Model Train Forum banner

1 - 20 of 48 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
716 Posts
Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Figured that an ongoing thread might be good impetus to get a railway done. My son has requested an HO scale realroad so we are going to build one.

I'm essentially starting from zero as far as knowlege. I've got a variety of thrift store trains and tracks and a table, but a friend as promissed a digitrax system a couple of engines and most importantly plenty of advice and guideance so the future is bright. Any additional advice from you all would be appreciated.

I'll reahash a bit from my introduction post.
This is the 8x5 table I bought from Craigslist (Ad pics).
Should be big enough for a 22" inside loop and a 26" or bigger outside.





A couple of days ago I cleared out the corner of the attic where it will be . It's an 11 foot wide space but there's a 3 foot wide area behind the door that is limited to 4 feet deep, so I hope to one day put a small expansion there with a yard.
 

Attachments

·
Registered
Joined
·
457 Posts
I agree with that. I am at 4' 4", against the wall. I am pushing the limitation of reaching to the edge of the table at the wall. It is getting harder to reach over there, especially 5'.

I would recommend to have L or U shape. Would either one work for you?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
716 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
Thanks for the advice folks.

Keeping it away from the wall permanently crowds the room a bit too much and there's not enough room for an L or U but I had already figured on castors and/or magic-movers so I can pull the table out as needed. I'm thinking that I'll probably go with castors on the back legs and on the front legs I'll put height adjusters. The floor slopes towards the middle of the room so I'll probably need that height adjutability.

I figure the combination of castors and sliding a couple magic-movers should keep it pretty mobile.

Also, I picked a batch of foam (pictured below) from a guy on Craigslist this morning for $30. Normally I'd just dumpster dive at constuction sites for foam scraps, but I wanted big sheets for this project and this was alot cheaper than new. They've got some nicks and such but I am in no way worried. I think it's four 1.5", two 2", two 1" and a couple of offcuts. There's going to be alot of used stuff like this in this layout which will be built on a pretty tight budget.

Lastly, this morning I saw the great company logo for "Central Steel and Wire Company" and just had to take a picture. Though my unrealistic layout will have alot of elevation, I would like to stick to Chicago Industries and businesses.
 

Attachments

·
Registered
Joined
·
457 Posts
Also, I picked a batch of foam (pictured below) from a guy on Craigslist this morning for $30. Normally I'd just dumpster dive at constuction sites for foam scraps, but I wanted big sheets for this project and this was alot cheaper than new. They've got some nicks and such but I am in no way worried. I think it's four 1.5", two 2", two 1" and a couple of offcuts. There's going to be alot of used stuff like this in this layout which will be built on a pretty tight budget.
That is a steal! Normally, for 1/2 inch foam board runs 12 bucks. 3/4 for 15 bucks in Texas. You get more for less! :appl:

Lastly, this morning I saw the great company logo for "Central Steel and Wire Company" and just had to take a picture. Though my unrealistic layout will have alot of elevation, I would like to stick to Chicago Industries and businesses.
Your table, your rules. Only be careful with the change of elevation, some locomotives can go up and down while other couldn't.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
716 Posts
Discussion Starter #7
That is a steal! Normally, for 1/2 inch foam board runs 12 bucks. 3/4 for 15 bucks in Texas. You get more for less! :appl: ...

...Your table, your rules. Only be careful with the change of elevation, some locomotives can go up and down while other couldn't.
Thanks. Around here you can find a sheet of one inch for $10 but s till alot better used!

I appreciate the advice relating to elevation. I'm still not sure if I'm going to have much interaction between the higher inner loop and lower outer loop. I'm thinking of just one very long gentle slope to connect the two. What's a safe grade for most engines?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
457 Posts
As you stated earlier that it would be unrealistic layout, you can go up to 4% grade. I had heard higher grade on other layouts.

Here is the link for set of piers by Atlas, that I had used back in 80's as I was only kid. It works pretty well for my Bachanan train set. It states 2.6% grade as instructed.

