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Based upon back and forth over wonderful layout by Dougie Fresh in this thread:

https://ogrforum.ogaugerr.com/...42#78438393800506442

Since they live in an apartment in Queens and this will go on a 2" thick foam board and stand behind a dresser when not in use, and since there is no room for remote switch controls I wanted to go with manual turnouts.  After a lot of research I decided that manual 036 Fastrack switch throws easily break and according to Caboose industries are nearly impossible to use their 208S on.

So I decided to go with Gargraves manual switches that use the 208S Caboose manual switches because if he breaks them off they are easily and cheaply replaced.

Here is what I have and the SCARM plan is included.

Connor's Manual Gargraves 4 x 8 Layout

I also need an exit back out at the top from the inner loop to the outer loop, but I can't figure that out.

Thanks for the help.

John

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Last edited by Craftech
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John, just add a second set of switches on the top side between outer and inner loop, this allows for full access.

Have you planned for transitions between the gargraves and fastrack?

Using foam, how are you planning to fix track to the board?  I would use zip ties and a thin plastic square underneath, quick repairs/removal and keeps it quieter with fastrack.

1. Are you aware of how to mate the Fastrack to the Gargraves track ?

2. The upright mechanism for manually turning an 0-36 FT switch can be prone to breakage, but they can also be manually switched via two other methods, a) by moving the switch points with your fingers and b) by turning the lantern, so all is not lost if the mechanism breaks off and you might re-consider.

3. Unless I'm missing something, the "exit" at the top would simply be the reverse of the exit at the bottom.

4. It also looks like the clearance/track spacing at each end might be an issue with two trains running and potentially sideswiping the other.

   

I tried a couple of different switches at the top, but they don't seem to fit properly.  I think I have too many small sections, but every time I substitute them I end up with something not meeting.

Gargraves sells transition pins for Fastrack.

Thanks for the tips on fastening to the foam board.  I plan to do that after I am sure everything works.  The problem is I need to spend a bunch of money first for switches before I can do anything.  I have a lot of Menards tubular track in most of their sizes so I may substitute some of that in different places.  I can also easily cut that stuff.

Not sure if he will run two trains, but he might.  Right now he as a trolley and a Lion Chief set with separate controls for each.

John

@Craftech posted:

I tried a couple of different switches at the top, but they don't seem to fit properly.  I think I have too many small sections, but every time I substitute them I end up with something not meeting.

Gargraves sells transition pins for Fastrack.

Thanks for the tips on fastening to the foam board.  I plan to do that after I am sure everything works.  The problem is I need to spend a bunch of money first for switches before I can do anything.  I have a lot of Menards tubular track in most of their sizes so I may substitute some of that in different places.  I can also easily cut that stuff.

Not sure if he will run two trains, but he might.  Right now he as a trolley and a Lion Chief set with separate controls for each.

John

Correct, but you will probably also need to shim the Gargarves track/switches to meet the height of the Fastrack.

@Richie C. posted:

Correct, but you will probably also need to shim the Gargarves track/switches to meet the height of the Fastrack.

What about these?

Lionel 6-12040 Transition Piece FasTrack

I also have the Menards version plus I have no problem shimming it.  My biggest dilemma is figuring out the switches.  I have been going round and round with this for a few weeks that's why I finally posted my progress in a separate thread.  My first experience with SCARM or any other software is this plan.  Some tracks are not in the program.  Then there are some switches that come with another small section (for what I don't know) and those are not in the program either.

I guess if I figure out the switches and order them I can mess with the layout hands on, but I think I need help with that.

John

Last edited by Craftech
@John H posted:

Pins are too large for Gargraves, and the last I knew, Gargraves was out of transition pins.

I have one package of a dozen #801 track pins and Legacy station says they are in stock if I need more:

Gargraves 801 O Guage Mating Pin

Gargraves website says:

Lionel

Fast Track to GarGraves: Use Lionel item no. 6-12040 and GarGraves O Gauge Mating pins item # 801

Lionel O Gauge to GarGraves: Use GarGraves O gauge Mating pin # 801

Lionel O-27 to GarGraves: Use GarGraves O-27 Mating pin #802

John

@Ron_S posted:

John, Your right, I went back and measured the ones I used as to the shorter sections. If you reduce each side the same, the end result is more spacing.

