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Discussion Starter #1
Hello,

As some of you have probably seen, I have been asking some questions in other parts of this website regarding layout design and planning. I think I have finally come up with a solid plan and I am going to try and start construction on the table this weekend.

My layout will be a 5x9 ft. HO layout set sometime between 1950 and 1955 (I enjoy steam and early diesels). I really enjoy switching, so that is a major focus of my layout. After some feedback from some members here, I upped my minimum radius from 18 in. to 22 inches.

Please feel free to give me feedback as I go through this process. This will be the first true model railroad I have ever built, which is part of the reason I am starting with a 5x9. As you can see in the picture below, the room I have available will support a much larger layout, but I want to start with this initially to see how committed I am.

A few other notes I have already decided, I am planning to use the NCE PowerCab with one additional Cab that can be unplugged and moved around the layout. I plan to make the layout as "scale" as possible while still making it usable. I am planning on using atlas switches with atlas flextrack to construct everything to allow for smoother transitions into and out of curves.

I don't have any equipment for HO yet, but I am very interested in the Bowser PRR RS-3 and the Broadway Limited PRR H10.

There is a train shown in mid-April near me, so I might be able to get some deals of things I will be needing.

Here is my room:



Here is a close up of the layout plan:



Here is a drawing of the framing for my top deck, the primary framing will be 1x4 lumber while the supports will be 2x4s:



This is the framing for a shelf (just storage, no railroad):



This is a side view of the table without any plywood shown. I plan to use 1/2 in. plywood with 2 in. of extruded foam on top to allow for easy terrain modifications.



Like I said before, please feel free to comment or provide feedback, especially if you see me making a mistake that could be avoided!
 

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Patrick: I will leave the layout critique etc. for the more technically advanced members to comment on. Just a word about making mistakes. You will make them. No amount of research, planning or advice is going to prevent them. It’s how we learn, and it’s a steep curve in this hobby.
You seem very organized and capable and it looks like you have done a good job of thinking things out. Do you have all the bases covered? Probably not. Which ones aren’t? You will find that out when you start building! It’s a process we all go through. You have a great resource here at the Forum, but the adage “Experience is the Best Teacher” holds true for as long as we live. So jump in and keep us posted. Good luck.
Dan
 

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Very nice - lots of yard and sidings.

At 5', will you be able to easily reach everything? I kept it to a maximum of 2'

Mike
 

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Looking good Patrick. You’ve got plenty of scope for scenery and industry plus you’ll have the opportunity to do a lot of switching which should make operating very enjoyable and absorbing.

Good choice of the PowerCab too, it’s an excellent system particularly if you’re starting out, initially programming a loco is very simple as it relies mainly on answering questions rather than having to input numbers. I used to have one until it got destroyed by a household wiring fault but I do miss it.

You get one power panel in the kit so you’ll just need to add one other to the other side so you can move your controller From side to side.

As prrfan says you might want to change aspects of ithe plan as you go and you discover things don’t quite work the way you expected but that always happens. Before you start laying track you might want to put down paper templates of the turnouts so you can spot anything that might need changing. Peco offer these which are downloadable: https://www.peco-uk.com/page.asp?id=pointplans
I’d recommend using their track and turnouts as they are very dependable and have been proven over a number of years. They offer a code83 line which is US Railroad specific with turnouts in insulated or live fog versions, you’ll get into the question of which later but for most situations insulated is easiest

Have fun.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks everyone!

prrfan:

The advantage I have is that while I personally have never built a model railroad, my dad has a large double deck scale S layout. So I already have a major resource many others did not for their first layout.

MikeL:

I don't think reaching 2.5' will be difficult, especially since most of the switching is not at that furthest edge. If it is a problem, I can always lower the railroad by cutting the legs after the fact to allow for more reach.

Cycleops:

I am hoping the use of flextrack will help eliminate any minor errors in track laying versus what was planned on the software. I plan to purchase most, if not all of the track at one time, and start laying track from the yard where I will have carefully measured the exact placement of the switches. I suppose only time will tell if this is a good strategy or not.
 

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Ok, I can see you’re using sectional track for the planning. Which make is it? If you’re using a make that also offer flex track you’ll be fine but if you change the brand of turnouts they probably won’t match the geometry of the one you used to plan the layout so adjustments will have to made. I’m sure your dad will help you out.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I used Atlas code 83 sectional track with atlast code 83 #4 switches for the layout. I like to use the sectional track because it is way easier in the program than using flextrack. It also helps ensure I keep consistent curve radius and I don't try and sneak in a tighter curve. However in actual construction the flextrack will provide a better result I think, especially if something is slightly off from the drawing.
 

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If I read your benchwork plan correctly you plan to use
4 2X4s as supports, these attached to frame cross members.

I would recommend, instead, L legs made from two
1X4s screwed together. These then would be bolted in frame corners, a bolt or two in each side
of the leg. This will provide much more stable support.

Don
 

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Discussion Starter #10
If I read your benchwork plan correctly you plan to use
4 2X4s as supports, these attached to frame cross members.

I would recommend, instead, L legs made from two
1X4s screwed together. These then would be bolted in frame corners, a bolt or two in each side
of the leg. This will provide much more stable support.

Don
Don, my original design actually had 2x4s in an L shape at the edges, but then I realized it would be best to inset them a bit to reduce the maximum span (thereby increasing strength near the center) and they will also be out of the way so your feet don't run into them.

Also, because the legs are braced at the bottom by the shelf supports, that effectively eliminates the need for the L shape since the braces will support the legs in their weak axis.

However, if for some reason the table feels wobbly or unstable once it is built, another 2x4 could be easily added to each support.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Whelp, 7 hours of work later I have a finished table.

The open room after taking some of the wood down:







The frame for the table is completed:



Table frame is completed (built upside down):



Table is flipped right side up and plywood attached:



Finally, the 2 in. of foam is glued to the top:

 

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Discussion Starter #14
Not an update on my layout specifically, but while I wait for the train show, I decided I am going to need a nice workbench for my basement to work on models. This is my design:




 

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Discussion Starter #16
Well, not train related, but the work bench is coming along. Still need to add the upper shelf.





Added a hardboard surface to make working on it a little better:

 

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A good workbench is a very nice thing to have! You might consider adding some shelves underneath. On my bench, I made two 'L's from 2x4's, with a short diagonal brace between the two legs, inverted them, and fastened them to the back of the bench 48" apart. I installed a 48" 2x4 between the short legs, and mounted a 48" dual light shop light to it. I fastened peg board to the front of the long legs, giving me lots of storage. I have good light, and my tools are always handy.
The bench itself is a kit from Menard's.
Here's a pic showing the completed bench:(You can just see the diagonal braces at the top)
 

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Discussion Starter #18
flyboy2610, thanks for the ideas. My workbench in the garage has a pegboard backing which I opted not to do for this one. If however I feel like I want it later down the road, it will be an easy addition.

I also agree that shelf space underneath the bench may be warranted at some point, but I didn't want to overthink this to much. Figured I would build a basic bench and add to it as needed.

Anyway, I have officially completed the bench:





 

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Discussion Starter #20
Got two coats of brown paint on the foam to provide a base and also seal the foam so that I don't risk melting it with a solvent based product (although I will probably still try an avoid those)

 
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