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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi


Looking to find some plans and more information to build a Door type layout. Max size is about 36inches by 8 foot and would love to have a turntable and more then one track line. So the possibility of running more then one train at a time. Just not sure how to translate some of the plans I have seen online to get what I need and not break the bank. Is something like this possible with Kato. I see they have starter packs but not sure if they have turntables. Also looked at Peco but they do not seem to have track packages or starter packs.


Andrew
 

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Welcome to the hobby and the forums. It sounds like you're a real beginner, which is fine, but your post basically covers the entire scope of the hobby. Spend some time reading on the boards here (we have a beginners area specifically for people like you, and there is even an extensive tutorial guide there), read some books / publications (try Model Railroad Hobbyist - it's a free on-line pub), and browse some online retailers to get a feel for what is available and what you can do.

Most standard doors are 30" wide, but there are wider ones available. Check your local building supply place. There are literally thousands of plans out there-- as long as you pick one that fits on your door, it will work. You don't have to duplicate the plan exactly, either. Close enough is fine. Most plans will tell you what radius of curve they have, and you can guess how much straight track, so even if there isn't a materials list, it's not really too hard to figure out what you need.

Katk is excellent track,, but it's on the pricey side. No starter set that I'm aware of contains a turntable, although Kato does make one, as I found with with quick Google search: Kato 20-283 - Electric Turntable (SCALE=N) Part # 381-20-283

You can always buy track in smaller packs as well; probably no single starter set has everything you need for the layout you envision anyway. As far as breaking the bank, well, I hate to burst your bubble, but this is not a cheap hobby. Even track for a small layout can quickly run to hundreds of dollars, and as you can see, the turntable ain't cheap (and that's the best price of the 4 I saw). Add in controls, locomotives, rolling stock, and scenery and it runs to quite a chunk of change. The good news is that you don't have to buy it all at once.

A cheaper route than buying roadbed track is to use flex track and commercial turnouts. Flex track comes in 1 yard or 1 meter lengths, and can be shaped into the desired configuration and cut to fit, making it more versatile than sectional track at well.

And then you need to figure out what kind of control system you want. Simple track plans running one train at I time work well in basic DC; more complicated layouts and multiple locomotives are better handled using Digital Command Control (DCC), which again is more costly and more versatile than DC, but oddly, no more complicated to wire and operate.

So this is already verging into TLDR, territory, so I'll stop here. Dig into the wealth of information that's out there, and ask about anything that isn't clear.
 

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I built an N-scale layout on a door once - one of those hollow core doors they call a Luan using Atlas sectional track. Putting down track was easy and fun - I could push the track nails in with just a nail set. But it was like 1½ inches thick, which made wiring on the underside nearly impossible.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I built an N-scale layout on a door once - one of those hollow core doors they call a Luan using Atlas sectional track. Putting down track was easy and fun - I could push the track nails in with just a nail set. But it was like 1½ inches thick, which made wiring on the underside nearly impossible.
I am honestly considering building it on 2 inch foam board and not a door itself but just using a door as the size I am going towards.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Welcome to the hobby and the forums. It sounds like you're a real beginner, which is fine, but your post basically covers the entire scope of the hobby. Spend some time reading on the boards here (we have a beginners area specifically for people like you, and there is even an extensive tutorial guide there), read some books / publications (try Model Railroad Hobbyist - it's a free on-line pub), and browse some online retailers to get a feel for what is available and what you can do.

Most standard doors are 30" wide, but there are wider ones available. Check your local building supply place. There are literally thousands of plans out there-- as long as you pick one that fits on your door, it will work. You don't have to duplicate the plan exactly, either. Close enough is fine. Most plans will tell you what radius of curve they have, and you can guess how much straight track, so even if there isn't a materials list, it's not really too hard to figure out what you need.

Katk is excellent track,, but it's on the pricey side. No starter set that I'm aware of contains a turntable, although Kato does make one, as I found with with quick Google search: Kato 20-283 - Electric Turntable (SCALE=N) Part # 381-20-283

You can always buy track in smaller packs as well; probably no single starter set has everything you need for the layout you envision anyway. As far as breaking the bank, well, I hate to burst your bubble, but this is not a cheap hobby. Even track for a small layout can quickly run to hundreds of dollars, and as you can see, the turntable ain't cheap (and that's the best price of the 4 I saw). Add in controls, locomotives, rolling stock, and scenery and it runs to quite a chunk of change. The good news is that you don't have to buy it all at once.

