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Those of you that know me, know I am shameless in asking questions to gain information. So here we go with my March 2020 dumb questions of the month.

I had to disassemble my layout. My wife decided to get a divorce and move on. She does not want to reside in this old house we own. It happens. She moved out pretty quickly, and we are still friendly. I dismantled all of the layout as well as I could and retained the board, brackets, and boxed all of the Fastrack up as carefully as possible.

This is kind of a dream scenario. I had planned to stay in this home for another 14 years and my track was 17 feet long by average 7 feet deep. Pretty small for O Scale layout based on all I have read here.

With a reset, I want to make sure I do this right.

I am looking at homes and obviously the ideal is probably to get a Ranch home with a basement with a long stretch of room. That room needs to be well lit, electrified, comfortable.

This has kind of been easier said than done but I have only looked at a few homes. I am going to look at some more homes on Friday.

This is more about a minimum than a maximum because few basements even run unimpeded for 40 plus feet. My minimum is about 20 feet and preferably 22-24 feet.

I was challenged in my old layout to get a large enough curve on my tight end, which was across from the stairs and measured I believe 5-6 feet at it's widest. I ended up achieving a net 60 on the outer of my 2 tracks by combining O72 with O60 and when needed O48.

I looked in the latest Lionel catalog - my Fastrack book is packed away - and it did not reveal the full circle width measurements.

If I could only achieve a net O60 (or O54 to O60) with that hybrid 5 feet, then I believe to get to O72 I need 7 feet deep. Does that sound correct?

I want O72 like all of us so I am not too restricted on what to buy? I visited a favorite hobby store a couple of months back and spotted a nice Atlas Zephyr passenger car set but it would not run on anything less that O72. I guess my answer should have come from the other turning end of my 17 x 7 layout where I got a full O72 on the outer of 2 loops but I want you guys to confirm. My Fastrack layout was never O72 + O72 etc but was a true hybrid to make curves a bit tighter relatively speaking - to make a connection for instance at my back bridges. However overall my outer loop was easily O68 to O74 - ish.

If someone could answer this "Captain Obvious" question I would appreciate it - a HALF curve of a particular curve size, like O72 - that goes into straight track is just as good as a full curve, correct? I mean - the goal of a curve is to bring the model train back in a different direction and the curve is wide to accommodate the choices we make that model real trains that need wide turns, like the Big Boy steam locomotive, or the longer box cars.

But if you have a half O72 and bring the train straight, why not do that and then half turn it after 2-3 feet back to the other direction? Am I missing something in my analysis? Cars and locomotives shouldn't bind, should they?

Is a full turn "gentler" on a consist over a half turn - straight - half turn?

So far I have really only seen one home that would work. It had a long room that was I believe 26 feet long but had a built in bar area on one end, so usable space was 20-22 feet long. I'm OK with that. I would need about 2-3 feet to move around the layout to the bar, which is original to the home and likely hard to remove, and the bar surface would allow me to work on layout projects.

The depth of the room is at least 12 feet. It is finished off as a family room with nice recessed lighting and is wired for a ceiling fan.

I'm thinking of a "sock" layout. I would make my long run in this room on the back wall as most of us do. This would allow for the visual effect a long passenger or freight consist would allow. I'll probably run 2 tracks, maybe 3. Because I thought I was going to be an O54 guy for the next 14 years, all of my stuff is O54 or less.

On the "bar" end I would either have a full outer circle of O72 or a hybrid. Rather than run it straight down like a true oval, I would bias it, or flare it to occupy the full "other" end. This flaring where I send the train to the other end at an angle with the goal of using 10-11 feet of the available 12, is where I am curious about my "half" O72 concept. If I turn the trains in the near corner on the other end at O72 full curve than I would have an unused "pocket" along the rear wall on that end.

Doing a partial O72 outer loop, maybe O60 inside of that would then turn it straight along that "far" wall before another O72 partial turn brings the tracks aback along the back wall down 20-22 feet of run before turning again.

I think this beats a true oval with O72 outer and O60 inner turns which simply go down and turn back - if that makes sense. This all hinges on my understanding of partial turning, with that run on the "far" wall of maybe 4 feet straights before a partial O72 / O60 turns.