HO PIER SET
Item# 0080
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
8,518 Posts
You've got a great advantage in having a 5' wide
table and the foam to go onto it.

You can't do better than the Digitrax DCC system
and DCC locos for your starter fleet.

The next thing would be to shop around for flex
track so you can begin to see what layout is possible
in the space you have. Get some push pins
so you can hold it in place temporarily.
You might be able to find used
Flex on Craig's list 'collectibles' or 'toys and games'.
Same with turnouts and most anything else you need
for your layout. That's what I did.

Don
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
716 Posts
Discussion Starter #10
Good to know about the grades. I guess I'll try and stay around 2.5. For the rise, I'll probably just cut the foam and run it up the hill, though would it be wise to cut a strip of hardboard for the railway and put that on top of the foam so it's easier to get it more level and consistent?

How many degrees is a 2.5% grade? If I figure that I can cut myself a template that I can use with my level.

I've got some pretty big and good looking (once they've got a proper base and some paint) Tomy/Tomica Plarail bridges and I'll be using at least one of them on the layout.

As for the Flex Track I've got two pieces so far but I haven't been able to find any used around here. Seems fairly affordable though buying new. It's the switches (I'm thinking Peco?) that are going to take the majority of my budget I think.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
457 Posts
Grade is easy to figure out. 1% grade means one inch raise, every 100 inches. 2% grade - 2 inches raise every 100 inches.

Since the distance and height is known, you will need to calculate for Tangent as following:

Tangent: tan(θ) = height / distance.

Also, there is a link regarding grade calculator.

Railroad Boy's Grade Calculator

For 2.5% grade, that would be around 4.36°.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
716 Posts
Discussion Starter #12
As you stated earlier that it would be unrealistic layout, you can go up to 4% grade. I had heard higher grade on other layouts.

Here is the link for set of piers by Atlas, that I had used back in 80's as I was only kid. It works pretty well for my Bachanan train set. It states 2.6% grade as instructed.

HO PIER SET
Item# 0080
Looking at this again, it might be just what I to bring the upper level down to the lower across the middle of the oval.

Is 3" in height difference enough for clearance of lower train, rail and cork?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
716 Posts
Discussion Starter #13 (Edited)
I've posted my initial 5x8 track plan below. It's basically a variation (I traced alot of it) on #39 from "101 Track Plans" book except that I've raised the inner loop up. The track radius curves for each loop should be weill within their radius as I copied those pretty close to the book

Blue- Upper line with 22"-23" curves which will be about 3" above the rest of the layout

Red- Lower line with 26" or greater curves at grade level

Green- Long incline of about 9 feet which comes to a 2.78 percent grade. Not exactly sure where it would have to emerge from underground yet.

Brown- Cliff or aproximate hill line. The sides are high and the valley is in the middle.

Dashed lines- aproximate area that tracks are underground/hidden.

Scale is: 1 Square = 4 inches

Sidings and such in the middle are aproximate, I haven't measured the exact turnouts yet.

All in all I rather like it. My goal was to enable simulatneous operation of two trains and I hope the difference in elevation will create a nice separation between the two towns in the valley and on the plateau. I could even see building up a bit of a ridge to separate the two areas further.

All right, now please bring on your suggestions and criticisms, anything to make this successfull.
 

Attachments

·
Registered
Joined
·
457 Posts
Grade goes in percentage, not degree.

I happen to have "101 Track plans" book but on #39, it looks completely different and it is for 5' x 10'. So which book version are you referring to?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
716 Posts
Discussion Starter #15
Grade goes in percentage, not degree.

I happen to have "101 Track plans" book but on #39, it looks completely different and it is for 5' x 10'. So which book version are you referring to?
Oops, I'll correct the grade notation.

#39 is the one. I traced portions of it direcgly onto graph paper using my laptop monitor as a light table. As you noticed, I did alot of changes though.

-Shortened it by 2 feet

-Pushed the upper (inside) loop over the lower on the right side

-Did away with alot of crossovers since the tracks are now on different elevations

-took away the long edge siding and replaced it with a long slope.

