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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My layout is Kato Unitrack on banquet tables covered with felt cloth. Scenery consists of dioramas on bases cut for the location. There are several advantages and disadvantages to this setup, one of the disadvantages is there are seven useless corners. You can’t put a spur into the corner without shrinking the radius of the mainline or violating the “mainline goes through the turn on a turnout” rule, so any industry served by a railroad spur is out of the question. I have a few ideas, like putting a wooded hill in one corner with a hillbilly shack.
I ended up with a couple small stations and then got a couple large platforms made by AHM from yard sales some friends called me about. The platforms look like they went to some kind of industry. After plopping them down to fill up the empty space I thought, other than the fact that there’s a curve the corners would be a nice place to put a whistle stop station. The platform is straight and 15” long but it shouldn’t be too hard to cut it into thirds and add wedges to fill in.
The most exposed corner on the layout is also the furthest from the control station and I wanted to put a feature there that I didn’t care about since it probably would get damaged at some point by people (like me) brushing against it. A name for the station that hinted at that expectation seemed appropriate, thus was born “Sacrifice WV”. The state was chosen because I am fond of the B&O and West Virginia is about as hilly as it gets on that railroad.
I had two stations, one from Atlas of brick and the other (being this one) appears to be southwestern or maybe even Italian. Anyway there are too many windows for a place that is cold half the year but I was trying to do this on the cheap so slapped a coat of paint on it and called it good.
Of course, to do anything on the cheap you have to spend money… I was at a local hobby store and found the Model Power small freight station, thinking it would be perfect to fill in a niche on the platform. And I wanted a nice white picket fence around the grass so a trip to ebay found some from Tichy.
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Here's the station. For some reason the local Lady’s Auxiliary thought an accurate population important enough to complain to the station master, but the maintenance man doesn’t seem to agree. He’ll probably be up there again soon to do a proper job of it.
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Here’s everyone waiting impatiently for the train.
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Here’s a poor townsperson who just realized his world ends with a three-foot drop onto concrete. The empty carriage may seem odd, but off in the distance you can see the boy who’s supposed to mind the horse playing with his dog instead.

So there you have it. I ended up spending more time than I planned creating the station but in the end It came out OK. Hopefully it won't come crashing to the floor too often.
 

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Exactly what I'm doing. Well, except yours looks far better and neater! and its working. I ended up ditching the felt for pink flat panel foam. i then did some basic ground cover. i ditched the plastic track for micro engineering but this turns out to be hard. i do have quite a bit of plastic track now and recently bought some kato so i'll probably just mix than anyway after all because pragmatism. i'm expanding (slowly) on one end at the top of a loop along a wall... I thought I'd just roll out the felt again to her going... it's easy and if i don't like it the big win is -- just take it back up.

the biggest downside is really in the end it doesnt look as good as the fixed layouts can look...
 

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What ! No warning sign of the drop? :)

Nicely done, maybe add some rock climbers where the guy is looking down?
Or a person with a glider wing ready to jump? :unsure:
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
One of the best parts about using unitrack is that your layout isn't fixed. You can pretty much rejigger the track on a whim. I've expanded this layout from an oval to an oval with a waterwing around it, added turnouts and reversing loops without plan and now I'm adding a passenger terminal (with 200' of the St Louis Union Station facade in front, if I can work it out) all without having to tear up any track or benchwork. There is a great variety of track available and it's relatively easy to doctor individual pieces when you need to.
I plan on using 1/8" rubbery foam stuff from the craft store to cover up the felt in between dioramas. I'm hoping it will cover up the wiring too, I haven't drilled a hole in a table yet.
As you mentioned, the downside is it will never look like the pictures you see in model railroad magazines. Being an engine junkie I don't think I'll be too bothered by that.
 

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Nice name for a town/Station. There are downsides to any layout, and upsides. Yours looks good and seems to serve you well.
 

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It looks good but let me ask what's the problem with "mainline goes through a turn on a turnout rule"?
 

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I like it !

And, love a story behind a scene.

I think I'll steal the idea of the fellow standing at the edge of the "road to nowhere".
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Cars are more likely to derail going through the turn than on the straight.
 

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Murv2, any chance of seeing a few more layout pics, 1 That I saw lately looked like you have a turntable as well ?
 

