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Hello everyone.  

Like many on this forum I’ve decided to have a dedicated space in my basement to a proper 3 rail scale layout. I primarily plan to run more 1:48 scale locomotives and equipment as opposed to o-27.


provided below is measurements of the space. It’s 15x22 and it’s not terribly large but that confinement has lead me to the idea of a wall based layout vs a table in the center. I’ve seen a couple of layout that have lift away bridges to reach the center. I’d like to implement those to access the center.

49F01CB5-7C93-4E35-9E49-278F41F4D508

I haven’t access to any fancy softwares to experiment with layout designs. I’ve got a rough idea of what I’d want so I used clip art to create a rough sketch.  

An upper level with a single oval loop with a couple industrial sidings and a lower level with a duel track mainline. I don’t want just giant ovals of course but the rough clip art mock up shows an idea of the track layout id like.

DA94A305-0883-410C-89AB-6E0E52FAD200

I’m very open to suggestions! I just want the type of layout where I can have 2-3 larger trains running simultaneously and I can sit back and enjoy.

Have you seen layout like this? Have ideas to improve? Better ideas to utilize the space? I’d love your input.

thank you.

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Last edited by The Bellcaptain
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15 x 22 is plenty big for a nice layout.  I'm working in a similar space, my actual platform is 23 x 12.5 narrowing down on one end to 10.5.  I'm doing a two level folded dogbone as my main track, it will have about 140 foot of track for running trains as long as I like within reason.  All my curves are O72 or larger to accommodate all my big iron.  The two tracks at the lower left go out to an 8 track yard that's not shown.  Also not shown is the lift bridge that goes into the open center.

New Train Room Finally Getting A Layout!

John's Track Plan 3DJohn's Track Plan

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Last edited by gunrunnerjohn

Bellcaptain,

You have tons of room for a nice layout.

Since you asked for comments, I will give you one that I think many others will give as well.    Your diagram indicates that the current plan is for three large ovals.   I can tell you that you will soon get tired of watching your trains go in nothing but ovals.   Figure eight type designs in the middle, with diagonal and 90% crossings really add interesting movement and countermovement to the motion of the trains.

Also, for simplicity, you are currently planning to have basically straight track runs connecting the ends of the ovals.   I believe you will also get  really tired of watching your trains just travel past you in straight lines.    Adding curves and bends in the straight runs will really bring the running trains to life.

Hope this helps.

Mannyrock

@Mannyrock posted:

Bellcaptain,

You have tons of room for a nice layout.

Since you asked for comments, I will give you one that I think many others will give as well.    Your diagram indicates that the current plan is for three large ovals.   I can tell you that you will soon get tired of watching your trains go in nothing but ovals.   Figure eight type designs in the middle, with diagonal and 90% crossings really add interesting movement and countermovement to the motion of the trains.

Also, for simplicity, you are currently planning to have basically straight track runs connecting the ends of the ovals.   I believe you will also get  really tired of watching your trains just travel past you in straight lines.    Adding curves and bends in the straight runs will really bring the running trains to life.

Hope this helps.

Mannyrock

First off Mannyrock thank you for your input! I realize this is a bit rough on paper right now. I do not want just 3 giant ovals with straights and 90 degree turns. I apologize for the poor visuals I provided. I was just trying to explain in a very basic bare bones way the design of the layout I'd like.

My biggest suggestion is get SCARM. It is free for up to 100 pieces of track but I can tell you the paid version is worth every penny and it is reasonable. My second suggestion is make sure you can get from any loop to another without having to BACK UP! That means two sets of switches. Third is DON"T BE AFRAID. Especially to ask anything on this forum. The Best people are right here to help you.

Curtis

@CurtisH posted:

My biggest suggestion is get SCARM. It is free for up to 100 pieces of track but I can tell you the paid version is worth every penny and it is reasonable. My second suggestion is make sure you can get from any loop to another without having to BACK UP! That means two sets of switches. Third is DON"T BE AFRAID. Especially to ask anything on this forum. The Best people are right here to help you.

Curtis

SCARM Isn’t really an option for me as I use a Mac. I realize there are various 3rd party websites that provide semi-untested workarounds for windows programs on macs but I’d rather not purchase an item just for the “chance” of it working on my current laptop.



I have tried Railmodler off of the Apple Mac store and need to fiddle with it more before I’d purchase the full version.

SCARM Isn’t really an option for me as I use a Mac. I realize there are various 3rd party websites that provide semi-untested workarounds for windows programs on macs but I’d rather not purchase an item just for the “chance” of it working on my current laptop.



I have tried Railmodler off of the Apple Mac store and need to fiddle with it more before I’d purchase the full version.

I run Scarm under Linux using WINE.  I “believe” you can run a version of wINE on Mac OS.  As mentioned there is a free version of Scarm which is fully operational, except for the 100 track limit.  So you shouldn’t need to purchase anything before you try it out.

Scarm is a very good product, and their support is great.



