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Discussion Starter #1
Hello from Stony Plain, Alberta everyone!

New to the forum and to the hobby. I have been interested in trains ever since I was a kid. At one point growing up we did live by the main CP Rail tracks going thru Athalmer, BC. We would always go walking along the tracks, finding spikes and stuff. I really wished I would of kept them. The trains that would go thru the area are generally coal trains. Watched the trains change thruout the years. I grew up in the 90's and watched as they changed locomotive type, how they distributed the power thru the train, how the coal cars changed, the disappearance of the caboose.

I personally love the Multimark paint scheme.

I am going to be starting my own model layout in HO scale. I have moved a whole bunch of stuff to make room for it. The long section is going to be 11 feet long and 28-32 inches wide and then another section along the window will be 5 feet long (might make 6') by 32 inches wide. I will probably make it 40-42 inches tall as I have a shelf that I want to use for two tracks.

The first train I want to buy is as seen in the 3rd attachment. But I want to eventually get one of each type of rail car (not passenger). I will probably be going the NCE DCC route as I was watching a couple video's and I think I prefer it over the Digitrax.
 

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A hearty Super Bowl welcome to the Forum.

You've got a happy bunch of train guys here with
decades of experience in all model Scales.

Are you planning a switching layout? The dimensions
you post seem to indicate that. If you are
planning a continuous run track plan, you would need around
5 feet in width to afford the more than 22" curve
radius that so many of today's locos need, especially those
with 6 wheel trucks.

Keep us posted and let us know if we can help you
in any way.

Don
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Welcome and good luck. As Don suggested, make sure you have enough width for your curves
Is there a calculator or free program I could use that would tell me how much width I need? I want to have at least two tracks.

Are you planning a switching layout? The dimensions
you post seem to indicate that. If you are
planning a continuous run track plan, you would need around
5 feet in width to afford the more than 22" curve
radius that so many of today's locos need, especially those
with 6 wheel trucks.

Don
At the one end I want to have a loop and then the other end, I won't have one as I don't have the room for it. So I think at the one end I would put a couple switches in, I'm not exactly sure. Is there a site or a free program I can use to setup examples of track layout?

Welcome to the forum, looks like a nice space for your RR empire. :)
Thanks!
 

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As we've mentioned, you need at least 5 feet width
for you to have 22 or 23" radius. If you then
have an inner loop; that would be limited to about 17 or
18" radius and only very small locos are going to be
able to transit.

If you are not to have a loop at the opposite end you
might consider a run-around track that would let you
bring a train in, uncouple, throw a turnout and move
the loco to parallel track, throw another turnout,
move the loco onto the original track then back
the loco and couple to what was the original end of the train.
Then the loco could pull the train back to where it
came from.

This, in fact, is how some real passenger trains are
scheduled. The famous Napa Valley Wine train uses
this system, for example.

Don
 

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Welcome John. I too am new to this forum. I expect I will be keeping an eye on this thread since your available space and shape for your layout is almost exactly the same as mine.

Reading the comments about minimum width for 22" radius gives me some pause. I need to be very careful with this since I don't really have space for a 5' width. I'll need to research locos carefully before purchase. The longer end of my available space is good for switching, which interests me. So now I'm thinking maybe I can go with a sort of independent continuous run at the other end, but keep it to smaller locos? Kind of separated from the switching. The reason for this is a grandson and other young children in the family who would come to visit. Young children will want to see a train go around in circles. Anyway, lots to consider, and I am really taking my time working on trackplan ideas before I begin benchwork.
 

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Tommy, it's not just the locos but all the rolling stock. Even if the cars will run on smaller radius they may look dumb doing it, and if that's important to you then keep it in mind.

If you haven't already, you can download some track planning software like anyrail, scarm, rr-tracks, and maybe others. They are typically free for X number of rail sections (75, give or take) so you can play with your plans.
 

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Tom C.....hmmm, more stuff to digest, but that's what we're here for. Thanks!
Right now I'm just running things around in my head before I get to pen to paper track planning. I have ordered the DVD from Kalmbach, which has the last 10 years of Model Railroader magazine, as well as a few other publications including 103 Track Plans. Unfortunately, this DVD doesn't ship until sometime next month. So before I get too involved in layout planning, I would like to go through those publications. They should be able to allow me to kind of zero in on what the possibilities are for my space. I will take your advice on track planning software in the meantime.
 

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Welcome aboard!

Hello from Stony Plain, Alberta everyone!

New to the forum and to the hobby. I have been interested in trains ever since I was a kid. At one point growing up we did live by the main CP Rail tracks going thru Athalmer, BC. We would always go walking along the tracks, finding spikes and stuff. I really wished I would of kept them. The trains that would go thru the area are generally coal trains. Watched the trains change thruout the years. I grew up in the 90's and watched as they changed locomotive type, how they distributed the power thru the train, how the coal cars changed, the disappearance of the caboose.

