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Hello, this is my first post here. I've always wanted a train that literally ran around the walls of my home. I know I'm not the first. I've seen the videos but interestingly, in all the videos the rails are way up high.

What good is that? I know safety, protect the rail, etc..I get that but.....to heck with that.

I want mid wall level. Anyway, am I nuts? ALSO: I am a 2.0 guy......

What I mean is, I have an idea in my head. Sketch it out in my head right down to the last detail, then I build a project. Any project. Woodworking, anything. Invariably as time goes on I see a few flaws with my 1.0 design, so then I redo it with 2.o and get it perfect.....

Yeah......I don't want to go through that with a train set. Lol. I'd rather go straight to 2.0 and that's why I'm here so I can get it done right. ALL HELP WELCOME. ALL DESIGN IDEAS MAY BE INCORPORATED AND CREDITED......

Help me. My house is a blank canvas really. No kids and a dog too short to matter. Thanks

Ps......no.....I'm not the Zodiac.
 

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Hi, welcome to the forum. We have several members who have layouts running around the walls of their homes.
I agree with you about putting tracks up high. It gets hard to see, particularly with the smaller scales.
One guy who comes to mind is a fellow Tennessean, ID name Volphin. He works in O scale, and his layout runs on the baseboards. If you check his posts, he may have photos of what he’s done.
Best of success and have fun.
Dan
 

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I would probably use an 18" to 24" shelf around the perimeter of the house. It could also be a variable width depending upon the area or the amount of trackage and scenery you want. Doorways may pose a problem unless you cut through the wall to the side of the doorway. This isn't as strange as it sounds. Many have done it to get a track in another room.

48" is a comfortable viewing height for an adult, and with only 24" max shelf depth, nothing will be out of reach. Your curves can run gracefully around a corner at a respectable 24" or greater radii. That means though, that your corners will be deeper and you may have to have an access port or at least a step stool. The greater the radii the more the shelf will jut out into the room.

You have the opportunity to produce a near-scale railroad. I don't know how big your home is, but you could lay a few miles of scale track around the entire, or nearly the entire perimeter of your home. What a railroad that could be. You could operate high-speed trains at scale speed with that kind of distance and not have it look out of scale.

Your scenic possibilities and locations are endless. You could go from the southwestern deserts to the Rocky Mountains to the the east coast through the Appalachians.

If you are interested, there are also numerous European lines to model and the scenery in the Swiss and Austrian Alps is breathtaking to say the least.

There is also narrow gauge to consider and can be ran concurrently with standard HO gauge. Or as a separate short line or spur.
 

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Hello, this is my first post here. I've always wanted a train that literally ran around the walls of my home. I know I'm not the first. I've seen the videos but interestingly, in all the videos the rails are way up high.

What good is that? I know safety, protect the rail, etc..I get that but.....to heck with that.

I want mid wall level. Anyway, am I nuts? ALSO: I am a 2.0 guy......

What I mean is, I have an idea in my head. Sketch it out in my head right down to the last detail, then I build a project. Any project. Woodworking, anything. Invariably as time goes on I see a few flaws with my 1.0 design, so then I redo it with 2.o and get it perfect.....

Yeah......I don't want to go through that with a train set. Lol. I'd rather go straight to 2.0 and that's why I'm here so I can get it done right. ALL HELP WELCOME. ALL DESIGN IDEAS MAY BE INCORPORATED AND CREDITED......

Help me. My house is a blank canvas really. No kids and a dog too short to matter. Thanks

Ps......no.....I'm not the Zodiac.
Welcome! As you guessed, you're not the first to contemplate this project. A look back over some of the threads over the last couple of months will reveal at least two similar ones. Those ae probably worth a read.

Unfortunately, model railroading is a hobby that doesn't release at version 2.0 and stay there. You're much more likely to hit every decimal point from 1.0 up to about 5 or six. Most people who stay in this hobby end up with several major revisions, often complete re-do's. I'm on my second complete do-over. The problem with trying to get everything perfect before you start is that things will change: you will find new products that interest you, and once you get started you may find that concepts that didn't interest you at all when you started are now tickling that "what if" nerve at the back of your brain. By all means, think this through before you go drop a wad of cash on a bunch of stuff, but don't go into paralysis by analysis and never do anything.

The second thing to keep in mind is that you will get a lot of advice and how-to comments, much of it conflicting. And that's ok. There is no Holy Grail, no single "right" way to do this. What is perfect for me may not be for you. Always remember: your layout, your rules. True, some laws of physics are immutable, but beyond that, whatever works or seems best for you is fine, no matter what anyone else says.

Finally, don't try to do this hobby on the cheap. Sometimes, you have to pay to get what you really want, because "settling" always seems to result in one of those revisions you hate. Also, quality costs money. Don't be afraid to invest in the best. We can help you distinguish the quality stuff from the merely overpriced, so don't be afraid to ask.

You posted this in the HO area, so I'm guessing you've already decided on a scale. Next step is to think about what you want to do. Do just want to watch a train circle your home endlessly, or do you want to do something with it? Do you want to just have the train, or buildings and scenery? How realistic do you want to be (historical trains, railroads, and locations, or let your imagination roam and do what looks cool)? Are you REALLY going to go around your home, which means forever having to deal with the layout in your way, or just a few walls covered, leaving access and movement largely unhindered (this is why most people put them up high)? If you do close in areas, how will you (or repair techs) get access to appliances, utilities, etc.)?

Start nailing down these little details (and share them here). Then you can get on with the fun of actually deciding what this will look like.
 

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Hell's Kitchen, Petticoat Junction, Bath Springs, Doggy Bowl Pass, Table Rock..

