Post 1 5-16-2016
Overview of Action Packed 50’s period 027 Operating & Switching Layout and Table of Contents
Note: Table of Contents is at the end of this short Post 1
A major objective of this layout was make the track plan and layout active and challenging to keep the engineers busy with operation, switching of multiple trains and including many operating accessories, all to keep up interest in running trains and improving the layout. While setting up three or five trains to loop is and can be done, experience has been that just looping gets boring quickly.
This topic or thread is about how I built a 1950s period Lionel and Marx train running action packed layout starting in 1977 and using conventional control and initially two Lionel LW transformers, 20 Marx 1590 switches, an Actionable Touch Track Diagram Control Panel and homemade $10 Turntable with pit and Round House.
The layout is portable and has been moved to six houses due to job transfers. The layout has an Actionable Touch Track Diagram Control Panel utilizing mini push button and slide switches. The layout started as a single train board with two independent relayed loops allowing two trains to operate on each loop with one or two operators. The inside loop includes an oval and figure 8 allowing train reversing in either direction and has 11 switches. The outside loop has two alternate/storage tracks and has 9 switches. This train board can runs 4 trains with two trains per two blocked relayed loops and numerous operating accessories. It includes a homemade $10 turntable with pit, round house and operating Lionel Gantry Crane.
A second train board was added in 1988 to allow a third loop to be operated with a second Actionable Touch Track Diagram Control Panel and a third LW transformer. The third loop includes a dog bone giving train reversing in either direction for the outside loop for both train boards and has 12 switches. It can now runs 5 trains with two trains per two blocked relayed loops with one train running on the new train board and has numerous operating accessories. The layout can be operated by only one operator and by two or three operators. It is a 027 gauge Toy train operating and switching layout (32 Marx 1590 metal frog, inexpensive switches). This is a portable layout and has been on the floor in various rooms for 2 to 4 months a year until recently.
A Wye was added on the outside loop between the two train boards by using two more Marx switches in 2020 for additional reversing action and the layout now has 34 Marx metal frog 1590 switches.
I hope to show that one does not have to have a lot of room, tools, skills or money to enjoy this hobby. I will try to provide the logic and reasons for the choices I made in planning and building this layout and describe, in enough detail and pictures, how I built it for most to be able to build their own layout.
The initial layout train board described is 11 ft long and 5 ft, 9 inches wide, is in two sections and is portable and easy to store. Simple portable power tools can be used and simple fifties type methods were used. The construction is inexpensive and used lumber can be used. Used 027 track and Lionel and Mark trains from the 40s and 50s were initially used. Lionel LW 125 watt transformers and 20 Marx 027, 1590 metal frog switches are also used which are inexpensive and easily found and obtained. The layout uses conventional control.
Suggestions and ideas will be shared that will show ways to keep costs low by train gear selection and modifying, kit bashing or scratch building simple structures and accessories including a turntable and roundhouse for less than $10 each.
I am encouraging viewers to quit just following and watching on the OGR Forum and hoping to have a layout and to get proactive and go for it, by spending time planning and then acquiring materiel and train gear and then building an action packed, interest maintaining layout.
I plan to make additional short posts to this topic periodically or when I can, on different features of my 43 year old layout to show what might be included in a layout and to keep the topic rolling for a while. Your comments and suggestions are solicited.
Picture of overall Layout Main Train Board
Actionable Touch Track Diagram Control Panel showing Track Plan of Main Train Board
Photo showing both Train Boards in 2021 with new Wye
Table of Contents
Post 1 5-16-2016 Overview of Action Packed 50’s period 027 Operating Layout & Table of Contents
Post 2 5-17-2016 Layout videos and comments posted
Post 3 5-20-2016 The Beginning - Childhood Layout
Post 4 5-24-2016 Resources- Books and Magazines & Layout Track Plan and Features
Post 5 5-27-2016 Procurement of Lionel LW Transformers, Trains, Track, Marx 1590 Metal Frog Switches etc.
Post 6 6-4-2016 Project during planning – Tootle Wooden Pull Train
Post 7 6-11-2016 Construction of Main Layout Board (11ft x 5ft - 9in)
Post 8 6-20-2016 Actionable Touch Track Diagram Control Panel Construction, Wiring and Transformers revised 3-10-2021
Post 9 6-25-2016 Turntable with a pit Construction & Operation - Scratch Built and Inexpensive revised 9-2019
Post 10 7-1-2016 50’s Type Buildings from Childhood Layout
Post 11 7-8-2016 Back to USA and Homemade Round House Construction
Post 12 7-16-2016 1980-90s Locomotive Engine and Car Upgrades
Post 13 7-22-2016 Building a Mountain and Tunnel - Construction Details
Post 14 7-29-2016 Kit-bashing the Bachmann 1975 Coal Station
Post 15 7-29-2016 Converting a Bachmann 1975 Coal Station to a Coal Mine/ Coal Loader Accessory
Post 16 8-6-2016 Building Homemade Lionel Style Cars
Post 17 8-12-2016 Backdrop for Layout on the Floor
Post 18 8-18-2016 Building a Homemade Lionel type Water Tower and Gantry Crane Superstructure
Post 19 8-26-2016 Layout Lights and Lighting
Post 20 9-2-2016 Alumina, Chemical and Industrial Cars
Post 21 9-6-2016 Building a Center Fill Reynolds Alumina Covered Hopper Car
Post 22 9-9-2016 Hidden Track installed behind Background and Industrial Bldg.