EDIT BTW... I just saw that there is a PlayOnLinux version  for Mac called PlayOnMac.  this simplifies the WINE process greatly

Last edited by EastBay

I would highly respectfully suggest to you to not simply run around in circles.  That has been over done.  Those types of layouts keep the average person's attention for a very brief period.

You have the kind of space most people can only dream of!  Make the most of it.  There are options other than large loops or circles of track.

Do NOT NOT NOT duck-under or crawl or climb on top of a layout.  With your space, that is completely unnecessary and inconvenient.

With the kind of space you have, you can come up with a plan whereby you may access everything within easy reach, 24 inches or less.  Your knees and back will love you for it.  TRUST ME.

Take your time.  Before you start laying a big circle / oval of track, you need to consider how you and others will be involved in this layout after its built. 

You need to locate and carefully research model railroad DESIGN information; not just look at track arrangements. 

The very most important thing to consider is PARTICIPATION.  How will you and others have fun interacting with this creation once its completed?  And, make sure everything is with 24" inches of reach.  Down the road, with more experience, you will be glad you did this.

I should have added ensure your aisleways are 36 inches wide so people may get by one another.

What are your layout goals?  What exactly do you want to do?  How are YOU going to be involved and this is 50 plus years of experience telling you this: your answer should NOT be standing idly by looking doing nothing.

Who (name) is your layout?  Where is your layout?  What is going on on your layout?

I would recommend you consider constructing an operational (instead of a display) layout because that will provide you with hours and hours of potential fun.  Display layouts are good for places where the public passes by and just want to see the trains roll.

Too many builders in our great hobby take away half the fun by eliminating the need for human interaction in a layout.

Sorry, I've given you way too much to think about.

I just hope you aren't another, like I was many years ago, who builds an-overly wide layout where track and switches are out of reach and there's nothing to do less watch.  Then when you get bored, you've spent all that money and invested all that time, and are starting over from scratch.

Good luck and best wishes...read and research DESIGN prior to laying track.  In the short term, lay some track on the floor and enjoy it until you come up with a good design plan.

My thoughts so far:

1. If you go with a layout and want to watch the trains just go by, make sure you leave floor space for a good chair or small sofa.  Don't want to have to leave the room if your feeling tired and need to sit for a while!

2. How high is the upper layer you mention in your plans? is it tall enough you could build a 'massive bridge' across the width of the room connecting both sides without impacting walking space?  Might be an opportunity to add quite the unique showpiece to your layout! (something magnificent with a vehicle deck and trolleys lines as well perhaps).

3. Consider a second smaller station servicing the upper line on the opposite side of the room too.  Your passenger services will thank you for having somewhere to go to.

4. Streetcars.  Streetcars will add an extra layer of enjoyment to control when your trains roll into town.

Last edited by DylTrains
@John C. posted:

I would highly respectfully suggest to you to not simply run around in circles.  That has been over done.  Those types of layouts keep the average person's attention for a very brief period.

You have the kind of space most people can only dream of!  Make the most of it.  There are options other than large loops or circles of track.

Do NOT NOT NOT duck-under or crawl or climb on top of a layout.  With your space, that is completely unnecessary and inconvenient.

With the kind of space you have, you can come up with a plan whereby you may access everything within easy reach, 24 inches or less.  Your knees and back will love you for it.  TRUST ME.

Take your time.  Before you start laying a big circle / oval of track, you need to consider how you and others will be involved in this layout after its built.

You need to locate and carefully research model railroad DESIGN information; not just look at track arrangements.

The very most important thing to consider is PARTICIPATION.  How will you and others have fun interacting with this creation once its completed?  And, make sure everything is with 24" inches of reach.  Down the road, with more experience, you will be glad you did this.

I should have added ensure your aisleways are 36 inches wide so people may get by one another.

What are your layout goals?  What exactly do you want to do?  How are YOU going to be involved and this is 50 plus years of experience telling you this: your answer should NOT be standing idly by looking doing nothing.

Who (name) is your layout?  Where is your layout?  What is going on on your layout?

I would recommend you consider constructing an operational (instead of a display) layout because that will provide you with hours and hours of potential fun.  Display layouts are good for places where the public passes by and just want to see the trains roll.

Too many builders in our great hobby take away half the fun by eliminating the need for human interaction in a layout.

Sorry, I've given you way too much to think about.

I just hope you aren't another, like I was many years ago, who builds an-overly wide layout where track and switches are out of reach and there's nothing to do less watch.  Then when you get bored, you've spent all that money and invested all that time, and are starting over from scratch.

Good luck and best wishes...read and research DESIGN prior to laying track.  In the short term, lay some track on the floor and enjoy it until you come up with a good design plan.

I’d like to thank everyone for the kind words of advice. Especially the reply by John C.

Area and era? The NYC/NS mainline between Elkhart and Chicago. Duel track mainline was what I worked on so it’s what I want to capture when running trains. As well as the vast array of roads, equipment and historical landmarks that you see in the Chicagoland area.

