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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hey everyone I recently took a liking to the Heart Of Georgia Model Railroad which splits the traditional 4x8 sheet of plywood into four 1x8 sections which are then assembled into a square with a hole in the middle to operate from. I really liked this idea and thought about using the benchwork for an N scale layout but 8x8 is pretty big for most homes and since I'm in an apartment at the moment that is definitely a no-go. This meant that smaller modules were needed, but with the same affect. I however I have the luxury of having my workshop in my parents basement so I have plenty of space to work on the layout.

Now, onto what you're here for! The layout I've thought up uses 1x4 sections rather than eight foot sections to save a bit of room, and make the layout more portable if need be. So far I have envisioned two 1x4 modules and two end caps to produce a roughly 14 foot long dog bone type layout when I eventually complete it. All track will be Atlas code 80 as I already have a bunch of it, and its relatively easy to find cheap at trade shows. I will also be using Atlas standard switches as they seem to work well for me, and I learned how to fine tune/ adjust them on the last layout I did and those work flawlessly. The sharpest curve I will be using on the mainline is 11" just in case I end up with locos or rolling stock that requires more than 9.75" curves (I was surprised at how many large locos can actually handle 9.75" curves with no issues). I will however be using 9.75" curves on the left end module for car storage but not mainline use. The era I'd like to model is roughly the transition era, but like most modelers it will be whatever I feel like running on that day. This means that I shouldn't have any issues with the 11" curves as most of my rolling stock wont be over 50', and locos likely wont be larger than three axle diesels. I plan to use pink/blue insulation foam as the base for track and scenery. I haven't decided on a thickness yet but it will probably be whatever size I can find in the dumpster.

Also, the entire layout will be DCC, but i will also wire in some blocks for the yard areas so there wont be multiple locos sitting, idling, and using unneeded power from my DCC controller.

Attached below are my Anyrail 6 Blueprints:
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This end module offers a lot of action, loco, and car storage.
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I still might change this one around to have no industry, and be a solely scenery based module.

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I may rethink the crossover in the red circle on this module as it would create a reverse loop. It would be a nice addition but because there is no length of track between the two tracks to create an insulated section, it could introduce a wiring nightmare. So, I may scrap this idea. I also may eliminate the spur on the lower left as its not really big enough to service anything, and would get in the way of a potential industry.

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This end cap gives a lot of room to have a nice industry with a little bit of a yard for car storage.

Like any layout, this will definitely take some time and I hope to work on it as much as I can, and update the thread as much as I can.
 

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Discussion Starter #2 (Edited)
I started on the modules yesterday and actually got more done than I thought I would. Cutting 4 feet of plywood with a jigsaw resting against a straight edge kind of worked, but still left the edge pretty uneven. The circular saw was a bit better but each module is still 1/8"-1/2" off from end to end. But, by the time I put foam on top and eventually some fascia, it will hardly be noticeable I imagine. I finished two 1x4 modules and got the end module all planned out so I can cut and finish it another day. I haven't figured out the legs yet but I'm thinking I will 3D print a bracket that will allow a 2"x2" leg to slide into it, then bolt to the module. Seen below are the beginnings of the railroad. I actually connected all the pieces of the switching section module to see how well it worked and if it was actually workable in the space I had and I was pretty happy with the results. Other than eliminating the small spur on the left, I don't think I will alter this module much.
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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks Jscullans!

Something I had forgot to mention in my original post was my budget. Of course a model railroad can't have a strict budget as it can be very easy to blow through it very quickly, and since the railroad is never truly finished theres really no set number that can be easily achieved. Being in college, and the apartment life however I got very good at modeling on a budget. Also, being a penny pincher and hoarder helps too! I have gotten decent at modeling with items typically found at the dollar store, and using second hand items from trade shows which drastically cuts the cost of model railroading. Of course though I will need several more supplies to complete this layout than the last 2x4 layout I built in my apartment. The biggest expense however, like any railroad, will be switches. I have found though that on Trainworld's website, they list standard manual Atlas switches for $14.99 (with the layout being at max 24" deep theres no need for switch machines). But, Atlas also has a starter track pack that includes an oval with two switches and a passing siding for $29.99. So if I were to order two standard switches that would be $29.98, but if I got the starter set i get two switches and a whole extra handfull of track, joiners, and terminals for an extra penny! woohoo!

