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Discussion Starter #1
Hi all,
I joined this forum a couple of months back and getting my feet wet with a new HO layout. I will start by saying I hope this is the right place for this. I have attached my layout or attempt of a layout anyway. I am looking to build a modular design bench work with a lift out section for access. I will be using Atlas code 83 Flex and Pecos switches with DCC control.

I have been doing a lot of reading and have no experience in the real rail road so I am sure there is no prototype activity taking place here. Anyway, looking to run a couple of locos (freight/passenger). the top side will be set up as a little town with a passenger station. the opposite side will be industrial.

The continuous run will allow me to enjoy while I get into the operation of what I am considering my attempt at a yard.

Based on all of your experience, or shall I say expertise with some of the things I have read, suggestions are more than welcome to assist me in the getting the most out of the limited, but grateful space I have latched onto.

I value your comments and suggestions.
PatB
 

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Looks like a nice layout plan. It's hard to advise on operations, because we really don't know what you like or want.

A couple of suggestions, though. Make that 42" module on the left as narrow as you can if it's going to be a lift out section. The more edge you have to align, the harder it is to get right.

Secondly, that long spur curving around the cockpit on the right side is kind of "track for track's sake". What purpose do you envision for it, because right now you just drive a train in, then reverse and back the train out again. Like you added a track because you had a lot of empty space and wanted to fill it up. I would add a turnout on the inner track at the bottom and tie it back in.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks for the input CT.
Understand the confusion on the lone line. That is where I started thinking about the scenery/building structures. I am assuming more adjustments will be made with the track as I work out the rest of the plan.

I am going to consider a hinged swing down section for access. I do plan on narrowing that module to at least minimize the weight. The bridge section (hinge) needs to be nudged, I think anyway because right now it spans across two modules.

A lot of firsts with this as my old DC layouts were 4 x 8 with a Christmas village during the holidays. Basically continuous run with a village, not much of an operation.

As I read through the sections of this forum, there is always something to change/add so I am hoping to get a good start with this.
 

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I think I would remove that big looping spur and in it's place put in a single crossover to the outer mainline.
Put in another single crossover from the outer main to the inner main on the bottom section
and you have more operational possibilities. Also a very nice passing track.
Pretty good track plan for the first try.
Good luck with the build and have fun.

Welcome to the forum.
Magic
 

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Hi all,
I joined this forum a couple of months back and getting my feet wet with a new HO layout. I will start by saying I hope this is the right place for this. I have attached my layout or attempt of a layout anyway. I am looking to build a modular design bench work with a lift out section for access. I will be using Atlas code 83 Flex and Pecos switches with DCC control.

I have been doing a lot of reading and have no experience in the real rail road so I am sure there is no prototype activity taking place here. Anyway, looking to run a couple of locos (freight/passenger). the top side will be set up as a little town with a passenger station. the opposite side will be industrial.

The continuous run will allow me to enjoy while I get into the operation of what I am considering my attempt at a yard.

Based on all of your experience, or shall I say expertise with some of the things I have read, suggestions are more than welcome to assist me in the getting the most out of the limited, but grateful space I have latched onto.

I value your comments and suggestions.
PatB
PatB;

Your layout looks good, though it looks, in your drawing, like some of the track is very close to the edge. You might want to move it in a bit to prevent a disastrous trip to the floor by one of your trains. Also running long sections of straight track dead parallel to the edge of the layout typically isn't as interesting as having it set at an angle, or curving around a lakeshore, hill, or other natural obstacle. You might consider mixing it up a little.

A hinged entry section is a good idea, better than a lift out. The files below are some that I wrote to help new model railroaders. Look through them if you like. The "sections 3 & 4" installment of the "How to build a better first layout" series, has a good deal of information on various approaches to getting people into, and out of, a wrap-around layout like yours.

Good Luck & Have Fun;

Traction Fan 🙂
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Here is a revision to my 1st layout. After reading some of the suggestions and re-looking, I have modified quite a bit.
Any suggestions/recommendations are welcome. I plan on using Atlas code 83 flex and Peco Electro Frog turnouts with a dcc system. Again, I am unsure of what an operation may consist of, but this plan gives me a little yard to play in and try to get a little experience.
 

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I like your trackplan. Lots of interesting routes and maneuvers possible.

Do you have any more length or width for the table? Scenery always looks better when it's on both sides of the track and yours looks to be right on the edge of the table.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Thank you for your comments Michael. I do not have any more length but could widen the bench work. I am planning an around the room layout so I still have some room in the middle. Trying to limit for reach.
 

