Hello All-

I am still kicking around track plan ideas, I was all set to go forward with Atlas, but my local hobby shop warned me off of it because of availability problems (sounds familiar aka MTH). Sooo, here we go again with Gargraves this time. I put together a 5x9 layout which will be an industrial park that I plan on having as destination industries for a future larger layout. I put something together and I'm coming to the forum for feedback. The empty area in my siding is a 4" gap that I guess I'm going to have to close with a custom cut piece of track.

As always, thank you all for your feedback!

-Kengg5x9_KS

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Original Post
Ken S posted:

Hello All-

I am still kicking around track plan ideas, I was all set to go forward with Atlas, but my local hobby shop warned me off of it because of availability problems (sounds familiar aka MTH). Sooo, here we go again with Gargraves this time.

It sounds like you prefer Atlas O track for the new layout and someone changed your mind. I have Atlas O on two layouts (one running since 1999) and will use it again for any future layout construction or expansion. If you are concerned about availability, find a seller who can supply you with every piece you need to complete the 9'-by-5' part of the layout and buy it all at one time - with some extra. When it comes time to expand, it is easy enough to use transition joiners to connect with another brand of track in the unlikely event that Atlas O is not available. I think it's good track - but just my opinion.

MELGAR

I don't really see that there is an availability problem with AtlasO with straights and curves (excluding O27 and O108) and most switches.  You might have to try a couple of online dealers, but you'll get a better price.

Jan

Ken S,

I wouldn't be concerned about Atlas availability. 

Generally, on the layout plan, I don't really see what the switching area at the bottom will do for operations. Is that the connector for expansion?  

Spurs on railroads and railroads try to be as much straight track as they can. Our model railroads have to get more curves due to space restrictions. That doesn't mean that one should make spurs kinked. Backing cars in and uncoupling/coupling doesn't work well with the curve in the spur.

Search the internet for photos of industrial areas served by rail. Aerial photos help. 

Make the area fun by having a manufacturer and a customer to permit picking up fulls, dropping off fulls, picking up empties and returning empties. When you expand, one can move further away.

I think that you will find the GG track and Ross switches or an all Ross layout, easy to work with and cut custom pieces. The Ross switches have a good selection of numbered switches. The #4 and Regular 11° are nice for yards and spurs. Good motors that work with any control method. The O42's seem a little wiggly.

Carl

Arctic Railroad

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Moonman posted:

Ken S,

I wouldn't be concerned about Atlas availability. 

Generally, on the layout plan, I don't really see what the switching area at the bottom will do for operations. Is that the connector for expansion?  

Spurs on railroads and railroads try to be as much straight track as they can. Our model railroads have to get more curves due to space restrictions. That doesn't mean that one should make spurs kinked. Backing cars in and uncoupling/coupling doesn't work well with the curve in the spur.

Search the internet for photos of industrial areas served by rail. Aerial photos help. 

Make the area fun by having a manufacturer and a customer to permit picking up fulls, dropping off fulls, picking up empties and returning empties. When you expand, one can move further away.

I think that you will find the GG track and Ross switches or an all Ross layout, easy to work with and cut custom pieces. The Ross switches have a good selection of numbered switches. The #4 and Regular 11° are nice for yards and spurs. Good motors that work with any control method. The O42's seem a little wiggly.

Hi Carl-

Thanks for the advice! I do plan on attaching the spur to a larger line down the line. My future layout ideas include an around the room 11x16 with a 3' extension on the other side with stops for raw material pickups such as grain, logs, coal, maybe steel for the 5x9 industrial/small town area that I am starting and a yard on the long end, so essentially, the spur will be a  drop off point for a local engine to pick up the freight.

-Ken

FWIW, I'd move the switching activity to inside the center of the layout...at a 20-45 degree angle....and then use 0-54 or 0-60 curves on the outer main....or something to that effect.

I'd also try to bend your "straightaways" a bit so that the loop running isn't as obvious.

No offense....and I only say this b/c you're in the planning stage right now and can alter anything....but this layout will get boring....pretty fast. 

