Which space should I pick?

Discussion in 'Track Planning' started by spitfire, Dec 10, 2002.

  1. spitfire

    spitfire Active Member

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    Hi all

    I have been thinking about a working layout and have a pretty big basement space to work with. It's L-shaped and could be configured one of 2 ways. There's already lots of dexion wall shelving crammed with stuff and a tool bench that would have to be accommodated.

    What I want to be able to do is run a continuous train, a smaller continuous trolley loop (that's completely separate from the train tracks), plus have a switching/staging area at one end or perhaps both ends. I have lots of room for big radius curves. I plan to have a view block separating one side of the layout from the other so that one side is a city, and the other is the country. There would be passenger as well as freight.

    So, which configuration do you folks think is the best?

    Thanks in advance!
    :D Val

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  2. jon-monon

    jon-monon Active Member

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    The longer one gives you plenty of room for a dog bone and you can put a trolly loop between the ends of the bone or inside an end loop. This allows you to operate without duckunders and not cover doors.

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  3. jkristia

    jkristia Member

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    If it was me, I would probably do something like this. This of course only works for N scale.

    Jesper

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  4. spitfire

    spitfire Active Member

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    Oops! Forgot to mention this would be HO scale. Also, the doors shown are already in place - cinder block walls, so they can't be moved. And one other thing - that "wall" to the far right is not a wall - it's the end of available space as further right is the furnace. Should've put that in the plan.

    Jon, the doggie bone is something I've been considering. I also like the option of having a really long run like that.

    cheers
    :D Val
  5. rockislandmike

    rockislandmike Active Member

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    I'd go option B. Gives you a nice long straightaway for a mainline. You'd even have room for a small peninsula, perhaps a town (i.e., 2' wide along most of the wall, with the town jutting out to 5'8" or so, still leaving 3' room to get by).
  6. jkristia

    jkristia Member

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    OK, so my plan is out of the question, but I would still go with B for same reason as already mentioned, it gives you a long mainline

    Jesper
  7. billk

    billk Active Member

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    I'd go with the straight'n'narrow Plan B, too. Unless you wanted to remove just one or two cinder blocks, then how 'bout Plan A+B.
  8. kettlestack

    kettlestack Member

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    Val, two things come to mind from your drawings and thoughts on what you want.......

    1) Fixtures like the electrical services, should be easily (and quickly) accessible at all times.

    2) Using your dining table as a guide, place a few models you expect to have in the foreground and check how far you can reach over them without taking extreme care not to damage the models. Some books advise 18" as a max depth. Oh course Shamus can make a pop-up section for you should you wish to have a deeper layout :) :D

    I would be empted to go for option "A" and only use a portion of the shaded area. One can always plan for extentions.

    BTW ... If you can buy, borrow, beg or steal a copy of Kalmbach book "Model Railroading in Small Places" you will find a lovely do-it-yourself township/streetcar layout in a space of 3 feet by 27 inches. It might help further your ideas.

    Errol
  9. marty w.

    marty w. Member

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    Val,
    I like plan "B" also.
    Errol correct in accessablity issues.
    Another must have book is "Track Planning for Realistic Operation" by John Armstrong, published by Kalmbach Books.
    Marty
  10. spitfire

    spitfire Active Member

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    I like the idea of a long mainline through the countryside. There's going to be a tunnel and a steep gorge, with the opportunity to make a trestle bridge. The hardest part is finding room to have the dang trains turn around.

    I decided that although it's going to be harder to build, the electrical service panel needs 4' of room, accessible through the storage room, not the train room. I also think there needs to be at least a partial wall separating the trains from the furnace area.

    Anyway, here's what I have so far. Still haven't figured out the switching area yet.

    cheers
    :D Val

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  11. davidstrains

    davidstrains Active Member

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    Val,

    Your plan looks good. You could run a switching leg down the wall toward the door from the curve on the left. Make it as long as you like and maybe 18-24" deep depending on how wide you want your aisle to be. You could get a lot of switching in there.
  12. Bill Stone

    Bill Stone Member

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    Hi Val,

    Were it me, I'd choose the long, skinny space --- no question.

    But I would make it an around-the-walls layout. Even if you wind up with a duck-under, in my experience that is far less a problem than trying to reach across a 4' or wider bench that's up against a wall--- a situation that a dogbone will create at each end. (Okay, there can be access hatches, but to get to them you need duckunders anyway.....)

    Bill S
  13. Vic

    Vic Active Member

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    Hi Val, I like "B" too:) ...long runs and long trains:) ...I often "have to go to plan "B" myself:D :D

    I have one concern though. On the left side of your drawing you show a 4x8 aera....will this be against a wall?.....or can you get to it from two sides (front and back)? If its against a wall you will not be able to reach across it while standing on the floor unless you are 8 feet tall!:eek: :D Normal human reach is about 50% of height give or take a few inches. I have a place on my layout that is 48 inches wide and against a wall and boy is it a pain to get too. Ended up having to make a step-stool to stand on when working in that aera and I'm constantly "wacking" my head on the light fixtures:eek: plus I don't bend so good either!!!:D :D :D

    If it is against the wall try to work it out so you can leave 16-18 inches between the backside of the layout and the wall....you'll never regret it!!!:) :D :D

    Understand about the other end and the 4X8 aera there... looks like you'll be able to get to that OK.

    You might want to get some 1inch=12inch graph paper and draw out your benchwork plan. Even in this day of our high powered computers sometimes nothing beats a good 'ol pencil and paper. Now....let me see if I can remember how to use a pencil!! LOL!

