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Well, you don't build it and move it 'to another place' (if I understand you).. You finalize the place where layout will sit and grow, the grid up to as high as your chest or higher if you wish, placing 2x3 legs in all corners where it needs them.
There will be some flat surfaces for rail yards or industries..perhaps a village..The rest is 4" wide right of way connecting those areas..For a straight run of say 8' of main line at '0' Altitude you will have an 8' x 4" ply right down on the grid, or better, all 0 Alt..on risers, putting ply about 2-3" above grid..This allows you to have embankments down from ply..
Then all the rest of right of way and yards will be on risers, grades formed by higher and higher risers to where track again levels off...Curves 4" wide as well, all up on risers..
CZ, it may sound like allot of work..But it's really quite simple and goes up quickly..the basic grid that is...
The 4" right of way sub-roadbed requires allot of jig sawing but becomes easier as you go along..Soon you're gluing in either cork or black foam roadbed then adding track..
The risers don't ever get glued as to allow you to readjust their height(s) and position against the grid's cross members..
When complete you wind up with vast open areas between sub-roadbed ply to be filled as explained; bridge, trestle, roads, rock, water, town, ferry slip...
If you go to ebay, Model Railroad Benchwork, just the pix alone you can see the open grid style..
Get "How To Build Model Railroad Benchwork by Linn Westcott, or the Jeff Wilson book looks good too...$10 pre-owned'd probably suffice...
CZ, I've certainly inundated you with info along with the others...Time for me to shut up and time for you to start building. Mistakes will occur...Just fix 'em and keep on going until you have what you dream of....
 

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PS..
I had to add this !!
You may skip all that above and build it all along the walls as a shelf layout with various ways to do that, keeping it shallow at say, 12-15" deep, except where you may want it to loop back..

PPS. (This edited in later) : Go to YouTube "Sam's HO Model Railroad Part 1" and you will see exactly what open grid MRR benchwork looks like...
 

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Discussion Starter · #83 ·
PS..
I had to add this !!
You may skip all that above and build it all along the walls as a shelf layout with various ways to do that, keeping it shallow at say, 12-15" deep, except where you may want it to loop back..

PPS. (This edited in later) : Go to YouTube "Sam's HO Model Railroad Part 1" and you will see exactly what open grid MRR benchwork looks like...
Thank you!
I checked it out. Looks like the best way to go.
What I meant by moving it somewhere else was in case I have to move on, I can take it with me, at least some of it.

My thing now is I have to see about making wider truns because I want to run a big boy on the tracks and they seem to prefer something like a 30" curve. So I guess flextrack is the way to go for all curves.
 

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I haven't been able to get out of my mind,
the fact, that you will build this huge layout in
an art class room. Finally, the thought came to me that you are
likely to have the participation of your class in the construction of
the layout. Commander, there are many model railroad clubs
in our country. Some of them take their layouts to train shows
once or twice a year. To do this, they decide on a huge main track
plan, such as you have in mind. Then they assign,
say, an 5' X 8 or 10' foot module
of that track plan to each club member, or group of
members. The members design
and build the scenic effects on their section, while at the same
time maintaining the 'mainline' that goes thru. Perhaps one
decides to build a yard with locomotive service...another
may elect to build a cityscape while others may create
a small village or a farm scene with fields and animals.
Would this idea fit in your class plans? It would call on the artistic
creativity of the students while at the same time
building an operating model.

The individual modules are, of course, designed to
fit together and are built to technical 'standards'
set by you...There are National Model Railroad Association
standards and rules that can guide you.

Don
 

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Discussion Starter · #85 ·
I haven't been able to get out of my mind,
the fact, that you will build this huge layout in
an art class room. Finally, the thought came to me that you are
likely to have the participation of your class in the construction of
the layout. Commander, there are many model railroad clubs
in our country. Some of them take their layouts to train shows
once or twice a year. To do this, they decide on a huge main track
plan, such as you have in mind. Then they assign,
say, an 5' X 8 or 10' foot module
of that track plan to each club member, or group of
members. The members design
and build the scenic effects on their section, while at the same
time maintaining the 'mainline' that goes thru. Perhaps one
decides to build a yard with locomotive service...another
may elect to build a cityscape while others may create
a small village or a farm scene with fields and animals.
Would this idea fit in your class plans? It would call on the artistic
creativity of the students while at the same time
building an operating model.

The individual modules are, of course, designed to
fit together and are built to technical 'standards'
set by you...There are National Model Railroad Association
standards and rules that can guide you.

Don

That's a great idea. THanks! I will involve some students, yes. There is also a model railroad in the local museum and I am going to see if those who built it can help me a bit.
I took advice from people here in this forum about the modular setup and decided on the "open grid" method. I am going to try and make the grid as light and solid as possible. Same thing for the other parts.
I have a plan for a mountain and a volcano. Having worked in set design, scenery, and props, I know how to make something look realistic without being overly heavy etc. I will likely make the volcano/mountain modular.
 