A cheaper route than buying roadbed track is to use flex track and commercial turnouts. Flex track comes in 1 yard or 1 meter lengths, and can be shaped into the desired configuration and cut to fit, making it more versatile than sectional track at well.

And then you need to figure out what kind of control system you want. Simple track plans running one train at I time work well in basic DC; more complicated layouts and multiple locomotives are better handled using Digital Command Control (DCC), which again is more costly and more versatile than DC, but oddly, no more complicated to wire and operate.

So this is already verging into TLDR, territory, so I'll stop here. Dig into the wealth of information that's out there, and ask about anything that isn't clear.
If not Kato track due to the price then what brand? I did a small layout in the past but always had track issues and I think I used Atlas in the past and always had problems from day one.
 

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If not Kato track due to the price then what brand? I did a small layout in the past but always had track issues and I think I used Atlas in the past and always had problems from day one.
Atlas, Peco, or Micro Engineering, flex track should work well for you as long as you lay it correctly. The files below have more info on track, and a host of other model railroading subjects.

Good Luck & Have Fun;

Traction Fan 🙂
 

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If not Kato track due to the price then what brand? I did a small layout in the past but always had track issues and I think I used Atlas in the past and always had problems from day one.
Track is track, if laid properly. Kato and other sectional track, especially with attached roadbed, is deceptive. Even though the roadbed locks together, you have to be sure the joiners align properly, and that you don't introduce kinks into the layout. Being successful with track laying is a question of exercising the time and effort required to do it properly, not by which brand of track you choose.

The exception to this is the turnouts. Of the roadbed track systems, only Kato's are worth anything. Bachmann and LifeLike turnouts are, to be polite, junk. Atlas's "Snap Switches" are not much better, although they can be improved with some careful adjustment. Atlas Custom Line, MicroEngineering, Walthers, Shinohara (no longer in business), Peco are all fine.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Track is track, if laid properly. Kato and other sectional track, especially with attached roadbed, is deceptive. Even though the roadbed locks together, you have to be sure the joiners align properly, and that you don't introduce kinks into the layout. Being successful with track laying is a question of exercising the time and effort required to do it properly, not by which brand of track you choose.

The exception to this is the turnouts. Of the roadbed track systems, only Kato's are worth anything. Bachmann and LifeLike turnouts are, to be polite, junk. Atlas's "Snap Switches" are not much better, although they can be improved with some careful adjustment. Atlas Custom Line, MicroEngineering, Walthers, Shinohara (no longer in business), Peco are all fine.
Maybe I should go Peco then or is Peco as pricey as Kato? How do I figure out what track I would need based on a set of track plans I might find online? Last thing I want to do is end up with sub standard track or switches.

CTValleyRR is that any chance related to Naugatuck Railroad that still runs as a museum type thing in CT? I used to Volunteer there a long while ago and at Branford Trolley.

Andrew
 

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Maybe I should go Peco then or is Peco as pricey as Kato? How do I figure out what track I would need based on a set of track plans I might find online? Last thing I want to do is end up with sub standard track or switches.

CTValleyRR is that any chance related to Naugatuck Railroad that still runs as a museum type thing in CT? I used to Volunteer there a long while ago and at Branford Trolley.

Andrew
No. The Connecticut Valley Railroad originally connected Hartford and Old Saybrook. It was acquired by the New Haven, folded into Penn Central, and then abandoned. The track from Old Saybrook to Middletown was eventually resurrected in 1971 as the Essex Steam Train, where I am a member of the Friends. I model that section of track in a fictitious mid-1950's setting. The Naugy and the trolley museum are both going strong... or were before Covid-19, anyway.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
No. The Connecticut Valley Railroad originally connected Hartford and Old Saybrook. It was acquired by the New Haven, folded into Penn Central, and then abandoned. The track from Old Saybrook to Middletown was eventually resurrected in 1971 as the Essex Steam Train, where I am a member of the Friends. I model that section of track in a fictitious mid-1950's setting. The Naugy and the trolley museum are both going strong... or were before Covid-19, anyway.
Oh ok, I know Trolley museum is going strong I see updates from them on facebook all the time. I should see if I can find out the name of the railway that went through Westchester county New York right by the sawmill river parkway. Years ago I lived in Hastings on Hudson and in the early 80's some of the track was still there. Was later removed and turned into a bike and running path.
 

