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It's been a long time.  For the past 25 years I've only set up Christmas layouts around the tree... but, I'm heading to Lowes' now to buy the lumber for the layout.  This is going in the attic apartment/office/guest room and it had to pass the wife's approval.  So, I'm pinched for space *especially width/depth*.   80% of what I run will run on O31 (Lionmaster steam and Diesels).  The few scales I have will run on O54 (even O48 at very slow speed).  The layout will have 3 lines/loops of O63, O54 and O48.

Here is how I've been running trains after the tree comes down...;

I will post as I go along... hoping for suggestions/observations to keep me out of trouble!




Images (1)
  • Train
Last edited by Dennis-LaRock
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Thanks Melgar!!!!  I started building the first of the 4 sections... and, it started to rain!!!  argh!!!  I should be able to carry each section up the spiral staircase to the attic apartment.

I'm with you 100% GRJohn.  I put tape on the floor yesterday and O72 made passage through the apartment a little tight (see photo).   My wife was much happier with O63 (she probably wishes I had stuck with Super-O).  I'm a whisker under 6' tall... the ceiling travels down to 42" where it meets the wall.

Everything under the sheets are trains... that pile is approximately half of my collection.  I don't even really know if I'm a collector... an operator, for sure.

Update: Just finished the jig for the bends @ the front of the bench work (frame) and put the plywood strips in the swimming pool.  I'll pull them out in the morning... and, put them in the jig for 24 hrs.



Images (12)
  • It Begins
  • PoolPlywood 02
  • Long View
  • Looking Out of Bedroom
  • Kitchen 01
  • Bathroom 01
  • Bathroom 02
  • Franciscan Starburst
  • Kitchen 02
  • Audio with Shelly Winters
  • Kitchen Sink
  • Can O Matic - Sunbeam Automatic
Last edited by Dennis-LaRock

Dennis, Congratulations!!!  I had to wait about 25 years between permanent layouts also!  It is a great feeling to get started on on again!!  It looks like a good plan for the attic multi use space!  Make sure you keep your wife happy, but John does have a sneaky idea.    That is really nice how the room is already finished ready for benchwork.  21 feet in length is to die for!!  I'll look forward to seeing your progress!!!  

I definitely see the retro look.  Very well done!!!  I was born in '56 and grew up in a house that was 'retro '20s farmhouse'.  That is to say, all was the same as when my dad grew up in the same house except for the '50s appliances Grandma had added when Dad was in the Army.  One of my daughters lives in a house that has a '50s kitchen with new appliances.

I forgot to mention earlier, that pool came in mighty handy for soaking the wood you are going to bend.  I never tried bending wood like that, but I'm looking forward to seeing the great curves your table will have.  I'm hard pressed to get my square corners right on my layout.  

Update: 94F with Heat index of 115F... and, now it's raining.  It would be nice to have a garage.  Anyway, I adjusted the bench work bends to O76 (from O66) ...just in case.  All I would have to do is add about a 10" straight filler piece to the back wall.  Future Proof!   Thanks John!!!

*Homasote*:  I want to cover the entire plywood deck of the bench work.  I just called around and nobody stocks it... before, I order it is there a better product?     Opinions please.

Thank you

Last edited by Dennis-LaRock

Some people use indoor-outdoor carpeting (very tight weave) and some others use 2" or thicker foam board.  Search this forum (or the web) for tips on which product to use and why the user chose that product.  If you still decide to special order Homasote (and many here would go that route), order just enough to go under your track.  Homasote can be cut fairly easily (although quite messy), and using it for scenery base is really just wasting money.


Thanks Chuck!  I looked at some *Sound Board* at Lowe's and it seems fine @ 1/3 the price of Homasote.   It's sugar cane fiber and looks like dirt.   I understand it's acoustical properties are minimal but that's not why I'm installing it.   I want the deck to be a somewhat forgiving i.e., *not hard*.  It will sit inside the trim of the bench work so it won't be glued or otherwise attached to the plywood.  Hopefully, I have the bench-work done by next week 9/9-9/10 or so...and, ready for the sound board.

Comments please...

Update:   Rough Bench Work moved up the spiral staircase... man, I'm tired.  I wound up with 7 Sections/Panels and I was allowed to bring the 3 middle sections out to 57" (from 48").  The curved ends are now @ O76 (thanks John) and it holds 220 lbs with ease. My updated bench work plan is attached hereto...





Images (3)
  • Holds 220 lbs
  • Layout 03
  • Spiral - 01
Last edited by Dennis-LaRock

Dennis, Every step is harder than the one before!  We have an indoor staircase that doubles back at the midpoint landing.  It's a pain, and I always catch something on the railing.  Our older daughter and her husband have a similar arrangement in a house twice as old; 100+ versus 52 years.  There is only so much you can get up these.  

What is the great looking white fascia you are using?

I'm in the same boat as your daughter... my house was built in 1905.

