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Discussion Starter #1
Well, my new train room, in the attic above our garage is getting closer to reality. Electrical, insulation and drywall will be complete by weeks end. I've been playing with RAILMODELERPRO and have a few track plans saved.

This layout will be strictly a post-war type layout with lots of operating accessories. Scenery, if any will be minimal. Keeping in mind that I would like to have a main line to run fast passenger trains and another to do switching moves on, have a look at the track plans attached and please offer any thoughts, pro or con.

The layout will be accessible on all four sides. The second plan pictured is an extended version of Lionel's infamous folded over scheme, where the track at the upper portion of the sketch claims up and over the track below. The first and third sketches have no elevated track, but are level plans.

Some accessories that I must incorporate are a 313 bascule Bridge, 456 Coal Ramp, 397 Coal Loader, 464 Sawmill, Milk platform, Cattle Ramp, 362 Barrel loader, Icing Station, AF Oil Drum Loader, 264 Fork Lift, 342 Culvert Loader, 345 Culvert Unloader. If any more can fit, that would be a plus but not critical.

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If your squares are 1 foot, then looks like roughly a 6 x 12 foot train table? I have a postwar layout using only Lionel tubular track and 022 switches. I think your layout #2 will be the most interesting for continuous running of trains. However, after having several iterations of my layout the past decade, I find the option of train reversing loops a must, which it looks like you have in layout #3. For me layout #1 would loose my interest pretty quickly. Just not enough happening with the trains running.

Also, you list a lot of accessories. Make sure you fit them on your track plan where you want them. Accessories take up more room than you think to operate properly and look good.

A few principles I have learned with a postwar layout running postwar trains. 1. Switches and curves don't mix. If possible have at least one straight section before a switch (more is better). Postwar cars are heavy and the wheels have a lot more friction/resistance to rolling than modern cars. Longer consists will tend to derail when backing into the curved part of a switch. This will be especially true if you are moving through a curved section before a switch. 2. Even cleaned and serviced switches might not easily snap the points into place. Again, when set to the curved section and backing into them, if the points are not all the way to the side in place, cars will derail. So, power all switches on a separate transformer. If you have a lot of switches (I think I have about 44), put LED bulbs in the controllers and the switches. This will give more voltage when operating the switch, forcing the points in place. 3. If you are using uncoupling sections, make sure they work well. The magnet/rails are almost bullet proof, but those original controllers with the two orange buttons are a recipe for failure. Most of mine work ok, but for others, I just wire in a good "door bell" type momentary switch to energize the magnet and provide power to the uncoupling rails for electrocouplers. 4. Put all the coal accessories in one area. Believe me, they all end up spilling the plastic coal everywhere, so best to contain it.
 

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Kbeyer's practical track comments are far beyond my experience ...

Have you thought about using the perimeter of the attic? They would utilize the space where the peaked roof is low and offer much longer loops.
 

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IF that’s truly a 6’ table depth, depending on the height you set the layout at, you may be challenged to reach anything at the middle of your table.

IF it were me, and there was room available, I’d look at either a U shaped layout you could walk into OR widen it to 8’ and get some access in the middle of the layout.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
IF that’s truly a 6’ table depth, depending on the height you set the layout at, you may be challenged to reach anything at the middle of your table.

IF it were me, and there was room available, I’d look at either a U shaped layout you could walk into OR widen it to 8’ and get some access in the middle of the layout.

I was planning a 36" table height. I know it's lower than the 42" or higher that is more popular these days, but it makes viewing for kids easier and allows me to reach to the middle from both sides and far enough in from each end.

I'm still not sure about the length at this point. All three designs have different lengths, 12', 14' and 16'. Of course the sixteen foot layout allows for more trains and accessories.....😃
 

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Discussion Starter #6
An alternative idea. The space I have to work with is 18'-8" x 12'-4". I've used all O72 switch tracks for this plan. Curves are a mixture of O42, O54 and one O72. It looks like I can run a passenger train while performing switching duties.

The white area is supposed to be open floor space. The platform will follow the track shape however.

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Personal preference is the latest version.

See it’s about 11’ wide. I’ll throw a curveball at ya....could put in a 3’ wide peninsula dead center. Would give you 4’ aisle either side. Could put in alot of your operating accessories and switching to boot. Small town perhaps, or passenger station...
 

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An alternative idea. The space I have to work with is 18'-8" x 12'-4". I've used all O72 switch tracks for this plan. Curves are a mixture of O42, O54 and one O72. It looks like I can run a passenger train while performing switching duties.

The white area is supposed to be open floor space. The platform will follow the track shape however.

View attachment 547378
That's an interesting one, and I think you'd have lots of variety with different routes running your trains. Two questions. Do you have enough room to put your accessories where you want them? Looks like you will have to put a few along the main line rather than in the siding, as I don't see a lot of room there for operating accessories. Second, have you used Lionel 072 switches before? (assuming that is what you are using) I had a pair of modern Lionel 072 switches, and I had trouble with postwar trains running on them. It was 20+ years ago, so I can't remember what the specific issue was, but I'd want to test several different types of engines/cars going through them on a layout before committing to them. They were expensive at the time, so I returned them.
 

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Personal preference is the latest version.