I know its slightly off topic, but here are a few pictures of my (unfinished) 2x4 that was built for about $80 minus the trains. I have thought about recycling some of the switches form this layout onto my new one, but I'm not sure if I can make myself tear it apart and because I had thought at one point about selling it maybe, who knows.

the gears in my head are turning though!
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546899
 

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Thanks Jscullans!

Something I had forgot to mention in my original post was my budget. Of course a model railroad can't have a strict budget as it can be very easy to blow through it very quickly, and since the railroad is never truly finished theres really no set number that can be easily achieved. Being in college, and the apartment life however I got very good at modeling on a budget. Also, being a penny pincher and hoarder helps too! I have gotten decent at modeling with items typically found at the dollar store, and using second hand items from trade shows which drastically cuts the cost of model railroading. Of course though I will need several more supplies to complete this layout than the last 2x4 layout I built in my apartment. The biggest expense however, like any railroad, will be switches. I have found though that on Trainworld's website, they list standard manual Atlas switches for $14.99 (with the layout being at max 24" deep theres no need for switch machines). But, Atlas also has a starter track pack that includes an oval with two switches and a passing siding for $29.99. So if I were to order two standard switches that would be $29.98, but if I got the starter set i get two switches and a whole extra handfull of track, joiners, and terminals for an extra penny! woohoo!

I know its slightly off topic, but here are a few pictures of my (unfinished) 2x4 that was built for about $80 minus the trains. I have thought about recycling some of the switches form this layout onto my new one, but I'm not sure if I can make myself tear it apart and because I had thought at one point about selling it maybe, who knows.

the gears in my head are turning though!
View attachment 546898
View attachment 546899
cale 10;

I like the scenery on your first 2 x 4 layout, excellent job.
It's practically impossible to sell a finished layout for the money that went into building it. With your dumpster/ used/ dollar store/ "acquisitions plan" though, maybe that won't be true for you. If you have a use for the Atlas switches (We prefer to call them "turnouts" to distinguish them from the electrical switches common on model railroads.) from your old layout, I suggest doing that.
Atlas "Snap Switch" turnouts can be modified to be pretty reliable. Apparently you have already figured that out. I did too, and I wrote the "Improving Atlas turnouts" files below to pass the idea on. The other files are about many model railroad topics. look through them if you like.

I'm a big fan of sectional/modular layouts. That is a wise decision on your part. My own layout is sectional too. There is a track plan of my railroad in the "Layout Design" section of this forum in the "Here are the layouts of some forum members" thread.

Are you going with traditional DC control, or DCC? Either will work, but DCC requires a lot less wiring, no insulated blocks, no control panel full of switches (the electrical kind) etc.
I have been building a simple little N-scale layout for my grandson, using Atlas code 80 turnouts & track, and DC control. Since I normally make my own turnouts, use code 55 flex track, and DCC on my own railroad, this project has reminded me how far the hobby has come.

You mentioned "9 inch curves." It looks like you are using sectional track. Maybe you mean nine and three quarter inch radius, which is Atlas's smallest sectional curve. An actual nine inch radius curve would be very tight. Some equipment, possibly including six-axle diesels, may have trouble with that tight a curve. By the way, it's important to distinguish between how tight a curve a loco or car can possibly make it around, and what bigger size curve will let it consistently stay on the track reliably. I found this out the hard way and ended up ripping out my 12" minimum radius and going to a 16" minimum radius.

