On30 "Timesaver" ideas?

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May 4, 2013 6:40 PM

I'm chomping at the bit to play with some of my On30 collection again.  I also want to fuss around with the DCC control system (Bachmann Dynamis) I have had stored away for several years now.

 

Since space is very much at a premium in my humble abode, I think I might like to have a simple switching layout--a narrow one--kind of like the John Allen Timesaver layout.  I believe I could have a lot of fun with that.

 

Has anyone here ever built the Timesaver layout specifically for On30?  If so, I would appreciate having them give me some feel for the space needed and would welcome any other advice or tips they might offer.  I have a lot of Atlas HO track available and a good number of Atlas switches, and would probably prefer to make use of that track.  I also have a box of Peco On30 flex-track, but no matching switches.  The Peco track would undoubtedly look better, but I don't think I want to invest in new switches.  In any case, I would "bury" most of the Atlas track (ties) in ballast and ground cover to give it that typical narrow gauge industrial line look.

 

The theme will likely be a mining operation since I have both the motive power and rolling stock suited for that kind of industry.  I do want to include structures and scenery on the layout, so I'm not looking for a bare-bones sort of thing.

 

Just an idea I'm toying with.  Another possibility might be to make use of a 4-foot diameter unfinished round table top that I ordered online for use as a Christmas display for my O gauge tinplate last year.  It arrived too late to be put to use (used a 36" diameter top that I already had instead), and it's still stored in its box in my garage.  I could probably make a pretty decent On30 pizza layout with that thing if I can find a place to put it now. 

 

Anyhow, any ideas are welcome.

 

 

Allan Miller, Editor-In-Chief O Gauge Railroading magazine

 
 
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May 4, 2013 7:05 PM

From my point of view, I would get tired of playing with a switching only layout. It's nice also to just watch the trains run. But, a tunnel is important to me to hide the loop. Another nice thing to do is to have a passing loop in the tunnel so you can run trains in different directions. The tunnel and hill will also provide a location for the mine. A switching yard at the front will give you the operating variations.

 

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May 4, 2013 9:03 PM

 
 
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May 5, 2013 8:24 AM

Allan,

Investigate some of the layouts on Carl Arendt's Micro Layout website.

The Avalon Brick Works (On30") is 34"x16" with switching and continous running.

 

 

 

 
Last edited by Old Goat May 5, 2013 10:53 AM
 
 
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May 5, 2013 8:32 AM

Yes, I should have noted in my initial post that I am already familiar with the John Allen G&D site, the late Carl Arendt's wonderful site, and several others that I have had bookmarked for a long time.  More interested now in learning if anyone here has constructed one of those various alternatives.

 

The Avalon Brick Works on Carl's site has definite possibilities because it's about the size I am looking for.

 

 

Allan Miller, Editor-In-Chief O Gauge Railroading magazine

 
 
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May 26, 2013 11:11 AM

Allan, have you found any plans you like?  I find layout #10 in 101 track plans a interesting small layout.

And thank you for your service to our country.

Al

 

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May 26, 2013 12:06 PM

I'm still researching and procrastinating, Al.  I definitely want to get at least some of my On30 up and running, but am still trying to decide where I might make some space available.  So many trains; so little space!  

 

 

Allan Miller, Editor-In-Chief O Gauge Railroading magazine

 
 
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May 26, 2013 3:31 PM

 I'm still researching and procrastinating,

Heck Allan, that is half of the fun.

Al

 

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May 26, 2013 3:39 PM

Originally Posted by Allan Miller:

I'm still researching and procrastinating, Al.  I definitely want to get at least some of my On30 up and running, but am still trying to decide where I might make some space available.  So many trains; so little space!  

Space is always at a premium for most. I have been trying to convince my wife she works too hard. I suggested we live on take-out food and get a Job Johnny.  This eliminates the need for the kitchen and bathroom. If we send the kids to live with their aunt that frees up even more space. No more up and down the basement steps. This will free up the entire first floor.  

 

Jeff

 
 
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May 26, 2013 4:26 PM

Originally Posted by Allan Miller:
 If so, I would appreciate having them give me some feel for the space needed and would welcome any other advice or tips they might offer. 