Thanks Ron,

I'll mess with it some more.

John

I shortened it, but I end up with a small space on the lower left in the photo.

Revision 1

But it will all change when I figure out the transition at the top inner to outer using Gargraves.

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  • Revision 1
Last edited by Craftech

I must be missing something here... the key words are "five year old"

Just my opinion, but if I were setting something like this up for a 5 year old (been there, done that), I would design it in two phases. Sketch out and design the complete setup in all fastrack then:

Build phase 1: inside loop, outside loop located in the same position they would be in if the switches were there. No switches.  At 5, kids want to see trains go around the track, not switching, yards, etc.  Add buildings scenery etc, keeping in mind that phase 2 may follow!

If you use Fastrack, when the child gets older...

Add phase 2: the switches can be swapped in.  Remove a 10" section and put the switch(es) in. no other changes needed.

As I said, it's just MHO but I really think the interest level is way different at age 5 than at 8 or 9.  Feel free to ignore my thoughts, just offering an option based on seeing 5 year olds and trains!  Moving trains, sound, smoke... that's what they seem to respond to.

@eddiem posted:

I must be missing something here... the key words are "five year old"

Just my opinion, but if I were setting something like this up for a 5 year old (been there, done that), I would design it in two phases. Sketch out and design the complete setup in all fastrack then:

Build phase 1: inside loop, outside loop located in the same position they would be in if the switches were there. No switches.  At 5, kids want to see trains go around the track, not switching, yards, etc.  Add buildings scenery etc, keeping in mind that phase 2 may follow!

If you use Fastrack, when the child gets older...

Add phase 2: the switches can be swapped in.  Remove a 10" section and put the switch(es) in. no other changes needed.

As I said, it's just MHO but I really think the interest level is way different at age 5 than at 8 or 9.  Feel free to ignore my thoughts, just offering an option based on seeing 5 year olds and trains!  Moving trains, sound, smoke... that's what they seem to respond to.

Thanks Eddie,

Connor is obsessed with trains - since a little over a year old.  He won't play with Thomas because they aren't "real when they have faces".  He is quite the enigma.  He quickly bores of ovals and is constantly stopping and starting my layout to pick up this and drop off that.   I fixed my coal loader and he loved it.  "When are you going to fix the cattle loader"?  etc

He loves my N Gauge trains as well.  I recently built a DCC++ EX arduino setup and he loves running them with his mother's phone and my tablet.  He knows every command without labeling them.  It's not that he is brilliant.  He is obsessed with trains. 

When he was a year and a half I sat him in my lap and put Mike Armstrong's video called "California Trains" on YouTube.  It is one hour long.  Connor watched it for 45 minutes.

Normally I would agree with you.  None of my kids (or myself) had that lever of interest at such a young age.

John

I get the kid thing for sure. My grandkids are very keen on the o scale stuff; we have thrown down tubular every holiday they are around and done some crazy things crossing the entirety of rooms. One year we had o42 and smaller laid out in a weird sort of dog leg with a cross at 90 and a cross at 45, so double crossing itself. They loved that. We did it because it was the only way to get all of the passenger cars on the track due to their length. This year, its the 30" MTH bridge w/ lights + trestles. That has gone over immensely well.

Our daughter thought, is MUCH more keen on things from an engineering point of view. She is dying to go to one of the Steam Days at B&O railroad museum, and wants to check out the real Allegheny up against the not so real but scale sized one we just got (that has yet to see runtime!!!). 

We have a TON of n scale stuff from Kato complete with a sound box and chips for the sets we have, all with light and sound. Train stations, passing sections, pretty much everything we see when we go to Japan for family or visit. For her, its a real treat. The grandkids? MEH, break out the big trains. Hah!

@Craftech  John,

Back to your original request, I modified your original plan in SCARM to address your request for a return crossover switch arrangement and improved clearances between the inner and outer loops at the ends of the layout using GG switches.  If you want the upper crossover switch arrangement reversed, that could be accomplished by substituting two GG LH 042 for the RHs shown here.

