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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey All,
New to the Forum. What a GREAT place! Built a small HO Layout as a kid. Now it's time to build a shelf or ceiling layout in our Great Room.

Room dimension is 31 x 16. Track height will be at 7'6". Ceiling height is 10ft at low side and 17' at high side. Shelf will be 30" deep and display antiques on the back 20" that is stepped up 4" and the train has 10" to the edge to play with.

Boy do I have questions!

1.) What track and track installation method lets me hear the created engine noises and whistles and not wheels and track roaring?

2.) What control method? I will have some crossings, bridges, and water towers; and city-scapes and store fronts at various places around the room.

3.) Power. What are the requirements? How do I fire up that big a loop of track?

4.) Can I two track in 10" width and still get or build some flat front or false front city-scapes and store fronts?

I'm very comfortable in carpentry and electronics. None of this scares me. I just want to get educated and do it right the frist time. The fundamentals like track, control system, and shelf width are things that are hard to change once I start!

I have some jingle for once! And will get to do this with all new gear and rolling stock and instead of the beg-borrow-dickered for stuff I had as a kid (had to pay for it all myself).

Thank you in advance for your wisdom. So glad I found this place!

OKFarmer (Brian)
 

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1.) What track and track installation method lets me hear the created engine noises and whistles and not wheels and track roaring? I would go with Gargraves, Ross or Atlas for quietness. I use Gargraves mainly with Ross here and there (they are comatable). Atlas may be hard to get some stuff at times.

2.) What control method? I will have some crossings, bridges, and water towers; and city-scapes and store fronts at various places around the room.

3.) Power. What are the requirements? How do I fire up that big a loop of track? Power requirements are dictated by what the locos and cars need (not length of track). But for a long track length, you will want to add a power drop about every ten sections of track.

4.) Can I two track in 10" width and still get or build some flat front or false front city-scapes and store fronts. Two tracks will work in 10” width and still leave an inch or so for building fronts. You may be able to go with something less than 10” in places. Take a look at NMRA standards to see track spacing for straights and curves.
https://nmra.org/index-nmra-standards-and-recommended-practices
 

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For the quietest track, it's Atlas solid rail. Next in line would be either Ross or Gargraves, both are very similar. On straight sections, 3 1/2" center to center is fine. On curves, it's a whole different picture! Depending on the size curves and what you run, your 10" wide shelf will be totally consumed by track. You will want up to 6" center-to-center for really large O-gauge stuff on O72 curves.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Room dimension is 31 x 16. Track height will be at 7'6". Ceiling height is 10ft at low side and 17' at high side. Shelf will be 30" deep and display antiques on the back 20" that is stepped up 4" and the train has 10" to the edge to play with.
In that big of a room, is there a reason to "segment" or isolate the track into sections? For short management? It just one or two big loops. Or do I just add power every ten feet or so continuously around the track without isolating anything?
 

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If you go with the MTH DCS system, you will want to have blocks every 10-12 track sections. Isolate the center rail and feed each block using a star pattern. Note that if you use 36" or 37" track sections, you won't need as many feeds as you will if you use say 10" sectional track.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
So what control system? I'm initially going with Gargrave track it appears. And using Lionel Engines and rolling stock.

I'm not sold on LionChief or LionChief+. Maybe it is because I don't fully understand it?

Do I want TMCC/Legacy? I don't "just" want to run engines. I'll have some other accessories around to control....
 

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A few thoughts:

1. Control system even though you are planning on going with Lionel, you may want to wire it so that you can add DCS later. Lionel is pretty forgiving, but MTH's DCS likes a star wiring pattern as has been mentioned. It's easier to make it MTH compatible in the beginning than it is is to modify it later.
2. I think Atlas track is the quietest you can buy. That is important because of your comments about being able to hear the engine sounds over the sounds of the wheels. Experiment with different sound deadening methods before you commit to one.
3. Two tracks will eat up most of your 10". There are a couple work arounds. First as has been suggested, 3 1/2" spacing of the straight tracks will help. 12" would obviously give you more to work with too. Plus you can just add sections of base under buildings where they are located too. Otherwise you will have to use building fronts only that are 2" to 3" deep. Liberal use of lighted signs such as Millers will draw attention upwards to your RR and buildings.

Good luck.

Art
 

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I use the MTH DCS system and I like it. And I mentioned the star pattern a few days ago. But know that if you wire for DCS you will need a lot of wire for a 31 X 16 around the room layout. In addition to the star pattern, its best to have all the points of the star (all the feed wires) roughly the same length.
 

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Bob, the admonishment about all the drops from the star connection being all the same length isn't really necessary. Keeping the drops from the star as short as possible is best, which logically means that you'll put your distribution terminal block for each channel in a centralized location for that power district.
 

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Am I missing something? A layout around the ceiling won't have a central location to drop connections to various points around the track.

I can only think of two solutions: (1) Run a feeder parallel to the rails and drop a connection every so often to the center rail; or (2) Solder all the center rail joints to insure a good connection around the loop.

The rails themselves are excellent conductors. It's the track sections joints that give to rise to issues.
 

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***UPDATE***

We are started on the project! Why don't my photos show up?


go back to the paperclip hit insert all?

hit edit then advance edit first
 
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