If you compare 1:48 to 1:87, an O Scale version I'm familiar with is 12' long x 32" wide. Assuming similar radii, On30 should easily fit in approximately 7' x 18". If you have or can get them, Wyes will tighten things up some. Making use of flex track, you can get the siding lengths right and meander the sidings a bit. You can use this to your advantage to reduce the overall length and add realism.

 

Buildings are fun, but make sure you have a clear line path to your switch operators. It's no fun trying to reach over stuff when you're running.

 

These things are a blast to run.

 

Gilly

 
Last edited by Gilly@N&W May 26, 2013 4:37 PM
 
 
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May 27, 2013 2:41 PM

Allan, how much space do you have and where is your location?

Al

 

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May 27, 2013 4:03 PM

When I was researching this one of the points that jumped out at me was that the whole intent of "timesaver" was that is was a *PUZZLE* or a *GAME* and not a layout or layout element (which was what I was trying to make it).  I decided I was trying to force it in where it didn't make sense and for the wrong reasons.  I'm not saying that it is *WRONG* or you *SHOULDN'T* do it that way.  Far from it!  If it works for you, great!  I decided to do mine on a couple of modules and see if I like it before doing anything permanent.

 

One big tip that is important is that the lengths of the sidings relate to the lengths and number of cars.  If I remember right, having the sidings too long gives you too much room and makes the puzzle too easy.  "Space" is supposed to be a major constraint.

 

Have fun and post pictures!

 

Regards,

Eric S.

Saline, MI

 
 
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May 28, 2013 5:11 PM

Allan,

 

What are the dimensions of the cars you intend to use?

 

Gilly

 
 
 
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May 28, 2013 6:01 PM

Originally Posted by AL CLAIR:

Allan, how much space do you have and where is your location?

Al

I'm still trying to "evaluate" the space that might be available.  Might try for something in my bedroom (about 7' of space in front of the window, and can probably go about 24-34 inches in depth.  Also might be able to reconfigure some space in the dining room along one wall there there a currently a couple of low bookcases beneath a couple of large wall-mounted display cases that house part of my Marklin Maxi collection.  Pretty much the same space available as in the bedroom.

 

I need to approach the fellow who built the Timesaver layout (3-rail) that's going to appear in the next issue of the magazine.  I would pay him good money to build me something like that and freight it to me.  You folks will see what I mean when the article appears.  Beautiful craftsmanship, and designed for portability.  All I need is the foundation/table.  I can take care of the track, wiring, etc. myself.

 

 

Allan Miller, Editor-In-Chief O Gauge Railroading magazine

Last edited by Allan Miller May 28, 2013 6:06 PM
 
 
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May 28, 2013 6:03 PM

Originally Posted by Gilly@N&W:

Allan,

 

What are the dimensions of the cars you intend to use?

 

Gilly

Not exactly sure, Gilly!  Depends on how I want to scenic the layout with some purposeful industries (at least somewhat).  I have ore cars, log cars, boxcars, flatcars, and cabooses available, and probably a couple of other kinds.

 

 

Allan Miller, Editor-In-Chief O Gauge Railroading magazine

 
 
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May 28, 2013 6:25 PM

Picking siding lengths is just like plugging the magazine on a shotgun. If it's only supposed to hold "2", get the O.A. length of your three shortest cars and then subtract the length of one truck. Double check against two of your longest cars.

 

Thinking about On30, if these are O scale width, 32" will be more than sufficient for O.A. width.

 

Gilly

 
 
 
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May 28, 2013 7:08 PM

This was posted as part of the March 8 2013 weekend photo fun.   Matt I.'s Time saver modules for the Fort Pitt Hi-Rail Modular layout.  3 ft X 12 ft (2 modules.)

 

The Time saver modules are doubled on the mainline modules. Cut line is the tight "S" Curve and the two bush rows next to the asphalt highway, part of the main line module.

The control panel pictured controls all Time saver switches and uncouplers. Units/locomotives are TMCC controlled.

Fort Pitt Hi-Railers at the Pittsburgh Home and Garden Show.
Matt's Time Saver Modules.


















 
Last edited by Mike CT May 28, 2013 7:24 PM
 
 
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May 28, 2013 7:27 PM

I've heard the criticism, also, about the Timesaver being too much of a puzzle and not enough of a realistic layout.