Post 23 9-19-2016 New Layout Board Addition ( 7ft - 6in x 4ft - 7 in) Making an "L" Layout with pictures and video
Post 24 4-11-2016 Building a New Addition Track Plan and Active Track Diagram Control Panel
Post 25 10-4-2016 Building a Ice skating pond on New Addition
Post 26 10-10-2016 Train whistles and Diesel horns
Post 27 10-13-2016 New Addition Main Street
Post 28 10-18-2016 Roadside Diner for Main Street Siding
Post 29 10-28-2016 Other New Addition Areas - Industrial, Local Train Station, Farm, Air Port
Post 30 11-15-2016 Trolley for Main Street - Homemade Reversing Mechanism
Post 31 1/28/2017 Installation of remote operating Lionel 12834 Gantry Crane
Post 32 4/20/2017 Installation of Lionel 192 Control Tower
Post 33 6/4/2017 List of Layout Installed Accessories
Post 35 6/22/2017 Unit trains Operated on Layout
Post 36 7/25-2017 Train Shelves Built and Under Window Shelves Added for the Train Room
Post 37 8/5/2017 Layout Skirting Made and Installed
Post 38 8/12/2017 Popular Trains Run on the Layout - Operating Train (1st Post, Milk Car)
Post 39 8/18/17 Popular Trains Run on the Layout - Operating Train (2nd Post, Cattle Car)
Post 40 8/20/2017 Popular Trains Run on the Layout - Operating Train (3nd Post, Barrel Car & Un-loader)
Post 41 8/24/2017 Popular Trains Run on the Layout - Operating Train (4nd Post, Ice Car & Icing Station)
Post 42 8/31/2017 Popular Trains Run on the Layout - Operating Train (5th Post, Gondola or Coal Dumping Car)
Post 43 9/4/2017 Automating the Manual Lionel 6-12774 Lumber Log Loader
Post 44 9/9/2017 Common Trains Run on the Layout - Passenger Trains
Post 45 9/21/2017 Common Trains Run on the Layout – The Christmas Train
Post 46 9/29/2017 Common Trains Run on the Layout - General 4-4-0 Engines and Trains
Post 47 10/9/2017 Common Trains Run on the Layout - Wrecking Trains
Post 48 10/19/2017 Common Trains Run on the Layout – Maintenance Trains
Post 49 11/24/2017 Finds at TCA Train show in Ponchatoula, LA in November 2017
Post 50 12/28/2020 Layout on Christmas 2017
Post 51 1/17/2018 Common Trains Run on the Layout – Space and Missile Trains and Cars
Post 52 3/17/2018 Building a Homemade Lionel 6413 Mercury Capsule Transporting Car
Post 53a 4/28/2018 New engines and Track Upgrade
Post 53b 4/29/2018 Track Nippers and Track Cutting Jig
Post 54 6/1/2018 Cab-Forward Engine
Post 55 3/15/2019 Building a Homemade Vanderbilt Tender
Post 56 3/18/2019 Small Engines Used on the Layout
Post 57 9/4/2019 Building a Homemade Longer 6 Wheel Vanderbilt Tender
Post 58 9/24/2019 Large Steam Engines Used on the Layout
Post 59 2/3/2020 New Engine - Lionel 561, 0-8-0 Switcher
Post 60 2/9/2020 Building a Homemade Lionel 9278 Life Savers Tank Car
Post 61 5/1/2020 Addition of a Wye to the Layout
Post 62 5/10/2020 New Flood Lights on Cattle Corral and new Milk Platform after Wye Installation
Post 63 7-2-2020 Marx Trains Run on the Layout
Post 64 8-14-2020 E Z Wooden Ties Added to Layout to make Semi-Super O27 Realistic Track
Post 65 9-2-2020 Building a Homemade Lionel style 193 Industrial Water Tower added to Main Train board
Post 66 9-8-2020 Building a Lionel 6407 Flat Car with an Improved Rocket
Post 67 10-19-2020 New and Last Train Shelf added to Train Room
Post 68 10-28-2020 Signal Bridges Now Operating
Post 69 11-18-2020 Homemade Lionel 6805 Atomic Energy Disposal Car
Post 70 1-4-2021 Homemade Transfer Caboose
Post 71 1-18-2021 Homemade Bobber Caboose
Post 72 1-19-2021 Adding an Clip on Amprobe Ammeter to Layout's Three LW Train Transformers
Post 74 2-9-2021 SP and N5c Cabooses converted to Union Pacific
Post 75 2-29-2021 Two Repainted Cabooses - Penn N5c and SP Santa Fe and Review of a latest Homemade, during Virus, Cabooses
Post 76 3-18- 2021 A Lionel 6-8562, GP 20 - Latest Diesel Roaming the Layout
Post 77 6-19-2021 Reviving 1930s Lionel 238 Streamlined Torpedo Locomotive and Tender
Post 78 8-11-2021 Engines Purchased with Previous Owners Modifications
Last edit 8-18-2021 pg 3