Fascia... It's bead board... I put it 1/4" (or so) above the sound board so that ballast, coal and the like stay on the layout (the carpet is brand new).  However, the bead board is pvc... I glued and nailed it to the plywood bends and 1x4s.    I haven't secured the legs yet because I'm waiting for the 2 1/2" carpet/caster cups that I ordered to put under the legs and do final adjustments before I set them permanently.  It's really solid right now though.

Last edited by Dennis-LaRock

OK... a lot of *thinking*. 

On Tuesday (9/8) I tested Super-O (I still LOVE Super-O), Fastrack and Atlas.  Fastrack was FAST and Easy... and, Atlas was the winner for me.  So, I have a lot of track to sell... and, a couple of LionMasters.  

Yesterday, I started hauling trains upstairs and while I've kept most everything organized there were definitely issues with finding everything.  I got a little frustrated and left everything a mess... and, downloaded SCARM.  Then last night I put together a spread sheet (see below) of where I wanted the Inventory.  Today, I organized everything according to the spreadsheet (and, made sure labeling was easily visible).

I'm still waiting for the carpet/caster cups.  My wife actually wants me to do some *other* things?  I probably will not get the benchwork finished (including benchwork curtains), inventory and sell what I do not need and get the track plan done before the end of the month.   I need a new phone!@!  The lens on the camera is ~~cRUsHEd~~


Images (2)
  • Storage 01
  • Thinking
Last edited by Dennis-LaRock

I’m in the same boat. I only have a half basement and all the shelving is loaded with my trains. I try to run them all once a year but am waiting for my daughter to move out so I can build my first layout in her room. I have a air hockey table I’m gonna use for the base and put the plywood on top of that. I am planing on a 5x10 layout with 2 tracks.

Merlin, I feel your pain!  My last layout was in our Loft in NYC.  Our Kids were going to Tulane and Loyola and we moved to New Orleans about 2 minutes after Katrina (long story).  My wife and I agreed that we would stay for 5 years and then re-access.  The kids graduated and then they alternately and separately moved away and then back to the attic apartment a few times each.  About 2 years ago when one of the kids moved out again I jumped in and started to re-model the attic apartment... and now, the TRAINS get their day!

Be patient!  And, when the moment comes... JUMP ON IT!

It's been raining for five (5) days straight... so, I had some time in the attic.  I dug out an old phone that doesn't have a smashed lens... I hope this is an improvement.  Here is a video from this morning testing the 3% grade...

I noticed that when folks have an elevated layout they tend to have the elevated section *inside* the Outer line.   I've been learning SCARM...  and, attached two versions of my track plan with the elevated section on the Outside and one with the elevated section on the Inside.  It's a little crude... but, I had to start somewhere.

Please Opine...




Images (7)
  • Outside Elevation 02
  • outside Elevation 03
  • Outside Elevation 04
  • Inside TP 05
  • Outside TP 03
  • Attic RR 03 OutSide Elevate
  • Attic RR 05 Inside Elevate
Last edited by Dennis-LaRock

I like to have the lower track in the front and the upper track in the back so I can see trains for the maximum amount of the route.  In your case, with one track on the inside and one on the outside, you will have a track hidden.  I think physical access for a derailment is the primary concern.  If the layout is low enough that you can look over and reach a train on a low track against the wall, then that would work fine.  If you can't then I would make that one high as you can probably still look over top the high track out next to the aisle.  That is all if you are filling in under the high track with a scenic fill.  If you are leaving it open like the trestles to see through or under a closer track, it probably doesn't matter and is what looks best to your eye.

Thank you Mark.   I've had the trestles for a very long time and they are temporary.   I was thinking aqua/viaduct around the front of the curve and continuing on the angle across the layout back to the wall (its a reversing loop).  I can do it with 3, 3' sections and construct it so that the one in the center is easily removable for interior access.  The grade and the back wall... is still in thought.  I have entertained a mural on the wall... I found some non-repeat border murals that are 12" tall and 12' in length (layout table to ceiling is 13.25").  If I go that route I'll scratch build new trestles.

Most of my Locomotives & rolling stock are NYC & PRR.   I grew up in western Vermont (near Ticonderoga, NY) and then lived in NYC for 25 years... so, I guess I'm looking at an Adirondack, Catskills, Poconos conglomeration for back walls were the corners meet.  I need to get a lot better @ SCARM.





Last edited by Dennis-LaRock

You're welcome, Dennis.

Your ideas sound great!  My layout in an 11x11 room is a twice around, crossing over itself in the middle of the room.  So, one side the high tracks are in the rear, and the other side of the room has the high tracks in the front.  I have installed half of a K-Line set of trestles so I can see through to the rear of the tracks and the scenery back there also.  The plastic trestle bents are temporary until I think of something better.  I won't change until I have the scenery behind them finished, which I haven't even started yet.  They are solid, so it doesn't matter how long it takes.

We have only been in your region once.  We spent a week near Lake George in 2012.  It's is a beautiful area, and we want to go back someday.

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