In the revision, there are Fastrack Transition pieces in orange and cut to length Gargraves straight sections in light blue at each end of the switches.

Screenshot 2021-07-21 132230

SCARM file is attached.

Attachments

@SteveH posted:

@Craftech  John,

Back to your original request, I modified your original plan in SCARM to address your request for a return crossover switch arrangement and improved clearances between the inner and outer loops at the ends of the layout using GG switches.  If you want the upper crossover switch arrangement reversed, that could be accomplished by substituting two GG LH 042 for the RHs shown here.

In the revision, there are Fastrack Transition pieces in orange and cut to length Gargraves straight sections in light blue at each end of the switches.

Screenshot 2021-07-21 132230

SCARM file is attached.

I like that a lot Steve.  He or his parents would definitely break off the little flag on the Fastrack manual switches every time they stood the layout vertically behind the dresser or took it out.  While sort of flimsy, the Caboose Industries switches on the Gargraves are at least flat and easily and cheaply replaced.  Can also be converted to powered down the road if they get a bigger apartment or a house.

Thanks again.  I like it a lot Steve.

John

Last edited by Craftech

John,

Um.. Not sure what happened to your last post with Menards O36 substituted on the outer loop, but here is my reply to it and a picture of file you had posted.

Screenshot 2021-07-21 174548

To answer you questions, my thinking was to minimize the number of Fastrack transition pieces required adjacent to the GG switches, plus the original plan had all Fastrack except for the switches.  Also there's simply no room for Fastrack transitions in between the switches on the crossovers.  Using the Gargraves straight track cut to length would eliminate the need for transitions in those places.

Based on comments from others, I suppose maybe you could substitute cut pieces of Menards or other tubular straight track in place of the straight GG track.

Also, you might want to revisit the clearance again on the right side of the layout, something seems to be different between the Menards O36 and the FasTrack O36 that closed the gap again between the inner and outer loops.  You could remedy this by lengthening the cut 10" Menards straights at the top and bottom by about an inch or so.

Does this help?

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  • Screenshot 2021-07-21 174548
Last edited by SteveH
@SteveH posted:

John,

My thinking was to minimize the number of Fastrack transition pieces required between the GG switches, plus the original plan had all Fastrack except for the switches.  Also there's simply no room for Fastrack transitions in between the switches on the crossovers.  Using the Gargraves straight track cut to length would eliminate the need for transitions in those places.

Based on comments from others, I suppose maybe you could substitute cut pieces of Menards or other tubular straight track in place of the straight GG track.

Also, you might want to revisit the clearance again on the right side of the layout, something seems to be different between the Menards O36 and the FasTrack O36 that closed the gap again between the inner and outer loops.  You could remedy this by lengthening the cut 10" Menards straights at the top and bottom by about an inch or so.

Does this help?

It does.  One of the problems is that neither of Connor's parents have the time to give me the information I need.  I need all the pieces.  I just found out that what he has are 036 Fastrack pieces not 031.  They finally flipped it over and read it to me.  I guess he had a figure 8 add on with the original started set and everything is 036.  So I guess I will play with Menards 031 for the inner track and cut those pieces.  I have one case of those which should be enough.  Sorry for the confusion.

I need all the pieces.  I guess they also have a Fastrack 22.5 degree crossover.  I don't know what you do with that, but on the plus side it comes with four 1 3/8 extensions which I certainly can use.

John

OK, here's an approximation of the layout using 36" Menards tubular track on the outer loop and 31" Lionel tubular track on the inner loop.  Had to make some adjustments owing to the Lionel 031 switches being a quarter curve.  The pieces in turquoise will need to be trimmed to fit; everything else is stock 10" and 5" straights, with the S curves being half 31" curves.

Hope this helps!

Mitch

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Last edited by M. Mitchell Marmel

John,

Something to keep in mind with the 1-3/8" pieces that come with the FasTrack 22.5 degree crossover, is they are the half-roadbed variety.  In other words, they only have the roadbed on one side of the track and would look odd if used anywhere other than connected to FasTrack 22.5 crossovers, O-60 and O72 switches.

