Hello,

This is my first post on the forum, but I have gotten a lot of advice already from reading it.  I have been in the hobby most of my life and have done several layouts over the years, but have never had a space for a permanent layout.  Now I am working on creating a long term, permanent layout in my basement.  In the past, I have always gone the traditional route with lionel tubular track and conventional control.  With this layout I want to use gargraves track, ross switches and DCS control.  I have designed a layout using RR track software and have included it here.  The black track is the bottom level.  The blue track is the upper level and the red track is a grade going from the bottom to the upper level.  According to the software, the grade is 3.4%.  I have designed the lower level with minimum 072 curves so I can run anything there in the future.  The upper level and the grade I went smaller (063, 054, 042) due to space.  I would love any suggestions, advice or critique.  Since I am going to be new to using gargraves, ross, dcs, etc, please let me know if what I have designed won't work in reality.  Thanks in advance!

Layout Design

Attachments

Photos (1)
Original Post

I like the connection between the upper and lower levels, that looks like an interchange between two railroads.

I use gargraves track and ross switches, and it looks like the plan itself will work for running trains. If you plan on modeling other than the CNW, your trains on the outer loop will be running counterclockwise,  so that spur on the left isn't going to be easy to access, plus it faces against your yard. You may want to run it off the middle of the curve, oriented north south rather than east west, and put the switch at the other end so deliveries by local freights can be picked up by your yard engine and shoved back to the yard.

As for the upper level, it looks like you have an operating loading dock of some sort. In the real world, this would be on a spur, not alongside the main like a passenger staion. You could put it along the spur to the left.

Your backshop looks good, but one of your yard tracks comes right off the main, and puts the main through the curve of a switch. Experience has made my shy away from this, as some engines that can handle a normal curve will still derail going through the switch curve at speed.

All in all, though, I like the two levels, and it makes me think of a class 1 on the lower and a short line on the upper, with an interchange.

I like it overall- 3-4 trains on the mains and switching. Looks like a good variety to keep interest.

I would shift the top set of crossovers to the right and extend the yard lead by moving that switch to the left. This will give you more room to work the yard without fouling the main line.
The short spur on the left could be put on the other end of the curve so you don't have to shove a car in (assuming CCW running). |
Shift the short spur on the right to come off track one in the yard. You could curve the spur into the corner and build a coaling facility for steam engines.
Access to the middle? Are you adding pop-up doors or will you have access all around.
Don't know what your scenery plans are but on the upper level you could do a few industrial spurs inside the right reversing loop. The PRR and WM (two of my faves too!), ran a lot of freight and coal. One can never have enough switching IMHO.

I don't run DCS but go get Barry's book on DCS and read it before you start.

https://mthtrains.com/DCS_Companion

Keep us posted on the build.

Bob

Three Rails Are Better Than None 

Michael,

Best of luck on your new permanent layout.  Keep us informed with pictures of your progress.  You are going to enjoy the Gargraves track and Ross turnouts way more than the tubular stuff you used in the past.

As always... Counting the days till Christmas.



Thank you for the feedback!  I appreciate everybody's ideas and suggestions so far.  The expertise is invaluable.  I will reconfigure the design when I get a chance and post it again to make sure I'm understanding the suggestions correctly.  As far as access, the room is the size of the layout with an additional 3 to 4 feet of walkway on the left side.  The white space is also 2.5 feet of walkway on the top and bottom of the layout.  The right side is against a wall as well as the bottom right and top right sections.  I was planning on doing a backdrop around the sections that are against the wall.  I was going to do some openings in the middle for access.  A rough scenery plan was to have the bottom level somewhat industrial (especially around the yard/backshop area).  Maybe do a farm scene on the left side bottom level between the bottom level and the top level.  And then the top level was going to be a country town with a little industry and possibly a carnival.  The top level will essentially be on a mountain with tunnels running through it for the bottom level. 

What would be a good height for the top level?  The bottom level is at 33" from the floor.  I was thinking 7.5" for the top level which gave me a 3.4% grade going from bottom to top but that might not be enough height.

Barry's DCS book is on my list to get as well as the OGR DCS DVD.

Thanks,

Michael                

Michael- The yard and spurs on the upper level look good.

I agree with NECRAILS, access to get at that double cross-over is a must.

I'm a tall guy so I prefer a higher layout. Raise it up to what feels comfortable to you. Remember lots of bending over while building. Access underneath for wiring is often overlooked too. It depends on your audience too, small kids would need step stools if you raise it.

For the height of the upper level, measure your tallest equipment including the track and adjust accordingly. I think 7.5" is a bit high but depends on what you run. If you can lower it then the grade will be easier for long trains to pull. Watch clearances on curves and check as you go.