I personally love the Multimark paint scheme.

I am going to be starting my own model layout in HO scale. I have moved a whole bunch of stuff to make room for it. The long section is going to be 11 feet long and 28-32 inches wide and then another section along the window will be 5 feet long (might make 6') by 32 inches wide. I will probably make it 40-42 inches tall as I have a shelf that I want to use for two tracks.

The first train I want to buy is as seen in the 3rd attachment. But I want to eventually get one of each type of rail car (not passenger). I will probably be going the NCE DCC route as I was watching a couple video's and I think I prefer it over the Digitrax.


johnvosh and TommyB;

Welcome to the forum guys!

I have a solution for your common, "layout depth/available layout space" problems.
It's called N-scale! :eek:

Seriously, since you want big time railroading, with big, long, six-axle, modern diesels, why try to cram HO-scale into an area too small for it to even turn around? The 180 degree turnback curves you will need in HO-scale require five feet, (or preferably a bit more) of layout depth. You have just under three feet of depth available, or at least planned. No calculator, or free online program, is needed to do this simple math. Five into >three will not go. :( A five foot diameter curve simply will not fit on a 32" deep table.

N-scale (or Z-scale) can turn around in the depth you have, even with double track. If you can increase the depth a few inches to 36" or 38", you could use 14" & 16" radius curves on your double track mainline. These would be adequate for even the largest N-scale diesels. Even a bigger 18" radius curve is very tight for HO-scale, but generous for N-scale.

N-scale has a good selection of modern diesel power available, as well as modern freight cars including big modern hopper cars that are used to transport coal. You can buy excellent quality Kato brand modern diesels with DCC, and sound, factory-installed, and all ready to run with your NCE Powercab. I use the NCE Powercab on my own N-scale railroad, and I highly recommend it.

The files below are some that I wrote for "newbies" planning their first layout. Look through them if you wish. They may give you some good information that will help you get started. TomC has answered your question about track planning software. My software was a soft #2 pencil and some paper, but I'm old and analog. :D To each his own.

Again Welcome;

Traction Fan :smilie_daumenpos:

View attachment WHERE DO I START rev 4.pdf

View attachment Choosing a Scale.pdf

View attachment 1 How to build a better first layout.pdf

View attachment 2 How to build a better first layout.pdf

View attachment 3 & 4 How to build a better first layout.pdf

View attachment 5 How to build a better first layout.pdf

View attachment 6 How to build a better first layout.pdf

View attachment Tips for handling small parts.pdf

View attachment MODEL RAILROADING ON A BUDGET.pdf

View attachment Model Railroad Terminology 3.pdf

View attachment Paintbrush Pine Trees.pdf
 

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I feel like I might have highjacked johnvosh's post here. It was not my intention at all. However, I want to respond to tractionfan's advice...…

I have resisted the idea of going to N gauge, but after reading your comments I am beginning to become convinced. Besides the obvious benefit of getting more railroad in the available space, I have noticed a big difference in pricing on locos, rolling stock, track, and turnouts. That is helpful. My main worry was always that N is so tiny, making it more difficult to work with as far as painting, weathering, and scenic work. After watching quite a few YouTube videos, now I am thinking maybe it's not more difficult.
 

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Is N-scale really too small for you, or not?

I feel like I might have highjacked johnvosh's post here. It was not my intention at all. However, I want to respond to tractionfan's advice...…

I have resisted the idea of going to N gauge, but after reading your comments I am beginning to become convinced. Besides the obvious benefit of getting more railroad in the available space, I have noticed a big difference in pricing on locos, rolling stock, track, and turnouts. That is helpful. My main worry was always that N is so tiny, making it more difficult to work with as far as painting, weathering, and scenic work. After watching quite a few YouTube videos, now I am thinking maybe it's not more difficult.
TommyB;

Since the reply I sent to jonvosh was also addressed to you, I don't think there's any question of "hijacking."
I sent both of you some pdf files. The first one, titled "Choosing a scale" covers the idea of N-scale being "too small."
It's much more a matter of perception, and sometimes outright prejudice, than reality. Certainly there are some individuals whose personal eyesight, and manual dexterity, actually are too bad to work with a small scale. However they are the exception, not the general rule. Also for each person who actually has a significant disability in these areas, there are probably ten more who imagine they have one.
I'm 71 years old, slightly disabled, need prescription glasses for driving, and another prescription for reading, and have arthritis.
Oh! By the way, I've been working successfully with N-scale for over forty years!