1-375 Half-RB

Cutting Menards 10 & 30"and GG straights  will eliminate a lot of short Fastrack straights.

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Images (1)
  • 1-375 Half-RB

I just wanted to throw in a little suggestion that might create better train running performance.  When creating crossovers between two tracks using radius (O31, O36, O48, O72, etc.) switches instead of numbered switches (#4, #5, #7.5, etc.), it is often better to create the crossovers in the corner of your ovals, if possible, to minimize the amount of S-curve action.  Please see the attached photo and SCARM file for how it's done.

ChuckFT O31 Switches Inside O36 Switches Outside

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@SteveH posted:

John,

Something to keep in mind with the 1-3/8" pieces that come with the FasTrack 22.5 degree crossover, is they are the half-roadbed variety.  In other words, they only have the roadbed on one side of the track and would look odd if used anywhere other than connected to FasTrack 22.5 crossovers, O-60 and O72 switches.

1-375 Half-RB

Cutting Menards 10 & 30"and GG straights  will eliminate a lot of short Fastrack straights.

OK thanks Steve.  Good to know.  The normal type aren't very expensive so I will order some when I get my act together.

I think I will certainly stick with cutting Menards and Gargraves straights wherever possible.

John

Last edited by Craftech
@PRR1950 posted:

I just wanted to throw in a little suggestion that might create better train running performance.  When creating crossovers between two tracks using radius (O31, O36, O48, O72, etc.) switches instead of numbered switches (#4, #5, #7.5, etc.), it is often better to create the crossovers in the corner of your ovals, if possible, to minimize the amount of S-curve action.  Please see the attached photo and SCARM file for how it's done.

ChuckFT O31 Switches Inside O36 Switches Outside

What a fantastic suggestion.  Thank you so much Chuck.

John

OK, here's an approximation of the layout using 36" Menards tubular track on the outer loop and 31" Lionel tubular track on the inner loop.  Had to make some adjustments owing to the Lionel 031 switches being a quarter curve.  The pieces in turquoise will need to be trimmed to fit; everything else is stock 10" and 5" straights, with the S curves being half 31" curves.

Hope this helps!

Mitch

Thanks for that.  Those are the older remote controlled switches is that right?

John

Here is where I am at this point.

1.  I know what track he has so the outer loop will be 036 Fastrack and I will have to buy some smaller pieces.  I will substitute some of his grade crossings, power tracks, etc - all 10".

2.  Gargraves manual turnouts 042 which I will have to buy.

3.  Menards tubular 031 inner loop.  I will add tubular bumpers on the two spurs that fit over the top of the track.

4.  Cut pieces of Menards (Green) and Gargraves(Blue) straights. I MAY SUBSTITUTE MENARDS 30" TO CUT AT THE TOP instead of Gargraves

5.  The circular roadway is optional for now.

Does it fit?  Does it work?

Connor's Manual Gargraves 4 x 8 Layout_alt2 ExperimentalConnor's Manual Gargraves 4 x 8 Layout_alt2 Experimental



Thanks for all this help,

John

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Last edited by Craftech

John,

This looks good.  Here are my observations/suggestions about this design:

1) You would probably need a total of 4 Fastrack Transition pieces in between the Gargraves switches and the Fastrack track on the outer loop.

2) If using the the GG #801 track mating pins, you wouldn't don't need FasTrack transition pieces at the top inner loop where the GG switches connect to the Menards tubular track.

3) On the lower spur, there are two LH O54 switches superimposed, one over top of the other, which would make the parts list count one over what's needed.

@SteveH posted:

John,

This looks good.  Here are my observations/suggestions about this design:

1) You would probably need a total of 4 Fastrack Transition pieces in between the Gargraves switches and the Fastrack track on the outer loop.

I have four of these, but they are 10".  Can I cut them in half?

https://www.menards.com/main/g.../p-1477981296131.htm

Display Product Image 1



2) If using the the GG #801 track mating pins, you wouldn't don't need FasTrack transition pieces at the top inner loop where the GG switches connect to the Menards tubular track.

You are referring to the two 5" pieces colored in Red - right?

