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Old 01-14-2020, 11:52 AM   #1
dialed in
Gang Labourer
Join Date: Jan 2017
Location: Ontario
Posts: 59
Help putting together a track plan

Would somebody be interested in helping me put together a track plan if i posted a shot of the space i have available to work with? I'm very content working away with something in scarm but i find i tend to get a bit carried away in my designs or i'm constantly rethinking things if i see something else i like.

Anyone else have this problem? Redesigning things 100x before you even get anything laid down
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Old 01-14-2020, 12:02 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by dialed in View Post

Anyone else have this problem? Redesigning things 100x before you even get anything laid down
That's rhetorical, right?
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Old 01-14-2020, 12:26 PM   #3
dialed in
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yes and no
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Old 01-14-2020, 01:04 PM   #4
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Location: Southern Illinois
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Scales Modeled: HO
There comes a point when you have to put down the pencil and pick up a drill and a saw otherwise you will never build anything.

I think the underlying cause is fear of making a mistake and is a form of procrastination to keep yourself from actually building a railroad.

You will make mistakes. There will be unexpected difficulties, changes on the fly, additions, and deletions during your build.

There are no schools that teach model railroading so get to work.
Deutsche-Bahn Eisenbahn modeling Oberbayern, western Austria, and northern Switzerland.
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Old 01-14-2020, 01:09 PM   #5
Join Date: Jan 2018
Location: Atco, NJ....near the race track
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Originally Posted by dialed in View Post
... Redesigning things 100x before you even get anything laid down
I've told you a million times to stop exaggerating.
Electrical Engineer: Retired
Former SEPTA Regional Rail Division electrician
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Old 01-14-2020, 03:24 PM   #6
Train Master
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: Jacksonville, Fl
Posts: 8,258
There are two main factors that you should have
in mind when you sit down to design a model
train layout.

1. Space available and it's shape; that is, rectangle,
'L', U, or 'dogbone' which is a fat loop at each end of
a more 'slender' main line.

2. What you hope to do when operating your layout.
Continuous running where you sit back and just
watch your trains navigate tunnels, bridges and
yards. Some really like the relaxing sound of
the cars 'ticking' over joints and turnouts.

Switching where you move cars from trains to yards
to freight users and back to trains. A creatively
designed yard with industry spurs can afford hours
of challenging switching maneuvers.

A combination of the two choices above. This is
the optimal for many modellers.

I would start with a single track main line that has
a number of passing sidings but is designed for
continuous running. Then add a yard to store your
cars and service your locos. One by one, add a spur
to serve a freight user, then add another, and
another. You can't have too many. Think of small
users, warehouses, oil distributors, building materials
dealer (think Home Depot) with rock, sand and gravel

Give this a try on paper and see what you come up
with. Let us all see it so we can comment and make

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Old 01-14-2020, 07:30 PM   #7
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Location: East Haddam, CT
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The problem here is that no one else can do for you what you can't do for yourself. If you have no idea what you want in your layout, then no one else is going to be able to figure it out, either.

Don is right, though. What you really need to do is put down the mouse and open a Word document (or Excel, or even pencil and paper) and make a list of what you want to do with your layout and things you would like to have on it.

I'm assuming that you have no preference with regard to which era or location you 're going to model. Deciding on one of these (especially the location) can make some ideas fall into place.

I do disagree with Don on one aspect: I think you absolutely CAN have too much track or too many sidings. If you want anything like realism, just cramming as much track as you can into your layout space isn't a path to success.

So figure out what you want to do on your layout, and some of the elements you want to include, and we can help you pull it together. But we can't decide what you want.
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"We don't stop playing because we grow old. We grow old because we stop playing." --George Bernard Shaw
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Old 01-14-2020, 11:57 PM   #8
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Scales Modeled: N, HO, On30
Here's where having some track and switches would come in nice. You can set up different scenarios without permanently attaching the track to anything. Then for each scenario you can play with a train. You will be able to get a good idea of what you enjoy, watching, switching, or a bit of both. Once that discovery is done it will go a long way in helping you decided what you want for a layout.
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But I'm working on it.

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Old 01-15-2020, 01:33 PM   #9
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I started designing my layout in 2015. I still haven't even cleaned out the space where it will go, let alone started on any framework! Now in my defense, I've been taking a lot of time to do research and work things out. I started with the general idea that I wanted to do a layout with steam only, and a mountain setting, and focused around the coal industry to showcase one of my favorite cars I had as a kid. Take your initial ideas and read about them, learn enough to know what parts of an industry you want to model, what prototype railroads might have had similar situations that you could model after (which will provide you with a rich resource of material!), and decide how much space you actually have to constrain your layout within.

Now build on your initial ideas... Do you want a point-to-point layout, continuous loops, lots of yard operations? Do you want to include other minor industries to add more variety? It was about this stage that I discovered narrow gauge and decided I wanted to build a dual-gauge layout featuring both. That opened up a whole lot of new ideas for me including new industries (logging deep in the mountains) and transferring loads between railroads. It also helped set a time period for me.

Now spend some time looking at example layout plans. Find key ideas that fit some of your needs and see if you can put them together into a new design of your own. There will be give and take -- you simply can't fit everything into your layout unless you have a whole warehouse to work with, so focus on the ideas that you like the most. Now go back and think about how you would run loads between destinations. Can those cars reach each point? Do you need to add more switching to move the cars around? Do you need to add more track to make the overall layout more interesting or provide more routing options? Your idea will grow until it's simply too much, and you will find you have more track than empty space. Take a moment to look over what you've built, remember that real railroads are on a budget, and decide what track will actually be used and what can be removed from your design.

I've done a lot of this, over and over again. I have completely wiped out and redesigned whole areas as I learned more about switching operations. But I now have a design that has remained pretty much the same for the past year and feel like I'm ready to start laying down track. You just need to start with the basics and fill in from there.
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Old 01-19-2020, 08:39 PM   #10
dialed in
Gang Labourer
Join Date: Jan 2017
Location: Ontario
Posts: 59
Well i have taken your advice fellas! I'm just going to go at it with the 'rough' plan i've got and add things whenver i get to them/feel like it. I'm happy to report i've got my main line, which will run a complete circle all around the outside of my benchwork, all drawn out on the table, 24" curves (with easements) drawn on and even some roadbed down! I hope to have the roadbed done this week if i can find my caulking gun and get myhands on some adhesive. i've done more in the past three days than i have in the last year and a half! Its also been snowing for about that long here as well, which may have something to do with it.

two questions though:
1. a)I have a spot planned where i had wanted to put in a walthers ho no.6 double crossover, however they are back ordered until april (according to my supply shop). Does anyone have a diagram with the measurements of these on. I will just put in a piece of straight track for now so i can easily remove it later when the crossover shows up.
b) upon searching online for a diagram, i have found that doublecrossovers have less than stellar reviews, and now i'm second guessng if i want to use it or not, or just figure a different way to do what i want to do. does anyone use double crossovers? Should i bother with it?

2.i've been reading up on height changes between mainlines and sidings and i'd like to try doing this on a certain part of the layout. I'm using regular ho cork roadbed on the main, can someone suggest something to use for the siding that has about the correct height difference? I've only ever seen cork roadbed in a standard height before.

Thanks for now!

Last edited by dialed in; 01-19-2020 at 08:43 PM.. Reason: sp
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