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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm about 6 weeks or so out from beginning my build. In the mean time, I have been acquiring supplies and building structures. This past weekend, I printed a full size layout from AnyRail and laid it out on my table so I could get a better sense for how it will all fit together.

This has turned out to be a great way to visualize things in true perspective, and I have already identified a few enhancements I want to make to the West side.

This layout will be pretty large for N Gauge, with a river running north to south in the center. On the east will be a village. On the West, a dairy farm and a logging site. I'm going to modify the west side quite a bit, but I'm happy with the east side.

I'm not really into the "yard" style layout. I want long stretches, tunnels and bridges. But I believe there is enough switching opportunities to enjoy doing "jobs" while watching the trains roll.

I'm really glad I decided to print the layout and lay it out on the table. It gave me a perspective I hadn't had until now, and now I can see a few enhancements I would like to make. And the neat part is, I can simply replace a few sheets of paper and I can see the results.

Table Interior design Building Floor Urban design

Table World Urban design Floor Flooring
 

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A very nice and quite large layout. It will provide very interesting continuous running
operations. You have a vast amount of space where you could build a large
yard...something you'll need as your fleet of cars increase. There is also many
places where you could have spurs serving rail freight users. You'll find these
additions will give you the opportunity for enjoyable and challenging switching operations.
That's what you do while you have trains running on your large ovals

And, since you have basically a single track main system, very similar to
what the real railroads are using today, you might consider adding
several 'passing sidings' so that you can have Train A wait on a siding
for Train B running the other way to pass. Remember, with DCC you can
do that.

Don
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks, DonR!

This exercise made me realize I had a lot of extra space on the west side of the river. I may add a siding on the east side, but most of the surgery will be on the west.
 

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First off, I have TOTAL SPACE ENVY (that looks like 12x18ish total?). That is a GREAT layout and for me would be a LOT of fun. Thanks for putting buildings , it gives great perspective! I love the long look of a running train as well. Are you planning any water? Maybe some turn outs to service stations at each town? This will perfect your model building skills for sure!

I LOVE how it is not crammed in there, that is the one thing I am not crazy about mine.

How did you get that printed out on paper? Are those just 8x11 sheets? VERY COOL Jeff! (EDIT I found how to do it, THAT will make it a LOT easier!
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
11 feet wide, 10 feet deep with a 2-foot open area. This is made from 4 5.5'x4.5' tables connected together into an inverted "U." Each table is on metal wheel with lockable casters. I got the tables for free. They are solid wood, so I will need to drill holes for turnout wiring and track feeders. But that's no big deal.

If you look closely, you can see a couple tug boats where the bridges will be going over the river. The river will be 12-15 inches across, or roughly 160-200 feet at scale, and will run north to south.

When I redo the west side, I may create another, smaller river coming in from the northwest... not sure if I want too many more bridges though.

Anyrail has a feature to print 1:1 scale to a PDF file. Each page is numbered. This layout ended up being 176 letter size pages.... 11 rows of 16 pieces of paper. Each piece of paper has alignment cross hairs at the corners... super easy to lay this down with some scotch tape.

When I finally finish the layout design, I plan to glue the pages to the top of my foam boards. That way, I can lay the track directly over the design... including any risers and inclines from Woodland Scenics.

I'll have ~6 tunnels, 2 of which will be blind, so I will need to fabricate a removable top with scenery on it so I can have access to the track below if necessary. The remaining tunnels will be at the north and south ends. You can visually see the tunnels as dashed parts of the track. These tunnels will be open from the north and south faces. So they will not be visible from the east or west, but will be open from the south or north.
 

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What I don't care for is the butterfly-like pattern of the track design...
If you turn to one side you have one shape..If you turn to the other side you have a near exact reflection of the other. With all that space you could have something more flowing like the 1:1 scale, so that from wherever you look at it it's different...
Also, I see no way to be able to change a train's direction, what with no reverse loop, wye, or turntable present..This can be good, electronically speaking. But will it be sufficient RRing-wise ?
Finally, in order to not have the locomotive trapped in front of its train within the existing spurs, you will have to run clockwise only, so train can back its cars into them and be free to return to the main...
I hope you find this helpful..Some thoughts and considerations before you get too dug in...🛤🌄🛤


.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
@telltale I agree about the symmetry on both sides. When I was designing this, I was thinking that I would always be in the narrow aisle in the middle, so I wouldn't see both sides at the same time.

The inner section on both sides is elevated and is connected by the long double-track bridge. The outer loops are ground level, and the river will be sunken. I was thinking that the outer lops would be somewhat obscured by the raised area in the middle of each side.

Now that I have a bird's eye view in real size, I see an opportunity to modify the west side quite a bit... not sure yet if I will incorporate a reverse loop or a wye. I like the idea, but I'm not confident in the wiring/technical side of things.

I have no intentions of going DCC. I'm not into sound at all, and I'm fine with one fairly long consist running at a time.
 

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Re think not going DCC, it will make things much more enjoyable, particular if you put in a reverse loop, or want to run more than one train at the same time. DCC without sound makes conversions easier and cheaper.
 

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In the second photo above, the curve we see at the bottom (with the straight section) would look better if it were "smoothed out" -- just as the inside curve looks better and more graceful.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
In the second photo above, the curve we see at the bottom (with the straight section) would look better if it were "smoothed out" -- just as the inside curve looks better and more graceful.
The straight section at the bottom is in a tunnel. I'm trying to obscure the fact that it's an oval by having tunnels at the top and bottom of each side.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Re think not going DCC, it will make things much more enjoyable, particular if you put in a reverse loop, or want to run more than one train at the same time. DCC without sound makes conversions easier and cheaper.
I need to research DCC more. I just don't see me running 2 trains at once. But if it's simpler to have reverse loops and/or a wye, then I might give it more consideration.

