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Discussion Starter #1
Hi to everyone,

My name is Marius, I signed up from the sunny Barcelona to learn a bit more about electronics in particular but everything else is welcome, of course.

I'm building my first H0 layout and would like to do it perfectly, it's why I need your help. :)

If you wish to know/find out something about Spanish railways don't hesitate to contact me.

Glad to be here and good to know you all.
 

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Welcome! Be careful with expectations of building it perfectly the first time, because it usually takes me about 20 years to get it halfway right :)
 

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Marius

A big welcome to our Forum. We'll be glad to help
you with any aspect of your new layout.

What particular question do you have about
model railroad electronics? About the only
electronic factors are found in the DCC control
system but they are not something that most
would fiddle with.

Don
 

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Welcome aboard!

Hi to everyone,

My name is Marius, I signed up from the sunny Barcelona to learn a bit more about electronics in particular but everything else is welcome, of course.

I'm building my first H0 layout and would like to do it perfectly, it's why I need your help. :)

If you wish to know/find out something about Spanish railways don't hesitate to contact me.

Glad to be here and good to know you all.
marius;

Welcome to the forum!

We are glad to have another international member. We have members in many countries around the world.

Barcelona is a beautiful city! I saw it many years ago, when I was a young sailor in the American navy. More recently my daughter visited your city. I had told her about walking along "Las Ramblas" and how beautiful it was. I was also impressed by the stores there. I needed to buy a trunk while I was in Barcelona, and I speak almost no Spanish. I asked a street vendor "Que es la palabra Español por?" and then had to resort to hand gestures, and a drawing' to learn that I wanted to "Compra un baul" (sorry, I probably messed that up)
When I entered the store, a young woman employee asked if she could help me, fortunately in English! She went with me to various departments and translated as necessary. I was very impressed! Such excellent service is almost unknown in America. And, she was good-looking too! :laugh:

Don't worry about trying to get everything "perfect" on your first layout. I didn't, and I don't know of anyone who ever did.
What is more practical, is to build something small, simple, and sectional. I call this "The Three-'S' system, and it works very well.
Many first layouts are built on one big sheet of plywood. That's OK, but it will be easier to move it, work on it, and expand it, if the plywood sheet is cut into four smaller pieces. That way you can take one piece at a time to a table and work in comfort, seated in a chair. What are normally "under-the -layout" chores, like wiring, and installing "switch machines" (point motors) will be much easier if you can simply turn the section upside down to work on the bottom, instead of crawling under the layout, and working overhead.

If you have questions specifically about electronics I suggest you post them in our "Technical Forum." There are lots of electronics experts over there.
For general questions about building your layout, you might post them in either the "General Model Train Discussion" section, or in the "HO section", since that's your favorite scale.

The files attached below are some that I have written for new modelers, building their first layout. Look through them if you want to. They have lots of information about model railroading. You might also look at our "Beginner's Q&A" section.

Again, Welcome;

Traction Fan :smilie_daumenpos:

View attachment WHERE DO I START rev 4.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 All AboutTurnouts rev 5.pdf

View attachment MODEL RAILROADING ON A BUDGET.pdf

View attachment Model Railroad Terminology 3.pdf
 

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Discussion Starter #5
@Tom Thank you for the heads-up. I already made mistakes and I definitely will keep doing some. I should have worded that part a bit different, that is I am interested in building the layout perfectly on a relatively tight budget.

@Don Happy to be here. I wrote a reply already yesterday, I guess it's still under moderation as it contains two links and my account is brand new.
I recently chose the Christmas gift for myself and my son, a Spanish high-speed train and realized that in order for the lights to work in DCC in needs two decoders. It's all good with this one as it comes DCC ready, will just plug these in, but it answered one of my misteries regarding a similar high-speed train that I have who's dummy loco has both white and red light on all the time. This does not have a connector so installing a functions decoder will require some manual work. I will create a topic today with photos and start from there. Besides this, I'm really into adding lights to the coaches that not yet have it ad also install lights in the buildings around the layout.

@traction fan This has to be the best and most complete welcome I ever received. I appreciate your time to put it together.
I must say, you got a bit lucky finding someone that experienced with English as in many occasions is little to none, something that many tourists complain about but the need will make them better eventually. :)
If you or anyone else ever decide to come to visit again I'll be happy to help.