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Maybe I should go Peco then or is Peco as pricey as Kato? How do I figure out what track I would need based on a set of track plans I might find online? Last thing I want to do is end up with sub standard track or switches.

CTValleyRR is that any chance related to Naugatuck Railroad that still runs as a museum type thing in CT? I used to Volunteer there a long while ago and at Branford Trolley.

Andrew
Andrew;

Kato, and Peco, track & turnouts are both high quality, but very different from each other. Kato is a "roadbed track" meaning it has a gray plastic piece attached to the bottom of each section of track. This piece simulates the crushed rock "ballast" seen under real railroad track. The ends of roadbed track have locking tabs that hold the track sections to each other firmly.

Peco is plain o'l track, rails & ties, but no roadbed piece. This type of track is normally laid on top of commercial cork or foam roadbed that is purchased separately. Generally speaking, roadbed track is the most expensive, per foot, of the three model track types, Sectional track, Flex track, and Roadbed track.
Peco and Kato turnouts (track switches) are both high quality, and very reliable, few, if any, derailments on either. High quality usually means higher price, but is usually well worth the cost difference. As you said yourself, you "don't want to end up with sub-standard track or switches." You're right, and I couldn't agree more.

You can find prices online at www.walthers.com (for full retail price.) Also check www.modeltrainstuff.com and www.trainworld.com both are decent online dealers. Check E-bay to see the used prices for comparison.

As for how much track you need for an online track plan, I would think that would be called out on the plan. If not, then you would need to make scale measurements of the plan to get the footage of track used. If you're using flex track (highly recommended) then you could just buy a bundle, or a group of ten 36" sections and add more if needed. Flex track can be shaped to any curve, and cut to size, so its pretty easy to form it to the plan you choose.

Good Luck & Have Fun

Traction Fan 🙂
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Thank you
Andrew;

Kato, and Peco, track & turnouts are both high quality, but very different from each other. Kato is a "roadbed track" meaning it has a gray plastic piece attached to the bottom of each section of track. This piece simulates the crushed rock "ballast" seen under real railroad track. The ends of roadbed track have locking tabs that hold the track sections to each other firmly.

Peco is plain o'l track, rails & ties, but no roadbed piece. This type of track is normally laid on top of commercial cork or foam roadbed that is purchased separately. Generally speaking, roadbed track is the most expensive, per foot, of the three model track types, Sectional track, Flex track, and Roadbed track.
Peco and Kato turnouts (track switches) are both high quality, and very reliable, few, if any, derailments on either. High quality usually means higher price, but is usually well worth the cost difference. As you said yourself, you "don't want to end up with sub-standard track or switches." You're right, and I couldn't agree more.

You can find prices online at www.walthers.com (for full retail price.) Also check www.modeltrainstuff.com and www.trainworld.com both are decent online dealers. Check E-bay to see the used prices for comparison.

As for how much track you need for an online track plan, I would think that would be called out on the plan. If not, then you would need to make scale measurements of the plan to get the footage of track used. If you're using flex track (highly recommended) then you could just buy a bundle, or a group of ten 36" sections and add more if needed. Flex track can be shaped to any curve, and cut to size, so its pretty easy to form it to the plan you choose. The attached files have more information on a variety of model railroad subjects.

Good Luck & Have Fun

Traction Fan 🙂
If I am not mistake to use flex track then I could not use Kato, Would have to use Peco Does peco make flex track or have to mix in Flex track from Atlas and will they work together?

Andrew
 

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Oh ok, I know Trolley museum is going strong I see updates from them on facebook all the time. I should see if I can find out the name of the railway that went through Westchester county New York right by the sawmill river parkway. Years ago I lived in Hastings on Hudson and in the early 80's some of the track was still there. Was later removed and turned into a bike and running path.
I think you refer to the old Putnam line
 

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Maybe I should go Peco then or is Peco as pricey as Kato? How do I figure out what track I would need based on a set of track plans I might find online? Last thing I want to do is end up with sub standard track or switches.