    If I missed something in your drawing let me know....I'll go stand on my step-stool and "whack" my head on a light fixture!!!!!!!
  14. spitfire

    spitfire Active Member

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    Vic, you've given me an idea. Since those stud walls aren't there yet, what if I made them only as high as I wanted the back drop to be? Then I could build a slightly raised platform on the other side, so that I could reach over from there. I hauled out my tape measure and marked off 4x8 on the floor and man, it's huge! I'm beginning to think this is all too complicated. If I weren't so concerned about having the trains able to run continuously as well as switching it would be so much easier... or if I switched to N-scale (slap me, somebody!)
    I'm trying to have a 22" radius curve minimum, as I've read this is crucial to smooth running, but then since you have to be able to get to the backside of the layout it seems more like a Catch 22 to me.
    Maybe I should add another view block/backdrop running right down the long axis of the 4x8 section, and use the hidden side for staging. Hmmm, too many possibilities.

    cheers
    :eek: Val
  15. Vic

    Vic Active Member

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    Hi Val, That sounds like a plan to me. Just keep in mind that you don't want have to reach over anything other than just a bit higher than your waist...that way you can get maximum reach...in other words don't make that section of backdrop too high or you'll be in the same "pickelment" as before.

    Please don't get discouraged...while it may seem complicated now I "gar-ran-tee" that it will all get together and you'll be amazed at what you've done. :) Once that "pesky" benchwork gets done the rest is "gravy":D

    BTW...Don't forget about the layout base height (the lowest point of the benchwork)......40 inches is a good height...puts the trains at a comfortable level for viewing and gives you plenty of room to get underneath it to do wiring.

    If you can pick up a copy of the Kalambach book on building layout bench work...I like the "L" Girder construction. Once you get the hang of it, it literally falls together.
  16. spitfire

    spitfire Active Member

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    Vic, you've given me an idea. Since those stud walls aren't there yet, what if I made them only as high as I wanted the back drop to be? Then I could build a slightly raised platform on the other side, so that I could reach over from there. I hauled out my tape measure and marked off 4x8 on the floor and man, it's huge! I'm beginning to think this is all too complicated. If I weren't so concerned about having the trains able to run continuously as well as switching it would be so much easier... or if I switched to N-scale (slap me, somebody!)
    I'm trying to have a 22" radius curve minimum, as I've read this is crucial to smooth running, but then since you have to be able to get to the backside of the layout it seems more like a Catch 22 to me.
    Maybe I should add another view block/backdrop running right down the long axis of the 4x8 section, and use the hidden side for staging. Hmmm, too many possibilities.

    cheers
    :eek: Val
  17. rich maiorano

    rich maiorano Member

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    val I would forget about that stud wall and make that end of the layout 4 to 6 foot longer with scene down the middle that way you could work both sides:D :D :D rich
  18. Gary Pfeil

    Gary Pfeil Active Member

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    Val, My best suggestion would be to not hurry. The space you show has a lot of different possibilities which you simply cannot make your "best" choice between without considering a LOT of factors. You see how many options have been mentioned already? The worst thing you can do is rush into it, I guarentee you will wind up being unhappy and starting over. Now, an argument can be made for learning this way, but proper planning will speed up that education! The location of doors, electric panel and furnace access do chop up the space. However, this presents a myriad of solutions, which all need to be checked out. While benchwork shape needs to be decided first, before settling on one you should prepare a detailed trackplan, and run trains on it in your head. No, you don't need a scale plan to do so. I typically draw the space to scale (I like 3/4"=1") and make many copies. Then start with turnback curves of desired radius, then fill in. It helps to know what operations you wish to perform. You obvoiusly have an artists eye, so composition should present no problem.

    I believe it was Bill Stone who mentioned an around the wall design, I agree, that's where I would start. One of the doors can be closed off, I would close off the one on the 18x12 section, leaving the door near the furnace open. A swing or removable section would be preferable to a duckunder here. Same for the area in front of the furnace. Unless you could snake a track behind the furnace. It needn't be scenicked, have its leads go into tunnels of some sort. This eliminates a lift out section. If the electric panel is high enough, build a narrow section under it. However, I would build high and have another removable section here. By building high you can have your workbench and storage beneath. Most of the layout would be between 30" and say 12" deep. The trolley area would best be equipped with a popup access hole. BTW, I would go around the entire L shaped area if you go ahead and build high enough to store and build beneath. High layouts appear more realistic IMHO.

    Gary
  19. spitfire

    spitfire Active Member

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    Gary, thank-you. Your advice about not hurrying is very apt. I do think that there is a lot I need to learn in order to plan a layout of that size. I think that although the space is available for a fairly large layout, it may be biting off more than I can chew to start my first real layout with such a grandiose scheme.

    I am a bit reluctant to go anywhere near the furnace with track - too dusty. Also, careless furnace guys. And the idea of long tunnels worries me. What if there's a derailment inside the tunnel. "Hey! Why isn't the train coming out?" I can hear myself now!

    To clarify a bit about the space, I will not be able to use the whole L-shaped section, since there needs to be an area for the shelves that are already in use. The workbench I'm talking about is where I have my miter saw etc and although it's a great idea to build high and store stuff under the layout, I would not want to stick my workbench there. My RR workbench and modelling area is in an adjacent, finsihed area of the basement.

    Here's a couple shots to give an idea of the current state of the space. It's filled with 30 years worth of stuff.

    cheers

    :eek: Val

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  20. spitfire

    spitfire Active Member

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    The shot in the previous post is looking north at the smaller wing of the L.
    This next shot is standing in line with the service panel looking south down the long wing.

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