Model Train Forum banner

1 - 20 of 64 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
104 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I'm very new to this hobby, or at least born again to it after owning several DC sets when I was a kid 40 years ago. I've posted several threads asking questions but I decided to start a thread dedicated to just showing off my journey.

Recently I had a room become available over my garage. It had been used for other things, but when it was emptied about a month ago I decided it was time to dive into model trains. It's roughly 10'x20' so I figured I could eventually have table surface going down both sides and then cross in front of the window. The crossing table top would definitely be set about 3' from the window and may even be removable, but at the very least I'd be able to crawl under it.

Here's the empty room.


Train Thread 01.jpg

My first goal (after reading a lot and watching a LOT of YouTube videos) was just to set up tables on one side and then play with a test track just to get to know DCC a little and how a lot of this stuff works. Some of the videos suggested the table be higher than desk level, which made sense, so I decided on 42" to the top of a 3/4" thick foam board. Due to that height I could only reach the back of the table if it were a max of 36' deep. And due to where the stairs are I decided to keep the total length on that side to 16'. Two 8'x3' tables would need to be built.

Here's the first table.

Train Thread 02.jpg

And also because of where the stairs are which come up to this room I didn't want a corner of the table sticking out right where people would walk by. At 42" tall it would poke right in the side of the stomach and could hurt. A rounded corner would help.

Train Thread 03.jpg

So here's my "finished" tables. I ended up making one more significant change to them.

Train Thread 04.jpg

Because of what this room previously was used for it has some nice track lighting that I'd installed years ago and I've pointed a lot of them to the tables. I can easily buy a few more light fixtures and have more light whenever I need it.

Pictures of track and train on the table to come.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
104 Posts
Discussion Starter #2
In another thread I mentioned that I'd bought a co-worker's old N scale train set which included a DC controller, track, a diesel Santa Fe, and about a dozen cars. It was a good deal! The track included lots of variety including some flex, curves, turn outs (both manual and powered), straight pieces, etc.

The first thing I did was unpack it and organize the track, clean most of it, and then put together a small oval to break in my new steam locomotive.

Train Thread 05.jpg

I ran it for about a half hour each direction before deciding to expand the track and add some turn outs.

Here's the controller, some curves I hadn't used, pieces of a Woodland Scenics 2% incline set that I got on a whim just because I'd seen it in a video and wanted to do some tests, and the tackle box all his stuff came in.

Train Thread 06.jpg

Here's a blurry picture of most of the track laid out and organized by type and length. It's a screen grab of a video.

Train Thread 07.jpg

And a close up of a pile of 18" radius curve pieces.

Train Thread 08.jpg

So much potential with all this.

When I was at this stage I'd already ordered my DCC controller and a pack of flex track. The spaghetti is yet to even be installed. A few more updates to this thread before I get to the present situation.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Chaostrain

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,378 Posts
Won't know how far along you are till you post all the pics, but before you get too far, I would paint the ceiling and walls above the platform sky blue. I wish I had done that before I got too far along on my layout.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
104 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
Won't know how far along you are till you post all the pics, but before you get too far, I would paint the ceiling and walls above the platform sky blue. I wish I had done that before I got too far along on my layout.
That's part of my long term, maybe, someday perhaps, plan. If I ever expand from just these two tables and build around the other two walls I'll definitely paint a sky on the walls and ceiling. The tables are screwed to the walls but can easily be unscrewed and moved to give access for painting.

It's possible I'll only ever have railroad on these two tables, on bare foam boards and bare Woodland Scenics ramps and risers. Unlikely, but possible.

But good tip! If it were a little different you may have saved me a TON of headache!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
38 Posts
I'm very new to this hobby, or at least born again to it after owning several DC sets when I was a kid 40 years ago. I've posted several threads asking questions but I decided to start a thread dedicated to just showing off my journey.

Recently I had a room become available over my garage. It had been used for other things, but when it was emptied about a month ago I decided it was time to dive into model trains. It's roughly 10'x20' so I figured I could eventually have table surface going down both sides and then cross in front of the window. The crossing table top would definitely be set about 3' from the window and may even be removable, but at the very least I'd be able to crawl under it.

Here's the empty room.


View attachment 547737

My first goal (after reading a lot and watching a LOT of YouTube videos) was just to set up tables on one side and then play with a test track just to get to know DCC a little and how a lot of this stuff works. Some of the videos suggested the table be higher than desk level, which made sense, so I decided on 42" to the top of a 3/4" thick foam board. Due to that height I could only reach the back of the table if it were a max of 36' deep. And due to where the stairs are I decided to keep the total length on that side to 16'. Two 8'x3' tables would need to be built.

Here's the first table.

