Hi Folks,

I'm looking for some input on my layout design.  The benchwork and plywood for the lower level are already completed and I've been running trains for a little while now with minor changes here and there.  I've just completed the train shelves on the walls and am ready to build the upper level and solidify the lower level track plan. 

I know that I've fit a lot into a smaller space, so this is more toy train layout (more trains than scenery).  I have little kids, so the more trains we get going, the better.  There is possibility for four independent tracks with this layout. 

You'll notice the upper loops go "outside" the baseboard and that is because there is a 6" concrete pony wall the runs on the top and right sides of the room so I'm actually resting the upper loops on this pony wall.  I've maximized the space I have, so I can't make the benchwork any larger as there are walls on the left, top and right sides, with access coming in from the bottom left. 

I've also attached a version of the scarm file for those interested. 

The blue line is the edge of the current benchwork.  I've attached the various images with levels 1 and 2 as well as the whole layout and also the 3d renderings from scarm.  I look forward to hearing your thoughts!

Thanks in advance, G

Aug 19 upper loopsAug 2019 whole table v2August2019 lower loopAug 19 v6Aug 19 v7 dogboneAug 19 v8 dogbone

 

Gerhardt - G’s O Scale Trains ....  waaaay up in Canada 

 

 

Attachments

Original Post

Very nice presentation - Cheers!   Good design - around the room route over the lift-out bridge, and the loop to loop at the lower level.   Plus the elevated level.   Smart features overall.

One issue:  the aisleways look too tight.   One person rubbing against the edges of the layout - no visitors or a second operator inside.   But is appears there is plenty of space at the front of the layout - correct?

I can't tell what the sections are, what the curves are, etc.   So I can't inspect and perhaps make suggestions on the configuration in order to expand the aisle.   Perhaps move that spur on the lower level closer to the right side to expand the aisle.   If you have a more detailed or labeled diagram that would be helpful in evaluating your design.

It looks like the reverse curve into the turntable (Atlas?) looks like a problem.   Try a left-hand turnout a section back for your lead to the turntable to eliminate the "S" curve. 

On the left side, there are two elevated tracks and two tracks beneath in a very close space.   How will you scenic this, a trestle bridge above running the entire length of the wall?  Or perhaps the elevated layout will be on a shelf, substantially (18"+) above the lower level? (substantially higher so you can see the lower level without the shelf blocking the view and breaking the illusion).

Innovative and well thought out!  -Ken

O Gauge: the IMAX of Model Railroading, and a multi-sensory experience.

Very nice Gerhardt. A comment or two- but of course its your RR your rules.

I love turn tables but they are massive real estate hogs. Consider eliminating it for an engine house, or another yard and some industries. A small town would look good in that space as well. I know you said running trains is key but that gets old quick. If you are set on keeping the TT then I agree with Ken on shifting the lead. You could also eliminate one or two whiskers on the bottom and add a short passing siding along the reversing loop, or a small yard with a couple of sidings. You didn't mention operating accessories but if you plan to use some they take up a lot of space so plan accordingly.

I see a lot of track and not enough storage space for cars too.

On the upper lever the reversing loop needs a second or once you reverse a train you can't turn it again without backing through the loop. Eliminating the reverse would open up more viewing of the lower level. Consider adding a set of turnouts so you can switch trains between the loops as well. Those long straights are perfect spots for the crossovers. This would allow you to park a train on the main and have another pass, very prototypical.

Good luck.

Bob

Three Rails Are Better Than None 

I took some liberty and changed quite a bit of the upper level ovals. Most notably, I switched the O36 and O48 curves so the ovals are more concentric. I also changed the center-to-center spacing to be wider and added 2 crossovers so you can run trains around both ovals. I was going to take out the reversing loop because you really need 2 or you'll have to back out to reverse again, but I left it in and just made it smaller so you'l have more access to the main level.
(NOTE: I rotated the whole layout to better fit the screen, easy enough to rotate back.)

