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Discussion Starter #1
I'm trying to figure out the minimum layout table size to accommodate an ELEVATED Fast Track level to run a Lionel Santa Fe Lion Chief Passenger train, while also running a LOWER level 2037 Steam Loco Freight line on conventional tubular O gauge track (I have a lot of it) Obviously running the two on the same track, like in a figure 8 is almost impossible unless I invoke some kind of digital control. I've given up on that concept. I resolved myself to the practicality of running the Lion Chief technology on a separated elevated track, and the old 2037 freight train 1950's technology on the lower "ground" level track.
The Santa Fe starter set naturally came with 8 curved 036, and one 10" Straight Plug-Expand, and one FasTrack Terminal section, and TWO 10" straight.
In my basement area I can easily fit a traditional 4' x 8', but I'm guessing the WIDTH is going to HAVE to be 5 or 6 feet for the elevated Lionel FasTrack trestles to co exist with the bottom tubular freight track. Correct? I can do 5 feet, but 6 feet is really pushing it, as I have to be able to access a freezer one one side, and a clothes dryer on the other side. If I have to do 6 feet I guess I could. I'm clueless on how to figure this out.
I downloaded and acquired the licensed version of SCARM, but haven't seen where I can insert elevated tracks??
What am I missing here? I did manage to duplicate a 4 x 8 foot layout that I used to have as a kid, accommodating the 456 coal ramp, believe it or not, and the measurements are pretty damn accurate. It JUST fits a 4 x 8 with a couple of inches leeway on the width. To make matters even more complicated, I acquired a pristine and fully functional "companion" 397 Coal Loader, and between that, straddled alongside the coal ramp, I KNOW I'm going to be using up even more real estate? If I have to forego the coal ramp and the coal loader, so be it. I might be trying to do the impossible.
Essentially, WIDTH is the problem. 5 feet? 6 feet? 7 feet?????? Or can this be done on a 4' x 8'?
Any and all suggestions are welcome, including any recommended publications out there.
Thanks in advance
Jim
 

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Do you have to use Lionel FasTrack trestles? If you can make supports for the upper level from 2X2 or 2X3 lumber, you could have the uprights straddle the lower level track where needed. Then you can keep the upper level to a manageable size.
 

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SCARM supports "elevated" track including grades. I tried that feature and it works but it was not intuitive (at least for me). You would use the same height for all the elevated track. You can then get a nice 3-D view of the plan showing the floor and elevated track (Main Menu: "View", "3-D Viewer").

On a different note, my overall track plans call for 3 loops. I needed a "smidgen" more than the standard 4' wide panels. To avoid piecing together panels to create wider platform, I used the 2 x 4s' sides to create an extra 3" in width. That is, the tops of 2 x 4s sides are level with the top of the 4 x 8 panel. That gave me 4 1/4' in width - just enough. I used 2 x 3s between the 2 x 4s as support under the panel. There is some waste of 2 x 3s as you can't get two 4' lengths by cutting an 8' long 2 x 3 (the saw cut takes away some length). But I was able to utilize the left over shorts in other areas. You could use the shorts for the platform's legs.

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Discussion Starter #4
Great ideas, guys- both on the 2x2 wood supports and the width extension tweak! I would never have thought of this!
I already purchased a set of Lionel FasTrack Elevated Trestles, but I'm not married to them if I need an untenable table width.
Back to the drawing board. Also, thanks for explaining the not-so-obvious ELEVATED TRACK feature in SCARM.
I'm really wondering if I did enter some elevations (all the same for one level), if the resulting diagram would show how much extra room I would need on the base board. Why do I say that? Because I do NOT see any Lionel Elevated Trestle devices in Scarm's database.
If you haven't guessed already, I'm trying to create a VIRTUAL layout to see if everything FITS before I plunge right in and start building a table. But, l appreciate the responses so far here, and they will definitely help move the planning along!
 

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"If you haven't guessed already, I'm trying to create a VIRTUAL layout to see if everything FITS before I plunge right in and start building a table."

That's the ticket laddie!

I've laid my first loop; the inner most loop on my SCARM pic, above. When sections didn't quite line up, it was track that wasn't in the correct position. Ultimately, SCARM was dead on in it's track position and lengths.

IIRC, SCARM will include a "boiler plate" trestle in the 3-D view and you can't place the trestles, they're included between every track section (not sure).

But even with the those limitations, it might give an good idea of the issues, get you close ...