Every time I go to research it, it takes more time to figure things out than I can afford to devote to the research, LOL!! I know DC, and how simple wiring is without worrying about shorts / reverse polarity, etc. I plan to use Peco insulated frog turnouts and run feeders to both sides of every turnout, plus some feeders in between turnouts if the stretch is longer than 6 feet.
 

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Would be easy to add two wye setups on this plan for train direction changes.
See the lower single track truss bridge? Look both east and west to where that track reconnects to outer loops. Adding two WYE, and one each LH, RH #6 turnouts and a few curves would turn both ends into a turnaround system. Wiring wouldn’t be too tough, even for DC. Viola!
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Would be easy to add two wye setups on this plan for train direction changes.
See the lower single track truss bridge? Look both east and west to where that track reconnects to outer loops. Adding two WYE, and one each LH, RH #6 turnouts and a few curves would turn both ends into a turnaround system. Wiring wouldn’t be too tough, even for DC. Viola!
So... perhaps the elevated section (inner loop on each side plus teh double track bridge in the middle) will be DC with continuous running except for the spurs on either side. Then incorporate 2 wyes as you suggest for the ground level using DCC. There's plenty of room on teh West for a siding or 2 and a larger yard if I reconfigure things a bit on that side.
 

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K62 (above)..
I noticed that as well..But if Jeff doesn't go DCC and remains old analog DC he'd have to gap the rails into blocks and have a panel with toggle switches to open/close/Fwd-Rev each block (ugh !!) as train(s) runs in opposite direction into blocks that were previously set for the opposite direction !
As OP is likely reading this, to him I say, and as others have said, going DCC makes all that go away ( the need to tediously have to break the layout into toggled blocks and the logistical confusion/frustration that can cause )..
Jeff ! Trust us ! Go DCC now (about $165 for an NCE PowerCab) and 'DCC equipped' loco(s)..A simple 2 wires from its main plug-in panel to the rails would likely be enough to run this large but simple trackage...2 wires, period !!
Then you could run 2 or more trains in any direction anywhere, same as the real thing; one train's activity totally separate from the other, all controlled from your hand-held, walk-around throttle....
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
K62 (above)..
I noticed that as well..But if Jeff doesn't go DCC and remains old analog DC he'd have to gap the rails into blocks and have a panel with toggle switches to open/close/Fwd-Rev each block (ugh !!) as train(s) runs in opposite direction into blocks that were previously set for the opposite direction !
As OP is likely reading this, to him I say, and as others have said, going DCC makes all that go away ( the need to tediously have to break the layout into toggled blocks and the logistical confusion/frustration that can cause )..
Jeff ! Trust us ! Go DCC now (about $165 for an NCE PowerCab) and 'DCC equipped' loco(s)..A simple 2 wires from its main plug-in panel to the rails would likely be enough to run this large but simple trackage...2 wires, period !!
Then you could run 2 or more trains in any direction anywhere, same as the real thing; one train's activity totally separate from the other, all controlled from your hand-held, walk-around throttle....
So.. Are you saying I could add the 2 Wyes as K62 describes... And if I go DCC, I could connect 2 feed wires and the whole thing will work without any shorts? To do so, would I use insulated or electrified turnouts and wyes?
 

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You can use any type TOs at all (though I'd stick with the 'All-live' type in DCC)...
You would need no feeders, bus wires or power booster if all your rail joiners are firmly connected. Just 2 little wires from NCE PowerCab plug-in panel, or Digitrax (I prefer NCE)...
The only thing is if, IF you do make a reverse loop of any kind (loop/wye/turntable) you will either have to have an auto-reverser (AR) of any make to handle the polarity or phasing of that section (about $40/One can handle several loops), or do it manually with one $4.00 DPDT toggle switch and the reverse section rails merely gapped between the TOs at ends of each...Dat's it !
 

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Another thing to consider is that, as it stands you have no tracks which connect your RR to the outer world/other RRs...Or else, how did that N&W hopper get onto your RR or those 3 UP refers, or that NYC box car if you've no connection ?
You can emulate this with one simple track which connects to your main somewhere and goes right to the very edge of the bench...This then can become 2 or more tracks and become an 'interchange' where you can add and remove cars by hand (0-5-0-ing 'em) as trains pick up inbound from or deliver outbound cars to it. Of course you'd add no end bumper but have it on a very slight grade inward to prevent cars from coasting off the edge...
 

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So.. Are you saying I could add the 2 Wyes as K62 describes... And if I go DCC, I could connect 2 feed wires and the whole thing will work without any shorts? To do so, would I use insulated or electrified turnouts and wyes?
Yes. A common misconception about DCC is that the wiring is more complicated. It isn't. In most cases it's simpler. When I hooked up my first DCC set (MRC Prodigy Express), I did exactly what the advertising said: disconnected the feeders from my DC powerpack and connected them to the Prodigy. It was, in fact, just that easy.

As far as two trains at once... maybe not, but DCC also gives you the freedom to park multiple locos on the layout, without having to worry about finding an isolated section of track to place them on. You can just stop them wherever, and they will sit there until you give them another throttle command. That's actually why I went DCC. Running several trains simultaneously came later.
 
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