New here and need some oppinions

Discussion in 'Track Planning' started by Mrplow123, Jul 15, 2006.

  1. Mrplow123

    Mrplow123 Member

    Joined:
    Jul 15, 2006
    Messages:
    55
    Likes Received:
    0
    Hello everyone. Finally after 11 years I am getting back into N-scale model railroading. I am sooo excited I can't sleep from all of the ideas going through my mind. I built my first layout when I was about 14 with the help of a friend of the same age. It turned out pretty good, for being built by 2 kids with no adult help at all. But then I got my License at 16 and a girlfriend, well you see where this is going:curse: . Anyway, part of the other reason was, even 10 years ago N-scale left allot to be desired, unless you didn't mind spending a small fortune on Kato power, plus money was an issue.

    So now here I am at 27 years old, I got the bug again. Plus my 7 year old daughter has shown an interest in working with model railroads. And she is a daddy's girl. So I still had my original layout in tack, stored in my Mothers garage. So I dug it out and brought it to my house. I finally have a house with a good size 2 car garage with some extra space. The layout is a 4x6 double loop with a small, not so usable yard. It is almost completely bare, except ground cover, spent all the money on track. When I pulled it out of the garage with the help of the same friend who helped me build it, we looked at each other and said "what were we thinking?". I have drawn up a layout plan with Atlas RTS that I will post for opinions in a bit. It really isn't that bad of a layout,it is build for war(LOTS of Plaster of Paris) but it has a few screwy aspects to it. Some of the turns are way too tight as far as standards go. But nothing derails. I had it running tonight with one engine and 14 cars behind it, running at full speed for more then 25 laps (had to of been 100+ scale speed) and didn't have one derailment. It has 2 grades that lead to the second deck of a double deck tunnel, but after some recent calculations, the grades are approximately 4.2% and 3%. No wonder my engines never liked climbing them. The lower deck only has enough Clarence for standard rolling stock, you can't even get your hand in there. Derailments on the lower deck suck, and track cleaning is out of the question with out cleaning bar attached to a stick. We didn't think about those things when we built it. And the mountain is really tall and STEEP, I mean Downhill ski jump steep. And the so called yard is a mess, I just wanted a lot of turnouts, but they don't make much sense.

    Now on to business. I have made an as close to scale drawing of the current layout with Atlas RTS. I found it easier to use than Xtrkcad, but still a pain the a** until you get the hang of it. I then made an add on version with an idea of what I want. I am looking for some opinions, and insight, and please don't hold back. Lay it on the line. I am also looking for some ideas, and please manipulate my drawing to give me some ideas. I am in no way attached to this add on idea, it was just an idea of what I am looking for.

    Even though my current layout has some issues, I would like to retain as much of the main line as possible as you can see in the drawings. I plan on scrapping the entire yard and doing a few industrial spurs in the area. Keep that area simple. Or expand my container yard. I don't see anywhere that I can post the RTS files, but if you are interested in helping me and making some changes to it, I will e-mail the files to you. Also I am not set in stone of the placement of the expansion, I just figured it was a good spot. I have some flexibility in the placement of the layout in my garage, therefore the placement of the add on can move also. But I really want to make it an L or possibly even a U shape. The only other thing I would like to do, and not sure how to do it, is make the 2 sections separable if the need arises in the future. Nothing worse then having to chain saw your layout in half to move it.

    Well if you made it this far thank you for reading my late night rambles. I can't sleep anyway, my mind is in constant track planning mode.

    David Scott

    P.S. I am already convinced to go DCC and have my Digitrax starter set picked out. So I don't need to worry about blocks and stuff, I think.

    Attached Files:

  2. trainnut65

    trainnut65 Member

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2006
    Messages:
    176
    Likes Received:
    0
    Hello Mrplow123 And welcome. Looks like you have everything in order. Just keep us up todate as you work on the layout. I dont see anthing wrong with the layout plains. I always say it is your layout and you have to look at it everyday so if you like it then it is find with me. And if you are going to run it on DCC then Digitrax is the way to go.
  3. wickman

    wickman Member

    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2005
    Messages:
    572
    Likes Received:
    0
    Looks like you have a good and busy plan there you got some continuous run as well as opportunity for operation sessions. What kinda digitrax you going with?
    Can't sleep thinking about model railroading errrrrr sounds like you have same illness as me :wave:
  4. Mrplow123

    Mrplow123 Member

    Joined:
    Jul 15, 2006
    Messages:
    55
    Likes Received:
    0
    Thanks for the good words about the track plan. But I already made another version with the add on at 3x8 and a way bigger double ended yard. Not sure which one I will go with yet. Now you can have a look at the real thing. I posted some pics of the layout in the members section of the Gallery. Take a look and tell me what you think. You will see what I mean about the mountain being too big. I am contemplating cutting the top half off of it and making it half the height. And as far as what Digitrax setup, I am trying to decide between the Zephyr, or the Empire builder set. I like the Empire because it comes with a handheld throttle. But I like the Zephyr because it has a stationary console, and the ability to add handheld throttles. Do you guys have a suggestion? Plus the Zephyr is cheaper by it's self, but Loy's Toys has a set that includes the Zephyr and a UT4 throttle for less then the price of the Empire set, and I can still have a stationary console. So I think that is the set I will go with unless someone can give me a few better reasons to go with the Empire set. Lastly, I don't think I will need more then 2 amps of juice for quite a while, and if the time comes I will add a booster. If my thinking is incorrect please slap me. Well I look forward to your comments on my layout pics. Now it is time to go run some trains.
  5. Mrplow123