 

IMO, the siding length stipulation is what makes it the puzzle, and makes switching moves unnecessarily complicated and unrealistic.

 

Industries often had less than ideal locations for their spur tracks. Many times cars would have to be moved temporarily from an active loading dock to service other industries farther down the spur. But, every effort was made to make things as easy as space would allow for switching crews.

 

Someday, I, too, want to build something roughly patterned after the Timesaver, but with a few changes in siding lengths, switch placements, etc. to make operations easier and more realistic.

 

Jim

 

 

 

 

 
 
 
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May 28, 2013 7:38 PM

  • "too much of a puzzle and not enough of a realistic layout"  Those of us that are old enough to remember when railroads switched railcars in major downtown areas will tell you that puzzles are very much a part of real railroading.  On the Yolo ShortLine we had a cannery that served 24 cars at a time, they only had DOCK space for 6 cars.  We did a lot of frequent car moves into and out of their area.  Russ
 

Please have a visit to:

http://www.hobby-tronics.com/1940DRGW/

OGR since Sept 2006.

 
 
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May 28, 2013 7:39 PM

What I envision is something like Matt's Ft. Pitt Hi-Railers setup, although modified for On30.  Those modules appear to have a purpose over and above their switching activity potential, and that's what I'm looking for.

 

I would be using small motive power, even though I have examples of most everything Bachmann has produced in On30.  I'm thinking primarily of gas mechanicals, 0-4-0s, 0-4-2s, and the like.

 

 

Allan Miller, Editor-In-Chief O Gauge Railroading magazine

 
 
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May 28, 2013 7:58 PM

Rather than come up with a grand plan, why not simply set up one straight track just to get going. You can test your operating system and rolling stock while you procrastinate.  Ideas then seem to flow out of watching and thinking while enjoying.
 
 
 
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May 28, 2013 10:34 PM

My humble offerings to the inquiry...just build a simple 3'x4' frame on casters or wheels, so it can slide under a bed...use of a basement or room corner is better...toss some track on that in a copy, or close, of the origonal and "play". I would suggest the use of switches fired via the dynamis, but you might be able to make/find something to make regular switches work{arduino?} via DCC, then your only worries are coupling/uncoupling and trying it out.

If you like what you have- regroup and solidify everything to permanent..if not tweek till your happy.

That's the only problem with On30 is the lack of DCC coupler control for a layout as described...alot of switching...but I'm sure you could work the dynamis, some switch toggles and some coupler magnets via switches together...can't be much harder than running a magazine....you seem the multitasking type.

 

BTW- if this works we expect a full article about it!...no pressure.  

 

You know its a good kit bash or build day when there's alot of plastic shavings under the workbench - or- that I really need to clean up the floor again.

-Bob

 
 
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May 28, 2013 10:43 PM

Originally Posted by Allan Miller:

What I envision is something like Matt's Ft. Pitt Hi-Railers setup, although modified for On30.  Those modules appear to have a purpose over and above their switching activity potential, and that's what I'm looking for.

 

I would be using small motive power, even though I have examples of most everything Bachmann has produced in On30.  I'm thinking primarily of gas mechanicals, 0-4-0s, 0-4-2s, and the like.

A)...sure, have a few groups of cars..lil boxes from here, tankers from there, cattle cars over there...mix them up and get them where they need to go.

B)...guess that rules out my 2-6-6-2 then...but man I love the sound of that puppy...looks too!

 

You know its a good kit bash or build day when there's alot of plastic shavings under the workbench - or- that I really need to clean up the floor again.

-Bob

 
 
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May 29, 2013 5:47 AM

Originally Posted by Burlington Route:

My humble offerings to the inquiry...just build a simple 3'x4' frame on casters or wheels, so it can slide under a bed...use of a basement or room corner is better...toss some track on that in a copy, or close, of the origonal and "play". I would suggest the use of switches fired via the dynamis, but you might be able to make/find something to make regular switches work{arduino?} via DCC, then your only worries are coupling/uncoupling and trying it out.

If you like what you have- regroup and solidify everything to permanent..if not tweek till your happy.

That's the only problem with On30 is the lack of DCC coupler control for a layout as described...alot of switching...but I'm sure you could work the dynamis, some switch toggles and some coupler magnets via switches together...can't be much harder than running a magazine....you seem the multitasking type.