My layout is quite small, 2mx1.20m, I guess the equivalent of a 6.7x4
It's not quite a model railroad but closer to a train setup as it will have a big oval and a smaller one inside plus a side part with a turntable and depot (will post an image soon). Sadly it's quite expensive to model in a Mediterranean style so I'll make it more European with a Mediterranean touch. :)

You read me right there, experience shows. I use a big piece of plywood with extruded foam on top and the same will be used for scenery for the advantages you've mentioned in your guide. Not really keen on splitting it in four, though I know I need to move sooner or later and apartment blocks here are not the widest, on the contrary.

I just started a 3-week end of the year holiday in which the main plan is to have the track all wired up and functional just in time for Christmas and then enter a bit into scenery by the time I finish my vacation, that is if I don't find any critical aspects that I omitted so far. I already soldered wires to each piece of track and I need to connect these to the bus bellow then check if all is in order. I used 14 gauge for both main and feeders. The station I use is a Roco Z21 with wireless control, DCC.

Looking forward to hearing from you guys.
 

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Sectional, or not?

@Tom Thank you for the heads-up. I already made mistakes and I definitely will keep doing some. I should have worded that part a bit different, that is I am interested in building the layout perfectly on a relatively tight budget.

@Don Happy to be here. I wrote a reply already yesterday, I guess it's still under moderation as it contains two links and my account is brand new.
I recently chose the Christmas gift for myself and my son, a Spanish high-speed train and realized that in order for the lights to work in DCC in needs two decoders. It's all good with this one as it comes DCC ready, will just plug these in, but it answered one of my mysteries regarding a similar high-speed train that I have who's dummy loco has both white and red light on all the time. This does not have a connector so installing a functions decoder will require some manual work. I will create a topic today with photos and start from there. Besides this, I'm really into adding lights to the coaches that not yet have it ad also install lights in the buildings around the layout.

@traction fan This has to be the best and most complete welcome I ever received. I appreciate your time to put it together.
I must say, you got a bit lucky finding someone that experienced with English as in many occasions is little to none, something that many tourists complain about but the need will make them better eventually. :)
If you or anyone else ever decide to come to visit again I'll be happy to help.

My layout is quite small, 2mx1.20m, I guess the equivalent of a 6.7x4
It's not quite a model railroad but closer to a train setup as it will have a big oval and a smaller one inside plus a side part with a turntable and depot (will post an image soon). Sadly it's quite expensive to model in a Mediterranean style so I'll make it more European with a Mediterranean touch. :)

You read me right there, experience shows. I use a big piece of plywood with extruded foam on top and the same will be used for scenery for the advantages you've mentioned in your guide. Not really keen on splitting it in four, though I know I need to move sooner or later and apartment blocks here are not the widest, on the contrary.

I just started a 3-week end of the year holiday in which the main plan is to have the track all wired up and functional just in time for Christmas and then enter a bit into scenery by the time I finish my vacation, that is if I don't find any critical aspects that I omitted so far. I already soldered wires to each piece of track and I need to connect these to the bus bellow then check if all is in order. I used 14 gauge for both main and feeders. The station I use is a Roco Z21 with wireless control, DCC.

Looking forward to hearing from you guys.


Marius;

The files I sent you have also been sent to many new modelers. I wrote them to help new people, but also to save me the work of retyping, over and over, many of the same answers to the similar questions that many new people ask. So, there is some self-interest involved. I'm glad you appreciate them though. :)
Like everything else about your layout, whether you divide it into sections, or leave it as one big piece, is your choice. My first few layouts were on big slabs of plywood, or on hollow core doors.
My current railroad was built in sections, and I'm very glad that it was. It has already survived one house move with little problem. Also, as I have gotten older,( I'm 71) I have lost a good deal of body flexibility, acquired arthritis, two artificial knee joints, and a disability that affects the movement of my feet. This last one makes it difficult for me to stand still for any appreciable time. I tend to stagger, sway, and trip a lot, sometimes resulting in a fall. So working while sitting, instead of standing, is very important for me. My railroad is a "Bookshelf design. The top shelf holds books, the two middle shelves house the railroad and there are more shelves underneath for general storage. This arrangement uses the same small amount of floor space for three different purposes. I think it would fit well in an apartment. My basic section is four feet long, sixteen inches high, and sixteen inches deep.(see first photo) I have deeper sections three feet square at one end and a peninsula at the other, that hold the return loops needed for continuous running of trains and a large passenger station, along with its six track railyard. The station is a 90% of full N-scale model of Seattle Union Station in the northwestern American state of Washington. All the photos below were taken on my layout, and many of the structures are scratchbuilt, and lighted with LEDs.

regards;

Traction Fan :smilie_daumenpos:

Cedar Falls module. showing lightwood bookshelf arch with enginehouse & station in background.jpg

Black River Sta. 2.JPG

Cape Ripiculous peninsula end view.jpg

Garrison creek trestle good view.JPG

Cedar Falls control panel.JPG

Cedar Falls motors & linkages.JPG

Seattle union station concourse end 1.JPG

Seattle Union Station side view.JPG

Seattle Union Station showing scratch built interior.JPG

tug & float closeup.JPG

trees & train 3.JPG

Black River town view.JPG

Wooden road bridge at Black River Junction.jpg
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Traction Fan

The gesture is the same regardless of where the documentation comes from.
I spent some time searching myself, I sometimes go to my favorite local store to ask for some guidance, see some real case scenarios on the layouts they have in the store backstage.

I love the practicality/efficient use of space you gave to the design. I thought of going for N scale myself in order to have the possibility to do more in the limited space of an apartment but in the end I decided H0 is best for me so I can enjoy better the details even at a later age. Though with what's going on around us every day going through the week is already an achievement. :)

One aspect I want to do is try to weather the buildings and vehicles not too much but not too little either, just to eliminate the plasticky look and reflexion. The ones on your layout look very, very natural.

Tomorrow I will test how the bus and feeders work as I completed all connections today, 9:15 PM here. Hopefully, no voltage drop and all is in order.

If this goes well, the next step is to glue the foam to the plywood and then do the same with the risers to the foam base. This gluing part looks to be the easiest one. :)
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Two screenshots from Scarm with what I am currently looking to build.
There is going to be water under the bridge.

I could have added more track, I have a sketch with 3 tracks in the station area but I am interested in the scenery as much as I am in being able to run trains.

It's gonna be a rural scenery, on the top right a lighthouse, on the top left a castle (possible in ruin, not sure yet) and in the center a mix of wine business, a train station plus some local stores, a bus station and some more agricultural fields.

A small road entering from the left and crossing the tracks making a right towards the station and one continuing towards the water.
 

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Have you run into DCC++ yet? Many people here seem to expirement with it and jmri. I confess to knowing nothing at all about the trains in Spain.

Anyway I do have a friend in Spain, Madrid. But I haven't made it there yet.
 

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I would add another crossover at the lower left between the two main lines.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
@Severn I wish I knew about this before I got my station, but I'm sure one day I'll get bored of my current one and decide to experiment further. The prices are amazing though. I suppose the drawback is that is more diy than a factory-built solution, as typically applies to open source projects.

@Michael I initially plan it the way you suggest and then decided to leave only one as the part on the left will be used for a road crossing. I think it might be to "cluttered" if I add another crossover there. I'll give it another look though now that you've mentioned it. :) Thank you.
 

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@Severn Surprisingly, Spain has the biggest high-speed network in the world after China.
This is a big deal with a huge impact on the country's budget as this thing is expensive to run. This shows as funds are cut short for other investments to keep it running and maintained, plus they are looking to expand it.

This year, the market liberalized and from late 2020 both SCNF and Trenitalia will be competitors on the main high-speed corridors which should make the prices more accessible.

Right now, a trip from Barcelona to Madrid is more expensive by train than by plane which is a bit ridiculous. It does get there faster. :)
 

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No way back

@Severn I wish I knew about this before I got my station, but I'm sure one day I'll get bored of my current one and decide to experiment further. The prices are amazing though. I suppose the drawback is that is more diy than a factory-built solution, as typically applies to open source projects.

@Michael I initially plan it the way you suggest and then decided to leave only one as the part on the left will be used for a road crossing. I think it might be to "cluttered" if I add another crossover there. I'll give it another look though now that you've mentioned it. :) Thank you.
marius;

I think one reason behind MichaelE's suggestion about a second crossover was that a train moving from left to right on the outer loop will not be able to get back to that outer loop if it crosses over to the inside loop, except by backing up. Maybe that's why you had considered it before? Backing a train through a crossover is not the easiest maneuver to perform. Crossovers, in order to do their job, all contain an unavoidable "reverse curve" or 'S'-curve. Backing a train, especially a passenger train, with its long cars, is likely to cause a derailment in a reverse curve. The normal practice with crossovers is to have two of them. In the case of your track plan, one crossover to let a train go onto the inner loop, and another to let it come back out. A double crossover could do both, without the "cluttering" that you mentioned to MichaelE.

