Starting Over Decisions

Discussion in 'Track Planning' started by Bob Collins, Nov 25, 2004.

  1. Bob Collins

    Bob Collins Active Member

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    Greeting from the empty space where my HO railroading empire is supposed to be sitting, but until I make some decisions that ain't ta guna happen. I could use some help.

    I have pretty much in mind how I'm going to do my bench work, it is now a matter of coming up with my materials list and heading off to the local lumber yard. I'll again use oxboard and 1" blue insulation board as both were quite satisfactory on my previous layout.

    It is the next step where I'd like some input please. Last time I used cork and Atlas flex track which seems to work just fine, but I am open to any other possibilities. All the new possibilities on the market make me wonder if I should try something else this time. I bought what I think were cheap Atlas turnouts and I'd like to improve there. Suggestions are most welcome.

    My space is much more limited this time, so I am having to be creative to get a couple of 28" radius curves into the plan, but I think I can do that an use transition curves as Shamus taught me to do several years ago and was excellent advise.

    Right now I am planning to build a flat layout, having spent a small fortune on Woodland Scenic risers for my previous layout. They work great, but I don't have the room this time to be quite as creative as when I built a 10' X 22' layout at our previous home.

    Anyway, I am really open to most any suggestions anyone would like to offer. I have made no decisions about landscaping yet, but again, am certainly open to ideas.

    Thanks

    Bob
  2. kchronister

    kchronister Member

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    Bob - Not sure of your investment in HO or situation, but if I were facing a do-over, I'd definitely consider going to N this time. My modest space (12x14) layout is rather cramped in HO and has many compromises (i.e. lower radius than I'd like, steeper grades than I'd like)... I've spent many days wondering if I 'shoulda' done N-scale.
  3. Bob Collins

    Bob Collins Active Member

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    I have thought that N scale would probably fit into the space I have better, but I have a ton of money invested in HO rolling stock, power and buildings, so I'll make it fit. I have a workable layout drawn out, but before I started I wondered what others, like yourself, thought about some of the new options for track, roadbed, etc. versus the tried and true cork and flextrack. I think there are at least 3, maybe 4 manufacturers of track/roadbed, like Kato, Atlas, etc. Are they easier? better results? than doing it the old fashioned way? How about cost comparisions. The newer stuff looks to me to be pricey??

    Bob
  4. Gary Pfeil

    Gary Pfeil Active Member

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    Hi Bob, long time. I haven't used any of the new track with roadbed either but don't see how they could be an improvement over Atlas flextrack, other than the roadbed being included. And it seems you pay a hefty price for that, tho I haven't really checked for best prices. And, I would think you salvaged a lot of track from the last layout, no? I'd stick with it. Regarding the Woodland Scenics risers, I've always been surprised how popular it is, it is as you pointed out very expensive and it is so easy to just build subroadbed and risers from wood. I wish I had thought of that product, the materials is cheap and their profit must be huge. I would have never believed it would sell! Anyway, best of luck with your new layout!

    Gary
  5. kchronister

    kchronister Member

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    I wouldn't use any of the "pre-roadbedded" stuff out there. It's all sectional and you're going to face the same problems (many more connections) and limits (fixed radius and length) as with old-fashioned sectional. I think it's still flex-and-roadbed. I still use cork myself, haven't heard a blessed thing about the newer foam-like roadbeds.
  6. Gary Pfeil

    Gary Pfeil Active Member

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    I was wondering whether or not the track systems with roadbed had any flex track. I was going to mention that potential drawback but wasn't sure it wasn't available. Why do so many people like it? It doesn't look that great. Are there that many people who run their trains on carpet?

    Gary
  7. Bob Collins

    Bob Collins Active Member

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    Gary;

    My only response is that I think folks who set up for kids or at not interested in the level of detail you might want to achieve use it because it is quick. I agree that the grey color is not very appealing, but I guess you can cover that with ballast. I think the point that kchronister made is very valid, that about the number of jointers needed.

    I think I'll need to do some research on turnouts and I'll be pretty well set. As I mentioned before, I used some Altas turnouts and I guess they will work fine. What I really need to do is be more care about using # 6s on the mainline and the #4 in the yards. I sort of mixed and matched last time and it caused a few minor problems. I will be much more aware of which I use in the future :thumb:

    Bob
  8. Gary Pfeil

    Gary Pfeil Active Member

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    Bob, when I don't handlay, which I realize isn't something you want to do, I use Walthers/Shinohara turnouts and they work well. I have a few of the newer Atlas turnouts as well and have no problems with them. Yes, stick with #6 as much as posible, even in yards. #4 are good for industrial sidings.