Definitely a solid plan and a great start.

Bob

Three Rails Are Better Than None 

NECRAILS and RSJB18:  Thanks for the advice on the switch access.  I didn't think about that being a problem, but I can see why it would be.  I reconfigured the layout and moved all the switches on the upper level so they were more easily accessible. 

I did a layout a couple years ago that was higher, closer to 48" for the lower level.  I decided that was too high.  So, I decided to lower this one.  I do have small children and that was definitely a consideration.  Also, because the layout is so wide I wanted to have as much arm reach to the center from the sides that I could.  I definitely understand the issues of bending over and doing wiring underneath.  I will figure out what works best for my situation.

Thanks again for all the great advice!  Here is my reconfigured design.              

Attachments

Photos (1)

Good comments from everyone - you will want the DZ-1000 switch machines with the Ross switches. 

One thing that will be new to your O building is using roadbed and having to ballast. Midwest cork.

It may be easier in some locations to put the switch motors opposite of where you have them because of roadbed fitment and allowance for ballast. It appears that you have the space to choose either side on almost all of them.

Would you care to share the file? I was trying to visualize any possible tunnel or elevated track issues. The 3D can still be helpful, even though it is not the easiest to work with. 

Have you run the train simulator to check the play value?

Carl

Arctic Railroad

Hello MOONMAN:  I have attached the file.  I am currently using RR Track V4 that does not have the train simulator but I was thinking about upgrading to V5 so that I could run trains through the layout to check clearances etc.  I was curious about tunnel clearance since most of my portals will be on curves.  

Any thoughts on top mounted switch machines vs under the table either the DZ-1000 or Tortise for this layout?  Obviously the under the table looks more realistic but I have read it is a ton more work and difficult to setup.  I agree about switching the location of some switch motors.  I didn't realize how to do that in the software until just now.

Any thoughts on cork vs foam roadbed?  I have heard that the cork can dry out over time but I have never used either so I am open to both.

Thanks for the great comments. 

Michael  

    

Attachments

Good Evening,

I have been slightly tweaking the layout plan this week.  I added a passing track on the lower level left side with 2 spurs.  I thought these could be for grain cars as I will have some grain storage in that farm area.  I also started laying out some buildings to see generally how the structures and scenery might fit.  I have included the latest RR Track file for anyone interested in looking at it as well as the new layout plan and some 3D views. 

I upgraded my RR track software, so I now have simulation capability and I will be running trains through the layout this weekend to check everything operationally.  I also got Barry Broskowitz's DCS books so I will be reading them as well.

Still curious for opinions on Cork vs Foam roadbed and table top mount switch motors vs under table mount (either DZ 1000 or Tortise) for this layout.

Any additional advice is greatly appreciated.  Thanks for all your help so far!

Michael       

Attachments

Photos (6)
Files (1)

GFTIV:  Thanks for the suggestion.  In addition to those two, I also have one other switch under the scenery on the lower level that connects the reversing loop back to the mainline.  Is it a bad idea to have any hidden/non accessible switches or do you think those (2) Y switches might be more problematic than a regular switch?  I'm assuming the issue is possible derailments that you can't get to to fix.  

I have been trying to change the (2) Y switches in the double reversing loop to a cross over track while still maintaining minimum 072 curves in reference to GFTIV's suggestion, but I haven't been able to get it to work successfully and line up.  Maybe this is where flex track comes in.  Here is a picture with the 2nd level hidden to see the spot I'm working on.  Any help would be appreciated.  Thank you!

Michael    

Attachments

Photos (2)

What are your thoughts on leaving the (2) Y switches in the layout under the 2nd level scenery but having access to them from under the table in the case of an issue or derailment.  I'm just trying to get this design nailed down so I can start moving forward.  But, never having done a layout this complicated, I appreciate everyone's input to hopefully avoid future problems.  The advice already has been tremendously helpful.  Thank you.  

Michael, 

I did a lot of research on this forum and sought the same feedback you are seeking now.  These were the things that were passed on to me...

Don't think now... Think 10-15 years from now when you are older and not as mobile.

Can you physically reach everything on your layout from a standing position?

Do you want to crawl on the floor under the layout to get to access hatches?

You have a 13x16 grid.  Is this the size of the room or just the size of the layout?  Can you walk around it?  If not, how to do plan to get from the open area on the bottom to the open area on the top?

Bob (RSJB18) above recommended you consider the height when working on top.  Also consider the height when working on the bottom.  I'm 6'4", so when I need to sit on the floor to work on any wiring for anything, the layout is tall enough so I don't have to crouch and I won't hit my head on anything.