 

BTW- if this works we expect a full article about it!...no pressure.  

That's pretty much what I think I'm going to do, but with a 5' or 6' long by 36" deep board.  I may order some Mianne benchwork components for a foundation and stain the pieces to match my bedroom furniture.  I will probably venture over to Lowe's this weekend to get the plywood and have it cut to size.  Wish I had a shop of my own (and the tools) for doing some woodworking.

 

 

Allan Miller, Editor-In-Chief O Gauge Railroading magazine

 
 
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May 29, 2013 8:15 AM

Last summer I built a "Timesaver" using Super O track, which should be the same geometry of HO track if I remember right. The smallest I was able to shrink it down to was three foot by seven foot. I don't know if the sidings were the proper length, as I never really further than setting the cork roadbed and the track.

 

I'll try to snap a picture of it this week; I really ought to work on it some more.

 

J White

 
 
 
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May 29, 2013 10:00 AM

Alan, as I recall Lowes, like home depot, will do 2 cuts for free...just give them the measurements for the piece you want.

As for well rounded wood working tools I'd suggest a double compound miter saw{flips over left and right} for cutting table legs and frame corner gussets, a table saw for cutting long sheets, long cuts in shelving for wheel slots to set trains on or cutting knotches in legs/things and maybe a plunge router if you ever plan on keyhole slots on shelving- otherwise a standard router for decorative shelving corners and careful keyhole cuts.

...or, just find a close fellow forum member with all this and bring "drinks"{for afterwards} ...if you were close I'd offer my services/tools.

 

You know its a good kit bash or build day when there's alot of plastic shavings under the workbench - or- that I really need to clean up the floor again.

-Bob

 
 
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May 29, 2013 1:42 PM

Get a hollow core door.  I put an O scale time saver on one with the old Atlas switches.  I run a switch engine and use a variety of cars.  An On30 version would have more than enough room.  At its basic the time saver was a puzzle for the public's entertainment but makes a nice switching layout when you make the sidings longer and the run around track bigger.  Also they do exist on the prototype, we have one on the old WP Reno branch and it's run around is big enough for two 33k LPG tank cars. 

 

Greg

 
 
 
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May 29, 2013 8:17 PM

Darn you, Allan. Now you have me interested. No fair ! I want to do this in On3. I can do two 24" x 48" modules stored beneath the Munoz Lines bench work. What have you done to me? ****
 
 
 
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May 29, 2013 8:30 PM

Originally Posted by Scrapiron Scher:
Darn you, Allan. Now you have me interested. No fair ! I want to do this in On3. I can do two 24" x 48" modules stored beneath the Munoz Lines bench work. What have you done to me? ****

Sorry about that, Scrappy!  

 

When you see our August issue, you'll have a better idea of what I'm looking for.

 

Tom Gilsdorf and the River City 3 Railers constructed a very cool 32" x 144" easily transportable switching layout of the type I would very much like to have if I had the tools and the talent to build such a thing.  Really very cool, and very nicely done.  I would like something that could perhaps be a bit shorter, but which could be transported in the back of my Escape to various events and also used at home just to have some fun and to provide a very cool test layout for my On30 roster.

 

 

Allan Miller, Editor-In-Chief O Gauge Railroading magazine

Last edited by Allan Miller May 29, 2013 8:36 PM
 
 
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May 29, 2013 9:31 PM

Hi Allan,

 

I had sent you an email, but wanted to make sure you heard from me. If you'd like bench work, I'll be happy to build it for you. Just settle on the dimensions and let me know. I knocked out two more club modules today. We'll be laying track on Saturday, so starting next week my schedule is open.

 

Gilly

 
 
 
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May 29, 2013 10:40 PM

Hi, Gilly!  Just checked my office e-mail.  Indeed, I did receive a note from you.  Will respond in detail tomorrow.  Thanks much!

 

 

 

Allan Miller, Editor-In-Chief O Gauge Railroading magazine

 
 
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May 31, 2013 5:19 PM

Now I'm itch'n to build. Three cheers for Miller.
 
 
 
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June 4, 2013 8:30 AM

Here is a cool HO scale "Timesaver" track plan I would like to adopt for my On3 module. The plan comes from the following website and the Radum and East Pleasanton RR. I have notified the webmaster about borrowing his plan. The size of this module as HO is 1' x 7'. As an On3 module, I would like to build 24" x 96" so a modification of this plan would be necessary. Please add your ideas. 

