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Discussion in 'N / Z Scale Model Trains' started by TrainNut, Oct 10, 2006.
It just keeps getting better and better!
A wonderful piece of work on every level.
Your work is inspirational to all of us. It is artful, thought provoking, and pushes the envelope of "what constitutes enough". One member said, "You should write a book". Actually, you already have. This thread can be used as the foundation of an excellent book. I am sure that one of the model railroad publishers would be very interested in this thread, just the way it is, or with not much additional work. Your skills as a teacher is on a par with your skills as an artist, designer, and technical craftsman.
I have been wanting to talk with you, and the other members about some basics of model railroading that no one seems to mention. When a layout exceeds the size of a coffee table, 2 feet by 3 feet, certain basics should be considered. Reverse loops, wye configurations, and turn tables, are methods to allow our locomotives to operate in the opposite direction.
Some members of the forum use the term "roundy-round" to describe an oval layout. For me, it seems essential that a larger layout, 4 feet by 8 feet, includes a method of running the locomotives in the opposite direction. Railroad modelers using book shelf layouts can utilize turntables at one end to achieve the goal of reversing direction. I have reverse loops on my ovals and am delighted everytime I use the turnouts and the appropriate electrical switches on the reversing loop to change the polarity of the track so my locomotive runs smoothly and does not stall. As one modeler said, "It takes practice to run a train through a reverse loop."
When I look at your track plan, I think I see at least one reverse loop. There are perhaps more. But I must admit, I do get confused when I try to follow your track plan.
I would be interested in listening to your comments, and those of other members, concerning the ability of running locomotives in the opposite direction.
Of course, I know it is my railroad...or your railroad. And, that is the bottom line, or final answer. However, it would be nice to hear you and others weigh in on this matter. Thank you, again for all of your astounding and beautiful work. Paul Keyser
Looks really good so far.
Wow! I'm not sure I'm worthy of the level of praise you have given me but I'm definitely grateful all the same!
For quite a while, I was building my scenery with a shotgun effort. A little blast here and a little blast there to get by until I could come back and super detail mini scenes. Therefore, it looks like the majority of my layout has been sceniced but not anywhere near any point of completion. I have three scenes on my layout that I consider are finished... the car show in front of the diner, the farm scene atop the hill and the Sunnyvale stop up front under the trees. Being creative to find a way to model a small and minute detail is what I have a lot of fun with. Unfuortunately, I'm still "shotgunning!"
My layout only has two of those above mentoned choices. The first is indeed a reverse loop in behind the mine. It was a real bugger to figure out but what it finally came down to was a problem with my DCC Digitrax Zephyr controller. It now works beautifully.
The second of those choices is a turntable that has not been installed yet. I have it in place but it is in a section of the layout that still lacks trackwork and scenery. I have a much larger layout planned for the near future and so my drive to continue on this one has somewhat diminished.
I've found that the only problem with having one reverse loop is actually the need for another reverse loop. I can turn them around once but then to get the whole train turned around again, I have to back the whole train up a 4% grade and through the original loop again.... kind of a pain. I did discover a way to add another reverse loop to this plan but like I said, I'm not sure how much longer this layout will be up and running.
Plus, when I originally designed the layout, I used all 4% grades. Then, later I stretched the layout by 3' reducing all but three of those grades to 2%. Two of those 2% grades are on back stretches and so to prevent stalled trains, I only run my long trains one direction. All these problems have been resolved in the new design, however, I'm sure I've now designed a whole slew of new problems as well.
Hopefully I've not rambled too much or made this too confusing to understand. I consider the whole layout another part of the learning process to make the next one better. Thanks for your thoughtful response and I look forward to any future comments you may have on this layout or any of the others in my thread index page.
I really like the look of that cliff face behind the Rio Grande Fs in the above photo. I've got a similar situation on my new layout that I may start roughing in scenery tonight. Mine has a track at the top of the cliff, and I was planning to place the debris of a few wrecked railroad cars aong the sides and bottom of the cliff
Follow-up on some basic concepts.
Hello Again, TrainNut,
Although my railroad hobby obsession began in December, 2007. I quickly learned that I got tired of running my trains in a simple oval. Therefore, I installed a single reverse loop so that my locomotives could run in the opposite direction. After one loop into my single reverse loop, I realized that I could not run the train in the original direction after going through the initial reverse loop. So I installed a second reverse loop. And, as you discovered, these train beds, reversing direction take up large square footages of space.
We all have space limitations, and therefore must design for that space. To a certain extent, we have height and levels of operation to consider if we keep our track plans to a maximum of a 2% incline. Modelers who install helices are really pushing the envelop of traction and percentage of incline.
Modeling books that I have read indicate that our track plans should not come closer than 2 inches from the edge. My own experience would expand that to 3 or 4 inches from the edge so that stations, overhead passenger ramps, buildings, and other scenic elements could be included within the plan.
I have not followed the next rule...but, a modeler should plan to have very, much, more scenery than track. My own layout will be redone within the next year because my 4 by 8 piece of plywood is jamed with track. It's fun to run. I normally run three train consists at a time; and, all my ovals have two reverse loops. It is a challenge. But, as one of the forum members said, "The track looks a little bare". It does. And, it's booring to look at, except for my ramp and two levels of operation.
Another basic element of model railroading that we should think more about is the curve radius. Just because the locomotive can run on a 9 inch or 9-3/4 inch radius, doesn't mean that it should. These small radii may be appropriate for table-top train plans, they should be avoided for a plan sitting on a 4 by 8, or larger, sheet of plywood.
My passenger cars look, so much, better running on my 19 inch radius track than on my 12-3/8 inch radius track. If I am running only 40 or 50 foot freight cars, I can use mostly 12 inch radius curves. So, we, as modelers, should be aware of what is best or ideal for us.
