Scenic Ridge Layout- Still Can't Decide

Discussion in 'N / Z Scale Model Trains' started by Cannonball, May 10, 2007.

  1. Cannonball

    Cannonball More Trains Than Brains

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    I am leaning more and more towards the Scenic Ridge layout.
    Mostly because my own trackplans look like poo.

    Also, the cost of building the Scenic Ridge would be considerably less than doing one of my own layouts. There is almost $100 difference in the cost of the track alone.

    We can also add the fact that I know nothing about building an actual scenic'd layout with tunnels, bridges and stuff. The WS kit seems pretty well step by step. (Don't forget, I'm a converted O gauger. My previous motto was, "throw down some track and drive those trains!" )


    There are two things holding me back from making a definate call on this.

    1) 9-3/4 curves. How limited will this really make my layout? I have long passenger car set and they make it around 9-3/4 turns just fine. It might not look pretty but they have no trouble with it. Is 9-3/4" really as much of a hazzard as everyone says?

    2) Woodland Scenics uses a 4% grade on this layout. That's going to seriously limit the number of cars I can pull at one time.

    From what I've read across the internet, people who have built them seem fairly satisfied with them. However, I just can't seem to get past a definate "maybe."
  2. mistressmotorsp

    mistressmotorsp Member

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    One thing you could consider is to use the Scenic Ridge kit, but to modify it to get rid of the parts you don't like. I did just that (still doing, actually). Mostly, I modified the track plan to use 2 and 3% grades and 11 inch curves. I added an engine service facility where the town is on the Scenic Ridge, as well as a second mainline running around the whole layout. Best of luck with whatever you decide.

    Mike
  3. Cannonball

    Cannonball More Trains Than Brains

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    Do you have a track plan of how you modified it to lose the 9-3/4" curves?

    I read a post by someone over on nscale.org that had modified their grades down to 3% as well, but I would have no idea how to go about it without seriously messing up the clearences on the bridge and overpass.
  4. umtrr-author

    umtrr-author Member

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    You might want to look at this:

    N-Scale Model Railroad #2

    Mark ("Spookshow") has built the Scenic Ridge and has a play by play description with the pluses and minuses...
  5. nolatron

    nolatron Member

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    I added a 2nd loop around the whole layout on mine. Was able to run some 6-axle engines with double stack cars on it.

    I was able to pull 4 Kato Amtrak passenger cars with a P42 as well, no problem with the curves. It did slow up on the inclines, but it never had problems making it over.

    Here's my photo gallery of the layout, and my progress thread here at the gauge. I moved when I was about halfway done and started on the "big" layout". So it's still sitting in the garage waiting to go to a new home.

    Scenic Ridge

    http://forum.zealot.com/t110784/?highlight=nolatron

    If you have any questions, lemme know.
  6. Cannonball

    Cannonball More Trains Than Brains

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    I have that page bookmarked.
    He didn't do much in the way of modification other than removing one 5/8" piece of track however.

    My main concern is dealing with the 9-/34" curves and the 4% gradients and I'm trying to figure out how to work them out of the track plan.

    I think I can eliminate the 4% grade by throwing out the 4% foam gradients WS includes in the kits and getting some 3% gradients and extra 1/2" risers.

    I may just live with the 9-3/4" curves. As I said, my rolling stock all handles them OK so I don't forsee them being too big of a problem.
  7. Cannonball

    Cannonball More Trains Than Brains

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    Thanks for sharing those! :thumb:
    I may refer back to them if I definately decide to do this thing.

    Did you build that benchwork it's on?
    I almost thought you had used an old table at first cause it looks so polished.

    Heck... If you were closer, I'd take that one off your hands. :D
  8. nolatron

    nolatron Member

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    Yup built it up myself and used some black glossy paint I found in the garage of the house we were renting at the time.

