Help!

Discussion in 'HO Scale Model Trains' started by oldtanker, Nov 24, 2006.

  1. oldtanker

    oldtanker Member

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    OK after doing a lot more reading on here and getting some very good advice I'm looking at some major changes in my plans.

    1. I'm going to get rid of the LL power lock track. I'm going to go over to Atlas track with cork roadbed.
    [​IMG]

    2. Area size will be what is there at 4X10 plus a 4X4 extension. I would like to have enough room for a small main street and some industries.

    3. I would like to have enough trackage to at least make it interesting with one tied in oval that a small child could run a train on with supervision.

    The old track will not be tossed out, I think I'm going to pass that on to a son-in-law to get him & the other grandpa started.

    I could really use a hand with the track planning and a list of the tools I will need to put track down/cut it with.


    Thanks

    Rick
  2. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

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    Rick,

    Can you get us a picture or sketch of the room that the layout will reside in? There was a great "L" shpaed layout like what you describe in some magazine (I can't remember which) that I was reading recently. I'll have to go down to the train room and check later.

    In any case, it affored continuous running, and had a big scenic divider down the middle. Nicely done, and some interesting operations. What are you looking to model now (timeframe, location, industries)?

    Laying flex track is pretty easy. You need something to cut the rails with (X-acto knife to trim off ties, rail nippers (flush cutters) to trim rail, or use a razor saw, file, and eye protection - those bits of rail fly off at close to Mach1!).

    I stick my cork (cut with X-acto) and track in place with latex adhesive caulking. Use pins to hold it in place until dry (only a few hours are needed). The latex stuff is great, because you can clean it with water (before it is set) and/or paint it if you goof a bit.

    And congrats on passing on your "old" stuff to encourage others to get involved! :thumb: :D

    Andrew
  3. oldtanker

    oldtanker Member

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    Andrew, I have an area about 10x9 to work in with walls on 2 sides.[​IMG]

    From the left on the bottom is the stairs, above that the water heater. In the center the small area is the chimney and the large area is the furnace. The L shape would be the layout. The open area from the bottom wall to the layout is overhead water pipes. The entire basement is about 13.5X 21.5'.

    Rick
  4. fsm1000

    fsm1000 Member

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    Hey Rick. There are a number of how to links on my site that should give you a good start on this. Hope they help. :)
  5. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

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    Rick,

    If the basement area is all available, I would consider going along the "top" and "right" walls with a shlef-type layout that is 18-30" wide, depending on height, and needs of the indistries or track you select. You then have room for a turnback loop in the upper left nad lower right areas to allow for continuous running.

    Andrew
  6. oldtanker

    oldtanker Member

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    fsm, nice site, thanks.

    Andrew, the entire basement is not available, just from the furnace over. I keep getting told to do the shelf thing and with what I would like to do I just don't see how to do it.I would have a very small layout and no room for structures in the area I have to work with I think.

    Rick
  7. fseva

    fseva Member

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    How large are you locomotives?

    OK - here is the situation - in order to know what you can fit in the 10x9 space, we need to know how large your locomotives are - this determines the minimum radius you need in order to do loops and continuous running. Do you intend to run only small diesels, or do you want to be able to run a 2-10-2 with minimum overhang around curves?
  8. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

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    OK, so in a 10x9 space:

    If you cannot go outside that space, even for access (i.e. no standing in the other spaces due to storage, or other structures), you will be limited to a 5x6 table - assuming that you want a 2 foot wide aisle all around.

    In this case, I would highly recommend that you look at www.gatewaynmra.org. They "specialize" in the "old standard" - the 4x8. They also have various layouts that are actually smaller than that. They are all HO. There's plenty of structures on each one (important, since you've said that's something you enjoy).

    Alternately, you can build a 10x9 with a central "operating pit" of 5x6 that will give you more running room, but narrower shelves. However, this overall is more real estate (30 sq ft for the 5x6 table, versus 60 sq ft for the shelves). The big drawback here is the need for a duckunder or a swing/lift gate of some kind.

    If 10x9 is as big as the structure can be (with space outside to stand/operate from), then your options are somewhat greater, as you can increase the depth of the shelves or table where you can make them accessible from both sides.

    I have tried to draw what I have written above...

    In the left part of the picture, the shaded area is either 1) the table, or 2) the operating pit.

    In the right part, I assume that the left and bottom are open, therefore the benchwork can be deeper and operated (or at least accessed) from both sides. Continuous running could use a duckunder or gate (grey area) or be restricted to the larger part of the benchwork (which would be approx 4x9).

    Hope that helps.

    Andrew

    Attached Files:

  9. oldtanker

    oldtanker Member

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    OK, cause I'm not good with drawings on the puter I will try to explain this. This is an old farm house. The basement is 13.5'X22.5'. The area I have to work with is about 10'X8'. The area around the furnace has to be kept clear for access to the furnace. The drawing is not to scale. The furnace is 38" from the wall at the top of the drawing and 10' from the wall where the layout will be right side of the drawing. It is an older unit and has a large footprint. There has to be room for totes to be stored under the layout.

    Once I get the table figured out I'm really going to need help with the track planning.

