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I am building a new layout from scratch, i have a small room to work in with the ability to place a 6x12 foot display in the center of the room.  (The setup does not have to be as described, it was just the best I could come up with given the room size and limitations)  With a layout as i described this will allow me a 2 foot clearance on 3 sides, so i should be able to safely reach any part of the layout.

**I have not started purchasing new track or switches so i am really at ground zero and can be very flexible.  I chose Atlas-O because I like how it looks.  (used fastrack previously)

I am interested in the following things:

-Mountains/Scenery

-Possibly building a raised track or multi level

-Bridge

-a few buildings (if there is room)

I would welcome any ideas or thoughts you might have related to what you might build or attempt with the space I am allowed.  I live in Minnesota so i have plenty of winter months that I am trapped indoors with time on my hands...I have not built any scenery before, so that will be part of the fun for me is to build a beautiful display to run the trains around.

Thanks in advance--I have enjoyed following many of you that are active in your posts!

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Last edited by bulldog405
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I'd post the layout of the room and any obstructions or required access points along the walls.  It's likely that a more optimum layout could be planned that will give you a bit more layout and perhaps accommodate more of your desires.

You're starting with an assumed 6 x 12 limitation, that may not be the best that can be done and still achieve all of your goals.

I also went down this path too- used Fastrack on my layout, found it easy to set up and wire, but found the lack of switches and the 6" track centers taking up more space than I wanted. But i was fortunate to find someone wanting to buy the whole lot of track, and good deals on used Atlas track right after selling the Fastrack. Atlas O can also be cut to size for fitter pieces, and offers a variety of factory assembled fitter pieces too. But be advised Atlas track is a PITA to wire- IMO it's worth the trouble.

Geno

Last edited by 72blackbird

Give Gargraves track and Ross switches a look as well.  You can also use Ross switches with Atlas track, and they'll beat the Atlas switches hands-down.  Also, Ross makes a much wider variety of switches that will allow you to customize your configuration to your desires.  Finally, Steve at Ross is usually available to personally discuss any issues or questions you have, they have great customer service!

@WaynePa posted:

Don’t you mean all 4 sides.  If just three and it is against a wall consider locking casters so you can easily move it away from the wall.  Mianne benchwork makes that easy.

Hi WaynePa, no actually i had just pictured 3.....with the six foot side up against one wall, i could walk around either side as it extends out in the room ....with a 3 foot reach....so like a long rectangle  (or at least that was my initial thought)

Last edited by bulldog405

@bulldog405 I recommend you read the Paul Bruce article in OGR June/July run 318. Page 38-47. He covers scenery, multiple levels, support, bridges, track, switches and more.  He's done a wonderful job covering all the items you have requested to be discussed. 

My personal experience in your request is bridges. Atlas Pratt double and single track. Nice looking, well constructed. Fun to assemble.  Don't use crazy glue for it does not bond well. Bridge parts began separating within a year using crazy glue.

My layout is 12x24 and there was many connections so I installed 60watt LED light fixtures under the table so I may see how to easily connect each wire and solder.  Highly recommend you do the same in any variation you wish. So long it is adequate.

Use a dremmel tool with goggle protection to trim your Atlas track.  Use a safe soldering gun with LED light.  Buy additional tips for I had to replace one at least 4 times. 

I can recommend Gargrave track and switches but you will enjoy the Atlas I'm certain.

Have fun!

Hey Bulldog,

Atlas 3 rail is great for a few reasons and I highly recommend it. Of course, it looks great. But one outstanding feature: it is a solid rail, not extruded like all or most of the others. My experience has been that it makes for very smooth operation. The flex track can be difficult if you are bending anything smaller than 50" radius. I suggest you get a couple pieces and work with them cutting and fitting the rails and ties, filing the edges, etc. Just get to know the material before you start laying track.

So, let me understand this. Your train room is about 14'-6 x 10'-6". Why are you limiting your layout to 6x10 other than the reach part of it? Just a suggestion but, try looking through layout design books and other places and maybe utilize more of the space you have. SCARM software is great for creating track plans. I sketched one together for you in 14'-6" x 10'-6".          See the attachments.

Planning is everything on the front end. Draw it, stare at it, draw it again. Anyway, just my 2 cents.

Enjoy.

Attachments

Hi Bulldog,

I'm in the same phase as you describe and we also seem to share ideas on what we want in our layouts. I have two of the Atlas Pratt Truss bridges and one MTH arch bridge, all single track. Scenery is all new to me and I'm finding more and more that it needs to be considered during planning and not after bench and track. Hopefully, folks with more experience in planning for scenery will add to this thread.

You seem to already be aware of potential reach issues and others have suggested considering wrapping the layout around you to expand the size. These are good ideas but do introduce the issue of how you get in and out. Many ways to do that, including bridges. I've done hinged and swinging sections, and was ducking under the bridges at 54" above the floor. This time my plan is to build a lift table.

I'm also considering going up a level. If I connect the levels, my preference, it will take linear space to achieve a decent grade and height. A 3% rise, for example, is 3" over a 100" run and transitions are needed at both ends. The best recommendation I have found for length of transitions suggest 1.5 times the distance between engine pickup rollers, or just 1.5 times the length of the engine. I don't run any steam really, so my longest engines would be about 20" so I need at least 30" transitions on either end. This is all about 13 feet long and I'm only up 3-3.5". You get the idea.