    The layout plan is a 3x6 layout. If you simply stretch the default plan about 3-4" in each direction, you widen the plan a little to get more broader curves and a lower grade %. Basically turn it into a 4x7 plan.
  9. Cannonball

    Cannonball More Trains Than Brains

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    Eh, a 4x7 is definately out. :(

    I'm getting rid of a 4x8 table and going to 3x6 so my wife can reclaim some space in the living room. (And so I don't have to worry about my 4 year old daughter running headlong into it! ;) )
  10. YmeBP

    YmeBP Member

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    Have you considered the wall attached fold away's? The steel hinges that attach to the wall are prolly 30 bux or so and you can just use regular door hinges for the legs on the other side of the table. You can paint or decorate the underside.. or if you are enterprising you can setup diorama's that can withstand being lowered on the underside of the table so when you fold it up you have a diorama shelf instead of 2x4's and wiring :).
  11. Cannonball

    Cannonball More Trains Than Brains

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    That would be cool but I don't have a wall without a window or picture on it to create such a thing. Actually, the family pictures are more in the way than the windows. I don't care about covering windows but there is no way my wife is going to let me take down our pictures. ;)
  12. mistressmotorsp

    mistressmotorsp Member

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    Finally got home. Here is the trackplan I used with my Scenic Ridge kit. MIKES2

    You can see it's quite a bit modified and is almost closer to one from Mike's small trackplans website

    That site is:
    Mike's Small Trackplans Page

    Look at the 5th one down in the door layouts section to see where I got the general layout from.

    Mike
  13. Cannonball

    Cannonball More Trains Than Brains

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    I've been spending a lot of time on Mike's page.
    I've been trying to do the 6th doorway layout in this thread: http://forum.zealot.com/t117664/

    Mine isn't coming out nearly as smooth as yours though.
    How much did you spend altogether for your track?

    That's another thing about this that has me perplexed.

    The track pack for Scenic Ridge can be bought for $45-60 bucks.
    Atlas has a similar track plan that they also sell and it's over $200.
    I don't get their logic at all.
  14. Cannonball

    Cannonball More Trains Than Brains

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    Will This Work??

    I've been messing with the track layout. I managed to get this folded dogbone worked up and it doesn't stray too far from the scenic ridge layout. I even managed to make all 11" curves. I'm just not sure I'm going to be able to put tunnels where the track runs under it's self on those curves. Do I need strait areas to do overpasses?

    Attached Files:

  15. mistressmotorsp

    mistressmotorsp Member

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    I already had a basic inner and outer Unitrak oval and a pair of turnouts. I think I spent about $350 or so on the rest at Fifer Hobby, which included a whole bunch of turnouts, 5 bridges, spare powered and insulated Unijoiners, and some spare track in case I wanted to make changes. Definitely not cheap, but, this being my first N scale layout, and first layout at all since the 1970's, I wanted to go with something I could trust, rebuild, modify, etc. In fact, I did modify the engine facilities a bit since XtrakCad does't deal with Kato #4 switches correctly, but I had plenty of track to make the change. Other than accounting for the two #4 switches in the engine facility, the rest of the layout went together perfectly. I've got the mountains formed, track sitting in place (not glued yet,) and I'm now working on a river that cuts through the middle of the layout. Everything is still plaster cloth white at this point.

    Mike
  16. mistressmotorsp

    mistressmotorsp Member

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    I should have mentioned that the Unitrak I used is probably the most expensive way to go. Doing what I did with Atlas would be something like half as much, give or take a bit. The Atlas scenic Ridge track packs can be had on ebay for about $60 or so.

    You don't need your overpasses to be straight, but it is easier to find straight bridges. You could always modify one, build your own, or find a curved one. I love the way curved bridges look, but I didn't put any on my layout.

    Mike
  17. Cannonball

    Cannonball More Trains Than Brains

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    Well, it's not going to have any bridges.
    It's going to be solid land mass with tunnels under it. That's why I'm wondering if I can make curved overpasses from the foam and also wonder how the portals would fit.
  18. mistressmotorsp

    mistressmotorsp Member

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    Absolutely, you can make the overpasses any shape you want. Mine are curved. You just trace the shape you want on the foam and cut it the same as you normally would. You can use a knife or small sawblade (messy) or you can use a hot wire cutter (not messy.) I found a battery powered hot wire foam cutter brand new on ebay for $15. Made this job a breeze, and no little white dots to vacuum up. Before I had that, the shop vac got quite a workout.

    The portals will fit however you want them to. You don't need to put them where the Scenic Ridge trackplan tells you to. You can move them anywhere, then just build your mountain to match. The mountain gets made from crumpled up newspaper with plaster cloth over it, so the shape is up to you.

    Mike
  19. Cannonball

    Cannonball More Trains Than Brains

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    Sweet.
    This is sounding better and better.

    Although, if I'm going to alter it this much, I wonder if I would be better off getting the scenic ridge kit or just building from scratch?
  20. Hoghead

    Hoghead Member

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    Now that is a nice looking version of the Scenic Ridge layout!