Brand New Plan (Thanks To Jesso)

Discussion in 'N / Z Scale Model Trains' started by Cannonball, Aug 12, 2008.

  1. Cannonball

    Cannonball More Trains Than Brains

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    I followed Jesso's diagram for his desktop layout, expanded it a bit and added a bridge. I think this will make a good starter layout for my buddy and his kid. I like it better than the simple over/under I did before and it shouldn't get too expensive. Not bad for 2-1/2 x 4-1/2 feet, anyway.

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  2. jesso

    jesso Member

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    The main thing to remember about my layout is that there is no switching whatsoever, and it was purposely designed that way, so if you want train changes, they are pull off the track moves.

    Edit: Looking at yours, I noticed that you have a s-curve on it, you might want to change that so that it doesn't become a problem with longer stuff. My HO layout has two S-Curves without enough straight inbetween and I had to modify couplers for it, will never make that mistake again.
  3. Cannonball

    Cannonball More Trains Than Brains

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    Do you think these would cause a problem?

    http://www.ehobbies.com/ath10031.html

    That's the set we ordered for it.

    I've been trying to eliminate it but nothing looks quite right without it.
  4. jesso

    jesso Member

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    Not with short stuff like that, The main problem I have seen with S-curves is very long engines with body mounted couplers. On my HO layout (with 18" curves, yes you can laugh) I have an AC4400 followed by a 50' box car and the s-curve would lift the trucks on the box car, fixed it by putting long kadee couplers on both. To be honest in N scale, I have not had any problems, but the theory would be the same. But again, the problems are only going to happen with LONG stuff and there isn't anything that long in pre-diesel era. (I am sure I am over-generalizing but most stuff isn't that long from that era)
  5. Cannonball

    Cannonball More Trains Than Brains

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    Well, the overland passenger cars are supposed to be 50 footers, I think.
  6. jesso

    jesso Member

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    Yes, they are longer, but they are most likely truck-mounted couplers and that gives you more wiggle-room than body mounted, and they are connected to the tender, so that isn't very long either, so I don't see any issues with those.
  7. Cannonball

    Cannonball More Trains Than Brains

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    Cool.
    I'm going to leave it as is then.
    Everything I do to change it either leaves me short or over somewhere and no matter what lengths I use to fill it, some part of it is still off.
  8. Cannonball

    Cannonball More Trains Than Brains

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    Next question......

    Will 2" risers give me enough clearance for the train once track and roadbed are installed?
  9. jesso

    jesso Member

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    On my figure eight tunnel, it is actually a bridge that I made to look like a mountain (I used the back of an atlas snap track package for the bridge. Both tunnels have 2 inches of clearance before cork and track and the tunnels are still tall enough for high cube double-stacks to make it through. (and the tunnel entrances are not even as tall as the tunnels.) So nothing from that era will have any problems.
  10. Cannonball

    Cannonball More Trains Than Brains

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    Sweet. :thumb:

    And I fixed the S-curve.
    I had to change the bottom half of my last loop from 11" to 9-3/4" curves and add two half curves but I think this will work. (Although the S curve did look cool, I don't want it inhibiting anything that might or might not run on the layout later on.) Thanks for your input so far!

    This is what I got.

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  11. Cannonball

    Cannonball More Trains Than Brains

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    And one more question.......

    Do you think I'll have room for 3% inclines on here or should I go with 4%?
  12. Squidbait

    Squidbait Recovering ALCO-holic

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    OK, in reverse order:

    I'd go with 4%, just to get any extra clearance you can.

    Kudos for sticking with the larger radius for the curves. It's easy to drop to 9-3/4" to get "more" layout in.

    I'm concerned that a simple 'roundy-round layout isn't going to pull your buddies kid away from his X-Play-Box-Wii-Station. I think you should have some space for switching. Even 1 runaround track and a siding would give the layout more operating interest.

    I'm not a big fan of the chase-your-tail layout. It's fine for a window display or a coffee table, but for something to try to get a person interested in the hobby, it falls short.