View attachment 547738

And also because of where the stairs are which come up to this room I didn't want a corner of the table sticking out right where people would walk by. At 42" tall it would poke right in the side of the stomach and could hurt. A rounded corner would help.

View attachment 547739

So here's my "finished" tables. I ended up making one more significant change to them.

View attachment 547740

Because of what this room previously was used for it has some nice track lighting that I'd installed years ago and I've pointed a lot of them to the tables. I can easily buy a few more light fixtures and have more light whenever I need it.

Pictures of track and train on the table to come.
I'm new too. Can I ask, what benefits using the foam gives?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,028 Posts
Mushtang, looks like a great room for building a model railroad in. Looking forward to watching your build progress.

Can I ask, what benefits using the foam gives?
The primary benefit of using foam under your track is that it’s relatively easy to carve down into it to form depressions, ditches, rivers, and other landscape features below your track grade. In my opinion, if you don’t plan to carve down into it, it’s better to use plywood sub-roadbed.

Foam works great for building up land forms (mountains, hills, cliffs, etc.) because it light weight, stiff, relatively strong, and easy to shape.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
18 Posts
Mushtang, looking good! I'm also using a room over my garage and it looks exactly like your's, even down to the slanted ceiling on each side and window at the far wall. I'll also be using the same leftside wall and corner, and a 16' table.

Looking forward to watching your progress.

I'll have to get a thread going once I start on the table. Oh, and I have that same Railpower 1370 unit from my son's old train set lol. Might have to find a secondary use for it, for old time sake.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
104 Posts
Discussion Starter #8
I'm new too. Can I ask, what benefits using the foam gives?
Two things in addition to what Mark said:

1) Sound reduction. Train track laid directly on a plywood table will make some amount of noise. A 3/4" foam sheet will result in much less noise. Add even more and you get other benefits.

2) The foam gives you a surface to pin things into. From what I've seen online you pin the styrofoam inclines into place with long T pins, which isn't possible to do on plywood but easy to do on foam. That lets you easily move the inclines as you build. You may have to scoot one part of it over half an inch, so you remove the pin, move it, and pin it back. Once you're 100% you can glue the inclines and other foam (risers, mountains, etc) in place and remove all the pins.

Mine may have pins in it for quite a while since it's highly likely I'll want a completely different layout on those tables if I eventually expand. Or maybe I'll eventually decide not to expand and just glue them on that day. We'll see what happens.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
104 Posts
Discussion Starter #9
Mushtang, looking good! I'm also using a room over my garage and it looks exactly like your's, even down to the slanted ceiling on each side and window at the far wall. I'll also be using the same leftside wall and corner, and a 16' table.
Put track lighting in the ceiling if you haven't already. If you have the single fixture with two bulbs like I used to have you'll definitely need more light. This room screams for it.

I'll have to get a thread going once I start on the table.
Yes please, with lots of pictures!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
104 Posts
Discussion Starter #10
This is the "test track" I expanded to after the small oval was used to break in the locomotive. This track was created so I could see how well a big sample of the old track I owned worked and how the new cars I'd just gotten looked. Unfortunately the caboose I got was damaged and I have to exchange it, so I used a caboose from the set I got from my coworker (which I got along with all the track).

Also, I don't remember if I was using the DCC controller by this time or not. I do know that later I was programming the locomotive and managed to get the speed of the steam pistons to match the movement but in this video they're way off. The controller is off to the right of the screen.

Finally, in this video you can see a small gap between the tables. I screwed the tables to the wall studs and then screwed them together. Apparently the wall isn't straight and so I needed to screw the tables together first and then the wall. I recently fixed that.

 

·
Registered
Joined
·
104 Posts
Discussion Starter #11
I'm going to nearly duplicate the next couple of posts from some I made in another thread, just for continuity here. I'd like to come back to this thread and see my main steps in one place and that other thread will soon drift away.

So now that I am satisfied with how things are working I'd like to try putting together a more complex track so the train does more than just go round and round a long oval. I started simple and came up with a schematic (next post) and then drew up a version I could be happy with in SCARM (post after that).
 
  • Like
Reactions: BigGRacing

·
Registered
Joined
·
104 Posts
Discussion Starter #12
Here's my plan, schematic only. There are two main loops which travel nearly all the way across the 16' surface. Opposite ends are elevated so they will cross over each other and not be as boring as this looks in the image.

There's also two transfer paths so a train can move back and forth between the loops as needed, or if I want to run two trains at the same time they can remain completely separated on the different loops.

And finally I will have two auto reversing loops within each loop so that I can change the direction that a train goes around the track. Each track will have only one AR loop but they're in opposite directions, so a train may have to switch loops in order to turn around and then switch back to the loop it was on.