I don't want to derail your plans "pun intended", but you may also want to consider an around the room layout with a lift bridge from wherever you enter the room.  That will put you in the middle and give you access to everything.  It will also make all of your building and scenery easy to install, clean and refresh.

My first layout was a large platform for the kids when they were tots.  When my son was 11 we tore down the platform and started building our around the room layout.  That was 6 years ago.  I'm 52 now and very happy that I do not have to worry about accessibility.  I'm sure I'll be even happier at 62.

Just some things to consider.

Have Fun!

Ron

 

 

"I'd rather be lucky than good"

Michael Cimba 040217 posted:

I have been trying to change the (2) Y switches in the double reversing loop to a cross over track while still maintaining minimum 072 curves in reference to GFTIV's suggestion, but I haven't been able to get it to work successfully and line up.  Maybe this is where flex track comes in.  Here is a picture with the 2nd level hidden to see the spot I'm working on.  Any help would be appreciated.  Thank you!

Michael    

Michael- I tried different configurations ( I use SCARM), with various crossovers but couldn't get everything aligned. Flex track may be your only option here with the 22 deg cross. I would try to eliminate the switches under the center at all costs. I could live with the one remaining switch on the lower right.

As you build the layout you will find things that don't fit as you thought they would. This is probably one that you have to build to figure out.

Bob

Three Rails Are Better Than None 

Michael

I also use Scarm. For simplicity, I only used Ross track and I was able to make the track align by relocating your switches. My dimensions aren't exactly the same as yours, but I think this shows that you can replace the 2 switches with a X.O72 cross

Keith

Attachments

Photos (1)

Thank you everybody for the great input and feedback!  OMAN and RSJB18:, thank you for taking the time to configure the crossover.  I have gotten it to work in RR Track.  There is a slight misalignment with two tracks that I have shown in a close up view.  I don't know if this is an issue or if the Gargraves track has enough play in it to make this work.  If the stock curve won't work I think a piece of flex track should.      

RON045:  thanks for the great advice and encouragement.  I have included a more descriptive view of the layout in the room.  It seemed like this configuration was the best for the way my room is laid out, but I am trying to take all the advice into consideration.  I am definitely trying to think long term and not get half way into things and say "I wish I would have.....  That is where this forum has already been invaluable.

Thanks again!

Michael  

Attachments

Photos (2)

You may want to consider a longer lead track to the yard. If the lead is longer than the longest siding, you can work each of the yard tracks, (sort the leads to build a train), without fouling the main line.

You could have a longer lead track if the track to the yard started on the left side, next to (above) the switch that goes to the upper level. This will allow you to switch the yard and also run trains on the main line, without any interference. If you are running trains by yourself, this is a convenient feature.

the longer lead also lets you combine a few of the yard tracks into a train, ready to enter the main line. this will clear space in the yard for an incoming train that needs to be broken down.

Good luck with your layout.

 

Joe K

I just finished updating the layout yet again.  I shrunk the width of the lower level to make the reversing track crossover fit better.  I added 2 #175 crossover switches instead of using 8 individual switches to go between track's 1 and 2 on the lower level.  I lengthened the yard lead even more per JOE K's suggestion and tweaked the yard a little bit.  

Attachments

Photos (1)
Michael Cimba 040217 posted:

I just finished updating the layout yet again.  I shrunk the width of the lower level to make the reversing track crossover fit better.  I added 2 #175 crossover switches instead of using 8 individual switches to go between track's 1 and 2 on the lower level.  I lengthened the yard lead even more per JOE K's suggestion and tweaked the yard a little bit.  

I just don't understand how you will be able to reach the top right and lower right sections of your layout.  Even with access hatches.

"I'd rather be lucky than good"

Hello Everybody, 

I have been playing with the layout design some more this weekend and here is another iteration.  I re created the upper level and added an up grade and a down grade so that you can go up and down from level 1 to level 2 on two tracks vs previously having to reverse on the upper level and go back down the way you came up.  I also tried to show my rough ideas for access hatches to access the right side of the layout.  The black track is level 1, the blue track is level 2 and the red tracks are the grades from level 1 to level 2.  Please let me know your thoughts!

Michael    

Attachments

Photos (1)

Looks like its time to start building!

One more recommendation- for access to the right side (bottom of plan), don't build the board all the way to the wall. Should give you about 12" to slide in and reach that corner.

Bob

Three Rails Are Better Than None 

Add Reply

Likes (0)
Post
The Track Planning and Layout Design Forum is sponsored by

AN OGR FORUM CHARTER SPONSOR
OGR Publishing, Inc., 1310 Eastside Centre Ct, Suite 6, Mountain Home, AR 72653
330-757-3020

www.ogaugerr.com
×
×
×
×
×