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I added a highway underpass on the right side of the S 5x10 layout.

It can't be seen from the drone view, but the underpass and trestle reveal the "hidden" route around the outside, which lines up almost exactly with the overhead elevated return loop curve.   The road has a grade crossing directly under the elevated line.  A cool look, and its good to get a glimpse of the train running this route.

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Last edited by Ken-Oscale

I have to say, I’m not getting the feeling that Lionel are fully committed to this. 

I see what you are trying to achieve, but if I were approaching it I’d go for On30. Similar size to S, lots of choice for track and rolling stock, Bachman and AMS prices and reliability and if you WANT something a bit “special”, the rare Mountain Models 2-8-2 locos and San Juan Car Co rolling stock. 

I have to say, I’m not getting the feeling that Lionel are fully committed to this. 

I see what you are trying to achieve, but if I were approaching it I’d go for On30. Similar size to S, lots of choice for track and rolling stock, Bachman and AMS prices and reliability and if you WANT something a bit “special”, the rare Mountain Models 2-8-2 locos and San Juan Car Co rolling stock. 

I did consider On30, I am a big fan on On30.  A previous 6x12 O layout also had On30 climbing  a mountain.  My brother was a big 'N' modeler, and my work with On30 convinced him to try it, he is now building his 3rd On30 layout.   

I thought about doing a version of the layout in On30, but I don't think there would be much different or anything new to learn from the effort.   I have included On30 in layout designs here on the forum - no interest from forum readers.   I had not worked with S before, it is new and a bit of a stretch.

There is much to like about 'S', just too many problems for me with S FasTrack.   Still continuing the effort, perhaps things will go better as the build evolves.

@Ken-Oscale posted:

I did consider On30, I am a big fan on On30.  A previous 6x12 O layout also had On30 climbing  a mountain.  My brother was a big 'N' modeler, and my work with On30 convinced him to try it, he is now building his 3rd On30 layout.   

I thought about doing a version of the layout in On30, but I don't think there would be much different or anything new to learn from the effort.   I have included On30 in layout designs here on the forum - no interest from forum readers.   I had not worked with S before, it is new and a bit of a stretch.

There is much to like about 'S', just too many problems for me with S FasTrack.   Still continuing the effort, perhaps things will go better as the build evolves.

I take your point, but would venture to disagree. I’ve been involved with On30 for some years and it’s fascinating, although a bit “full-on” - I still haven’t really got to grips with working everything from DCC, for one thing. 

But there’s so much choice in track and rolling stock - I’m particularly a fan of the Bachman 2-6-0 and outside frame 2-8-0 locos, for one thing. Cheap, easily available and very robust. The BIL C-16 is a real cracker, too, if you can find one. 

I take your point, but would venture to disagree. I’ve been involved with On30 for some years and it’s fascinating, although a bit “full-on” - I still haven’t really got to grips with working everything from DCC, for one thing. 

But there’s so much choice in track and rolling stock - I’m particularly a fan of the Bachman 2-6-0 and outside frame 2-8-0 locos, for one thing. Cheap, easily available and very robust. The BIL C-16 is a real cracker, too, if you can find one. 

No disagreement - to clarify, what I meant would not really be different is the layout diagram.   An actual layout build would be dramatically different.

As I have extended my actual layout to 5x10 (well, 4x10 for the moment), I thought I could look at a redesign to use the extra length a bit differently, and add a yard inside the R20 loop.   With different industry track arrangement.

S510_V5b

This version becomes more dense with track, and less open, and less room for structures.

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With more space comes more opportunity! I am wondering how all those short sidings will be used, it looks like some will be hard to reach. My experience with sidings and knuckle couplers has been mixed. One reason is there was a multi year run of AF by Lionel with couplers that did not open wide enough to function correctly. The original Gilbert are ok and the latest production runs from Lionel are better. If all you want to do is drop and pick up cars with an engine with electrocouplers, that works. If you want to break up a string of cars then each siding needs an uncoupler, more $$$ required.

If you keep expanding the layout you will become a great Lionel customer with all the FasTrack purchases.

@AmFlyer posted:

With more space comes more opportunity! I am wondering how all those short sidings will be used, it looks like some will be hard to reach. My experience with sidings and knuckle couplers has been mixed. One reason is there was a multi year run of AF by Lionel with couplers that did not open wide enough to function correctly. The original Gilbert are ok and the latest production runs from Lionel are better. If all you want to do is drop and pick up cars with an engine with electrocouplers, that works. If you want to break up a string of cars then each siding needs an uncoupler, more $$$ required.

If you keep expanding the layout you will become a great Lionel customer with all the FasTrack purchases.

I have 360-degree access around all sides of this layout, on a rolling table in addition.

I received my 10 30" straight sections yesterday.   As with O FasTrack, the roadbed is three 10" straights, with a continuous rail joining the sections.   The "ball" of the joints on these is smaller than my 10" straights.  You can actually see a gap between the ball and socket.

Hope to do some more work on the layout today.  Loco is continuing to run perfectly, no change on the performance of the turnouts from previously reported (imperfect).

Last edited by Ken-Oscale

I have to purchase at least one more 2" 4x8 sheet of foam, in order to cut a 1x8 section to make my 4x8 a 5x8.   I have a 2x4 extension from a previous layout build, but if I use this, I need an 1x2 piece to go with it.   

So I think it would be better structurally (as the foam sheets are supported on 2x2s) to instead cut a new piece that is 5' long.  I might just as well cut a 4'x5' piece, as shown in the illustration below, to yield a 5x12 layout.   I previously had a 5x12 layout in this space, which is the max I can do in this layout space anyway (with 360-degree access).