I have a 30" Menards tubular track piece at home.  Would it be better to use the 24.8" Gargraves cut piece as shown at the top or substitute the 30" Menards piece?

3) On the lower spur, there are two LH O54 switches superimposed, one over top of the other, which would make the parts list count one over what's needed.

I'll delete that, thanks

Also, I believe I have to electrically connect the middle rail sections of the Gargraves track when i get it.   I can solder a jumper wire or use the one's Gargraves sells that goes into the ends.

Thanks for the help,

John

John,

Question 1, I was unaware of the Menards brand fastrack transition pieces.  Seems like you could adjust the position of the center cross tie and cut them in half to get one usable 5" transition from each.

Question 2a, yes I was referring to the red pieces, if those are indicating 6-12040 Lionel brand Fastrack Transitions, I don't think those would be needed since there's no FasTrack anymore on the inner loop.  I think a 5" tubular piece would work instead with the GG #801 track mating pins connecting to the switches.

Question 2b, for the 21.75" straight on the upper inner loop, it seems that either Menard's or GG would work there, unless your supply of the GG #801 track mating pins is limited.

@SteveH posted:

John,

Question 1, I was unaware of the Menards brand fastrack transition pieces.  Seems like you could adjust the position of the center cross tie and cut them in half to get one usable 5" transition from each.

OK.  That will give me the four I need.  Do you think they will look stupid in between Fastrack and a Gargraves switch.  I guess I could add cross ties to the four Menards half transition sections to closer match the Gargraves switches.  Or do you think I should just skip the entire hassle and pick up four 6-12040 Fastrack transition pieces?  They aren't that expensive.

https://www.legacystation.com/...MEAQYAyABEgJbJvD_BwE

Question 2a, yes I was referring to the red pieces, if those are indicating 6-12040 Lionel brand Fastrack Transitions, I don't think those would be needed since there's no FasTrack anymore on the inner loop.  I think a 5" tubular piece would work instead with the GG #801 track mating pins connecting to the switches.

You are right.  They are Fastrack pieces I didn't substitute with Menards tubular.   I'll fix that.



Question 2b, for the 21.75" straight on the upper inner loop, it seems that either Menard's or GG would work there, unless your supply of the GG #801 track mating pins is limited.

Thanks again,

John

@Craftech posted:

Do you think the (Menards' FasTrack Transitions) will look stupid in between Fastrack and a Gargraves switch.  I guess I could add cross ties to the four Menards half transition sections to closer match the Gargraves switches.  Or do you think I should just skip the entire hassle and pick up four 6-12040 Fastrack transition pieces?  They aren't that expensive.

Well, Looking "stupid" is a subjective question...and it seems like you've started to answer your own question.  It would certainly be easier to just buy the Lionel Fastrack 6-12040 transitions, but that's entirely up to you and Connor.

@SteveH posted:

Well, Looking "stupid" is a subjective question...and it seems like you've started to answer your own question.  It would certainly be easier to just buy the Lionel Fastrack 6-12040 transitions, but that's entirely up to you and Connor.

I did answer my own question.  I made the changes.

Connor's Manual Gargraves 4 x 8 Layout_alt2 ExperimentalRevision



i don't know why the bumpers are still on the list.

Thanks,

John

Attachments

Last edited by Craftech
@Craftech posted:

I did answer my own question.  I made the changes.

i don't know why the bumpers are still on the list.

Thanks,

John

When I opened your latest file and then the parts list, the bumpers don't show up.  Have you tried closing the parts list in your internet browser, then generating an new Parts List from scarm?  A previously generated parts list isn't automatically updated when you make changes in SCARM.  You have to create a new parts list each time you make changes.

@SteveH posted:

When I opened your latest file and then the parts list, the bumpers don't show up.  Have you tried closing the parts list in your internet browser, then generating an new Parts List from scarm?  A previously generated parts list isn't automatically updated when you make changes in SCARM.  You have to create a new parts list each time you make changes.

You are right, they're gone now.

OK.  I'm learning.  I tried to find out with an internet search what you do when an item isn't in the library, but I struck out.  I have all Marx 1590 switches for my 027 layout, but those don't appear anywhere in the program that I saw.

John

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