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Discussion Starter #1
I have found and started playing with Xtrkcad and came up with a track plan which I think will work out. The dimensions of the layout will be 5.5' by 3.5'. The idea was to have something that I could store under my futon frame. The plan to have a simple loop on the ledge separating my kitchen from the living area is not going to work in HO. I was hoping that someone with more knowledge and experience than myself could look at my track plans and let me know if they have any concerns and/or ideas. I plan to have 2 loops with the inner loop doing an up and over in the middle of the layout. Since I am new to Xtrkcad my plans are not as fleshed out as I would like but it has helped to organize my thoughts.

I am aware that I need to have turns with radii of 8" or greater. My Bachmann Brill has been doing fine with the 8" turns while the Bachmann PCC has not.

I plan to visit the Baltimore Society of Model Engineers open house on Sunday and perhaps walk away with knowledge that would benefit my layout.

Thanks to all
 

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A lot of the turn angles are not correct and in the lower left corner those curves are to close together and you will see many derailments there. Try using the free version of anyrail. It will alow 50 pieces of track which should be enough for your purposes. I find that drawing very confusing but also very colorful.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
A lot of the turn angles are not correct and in the lower left corner those curves are to close together and you will see many derailments there. Try using the free version of anyrail. It will alow 50 pieces of track which should be enough for your purposes. I find that drawing very confusing but also very colorful.
Thanks for your input. I realize that the design will need some tweaking. I am not expert enough to get Xtrkcad to do exactly what I want. At your suggestion I have downloaded Anyrail and will spend some time getting to know how it works.

I am thinking that I would be better served with an N scale layout if I just have 3.5' by 5.5' to work with but I already bought a couple of HO scale trolleys and I really love some of the buildings available in HO scale.

Thanks for your input.
 

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HO trolleys should have no problems with tight radius curves...I would experiment with them to see what is the tightest curve all of your fleet can handle, then plan all your turns based on that minimum. The thing that makes traction appealing is street trackage, so you would want to work that into any plan as well, making them more linear and grid-like over the free flowing spaghetti bowl looped in track that regular operators have to have.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
HO trolleys should have no problems with tight radius curves...I would experiment with them to see what is the tightest curve all of your fleet can handle, then plan all your turns based on that minimum. The thing that makes traction appealing is street trackage, so you would want to work that into any plan as well, making them more linear and grid-like over the free flowing spaghetti bowl looped in track that regular operators have to have.
That is sorta the idea. The very front of the layout would be a gritty urban downtown scene with models provided by Downtown Deco, FOS, and the like. The small internal loop would have as its centerpiece, some sort of industry and maybe a dive bar to keep the workers happy. The outer loop will be rather simple and would have radii that the PCC trolleys can handle.

The plan is to have the inner loop leave the downtown area and moving clockwise on the lefthand side of the layout be elevated to a height of 3 inches. I plan on constructing a hill which will run along the backside of the layout so that the outer loop can go through a tunnel and the innerloop can run atop a 3" high hill.
 

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I believe most trolleys can handle 15 degree radius currves and I know all trolleys can handle a 18 easily.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I believe most trolleys can handle 15 degree radius currves and I know all trolleys can handle a 18 easily.
I have a very simple loop set up on a board that is 18" wide. My Bachmann Brill handles the 8.5" radius turns easily. The Bachmann PCC derails after struggling to negotiate the turn. I am sure that if the radius was just a bit bigger the PCC would make it. Bowser suggests a minimum of 9" on their PCC trolleys.

I am still in the process of performing research so don't consider anything I say to be the final word. I am grateful to all who have helped me with my education.
 

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I have the Bowser PCC (my only streetcar :( ), and it's a dream! I also suggest TYCO, and AHM's. Try to think what if your streetcar line lasted to now... Could it have gotten a Boeing-Vertrol, or is it a heritage line like the McKinney Avenue Transit Authority, or the Yakima Electric Railway Museum! Or better yet, base it loosely on the trolley museum in Washington D.C.! It's your layout, go bananas!
 