2019-08-17 gerhardt-daz

And here's another variation without the reversing loop where you'd run 1 train clockwise on the outer loop and 1 counter-clockwise on the inner loop.

2019-08-17 gerhardt-daz2

 

Attachments

Ken-Oscale posted:

Very nice presentation - Cheers!   Good design - around the room route over the lift-out bridge, and the loop to loop at the lower level.   Plus the elevated level.   Smart features overall.

One issue:  the aisleways look too tight.   One person rubbing against the edges of the layout - no visitors or a second operator inside.   But is appears there is plenty of space at the front of the layout - correct?

I can't tell what the sections are, what the curves are, etc.   So I can't inspect and perhaps make suggestions on the configuration in order to expand the aisle.   Perhaps move that spur on the lower level closer to the right side to expand the aisle.   If you have a more detailed or labeled diagram that would be helpful in evaluating your design.

It looks like the reverse curve into the turntable (Atlas?) looks like a problem.   Try a left-hand turnout a section back for your lead to the turntable to eliminate the "S" curve. 

On the left side, there are two elevated tracks and two tracks beneath in a very close space.   How will you scenic this, a trestle bridge above running the entire length of the wall?  Or perhaps the elevated layout will be on a shelf, substantially (18"+) above the lower level? (substantially higher so you can see the lower level without the shelf blocking the view and breaking the illusion).

Innovative and well thought out!  -Ken

Thanks Ken.  I really appreciate all the feedback. 

The benchwork has been in place for the lower loop for that past 12 months.  It could be wider, but seems to work as is.  The viewing area is more at the bottom of the layout as that's where I had to leave more room to access our pantry and freezer space.

The curves are:

1. O36 on the inside loop,  lower level

2. O72 with a O36 in the middle on outer loop, lower and upper levels (makes a O54 curve and works quite nicely, as the trains enter the curve gently, turn harder and then exit gently. 

3. O48 on inside loop, upper level with exception of the reverse loop

Good point on the turntable, I will play around with that and perhaps enter from the upper part of the loop as that is more direct. 

The "reverse" loop is actually there to allow me to have a spot for my Lionel Rotary Coal dump.  It will dump into a 397 coal loader below and then coal can be loaded onto cars on the lower loop.  I couldn't seem to find a different way to do this.  Any ideas?

The "plan" on the lower left side is to create an upper level that looks like it is supported by concrete posts as is done in some cities.  I may put the main station above there . It will be open below so you can see and have access to the trains there.  I plan to "break up" the remainder of that left side by having it part girder bridge and then have an MTH double bridge part way up to "break up" the bridge.  To get upper loop in a small space, this is where its more "toy train" than realistic although I've seen some great ideas done by others in the magazines, etc. 

I hope that gives more insight and I appreciate all the ideas as it helps me out so much!

Thanks,

G

Gerhardt - G’s O Scale Trains ....  waaaay up in Canada 

 

 

DoubleDAZ posted:

I took some liberty and changed quite a bit of the upper level ovals. Most notably, I switched the O36 and O48 curves so the ovals are more concentric. I also changed the center-to-center spacing to be wider and added 2 crossovers so you can run trains around both ovals. I was going to take out the reversing loop because you really need 2 or you'll have to back out to reverse again, but I left it in and just made it smaller so you'l have more access to the main level.
(NOTE: I rotated the whole layout to better fit the screen, easy enough to rotate back.)

2019-08-17 gerhardt-daz

And here's another variation without the reversing loop where you'd run 1 train clockwise on the outer loop and 1 counter-clockwise on the inner loop.

2019-08-17 gerhardt-daz2

 

Greetings Dave,

Thanks so much for the input and for taking the tie to do this for me.  Honestly, you folks on this forum are so helpful it is awesome. 

I'm very intrigued with what you've done and I really like it.  I didn't feel I could do a 2nd reversing loop, and so the primary purpose of this loop was to provide a way for me to use the Lionel rotary coal dump on upper level and dump into 397 on lower level.  However, now that I see what you've done, on the 2nd variation WITHOUT the reverse loop, if we added a switch to the end of the branch and connected it back to the loop, that could work, right?  Definitely opens up the lower level.  On my latest design, I was actually intending on having the area of that reversing loop to be a solid 2nd level,  with operating accessories and buildings.  But....how you've presented it allows it to be more layered and probably less "cluttered" (if that's possible with how much I've jammed in there).  What do you think?

Thanks, G 

Gerhardt - G’s O Scale Trains ....  waaaay up in Canada 

 

 

DoubleDAZ posted:

I took some liberty and changed quite a bit of the upper level ovals. Most notably, I switched the O36 and O48 curves so the ovals are more concentric. I also changed the center-to-center spacing to be wider and added 2 crossovers so you can run trains around both ovals. I was going to take out the reversing loop because you really need 2 or you'll have to back out to reverse again, but I left it in and just made it smaller so you'l have more access to the main level.
(NOTE: I rotated the whole layout to better fit the screen, easy enough to rotate back.)

2019-08-17 gerhardt-daz

And here's another variation without the reversing loop where you'd run 1 train clockwise on the outer loop and 1 counter-clockwise on the inner loop.

2019-08-17 gerhardt-daz2

 

Hi Dave,

Silly question, but how do I download the scarm attachments from the forum? It keeps opening in a new explorer page.  If you know how, please let me know! Thanks, G

Gerhardt - G’s O Scale Trains ....  waaaay up in Canada 

 

 

PRR1950 posted:

If there is no room to walk along the north or west sides, how will you fix the "Murphy's law" derailments that will occur behind the proposed turntable and roundhouse?  Are you going to crawl over those structures?

Chuck

Hi Chuck,

Thanks, you are absolutely right, this is the crux of my layout design.  I have purchased a grabber arm from home depot and have used it a few times to fix derailments.  It's not ideal, but luckily I'm a tall guy so it seems to work.  The upper level will be a girder bridge style so the lower level underneath will be "open" so I can access better. 

If only I had a few more feet of space (says every model railroader I'm sure.....)

Thanks again,

G

Gerhardt - G’s O Scale Trains ....  waaaay up in Canada 

 

 

RSJB18 posted:

Very nice Gerhardt. A comment or two- but of course its your RR your rules.

I love turn tables but they are massive real estate hogs. Consider eliminating it for an engine house, or another yard and some industries. A small town would look good in that space as well. I know you said running trains is key but that gets old quick. If you are set on keeping the TT then I agree with Ken on shifting the lead. You could also eliminate one or two whiskers on the bottom and add a short passing siding along the reversing loop, or a small yard with a couple of sidings. You didn't mention operating accessories but if you plan to use some they take up a lot of space so plan accordingly.

I see a lot of track and not enough storage space for cars too.

On the upper lever the reversing loop needs a second or once you reverse a train you can't turn it again without backing through the loop. Eliminating the reverse would open up more viewing of the lower level. Consider adding a set of turnouts so you can switch trains between the loops as well. Those long straights are perfect spots for the crossovers. This would allow you to park a train on the main and have another pass, very prototypical.

Good luck.

Bob

Thanks Bob! Yes....the turntable.  I've always wanted one and my original design didn't have one there, but then luck would have it and I got one for $30 from a fellow in my neighbourhood who had posted trains for sale online.  If you knew where I lived and how few people here have O scale trains, you would realize how rare indeed this find was!  Someone else bought the rest of the collection, but didn't want/need the turntable...

Ultimately, I may end up scrapping it.  I was planning to have some industries along the outside loop there by removing one of the whiskers of the turntable.  I have other spots where I have operating accessories planned but I don't know how to show this on SCARM.  Any suggestions anyone on how to do this?

I've answered the questions on the reversing loop in my other posts. It was merely to accommodate my Lionel Rotary Coal dump.  Seems that Dave has presented me with some other good options there!

For storage of cars, did you mean on the layout?  I created the long sidings on the lower left along the hallway access to try and store whole consists.  If you see any other ways for me to get more sidings in, let me know.

Thanks, G

Gerhardt - G’s O Scale Trains ....  waaaay up in Canada 

 

 

Gerhardt posted:
DoubleDAZ posted:

I took some liberty and changed quite a bit of the upper level ovals. Most notably, I switched the O36 and O48 curves so the ovals are more concentric. I also changed the center-to-center spacing to be wider and added 2 crossovers so you can run trains around both ovals. I was going to take out the reversing loop because you really need 2 or you'll have to back out to reverse again, but I left it in and just made it smaller so you'l have more access to the main level.
(NOTE: I rotated the whole layout to better fit the screen, easy enough to rotate back.)

2019-08-17 gerhardt-daz

And here's another variation without the reversing loop where you'd run 1 train clockwise on the outer loop and 1 counter-clockwise on the inner loop.

2019-08-17 gerhardt-daz2

 

Hi Dave,

Silly question, but how do I download the scarm attachments from the forum? It keeps opening in a new explorer page.  If you know how, please let me know! Thanks, G

Nevermind, I got it figured out.  For anyone else who doesn't know, you right click, "save target as" and then it saves and you can open with Scarm.  Thanks,G

Gerhardt - G’s O Scale Trains ....  waaaay up in Canada 

 

 

DoubleDAZ posted:
Gerhardt posted:

However, now that I see what you've done, on the 2nd variation WITHOUT the reverse loop, if we added a switch to the end of the branch and connected it back to the loop, that could work, right?

Like this?

2019-08-17 gerhardt-daz2

Exactly!  Now to play around with the lower level sidings etc as this totally changes what I was doing there. Awesome!! Thanks!

Gerhardt - G’s O Scale Trains ....  waaaay up in Canada 

 

 

Ken-Oscale posted:

Very nice presentation - Cheers!   Good design - around the room route over the lift-out bridge, and the loop to loop at the lower level.   Plus the elevated level.   Smart features overall...……………………...

Innovative and well thought out!  -Ken

I agree with Ken. I'm always amazed to see the level of planning and design you guys have.

My favorite method: I draw out with a pencil on a piece of graph paper, then trace the routes with my finger to see if it would work out as planned.

Then my favorite part; I lay tracks down on a measured section of floor and, while on my knees, refine it. Same method I used as a kid 

DoubleDAZ posted:

G, is this what you have in mind for the lower level beneath the track on top?

test

2019-08-17 gerhardt-daz3

 

Yeah generally. I was thinking of adding some sidings are something. I’ll have a look tonight when I’m at my computer. Thanks again!

Gerhardt - G’s O Scale Trains ....  waaaay up in Canada 

 

 

Ok, so here's the latest.  The spur on the lower loop adjacent to the Rotary Coal Tipple spur needs to be offset to give room for the tipple and 397 loader so I moved it over.  I also tried (almost successfully) to access the turntable via the other part of the loop, which eliminated any S curve and also allows me to use an O36 switch.

How do you figure out exact spacings to eliminate small gaps, etc.? Is there any way to add the buildings, or do you just put text in to allocate those spaces?  Thanks again to all of you for your input!

GAug 18 revisions

Gerhardt - G’s O Scale Trains ....  waaaay up in Canada 

 

 

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Photos (1)
Files (1)

Gerhardt,

I figured the siding might have to be moved, but decided to leave it for you since you knew what you wanted/needed.

Often FasTrack will not join in SCARM and there's no way to configure sectional pieces so they will. I've attached a cheat-sheet of various configurations to fit select spaces, but there are several that just can't be done. So, you're left with 2 options:

- Alter the setting in Tools/Settings/Edit/Tolerances. The default is 0.079" and I believe that's for HO scale layouts. Most of us leave it set to the default because that ensures the layout will fit together when constructed. However, in your case, the gaps are small enough and there's enough play in FasTrack that things should fit. So, if you're just trying to run a SCARM simulation, an easy way is to temporarily change the setting to something like 0.5" or whatever is needed to close the gaps, just remember to set it back to 0.079 or future changes may not fit when constructed.

