Which Code?

Discussion in 'N / Z Scale Model Trains' started by ukulele8421, Oct 9, 2007.

  1. ukulele8421

    ukulele8421 New Member

    OK, I am still a little scared about starting my first layout, but I think Im just going to start out and build for the heck of it. I have no idea about what it's going to be, but it will be cool.

    My question, though. What code should I star out with on N, since this is my first layout. Code 80 or 55? Thanks a bunch.
  2. TrainNut

    TrainNut Ditat Deus

    I'd stick with 80. It is pretty much the standard and you will avoid some unnecessary headaches as this will be your first layout. Code 55 is closer to the real thing but a lot of the locomotives out there have wheel flanges that are too big and simply bump over the ties instead. Since this is your first layout, you might think about using sectional track that can be taken apart and changed over and over again. That way, if you come up with a plan that does not really work very well, you can take it apart, change it, and try again. Don't be scared... jump in and start having fun!
  3. ukulele8421

    ukulele8421 New Member

    I think Im going to start with sectional track. How would a door layout sound? I've heard that they are easy and fun, but I really don't know how big doors are. Im not the person that goes around to hardware stores, although that would probably be a good thing.
  4. ezdays

    ezdays Out AZ way

    A door layout is good, I started out with one and actually used the hinges to get access to the wiring underneath. Doors come in all widths from 24" to 36" and are around 80" long. You can get a 30" wide hollow-core door at Home Depot for around $20.

    And TrainNut is right, go with code 80 to begin with. Trackwork is fussy stuff and especially critical on code 55. Code 55 is more to scale, but still not and it does present problems to work with.
  5. ukulele8421

    ukulele8421 New Member

    OK, I have got it. I can't do a door layout, because I don't have that much space in my house for the door, unless it's used like a door. HA HA! Oh come on, that was funny! Well, I have come up with a space of 3' by 5', and I was wondering if I could use plywood or something. Would that work?
  6. jesso

    jesso Member


    There are a whole bunch of track plans that will even fit an area smaller than 3x5 at this web site Mike's Small Trackplans Page. I'm thinking of building the The Lake District Ry if I ever finish all the projects I am currently working on
  7. jesso

    jesso Member

    Forgot to add, definately go with code 80 and yes you can use plywood.
  8. ukulele8421

    ukulele8421 New Member

    Well, I looked at those layouts, and I'm just thinking to myself. I don't have enough money for all of those switches! I am looking at like a $50 budget here for the track, base board, and cork roadbed. I looked at your HO layout thinking if I could make it in N, and I came up with my version of it with a lot less switches. It will cross over it's self to make a double circuit layout, and that's were I'm stuck. I have no idea on ow to rise it. I've seen those risers, but I don't know how much they cost and how many I'd need. Oh, and maybe you can answer a question for me. Would this layout have a bad grade to get over itself? I mean, I'm always afraid of my train smashing into a bridge.


    Ignore the gap, I'll fix that later. I also don't know how to draw layers on this program yet, either, but this is a good enough picture for now. This is just an idea.
  9. jesso

    jesso Member

    You would only need one box of risers. You would have plenty of room to do any that they sell and of the them so I would recommend 2% as that is the easiest for the engines to climb, although the higher the percentage (they have 3% and 4%) the shorter the hill. At the most you need to get the over track 2 inches high to get over almost everything. I have domestic double-stack containers (53' long 9'6" high in real life) and those will fit under 2 inches. If you plan on running older stuff, you don't need it to be that high.
  10. PWRR-2207

    PWRR-2207 Rogue Islander

    Possible cost cutting idea...

    Hi, You could skip the cork and go with a piece of Homosate instead. If you do not glue down the track, you can also test/change your layout before you start adding scenery. Even without rail connectors or a train, it is easy to get a good visualization since what may look good on paper does not always look good in practice.

    Yes, it is a little too thick usually to be used like cork but that does not stop you from cutting a roadbed profile later and adding scenery at a higher level.

    The drawing looks like it came from Atlas's RTS program... If it is, "Layers" are accessible from the toolbar or from right clicking on the object and choosing properties. The toolbar way only seems to list the layers so if you want to give the layer a more meaningful name, you have to access it via right clicking to get "Properties" of an object and then right click on the default 00# name to change the name... Hey! What do you want for something that is 'free' and a good Rapid Layout Development Computer Aided Design (RLDCAD) tool ?

    286th Law of Effective Communications - Define all acronyms :wink:

    Providence & Worcester Railroad,
    Engine Number 2207
  11. ukulele8421

    ukulele8421 New Member

    Holy crap, that was a lot. o_O OK, um, yeah. I'll try to keep you 2 updated on this, but this might be like a 2 or 3 month project for me, since I am in school and don't have a job (I have to wait till Christmas, and I also want to get a new ukulele, too!)
  12. ukulele8421

    ukulele8421 New Member

    Oh, I forgot to ask. Were can I get those risers and how much are they?
  13. TrainNut

    TrainNut Ditat Deus

    Hey Ukelele,
    I thought you might be interested in what my son and I did in 2'4 square. It doesn't have to be very large or complicated to be interesting.
  14. Jim Krause

    Jim Krause Active Member

    If you are still planning to use sectional code 80 track, it comes with its's own roadbed. Fifty bucks won't get you too far with sectional track unless you find a bargain in used stuff on Ebay or somewhere else.
  15. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    If you have 3' x 5' you could take an HO 4'x8' track plan and shrink it -- changing 18" radius HO curves to 12" radius N would be approximately right. There's lots of HO 4x8s out there.
    Plywood is a nice solid base, but a problem for putting nails in; if you push hard enough, you may slip and distort your track. Foam insulation (e.g. Styrofoam SM) is easier to work with, but not as sturdy and needs support. Woodland Scenics makes grades in foam that are curveable and pre-cut at a specified percent.
  16. ukulele8421

    ukulele8421 New Member

    I'm going to stick with this layout, and I have calculated that if I buy through my local hobby shop, I can afford the track, cork roadbed, and risers for just a little over $50, due to that they sell everything under the retail price. Man, that's lucky! And, I think I'm just going to beg my mom to get me the plywood. She keeps complaining that I spend to much time on the computer, so I'm going to suggest to her that if she gets me the plywood, and takes me to the store to get the track etc, that I'll spend less time on the computer, which I would. (Can I here "run-on sentence?")

    Wow, that was a lot of typing. Thanks guys. If you guys have any more suggestions and tips for this, please tell. I need all the help I can get.
  17. jesso

    jesso Member

    What are you planning on doing with your layout? Are you just going to have one train on the layout that you park occasionally or did you want to have one train parked while the other one went around?
  18. ukulele8421

    ukulele8421 New Member

    I have one train, and I plan on maybe getting a small switch engine for the heck of it, and store the main train on the siding.
  19. jesso

    jesso Member

    You might want to change the interchange into another siding so that you can easily park your trains. You will also want to put in some insulated joiners on your sidings so that you can turn off the sidings when the other train is running.
  20. ukulele8421

    ukulele8421 New Member

    Well, I actually put my foot in the door today! I have made my first step to my layout! I will in fact put insulating joiners there, but I have refined the layout a little more. Here it is.
    I went to my local hobby store, and I figured, Hey what the heck, I'll get something just to try it out. So, I got those "inclines" that I've been seeing. They are truly amazing. Well, I am a little ticked, though. I got the 2% inclines, and I figured out that they didn't have anything to fit on, so I am mad about that. I'll just use some foam or something under it. I also found out that the inclines are too long for the spot in the layout, so I will stack one on top of the other to come up with a 4% grade. What do you think?

    Yeah, that was a lot for something so little.

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