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That's a great idea. THanks! I will involve some students, yes. There is also a model railroad in the local museum and I am going to see if those who built it can help me a bit.
I took advice from people here in this forum about the modular setup and decided on the "open grid" method. I am going to try and make the grid as light and solid as possible. Same thing for the other parts.
I have a plan for a mountain and a volcano. Having worked in set design, scenery, and props, I know how to make something look realistic without being overly heavy etc. I will likely make the volcano/mountain modular.
Open grid was originally used with plaster scenery, (not very light.) The open grid, and L-girder, benchwork designs made it easier to form below-track-level scenery features like rivers, and road underpasses, than with a solid plywood table top. Using extruded foam, those features can simply be carved directly out of the foam. However, open grid is still widely used today, often under extruded foam board. Unless you plan to crawl around on top of your layout, (not recommended) The 1-1/2" -2" thick foam won't necessarily need a grid of lumber under it. Or a sheet of plywood. Obviously something needs to keep the foam up off the floor, but if your room has desks, tables, or shelves that are the right height, then you could lay the lightweight, but rigid, foam on them if you wish. Lumber prices have risen sharply lately, but then foam ain't cheap either.

If you plan on giving students a section of layout to work on, then I would plan to divide as much of the overall layout as possible into equal size modules that each group of students can work on independently. There will need to be some sort of overall plan so that you don't end up with New York City right next to the Grand Canyon.
Also you will need to have physical, and electrical, standardization for the ends of the modules so they can connect to each other. The track(s) will also need to meet at exactly the same point on one module as they do on the mating one. I'll save you from figuring out the same thing about joining track across a joint between modules, that dozens of modelers have come up against before you. It is very impractical to have the joint in the track directly above the physical joint between modules. A better system is to pick a standard length of sectional straight track (9" in HO / 5" in N) and set the end of a module's track a half that length (4-1/2" for HO 2-1/2" for N) back from the end of the module. Then, one end of each joining straight track piece can have the spikes cut off the ties back just far enough for a rail joiner to slide back between the rail and the ties. This will make it possible to insert that joining section into the main track, after the modules have been attached to each other.

Traction Fan
 

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Discussion Starter · #87 · (Edited)
Open grid was originally used with plaster scenery, (not very light.) The open grid, and L-girder, benchwork designs made it easier to form below-track-level scenery features like rivers, and road underpasses, than with a solid plywood table top. Using extruded foam, those features can simply be carved directly out of the foam. However, open grid is still widely used today, often under extruded foam board. Unless you plan to crawl around on top of your layout, (not recommended) The 1-1/2" -2" thick foam won't necessarily need a grid of lumber under it. Or a sheet of plywood. Obviously something needs to keep the foam up off the floor, but if your room has desks, tables, or shelves that are the right height, then you could lay the lightweight, but rigid, foam on them if you wish. Lumber prices have risen sharply lately, but then foam ain't cheap either.

If you plan on giving students a section of layout to work on, then I would plan to divide as much of the overall layout as possible into equal size modules that each group of students can work on independently. There will need to be some sort of overall plan so that you don't end up with New York City right next to the Grand Canyon.
Also you will need to have physical, and electrical, standardization for the ends of the modules so they can connect to each other. The track(s) will also need to meet at exactly the same point on one module as they do on the mating one. I'll save you from figuring out the same thing about joining track across a joint between modules, that dozens of modelers have come up against before you. It is very impractical to have the joint in the track directly above the physical joint between modules. A better system is to pick a standard length of sectional straight track (9" in HO / 5" in N) and set the end of a module's track a half that length (4-1/2" for HO 2-1/2" for N) back from the end of the module. Then, one end of each joining straight track piece can have the spikes cut off the ties back just far enough for a rail joiner to slide back between the rail and the ties. This will make it possible to insert that joining section into the main track, after the modules have been attached to each other.

Traction Fan
Lot's of great points-especially about the tracks and the joints! Thank you!

I'll use foam and even newspaper and foil: whatever works. As long as it looks good, it doesn't have to be very tough. Like you said, no crawling on top of the thing.

My layout is going to be fantasy based. I will use ideas from real places, but won't be concerned with adhering to real areas. For example, where the bridge crosses from one layout to the other, there will be an "ocean" at each end (or a shore to be more precise). I may create a resin water area at each end and under the bridge, and put a whale or two "swimming" underneath. There will be a lighthouse, and further down there will be a castle. There will likely be a lake (loch) by the castle, and a type of Nessy swimming in it. There may also be a jungle and an active volcano etc. The idea is more to have the trains travel through different cool places than to be accurate as far as real places. I may have the transition to/from each area separated by a short tunnel.

Right now I am focusing on one side, and just designing it so there's a way to cross over. Once I'm done with this side, I will start the other side. I know it may seem like I'm over planning or getting ahead of myself, but this helps me plan out the thing as a whole and then break it into sections. As I go, plans may change, and that's OK. Still, I appreciate and welcome warnings where I may seem to be looking at the clouds while walking to the edge of a precipice!
 