It could be OK for your first layout just so you can learn things as you go.....but I'd strive for something a bit more interesting.

Also, can you increase the length to 12-16 feet?

Just trying to help...not be critical.

  There isn't an Atlas shortage ANYMORE. They have in the past, just like MTH & Lionel, sometimes run out.

 Gargraves is least likely to have a shortage IMO, since track is all they do.

The last real shortage I recall was in the 70s with a supplier shake up, they came up short on switches. Ross lost the same source I think; but they couldn't complete it either, but didn't have enough regular  track...We mixed Lionel, GG, Ross , and I think Atlas (or Athern?) for  a couple months; GG came thru first. 

   Nobody liked the green-blonde Ross ties next to other track; they didn't outshine the others THAT much. Eventually the kids melted the other turnout motord by parking on the anti-derail trigger rails, so Lionel turnouts went back to controlling the more accident prone splits.

"Still trying to not shoot my eye out"

 

"Nursing insomnia one railcar at a time"

My aroma therapy? Smoke Pellets.

 





Berkshire President posted:

FWIW, I'd move the switching activity to inside the center of the layout...at a 20-45 degree angle....and then use 0-54 or 0-60 curves on the outer main....or something to that effect.

I'd also try to bend your "straightaways" a bit so that the loop running isn't as obvious.

No offense....and I only say this b/c you're in the planning stage right now and can alter anything....but this layout will get boring....pretty fast. 

It could be OK for your first layout just so you can learn things as you go.....but I'd strive for something a bit more interesting.

Also, can you increase the length to 12-16 feet?

Just trying to help...not be critical.

Berkshire-

No offense was taken. This is a "leaner layout" and I want to start small and have a chance to screw up on a smaller scale before I go big. I do agree that it would get boring after some time, hence the larger aspirations. I'm thinking this will be the end of a point - to -loop style layout. I was originally thinking of a circular layout, but I think with my space limitations, a stub end on the other side of the room leading to a round the room with a terminus in the town i'm sketching here would be better

-Ken

Mike CT...appears you have a real nice layout going above!  Great use of switches.  I'm starting new layout using older Gargraves flex tack, regular phantom track (straights and curves) and ross switches also.   I was wondering about the curves on your layout,,,,nicely done.  I can't tell looking at the pictures if you used pieces of curved track or if you used flex track and curved to size yourself.  Also...what radius are your curves in the pic above showing the 4 track curve?  Thanks.  My table is 8' x 25' at this point with a plan for an 8 x8 L shaped extension off one end.

Paul

Capetrainman posted:

Mike CT...appears you have a real nice layout going above!  Great use of switches.  I'm starting new layout using older Gargraves flex tack, regular phantom track (straights and curves) and ross switches also.   I was wondering about the curves on your layout,,,,nicely done.  Curves are custom  done with flex track and a large compass made with a pen and wood. I can't tell looking at the pictures if you used pieces of curved track or if you used flex track and curved to size yourself.  Also...what radius  are your curves  I don't remember the curve dimensions.  spacing was 4.5" Add 9" to each diameter.  ??  All around 90" + or -.  in the pic above showing the 4 track curve?  Thanks.  My table is 8' x 25' at this point with a plan for an 8 x8 L shaped extension off one end.   Sounds like a nice layout.     

Patience, (Takes a fair amount of time), and a lot of Atlas track screws. Each curved piece has to be squared/cut with a dremel before the next piece is added. 

My friend, Tom's layout build.    Slideshow, click on the link.   IMO, Curves smaller than O90, are difficult to custom bend, and keep the track in good/smooth rolling, condition, IMO.   Best wishes with your project. 

In my opinion, gargaves track (flex track is all we use) and ross switches is the best way to go. My dad and I have mostly gargaves switches also. Mostly the O-100 switches are or whatever you call the standard switch gargaves has made for 100 years haha. Anyway, it has worked great on our C&D RR for 19 years. We have been replacing switches though with Ross. 