I see many reverse curves in your track plan. Reverse curves are potential problems, and should be avoided if at all possible. The reverse curves I se in your plan are usually coming off a turnout. The Atlas "Snap Switch" turnout has a unique geometry with one straight route, and one curved route. Normal turnouts have two straight routes, diverging at the angle of the frog #. Curved turnouts, of course, have two curved routes, and no straight route.
There is a simple trick you can use in designing a track plan with Atlas turnouts, that eliminates the reverse curves near those turnouts.
Let's look at your first drawing, the one with the turntable on it, for an example. You have a double track loop around the turntable area. If you start at the turnout on the bottom that splits to reach the inner and outer loops, you can trace from right to left through that turnout. Your train will first pass through the 19" radius right-hand curve built into the turnout itself, then immediately into a left-hand curve, and then directly into another right-hand curve. That's a double reverse curve. It can be eliminated by using a left-hand turnout, instead of the right-hand one. This turnout should be moved one track section to the right. Use the left-hand turnout's built-in curve to replace the piece of curved track that's there now. The new turnout's straight route now connects to the inner loop, with no reverse curves at all. The curved route of that turnout is smoothly incorporated into the general curve you have, and some straight track should be used to connect that curve to the outer loop. Putting straight track (long enough to hold your longest car/loco) between a right, and a left, curve eliminates the reverse curve effect of slamming from going one direction and then instantly into the opposite direction. On the top end of the loops are two more turnouts, but we can't use the same trick here, as there is no big general curve handy to put a turnout into. Instead, try to get some straight track between the turnout and the curved section it feeds into. If you look around the rest of your track plan, you will see other reverse curves, and may be able to swap some turnouts to eliminate them.

A layout with a hole in the middle, which you have to duck/crawl into & back out of, is a bad design. That going under the table routine gets real old, real quick!

Good Luck & Have Fun;

Traction Fan 🙂
 

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Discussion Starter #6 (Edited)
I had also forgot to mention, and I will update my original post to say that yes, I will be using DCC. I am using the Bachmann EZ-command system as i found it for dirt cheap from a trade show. i figure it can handle four locos or so without needing a booster, but that's probably more locos than I'll ever need to run at any given time on this layout. Even though it will be DCC, I plan to still wire a few blocks into it in the yards so I can turn off sections locos are just idling on. And, yes the sharpest curves are 9.75" and not 9"! I'm surprised I missed that one myself. I did notice the reverse curves as you mentioned and I will look into moving them around to produce one curve instead of two opposite curves. Most of my rolling stock have truck-mounted couplers so back to back reverse curves usually aren't an issue but I totally understand the reason behind avoiding them when possible. I typically try to have a straight section between opposite curves the length of my longest cars to prevent any issues so I will see what I can come up with!

Also, I will definitely check out the files you attached!

So I added a left hand turnout on the bottom curve as seen below. However, I wasn't sure how to eliminate the reverse curve on the section I put the red box around. Since this is mainly for car storage, or a passing siding It likely won't get too much use. But when it does get used I of course don't want any issues! Its also using basically two 19" radius curves so its a pretty gentle curve and I don't see it being too much of an issue. Plus, it would likely be no sharper than a Kato double crossover which seem to work great on our club layout.
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I also made a possible revision to the two middle sections. As you can see, the two modules are completely revised. The switching area still has the same general idea but is in a different location, whether or not it is more useful in this orientation is unknown to me. Also, the third module that I had mentioned may turn into a scenic module has done just that. I've also made both modules into a much longer S type turn to add some variety, and to lengthen the original S turn that only occupied one module. I also added some color and more than just track!
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Your tread has a lot of detail and for some reason the spam filters do no like it. I suggest not updating any posts and spread out future information if have to answer questions. The more information you give the more likely the posts will be held up monitoring.
 

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I had also forgot to mention, and I will update my original post to say that yes, I will be using DCC. I am using the Bachmann EZ-command system as i found it for dirt cheap from a trade show. i figure it can handle four locos or so without needing a booster, but that's probably more locos than I'll ever need to run at any given time on this layout. Even though it will be DCC, I plan to still wire a few blocks into it in the yards so I can turn off sections locos are just idling on. And, yes the sharpest curves are 9.75" and not 9"! I'm surprised I missed that one myself. I did notice the reverse curves as you mentioned and I will look into moving them around to produce one curve instead of two opposite curves. Most of my rolling stock have truck-mounted couplers so back to back reverse curves usually aren't an issue but I totally understand the reason behind avoiding them when possible. I typically try to have a straight section between opposite curves the length of my longest cars to prevent any issues so I will see what I can come up with!

Also, I will definitely check out the files you attached!