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Try to stay with the newer age trolleys. All of them come DCC ready and also have a lot more detailing and are better running then those from Tyco or AHM and some of the early Bachmann trolleys.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Try to stay with the newer age trolleys. All of them come DCC ready and also have a lot more detailing and are better running then those from Tyco or AHM and some of the early Bachmann trolleys.
As I do more and more research and thinking my plans gradually change. I think I will do a module design with 2 modules roughly 5' wide and 2' deep to be connected in a L shape. One of the modules will be a gritty urban cityscape with buildings from Downtown Deco, FOS, and such and the other module will be more of an interurban layout. I will install switches on the urban layout so that I can have continuous loops when only one module is being used. I can have the urban module on top of a shelving unit with very little overhang so it will not look awkward. When the mood strikes me I can take it down and connect both of them together. My apartment is no more than 500 sq feet so space is at a premium. If the module layout is not a good idea then I can build something 5.5' by 3.5' and slide it under my bed. If I went this route I'd be more inclined to go with N scale. A HO layout in this size is ordinary but a N layout in this size is an empire!

I will be going to the train show this weekend in Chantilly, VA (http://www.greattrainexpo.com/) and I will have more opportunities to gather information in order to flesh out my ideas.
 

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I believe most trolleys can handle 15 degree radius currves and I know all trolleys can handle a 18 easily.
My old diecast Brill trolley easily negotiates 6 inch radius curves... :)


The biggest curves in this layout are only 12 inch radius.
 

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A two wheeled trolley can handle very very sharp radiused curves but it is when you get into the 4 wheeled trolleys that you have a problem with radius and the norm for those is about 15. My Bachmann PCC (old version) can do the 15 but because of the wiring and truck movement can't handle to much more.

And hows that layout coming? Looks like just plain wood still.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Tonight the landlord offered me a piece of plywood measuring 2' by 8'. I plan to cut it down to 2' to 5'. That should give me enough room to make 2 city blocks and have 2 loops around the block with one trolley going clockwise and the other going counter clockwise.

If you look at the European layout at http://carendt.com/scrapbook/page54a/index.html
that is sort of what I am thinking about.

On Tuesday I have a job interview. If I get the position I'll actually be able to afford to do all this!
 

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I have one of the cheap Bachmann trollys that runs ok but not great and it will take 15" curves great with no issues. I have not tried it on anything smaller.

As for XtrkCAD I will redraw your track plan making everything fit like it should. Just to let you know you dont have to have it perfect since the track plan is just a guide and not the actual laying of the track.

I will post it here as a file and as a picture prolly later tonight early tomorrow.

Massey
 

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OK finished but I cant upload the files at work. I used a min radius of 12", I used the same basic layout you did but I didnt add any elevations or crossing tracks since I dont know what you are planning on doing in those departments. I will post the file if I can if not send me an E-mail at [email protected] and I will send it to you. I hope this helps you with your layout.

Massey
 

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Discussion Starter #17
You guys are awesome. Thank you so much for your help. gc53dfgc - I do have a book case that is 7' long and 15" deep. It is about 6' tall. I could place the whole 8' x 2' layout on top and have 9" of overhang. I don't know how that will look and I don't know why I would care as I rarely have people over. When your apartment is 500 sq feet is more for living in and less for entertaining in :) The plan was to have it sit on top of another shelving unit that is 4' wide by 2'. I was thinking of placing it on top with 6" overhang on either side.

Maybe someone needs to start a forum for apartment dwelling modellers to share our secrets.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Actually, HO isn't going to work on top of the 7' wide bookcase as there is a part of the ceiling which is just 6" from the top of the bookcase. That space would be much better with N or Z scale.

My options appear to be 5' x 2' on top of metal shelving unit (yes, those are Cisco routers...) which I could always add a module and join the two where the city meets the country. I have seen videos of the East Penn Traction Club doing this and I think it looks ok.

Or stick to my original plan of 3.5' by 5.5' and slip it under the bed when I am not using it.
 

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The 7foot bookcase should be fine, Just use that lower part you can just put street and trolley track on, A standard HO engine is only like 2-4 inchs tall so you are fine in terms of hieght with jsut them but I am thinking your real problem is how far above you it will be so seeing any real detail won't be possible.
 
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