Well, right now it's a bit of a fantasy. When you actually get into crossing windows/doors and punching through walls, the overall plan might morph a little... IMO
Definitely doable. Gotta consider cost/reward... :rolleyes:
To answer one of your questions, no, you're not nuts... but this involves a few possibly unanticipated consequences. Are you planning on NEVER moving out??
 

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As mentioned by MichaelE, doorways will present a huge problem, and a major p.i.t.a.
The 'drawbridge' method will be too much at Murphy's mercy.
Wall cut-throughs are the way to go, if possible. Not sure about what to do with entry-doors though.
 

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Doorways has been mentioned...what about windows? A 48" or thereabouts height will most likely have you passing across windows. What about curtains? What about when you need (nobody WANTS) to wash the windows? What about sun fading of your scenery?
 

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Zodiak

We do welcome you to the Forum, and, as you've discovered, our
members are right there to advise and help you with your plans.

A mid level around the room layout can be nice, but there are
problems, as our guys have pointed out. The 'shelf' it's built
on must be supported by the wall. If you don't own the home this
may be a problem. The need for a 'bridge' at doorways has been
mentioned, but there is another possible problem; furniture
placement. Those cabinets, beds, chairs and tables can't
be against the wall and would limit access to your tracks.

If you have the space, a layout in the center of the room would
offer so much more operating enjoyment.

Keep us posted as your plans progress.

Don
 

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Hello, this is my first post here. I've always wanted a train that literally ran around the walls of my home. I know I'm not the first. I've seen the videos but interestingly, in all the videos the rails are way up high.

What good is that? I know safety, protect the rail, etc..I get that but.....to heck with that.

I want mid wall level. Anyway, am I nuts? ALSO: I am a 2.0 guy......

What I mean is, I have an idea in my head. Sketch it out in my head right down to the last detail, then I build a project. Any project. Woodworking, anything. Invariably as time goes on I see a few flaws with my 1.0 design, so then I redo it with 2.o and get it perfect.....

Yeah......I don't want to go through that with a train set. Lol. I'd rather go straight to 2.0 and that's why I'm here so I can get it done right. ALL HELP WELCOME. ALL DESIGN IDEAS MAY BE INCORPORATED AND CREDITED......

Help me. My house is a blank canvas really. No kids and a dog too short to matter. Thanks

Ps......no.....I'm not the Zodiac.

"Zoe"; (It sounds less threatening than "the" Zodiac "killer" 😄)

Seriously Zodiac, welcome to the forum! Your idea for an around the walls layout sounds interesting. The others have pointed out some of the potential problems like blocking windows & doors etc. but the idea is doable, perhaps on a few walls, rather than everywhere around the entire house. For fire safety, legal, & practical track cleaning reasons, one room you should not build railroad through is the kitchen.
Also, speaking as a former appliance repairman, if you block access to dishwashers,refrigerators, washers & dryers, and the like, you may well not be able to get them repaired, or replaced. If they spring a leak, and flood the room and the tech can't get to it easily, oh well. "Access" does not mean you can just barely get your fingers between the appliance and the wall either. I've turned down more than one job because the appliance wasn't accessible enough.
However, like everything else about your railroad, that decision is up to you. As CT Valley wisely said, "your railroad, your rules."

I have a wall-mounted shelf layout, and I'm a big proponent of that type of layout over the traditional "rectangular slab of plywood" type. My railroad is a "bookshelf model railroad" design that I adapted from an old article in Model Railroader Magazine. The key elements in this design are the top shelf, and the arches that support it with no front legs blocking the view of the railroad. If built as finished furniture, it would look civilized in the living area of a bachelor's home. (We married guys can't get away with such things) The top shelf can be used to hold books, or whatever else you choose. The railroad occupies the shelf below. I my case, I have two layers of bookshelf model railroad, so the top is books/whatever the next two shelves down are railroad, and there are more shelves below , for general storage. My layout is confined to the garage, (again, I'm married!) It fills two of the garage walls. My standard sections are 4' long, 16" deep, and 16" high. I have deeper sections at the ends to let the train loop back for continuous running. My model railroad is N-scale. With deeper sections, the same idea could be used with
HO-scale, if that's what you have in mind.

The first photo shows a standard section, and the second one a section complete with scenery. The third photo shows one of the deep sections near the corner of the room.
I strongly recommend sectional construction for any model railroad, and especially for shelf layouts. When we moved to San Diego, I was able to take my railroad with me and re-install it with minimal damage. With a non-sectional railroad, moving it may involve a lot of serious damage, or often total destruction, and then starting over with version 1.0 at the new location.

How long it will take you to build your layout will depend heavily on what kind of layout you want to end up with.
If you're happy with a simple wood shelf with bare track laid on it, and a train circling the room(s), then it could be built fairly quickly. On the other hand, if your eventual goal is a full-blown model railroad, complete with realistic switching operations, scenery, and structures, then it will take years-decades, depending on how large, and detailed you want it to be. Building this kind of railroad around all the walls of an entire house will definitely put you into the decades category.

Your "2-0" notion is likely headed for a rude awakening if you decide on much beyond the "simple wood shelf with bare track on it version." I'm working on my 7th model railroad. I have been working on it now, for over 35 years! Largely that's because, far from being a "2.0 guy", I'm a" tear it out & do it over better" guy. Also work, marriage, and two kids, all have their own considerable demands on a man's time.
The files below are some of the many I've written for new people building their first layout. I think you will find that a good deal of the information in them is applicable to your shelf around the walls idea.

Good Luck & Have Fun;

Traction Fan 🙂
 

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