See it’s about 11’ wide. I’ll throw a curveball at ya....could put in a 3’ wide peninsula dead center. Would give you 4’ aisle either side. Could put in alot of your operating accessories and switching to boot. Small town perhaps, or passenger station...
Yeah, good point about the peninsula. On the other hand too much space taken up by tables can end up feeling cramped. I ended up taking down a peninsula in my layout because there was just not much room to move around in. More open space just felt better/made me enjoy the layout more.
 

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An alternative idea. The space I have to work with is 18'-8" x 12'-4". ... The platform will follow the track shape however.
Now we're talking :giggle:

A couple of suggestions:

(1) Using 4x8 sheets "as-is" will greatly simplify table construction. In the first diagram, below, the light gray rectangles are 4'x8'. The dark gray rectangles are nominal 2"x4" studs (actual 1.5" by 3"). You can use them as an edge to gain an extra 1.5" of width for the 4'x8' sheets. (note: The track plan is just to illustrate the edge concept). On my layout, I used the studs as edges flush with the top of the plywood on both long sides of the 4x8 ply. I gained 3" of width (and I hand picked the studs at HD for aesthetics). If you think you may want to add the edges, let me know and I'll walk you through how I did it.

(2) With so much space, it's a shame that you only have one loop. I'd go for two. You have the room. In the second diagram, I have three loops running on 4'x'8' sheets using the extra 3 " from the additional edge (albeit, w/o any switching). In your space you'd still have plenty of room for yards and accessories with two actual loops.

Lastly, take your time to get it right. Once constructed, you'll have to live with it for some time. Keep plugging , and chugging, away ...

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Discussion Starter #11
Personal preference is the latest version.

See it’s about 11’ wide. I’ll throw a curveball at ya....could put in a 3’ wide peninsula dead center. Would give you 4’ aisle either side. Could put in alot of your operating accessories and switching to boot. Small town perhaps, or passenger station...
My thoughts were to have a large scale trolley layout around the perimeter of the room, but that's still in the thinking stage. So I came up with an around three sides "O" gauge layout as shown. Your idea of a peninsula is tempting. However, in that open space i can still build a large scale layout, albeit small.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
That's an interesting one, and I think you'd have lots of variety with different routes running your trains. Two questions. Do you have enough room to put your accessories where you want them? Looks like you will have to put a few along the main line rather than in the siding, as I don't see a lot of room there for operating accessories. Second, have you used Lionel 072 switches before? (assuming that is what you are using) I had a pair of modern Lionel 072 switches, and I had trouble with postwar trains running on them. It was 20+ years ago, so I can't remember what the specific issue was, but I'd want to test several different types of engines/cars going through them on a layout before committing to them. They were expensive at the time, so I returned them.
I believe you are correct. It's difficult to precisely locate post-war accessories on a drawing. Even knowing their dimensions doesn't always translate correctly to the actual build. All of the O72 switches I have a re post-war.
 

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The accessories take up space. Best use is both sides of the operating track. So, one side is say for a milk stand , opposite for say barrel loader. Its not easy craming them on a layout. Trust me on that. Things like the hourse or cattle pen are best on sidings that you can keep lined up. I think half the fun of these in the 50s were atually getting them to work! You will need to lay it out in real life to see if you have the room.
 

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Before I built my layout in 2004/05 I bought RR Track software (RR-Track home) and spent months playing with track plans. One of the nice features of the software is it included a library of all postwar accessories (among libraries of lots of other stuff). The accessories are all the correct scale dimensions so you can easily play around with where they might fit best. I think my current layout is version number 52 or something. Honestly, half the fun of building the layout was the months of designing it with the software. Well worth the money, and it was not very expensive as I recall. Looks like current price with postwar accessory library is $89.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Before I built my layout in 2004/05 I bought RR Track software (RR-Track home) and spent months playing with track plans. One of the nice features of the software is it included a library of all postwar accessories (among libraries of lots of other stuff). The accessories are all the correct scale dimensions so you can easily play around with where they might fit best. I think my current layout is version number 52 or something. Honestly, half the fun of building the layout was the months of designing it with the software. Well worth the money, and it was not very expensive as I recall. Looks like current price with postwar accessory library is $89.

I checked it out and while the site claims it will operate on a MAC, it appears a bit too complicated for this user to do. Thanks for the info, however.
 

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I checked it out and while the site claims it will operate on a MAC, it appears a bit too complicated for this user to do. Thanks for the info, however.
No problem. I'm a Mac user too. I use Windows virtualization software to run Windows programs on my Mac. I've used Parallels, VMWare, and Virtual Box. Virtual Box (Oracle VM VirtualBox) is a free open source virtualization app for Macs, but you still have to have a Windows install disk or image to install Windows. Might be worth the effort. As I said, it was a lot of fun to play with various track plans.
 

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All of the O72 switches I have a re post-war.
By the way, 072 switches were not made in the postwar era, so hopefully you have the prewar number 711 072 switches. By all accounts they work very well, far better than the modern ones Lionel put out.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Another go at a track plan. I incorporated a peninsula, as has been suggested to do by some of you. Since I like building catenary systems, the outer track can have one. I'm still trying to keep the table width at three feet, with the exception of the two 180 degree curves at the bottom of the picture. So the framing for the layout will follow the shape of the track plan. The space occupied by the layout is 224" x 148"

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