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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I'm planning a layout for a ledge in the corner of my basement. It is 7.5' x 9' in HO scale. It is a late transition era layout featuring GN and CBQ. I've tried to fit in a small yard at one end and a small town at the other. Comments and suggestions are appreciated.
549701
 

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Looks good! One thing I question is you've got a couple of hidden switches. Are you planning some way of reliably knowing they're in the right position?
 

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Discussion Starter #4
I wasn't able to avoid hidden switches entirely. My only plan for now is to hope for the best. Any suggestions?
 

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I like the overall concept, and the idea of using hidden track to disguise the loop. I'm a little confused by what you have going on in the lower left, though. Unless you're planning to have some kind of vertical separation, your yard area has several tracks that are much too close to the hidden track. If you are planning that separation, I don't see how you can work the grade into the existing track plan.

Also, assuming your scale is 4 blocks to the scale foot (3"), then that tiny little track with the shed next to the turntable will be too short to be useable. Anything parked on that track would block the turnout.

You might want to consider using Tam Valley servos or the comparable Walthers system to control your turnouts. Both have an option for an LED indicator integrated with the activation switch that will show the position of the points.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
A closer look suggests that I can extend the layout an additional 6" on the lower left side. That would provide me room to get the clearances I currently lack and to make the short siding usable. Thanks for helping me to see that. It's always better to have more eyes.
 

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Try to build a mock up of the turntable (TT) and engine house area. It is too tight to be workable (maybe).
For example, if the engine house is four inches from the turntable, one track can go straight in, the other will need a short 18" radius section directly off the TT.
Also the turnout near your water tower will have to be a #4, meaning short locos and short diesels will work there, but no steam with three drive wheels.

Again, build a mock up first as I did to squeeze my stuff in.;)
Notice my curve into the roundhouse. This was done to get the roundhouse as close as possible to the TT.
Most everything is 18" radious except for a 15" approx at the top right with a Atlas Snap-Switch. I only have a couple of locos that will make that turn.
541718
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Thanks, that is helpful. It looks as though you are trying to squeeze as much inside of a curve as I am.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I made some adjustments and spent some time working on the layout with my kids over the summer. I've attached a few photos of the process. I will provide an update soon, since we now are getting the layout installed into our basement with overhead lighting and buildings in place. Soon will be testing the trains. Then we'll begin the long process of installing the ballast and scenery.
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I wasn't able to avoid hidden switches entirely. My only plan for now is to hope for the best. Any suggestions?
Make sure they stay accessible. I too have hidden turnouts in two spots that was unavoidable for what I wanted, but I can still get to them if neccesary. I have signals for those turnouts too so there's no doubt about which way the track is routed. Both are DCC controlled. A little slower to operate than a slide/push switch, but no chance of burnout either.

I like your track plan. Lots of operating there. My only comment would be that your benchwork leaves no scenery area on the other side of the tracks. Scenery on both sides of the track creates depth and interest in the trains going by.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Make sure they stay accessible. I too have hidden turnouts in two spots that was unavoidable for what I wanted ...

I like your track plan. Lots of operating there. My only comment would be that your benchwork leaves no scenery area on the other side of the tracks. Scenery on both sides of the track creates depth and interest in the trains going by.
Thanks, Michael.

One of the adjustments I made to the earlier plan was to make only two switches hidden and to make those accessible and, in fact, visible from the right angle if I peer through the gaps in the dividers.

Unfortunately, the tracks do run quite near the backdrops. In two places I will have building flats, but in the other two I will rely completely on printed or painted backdrop scenery. I'm hoping for the best in those two places, but the options will be limited.

I hope to have photos uploaded soon of the building flats I am installing in one of the locations. For the other, I will need to go to the used model railroad store that I'm fortunate to have in my city to find some buildings that I can cut apart and kit-bash.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
I got it shimmed and wired and ready to go (and my wife even sewed curtains to cover the shelving and window above the layout) .. . and then I discovered there was a short somewhere, so I had to pull it apart and check each of the three sections separately. Apparently the short is in the middle section, which is the smallest and one of the two less complicated sections, so that is fortunate. I will spend some time next weekend tracking that down and reassembling so that the trains can begin running
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