 

As an On3 plan, I would be placing structures on a 24" wide module so, though some of the O structures would be too big for a module like this plan, the structures could be modified in size and scope. In On3, this plan would be 24" x 168" so major modifications lengthwise would be required.

 

http://www.tasso.org/reprr/reprr.html

 

I really like the way the structures are arranged. I would not have the left hand turnout coming off of the upper left spur, however. The "Timesaver" as conceived by John Allen had five spurs. Five is more than enough for a module this size. The middle rail could be the main.

 

Your thoughts?

 

 

Timesaver

 

Passengers will please refrain, This train's got the disappearin' railroad blues...

 
 
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Timesaver
 
 
 
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June 4, 2013 9:22 AM

Buildings can be downsized to smaller establishments and track length is dependant on how many cars on a given spur and how long the cars are. Narrow gauge runs far shorter cars than standard... two 18' boxcars will take the place of one standard, and if you make or buy them even shorter{4 wheelers} you can fit more....it just depends on how they're sized.

Also, and this is strickly builder wishes- a lack of buildings can be overcome by added trees and scenery details to make up for that...even a small stream running diagonally across the layout with small bridges over them....your call, but one could easily make for plenty for the eyes to take in.

Just my 2 cents....

 

You know its a good kit bash or build day when there's alot of plastic shavings under the workbench - or- that I really need to clean up the floor again.

-Bob

 
 
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June 4, 2013 9:46 AM

Excellent ideas, Bob.

 

Many thanks.

I'll post pictures of my progress.

 

Scrappy

 

Passengers will please refrain, This train's got the disappearin' railroad blues...

 
 
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March 26, 2014 12:18 PM

This is my first post to OGR. I currently have an O scale 12' x 7' loop in my 'Man Cave' bedroom and want to build a On30 layout as well. Modules are what I'm thinking of. Just not sure if it will be a Timesaver or not yet. I do need to follow the KISS rule.

MartyLJ
 

 

 
 
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March 26, 2014 3:02 PM

How about making the timesaver or something similar for switching with one end leading to a set of return loop modules on one end. Allows for running a train, especially with sound to get the full effect. I have a MMI On3 K-27 with sound, and this is what I plan to do.  No room for a large layout.  I already have built two 2' x 6' modules using 1x3 framing with 1x2 cross members layed on their side and 2" blue foam board inside.  Makes for strong but very light modules.

Mike

 
 
 
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March 26, 2014 3:34 PM

Hi Michael, That sounds like what I want to do. What would be the length & width of that third module? I picture something tear dropped.

MartyLJ
Originally Posted by H Michael Pierce:
How about making the timesaver or something similar for switching with one end leading to a set of return loop modules on one end. Allows for running a train, especially with sound to get the full effect. I have a MMI On3 K-27 with sound, and this is what I plan to do.  No room for a large layout.  I already have built two 2' x 6' modules using 1x3 framing with 1x2 cross members layed on their side and 2" blue foam board inside.  Makes for strong but very light modules.
Mike
 

 

 
 
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March 26, 2014 3:45 PM

Another compact layout is appealing to me as well. I like this scheme based on a 1X4 foot N scale setup that would translate well to On3 where the yard seems to lead off somewhere that can be added onto later. I have been toying with N scale traction as I found to my surprise Bachman makes the Peter Witt cars in N as well as Tomee makes inexpensive superstreet like add on modules complete with line poles. Heres the layout plan.It doesnt seem too crowded and has more of a scenic touch. I was thinking put a canyon where the river runs under the mainline and forest it with trees.

 

 
Last edited by electroliner March 26, 2014 3:50 PM
 
 
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March 26, 2014 4:54 PM

For those interested Matt I's time saver modules will be part of the Fort Pitt Hi-Railer's display at York, April 2014, We will be in , I believe?, the White hall.  There is a detailed plug-in control panel for switches and un-couplers, upper right corner of this picture.  Switching units/locomotives are TMCC controlled.    Mike CT   Now all I got to do is get the thing to work. 

 
Last edited by Mike CT March 26, 2014 5:03 PM
 
 
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