    I would try to design your plan for a siding and spur or two. That way if not now, then at a later date, you/they can drop in the turnouts to expand it.
  13. jesso

    jesso Member

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    You won't have room for 3% on the figure 8 and if you will bear with me, I would go 4% on the outside as well to give you extra room and I will show you why. Squidbait is right, a roundy without any options will get boring, especially for trying to get a person involved in the hobby, eventually they will want to do more or just abandon it. Remember that my layout is designed to just run without being touched. But the nice thing with yours is if you plan ahead you can upgrade later. I increased the size of the board to 5x3 and I added an inglenook and a passing siding to it. It unfortunately adds s-curves, but you are going into switches slowly usually so hopefully it won't matter. The nice thing is that you can still build the layout as you last drew it, just make sure that you can take out the straights in certain areas. The best thing is, add as you can when you can afford to. You don't need to folow my plan, this is just an idea to show that you can expand later on.

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  14. Cannonball

    Cannonball More Trains Than Brains

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    I agree that this layout isn't much for switching options but I'm doing it this way for several reasons-

    1) This layout really ins't about what's running on it afterwards. The guy wants to see if the kid is going to have the stick-to-it enough to actually build a layout before they start a larger one later on. This is more about the building process than the running process. If the kid actually shows an interest in what it takes to build a railroad, then they'll move on to bigger and better things.

    2) I am leaving out the switching not just for space considerations but for cost as well. Switches can get pricey. If I can keep this layout under $200, he'll be happy. I priced out track and foam the other night and was close to $100 already. By the time we get a base to put it on, landscaping and scenery, we're going to be pusing it. He's waiting to spend the mad money on the big one.

    As far as integrating this into a larger layout, I don't know if that would work or not. He's already messing with RTS and planning a 4x12 L shaped layout for their basement.

    Aside from that, I suppose it's a matter of tastes.
    I like the roundy-rounders. (Although usually a bit bigger)
    I've never been crazy about point to point layouts.
    Some switching for variation is cool but as far as operations go, I'd rather just sit and watch the trains run.

    I have a feeling they will be a little different though. He's been reading up on DCC and everything else. If they go through with this, he should have quite the layout in a couple of years.
  15. jesso

    jesso Member

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    Well, as long as this is a stepping stone, you are right. And maybe someday, make it into a coffee table. :) My inglenook has become a coffee-table decoration, people come to visit, they see the layout, they watch me play it, then they want to play it. My suggestions where just for a possible future, because sometimes the big layout plans seem to get pushed back and back and back and back (I speak from experience on that) The price of switches keeps scaring me away, that is why I built an Inglenook and not a timesaver (2 switches versus 5)
  16. Cannonball

    Cannonball More Trains Than Brains

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    Yeah.... I have ideas in my head for a full blown, large layout someday as well. Railyards, track switching, multiple trains and the whole works. Then I look at the price of remote switches for all of that and think I should build another Scenic Ridge. :D

    This guy makes insane money though. He's just very frugal with it. If it's something that he and the kid decide they want to do, he'll go whole hog but he's not going to invest any more than he has to until he knows for sure it's going to be something that they can stick with. I had fun just talking him into the $140 for the Athearn set instead of spending $35 for Little Joe from Walthers. :rolleyes: At least now they will have a train that will run on either layout regardless of what they build.
  17. Squidbait

    Squidbait Recovering ALCO-holic

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    OK, not to argue the point about switching (you're wrong :p ), you should go with a 4% grade through the smallest loop. If you start off at ground level just below, and rise at 4% to cross over, continue up at 2% to cross again, you descend back down at 3% to almost where you started. You could also go 3% through the tightest part, you'd still have just over 2" railhead to railhead, but that doesn't give you a lot of room for anything other than a deck bridge.

    I drew this in XtrkCad with flex track (but no easments, so they're all 11" curves and straight track). It uses 10 (9.5, actually) pieces of 30" flex track. If you order 10 from Discount Trains Online it'll cost you $26.25.

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  18. Cannonball

    Cannonball More Trains Than Brains

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    That would be cool but I've never used flex track before and not sure I want to make my first venture into it on someone else's layout. :D

    (I'm seriously considering it for my own later on though.....)

    And how did you get it to work with all 11" curves??
    Edit: I think I got it!