Andrew
Hi Andrew,

Kato track, mounted on a plastic road base, is code 80. Atlas and Peco also offer code 80 track. All 3 are compatible with each other, and can be connected to each other with rail joiners. However, since the Atlas and Peco code 80 track don't have a built-in roadbed, you would need to use some cork roadbed, and possibly some thin shims (cardboard, etc.), to help elevate it to Kato height. Atlas makes a good surface-mount turntable that is reasonable in price. It comes with a manual handcrank to operate it. You can also purchase a motorizing kit, and 3-stall roundhouse kits that can be joined together to create more stalls.

As far as turnouts go, CTValleyRR, in post #7, is spot on with his info. Heed his advice and you will be fine.

Try and build your layout with 11" minimum radius curves, or larger if possible. 9-3/4" has been the defacto train set standard forever with N-scale. This mostly limits you to 4 axle diesels, small steamers, and 40'/50'/60' freight/passenger cars. If you want to run modern day 6 axle locos, they don't always like 9-34" radius curves. Plus long passenger and long, modern freight cars look fairly ridiculous on these small radii curves, and may not run well on them either.

Good luck, and hope this helps. (y)
 

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Who ran on that line New York Central? Wonder if could Model that or would getting decals and all be hard to come by. Either way looking 1950's and diesel


I remember it being called the "Old Put" line. I was also affiliated with a club, in Westchester, that had a club size where they modeled the Put line. It was impressive, unfortunately they lost their lease.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Hi Andrew,

Kato track, mounted on a plastic road base, is code 80. Atlas and Peco also offer code 80 track. All 3 are compatible with each other, and can be connected to each other with rail joiners. However, since the Atlas and Peco code 80 track don't have a built-in roadbed, you would need to use some cork roadbed, and possibly some thin shims (cardboard, etc.), to help elevate it to Kato height. Atlas makes a good surface-mount turntable that is reasonable in price. It comes with a manual handcrank to operate it. You can also purchase a motorizing kit, and 3-stall roundhouse kits that can be joined together to create more stalls.

As far as turnouts go, CTValleyRR, in post #7, is spot on with his info. Heed his advice and you will be fine.

Try and build your layout with 11" minimum radius curves, or larger if possible. 9-3/4" has been the defacto train set standard forever with N-scale. This mostly limits you to 4 axle diesels, small steamers, and 40'/50'/60' freight/passenger cars. If you want to run modern day 6 axle locos, they don't always like 9-34" radius curves. Plus long passenger and long, modern freight cars look fairly ridiculous on these small radii curves, and may not run well on them either.

Good luck, and hope this helps. (y)
What ever I would do thinking 1950's and diesel and industrial , How would I find out what types of loco's and all where common in the 50's. Would not want more modern stuff
 

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Andrew, I get the feeling you're not only new to N-scale in particular, but new to model railroading in its entirety. With that in mind, I think you are trying to bite off WAY more than you can chew as a rank beginner. But don't get me wrong, I still admire your enthusiasm.

Kalmbach Publishing has put out many model railroading books and magazines over the years, covering all facets of model railroading. I highly suggest you do some searching and purchase a few of their books that will answer many questions you haven't even thought of yet. For instance, they published a soft-cover book entitled "Modeling the 50's, The Glory Years of Railroading", or similar to that. I have it in my stash of books, and it tells a LOT about the subject.

The track plan you mention in your last post is VERY track intensive, and should be attempted only by one with a fair amount of model railroading experience. My advice is to look for a plan with a lot less track, and therefore a lot easier to build and a lot less expensive to start with. You need to learn the basics before diving into something like that. Once again, Kalmbach Publishing has put out several soft-cover booklets on track plans, some of which feature mainly smaller layouts that can be made to fit on doors if they don't already. Atlas also offers several track planning books for smaller layouts. These are also good little booklets for beginners. Some easy searching on the internet will also pop up a lot of door-sized layouts and plans.

In your case, if you want to get going, stick with Kato Unitrack. It's pretty much bullet-proof, so to say. Buy enough for a few ovals, and get some turnouts and extra track for a few passing sidings and industrial stubs. As you read books and gain experience, you can buy more track and turnouts to expand your empire.

Good luck on your endeavors.
 
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