- Temporarily cut a longer track to replace shorter tracks to fit the space, just remember to put things back for the Parts List. Personally, given the number of small fitter pieces you have around the layout, I'd be looking for ways to replace those with longer pieces or even plan on learning how to cut FasTrack for real.

Attachments

G,

Closing the gaps requires much determination but not much trial and error.  The tape measure tool and the enclosed PDF will remove the trial and error.

 In your case, when you removed the O72 switch (14.25") you were able to fill it in an O72 curve.  You wanted to insert an 1.378" plus a O36 switch (10") in a 16.5" section of straight track which left you with 5.125" to fill.  Can't be done with FT pieces.  I find the enclosed PDF table useful in closing the gaps.  It shows gap length and FT pieces need to fill it.  If you examine the shortest gaps at the start of the table you'll see that all gaps are not shown.  The smallest possible gap that can be filled is 1.375", the shortest FT piece.  Next is 1.75"; then 2.75" (2 x 1.375"), and so on.  You'll see that there are impossible gaps throughout the table though their frequency diminishes as the gaps get larger.

If you use the tape measure tool to measure the gap and consult the table you'll be able to fill most gaps.  Sometimes the key to filling the gap is to make the gap LARGER as I had to do to fill the 1/8" gap you had.  Your gap was 5.125", one of the impossible gaps.  I moved the crossover 10" towards the bottom of the plan which made the gap 15.125" and fillable (11 x 1.375").  It would be possible to reduce the number of small pieces by judicious placement of the crossover farther (4.5") toward the bottom.

Gaps are not always in a straight line.  They will also manifest themselves as a misalignment after coming out of a curve.  In the case of a simple oval, the parallel sides are of different lengths.  The key to fixing these is to turn it into straight inline gap.  The first step is to join the misaligned curve to the side keeping the exit inline with the original track which will create a gap or overlap.  Use the gap filling procedure to join the ends.

Jan

2019-08-18 gerhardt-jan1

Attachments

Thanks Dave and Jan, your insights and help have been amazing. Those charts are awesome and that helps a lot with trying to figure out the fastrack and scarm software.  You are both wizards at using it!

Last night I played around and made the yard spurs on lower right much longer by tightening up the loop around the turntable. I’ll post that when I have some time to add it to Jan’s latest update. 

I’m in holidays this week so as soon as I get home I will try out the lower loop changes and then we can give those upper loops a try!

I have toyed around with the idea of reducing the upper loops to a single track on the left and then opening into the double with a long passing siding basically as is on the right. I think I’ll build it as the double loop to start  and if it’s too busy I can always remove that part. 

Unfortunately I’ll have to get more O72 switches. Yikes those are pricey! I’m actually going to my first York ( and maybe only - it’s a very long trip) this fall so maybe I can wait to get them there. The retail here at train store is insane. 

I never thought of this before, but here are a couple of links to see videos of the train room and the basic bench work and lower loop mostly as is.  Maybe that helps....

https://youtu.be/779tc-jVX4A

https://youtu.be/RzMX7Ow4Uqo

You guys are awesome and I thank you both again for all your help!!

G

 

Gerhardt - G’s O Scale Trains ....  waaaay up in Canada 

 

 

DoubleDAZ posted:

So, basically it looks like you’re adding the upper ovals and just modifying part of the lower level. 

Hi  Dave,

Do you mean from what I had already started with?  If so, yes it looks like the main loops  on first level will stay pretty close based on the feedback but lots of little changes based on the feedback you’ve given.  A lot of what was temporarily there was all just work in progress.  The placement of the upper level though depends a lot on the lower level too so I wanted to make sure that was solid. The upper loop concept has changed a lot and has opened up other opportunities for lower level too. I have to cut new plywood for the upper level. Super excited to get started!!

 Thanks, G

Gerhardt - G’s O Scale Trains ....  waaaay up in Canada 

 

 

Hi Dave

No I haven’t laid it out as per the plan yet. This was just my concept and me playing around with it to start with.  I based the first scarm on what I had started there.  Now that I have the plan I’ll lay it all out again. I had to take down the concept to put up train shelves.  Hope that makes sense! 