So I added a left hand turnout on the bottom curve as seen below. However, I wasn't sure how to eliminate the reverse curve on the section I put the red box around. Since this is mainly for car storage, or a passing siding It likely won't get too much use. But when it does get used I of course don't want any issues! Its also using basically two 19" radius curves so its a pretty gentle curve and I don't see it being too much of an issue. Plus, it would likely be no sharper than a Kato double crossover which seem to work great on our club layout.
View attachment 546928

I also made a possible revision to the two middle sections. As you can see, the two modules are completely revised. The switching area still has the same general idea but is in a different location, whether or not it is more useful in this orientation is unknown to me. Also, the third module that I had mentioned may turn into a scenic module has done just that. I've also made both modules into a much longer S type turn to add some variety, and to lengthen the original S turn that only occupied one module. I also added some color and more than just track!
View attachment 546933
Yes, my recommendation about eliminating the reverse curves was based on general good practice, rather than the severity of the curves. Nineteen inch radius curves are pretty gentle for N-scale. The HO-scale equivalent would be a 38" radius curve, and that's quite a broad curve. Still, it's always smart to put as few potential problems into a track plan as possible. The turnout/track arrangement in the red rectangle is an example of one that can't be changed easily. You could put straight track between the two opposite curves, but doing that would mean a major change in the track arrangement. You may not want to go that far.
Yards should be at least as conservatively laid out as the main line, in my opinion. Yards, and industrial sidings, are the places where the train needs to back up. When the locomotive is pushing a string of cars backward, it's much harder to keep them on track than it is with the same loco pulling the same cars. Truck-mounted couplers exacerbate this difficulty because the pushing force is transmitted through the trucks, which can rotate, and which can put rail climbing pressure on the wheels. None of these things is a disaster waiting to happen. They're just things to consider and to eliminate where possible. For instance my yard has a simple ladder. the straight route of each turnout is connected to the straight route of the next one. A train backing in needs to make only one turn, in one direction. I've seen some track plans where it looks like the yard ladder was laid out by a drunken snake!

Good work so far, Have Fun;

Traction Fan 🙂
 

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Discussion Starter #9
I got a lot more done in the end of last week! As you can see I finished up the right side end module, and started getting an idea of track arrangement. I also printed out a leg mount which fits perfect and I imagine it will be pretty sturdy once I get them all screwed into place and insert some 2"x2" legs into them. It will also allow me to quickly and easily change the height if need be.

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Something I knew, but didn't realize was just how big this layout was going to be! The picture only shows three of the four modules but its still pretty big which will prevent me from having it in my apartment for a while if its a full size unit. I mentioned in my previous post that I made a revision to the original two center modules to give more variety and more scenery opportunities. I really like the most recent revision however after I laid the modules on the floor and saw how large it was going to be, I realized that I could save space for the time being by using only one of the two center sections for now and finishing the second one later. This however wont work with the second revision because of the elongated S curve which puts the track on the wrong side of the module if I were to join just one center module with the end caps. I suppose I could work with an end cap and a center section when I get that far, but Id like to have the whole layout somewhat outlined because I like to run trains while I work.

Track planning continues!
 

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I got a lot more done in the end of last week! As you can see I finished up the right side end module, and started getting an idea of track arrangement. I also printed out a leg mount which fits perfect and I imagine it will be pretty sturdy once I get them all screwed into place and insert some 2"x2" legs into them. It will also allow me to quickly and easily change the height if need be.

View attachment 547007 View attachment 547008

Something I knew, but didn't realize was just how big this layout was going to be! The picture only shows three of the four modules but its still pretty big which will prevent me from having it in my apartment for a while if its a full size unit. I mentioned in my previous post that I made a revision to the original two center modules to give more variety and more scenery opportunities. I really like the most recent revision however after I laid the modules on the floor and saw how large it was going to be, I realized that I could save space for the time being by using only one of the two center sections for now and finishing the second one later. This however wont work with the second revision because of the elongated S curve which puts the track on the wrong side of the module if I were to join just one center module with the end caps. I suppose I could work with an end cap and a center section when I get that far, but Id like to have the whole layout somewhat outlined because I like to run trains while I work.

Track planning continues!
cale 10;

Excellent work!
Your leg mount looks good and strong. I do suggest using some 1x 2 diagonal bracing between legs, for both overall layout stability, and to protect your leg mounts from being broken. Those approx. 3' long 2 x 2 legs are going to be able to exert enormous leverage force on the plastic mounts when the layout is slid along the floor, or even bumped. In effect, each leg will act as a long "crowbar."

Could you make a 90 degree corner section to let your layout fit into a corner of your apartment? That might help with the overall length issue.

