While reading through the latest edition of Classic Toy Trains, I read the story about Robert Sherman's Ideal Lionel Layout.  I've seen many layouts for tubular track.  I found this one unique, in that it doesn't have an outer loop of track.  If you study the plan, you may find it allows for quite a bit of operation for the little bit of track it has.  It has room for plenty of operating accessories.  Plus a passenger train can be run without affecting freight operation.

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Original Post

This layout is designed with operation and realistic scenery in mind. It is much like someone "modeling a railroad".  John C. likes this approach.

Although not a true "point to point", the reversing loops can appease the needs of the individuals that like to see trains moving around.

I think it takes up a lot of space for the "play value". 

Carl

Arctic Railroad

I think the ideal layout is one that exists in our minds, rarely in our basements, attics, etc. That's why our layouts are never done. We're always approaching the ideal layout in our minds. That's why we also enjoy seeing the fantastic layouts in OGR, or in videos, that show what can be done. 

Unless you have lots of bucks and space it is hard to build an O gauge layout that allows for realistic operation, and also lets you just watch the trains go round and round. 

Most of us have to compromise to fit our budgets and available space and personal preferences. I still find that the layout I have today is well beyond the wildest dreams of what I had as a kid (4' X 8'), but it is not ideal and I will be tinkering with it until I'm too old to play with it.

 

 

Moonman posted:

This layout is designed with operation and realistic scenery in mind. It is much like someone "modeling a railroad".  John C. likes this approach.

Although not a true "point to point", the reversing loops can appease the needs of the individuals that like to see trains moving around.

I think it takes up a lot of space for the "play value". 

I agree, there is alot of open space on the layout.  So too, in the real world of railroading.  Remember, these layouts were designed back in the day, mostly for boys building a layout.  Money was not as free flowing as it is today.  So the designer had to come up with something that could realistically be possible for the times.  

An abundance of track it has not.  But the generous amount of space allowed young modelers to spend lots of time building scenery and buildings.  Both of which were easier on the budget.  

It seems that this was a poster published by Lionel in 1947. I was able to find a decent sized photo and enlarge it. I recreated the track plan in O31. it's 12' x 12'.

reach or access would be the main problem. A small aisle could be created for about 1/2 of the river. A hatch in the center of the big loop.

It's pretty cool. Isolating the passing siding  would help to park a train while another ran in conventional transformer mode.

I still prefer around the walls with people space in a 12' x 12' room. It could be a carpet central with buildings and accessories.

This is no budget layout. Switches, bumpers, buildings...

Carl

Arctic Railroad

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Just for fun, I thought to sketch out an interpretation of the Ideal Layout, with some additional interesting features, but keeping the footprint and general concept unchanged.   I used Fastrack at O-36 minimum, with O-36 turnout minimum.   The grade up to the elevated section at 6" elevation is 4.4%.

M1212-Ideal_V1b

The turnout behind the hill on the lower left is the most serious weakness - hard to get at.

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

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Last edited by Ken-Oscale

This might be a better design.

M1212-Ideal_V1d

Now the weak point of the layout is the elevated turnout at the bottom - how to reach?   The access hatch solves that problem, though I am not a fan of this solution in general.

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

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Last edited by Ken-Oscale

Three reversing loops, one of them is elevated.  I have not seen that before.   The l-o-n-g passing siding is also a huge improvement.  You are a visionary when it comes to layout design.

Excellent plan!!!

As always... Counting the days till Christmas.



Last edited by SantaFeJim

Thanks Jim!   I think two operators could have some fun with this layout, with the multiple routes that all feed into the single-track and loop at the top.   A good place for some signals.   Some decent industry switching opportunities and the small yard.

M1212-Ideal_V1e

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

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Last edited by Ken-Oscale

Here is a bit of work on the terrain:

On the principles that "wider diameter is better", I was able to make the top loop turnouts all O-60, so trains will look better as they navigate this return loop.

M1212-Ideal_V1g

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

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Last edited by Ken-Oscale

Well, so I was able to create two routes of O-48 minimum curves and turnouts!   Lionel does make a few things needing O-42 minimum, so O-48 obviously covers that.   Plus trains just look better (and run better) on wider curves.   

  1. This route is return-loop to return-loop.   I widened the upper loop to O-48 minimum.   The bottom large return loop the outer track is now all O-48 or better.
  2. With the addition of Lionel's Extended Truss Bridge as a lift-out bridge, the outer oval is also O-48 minimum.   Certainly, the door has to be position correctly (or remodeled) to match up with the 30" aisle.

This layout concept has certainly evolved to a respectable track plan, a plan worth having and running trains on .   I particularly like the multiple routes, that keeps things interesting when running trains.   And I don't mind the common single track/upper-loop, as having trains stop at a block signal and wait for a passing train is very cool "in the wild", and cool on a layout.

M1212-Ideal_V2b

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

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Some structure ideas and a scattering of trees.  Note the slide-out yard for access to the turnouts at the yard throat.

M1212-Ideal_V2c

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

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It seems I have stumbled on the "ideal layout" after all.  If you extent along a long wall the single track from between the reversing loops this is what I arrived at without the bridge connecting across the room opening because my reversing loops are 25+ feet away from each other.  The design as presented in CTT was a space eater but wrap this around a room or extend it along available walls and you get long runs with routing options.  Not a mega layout but fun nevertheless.

A variation:  this O-48 version is a 3-train layout, one on the elevated, now at 7", and two circling the lower level.   This version does not need the slide out yard for turnout access. The inside track of the big two-track loop is still O-36, but everything else including the yard is O-48

M1212-Ideal_V2g

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

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Last edited by Ken-Oscale

I built the layout Bob Sherman designed and discussed in 'Model Railroading', published by Bantam in October 1950.  He discussed this layout on page 32 of that book.  It was featured again in the July 2016 Classic Toy Trains magazine.  It is 8'4" by 13'4" and features an outside loop connected to an inside loop including a figure 8 with 9 switches.  The layout features 3 sidings, a river, 7 bridges, and a large mountain covering about 25% of the track plan with 9 tunnel portals.  Operationally it is a lot of fun.  Multiple trains can be run in different directions and change from the inner loop to the outer loop or hide in the tunnel.   It is a toy.  

I use 2 Lionel LionelChief engines and can intermix conventional locomotives I have had since a child.  Very entertaining for my grandchildren.

I agree with the reply above--you really have wonderful vision for layout design. It is fun following your replies and seeing how your thought process works. Nicely done indeed!

Don Merz

Don M.

I have done some more work on this layout plan, revising some curves to make broader with more O60 as easements, replacing two O60 turnouts with O72, and other minor changes.   The most interesting idea is the track sections in red.   These are compound curves composed of alternating quarter-sections of O36 (12.5 degree) and O48 (7.5 degree) to approximate O42.   O42 Diesels and rolling-stock will likely be OK on this, but rigid wheelbase steamers requiring O42 could have trouble - one would have to test to see.   Are there any O42 steamers - not that I am aware of?   What do you think?

With the above qualifier, the entire layout is now O48 minimum with these two sections of approximately O42.  Planned to appear in a future OGR run - TBD.

M1212-Ideal_O42_V4d

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

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Last edited by Ken-Oscale

I have the "ideal layout"...for me. It's a diorama of the 1950s, with trains circling around it. I have one siding for "operation". Size is 5x8, which fits nicely into my bedroom.

kiehlclifford posted:

On the 12th above I described the layout I built.  Here are some pictures:

I'd sure be happy with it

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