Design a trackplan - not as easy as it looks!

New train room is what realtors call a "bonus room", 15' x 13' with a full bath and closet.
I'm planning a new layout with a size of 11' x 13'. I designed both U-shaped and around the room with lift-out. 
Last time I had a O Gauge layout was 8 years ago...

Using licensed SCARM and have posted my favorite plan, so far.  
Have a long way to go with the track design - that is not as easy as it looks!

Parameters are:

  • Easy access to almost every part of the layout.
  • Continuous running, with some storage.
  • No holes in the walls (it's a new house!)

 

 

She caught the Katy and left me a mule to ride...

 

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Original Post

Hey Kelunaboy,

Congrats on the new home! Good to hear you negotiated trackage rights during the purchase. I worked on something close to your room and track plan a few years ago.

I used narrower tables, the closet became a place for a storage yard and we left an aisle for the bathroom as the door opened inward.

new house, smhewhouse - you can patch or repair any holes that make in the walls.

The room was 12' x 17', the layout table was fit in to avoid doors and such. This was a second "master bedroom" in a New York city townhome. You can check it out with the attached pics.

yes, it will take you some time to master the layout software , but shorter than other types of software.

Have fun!

 

 

Carl

Arctic Railroad

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Photos (4)

Kelunaboy, an operating volcano out at the end of your island would be cool.  Just kidding. If your looking for some other track plan ideas, can you show us where the doors and windows are? Or, are you satisfied with what you came up with? Most people don't have a problem with being inside the loops of their layout. But for myself, I seem to get dizzy and stressed after only a short time when the trains are running around "me". I always lean toward a track plan that the trains are "going to" and "coming from" somewhere. Your room may be capable of a bent "dog bone" design where you can offset the ends of the dog bone for maximum radius curves for the room size and not have to "dunk under" or "lift out" any track. If your going to be running full scale engines though, you may be limited to an "around the room" design.

Dave Z

No volcanoes planned, but I’d enjoy modeling the Navy  munitions narrow gauge that was still in operation when I was a kid. We used to imagine those covered loads were “nukes”. 

Not so easy, but planning is fun, and we won’t be moving in for another 4-6 months, so I have the time.  Next task will be learning how to show walls, windows, and doors in SCARM.  

The room does have the entry door, bathroom door, closet door, and a built-in “niche” all on one side of the room and I have allowed 4’ clearance on that side. That might be a bit cramped for a viewing area.

The opposite side of the room has 2 windows 30” off the floor and span 7’.  The house has AC but I want easy access to the windows, even though I don’t care for “smoke” all that much.  The plan I have now needs to change, the island is in the way.

604D84C7-E485-4CEE-A6CD-0A8DFF063B708813CEF0-70BF-4E11-A8AF-4D5BFD916FD9

2ECFADD9-D0B6-4793-AA47-D0A2A8340524 I do have mixed feelings about the liftup design, makes wide curves possible but in everyday use it could be a PITA.  

Carl, I like the wye and roundhouse in your track plan, going to see if I can fit that in. Thanks for posting it.

Alan

 

She caught the Katy and left me a mule to ride...

 

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Photos (3)

I think that you could use the closet and wall alcove space. Extending the table after the bathroom door wouldn't cause any issues...unless the bride has dibs on the closet space.

You could also live with a 36" aisle for bath access.

Carl

Arctic Railroad

Thanks for all the replies and ideas!
Been toying with a U table design without a lift-out section. 

In this design the room door opens (swings in) in the lower right and there is a path leading to the center of the layout. 
The larger section of the table, with the loop and wye, can be accessed from three sides. 
Trying keep it somewhat open and not feeling cramped.

Working on adapting some aspects of the Quincy Harbor section I found on CTT.  (hope posting that is not a problem...)

I like the wye and the switching tracks, but would like to make the outer loop a continuous run.

mceclip1

 

 

She caught the Katy and left me a mule to ride...

 

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Just a thought, just a suggestion, since your space is relatively Limited, and I understand that you want a continuous run most people do, you may want to consider having a switching kind of layout. That in lieu of just going around in a circle. In that small of an area, it's not going to take long for a train just to loop around the track. That is a lot of expense to build a layout and then all it's going to do is circle around. You could do that on the floor and save a lot of money.

In my estimation, the biggest mistake that most people make over the many years I've been in the hobby is they give themselves nothing to do once the layout is complete. You need to have some kind of interaction with the trains to have enjoyment with it's going to sustain your interest. There is a great deal of potential building in some Industries and some sidings and getting some kind of a system going to where you can deliver and pick up cars from various points. You know, kind of like a board game. Operations is a huge facet of this hobby that the majority of people miss. That is why so many people lose interest or continuously are rearranging their track thinking that's the problem.

 

The other thing that occurred to me is you might want to pick and focus on a theme.  Focus on that theme and really really detail the layout. Layouts can be done so super well in a space like this by really focusing on a particular theme and detailing it with the things that are around in real life.

 

If you're really just dead set on circling, I would suggest this to you, why not build two completely separate levels with one a continuous loop where if you just want to sit back and watch it Circle you can and on the other build an actual model of a railroad that will have a purpose and some operation? That would give you the best of both worlds.

 

Good luck to you with your project and congratulations on your new space. I would really think long and hard about exactly what it is you want to do and what you want to accomplish and what it is you're going to do with it once all that is done to keep yourself going. My two cents now going on about a thousand bucks.

 

I understand about liftup/liftout sections. Those that feel that way make the section a swinging section on wheels - a gate.

Working something from large radius ovals can have interesting elements added. So, I have attached a 3D of your room with that to play with.

I took your Quincy Harbor and refit it the 3D room. (pic attached) It still needs some adjustment, but it could work and look nice with the scenery. really, the balloon reversing needs the shrinking for the layout entrance walk-in (20") and the aisle (18"). I like the angle created by the #5. See what you can do.

A word of caution about Atlas flex track. It really doesn't bend, so substitute my mixing various diameter sectional curves. 

The table in the file is 30" high. All track has to start at 30" height. You have enable bridge mode and right-click to remove track supports.

Sorry that I didn't put the windows in.

Carl

Arctic Railroad

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A basic question:  how big are your curves?  What types / sizes of locomotives and passenger equipment (if any) do you plan to run?  For many people, this question is the limiting one for layout design.

George

TCA, NMRA, PRRT&HS Modeling the PRR Panhandle Division between 1948-1957.

Moonman posted:

I understand about liftup/liftout sections. Those that feel that way make the section a swinging section on wheels - a gate.

Working something from large radius ovals can have interesting elements added. So, I have attached a 3D of your room with that to play with.

I took your Quincy Harbor and refit it the 3D room. (pic attached) It still needs some adjustment, but it could work and look nice with the scenery. really, the balloon reversing needs the shrinking for the layout entrance walk-in (20") and the aisle (18"). I like the angle created by the #5. See what you can do.

A word of caution about Atlas flex track. It really doesn't bend, so substitute my mixing various diameter sectional curves. 

The table in the file is 30" high. All track has to start at 30" height. You have enable bridge mode and right-click to remove track supports.

Sorry that I didn't put the windows in.

Carl - thanks for your reply and all the great work you did for me in SCARM.

You added the walls, very helpful!  Not seeing the walls has been bugging me.

Walls doors and windows are added by creating and placing "objects" - right?
A window would be a group of objects, which could get complex, but I'll work on it.

Also looks like you able to rotate and or flip the baseboard and tracks, so I found those features in the menus.
The tutorials I have watched so far were based on older versions without those features - so yeah!

Regarding track - still trying different brands and types.  Used FasTrack for a bedroom sized layout in Hawaii and lost most of it to rust within the first year.  Could be the Hawaiian climate, but unless you live in the desert, I suspect rust is everywhere.
I did purchase some Atlas sectional and flex, liked it but have not used the flex sections yet. 

While layout-less and preparing for retirement I did purchase most of the RealTrax needed for another 5x9 layout from CTT.  Used it to setup a Christmas loop for a couple of years, found it to be okay but not outstanding.  Of course I have also used O27 (more rust), and a train set loop of K-Line Shadow track.

What I'll do once we move is build a temporary 5x9 table in the 3rd bay of the garage, which is reserved for my workshop.  Then experiment with what I have and try some other track brands - like GarGraves SS track.

Thanks again!
Alan

 

She caught the Katy and left me a mule to ride...

 
G3750 posted:

A basic question:  how big are your curves?  What types / sizes of locomotives and passenger equipment (if any) do you plan to run?  For many people, this question is the limiting one for layout design.

George

Aloha George - thanks for reply. 

I have acquired a range of gear over the years, the largest is a MTH Premier E8 ABA with matching passenger cars, Alaska RR livery.  I ran that once on 36" and yes it looks silly. 

After that I leaned towards smaller stuff, like RailKing, LionKing, Beeps, and starter sets from Lionel, MTH, and K-Line.  While I like larger radius, 31-36" should be okay for 90% of my gear.

I do plan on joining a few Model RR clubs with permanent or modular layouts for big trains and long runs.  We will be 35 minutes from Portland OE.

Thanks!
Alan

She caught the Katy and left me a mule to ride...

 
Tom Tee posted:

Ya  gotta poke a hole in the closet wall, juss gots to.  Build a shoe shelf below and shoe holsters  above the trackage.  Install the hanger bar a tad higher.   Let her see you measure for  staging trackage in the bathroom over the sink and commode then "settle" for the closet.

When ever I had to design a layout in tight quarters I always went to multiple levels.  I am presently at four levels on my own layout and next roughing in a subway. 

It would be interesting to see the entire floor plan including adjacent rooms. 

My last house we went completely through all rooms on the second floor with #1 scale and bridged over the stairway.  It only took a Saturday to patch the holes and paint touchup when we moved.

Aloha Tom Tee,

Tempting isn't it!
But we are expecting this house to be our "forever home" and I have a number of other interests to pursue in retirement, including woodworking, photography, reading, and even video games.  I want enough room left after the layout for a small desk and a comfortable chair.  All of which could mean shrinking the layout even more.

I am hoping to find a nearby club to satisfy the need for long trains and long runs.

Two houses ago I did punch tunnels trough the walls into the next room, it was kinda cool and not hard to patch when we left.  But this house is different, at least for the first few years!

Multiple levels is something I'm considering, but "gasp" the second level could be N Scale...

Thanks!
Alan

She caught the Katy and left me a mule to ride...

 

For me, the most important criteria, is what do I want the RR to do.    for example, in my case, I wanted a lot of local industrial type switching.    the rest of the layout would be designed to support that.   

For others, the main criteria may be displaying their full length passenger cars in moving trains, or representing a portion of a double track or more main someplace from their memory.   

Obviously this criteria is based somewhat on the equipment you have collected, but then you collect the equipment to represent what  you want to model, don't you?    so what comes first the chicken or the egg?

Era is important too, the modern the era you want to represent, the larger the equipment will be and hence the large will be the required curves.    4ft frt cars and 1st generation diesels or small steam probably do quite will on relatively small curves.   On the other hand, 80 ft passenger cars and auto racks and big modern diesels need much larger curves.

type of RR is important too.   A single train main with passing sidings takes up much less real estate than double or multiple track (ie loops).    Generally in my experience, it takes about 4 inches of width for each track.   So with a single track line, you can get more sidings and fun stuff (industries are fun stuff for me) in the space than you can with double track.

As those things are considered, then you evaluate what you can do within your available space.    At this point  you determine what you really must have, and what you can live without to accomplish some of the objectives you set.

 

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