I won't make the deep end solid. I will create a pocket of open so I can go in and fix a derail or make layout adjustments, but I am only 5'4" and 140 so I don't need a huge pocket.

After the full turn on the "bar" side I would likely reduce the layout back to no more than 5 feet so I could maintain that stretch of track. My last layouts rear reaches were too far for me to maintain and it was going to be a problem to tackle down the line. But I had no choice due to my dimensions.

NOW I can adjust and determine depth and believe that no more than 5 feet is best. After the turn on the bar end.

Gives people a chance to sit and run trains, that area is also where the door is to the room.

What are you guys' comments and thoughts?

Keep in mind I have more houses to see and the train layout area is at least 25% of my decisioning in the purchase.

I know of one other home with a 10 x 24 room, but I won't see it until Friday.
 

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What !? Could have skipped the wife/housing 'problems' and just asked the question/s..
Quit worrying. Make the track plan any way you want; curve, half curve to straight, whatever. If a train can negotiate it, any track arrangement; curves /grades, is OK. Any !!
Personally I'd go HO.. With your space you'd have near twice the size RR..(no offense meant).
Note: About 120 real feet = 1 Mi. in O scale. 67 real feet = 1 Mi. in HO, and about half that for N..
Think about that; tunnels, waters, bridges, hills, rock, structures;..the room and ability to fit these things.. :smokin: M
 

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I’m pretty sure you asked two questions.

1. For an O72 circle, how much distance is needed?
Fastrack diameter is measured center to center so add ¾” to each side for the outer rail, then another 2¾ for clearance (NMRA RP-7.3 calls for 2 23/32” for modern stuff) and you get 79”. You need 6’7” to have an O72 circle and have everything clear the side walls.

2. Is a full turn "gentler" on a consist over a half turn - straight - half turn?
Doesn’t matter.
 

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There is absolutely no shame in asking questions! The only “dumb” question is the question not asked! That being said it sounds like you’re track questions got answered for the most part. My two cents to add is this. How cool would it be to build an N scale layout into the top of the bar with glass over it?
 

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There is absolutely no shame in asking questions! The only “dumb” question is the question not asked! That being said it sounds like you’re track questions got answered for the most part. My two cents to add is this. How cool would it be to build an N scale layout into the top of the bar with glass over it?
If you're not careful, even N Scale can get pretty BIG, pretty FAST. You know, those extended double curves, elevated track, long, long straights.

Hey, Bryan, if you are single, and moving into a bachelor pad, of your choosing, why not just forget the basement, run your trains throughout the house. Cut holes in the walls, run it from room to room to room, wherever you wish. Turn them on, sit back and watch, from anywhere in the house. :D
 

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Bryan, My 2 cents worth.
I think the divorce does explain why your hunting for another house, and for now you only have to please yourself with the house. ;)

Sounds like you like the first house?
If the basement with the bar was built it should be able come out? I would bet the bar can be removed to give you the extra room.
Should have shot a picture of it for us to see.

I will also add whatever house you decide to get do yourself a favor and make sure it is high and dry.
Look at flood plain maps, sometimes one forget to check that out when they see a house they like.
Took me a while to find mine just because of that, I saw a lot of nice houses but during big storms they get flooded.
Some only the basement got flooded.
One guy told me yeah but it only gets flooded every 5 years or so. And when it does you can get all new stuff from the insurance claim. :laugh:
Who wants to live with the possibility of getting flooded out, especially if you have trains in the basement!

As far as the curves the larger you go the better it is, you know Fastrack also offers O84 and O96?

curveBack.jpg


A copy and paste from Lionel,
Many true O-scale 2-rail layouts use 72″ radius as a minimum curve (not O-72) – in other words a circle of track requires a room slightly larger than 12′ x 12′.



Now Bob said you only need 6'7" for the curve at O72?
I don't know why the say 12'x12'?
Bob.......do you know what the size of the room you need to do the O84 and a O96 curve?
I never had Fastrack so I don't know, I am guessing it would be a little larger because of the roadbed on the Fastrack compared to tube track?
I think if you have the room the largest curve you can build would be better?