    Mrplow123 Member

    Joined:
    Jul 15, 2006
    Messages:
    55
    Likes Received:
    0
    Well I got tired of doing drawings and decided it was time to do some hands on work. I took a quick inventory of track, and made a run to the hobby store today. I picked up a few items, mainly flex track, roadbed and a few turnouts, and headed home. Got home and proceeded to tear up my entire so called "yard" except the area that is embedded in the pavement. I have decided to build a working container yard in that area complete with a dock and at least half a container ship. I then spent the next few hours laying out templates(after cutting them out) and pieces of track and finally came up with a good functional switch yard. I finally got to use the Atlas templates I bought back in 94-95, they hadn't even been opened. I did a true yard ladder and it looks pretty good. Plus it is functional now. I made sure none of the turns are less than an 11" radius so I can run my articulated container cars through there with out problems. I will try to post some pics tomorrow night after I get some of the roadbed and track nailed down.
  6. Mrplow123

    Mrplow123 Member

    Joined:
    Jul 15, 2006
    Messages:
    55
    Likes Received:
    0
    Updated Yard

    Well I laid half the track tonight for the new yard, and I laid out the templates to see how the rest will work. I am really happy with the way it is turning out. I took a few pics to show the progress, it isn't much but it is alot to me. First time I have laid track in over 10 years so it was fun for me. In the pics you can see the track taht is nailed down and the rest are either just laying there to show where they will go, and the white stuff are the Atlas templates I decided to try. I like using them, makes getting your radius's correct pretty easy. So any where here is my new container yard, let me know what you think. I should have the rest of it done tomorrow night and i will take pics then too.

    Attached Files:

  7. wickman

    wickman Member

    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2005
    Messages:
    572
    Likes Received:
    0
    Looks good just be careful you don't lay track to close to the edges :wave: Thumb tacks are real handy tools aren't they?:wave:
  8. TruckLover

    TruckLover Mack CH613 & 53' Trailer

    Joined:
    Apr 15, 2006
    Messages:
    4,352
    Likes Received:
    0
    That looks like a great track plan, it should keep you busy.

    Great start :thumb: :thumb:
  9. Mrplow123

    Mrplow123 Member

    Joined:
    Jul 15, 2006
    Messages:
    55
    Likes Received:
    0
    I know what you mean about not having track too close to the edge. But when I did that paved area long long ago, I was short on space and didn't know any better. But the good news is, I am adding a 2'x2' section parallel to the paved area to expand the loading and unloading area. And I want to put a container ship there also, well at least half or a quarter of one. I am thinking of either cutting a container ship in half down the middle and putting it against a back drop. Or just using one quarter section of it, to simulate a ship. Not sure what I will do, but that track wont be right on the edge of the table for long. And at the other end of the yard next to the mountain, that section of track at the end of the ladder is a bit short. I am going to temporarly add a 6"x1.5' section to the board to extend it untill I can build the add on. And yes those thumb tacks work great, my girlfriend and daughter are not too happy since I raided their bullitin boards.
  10. Mrplow123

    Mrplow123 Member

    Joined:
    Jul 15, 2006
    Messages:
    55
    Likes Received:
    0
    Thank you for the words of encouragement. I will take pics tonight once I finnish the yard and clean all the crap, I mean building materials off the tablesign1 .
  11. wickman

    wickman Member

    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2005
    Messages:
    572
    Likes Received:
    0
    Thats what I like about this hobby its so easy to compensate ie adding a few inches of benchwork :wave:
  12. Mrplow123

    Mrplow123 Member

    Joined:
    Jul 15, 2006
    Messages:
    55
    Likes Received:
    0
    Yard is complete, well the track is done anyway

    So I got it done. Atlast I have a working ladder yard. And The track is so smooth, everything I have runs perfect on it. I made sure the turns that go into the loading and unloading area were no less then 11" radius, so my Walthers articulated container cars would make it through there. And yes, in the pics, the run around track closest to the edge of the table is not straight for a reason. I had to do that to maintain the 11" radius at the end and still make it meet up with the turnout. And you can see in one of the pics where the track just runs off the table, that is where I am going to put the 1.5 foot extension for now. Later that will part of the new bench work. Let me know what you guys think, because that is why most of us do this, so we can say "look what I did" and get comments on it.sign1 And I can fit quite a few cars in there, so I am happy. And I chose to put the rerailers in to make things easier when putting new rolling stock on.

    Attached Files:

  13. Mrplow123

    Mrplow123 Member

    Joined:
    Jul 15, 2006
    Messages:
    55
    Likes Received:
    0
    A few more

    Attached Files: