Skip to main content

Hi all. I've been having trouble finding plans for a 5x16 layout. I have a longer basement that's fairly long but not as wide. I have four 4x5 tables made with 2x4's and 3/4" plywood with all removable 2x4 bracing and 5/8" hex bolt sets. It's sturdy, alright!!! I still need room to entertain, hence, the 5 feet depth .  I've been working on plans in SCARM for about a month in my spare time, but I'm having a bit of writer's block. I'd like to open up to the community for suggestions. For your reference, I'll be using FasTrack with DCS, minimum curve of 0-36. What I had originally was a double mainline around the perimeter of the layout, and an elevated double reversing loop.

I might also note that I run mostly medium and small steam (largest currently being a ten-wheeler) and small diesels (F-3's). Nothing electric, so no power poles. Any elevated loop will be reinforced by 2x4 shims and some spare 3/4" plywood. I have plenty! 

I would post up my SCARM file, but, it's nothing special-- two ovals, one 0-48 and the other 0-36. I used an 0-31 switch and a 45-degree crossover to get the outer loop to my Atlas turntable. I don't need to have too much space for the yard; just enough for a few engines in the roundhouse I'm building, and probably access to one staging track to swap out the entire consist.

What I'd like to accomplish:

  • Three independent lines, two of which should have access to a common yard and turntable.
  • I would like some elevated portions, perhaps the third line can be entirely elevated.
  • A downtown/shopping area should be included somewhere on the layout, probably centered.
  • Mountain area should on the left side of the layout (since the visitors will enter at the other end). I'd like to tunnel through and/or around the mountain.

 

Cheers, gents!

Aaron B, Michigan USA

Last edited by Aaron Buczek
Original Post

Replies sorted oldest to newest

Aaron Buczek posted:

Hi all. I've been having trouble finding plans for a 5x16 layout. I have a longer basement that's fairly long but not as wide. I still need room to entertain, hence, the 5 feet depth .  I've been working on plans in SCARM for about a month in my spare time, but I'm having a bit of writer's block. I'd like to open up to the community for suggestions. For your reference, I'll be using FasTrack with DCS, minimum curve of 0-36. What I had originally was a double mainline around the perimeter of the layout, and an elevated double reversing loop. Seems kind of plain, right?

What I'd like to accomplish:

  • Three independent lines, two of which should have access to a common yard and turntable.
  • I would like some elevated portions, perhaps the third line can be entirely elevated.
  • A downtown/shopping area should be included somewhere on the layout, probably centered.
  • Mountain area should on the left side of the layout (since the visitors will enter at the other end). I'd like to tunnel through and/or around the mountain.

 

Cheers, gents!

Aaron B, Michigan USA

Post your plan or email it to me. Some comments...

  • A 60" table only permits 2 lines with FasTrack having an O36 minimum - O48 & O36 - unless one makes two O36 inside of the O48  Atlas O would be perfect with O36, O45 & O54 for three independent lines
  • I would suggest that there be a run along the back wall elevated about 2.5" - 3" and down again for scenic effect. Perhaps up and down to the mountain end with two reverse loops
  • The scenery features of city and mountain country at opposite will add visual appeal
  • Two loops and some sidings will have a better visual appeal. Also, more space for scenery. Remember running a command system permits multiple trains on the same line simultaneously

Ok, take a gander at this :

Concept_3D_View_as_enteringConcept_track_Plan_View

Attachments

Images (2)
  • Concept_3D_View_as_entering
  • Concept_track_Plan_View
Files (1)

   You should post a Scarm picture and SCARM file so folks without Windows or WINE can give some input too. You may not find an exact ready made plan for that size, but smaller ones built on a bigger footprint just allows for improvement and adding what you want.. Stretching most layouts is easy.

  Your build should reflect how you run your trains; "Set it and forget it"?, heavy interaction with accessories? switching cars? Do you run more freight, passenger? Era? Are loops good enough? Is there a certain angle/action you like (e.g., I like a sweeping S... and I think he is asking about trun dia. for visual reasons.   

  A fully elevated line was great. I thought I was just "out of room" and trying something new too. But it has become my favorite line other than big engines look silly up there  I kinda have a self imposed 4 driver steam or a switcher rule for the elevated, though the PRR K-4 pulls some time in the clouds.

  With your 5' section on the wall, everything will be pretty accessable. Not so with the 16' on the wall though, and so two drop hatches for derail access would be smart.

  I'm reminded of an early set of dropdown hatches on Gramps layout being left open and serving as "kid corals" where we watched from  

    The elevated line WILL hinder your reach more. And you will lean on it, so build it sturdy and it will be a leaning rail for reaching center.

 You have to consider the thickness of your el's track's underside....the support system+rail height+tallest cars&engines.  Any pantographs or trolley poles for electrics?   What set my height was:  (#1) a set of extended pantagraphs (GG-1, E-33) on O (tall). If raised by accident, I didnt want them bent. A raised rocket launching car (or lowered/is still tall at the tail fin!), and a loaded Evans Auto-Loader. Later an Erie Bucryrus Crane car caught some overhead action on occasion.

  Having room to park trains without still being on an antii-collision turnout leg can be an issue (you can overheat switches that way). Don't underestimate the usefullness of a long siding, and or yard (and consider a transfer table vs turntable to space save on yard area if you like that)

  The oveall viewing height should be considered too: Reasons for a high table are bringing the surface up to ease working on it without stooping and bending. Look to a very high table for an easy "ground level veiw". Scale folks especially love that. But I found even at 38 mine wasn't low for enough for small kids, nor for casual viewing from a couch by many adults, which when lounging on a couch, leaves the ground level view at 30-36" slouching/leaning or about 36" if upright. I was at 36". Too high for a couch view, I cut my legs to 33". Ok but I wanted 30". I added wheels bringing back to 36" ... and would now loose four shelves 

  I felt I needed a destinatiion for the el rather than it being just a loop on stilts, never reaching ground level. I didnt want a grade because I like to "set it and forget it". So, I used a hillside as the elevated's "landing pad",with a ground level tunnel running under the hill too.

 

Moonman posted:
Aaron Buczek posted:

Hi all. I've been having trouble finding plans for a 5x16 layout. I have a longer basement that's fairly long but not as wide. I still need room to entertain, hence, the 5 feet depth .  I've been working on plans in SCARM for about a month in my spare time, but I'm having a bit of writer's block. I'd like to open up to the community for suggestions. For your reference, I'll be using FasTrack with DCS, minimum curve of 0-36. What I had originally was a double mainline around the perimeter of the layout, and an elevated double reversing loop. Seems kind of plain, right?

What I'd like to accomplish:

  • Three independent lines, two of which should have access to a common yard and turntable.
  • I would like some elevated portions, perhaps the third line can be entirely elevated.
  • A downtown/shopping area should be included somewhere on the layout, probably centered.
  • Mountain area should on the left side of the layout (since the visitors will enter at the other end). I'd like to tunnel through and/or around the mountain.

 

Cheers, gents!

Aaron B, Michigan USA

Post your plan or email it to me. Some comments...

  • A 60" table only permits 2 lines with FasTrack having an O36 minimum - O48 & O36 - unless one makes two O36 inside of the O48  Atlas O would be perfect with O36, O45 & O54 for three independent lines
  • I would suggest that there be a run along the back wall elevated about 2.5" - 3" and down again for scenic effect. Perhaps up and down to the mountain end with two reverse loops
  • The scenery features of city and mountain country at opposite will add visual appeal
  • Two loops and some sidings will have a better visual appeal. Also, more space for scenery. Remember running a command system permits multiple trains on the same line simultaneously

Ok, take a gander at this :

Concept_3D_View_as_enteringConcept_track_Plan_View

I would not want to use other track types, if possible, since this is a modular semi-permanent setup, and I want to be able to change and expand if I ever add modules on.  I think keeping the track system would save money and effort in the long run. I also want to make sure there's enough room for an unobstructed view of a "downtown area", complete with shops, roads, and parking lots. I like the design, and I might try to include a third line around the perimeter, and open up the center a bit more for the city area. Thanks for your continued assistance!

Last edited by Aaron Buczek
Adriatic posted:

   You should post a Scarm picture and SCARM file so folks without Windows or WINE can give some input too. You may not find an exact ready made plan for that size, but smaller ones built on a bigger footprint just allows for improvement and adding what you want.. Stretching most layouts is easy.

  Your build should reflect how you run your trains; "Set it and forget it"?, heavy interaction with accessories? switching cars? Do you run more freight, passenger? Era? Are loops good enough? Is there a certain angle/action you like (e.g., I like a sweeping S... and I think he is asking about trun dia. for visual reasons.   

  A fully elevated line was great. I thought I was just "out of room" and trying something new too. But it has become my favorite line other than big engines look silly up there  I kinda have a self imposed 4 driver steam or a switcher rule for the elevated, though the PRR K-4 pulls some time in the clouds.

  With your 5' section on the wall, everything will be pretty accessable. Not so with the 16' on the wall though, and so two drop hatches for derail access would be smart.

  I'm reminded of an early set of dropdown hatches on Gramps layout being left open and serving as "kid corals" where we watched from  

    The elevated line WILL hinder your reach more. And you will lean on it, so build it sturdy and it will be a leaning rail for reaching center.

 You have to consider the thickness of your el's track's underside....the support system+rail height+tallest cars&engines.  Any pantographs or trolley poles for electrics?   What set my height was:  (#1) a set of extended pantagraphs (GG-1, E-33) on O (tall). If raised by accident, I didnt want them bent. A raised rocket launching car (or lowered/is still tall at the tail fin!), and a loaded Evans Auto-Loader. Later an Erie Bucryrus Crane car caught some overhead action on occasion.

  Having room to park trains without still being on an antii-collision turnout leg can be an issue (you can overheat switches that way). Don't underestimate the usefullness of a long siding, and or yard (and consider a transfer table vs turntable to space save on yard area if you like that)

  The oveall viewing height should be considered too: Reasons for a high table are bringing the surface up to ease working on it without stooping and bending. Look to a very high table for an easy "ground level veiw". Scale folks especially love that. But I found even at 38 mine wasn't low for enough for small kids, nor for casual viewing from a couch by many adults, which when lounging on a couch, leaves the ground level view at 30-36" slouching/leaning or about 36" if upright. I was at 36". Too high for a couch view, I cut my legs to 33". Ok but I wanted 30". I added wheels bringing back to 36" ... and would now loose four shelves 

  I felt I needed a destinatiion for the el rather than it being just a loop on stilts, never reaching ground level. I didnt want a grade because I like to "set it and forget it". So, I used a hillside as the elevated's "landing pad",with a ground level tunnel running under the hill too.

 

Thanks for all of the input! My layout is currently 3' and (some change) high. I'm currently using the undersides of the tables for storage bins (currently in the stage of remolding a couple rooms in the house and there's no other reasonable place to hide them)--- oh well :/ I can't install trapdoors at this point, but I plan on doing so once I get those rooms finished and the bins out. In the meantime, I'm searching for one of those ladders that allow you to climb up and traverse the layout.

I might also note that I run mostly medium and small steam (largest currently being a ten-wheeler) and small diesels (F-3's). Nothing electric, so no power poles. Any elevated loop will be reinforced by 2x4 shims and some spare 3/4" plywood. I have plenty! 

I have four 4x5 tables made with 2x4's and 3/4" plywood with all removable 2x4 bracing and 5/8" hex bolt sets. It's sturdy, alright!!! 

I would post up my SCARM file, but, it's nothing special-- two ovals, one 0-48 and the other 0-36. I used an 0-31 switch and a 45-degree crossover to get the outer loop to my Atlas turntable. I don't need to have too much space for the yard; just enough for a few engines in the roundhouse I'm building, and probably access to one staging track to swap out the entire consist. I don't want to micromanage my operation, but it would be nice if I could operate things in the switchyard and on the staging track whilst the other loops are still on continuous operation, and no risk of crashing.

Thanks again for your continued advice.

AB

Last edited by Aaron Buczek
Berkshire President posted:

could you expand/enlarge only the part where 0-63 or 0-72 would protrude past the 60" width? 

don't know how much room you have but you can probably swing 0-63.  you'd have to add a 4-6" piece for roughly two feet on each side, almost making a dog bone....if that makes any sense.

I'm afraid I can't. I'm using the remainder of the room for entertaining, so the 5' width is set in stone.

Aaron Buczek posted:
Moonman posted:
Aaron Buczek posted:

Hi all. I've been having trouble finding plans for a 5x16 layout. I have a longer basement that's fairly long but not as wide. I still need room to entertain, hence, the 5 feet depth .  I've been working on plans in SCARM for about a month in my spare time, but I'm having a bit of writer's block. I'd like to open up to the community for suggestions. For your reference, I'll be using FasTrack with DCS, minimum curve of 0-36. What I had originally was a double mainline around the perimeter of the layout, and an elevated double reversing loop. Seems kind of plain, right?

What I'd like to accomplish:

  • Three independent lines, two of which should have access to a common yard and turntable.
  • I would like some elevated portions, perhaps the third line can be entirely elevated.
  • A downtown/shopping area should be included somewhere on the layout, probably centered.
  • Mountain area should on the left side of the layout (since the visitors will enter at the other end). I'd like to tunnel through and/or around the mountain.

 

Cheers, gents!

Aaron B, Michigan USA

Post your plan or email it to me. Some comments...

  • A 60" table only permits 2 lines with FasTrack having an O36 minimum - O48 & O36 - unless one makes two O36 inside of the O48  Atlas O would be perfect with O36, O45 & O54 for three independent lines
  • I would suggest that there be a run along the back wall elevated about 2.5" - 3" and down again for scenic effect. Perhaps up and down to the mountain end with two reverse loops
  • The scenery features of city and mountain country at opposite will add visual appeal
  • Two loops and some sidings will have a better visual appeal. Also, more space for scenery. Remember running a command system permits multiple trains on the same line simultaneously

Ok, take a gander at this :

Concept_3D_View_as_enteringConcept_track_Plan_View

I would not want to use other track types, if possible, since this is a modular semi-permanent setup, and I want to be able to change and expand if I ever add modules on.  I think keeping the track system would save money and effort in the long run. I also want to make sure there's enough room for an unobstructed view of a "downtown area", complete with shops, roads, and parking lots. I like the design, and I might try to include a third line around the perimeter, and open up the center a bit more for the city area. Thanks for your continued assistance!

This was done in FasTrack.  There isn't enough room to run another line around the outside. If you try to shorten the O48 line, the O96 snake will be a fitment issue.

I would refer to your layout table style as sectional.

Your file or a track plan would help us see what you like or how you think to enable some ideas that would appeal to you.

Running ovals isn't bad. It puts the emphasis on the scenery. One of my favorites that demonstrates this concept is in the Atlas O gallery. Look at the Bear Holmes layout here. It is the same table shape as yours. The two photos on the left, first row and second row.

Thank you for the share, Carl. That helps my confidence about loops. I've been making plenty of trees, so I plan to make a good portion of the layout wooded, especially the mountain area and near the rock features. I'm looking to model a winter scene in an eastern PA town. Here is what I have been working on recently. Two ovals, the inner has some flexibility to it and goes through the town. At some point, I will probably be adding a bump and go route somewhere in the city. I'll be adding several more buildings and houses, and lights in the near future to populate that middle section. I'm interested to hear what you guys think about adding a third loop, probably all elevated, using the rock features along the back wall. I'm willing to play with the exact location of the lake in that area. It's going to be a ice skating/park area. It would be best not to block the lake much, since I plan to spend a lot of time making that a big focal point. And, is there any way to make the yard area a tad more efficient? It would also be great for the outer loop to have access to the yard somehow, mostly just to be able to swap out engines and keep the same consist. The outer ground loop and elevated loop will be passenger, the inner ground loop will be mixed freight. 

basement sectional

Attachments

Images (1)
  • basement sectional
Files (1)
Last edited by Aaron Buczek

Aaron,

I like what you have done.

I am working on the exact track fitment as you have it.

I am also working on some ideas to help with operational fun or "play value". They are tying the inner loop near the road between the two switches to the straight section. This will add direction reversing in both directions.

Next would be adding crossovers between the outer and the inner loop.

Those could be done at later time when you want more play value or operational variation to relieve the "I need something different" problem.

an area of concern is the TT. 20" spurs would be a minimum and 30" length if you were to add a roundhouse. Do you have the Atlas TT in hand?

Attached is a photo of another forum member's layout that I worked on with similar size limitations as yours. Used the Atlas Bear layout for ideas. His was a little wider. There was also the limitation of working with the track inventory that he had from his old layout. (GG and Ross) There was a small amount space at one end where the width could be increased. I was able to get a wye and a small loop in for a direction change.

Keep tinkering and tuning the concept that you have.

I think an all elevated line could work. The mountain top would be a base for the reason it would exist, such as a small mine or passenger station. The issue is that an elevated line can block the visuals that you are creating on the base level. Therefore, it has to be routed carefully.

 

Attachments

Images (5)
  • Jack_D_L_02.25.17
  • New_layout_Build
  • New_layout_Build_1
  • New_layout_Build_2
  • basement_sectional_Moonman_edit_1

I don't think I'll be able to expand on either end (due to space limitations). I wish I were able to! And yes, I have the Atlas turntable. I used it in the past, but I'm really looking forward to using the full extent of its functionality this time around! I will be making a roundhouse from scratch, not from kit, so I'll be able to build it around whatever we think up!

Last edited by Aaron Buczek

Well, really, the whiskers off of the turntable only need to be long enough for the engines that you have. A roundhouse isn't necessary. You could put a single engine shed in there, may on the top straight for a service building. A roundhouse needs a lot of real estate.

I should have been more succinct and simply said a layout with a high ration of scenery to track is usually more interesting to view than more track. Depends on what you like.

This will turn out just fine.

Aaron, perhaps this layout plan might interest you:

  • It has an outside route of O-60 diameter minimum.  Even if you do not now have locos and cars that require O-54, this plan will allow it for future acquisitions.  Your current trains will certainly look great going around these generous curves.  [I have LionChief plus locos that look great around wider curves.]
  • The inside route is O-48 minimum.  It has two reverse loops so trains can change direction, but also run through the return loops using the non-derail feature of Fastrack turnouts, changing direction automatically through the return loops.
  • There is a "twice around" through the crossing.   The added route adds a lot of fun and variety.
  • The Atlas turntable takes up a large amount of real-estate, but is awesome!
  • The are two small curving "bump-outs" of maximum 4", that add visual interest and are needed for the O-60 loop curves.
  • Add your buildings and stations of course, those shown are for ideas.   Add roads where needed.
  • It is good to have a small yard for car storage.

M516F-01_5X16_v1a

Attachments

Images (1)
  • M516F-01_5X16_v1a
Last edited by Ken-Oscale

Update: I'm going to stick with something similar to my most recent update. The third line will be a double reverse line, all elevated. Now the next step! I'll be adding DCS and wiring in the star pattern as suggested. I'm powering the three lines and the yard section with my z4000, which should be more than enough power for a layout of this size. Any suggestions as to where to place the power drops? I would think two or three for each mainline and one for the yard would be sufficient. I'm debating making the inner ground loop (connected to the yard) DCS control only instead of allowing conventional engines on that line as well. That way I can save time and effort in wiring  So, correct me if I'm wrong, but I won't need to electrically isolate any of the siding in that case, correct?

Last edited by Aaron Buczek

Aaron,

I have attached a color coded diagram of the plan in blocks of ~10-12 feet for DCS wiring. The easiest way with FasTrack is to add-in a 1 3/8" where you the blocks to begin and end and pull the jumper wire on the center rail wire. That provides an connection point for each new block and separates the previous.

You need the center rail broken. The outside rails can be contiguous common or U.

It is easier to have yards connected, but parked engines receiving power and DCS signal will have the hour meter and maintenance timer running. Gunrunnerjohn came up with a way to put a yard on a toggle switch for power on/off and keep the DCS watchdog signal simultaneously.

The left or west side is a natural for the reverse loop. The right side a little tighter to decide a route.

Attachments

Images (1)
  • DCS_Blocks

Aaron,

What would you think about putting the TT area on top of the mountain? it would trade the lower level yard space for more buildings and such. The run to the top is a 3.4% slope. 

Better position of the TT would switch the longer whiskers to the top and permit the roundhouse doors to be facing front.

The inner loop could be tied to the straight with switches to create two reversing loops.

Then, add some crossover pairs between the inner and outer loops.

This eliminates a third line, but, it provides more running options and three trains could be run DCS only.

 

Attachments

Last edited by Moonman
Moonman posted:

Aaron,

I have attached a color coded diagram of the plan in blocks of ~10-12 feet for DCS wiring. The easiest way with FasTrack is to add-in a 1 3/8" where you the blocks to begin and end and pull the jumper wire on the center rail wire. That provides an connection point for each new block and separates the previous.

You need the center rail broken. The outside rails can be contiguous common or U.

It is easier to have yards connected, but parked engines receiving power and DCS signal will have the hour meter and maintenance timer running. Gunrunnerjohn came up with a way to put a yard on a toggle switch for power on/off and keep the DCS watchdog signal simultaneously.

The left or west side is a natural for the reverse loop. The right side a little tighter to decide a route.

Ok, and by isolating each one of these blocks electrically, I assume I will also need toggle switches for each block to turn them "on" or "off", and two terminal blocks: one for the elevated loop (this will be a mix of DCS and conventional engines) and the other for both lower loops (since they're both DCS loops)? Or, will I need one block for each loop of track? Since I'll only need a couple of feeders per loop, I suppose the MTH 12-port strips are overkill, except for the inner loop with the yard portion-- a feeder for every spur, and I think I will have a separate toggle panel for the yard. What might you use in place of the 12-port strips? 

I do like the idea of relocating the yard, but I think I'd like to keep the yard separate from the mountain scene. I had planned on doing a high amount of detail on the mountain with plenty of rock molds, etc. I plan on building the third, all-elevated loop around the mountain with supports in the visible areas.

Last edited by Aaron Buczek

Well, having conventional does muddy things a bit-

I would park them on a spur that's toggled and operate the layout from the TIU variable outputs. Set the z-4000 to 18v volts. Then, you can turn up the variable full for command or start at zero and toggle on when running the conventionals.

I wouldn't toggle the blocks.

The 12 port MTH boards should still be used - one for each TIU channel. 12 position terminal blocks would need the jumper strips for one line from TIU and 12 out for hot and common.

I get where you are going with the track plan. Just tossing out some options. it's easy enough to consider them with the software and 3D images.

Add Reply

Post
The Track Planning and Layout Design Forum is sponsored by

AN OGR FORUM CHARTER SPONSOR
OGR Publishing, Inc., 1310 Eastside Centre Ct, Suite 6, Mountain Home, AR 72653
330-757-3020

www.ogaugerr.com
×
×
×
×
Link copied to your clipboard.
×
×