    Thanks

    Rick
  10. fseva

    fseva Member

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    Try it the other way...

    announce1I would recommend starting with what you want in a small layout, before limiting yourself to a particular table size! Do you mind having a duckunder? If not, you could use an around-the-walls design. If you don't want a duckunder, you can go with a layout that either fits in a corner or stands by itself in the room so you can walk around it, but with this, you need to figure out how you'll get power to the layout.
  11. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

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    Rick,

    What else can you tell us about the old farmhouse basement. I owned a century home, and I know that I would not have wanted a permanent layout in that kind of space. The ceiling was about 5 feet, and I could only stand with my head between the floor joists. A lot of the ductwork ran below the joists, so the "ceiling" there was about 4'6". It had stone walls, so nothing could be fastened to them. The cement part of the floor was sloped towards the sump, and the dirt part was, well, dirt... :rolleyes:.

    So I understand the constraints.

    Rearranging storage to be under the layout makes sense... Will it free any space along that top wall? I have seen a number of nice layouts that are built on bookcases or other shelving. That might work.

    What did you think of my sketches above? With the options to operate from "outside" the layout, it is possible to include the space around the furnace, for example, because you caould stand there - you just can't build there.

    Andrew
  12. oldtanker

    oldtanker Member

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    Andrew, the basement is all concrete, from 1889. Pretty good shape too. The joist are 6'9" with only one heat duct that I have to duck a little for.

    Your second drawing is interesting and may work if it is cut down to 10X8. It the cut out area is about 28" I can move a little in there. I'm thinking that I could go 4X8 on the big part by cutting down the table I have now.[​IMG]


    Rick
  13. oldtanker

    oldtanker Member

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    fseva, I kinda know what I want as far as structures.....I'm not good at track planning....I know I do want one continuous loop that has a one or two switches that a child can run and another for the big kids.....ME!

    Rick
  14. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

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    Rick...

    That sounds like a great basement for such an old house. Our former neighbour had a grand house opposite us - it was probably 1890s construction, and it also had concrete walls - very new technology at that time...! The ceiling were probably 9 feet in the basement!!

    Anyhow, I think that the righthand diagram might start to work for you. If you can access both sides, you could place a 4x8 so it sticks out from the wall. That would give you 6 feet up to the corner, which would easily accomodate a 2 foot wide shelf along the walls. Then a swing gate back to the upper left of the 4x8 section would give you continuous run. Or you could keep the continuous run on the 4x8 part, and have a more complicated switching setup to run for "grandads only", while the little ones run the 4x8.

    Lots of room for storage underneath both the 4x8 and the 2' shelf, especially if you put the height at 48" or so. That might require a stool for the kids, but that's ok if all they are doing is watching things go roundy-round.

    Andrew
  15. oldtanker

    oldtanker Member

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    Andrew, I got a 3 yo grandson who is pretty good with a controller, he likes to see how slow he can make a train go and start and stop.

    I'm going with 40" high, good working hight for me and has enough room underneath for stacks of 2 totes.

    How do you go about building a "gate" and keeping the track aligned and powered?

    Rick
  16. nkp174

    nkp174 Active Member

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    old tanker, what time of railroad would you like? Desert...midwest...mountains...coastal? What era...1880s, 1920s, 1950s?

    If you are looking at the 1880s, you can get away with hairpin curves and short enough equipment to make it look decent...especially if it's in the mountains.

    One of the finest small railroads ever was something like 3'6 by 6'...and featured curves tighter than 15"! It was the 1st Gorre & Daphited by John Allen...so you can work alot into a small space.
  17. nkp174

    nkp174 Active Member

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    I built one by putting hinges at one end, and wingnuts on the other end. The section drops down, and the electric lead to both the section and the approaches on each leg were run through the connection of the wingnuts, bolts, and metal plates. I spiked the rail down after completing the drop down section...but be careful...I sent a mikado to the floor a year or two ago (it's been repaired).
  18. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

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    Here's a picture...

    The various parts of the layout are marked with size - dark blue squares. The outside of those totals 8x10 feet, with the 10 foot dimension on the right side. The light green areas are the space that is required to operate the layout - a minimum 2 foot aisle, plus the operators pit.

    The basement walls are indicated by the heavy black lines.


    Andrew

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  19. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

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    You were asking other questions while I was drawing!

    There are several good threads on The Gauge about hinged sections - gates, lifts, etc. For a layout this size, I would recommend that you wire it so everything goes dead when it is open to avoid the dreaded plunge to the (concrete) floor. With a 3 year old running a train at full speed, it won't take long to reach the gate from anywhere on that layout...!

    Keeping it aligned can be done two ways. One that I saw the other day at a friend's place was hinged, but that only loosely swung it into position - the hinge was purposely left loose so that it could be bolted/clamped tight at each end. It certainly wasn't a quick open/shut type.

    MR had an article a while back about a really nice gate that not only cut power to approaching track, but also had an electromagnet to hold it shut so it could not be accidentally opened. I'll try to remeber to look that up, or you can search the index of magazines at www.trains.com

    Andrew
  20. oldtanker

    oldtanker Member

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    NKP, it's going to be modern with older engines, GP 7s, 38s, 40s. as fas as the biggest sized engines. I'm looking at industries, a small town, and if I can fit it in a small US Army base (retired tanker, gotta have tanks!).

    Andrew, great, I'm thinking about going with a pit size of 3X5...I got real long arms....

    Rick