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Nice work! I'm in the same boat except much earlier stage. I have some banquet tables smooshed together with Kato Unitrack (HO). I know it won't look as realistic but since I live in an apartment having a easily portable layout is kind of important. I was thinking of just putting a layer of foam under everything to both cover the table edges/gaps and deaden the sound. I wasn't sure what to put on top of that though to simulate ground. Your felt cloth is an idea though. Guessing your tables are just standard table height? Mine are, and it'd be nice to have them higher up from the ground.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Here's the layout:
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basically there are four sections, the old oval in the LR, then the freight yard, loop and the passenger station on the left.
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The turntable. It's a Bachmann. I'm planning on scratchbuilding the roundhouse for the right half, and all the wires are to make it so you can use all the spurs, otherwise opposite spurs are powered. Haven't finished wiring it yet.
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I finished all the industries inside the oval, as soon as I test my filler pieces I can start covering the rest of the felt.
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The freight yard. The track and switches are mostly from a yard sale. Some day I'm going to learn how to ballast and fix the whole thing in place. Interesting, the kato switches can be power routing or non-power routing while the Atlas switches are all non-power routing. I've isolated 8 places for locomotives in this yard, 4 on a curve behind the cabooses (but I haven't wired it yet).
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The loop. Sacrifice is at the UR, the leaf-shaped area with an ore train on it is going to be a logging camp, the town will be replaced with home-built houses, the two locomotives and passenger car shells occupy space for an overhaul facility of some kind with a big industrial crane.
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The passenger yard. Eventually St Louis Union station will go on the end of the table, 200 feet of it anyway (the real station had 32 tracks). The freight cars are all bad rollers waiting for next payday so I can buy new trucks. Union Station had three control towers, one is still up, I'm going to scratchbuild it and put it in the LR corner of this photo.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Nice work! I'm in the same boat except much earlier stage. I have some banquet tables smooshed together with Kato Unitrack (HO). I know it won't look as realistic but since I live in an apartment having a easily portable layout is kind of important. I was thinking of just putting a layer of foam under everything to both cover the table edges/gaps and deaden the sound. I wasn't sure what to put on top of that though to simulate ground. Your felt cloth is an idea though. Guessing your tables are just standard table height? Mine are, and it'd be nice to have them higher up from the ground.
You can buy banquet tables with adjustable-height legs, if you want your tables higher you could get those instead.
 

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Interesting, the kato switches can be power routing or non-power routing while the Atlas switches are all non-power routing.
Wish I would have known that before, I bought a bunch of manual Kato switches because I thought I had read that their powered switches would not work with DCC.
 

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LocoChris:
"Wish I would have known that before, I bought a bunch of manual Kato switches because I thought I had read that their powered switches would not work with DCC."

ALL Kato (HO) switches work with dcc.

The powered #4 switches are power-routing and this feature cannot be disabled.

The manual #4 switches can be set to power-routing or non-power-routing.
Same with the manual #6 switches.
(these have "movable screws" on the bottom plate that control the setting)

I believe the powered #6 switches can be set "either way", as well.

But again, they ALL work with dcc. I have examples of each on my layout.
 

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LocoChris:
"Wish I would have known that before, I bought a bunch of manual Kato switches because I thought I had read that their powered switches would not work with DCC."

ALL Kato (HO) switches work with dcc.

The powered #4 switches are power-routing and this feature cannot be disabled.

The manual #4 switches can be set to power-routing or non-power-routing.
Same with the manual #6 switches.
(these have "movable screws" on the bottom plate that control the setting)

I believe the powered #6 switches can be set "either way", as well.

But again, they ALL work with dcc. I have examples of each on my layout.
Yes, I've used the screws on the manual switches. So if the powered #4 switches power routing can't be disabled, what would that prevent you from doing? Sorry for derailing the thread.
 

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Operating a train in a siding or yard track without a power drop if the turnout is set for the main or yard ladder.
 
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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
LocoChris:
"Wish I would have known that before, I bought a bunch of manual Kato switches because I thought I had read that their powered switches would not work with DCC."

ALL Kato (HO) switches work with dcc.

The powered #4 switches are power-routing and this feature cannot be disabled.

The manual #4 switches can be set to power-routing or non-power-routing.
Same with the manual #6 switches.
(these have "movable screws" on the bottom plate that control the setting)

I believe the powered #6 switches can be set "either way", as well.

But again, they ALL work with dcc. I have examples of each on my layout.
I have had an issue where two of my storage tracks aren't isolated by the Kato switches, the back switch is remote, the front is not. Guess I'm feeding power to the unselected track by the remote switch, need to isolate one joing to stop it from traveling.
 

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If you have a double-ended siding or storage track, and you want "complete control" over power to that track that over-rides any setting of the switches, then use insulated "unijoiners" at BOTH ends of the track, in BOTH rails.

Then, control power to it with a toggle switch, etc.
 
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