I've drawn this out in SCARM but the actual layout looks nothing like this so it's much more difficult to follow, but that's what my thinking was when I first sketched it out on paper. I can post my layout here from one of the programs once I get one with the correct track radius'.

There will probably be a few spurs as well so I can park cars off the track. I'm not going to have a yard with multiple spurs at this time. The room offers the possibility for additional tables and if I expand someday I'll definitely have a working yard.

547759
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
104 Posts
Discussion Starter #13
Here's the SCARM export JPG. As I said, it's hard to tell by looking at this what lines are the transfers, which are the reverse loops, and which are part of the large loops. Also, there are two spurs here that are not shown on the schematic above.

Feel free to criticize, make helpful suggestions, or anything else. It's a first attempt and I'm sure there's plenty of room for improvement. You guys probably see problems here that I wouldn't realize is an issue until I get it installed and something wasn't working well.

547760
 
  • Like
Reactions: BigGRacing

·
Registered
Joined
·
104 Posts
Discussion Starter #14
I've ordered some curve track to be able to do this, purchased a bunch more of the foam inclines and risers, pins, etc. Somewhere along the line I decided I wished I'd gotten 2" thick foam instead of the 3/4", so why not add a layer of 2" and have both?

The track and everything else needed to come off to get it out of the way for the new design (whenever I finalize it) so this was a good incentive to clean it all off. While I had everything off I also unscrewed the tables from the wall to fix the gap I mentioned in post number 10 above.

Now the tables are secured together and secured to the wall again, the thick foam is on, and I'm going to spend time this weekend learning AnyRail and try to lay out my system in that software package. Hopefully by late weekend I'll be able to start laying track.


Two Inch Thick Table Top.jpg
 

·
Admin
Joined
·
44,220 Posts
Good move in doing some additional planning, you can get pretty close with the track planning software, but there will still be adjustments. That's more sure if you're using flex track, the track planning software will let you do anything, even if it doesn't make sense. :D
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
104 Posts
Discussion Starter #17
In looking at my schematic above, and sketches here at my desk, I realized that each of the Xfer paths would also require an auto reversing controller for a total of 4 of those and not just two like I'd planned. This realization came as I was re-routing the schematic so my plan for a rail on top of another rail along the back wall could work easier.

Instead, I came up with this slightly different version.

547788


So in this schematic the right side of the diagram is elevated to 2" and the left side is ground level. On the table one of the loops will be turned around so that the Xfer lines will be stretched across the back wall, one at 0" all the way down and the other at 2" all the way down.

Another thing that popped out at me after looking over this new one is the Xfer line on the right is almost not needed. If that line were removed completely a train could still end up going both directions around both loops, but with it in place it will allow two trains to transfer at the same time so I'm keeping it.

The auto reversing tracks will be tricky to add and keep them long enough. But as I understand it that section only has to be long enough to contain all the electric parts of a single train, right? As in, the Locomotive and the Tender only. So if none of my cars have lighting or require power they can roll along and not cause electrical shorts no matter where they are.

Correct me if I'm wrong about any of this. It's MUCH easier to change it now. Haha.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,028 Posts
You actually only need 2 auto reversers with either your original track plan or with your new one. With the original plan, you would have the two loops have opposite polarity and with the later plan, both loops have the same polarity.

Regarding the length of the reversing sections, yes, you technically only need them to be as long as the electrically active portions of your train. However, I would caution you that you may eventually want a lighted passenger train to run on your layout. They add another level of interest that many of us like to have on our layouts. As you've said before, I realize this may be a temporary track plan, so it may not matter to you.
 

·
Railroad Tycoon
Joined
·
23,977 Posts
The test video.........looks to run nice.
That is N scale? What manufacturer made the locomotive? Do they have an on/off switch for the sound?
Too bad smoke wasn't pouring out the stack. :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
104 Posts
Discussion Starter #20
You actually only need 2 auto reversers with either your original track plan or with your new one. With the original plan, you would have the two loops have opposite polarity and with the later plan, both loops have the same polarity.

Regarding the length of the reversing sections, yes, you technically only need them to be as long as the electrically active portions of your train. However, I would caution you that you may eventually want a lighted passenger train to run on your layout. They add another level of interest that many of us like to have on our layouts. As you've said before, I realize this may be a temporary track plan, so it may not matter to you.
YES! I see it now! Okay, that makes sense. I have to start looking at these things the right way. I'm learning. That helps, but I'm not sure I can do my over-under plan on the back of the table unless I do the new plan anyway. I'm still glad that I learned something!!

This is why I keep posting here, because folks are so helpful. Someday I'll be able to return the favor and help others when they have questions.

I might do passenger trains later... but as you said that I said it will likely be after I redo it all anyway. So I'm still cool with the shorter AR segments.

Thanks again!!!
 
1 - 20 of 64 Posts
Top