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Hello all. The Boss grudgingly handed over the last section of the basement to me. Right now, I have 2 tables that meet with a bridge. One table is 11'x7' and the other is 21'x3'. Boss is letting me take another 12'x14'. Of which, I will eventually join to the far end of the 21' table. Right now, I am using old school tubular Lionel 031 tracks. I am going to build my new table with Gargraves Track and Ross Switches. At some point, I am going to changed the ENTIRE layout to Gargraves. I have a few Questions.

What are the Outside diameter of the curves. I am talking OUTER EDGE OF RR TIE TO OUTER EDGE OF RR TIE for: 138", 128", 120", 113", 106", 96", 89" 72", 63", 54" and 42"?

If I go with the biggest possible curve and gradually get smaller as I move inward, can I step DOWN one curve size at a time? Or do I need to step down further?

I would obviously try to CENTER all the curves at their center points, But how close to the straights have to be, to enable room for Ross Switches?

To power the tracks, Should I use the terminal piece of track? Or the PIN TYPE with the wire on it?

Right now, I can walk around the 11x7 table and reach any spot. On the 21x3, one side is against the wall and I can reach over and work on anything. 12x14 will obviously be too big to reach in. How far is is all of your reach? I am thinking that I need to cut some holes on the middle of the table for access. One side of the 14' will be against the wall. How big should the openings be. I am thinking 2-2x2 holes. One each 3' on the center. So, on a 12x14, I would not have to reach more than 3.5'. Which I do now on my 11x7. Thoughts?

Any other ideas would be great. Thanks



Pete

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Just one response about making track power wires to the tracks ...

The benefit of using Terminal Track sections is that the connection screws are visible and accessible for convenient circuit troubleshooting with voltmeter probes.  Then it's easy to find a short or an unwanted voltage drop along the routes.

Hobbyists who prefer to hide track wiring for the sake of realism and avoid the "toy train" look, install power wires attached to track pins that can be hidden from view and dressed up underneath the platform. a very clean installation. But that method is more demanding to install.

I'm now 81, so "easy access" wins. Visitors to my L-shaped layout realize it's an ELECTRIC layout, so seeing wires at trackside attached to terminal track sections isn't an issue - for them or for me.

Carry on ...

Mike Mottler    LCCA 12394

The pin type power connectors worked well for us.

One suggestion: we first tried to align the holes in the table directly under the pins so the wire goes straight down. Found out quickly that doing so completely removed any flexibility in fine-tuning track position. The wires are like 16 gauge, and not very flexible.

So for all the rest, we drilled a hole about an inch to the outside of the ties, and bent over the pin wires at 90 degrees (careful not to crack the soldered connection) then dropped the wires there. You can still see an inch of black and red, but it's way easier to deal with.

Good luck!

Hi,

Always remember to check manufacturer's website when seeking dimension data.  I have attached the Gargraves Sectional Curve chart for your convenience.  Interesting to note that sometimes the wood tie outer dimension (tie edge-to-tie edge) is larger than the plastic and sometimes it is just the opposite.  With respect to nesting curves, some of the curve variations only provide a 7" difference.  Depending on the type of equipment you run, that might be just a little tight.

As far as reach distances, most recommend 30" or less.  Longer reaches can be handled if your platform is built below waist level, but that would make access to your pop-ups very difficult.  For your pop-ups, I would recommend at least 3' x 3', particularly if you choose a higher platform.  That will allow you more room to turn/move and work comfortably without knocking something over close to the pop-up.

Finally, it seems that you prefer table-top construction techniques which are fine.  Just remember that not every table top has to be as big as the area you are filling.  Look through the Layout Planning & Design Forum here and search the web for designs that use narrower tables (some with the end "bulb" to turn a train) that make good use of space while providing easier access for maintenance.

Chuck

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Last edited by PRR1950
@PRR1950 posted:

Hi,

Always remember to check manufacturer's website when seeking dimension data.  I have attached the Gargraves Sectional Curve chart for your convenience.  Interesting to note that sometimes the wood tie outer dimension (tie edge-to-tie edge) is larger than the plastic and sometimes it is just the opposite.  With respect to nesting curves, some of the curve variations only provide a 7" difference.  Depending on the type of equipment you run, that might be just a little tight.

As far as reach distances, most recommend 30" or less.  Longer reaches can be handled if your platform is built below waist level, but that would make access to your pop-ups very difficult.  For your pop-ups, I would recommend at least 3' x 3', particularly if you choose a higher platform.  That will allow you more room to turn/move and work comfortably without knocking something over close to the pop-up.

Finally, it seems that you prefer table-top construction techniques which are fine.  Just remember that not every table top has to be as big as the area you are filling.  Look through the Layout Planning & Design Forum here and search the web for designs that use narrower tables (some with the end "bulb" to turn a train) that make good use of space while providing easier access for maintenance.

Chuck

Chuck. Thanks for the insight. Much appreciated!! And the chart is awesome!! Thanks.

Last edited by Pg3ibew

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