I have just extended the previous design, I have not tried to do anything new with the extra length.

S512_V5b

If I was to start from scratch and not reuse my beat-up 4x8, I would chop three 4x8s to 4x5s, and lay them side-by-side.

Access around the ends is tight, so I may trim the corners, or make them curved.  This helps me move around the ends more than you might think.

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Last edited by Ken-Oscale

I needed to create electrical gaps for the reverse loop and electronic reverser testing.   I used a fine Zona saw to cut through both rails on two sections of R20 at the half-way point, creating a pretty fine gap in the rails.   I had to hold the track up to the light to ensure the gaps went all the way through the web, they do.

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On my first attempt to cut the rails, I cut about 1-1/4" from the end.  Bad idea.  The small plastic rail spike heads holding the rails to the roadbed did not have enough strength, and one of the short-section rails popped-out.   It went back in, but does not seem strong enough.   I set this section aside.

Consequently, I decided to strengthen my gap-ed track sections with some superglue.   I purchased this LocTite superglue, which dries clear.   It is actually more liquid than I would have liked, so my gluing is messier than I would have liked.   Hopefully this will be less noticable when dry.  I put glue on both sides of the rails, across the gap, and at three ties on either side of the gap.   I used a disposable plastic fork to try to work the liquid glue into the small rail joint.   We shall see if this is sufficient.  I will file down any glued tie points that contact the flangs.

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Last edited by Ken-Oscale

Here is my next incremental build phase:

S512_V5c-phase01

Next steps: 

  1. Test the autoreverse unit.
  2. Send in order for additional small sections needed to complete and one more R20 left turnout
  3. Purchase and cut 2" foam sheets, layer on vinyl grass mat,
  4. Assemble support structure for the 5x12 layout (already have 2x2s cut to length).

This expanded intermediate layout version needs 10 of the 30" straights, exactly what I happened to have purchase in a bundle.

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Last edited by Ken-Oscale

Relationship between S and O:  S-dimension* 64/48 (1.333) == O-dimension

S40/R20 curves are the equivalent of O53.33 (about O54).   S54/R27 is the equivalent of O72.

The 5x12 S layout is the equivalent of 6'8" x 16' in O.  

I have not constructed an O layout that large (nor any smaller scale.)  My largest previous O layout was 6x12.  I did have a larger G gauge layout in the side yard 19 years ago, long ago taken down.

Last edited by Ken-Oscale

Tested the autoreverse board yesterday:  works perfectly, install was ridiculously easy.  No failures, no errors.

I did not need to fine-tune the detection circuit with a jumper wire.  So far, so good.

There is a small spark when the loco bridges the gap between track sections.  Not big enough to be of concern.

The loco does not hesitate or notice the phase reversal, nor does the sound.   I tested it around 30 times over two days.  Four power on/off cycles.

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I will put in an order for a second board.  Even though I don't need it for the upper reverse loop now, I want to have it on hand.  No idea about the future availability of the board, so just being cautious.  

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Last edited by Ken-Oscale

Here is a short demo of the loco negotiating the reverse loop.   The reversing section is the angled run between the turnouts, with the two curved track sections with the gap in both rails, immediately adjacent to each turnout.

No problems with the "gapped" track section with superglue, no contact or bumping with flanges contacting the spikes with glue.

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Last edited by Ken-Oscale

The layout is down, and in one box in preparation for a move downstairs to my (planned temporary) "man cave", a finished room in the basement almost 12x20, heat and air, mini-fridge.  I will be reconstructing the 5x12 layout as two 5x6 modules, on 2" thick foam sheets on a 2x2 frame.

The layout will rest on this dining room table I made 25 years ago for an 'N' gauge layout inside.   The three tops remove, and the sides can fold down on piano hinges.  Nothing in there at present.  Very strong and stable, rolls extremely well, and has held up well over the years.

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Last edited by Ken-Oscale

I have been pondering this idea for a while, wondering if it was trying for "too much" or not.  Opinions and feedback welcome!

I continued the hidden track around to complete another loop.   This does two things: 1) the second loop circuit allows two trains to loop without switching turnouts - so I can sit back with a drink and watch two trains run.  2) The second plus added is the loop-to-loop route now is a longer run, with a spiral out from the yard and around, before it picks up the grade at the turnout.

S512_V6c

With the elevated and bridge:

S512_V6c

As the previous design, there are three hidden turnouts under the elevated, all three easily accessible (360-degree access with rolling table).  No additional turnouts needed, so the cost goes up only with the extra half circle of track, small $$.

Two inches were added to the width (5'2"), nothing to the length.

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Last edited by Ken-Oscale

Showing the inside of my train table/dining-room table, with one of the tops removed.   There are guide slots in the side walls for the top sections to slot into.

A bit of foam from a previous layout build.  Showing some Z scale tracks and trains for scale.  Designed for N scale, but there is enough clearance for HO and S.

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The sides fold down on piano hinges for an unobstructed view.

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Last edited by Ken-Oscale

Not much worth showing for progress:

  1. Cleaned out my "man cave" space moving my daughter's stuff out to her new place.
  2. Cleared a space for the 5x12 table.
  3. Moved boxes of trains stuff from the current dining room to the basement 12x20 room.
  4. Recent shipment of track to complete the expanded first phase arrived.
  5. Removed remote controllers from the turnouts as they are command controlled.

Progress!

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