The fact that you're not able to remove a section or two, and still have the track line up between the remaining sections, illustrates the technical difference between "sections" and "modules."

Sections can be any size, or shape, you want, and they can have track on them that goes wherever you like. A sectional railroad is wide open for design by the builder. My own railroad is sectional. While it comes apart in sections, it can only be reassembled in one configuration, I can't swap sections around.

On the other hand, true modules are interchangeable. One module, (of a given size and shape) can be replaced by any other module. The tracks will line up equally well because modules are built to a standard typically adopted from one of the modular organizations. N-trak is a good example.
There are thousands of N-trak modules worldwide. Any four- foot straight module from among those thousands, can be replaced by any other four foot straight module. Modular design is much more restrictive, because modules need to have their end tracks line up with somebody else's, and the same electrical standards, table height, fastening system between modules, etc.

On a practical level the terms "module" and "section" are used interchangeably. In fact "module" is far more popular, and the more commonly used word.

Keep up your good work;

Traction Fan 😊
 

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Discussion Starter #11
I will definitely brace the legs with either an X shape, or a sheet of plywood to add rigidity. I would like to mount it to the wall with shelf brackets eventually, but our landlord doesn't allow us to screw anything into the walls. I actually did think of adding a 90 degree section to go around the corner of the room and I designed one up in Anyrail. My initial thought was to use a 1'x1' square as it would match up end to end with no major carpentry involved. However if I stuck with the 1'x1' square corner piece, a single 90 degree 11" radius curve fits just perfect, but two wont. So I'd have to break my 11" minimum radius rule and have the inside curve be 9.75". This really wouldn't be a problem though since this section would be temporary anyways, and all of the rolling stock/ locos I own have no issues on these sharp curves. I likely wont be able to move the layout into our apartment though until next spring when our roommate moves out and a free room opens up, but even when I do move it in I still may need that corner piece until we end up in a real house!
 

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I will definitely brace the legs with either an X shape, or a sheet of plywood to add rigidity. I would like to mount it to the wall with shelf brackets eventually, but our landlord doesn't allow us to screw anything into the walls. I actually did think of adding a 90 degree section to go around the corner of the room and I designed one up in Anyrail. My initial thought was to use a 1'x1' square as it would match up end to end with no major carpentry involved. However if I stuck with the 1'x1' square corner piece, a single 90 degree 11" radius curve fits just perfect, but two wont. So I'd have to break my 11" minimum radius rule and have the inside curve be 9.75". This really wouldn't be a problem though since this section would be temporary anyways, and all of the rolling stock/ locos I own have no issues on these sharp curves. I likely wont be able to move the layout into our apartment though until next spring when our roommate moves out and a free room opens up, but even when I do move it in I still may need that corner piece until we end up in a real house!

Yes, that's one of the things about renting instead of owning, you can't screw things to the walls.
There are a couple of other possibilities for securing your layout without penetrating the walls.
If the apartment has flat plasterboard walls, rather than any sort of textured finish, you might look into using
3M Command hooks to anchor the layout to the wall. They use a special strong, but completely removable, tape that won't even mar the paint when you pull it off.
The other idea comes from the pole lamps that were once popular. These strange fixtures had typically three shaded lamp sockets fastened to a pole. The pole had a screw mechanism at the top end, and both ends had rubber fittings at the very end. You placed the bottom end of the pole on the floor, and screwed the adjustable top up against the ceiling. The pole was held upright by expansion, with no hardware into the floor or ceiling. I saw a model railroad that was supported by similar poles in an old Model Railroader magazine article. The builder didn't use actual pole lamps. He made his own supporting posts from wood, and added the screw & rubber tips.

Just a couple more things for you to consider.