I don't know if this will help you but Lionel put this out for Understanding curves, may be of help to you or others looking at this thread.

https://www.lionelstore.com/curve

Good luck in your house hunting. :smokin:
 

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....

I will also add whatever house you decide to get do yourself a favor and make sure it is high and dry.
Look at flood plain maps,
...

I never had Fastrack so I don't know, I am guessing it would be a little larger because of the roadbed on the Fastrack compared to tube track?

...

Good luck in your house hunting. :smokin:


And look at the existing flood insurance - previous year's bill.

The fastrack roadbed width might be absorbed within the minimum clearance distance between multiple tracks.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
There is absolutely no shame in asking questions! The only “dumb” question is the question not asked! That being said it sounds like you’re track questions got answered for the most part. My two cents to add is this. How cool would it be to build an N scale layout into the top of the bar with glass over it?
That might work.

For the main layout, I can't switch scales. I have at least $20,000 in locomotives and rolling stock and made an educated decision on Scale when I started 7 years ago. I like the realism of O Scale. I don't like that less is offered in the way of buildings.

I've got a $2900 MTH order in, and just completed my 2019 orders that came in around $1600 for both Lionel and MTH.

Thanks for the comments.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
I would say 12 feet is not needed for O72 with Fastrack based on my last layout. That end I had 7 1/2 feet deep and my outside track was O72, so maybe playing it safe 8 feet would work.

Nobody has answered my question about the 1/2 of a full curve. If I can get a train going straight - even for a short distance - coming out of an O72 half, I don't see how anything would get caught up.
 

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The quote above that references a 12' x 12' room necessary for 72" radius in O scale does not apply to O gauge 3-rail track where the "O72" reference is to diameter.

Second, have you considered easements for your curves. A simple easement (into and out of a curve) starts and ends with two O84 curves followed by six O72 curves and ending with two O84 curves for a FasTrack half-circle. The purpose of an easement is to reduce the possibility of derailment as equipment enters the curve, but it also makes your equipment look better while running. Further, you use the same number of track pieces (except in FasTrack which uses smaller O84 pieces) but only expands the side-to-side measurement slightly.

Finally, if you choose to use O60 curves anywhere on your outside oval, that becomes the minimum on which all your equipment must run unless you enjoy derailments or other disasters. There is probably a lot of "O72" rated equipment that will run through O60 track, but that can only be determined through "buy-n-try."

Recommendation is to stay O72 minimum with O84 easements (at least two Fastrack pieces entering and exiting the curve) wherever possible.

Chuck
 

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There is absolutely no shame in asking questions! The only “dumb” question is the question not asked! That being said it sounds like you’re track questions got answered for the most part. My two cents to add is this. How cool would it be to build an N scale layout into the top of the bar with glass over it?
That might work.

For the main layout, I can't switch scales. I have at least $20,000 in locomotives and rolling stock and made an educated decision on Scale when I started 7 years ago. I like the realism of O Scale. I don't like that less is offered in the way of buildings.

I've got a $2900 MTH order in, and just completed my 2019 orders that came in around $1600 for both Lionel and MTH.

Thanks for the comments.
yeah definitely stay with O as the layout I was talking about just in the bar top like this.
 

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Railroad Tycoon
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I’m pretty sure you asked two questions.

1. For an O72 circle, how much distance is needed?
Fastrack diameter is measured center to center so add ¾” to each side for the outer rail, then another 2¾ for clearance (NMRA RP-7.3 calls for 2 23/32” for modern stuff) and you get 79”. You need 6’7” to have an O72 circle and have everything clear the side walls.

2. Is a full turn "gentler" on a consist over a half turn - straight - half turn?
Doesn’t matter.
I would say 12 feet is not needed for O72 with Fastrack based on my last layout. That end I had 7 1/2 feet deep and my outside track was O72, so maybe playing it safe 8 feet would work.

Nobody has answered my question about the 1/2 of a full curve. If I can get a train going straight - even for a short distance - coming out of an O72 half, I don't see how anything would get caught up.
Bob answered?
I agree, with a long train your still pulling through the same radius.
 
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