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Conceptually, I like your new plan. I would make a couple of tweaks, though. First, as MichaelE suggested, adjust your track location so that passes THROUGH your scenery and towns, not on one side of them. Secondly, that spur in the upper left doesn't accomplish much. It's track for track's sake (IOW, you put it there because you had room for track, not because you had a reason for it). It's also too close to the edge / wall to do anything really good with it.

But those are nits, and you can make those modifications or not, as you chose.

More significantly, though, if you zoom in, you will see a number of pieces of track marked with a red centerline. Whether you're using AnyRail or SCARM (otherwise known as "Homegrown Program that looks and behaves suspiciously like a reverse-engineered version of AnyRail:"), those areas are tracks where you exceeded the minimum curvature standard you set for your track. Now this might not matter, if you didn't consciously set a minimum curvature, but most of them look like areas where the program has automatically connected track end points and created a kink. If you want that layout to operate reliably, you will need to smooth all those out, making sure that all your curves are smooth and gradual. You also have a couple of S curves that you should probably smooth out. I'm not sure why some areas of curved track appear to be highlighted in yellow, either, but that also might be something worth looking into (AnyRail doesn't do that, which is why I'm thinking this may be SCARM)..
 

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Here is a revision to my 1st layout. After reading some of the suggestions and re-looking, I have modified quite a bit.
Any suggestions/recommendations are welcome. I plan on using Atlas code 83 flex and Peco Electro Frog turnouts with a dcc system. Again, I am unsure of what an operation may consist of, but this plan gives me a little yard to play in and try to get a little experience.
\
Patb;

Your layout looks good. I like your attention to limiting reach. Many people ignore that issue, but it's important at any age, and gets more important as the modeler gets older. I have one suggestion regarding turnouts. Peco is a great choice, but since you're planning on using DCC, I suggest you use the new Unifrogs, rather than the older Electrofrogs. The Unifrogs come with the DCC friendly configuration, Isolated frog, & jumpers from stock rail to point rail, installed. I'm not sure if the Electrofrogs do. Both have several wiring options, so it's possible that either can be configured that way. I have Peco Insulfrogs and Unifrogs but no Electrofrogs.

Traction Fan 🙂
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Thank you CT. I used AnyRail for this. I appreciate the comments. I had originally tried putting the "yard" on a different level but had a hard time keeping the climb within 3% with the space I had. I have seen a lot of layouts putting the above or below the actual layout. The yellow areas are AnyRail. I set a piece of flex track with settings of 90 degrees/36 radius. Once I had track in place, I made sure no flex track was over 36".

I will to get those track areas smoothed out.

As you and Michael have suggested, move structures around. A lot of those structures I have from previous layouts, so I measured and added.

Definately enjoy being able to utilize AnyRail for design rather than trial and error on the table. Would the Trainplayer software be worth using for final adjustments?

I appreciate the comments and all of you taking time out of your schedule to provide feedback.
\
Patb;

Your layout looks good. I like your attention to limiting reach. Many people ignore that issue, but it's important at any age, and gets more important as the modeler gets older. I have one suggestion regarding turnouts. Peco is a great choice, but since you're planning on using DCC, I suggest you use the new Unifrogs, rather than the older Electrofrogs. The Unifrogs come with the DCC friendly configuration, Isolated frog, & jumpers from stock rail to point rail, installed. I'm not sure if the Electrofrogs do. Both have several wiring options, so it's possible that either can be configured that way. I have Peco Insulfrogs and Unifrogs but no Electrofrogs.

Traction Fan 🙂
Thank you TF. I Read a little on the unifrog turnouts. I couldn't find much on the market. I think I found the #6 left/right and 1 other. Suggestions?

II am going to adjust some structure. Maybe widen bench work where track can move out with structure on back.
 

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Thank you CT. I used AnyRail for this. I appreciate the comments. I had originally tried putting the "yard" on a different level but had a hard time keeping the climb within 3% with the space I had. I have seen a lot of layouts putting the above or below the actual layout. The yellow areas are AnyRail. I set a piece of flex track with settings of 90 degrees/36 radius. Once I had track in place, I made sure no flex track was over 36".

I will to get those track areas smoothed out.

As you and Michael have suggested, move structures around. A lot of those structures I have from previous layouts, so I measured and added.

Definately enjoy being able to utilize AnyRail for design rather than trial and error on the table. Would the Trainplayer software be worth using for final adjustments?