    Gary
  9. Bob Collins

    Bob Collins Active Member

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    Thanks Gary. I'll definitely check out the Walthers/Shinohora turnouts. One of the great things about our move it that I have a hobby shop within about 20 minutes instead of having to drive 100 miles into St. Louis to do my business :) It makes it so much easier. :thumb:

    Bob
  10. kchronister

    kchronister Member

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    Bob - I don't know if you're doing DCC or DC, but IF you are doing DCC make sure you check out the DCC "friendliness" of any turnouts you buy. I know all Atlas turnouts are ready for DCC (i.e. they have unpowered frogs). Some other brands require modification (I'm not sure about which do/don't). If you're DC I -believe- the situation is reversed - the "dead" frogs on Atlas can cause stalls and you're better off with powered frogs.
  11. Bob Collins

    Bob Collins Active Member

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    As Gary knows I bought a nice DCC several years ago (Digitrax Super Chief) and plan to use it again. Gary. My new layout plan has NO reverse loops on it, although I am toying with the idea of putting in a wye. I still have my boards I bought from Tony's Trains so am all set in that department.

    I have weekend trip next weekend to see a couple of grand daughters and I think after that I am sufficiently motivated to get started with my new benchwork. As soon as I get that in place it will gopretty quickly for me as I'll have plenty of time to work on it when I'm not shoveling snow :eek: :eek:

    I am still planning to make my big purchase for this layout one of Walther's new indexed turntables and make it a centerpiece of the layout :thumb:

    Bob
  12. Tileguy

    Tileguy Member

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    Think futuristic,Think Hovertrains and forget the track :D
    OK all kidding aside.If you do go atlas, go customline turnouts rather than standards.set up for undermount and facia mount or use caboose industry throws.Careful consideration of track seperation for placement of ground throws is very important.For operation oriented layouts without a dispatcher TT&TO type operations,ground throws add a nice touch of realism as you must stop the train,,handswitch,and then startup again.
    For dispatching type layouts, Automatic switch machines would be very nice :)
  13. ak-milw

    ak-milw New Member

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    Bob, I'm a cork roadbed and Atlas flex track man myself, never had problems with them so I can't see changing! I also use the Atlas customline turnouts, never had a problem with them either. The Walthers turnouts are real nice looking and now even dcc friendly. Only thing with them and also Peco is that the tie spacing is not American standard. So if you mix the Walthers turnouts and the Atlas flex track it looks really weird.:cool:
  14. Bob Collins

    Bob Collins Active Member

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    Thanks Andy. You just confirmed what I have already decided. Using cork and flex track are in my comfort zone. I'll want to use turnouts that are DCC friendly so will take your advise.

    How is that turntable working? I'm most likely going to buy one of the new Walther ones that hit the market next month. Not absolutely certain, but leaning in that direction.

    Bob
  15. gcodori

    gcodori Member

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    If anyone has the issues available, Model Railroader had several track planning contests several years ago. The first one they did was for a 9x8 room in HO as the requirements. The winning plan was great, and many people could benefit from these plans if anyone had them available to scan. I have most of them, but since they were from the late 80's-early 90's, I'd have to dig them up.

    This contest was great because many people have a spare room about 8x9 feet. If anyone is interested, I'd scan the winning plan (unless the copyright police come after me).

    GregC
  16. Bob Collins

    Bob Collins Active Member

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    Greg;

    I would be very interested indeed! Thanks for the offer.

    Bob
  17. kchronister

    kchronister Member

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    I'd definitely be interested too, Greg. I happen to have '90 and '91 MRs, so if it's in those, just point me at 'em and I'll help with the scanning.
  18. gcodori

    gcodori Member

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    OK, looked at the planning contest. Sorry about the dates, but it was in 1983, not 93. Boy that dates me. I have scanned the pages (4) and will post them to my web site for viewing (too big to email).

    This contest has some interesting ideas, many of them have been later republished in layout design books by Kalmbach. One is an HO/HOn30 mining layout, one features NYC street running in a urban setting (and the brooklyn bridge) and one even features a hopper dump that actually dumps birdseed into a birds feeder (honorable mention). I've only copied the winning plan, but I can do the others as well. I just don't want to run afoul of any copyrights...

    I will let everyone know when it is up.
  19. Bob Collins

    Bob Collins Active Member

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    Thanks very much Greg. It's best I look at everything I can before I get started or I'll most likely kick myself later!!

    Bob
  20. gcodori

    gcodori Member

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    I have the images scanned and online. I can either -
    post them to this message board
    or
    give the address where they can be downloaded.

    It is 4 pages - 2 pages have building drawings, and 1 page is the plan and 1 page is the intro.

    I think it would be better if everyone downloaded them from the site, as I'm concerned of violating any copyrights by posting entire pages of MRR here. Any thoughts?

    GregC