Your track looks to be awfully close to the edge of the table in some places. The loops are also set dead parallel to the table edges too. You might consider skewing the loops a bit so they are not so obviously following the table edges. This approach often creates more interesting spaces for scenery, or structures. Speaking of structures, where are you going to put the station you mentioned? Turntables are space hogs. Are you sure you want one? An old trick for fitting a turntable into minimum space is to have one side of the turntable right along the edge of the table. Sometimes the curved turntable forms the end of a mini-peninsula, with the approach track, and the roundhouse tracks all on the same side of the turntable. I
suggest you move your turntable to the right, and onto a small triangular, piece of table attached to the inside corner where your present two rectangular pieces meet. If your turntable were there, you could rotate the two loops of mainline track counterclockwise about 20-30 degrees of angle, and let them extend onto the short rectangular section of table at the bottom left of your plan. This would give you a slightly longer mainline and open up some table space for scenery and structures.
I thought modern Spanish and other european locomotives had cabs at both ends and didn't need to be turned.That's only a guess though. Our local passenger train, the Amtrak "San Diegan" routinely runs 75 mile an hour backwards between Los Angeles and San Diego, then frontwards going back north to L.A. They call this push-pull operation." There is a control cab for the engineer in the last passenger car.
I have a question that may sound rude. It is not intended to insult you though, merely to point out an unrealistic scene on your plan. You show two tunnels and a high bridge between them. All that's OK, until you notice the inside loop track running parallel to, and right near, the bridge and tunnels. If the railroad had a nice flat, straight track, out on the flat land, why did they spend millions and millions of Euros drilling two expensive tunnels and an expensive bridge? It would look better if either both tracks, or neither track went through the tunnels and over the bridge. I'd say both.

All the preceding are suggestions only, you choose.

Traction Fan :smilie_daumenpos:
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Hi Traction Fan

Thank you for suggesting all these improvements.
I think I might re-add the second crossover. I wanted to have a slightly longer platform between the two ovals and a new switch there will shorten it but you're right, it makes more sense to be like this.

I made it close to the edge as it is going to sit next to the walls on the right and top sides at least. The oval inside needs to fit and have a certain radius as well to allow the steam engines I have so far as when I tested with a smaller radius they would derail plus allow space for the small beach area where the bridge is. I prefer not having objects/trees in between so I can enjoy the trains more. :) Tunnels are a different thing.

This is the reason why I placed the turntable like this, to have a 3 loco shed on the laft and have the tracks on the right for maintenance. In this way, the shed which is a big/ish building won't sit on the right side, parallel to the station.

The station will be inside the smaller oval, right across from the two switches/points, with a platform in between the two straight tracks as long as space allows.

Lastly, the reason why it's like this is because I consider the big oval to be a more express/higher speed line while the other a more regional/standard track. I'm even thinking to have a super small station where the beach will be. :)
In order to allow the water to reach a bit inside and also have some mountains this is the way I imaged it would make sense.

All this should be designed in a 60-70s style, completely rural. Everything is fictional so I haven't really focused on everything making sense as it would in real life.

It's like these parks where you take the kids to ride miniature trains. They contain tunnels and bridges as they add an extra feeling to the ride. :)

Appreciate it once again.
 

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The reason I recommended the second crossover was for the reasons Traction Fan stated.

I have a crossover at a station too, but there is no operational interference or structure interference from the turnout.
 

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I thought modern Spanish and other European locomotives had cabs at both ends and didn't need to be turned.
That is correct. Those that do not have a cab at both ends often have the cab in the middle and is higher than the rest of the locomotive for visibility.

Those are mostly (but not all) road and yard switchers. Larger styles of this design are cargo locomotives used by ÖBB Cargo and DB Cargo.



 

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without looking too deeply at the proposed layout, i parrot the idea of being able to transfer back and forth between loops is a good thing.

i also think being able to send the train in the other direction is kinda nice. but maybe not 100% necessary and you may already have it covered.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Thanks, everyone.

I am going to put that second connection as you guys suggested, you won. :)

I am not really interested in modeling a specific country, to be honest. Right now, my main goal regarding what trainsets to buy/form is to have particularly the most iconic ones that ever ran on rails in the world, like The Flying Scotsman, Trans Europ Express, Orient Express and obviously some local ones but not really as a priority.

Not planning to get them all at once, I still need my kidneys so not gonna sell them for trains. :) I'm hoping to get to shape the mountains by the end of the year.

So far the wiring is on point, no issues. I just finished glueing the polystyrene to the plywood and the Wodland risers and ramps to the polystyrene plus laying the Noch trackbed. Going smooth. Too smooth. :)
 
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