There are probably more basic elements that require discussion. This is enough for now. Paul Keyser
I for one am impressed with your benchwork
Also as far as being reluctant about putting your layout in your dining room, we have friends that have an HO gauge layout in their entire living room, and they are well off folks with a very high dollar home, and his wife thinks the layout adds charm to their home, and says not many people have 3D moving pictures in their living room. Keep up the fine work TrainNut.
Wow, TrainNut, I finally had a few minutes ( or was it an hour ) to read threw your layout thread. What a work of art you have created. It looks wonderful. I love the canyon and the rock areas. You did a great job.
Thanks a lot. I've found with my scenery that the techniques I was using when I first started this layout have changed and evolved to the point that I now want to go back to the far left side, and modify it using some of those new techniques. My motivation has been lacking lately and I need to get back in their and work on something new for a while to rekindle the spark.
Okay, so since I haven't really accomplished much since June, I figured it was time to come out of my slump and make some progress.
First up - I've got this motorized turntable I've had laying around forever. While it's not the best of quality, it's what I've got and I'm going to see what I can do with it.
Next up - While wandering around a swap meet last weekend, I came across this old roundhouse for $5. It's in rough shape and not exactly what I wanted but good enough for this experiment and the price was right.
I will be placing these two items at the far right end of my layout inside the curve of the double mainline. As this is one of the few areas left on my layout without scenery, its a real mess 'cause that's the only place left to stack stuff. I guess I should probably clean up before diving in.... nahhhh, maybe a little later.
Challenge #1 - the turntable and the roundhouse don't have the same radius and the angles of the tracks don't line up. I've got an idea for that but you're going to have to wait for further development to see if and how it will work.
Cover story - there was originally a much larger turntable in this area to handle larger steam engines. Over the years, the roundhouse stood up to the test of time but the turntable fell into a state of neglect and disrepair. Then, as diesel took over the area, there again became a need for a service facility. While the old roundhouse was simply retooled and remodeled, the old turntable was completely demolished and replaced with a newer, smaller more efficient one... thus the two different sizes. Hey!... there's probably a prototype like it out there somewhwere.
Challenge #2 - there is not room in this corner for the planned mountain and roundhouse. Soooo, the solution will be to shorten the roundhouse by half so that it sits right up against the base slope of the mountain. For functionality, the tracks inside the roundhouse will continue inside of the mountain but for aesthetics, I'm going to force the perspective to come up a little short.
In this view, you can see that I have already hacked out a big chunk of foam. That is where the back wall of the roundhouse will sit. Keep in mind that about half that will not be visible. You can also see that I have begun to lay out the cork to support the track for the six stalls.
If this works, hey, all the better. If it doesn't, then at least I will have tried. I can then tear it out and try something else until I get it right!
TrianNut, have you considered sinking that turntable, and making it more realistic? dad has one like it but in HO, i wish we would have done that to his. i have however seen a thread that showed it used as is, but they had added some extras to it, the project really turned out nice. i am sorry i cant find the thread , but i remember they had put stone around the edges, and a few more details.
BTW, OUTSTANDING JOB on your rock work:thumb::thumb: .
I have that roundhouse! That was one of the first models I build after getting back into the hobby, was really easy to put together, however, I have no idea when I will use it. It would fit ok inside a bend track balloon module, maybe when we build the third length on our modular layout. The turntable for it is a kit and is a lot bigger than the one you have, so it would be a hard fit in your layout.
Can't wait to see what you do!
Hello Trainnut, from what I've seen of your work, it will turn out great, and what a heck of a buy, $5.00, if you ever decide to sell, contact me, I will make it worth your while.
By the By
Buy the way Trainnut, I noticed that one of the top portions appear to be missing, if so, are you familiar with casting resin, if not let me know and I will be happy to fill you in on how to duplicate and parts with one you have in plastic, and it's very simple.
Hi...Here's what I did with mine....
Initially I did but after considering what it would take, my laziness gave in and I figured it'd be easier to leave it at foam level and instead, build up the scenery around it giving the impression that it sits at ground level.
Hmmm, in order to make it fit where I want it to with the mountain and all behind it, I had plans to bring out the dremel tool and do some customizing. However, with your offer in mind, perhaps I'll leave it intact but have parts of it hidden under the mountain instead.
Interesting to know! Thanks.
If all goes as planned, that part will not be visible once the scene is completed. There is however a missing door on the front that I was trying to figure out how I was going to duplicate. I've never done any resin casting before. When I get to that point, expect a PM from me as your solution sounds intriguing!:mrgreen:
Beautiful job! Was that originally the same turntable as mine?
Yep...a good OLD fashioned Atlas t'able....I built a bridge over the existing rails, jumped wires to the new rails, installed it, and built a retaining wall to fill the gap between the lower level and the upper one.
One word of caution...it is very noisy to operate if you use the motor drive.
Coming along nicely. :thumb:
Hmmm, didn't turn out too bad for a free turntable and a $5 roundhouse if I do say so myself. Granted, I still have a longggg ways to go. I'm kinda wishing I'da painted that turntable before I got it all installed. It's gonna be a lot harder now.
Still, you get the idea of how I solved the different radii problem. I can live with it and that's what counts. Wow, the surface of that turn table shines nicer than the ice on a newly frozen pond! Gotta do somethin' 'bout that too.
That turned out good! I was just looking at a picture of the old Altoona Shops yestersday and the tracks curved like that out out the building so hey, you're prototypical! Did you fit the whole roundhouse in there or did you cut off the back? When I built mine, I was missing a door as well, just cut one out of really thin board, painted it to match the other doors and glued it on in the open position. Are you going to add your brick coloring to it?