Traction Fan 😊
 

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Discussion Starter #13
So, I've been doing some more track planning and I've tweaked a few things on the right side end section and the right center section. I did not want to make the two sections to where they had to be placed in a certain orientation in order to operate properly, but it made more sense to extend the switching yard by making it continue into both sections in the center as seen in the picture below. I also added a few areas of scenery ideas to give me an idea of what I could model in these areas. I like the idea of street running, and although its not fully incorporated into the layout I can still model it off to the side on the right center module. I also like the idea of tunnels like any model railroader so I changed the right end section to incorporate the loop-back to be under a mountain. Whether or not I actually model a tunnel into the layout I'm not sure yet but if I did I imagine this would be the perfect place for it. I am also thinking now that with potentially having mountainous terrain on the right end section, it may make more sense scenery wise to flip flop the two center sections and have the S curve near the end section to continue the rough terrain.
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Discussion Starter #14
I don't have any pictures of it yet, but I got some 1" pink foam glued down to my benchwork a few days ago. I'm really itching to start laying track but I don't want to get ahead of myself which is hard to do with the layout at my parents house. Since I only have a few hours to work at a time, I typically try to get as much done as possible which leads to me forgetting key steps because I'm rushing things.

Before I keep forgetting to, or get ahead of myself, the next few steps are to:
  1. Get the legs mounted before I am unable to turn the section upside down
  2. Order some more Atlas track packs to get a few more switches
  3. Run and tweak the switches before I glue them down
  4. Paint the ties and track before laying it
  5. Decide on a size for the hill on top of the tunnel
 

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cale10;

Here's my opinions (for whatever their worth 😄 ) regarding your "to do list."

First, force yourself to pace yourself. It doesn't do any good to rush, and mess up, then do it over. This doesn't save any of your limited work time, in fact, it wastes it.


1. Sounds like a good idea. Will the legs be able to fold up, or will you dismount them, when it's time to move them out of your parent's house?

2. Atlas switches (turnouts) are not particularly reliable, at least out of the box. Actually, if you're modeling in HO-scale, Atlas sells two different lines of turnouts. The ones in the track pack are most likely Atlas "Snap Switch" turnouts which are their low end turnouts. Atlas's better quality turnouts are called "custom line."
It is possible to modify Atlas snap switch turnouts to reduce potential derailment & electrical problems built into them. One of the electrical problems that has come up several times here on the forum is burnt out coils in the Atlas switch machine. This can be prevented by using a CDU (Capacitive Discharge Unit) to operate your turnouts. The file "Improving Atlas turnouts" that I sent you earlier, tells what the problems are and how to fix them. The file "All about turnouts" gives a lot of information on several brands of model turnouts, switch machines, and controls.

3. I don't recommend gluing your turnouts down. Track yes, but not turnouts. At some point at least one, and quite possibly several, turnouts are going to need to be pulled up for major repair, or replacement. Many experienced modelers let their turnouts "float", that is be held in place only by the track glued or nailed down track sections connected to them. Another option would be to use Atlas track nails to secure your turnouts. If you glue them, it will be all to easy for some glue to get into the throwbar area and make the points difficult/impossible to throw reliably, particularly with Atlas's quite weak switch machine.

4. A simple way to paint track is to use Rustoleum brand's brown "flat primer" spray paint. the color is good for both ties and rails. Of course, spray outdoors, with the can at least a foot away from the track, and using several light coats. Too much paint can gum things up. Remove the switch machine from the side of the turnouts, and mask the throwbar area, before spray painting a turnout.

5. To look necessary, and therefore realistic, the amount of hill over the tunnel should be at least twice as high as the tunnel portal, preferably more. A tunnel is expensive both to drill, and to maintain. A real railroad would simply blast and bulldoze a much cheaper "cut" through any small hills it encounters.

Good Luck & Have Fun;

Traction Fan 🙂
 

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Discussion Starter #16 (Edited)
The legs will just be simple 2"x2" wood with a brace near the bottom, and I plan to have them slide into a mount so I can remove them if need be. I don't plan on using remote-controlled turnouts since the layout is only 27" deep at its max so throwing the switches by hand is fine with me. They will definitely not be glued down in case of needed repairs in the future as you mentioned, and this worked well for me on my last layout. I've found that there are three total versions of these switches. The first version being the worst, second is better but not ideal, and the newest version are the ones I plan to use on the mainline. I also found that the most recent rendition of the standard Code 80 Snap-Switch to be the most reliable with the least amount of tweaking required. The previous versions however did need a little more modifications. I had to bend the moving rail slightly to ensure the point opened or closed completely, filed and widened the frog for certain sets of wheels to flow through, and clean the contact pads under the points. I have a few of the second version switches but I only plan to use those in areas where they wont see constant use. I also have a two of the first version turnouts but I don't plan to use them at all due to their unreliability and poor electrical contact. I don't mind using the older switches as they are cheaper, and still work reliably with some tinkering, which I enjoy doing.
 