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Discussion Starter · #88 ·
OK so hopefully I am not breaking rules here, but this is same info as in another thread. I was in a hurry and didn't realize until now that I probably should have posted here.

Anyway, so I now have several steam locomotives in addition to the diesel ones. They are in O scale and I have decided to go with HO. So I am considering selling these in order to get a couple, or even one, nice HO (a big boy would be a dream). Part of me wants to go ahead and use these, but it'llcut my scale in half. The Lionel Lines and Polar Express locomotives are pretty heavy, which feels good, but I don;t know enough about this stuff yet. Regardless, HO just seems a lot more friendly for what I want to do. I have considered keeping one of the O gauge locomotives, but not sure. Any input as to any one of these being worth keeping/durable? After the experience with the diesels, I am a bit leery thinking of another burn out. The replacement diesels are identical so I expect the same motors and possible failure. And I am not a fan of diesel engines. I am also not a big fan of the triple track with O gauge. What do y'all think?
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The Forum has a very active 0 scale membership.

You should post these locos in our For Sale or Trade
forum. Be sure to add that they are new and
unused. State a price, ('or better offer' can be used)
and your policy for payment and shipping.

Don
 

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Discussion Starter · #91 ·
The Forum has a very active 0 scale membership.

You should post these locos in our For Sale or Trade
forum. Be sure to add that they are new and
unused. State a price, ('or better offer' can be used)
and your policy for payment and shipping.

Don
Was not even aware of that possibility.
Thank you!
 

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CZ, I was compelled to add just one more heads up ! Sorry.

I still say go with the open grid. But instead of screening-filled (which I prefer) you can go with layered extruded foam for mountains/hills. You'd merely glue the main shapes onto the grid and subroadbed ply, then carve it (which I hear can be really messy), add plaster/carve it.
The grid still allows you to go down below track level for obvious scenic reasons and to stand within it during work. The screening/plaster method allows you to reach track/trains from below, after completion. But I believe the solid foam scenic-ing method prohibits that after completion..
Not sure..Perhaps it gets hollowed out in tunneled areas...
It's essentially the all-flat table layout which can be so inhibiting in so many ways..

All the best in all your decisions. I hope we can all leave you be now and let you begin the process.....
Your questions are still always welcome, though
No need reply to this..
 

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Discussion Starter · #93 ·
Just got a bunch of flex track for free. It’s steel and code 100, which I’ve heard is not ideal, and Jack, who gave it to me, said the same thing, but it should still be useable.
Thanks to Jack at Litchfield Station!!!
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I was given a small supply of the same sort of steel flex track.
I used it in one yard. used mainly for car storage. It was a
perfect use for it and the steel shortcomings were unimportant
I would try to avoid using it in high traffic mainlines, though.

Don
 

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I think you will be very unhappy with steel track. "Less than ideal" is certainly up there for Whopper of the Year.. Steel track corrodes easily, and conducts electricity poorly. On a layout such as you contemplate, it will cause you no end of grief.

The best thing you can do with that is pull the rails out and see what kind of scrap value you can get for it.
 
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At least it's steel, and not brass..
The Highland Park Society of Model Engineers is the oldest or 2nd oldest club in Los Angeles.
It's all hand laid track of steel rail. (find them on YouTube). I asked them about rust problems and they told me there is little to none, or not enough to cause any regret.. I've visited many times and have ran trains there..Not at any time did I witness a stall out due to the steel. And it looks great ! (Mind you, this is dry Ca. climate )
The only thing I'm not keen on is that it's code 100...100 looks too tall for yard trackage which is usually allot lower than main line trackage in the 1:1 scale for obvious reasons..
So you'll have to decide to ignore this discrepancy or employ c83 in yards or c70 in order to depict the lower yard trackage if you go all 100 for main line ..
When 83 butts up against 100 you merely shim up the 83 (or 70)on a short ramp so as to have rail heads at same height..You then solder them there...1:1 RRs have same prob but solve it with fish plates called a 'stepped joint'....

No need reply unless you don't savvy..

My wish is you cease the questioning and start the work..It's time to get your feet wet ! ;)
At least find the foot print and begin the benchwork with 16', 12', or, 8' 1x4 'stringers' /perimeter(s)' and cross members all up on legs (about 50") anywhere where support is needed..Then introduce sub-roadbed .5" ply atop risers 2" and higher...
Track and scenery mistakes of any size can be amended any time..You need that bench, first....
 

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Nickel coating would help prevent oxidation, which is what would cause electrical issues. I have no idea if the process is feasible. You would need to come up with a long, narrow tub for the pieces to sit in while the plating process does its thing. I also have no idea if it would damage the plastic ties. There are 2 types of nickel plating. One involves anodes, cathodes and an electrolyte solution that contains nickel. The other is called electroless nickel plating. I really don't know much about the process other than you end up with a thin layer of nickel that coats the steel.
 
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