Atlas track is easy to wire in my experience. I mostly use their track connectors with the leads, one set per block. The track connectors will also mate up with the Ross switches. I did have to remove a few of the spikes on the switches to slide the connector on but that's easy with needle nose pliers.

@Lionnnn posted:

Hey Bulldog,

Atlas 3 rail is great for a few reasons and I highly recommend it. Of course, it looks great. But one outstanding feature: it is a solid rail, not extruded like all or most of the others. My experience has been that it makes for very smooth operation. The flex track can be difficult if you are bending anything smaller than 50" radius. I suggest you get a couple pieces and work with them cutting and fitting the rails and ties, filing the edges, etc. Just get to know the material before you start laying track.

So, let me understand this. Your train room is about 14'-6 x 10'-6". Why are you limiting your layout to 6x10 other than the reach part of it? Just a suggestion but, try looking through layout design books and other places and maybe utilize more of the space you have. SCARM software is great for creating track plans. I sketched one together for you in 14'-6" x 10'-6".          See the attachments.

Planning is everything on the front end. Draw it, stare at it, draw it again. Anyway, just my 2 cents.

Enjoy.

Lionnnn,

Thank you so much for the effort you put in to mocking up a sample starting place!  Wow, i really hadn't thought something like that was possible.  You have given me a lot to think about and start to work with---I have downloaded SCARM and AnyRail....just working on trying to learn how to use and manipulate the software in a user friendly way.



Thanks again!!

Hi Bulldog,

I'm in the same phase as you describe and we also seem to share ideas on what we want in our layouts. I have two of the Atlas Pratt Truss bridges and one MTH arch bridge, all single track. Scenery is all new to me and I'm finding more and more that it needs to be considered during planning and not after bench and track. Hopefully, folks with more experience in planning for scenery will add to this thread.

You seem to already be aware of potential reach issues and others have suggested considering wrapping the layout around you to expand the size. These are good ideas but do introduce the issue of how you get in and out. Many ways to do that, including bridges. I've done hinged and swinging sections, and was ducking under the bridges at 54" above the floor. This time my plan is to build a lift table.

I'm also considering going up a level. If I connect the levels, my preference, it will take linear space to achieve a decent grade and height. A 3% rise, for example, is 3" over a 100" run and transitions are needed at both ends. The best recommendation I have found for length of transitions suggest 1.5 times the distance between engine pickup rollers, or just 1.5 times the length of the engine. I don't run any steam really, so my longest engines would be about 20" so I need at least 30" transitions on either end. This is all about 13 feet long and I'm only up 3-3.5". You get the idea.

Atlas track is easy to wire in my experience. I mostly use their track connectors with the leads, one set per block. The track connectors will also mate up with the Ross switches. I did have to remove a few of the spikes on the switches to slide the connector on but that's easy with needle nose pliers.

Dan,

Sounds like you have built a layout or two before this new project you are working on---I hope that you will update this discussion and let us watch as you build the new one from scratch.  Thanks for sharing those hints and ideas, so much to consider---wishing I was a bit more of an engineer type, but i struggle visualizing these things without actually seeing them drawn out.



Scott

Scott,

I'm retaking the course, so to speak. I built a layout a couple of years ago, the first of anything we might consider permanent. And it is already 90% gone. I don't want to hijack your thread so I'll just say I got the technical stuff right but I learned I really didn't build it to progress further. Maybe at that time I didn't intend to do much more than run a train so I think my enthusiasm for the hobby did grow as a result of just doing it once.

Anyway, I began to think about and explore scenes in different parts and found I boxed myself in. No room for much other than track. So those points I touched on are from my own list of mistakes, the biggest being that I didn't really have a layout plan, I just had a track plan. I have also spend a good deal of time researching here on the OGR forum. Most anything I've come up with to try, someone has been there before me so I usually find something of benefit from those posted experiences. Back to square one but I have a lot of notes and some hands-on experience.

Thank you. Some of my previous posts show videos of the trains running.  Glad you like it and appreciate it. It takes a lot of work to build a really nice railroad. As I said, planning on the front end is very important. I use SCARM to create track plans. I've come to know it through use. However, what's more important is how it will look and work in the real world. I can only speak from my experience though. Many on this forum will offer different perspectives and advice that can be very valuable. When I finished what I thought would be the final track plan, I had I had it printed 1:1 full size and placed it it. Best thing I did. I was able to see the curves and straights an how it all worked out. I then went back to the drawing board and revised it.

The thing is, that before you start on what I assume will be a permanent layout, make sure it will work like you want it to. Planning is the key. Today, the cost of lumber and other materials is far too high to make mistakes and/or revisions, not to mention the blood sweat and tears. I wish you good tidings for your endeavors. If I can help or advise, please let me know.

See the attached photos.

L

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Images (9)
  • GRMRR - 00
  • GRMRR - 01
  • GRMRR - 02
  • GRMRR - 03
  • GRMRR - 04
  • GRMRR - 05
  • GRMRR - 06
  • GRMRR - 07
  • GRMRR - 08 67 inch custom built bridge

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