Can the Fastrack trestles be placed anywhere under a track or are they married to track interconnections?
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Do you have to use Lionel FasTrack trestles? If you can make supports for the upper level from 2X2 or 2X3 lumber, you could have the uprights straddle the lower level track where needed. Then you can keep the upper level to a manageable size.
Lehigh 74- I'm curious in exactly how the 2x2 or 2x3 uprights would attach to the FasTrack? I already have one set of the elevated Fas Track trestles (not graduated). Would I simply NOT use them at all and just screw the tracks into the wooden uprights, and then maybe glue the wood uprights to the table?
Using Scarm, I did a preliminary layout, and it looks like one elevated level using the FasTrack 6-12038 trestle set would JUST fit inside of my lower tubular "freight line" loop. The measurements are pretty accurate. The TRICK was to insert TWO 5.5" half tracks to widen my lower loop. The increased width of my bottom level to get it to work would be 47". I could apply the same trick mentioned by Milestone Mike, and add some 2x4's to the long side of my 4' x 8' table to increase the width so the track doesn't hang over the edge at all. Here's my Scarm layout so far...

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This ALMOST looks like it will work, especially if I build the table out a smidge by adding the 2x4's. BUT I'm pretty sure the BASES of the standard Lionel Elevated Trestles will not allow the addition of my 456 Coal Ramp.
Hence, the 2"x2" wooden trestle supports may be the best way to go. They may only be necessary in the area of the coal ramp. Any reason why I can't "mix and match"- use some of the stock bases and supports AND the 2x2's?
Or, maybe I'm trying to do the impossible- getting everything to work on a 4x8 base?
Oh, by the way, thanks again to Milestone Mike for the tip how to add the elevated track in SCARM. Here is the 3D view during the early development of my track layout actually SHOWING the elevation!
I think looking at the rear of this picture, it's showing me that getting that coal ramp back there is going to be difficult at best. I might have to give up? That would be disappointing because I also have a pristine 397 coal loader to go with it, as I mentioned before. Oh well- one step at a time.

544492
 

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Extend the elevated oval an extra straight section on the left and use a bridge instead of trestles over the coaling facility?
 

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Extend the elevated oval an extra straight section on the left and use a bridge instead of trestles over the coaling facility?
I THINK I understand your suggestion. In the section of trestle that would go over the coal ramp, substitute a bridge?
Now, I do own a Lionel 316 bridge, which measures 24". I guess I would first have to try that and test the stability. There would be NO supports underneath for the 24" length, because we're depending on the rigidity of the tin plate, right? Here's my bridge I just placed on top of my elevated loop to take a picture. This is the general area of where the coal ramp would be.

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BUT, "Houston- we have a problem"- the coal ramp measures 35" long. So, I might still have the problem of one of the 6" plastic trestle bases getting in the way for approx 9" of coal ramp length. Maybe THAT'S why you said to extend the elevated track over one length? To experiment with sliding around the trestle bases?
Sorry if I'm a little "dense" in understanding this layout design stuff. I think I'm at the point of laying everything out on the floor PHYSICALLY and do a real world mockup instead of VIRTUALLY. My 44" wide kitchen table is just not going to serve me well any more. However, I'm pretty hopeful that using wooden 2x2 or 2x3 supports in place of the 6" bases on that far side of the table might free up just enough real estate for the coal ramp 35" length. I'm still not sure exactly how to install them yet. If I simply screw in 2 or 2 1/2" drywall screws from the two pre drilled diagonal holes on top of the Fas Tracks, (there's only TWO) will it be stable enough, or should I also GLUE the supports to the table, or maybe SCREW them in from underneath the table? Do I still use the metal clips that came with the trestle kit? What about the 10" long strips? And, while we're at it- what's the purpose of those 10" strips? LATERAL stability of the two trestle supports? And why do I have FIVE EXTRA strips? (this is the 6-12038 Lionel Elevated set)
Or do I go the extra mile and use a jigsaw and cut an extended base for all the tracks out of 3/8" plywood?? (that sounds like a LOT of work)
One last thought- am I correct in assuming that all my design problems are due to the fact that I'm trying to make all this work on a 4 foot width table? I DO have just enough room to increase the width to 5 feet.
That would leave me 2.5 feet on either side of the table to open the refrigerator door, clothes dryer, and freezer door on the other side. Just enough. I apologize if I'm making this whole project overly complicated, but really appreciate all the help so far. I think I'm on the home stretch here, and pretty close to a solution thanks to this forum!
HAPPY 4th to you all!
 

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As you likely know, in SCARM you can select different mfg's track to create a layout. On the track scale menu (O, HO, etc.) the very last selection is "Figures". That allows you create basic objects such as a rectangle or even a 3-D "shoe box". Measure your coaling facilities, create corresponding objects and place them on the track plan. That will provide a definitive view of the clearances and allow you to quickly move and adjust trackage seeking a workable solution.

I'm guessing the bridge will be just fine. After all, it uses the basic structure of a real bridge; the triangular sides to support the span. :)

Of course testing it before hand would be prudent.
 
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