My advice is to try a simple boxcar kit in N-scale, HO-scale, and possibly O-scale as well. That will give you some personal, hands-on experience with the different scales, without any major investment.
Jonvosh has been all over the forum lately. Apparently he has acquired more space, and is trying to plan an HO-scale, "around the room type", layout. More power to him.
If you are not that fortunate regarding space, but are stuck with about 36" of depth, then you can pretty well rule out HO-scale or O-scale, except for a switching layout, with no continuous running. There's nothing wrong with that.
However, if continuous running is important to you, and 36" is all the depth you are going to get, then your realistic choices boil down to N-scale or Z-scale. They are both good scales, but between the two, I recommend N-scale. Since you're concerned about handling small parts and high cost, I don't know that you would care for Z-scale. It is, of course, smaller than N-scale, and it is also more expensive.

Give N-scale a try. Then make your own, informed, decision.

good luck have fun;

Traction Fan :smilie_daumenpos:

View attachment Choosing a Scale.pdf

View attachment Tips for handling small parts.pdf
 

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Johnvosh: That’s a nice space for a model RR. Width is a concern. Don and the other members are absolutely right, 5’ is the ideal width for HO to use 22” curves and not run to the edge of your benchwork.

It is possible, however, to run HO continuous in 36”-38” width. I did it for the last year or so on a 36” door.
No, it was nowhere near ideal, but it worked. I used Kato Unitrack, 16 7/8” curved sections. (There’s an even smaller 14 9/16” available).
I have 35 locos, ranging in size from a 3” long Whitcomb to a Decapod. They all ran fine on it. How the bigger ones looked is another story. I didn’t use any 85’ passenger cars. You have to be extremely careful to not wind up with a loco on the floor.
So yes, it can be done with some caveats. I think Traction Fan gave you some good advice in considering N scale. If I were starting new now, I probably would go to N.
Hope you work it out and keep us posted.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Johnvosh: That’s a nice space for a model RR. Width is a concern. Don and the other members are absolutely right, 5’ is the ideal width for HO to use 22” curves and not run to the edge of your benchwork.

It is possible, however, to run HO continuous in 36”-38” width. I did it for the last year or so on a 36” door.
No, it was nowhere near ideal, but it worked. I used Kato Unitrack, 16 7/8” curved sections. (There’s an even smaller 14 9/16” available).
I have 35 locos, ranging in size from a 3” long Whitcomb to a Decapod. They all ran fine on it. How the bigger ones looked is another story. I didn’t use any 85’ passenger cars. You have to be extremely careful to not wind up with a loco on the floor.
So yes, it can be done with some caveats. I think Traction Fan gave you some good advice in considering N scale. If I were starting new now, I probably would go to N.
Hope you work it out and keep us posted.
After all the reading and some good advice from the people on here, I have decided to change my main setup to N scale and then I am still going to buy HO scale for sometime down the line if I ever should get a bigger place :)
 

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Johnvosh,
How much wider is that room we see from the doorway? Seems as though not much so, Im going to assume not much else will be in there with the trains.
That said, have you considered and all around the room platform where you duck under to get in, then pop yourself up in the center? You would have a sort of 360degree layout. I say this because it may just solve the width issue that prevails at this point. Just a thought.
 

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Hello from Stony Plain, Alberta everyone!

New to the forum and to the hobby. I have been interested in trains ever since I was a kid. At one point growing up we did live by the main CP Rail tracks going thru Athalmer, BC. We would always go walking along the tracks, finding spikes and stuff. I really wished I would of kept them. The trains that would go thru the area are generally coal trains. Watched the trains change thruout the years. I grew up in the 90's and watched as they changed locomotive type, how they distributed the power thru the train, how the coal cars changed, the disappearance of the caboose.

I personally love the Multimark paint scheme.

I am going to be starting my own model layout in HO scale. I have moved a whole bunch of stuff to make room for it. The long section is going to be 11 feet long and 28-32 inches wide and then another section along the window will be 5 feet long (might make 6') by 32 inches wide. I will probably make it 40-42 inches tall as I have a shelf that I want to use for two tracks.

The first train I want to buy is as seen in the 3rd attachment. But I want to eventually get one of each type of rail car (not passenger). I will probably be going the NCE DCC route as I was watching a couple video's and I think I prefer it over the Digitrax.
welcome
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Johnvosh,
How much wider is that room we see from the doorway? Seems as though not much so, Im going to assume not much else will be in there with the trains.
That said, have you considered and all around the room platform where you duck under to get in, then pop yourself up in the center? You would have a sort of 360degree layout. I say this because it may just solve the width issue that prevails at this point. Just a thought.
Here is what I was planning on doing... It is basically a 10'x10' layout. Going to be changing a few things around though such as getting rid of the bench in them middle, a couple other things
 

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