that is a great idea to bell out the end. What radius is a good minimum to count on for the end curve? I was also looking at the Atlas Super Pretzel with some of my own modification. Is Atlas good track and which of Atlas' track would be best. I hear nickel silver is the way to go, is it better to get the track with the base already on it?

    Thanks for the info, Hook
  13. Fred_M

    Fred_M Guest

    On curves, the bigger the radius the better. I use 36+ inch radius, but I realize that's too big for your application. I would at least use 24 inch or greater. Atlas track is a good modest priced track that can be purchased almost anywhere in code 100. Code 100 is bigger than prototype, but you can run almost anything on it. Code 83 is more the right size, but is a tad more expensive and some older "big flange" stuff will not run on it. Nickel Silver is the ONLY thing to use, esp. if you have to buy track. The old brass track is hard to keep clean. There was also some galvanized steel track made at one time. I also avoid it. Look into flex track. It's what I use and is easiest to build a fleelance layout from. No more worring about fitting and sizing, and you can make your curves gradual (easements). Walthers track is also good, Peco is great. Good turnouts have a metal frog which allows better running at the expense of more work wiring it up initially. Insu frog are... accaptable but expect stalling, lower quality look, and the plastic frog wears out. Track, the rule of thumb is the more it costs the better it is, really. It's not a name thing, but actual quality. Fred
  14. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    What sort of equipment/era do you want to model? If you model small steam, 2-8-2's or smaller, 40' freight cars, and 50'-60' passenger cars, you can use 18" radius. 18" radius will also work with 4 axle diesels. You will need 22" minimum for six axle diesels or the 72' passenger cars (like Athearn).
    If you want to run large steam, or full length 85' passenger cars you willneed to run 30" minimum radius. If you have to run a minimum radius that your trains will negotiate, but look funny doing it, build a city or mountains in the turn back area and use the mountains/tall city buildings as a view block so you won't see the overhang.
  15. Woodie

    Woodie Active Member


    If you are concerned about curve radius size, as you can lay "flextrack" just about to any radius, then go see your local hobby shop and buy a semi-circle of "snap track" (fixed shape track). This "fixed curved" track is made that size for a reason. Anything smaller than that curve, will likely cause you trouble. Use the semi circle of "snap track" (cause the pieces "snap" together) to get an idea of how wide you'll need your layout. After all, you can re-use the snaptrack and put in on your layout!! :wave: :thumb:
  16. Doc Holliday

    Doc Holliday Member

    I set the same goal when I planned my layout. I wanted to build a tall trestle as a focal point. There is a lot of discussion on the horizintal aspect of track planning, but not nearly as much on the vertical part. Keep in mind that it takes a whole lot of track to get a significant vertical difference in elevation. My steepest grades are 4%, which is considered by many to be the maximum. At this grade, it takes over 8' of track to climb enough to cross over another track (and another 8' to come back down) I cheated and put 2' of foam over the bench work which allowed me to increase the overall effective height of the tall trestle by cutting away the foam, giving me about 12''from the water below to the track.
    Good luck :thumb:
  17. Hookedtrout

    Hookedtrout Member

    Thanks for the info, I just downloaded the Atlas freeware software and have been playing with some designs. Looks like on a 3 foot layout with the ends expanded to 4 foot I can do 15" radius on the end corners. Now if I use the flextrack I can probably go a bit wider.

  18. Hookedtrout

    Hookedtrout Member

    So is 15" radius to small for everything? I don't plan on running the passenger cars. The layout will probably be based on 50's or 60's with some log trains and some grain trains and possibly some tankers. I should mention that the layout is being made for my son. At this point I'm not really worried about everything being specific to an era or critial on what rolling stock I run. What ever works will be what we use. Squeak isn't that particular short of everytime he gets out the Model Railroad book he picks out the $900 engines. Not this go round. As for the height of the deck, I don't want to go to high that it is difficult for him to see and play with the set up. However I guess I could build a nice bench for him to sit up on.

  19. The 15" curves _are_ small, but short, switcher engines (like the SW9/1200), small steamer (0-4-0. 0-6-0, and maybe a 2-6-0 and 4-4-0) and short cars (40 foot boxcars, 34' shorty 'beer can' tankers, etc) will work on it. in 4.5 ft, if you expand your turn space, you can use the 22" curves, which will handle 95% of the stuff out there -- only really large steam like the giant 2-8-8-2 Mallets, and hyper realistic 85' Passenger cars from Walthers won't run on that
  20. Fred_M

    Fred_M Guest

    My layout is 42 inches to the track level from the floor. A 5 year old would need to stand on a milk crate to see it well, have one. Not them new ones, one of the old real dairy ones. They can drag it around themselves but it's strong enough for them to stand on. I have this idea for a shockenly wonderful trestle without any grade for a future module for my layout. It will be a corner and the trach will emerge from a portal onto a curve which will be on the side of a mountain which will drop at a steep angle to nearly the floor and whoes peak will nearly touuch the ceiling. The track will hug the slope on a tall wooden trestle and reenter the tunnel at the other end. The train will them leave (and enter) the tunnels at "normal track level on the othe sides of the mount. Soon as I finish a few things I'll do this, probally next spring sometime. Fred

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