Burkuscircus52 thank you so much for sharing Kens layout plans. I love the idea of a large mainline that can run round a centered peninsula of sorts. (I’ve provided my favorite of his designs in this post

Once again I apologize for seeming to give the intention of just wanting 2 massive ovals to run on. I do have a clear vision of what I want this to be I just fail to clearly articulate vision that at times.
thank you.

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SCARM Isn’t really an option for me as I use a Mac. I realize there are various 3rd party websites that provide semi-untested workarounds for windows programs on macs but I’d rather not purchase an item just for the “chance” of it working on my current laptop.



I have tried Railmodler off of the Apple Mac store and need to fiddle with it more before I’d purchase the full version.

I saw a post recommending SCARM and I tried downloading it to my iPad with no luck.  Probably not enough memory for it.  My laptop has been requisitioned by the boss for work.  I didn’t think to look in the App Store.

I built a 6x8 layout originally with a large oval and then a separate inner oval with a loop and a long dogleg.  With Santa slated to deliver a new engine for my son, I recently reworked the inner track.  I eliminated the loop and and I created 3 doglegs so we can have all 5 of his trains on the layout.  It’s in an 18x11 room in our basement so I made it tall enough to store barstools under it as well as room for storage.

Its not going to be the final layout as my son is still relatively young and he likes to have some flexibility.  We have acquired a few accessories too over the last two and a half years that haven’t been worked in yet.  I need to learn more about wiring to do that.  I would like to utilize one of these programs to maximize our space.  
Thanks for sharing!

Never having owned an iPad, please take these comments with a big grain of salt!

You can probably download anything small enough to an iPad, but SCARM is a Windows only program.  To have it work on an iPad, you would have to find a piece of Apple software that allows you to open and work with Windows software which would be a very convoluted process.  SCARM is a very small program, so most any old second-hand Windows-based laptop with internet connectivity, 2GB of memory and a small hard drive would allow you to use it.

Alternatively, there is a completely free, but more complex, track planning software called XtrackCAD which works on Windows, Linux and MacOS.  Since it creates its own file extensions, you can even create a plan in Windows and share it with someone using a different operating system.  The time, money and frustration you save with planning now will be well worth it in the end.

Be warned, though, that I don't know if any of this will work well, or at all, on an iPad only.

Chuck

Last edited by PRR1950

AFAIK nothing will run on an iPad. The App Store has apps that pretend to be design software, but they just let you fool around with limited non-scale track that have no relationship to any track you can actually buy. They’re more for kids who just want to fool around.

That said, you can always post a drawing of what you have or what you’d like and someone might put something together in SCARM for you to review. You need to provide dimensions of the work space, brand of track you want to use, etc., and have a lot of patience, but there are plenty of helpful folks here who might find some time to help. While it’s always helpful, and quicker, for you to have the software and learn to use it, don’t let not having it stop you from starting a thread and asking for help.

OGR Forum members have already offered helpful suggestions.  You mentioned that you have some accessories on hand.  Consider installing them with a plan based on real-world placement -- like actual railroads do. Trackside features give your trains meaningful work to do; i.e., pick up raw materials and deliver them to a factory or processing plant:

*  Dairy farm with a loading platform - send milk cans to a diary processing plant with a Lionel Milk Platform and Operating Milk Car nearby

*  Install a forest with logs to be leaded onto an Operating Log Dump Car -- send the car to the Lionel Sawmill for cutting

*  Operating Oil Derricks in an oil field; place an Oil Drum Loading accessory nearby

*  Install a factory and add your own signage to it, as:  METALWORX, Inc. (a steel culvert manufacturing company} with the Lionel Culvert Unloader and Culvert Loader at a nearby siding

*  Place a large RR station in the downtown area then place a Country Station on the opposite side of the layout; i.e., give a reason for passenger service to exist

*  Create a Main Street strip with these iconic accessories by MTH:  Fire Station, Gas Station, Car Wash. Then place some Ameritown buildings along that street (Bank, Post Office, Hardware Store, Rexall Drug Store, etc.). Then add people figures and period vehicles for added realism.

Once started on this trek to RR reality, you'll think of more possibilities. Carry on ...

Mike Mottler     LCCA 12394

I hope I didn’t hijack your thread, Bellcaptain.  I certainly didn’t mean to do that.  This is a great forum and a great resource because of the people here.

I joined about two weeks ago and I have learned a lot.  I had learned some before I came here from some other model railroaders at my local club that I joined this year.  It’s nice to have experience and passion to be able to lean on and show you the way.  I have experienced a lot of that here.  I really appreciate it.

I like your avatar pic, by the way.  

Whelp here we are 2 Months later. I've acquired nearly everything for the "tech" side. Legacy remote and base, DCS board and remote etc...

I've really narrowed down some definitive ideas. I really have to thank Ken-Oscale here on the forums for some of his fantastic layout plans.

It's between a 2 track mainline curved dog-bone style layout. Or a large 3 track main oval that hugs the walls of the room with a lower internal loop for industries to interchange cars with and have small switching sessions. I've got these plans down on rough paper but they both need revisions.



Hope to have a more physical update soon!

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