William 1 posted:

Good luck.  I hope you build it.

Thanks William, that is the plan, I have the money and approval from the wife.   Still need to talk to a contractor, make sure I have all my easements accounted for (look again at the property plat), check with the city, check with the home owners association.   And another think about my health/mobility - Am I really up to building a layout of this size?   I am getting better with occasional set-backs (yesterday was a bad day - today feels great!).   So construction next year gives me more time to be sure I can handle this project.   I am building my 4x10 Nickle Plate Road layout as a test of my capabilities- making progress on that small layout.

And make a final decision on the "micro" restroom.   I am looking at the possibility of creating a paved walkway beneath the deck at the back of the house, to run to a restroom on the other end (which serves the pool/hot-tub and as a changing room).  Just an alternative, I still favor the "micro" restroom in the layout building.

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

Consider thinking down the road.  The RR is built.   The mainline is up and running,  in a flat circle.

Then the creative juices start reflowing, "how about a twice around over under mainline".  Too late at that point, but not too late now.

Maybe consider revamping the basic R.O.W. to mix up the mainline.  Running mainline trains over and under with up and down grades adds considerable visual interest.  Especially with a dual main line.

In my experience, we all like to incorporate a variety  of available sidings for potential switching operations but activity frequently boils down to running trains.  

Working along the premise that when you cannot exceed the length and width, go up and down; I offer a suggestion:  As you construct the benchwork, allow an unencumbered structural provision to keep twelve inches clear directly under the platform to possibly add a subway system down the road.  Lionel  and MTH have some real nice subway trains.

Note black painted subway level.

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Eternity is a long time to have been wrong.

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I decided to visually separate the inside/3rd main from the three yard tracks in the upper right.   So the yard lead/3rd main is clearly running somewhere else and not part of the yard.  The minimum curvature in the yard is O81.

M1424A_V3d

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

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Pulling back the tunnels below Wolf Creek to reveal the 3rd inside main.  Better?

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I am also experimenting with an idea:  I like the concept of elevating the double-track mainline, as the prototype does, with more roadbed and ballast.   Track running in the yard and through towns is at a lower level, closer to the layout surface.   So I thought about elevating the 3rd/inside main a bit above the table surface by 1/8".   That sounds like a small amount, but will be discernable to the eye when viewing the layout within about 3' or so.   The effect in the illustration that I have posted is small, but you can see it when you click on the illustration to zoom it (on my large monitor) on the 3rd/inside main on the right side and through Three Forks.

So I will have three levels of tracks (not counting the grade up to Wolf Creek and Cascade), starting at 0" in towns and the yard, where the tall Altas track is laid directly on top of the vinyl grassmat and ballasted.   Then an additional 1/8" of elevation for the inside/3rd main, then ballasted.   Then 1/2" of elevation beneath the Atlas track for the double-track mains.   There will be small grades to reach these levels, at 1%.   And three different colors of ballast - pretty light gray for the double-mains, down to the yard and towns at a darker gray.  I did the left side 3rd/inside main and around Deer Lodge as well.   All three mains will be at 0" elevation through Helena Yard due to the cross-over connections to the yard.

I often see real mainline roadbed/ballast in a staggered elevation of two levels, roadbed and subroadbed, with perhaps different slopes to the ballast for the two levels and different colors (lighter for the newer ballast at the top).   Whether by design/intent or a result of reconditioning the ballast periodically as part of maintenance.

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

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I love the design!  Does your software have the ability to create a 3D rendering, to illustrate the vertical separation between mainlines?  The only true "over & under" is the NS interchange on the right side, correct?  And you're gaining 7" of vertical separation in about 20 feet, right?

Thanks so much for sharing your excellent design and thought process.  Pretty soon we'll look forward to seeing pictures of the real thing!!

Creep, coast, and pull.  We're not talking about cold fusion here.

Ken - your plans look great!  Your layout looks like it will be an abundance of fun.  

Cheers and Happy Railroading,

Patrick W  

CEO - The Free State Junction Railway 

" Where the music is sweet and the trains always run on time"

Home Office - Patsburg, Maryland 

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