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Discussion Starter #1
I'm new to this, so forgive any ignorance. I'm trying to plan this ahead so I about mistakes or disappointment. Here is my basic plan. I need to try and get this into one of the design planning programs, they are just kind of awkward I'm my opinion, so it seemed easier to start with this. And using the programs to do a flex track curve is almost impossible. I'm aiming for a double oval with a tunnel on one end for one track. Flex track for the large oval bends and r18 for the inner track. I'm hoping for a max table width of 42", 40" would be even better.

All that said, what is the minimum distance between rails (HO)?



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If you do 18" radius curves on the inner loop, that will put the center-line of the inner loop from one side of the table to the other at 36". Note that this is the center-line. Outside to outside will be closer to 38-1/2". Give yourself 2" track spacing, so now you're looking at 42-1/2" outer edge to outer edge from one side of the table to the other. You should really have at least 1-1/2" between the table edge and the track, and even then you will need some type of barrier 2-3" higher than the table edge all along each side to keep the train from taking the death plunge to the floor. 1/8" hardboard would suffice. So with two tracks as you propose the minimum table width I would go for would be 45-3/4". Spare another 2-1/4" and you have a 48" wide table, the width of a standard sheet of plywood. So in all practicality, trying to run two tracks with the inner on 18" radius on a 40-42" wide table really isn't going to work. Is there any way at all you can go 48"? If reaching across the table is an issue, put the layout on casters so you can pull it away from the wall when needed. Once the layout is built and wired, you probably won't be needing to get to the back side as often as you think you will.
Other than that you have a nice start to your layout.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Kind of afraid of that. There really isn't a way to make it movable where I'm putting it. The ledge as is is about 35 inches. The plan is to use plywood to lay over it and extend it out to the desired width. Reach is a concern, although it may be doable. It's low to the ground, so that helps. And with the center open you could please on that it even crawl in there (or have my son do it). I'm concerned 48" will stick out to far into the room though.


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I suggest laying it out with the 15" radius and see if your train will negotiate it. Just don't make it permanent.
Then you will know for sure, in your own experience.
What radius was that circular loop in the pic you posted?
 

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Get rid of the "s" in the upper right. Make it a "slightly angled" section of track instead.

Not sure what the two "spurs" on left and right at bottom are for.
Better to put a small "yard" in the middle of the plan.

Maybe an industry or two opposite the yard "on the other side".

Keep the minimum radius on the inside to 18" (or more).
Perhaps 22" radius for the outer track.

Make sure you have a way to access "the far side" of the railroad when necessary.
 

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Bachmann recommends 18" but... only one way to know for sure. And it's free (assuming you have flex track) :rolleyes:
 

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I'm not trying to spark a flame war, but you have a specific set of guidelines to which you need to adhere, and you may not be going for the more realistic appearance of the larger radius. If they'll stay on the track, your boy will be happy!
Heck, he might like it if they wreck, too!! (I didn't say that)
 

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A couple of thoughts here. First, on layout software. If this is how simple your layout is going to be, then save your money and don't bother with the software. If you're going to go a little more complex, thennit's probably worth your time and money to get one. My personal preference is Anyrail, but keep in mind that these are all CAD (computer aided design) programs, and you're not going to just install it and start cranking out layout plans. There is a learning curve, especially for people not already familiar with some of the basic concepts.

Something you might consider, since you essentially have an oval with a lot of dead space in the center, is squeeze the two sides together, making a longer layout with two larger blobs at each end for the loops to turn the trains around. This may help solve some reach and space issues.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
I'm not trying to spark a flame war, but you have a specific set of guidelines to which you need to adhere, and you may not be going for the more realistic appearance of the larger radius. If they'll stay on the track, your boy will be happy!
Heck, he might like it if they wreck, too!! (I didn't say that)
Actually, I think you nailed it. O got so caught up in the information that says about 15" turns I didn't even think to try it. We aren't after realistic looking railways right now. If my son really gets into it and wants to do that later we can go that route with some more drastic modifications to the room.

I also like the idea of squeezing the sides in so they are closer. Good call

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Kind of afraid of that. There really isn't a way to make it movable where I'm putting it. The ledge as is is about 35 inches. The plan is to use plywood to lay over it and extend it out to the desired width. Reach is a concern, although it may be doable. It's low to the ground, so that helps. And with the center open you could please on that it even crawl in there (or have my son do it). I'm concerned 48" will stick out to far into the room though.


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vette-kid;

There is a way to make your layout somewhat "moveable." You could mount heavy-duty drawer slides between the shelf, and your extension board. Then the entire layout could be rolled out to get access to the back. You could also get the 48" width you need, and still get the layout out of the way when it wasn't being run. Add a hinged board to give you the extra width. It could be folded up for storage. Also consider curved ends on the portion of your board that projects into the room. Curves are a lot kinder than sharp corners, when you ram them with your shins! A 1 x 3 plank, with padding on the outside edge would be even better.

Traction Fan
 

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Discussion Starter #13
With just the F7A and B unit, my train seems to do fine on the r15 for a full 360. That's about as much as I can test right now until I get more cars. But I think it will work. The cars might be lighter, so I might need some weight to help keep them down but it looks promising.

I do think I will put the full 48" width up there to start and see how it goes. I can to it down later if we need to, but if it works ok, I'll have more room for expansion.

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may have already been said but maybe somewhere to allow for the reverse direction. or maybe its there and just not jumping out at me. i have the same kind of thing where it's easy to do a couple of ovals and then have a entry/exit point -- but crossing it or providing a reserve gets a bit more tricky due to space issues -- which i've also had. maybe someone smart here can suggest some ideas if they agree.

basically "playability" ...
 

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Discussion Starter #15
may have already been said but maybe somewhere to allow for the reverse direction. or maybe its there and just not jumping out at me. i have the same kind of thing where it's easy to do a couple of ovals and then have a entry/exit point -- but crossing it or providing a reserve gets a bit more tricky due to space issues -- which i've also had. maybe someone smart here can suggest some ideas if they agree.

basically "playability" ...
I'll have to think on that one, not sure I'm seeing the need. But there's probably a lot I won't get until I get some experience with it.

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