G

Gerhardt - G’s O Scale Trains ....  waaaay up in Canada 

 

 

Gerhardt posted:
RSJB18 posted:

Very nice Gerhardt. A comment or two- but of course its your RR your rules.

I love turn tables but they are massive real estate hogs. Consider eliminating it for an engine house, or another yard and some industries. A small town would look good in that space as well. I know you said running trains is key but that gets old quick. If you are set on keeping the TT then I agree with Ken on shifting the lead. You could also eliminate one or two whiskers on the bottom and add a short passing siding along the reversing loop, or a small yard with a couple of sidings. You didn't mention operating accessories but if you plan to use some they take up a lot of space so plan accordingly.

I see a lot of track and not enough storage space for cars too.

On the upper lever the reversing loop needs a second or once you reverse a train you can't turn it again without backing through the loop. Eliminating the reverse would open up more viewing of the lower level. Consider adding a set of turnouts so you can switch trains between the loops as well. Those long straights are perfect spots for the crossovers. This would allow you to park a train on the main and have another pass, very prototypical.

Good luck.

Bob

Thanks Bob! Yes....the turntable.  I've always wanted one and my original design didn't have one there, but then luck would have it and I got one for $30 from a fellow in my neighbourhood who had posted trains for sale online.  If you knew where I lived and how few people here have O scale trains, you would realize how rare indeed this find was!  Someone else bought the rest of the collection, but didn't want/need the turntable...

Ultimately, I may end up scrapping it.  I was planning to have some industries along the outside loop there by removing one of the whiskers of the turntable.  I have other spots where I have operating accessories planned but I don't know how to show this on SCARM.  Any suggestions anyone on how to do this?

I've answered the questions on the reversing loop in my other posts. It was merely to accommodate my Lionel Rotary Coal dump.  Seems that Dave has presented me with some other good options there!

For storage of cars, did you mean on the layout?  I created the long sidings on the lower left along the hallway access to try and store whole consists.  If you see any other ways for me to get more sidings in, let me know.

Thanks, G

Ultimately, I may end up scrapping it.  I was planning to have some industries along the outside loop there by removing one of the whiskers of the turntable.  I have other spots where I have operating accessories planned but I don't know how to show this on SCARM.  Any suggestions anyone on how to do this?

Use the figures library and make rectangles the size of the base (footprint). Use those in the planned location. The figures can be colored and labeled with a text box. 

Creating the 3D models of the accessories is tedious and not really necessary for planning purposes.

Carl

Arctic Railroad

Carl is right, all you really need are figures (rectangles, circles, polygons) to represent the accessories you want on the layout, but if you want some 3D models, some can be found here:

http://www.scarmhirailers.com/

They are individual SCARM files, so right-click on the download link to download the ones you want. Then you open a file, copy the contents, open your file and paste it in. You have to go through this for each one. They won’t look like much until you view them in 3D. Not all of them have been set as a “group”, so be careful when you copy them to make sure you get all the pieces. As a group, you can use Properties to set the vertical position.

Thanks Carl and Dave, I will give that a try.  Just a shape of the right size is what I'm after as the footprint should help with planning. I'll play around with it a bit.   Take care,

G

Gerhardt - G’s O Scale Trains ....  waaaay up in Canada 

 

 

Gerhardt posted:

Thanks Carl and Dave, I will give that a try.  Just a shape of the right size is what I'm after as the footprint should help with planning. I'll play around with it a bit.   Take care,

G

Sorry, I needed to explain more - you need the dimensions of the base of the accessory to make the footprint placeholder - if you don't have it, let Dave or I know - we can look in RR-Track and perhaps find the size of the base - or just post a new question on the forum and someone that has it will help

Once an object is created - right-click on it will provide the properties dialog where you can set them. That includes the color. The add text option is also available by right-clicking the mouse.

Carl

Arctic Railroad

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