I think the layout looks great and if the layout is supposed to be an industrial complex you have plenty of room in the middle for those buildings. I'm starting to plan my first layout that I build myself (with the family's help of course) and I want to start small and build it in sections. Use the first sections as "learners" so I can mess stuff up on a little layout! 

Thanks for sharing and thanks for reading my rambles. 

"Whoever dies with the most trains, wins!"

-Ward Kimball

 

Cody D. Leavel 

TCA #08-63009 

Ken S posted:

Hello All-

I am still kicking around track plan ideas, I was all set to go forward with Atlas, but my local hobby shop warned me off of it because of availability problems (sounds familiar aka MTH). Sooo, here we go again with Gargraves this time. I put together a 5x9 layout which will be an industrial park that I plan on having as destination industries for a future larger layout. I put something together and I'm coming to the forum for feedback. The empty area in my siding is a 4" gap that I guess I'm going to have to close with a custom cut piece of track.

As always, thank you all for your feedback!

-Kengg5x9_KS

For what it's worth, the availability of Atlas O track is greatly improved. We are stocked with most likely everything. I use Atlas O for our 60' by nearly 40' layout. Videos from our layout are available on YouTube - the channel is MrMuffin'sTrains and they are also indexed on our website at mrmuffinstrains.com

Clearly, there's a big percentage of the hobby that prefer Gargraves and Ross switches. We are building a 90' by 3' extension right now using this system. It will be a passenger yard, with some freight switching, and large dog bone turnarounds on each end. Once in, I am planning to add a second level. I will likely use Atlas O for the second level.

If you haven't looked at it, MTH Scaletrax is also a very nice alternative. The ribbon like center rail is very thin. Dr Rich Batista used it for his Black Diamond Railway and he has a fantastic series of videos about its construction. Historically, this track system has been in short supply but most everything is available from MTH now. If you're planning to bend your own curves using flex track, this maybe the system for you.

Buying track can be kind of difficult because the cost of shipping can really be significant. We offer all three track systems, but the way we do it for track purchases of any quantity is to send the customer a spreadsheet of the available products and let them select we they need, then we custom quote it. That way they get a deal, and we don't lose our shirt on the shipping.

Thanks for the valuable information, everyone! I looked further, and sure enough, plenty of Atlas track and switches out there. I really did want to use them initially not just due to cost vs. Ross, but also because I like the look and the ease of use. I did revisit my initial layout plan with some of your suggestions in mind. I also noticed that the design was upside down. When I turned it on its side in SCARM  to attach to future expansion, the switches were in the wrong direction. So here is the updated track plan with Atlas track and switches.

-Ken

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With a layout that is 5' wide, there is no need to stick with those neck-snapping O-32 curves. For the mainline at least, why not step up to O-48? You will be surprised at how much better trains look and run on wider curves.

Oops. Looks like you already did it.

RoyBoy

RoyBoy posted:

With a layout that is 5' wide, there is no need to stick with those neck-snapping O-32 curves. For the mainline at least, why not step up to O-48? You will be surprised at how much better trains look and run on wider curves.

Oops. Looks like you already did it.

Yeah, believe it or not, that was one of the issues with looking at either Ross or Gargraves. I could not find a way to fit wider radius curves without overshooting the footprint. I'm looking forward to getting the Atlas track down and seeing them run!

Ken S posted:
RoyBoy posted:

With a layout that is 5' wide, there is no need to stick with those neck-snapping O-32 curves. For the mainline at least, why not step up to O-48? You will be surprised at how much better trains look and run on wider curves.

Oops. Looks like you already did it.

Yeah, believe it or not, that was one of the issues with looking at either Ross or Gargraves. I could not find a way to fit wider radius curves without overshooting the footprint. I'm looking forward to getting the Atlas track down and seeing them run!

Huh?  Not sure that I follow this...at all.

It's a free country, brother.....but you may want to think about how many people are respectfully suggesting to go with wider curves.  We've all been there, FWIW.

There is no wrong or right way to build a layout.  Whatever makes you happy will work.

But, the layout you are currently proposing isn't the greatest use of 5x9 feet and 7 switches....IMHO. 

I wish you all the best regardless.

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