-Simplified much of the interior sidings and such as I had less room to work with.

-Did away with the reversing line.

I guess once I was done with all the mods and erasures it is rather different from #39, but that was my starting point.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
457 Posts
Oh, I get it. That is a lot of changes from that original layout #39.

It seems that this is what you want it to look like, correct?

Only a problem is the river on the left, it can't go through because of the middle track inside the "hill". Other than that, that will work as unrealistic layout as shown. So far, I had checked for the grade on these tracks. It seems that didn't reach more than 2.5% grade, I think.



 

·
Registered
Joined
·
716 Posts
Discussion Starter #17
Oh, I get it. That is a lot of changes from that original layout #39.

It seems that this is what you want it to look like, correct?

Only a problem is the river on the left, it can't go through because of the middle track inside the "hill". Other than that, that will work as unrealistic layout as shown. So far, I had checked for the grade on these tracks. It seems that didn't reach more than 2.5% grade, I think.



That's amazing!
Thanks so much, I really appreciate this. This is pretty much what I had in mind. The only differences are:
- I hadn't thought about putting rivers in. The brown was just the cliff/hill contours.
-I was planning on keeping the blue line on a bridge across the back.

Seeing it in 3d I see a couple other tweaks worth making. If I sketch out a few changes on my drawing could you incoporate them into your model?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
457 Posts
That's amazing!
Thanks so much, I really appreciate this. This is pretty much what I had in mind. The only differences are:
- I hadn't thought about putting rivers in. The brown was just the cliff/hill contours.
-I was planning on keeping the blue line on a bridge across the back.

Seeing it in 3d I see a couple other tweaks worth making. If I sketch out a few changes on my drawing could you incoporate them into your model?
Oh, I misread ya! I thought of rivers. Now I get it. Cliff! That makes more sense in your original drawing. Sure, I can do that for ya!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
275 Posts
The advise I've received in this Forum has been great. I've listened to and followed all the advice given except one piece- and I'm somewhat regretting it: My maximum elevation is 4% (most people said I should go no more than 2.5% or 3% and I'm limited to 7-8 cars (including caboose) on my mainline :(

Mike
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
716 Posts
Discussion Starter #20
Construction has been delayed.
It's been raining cats and dogs over here and the foam is outside and wet and I've not got the space to bring it inside and dry off. I'm not worried about the water damaging the foam but, I'm going to have to wait until the rainstops and it's all had a day or so to dry off.

Two things I thought of that pehaps you all can advise me on.

1) It seems likely that if my son sticks with railroading There is a good chance that this is not going to be our last layout. Instead of gluing it down directly to the 5x4 plywood table sections Would it be better to glue the foam to to 5x4 hardboard panels and screw those to the table?

Then if he wants to build a new layout I can take the foam and hardboard sections right off and sell/give/scrap them and easily start over with the same table surface without having to rebuild the benchwork. I can even go right down to the hardboard if I want to do an extra deep ravine or river and not be sticking anything directly to the table.

2) With a layout like this that doesn't have any reversing loops/options would it be a good idea to lose an industry and replace it with a turntable so I can at least spin my engines around? I do like the idea of an engine house and maybe also a repair building but I'm not sure I have space for both.

Oh, I misread ya! I thought of rivers. Now I get it. Cliff! That makes more sense in your original drawing. Sure, I can do that for ya!
Thanks!
I'll make some changes this weekend and put up a revised plan. I showed your initial 3d plan to my son and he loved it.

The advise I've received in this Forum has been great. I've listened to and followed all the advice given except one piece- and I'm somewhat regretting it: My maximum elevation is 4% (most people said I should go no more than 2.5% or 3% and I'm limited to 7-8 cars (including caboose) on my mainline :(

Mike
Thanks Mike. I'll definitley be going with the long, easy elevation. I'm still not sure I'll be able to do more than 8-10 cars without it looking silly and crowded, but at least it won't be due to engine power limitations on the inclines.
 
1 - 20 of 48 Posts
Top