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Hello all!

I'm not sure if this is the correct thread to do introductions but I could not locate one (hint) and I'm sure on of the admins will put this where is actually belongs.

Long time lurker and first time poster. First and foremost I wanted to say thank you for having a incredible forum with such a vast amount of information!

I have been around model trains from a very early age as it was tradition in my family that each male child was gifted a train set on his fist Christmas. With times being busy as they are today that tradition fell to the wayside until my father passed a couple years ago and I was able to locate his train set along with my grandfathers set and mine. This started me down a journey researching and buying sets for my two boys from the year they were born and my grandson this past Christmas but we had no place to run them all. We are currently clearing out the finished basement of 25yrs of boxes/decorations at my current residence (O 'h joy) and yes the wife is actually fine with it.. LOL

I live in SEPA just north of Doylestown with my wife of many years. I served in the Marines (which every male on my fathers side has done) from 1989 to 1993 then I was a military contractor for the Marines up until 2019 (soft retirement). I am currently an IT Engineer for the federal gov with disciplines in coding, networking and hardware where I produce conceptual architectures and implement them all to better the veterans experience with the VA (Veterans Administration) and VBA (Veterans Benefit Administration).

So with all this vast knowledge you would think a train layout would be a simple task.... LOL. I stand corrected! I have decided to build the layout to run O Gauge sets keeping budget in mind so I'm implementing RailKing, LionMaster and LionChief Plus 2.0. I will be using Gar-Graves Phantom track with Ross Custom switches and controlling the layout with MTH DCS, WIU and a Lionel Legacy system which I have already purchased.

I've attached the floor plan and an image of a layout I found that I think will work in the area I have. I just wanted to share with you all (the experts) to get some feedback, the layout image needs to be tweaked with the top (L) area having a mountain along with another one at the top right corner connected with a two track bridge and the station area actually running along side the 23ft span to the left. I see this with several layers starting with the 8ft section to the right being the lowest and stepping up four levels with the train station area being the third and the mountain area being the forth. I'm not locking myself into any time period but will be incorporating scenery from areas in PA that I have been to.

Thanks again and looking forward to being a contributing member!

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Welcome!!!  It l(.)(.)ks like you have a pretty darned nice space for the trains.  Are you using any track/layout planning software?  The two (2) most common are SCARM and AnyRail... both are relatively easy to learn and are free up two about 50 or so sections of track/turnouts and around 39.00 to purchase.  They are well worth the time/money spent and they will save a lot of headaches down the road.

Last edited by Dennis-LaRock

With 8' wide tables, you will have to have walking access on all sides (though you may already know that, just can't tell from picture and diagram).  Also, be sure to leave plenty of room to access any other home infrastructure (plumbing, electric, etc.) that might be anywhere near your layout.  Finally, incorporating 4 different levels sounds like fun, but watch your grades (<4% is preferred), watch your grade transitions (at start and end of each grade), and watch how this may affect the scenery and size of curves you are thinking about.

Chuck

Welcome!!!  It l(.)(.)ks like you have a pretty darned nice space for the trains.  Are you using any track/layout planning software?  The two (2) most common are SCARM and AnyRail... both are relatively easy to learn and are free up two about 50 or so sections of track/turnouts and around 39.00 to purchase.  They are well worth the time/money spent and they will save a lot of headaches down the road.

Thanks for the information in reference to the software. I downloaded SCARM last night and started playing around with it, going to take me some time to get used to it but it is surly a invaluable tool to have!

@PRR1950 posted:

With 8' wide tables, you will have to have walking access on all sides (though you may already know that, just can't tell from picture and diagram).  Also, be sure to leave plenty of room to access any other home infrastructure (plumbing, electric, etc.) that might be anywhere near your layout.  Finally, incorporating 4 different levels sounds like fun, but watch your grades (<4% is preferred), watch your grade transitions (at start and end of each grade), and watch how this may affect the scenery and size of curves you are thinking about.

Chuck

The 23ft section is against a wall along with the 8.5ft wide section that is 10ft long (so both sides there), so I am actually going to cut an opening in the wall between the layout and the laundry area so I can access that portion...ugh. I've marked out in red where I will be cutting access points through walls and that section of the layout itself. I wish I was afforded the opportunity to walk all the way around but I'll take what I have and work on it to make it successful. I appreciate the information about the grades as I honestly wasn't sure what to set them at, so thank you.

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Images (1)
  • floor plan
@T-Bone1214 posted:

The 23ft section is against a wall along with the 8.5ft wide section that is 10ft long (so both sides there), so I am actually going to cut an opening in the wall between the layout and the laundry area so I can access that portion...ugh. I've marked out in red where I will be cutting access points through walls and that section of the layout itself. I wish I was afforded the opportunity to walk all the way around but I'll take what I have and work on it to make it successful. I appreciate the information about the grades as I honestly wasn't sure what to set them at, so thank you.

Rather than cut access holes through walls, you also have the option to cut access hatches in the layout, itself.

There are many creative ways to do this (do a search on the Forum) so that they are not visible to the casual observer and it may be less destructive.

So it begins! Setting some track down to map out the placement of the benchwork. I started late last night moving boxes down to the basement and placing some track where the roundhouse portion of the layout will be, approx. 82 degree on the outside loop and hand bent following its curvature on the inside loop (approx. 75/78 degree). Did this so when I get the full scale bug Ill be able to run the really big engines without any issues.

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T-Bone,

Sure looks like a plan that will work. One can't have enough access points and you are addressing them in first class order. I used the same materials list for track and turnouts. The layout (9' by 14') is 10 years old now (sheeesh!) and thankfully never had a problem with any of that. My access points were not done well and my 71 year old back lets me know! But we have been able to get it done. Welcome to the posting side. 8-) Look forward to seeing your progress.

Jim K

Quick update.

We (Wife and I) started playing around with the backdrop cloud configurations the other day plotting out and testing different techniques while adding and removing. The clouds here are just the base with no shading added in yet so this doesn't represent the final configuration as everything is always subject to change. I think I am going to paint the celling black since I don't believe it looks good white and I didn't want to paint it blue thinking it was too much. I'm thinking that by painting it black it will really make the sky scenery pop and your eyes will focus on the layout not be distracted by the white celling. Thinking back I should have rounded off the corners of the wall but I'm now planning on having mountains/hills in each corner to help it blend.

I really appreciate the feedback that I am receiving so please continue to comment, make suggestions or just say T.. what are you thinking...lol.

How did you all do your clouds? Share some pics and process if you can. Thanks!

123456

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@Ron H posted:

The clouds look great. Perhaps darkening the bottoms a bit more would add some more depth when viewed straight on.

IMG_2372

Thanks @Ron H You are correct more shading below is needed. So I went through what we had setup so far and ended up covering all but 4 clouds that we thought were good to go. I'll be working on this tonight adding more clouds back in and possibly in the future adding some hills.

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