I appreciate the comments and all of you taking time out of your schedule to provide feedback.

Thank you TF. I Read a little on the unifrog turnouts. I couldn't find much on the market. I think I found the #6 left/right and 1 other. Suggestions?

II am going to adjust some structure. Maybe widen bench work where track can move out with structure on back.
Patb;

I bought some Peco "Unifrog", code 55, N-scale, turnouts. I don't know their frog # , since Peco doesn't advertise with frog #s, but just calls their turnouts "small" "medium" & "large." My guess is that they are # 6 s.
I think the "small" is approx. a # 4.5 or # 5, the "medium" a # 6, and the "large" a # 8, but I'm not sure.
Actually, I've seen a video on making a Peco Electrofrog DCC friendly, so if they have the frog #s you want, you could just use them, as you had originally planned to.
The "Unifrog's" directions say it's actually sent from the factory, configured like an "Insulfrog", (dead frog & power routing.) It does have the metal tip of the frog isolated from the rest of the rails, and a powering wire attached to it, so it's easy to set up as a DCC friendly turnout.

Short answer, either Electrofrog, or Unifrog, will work.

Either can be relatively easily converted to a powered, isolated, frog with each point rail jumpered to the nearest stock rail. This is the DCC friendly configuration, and I recommend that you use it.

Another high quality turnout brand is Micro Engineering. They only make a # 6 right and # 6 left though, so that might not meet your needs.
Shinohara turnouts are also good quality, but may be hard to find. Walthers was importing, and selling, Shinohara turnouts, but the contract between those two companies expired, and I don't know if Shinohara has found a new US distributor yet.

Having all your track within easy reach is a very good idea. Just avoid running any track out close enough to the edge where trains can fall off onto the floor. If they can, they will (Murphy)

Good Luck & Have Fun

Traction Fan 😄
 

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Thank you CT. I used AnyRail for this. I appreciate the comments. I had originally tried putting the "yard" on a different level but had a hard time keeping the climb within 3% with the space I had. I have seen a lot of layouts putting the above or below the actual layout. The yellow areas are AnyRail. I set a piece of flex track with settings of 90 degrees/36 radius. Once I had track in place, I made sure no flex track was over 36".

I will to get those track areas smoothed out.

As you and Michael have suggested, move structures around. A lot of those structures I have from previous layouts, so I measured and added.

Definately enjoy being able to utilize AnyRail for design rather than trial and error on the table. Would the Trainplayer software be worth using for final adjustments?

I appreciate the comments and all of you taking time out of your schedule to provide feedback.

Thank you TF. I Read a little on the unifrog turnouts. I couldn't find much on the market. I think I found the #6 left/right and 1 other. Suggestions?

II am going to adjust some structure. Maybe widen bench work where track can move out with structure on back.
Sorry for the delayed reply. I was without power for 116 hours after Tropical Storm Isaias ripped through, and didn't have Internet until midday today.

I'm not familiar with that yellow highlighting I'll have to fire up my version and try to reproduce it (I could always check the excellent Help feature... but that would take the fun out of it.) Anyway, learn how to manipulate the end points of your flex track and you will probably be able to smooth those curves out. A single piece of flex track won't create an arc of 90 degrees at 36" radius (2 x pi x 36" = 226" /4 = ~56.5"). Of course, you can draw them that way, let the software yell at you for "flex track too long", then use the "Cut Flex here" function with a right click to manage the length, it's all good.

Anyrail definitely makes the process easy. Fun even. Train player software is fun in it's own right, and it's very easy to import an Anyrail track plan. Last time I did it, though (a lot of years ago), you had to delete the Anyrail turnout and insert a "Trainplayer" one so that you could actually throw the points. Maybe they have upgraded that process. Trainplayer will help you see how your layout will operate and may help you identify some issues like switchbacks, sidings, or passing tracks that are too short for the trains you intend to run, or issues like not being able to turn trains or reverse direction if you have trouble visualizing such things. But it isn't necessary.
 

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Thanks for the follow up CT. I looked at the settings in AnyRail. I had 2 settings for track curvature. I eliminated the 2nd one and the yellow lines disappeared. Definitely still getting my feet wet with the software. As for the Train player software, I loaded and tried the track out. The turnouts will work as shown so apparently the software has been updated. One can switch the Turnout as the train gets to it by pressing the space bar. Makes it interesting to say the least.

The Train player software definately got me looking to see how/what I can change for more interest.

Thanks again. Hope you had a gen you could use for critical house stuff with power being out.
 
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