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The legs will just be simple 2"x2" wood with a brace near the bottom, and I plan to have them slide into a mount so I can remove them if need be. I don't plan on using remote-controlled turnouts since the layout is only 27" deep at its max so throwing the switches by hand is fine with me. They will definitely not be glued down in case of needed repairs in the future as you mentioned, and this worked well for me on my last layout. I've found that there are three total versions of these switches. The first version being the worst, second is better but not ideal, and the newest version are the ones I plan to use on the mainline. I also found that the most recent rendition of the standard Code 80 Snap-Switch to be the most reliable with the least amount of tweaking required. The previous versions however did need a little more modifications. I had to bend the moving rail slightly to ensure the point opened or closed completely, filed and widened the frog for certain sets of wheels to flow through, and clean the contact pads under the points. I have a few of the second version switches but I only plan to use those in areas where they wont see constant use. I also have a two of the first version turnouts but I don't plan to use them at all due to their unreliability and poor electrical contact. I don't mind using the older switches as they are cheaper, and still work reliably with some tinkering, which I enjoy doing.
cale10;

It sounds like you have things pretty well in hand. One point has me wondering though. Why would you need to "widen the frog for certain sets of wheels to flow through it" ? The flangeways that the wheels pass through, both on the frog side, and the guard rail side, are too wide, not too narrow. (Based on the flangeway standard in the NMRA gauge.)
Can't these "certain wheels' be adjusted to "flow through " the frog & guard rails, rather than the other way around? It's your railroad, and whatever works for you would be OK, but it seems backwards to me. I scratchbuild most of my own turnouts, and also have a few Peco & Micro Engineering commercial turnouts. All of them have been built, or adjusted to meet the specs of the NMRA gauge, so have all the wheels. This is the system most model railroaders end up using, and it practically eliminates turnout-caused derailments. However, "your railroad, your rules." Good Luck & Have Fun.

Traction Fan
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Turns out, I used the wrong term. I actually deepened the frogs, not widened them. Oops. I had a few older sets of pizza cutter wheels that were giving me issues so I made the frog a bit deeper so the wheels wouldn't jump the frog.
 

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Turns out, I used the wrong term. I actually deepened the frogs, not widened them. Oops. I had a few older sets of pizza cutter wheels that were giving me issues so I made the frog a bit deeper so the wheels wouldn't jump the frog.

cale 10;

Since you have experience with Atlas turnouts, you may know this already. The two short rails that exit the plastic frog are of opposite electrical polarities, and they are right under a tiny thickness of plastic. Some people, (including me, years ago when I didn't know any better) file the frog point down in an attempt to cure the bouncing of wheels as they pass through the frog. Not only does filing the frog point not fix the original problem, but it often creates a new one, short circuits when a metal wheel spans those two frog rails. Now I know you were cutting/filing the frog's flangeways, not the point. Personally, I don't think there is any reason to file a frog or cut away any of it. In my opinion, it would be smarter to replace those "pizza cutter" wheels with newer, aftermarket wheels with shallow flanges. By the way, you said you were using code 80 turnouts. Those pizza cutters must have really deep flanges to hit the frog floor of a code 80 turnout. Those were designed to accept what most of us consider "pizza cutter" deep flanged wheels. That's the basic idea behind code 80 track and turnouts. Early N-scale had oversize rail and wheel flanges because the manufacturers thought these tiny trains would derail without these oversize components. Not true, of course, hence today's code 55, & code 40 track and shallow flanged wheels. Oh well, what ever works for you.

Traction Fan 🙂
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Yes, most of my rolling stock now has the low profile wheels and definitely works better. I still do have a lot of Rapido stuff as the price of replacing all the trucks/ couplers with knuckles adds up quick. But a friend of mine in our local club converted all of his rolling stock from plastic wheels to metal. I would prefer metal too, but he gave me a good deal on his old wheel sets so I now have hundreds of Microtrains and Atlas low profile wheelsets. Eventually everything will have knuckle couplers but that's later down the road.

In the meantime, I found a tunnel entrance on Thingiverse last week and got around to printing it yesterday. So far it looks great! with some painting and weathering I think it will look great on the layout should I choose to go with the tunnel idea.
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