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The time has come, i can now join in with all of you. So the wife and I just bought our first house. The first floor remodeling is now done, moving onto the basement now. I have 23x11 to work with if a little extra for the bottom left.  Still in rough planning but im pretty happy with this plan so far. After a talk with the wife on what she'd rather have. More trains running at once or a more realistic look. She chose realistic so this is what we came up with. 072 curves other then any of the curved switchs, which will be 72-54. I decided to give the look of a double main line, but have a good travel loop time. So on the back side of the layout the track crosses over its self. To help with the grade im going to split the difference between both tracks. Planning on including the following industries, these are a must have.

Coal mine - already located

Power plant - thinking top left side

Fisk tire - still planning

So now its on to the prep work in the basement. Take out the old furnace, fix issues on the block foundation, pull up asbestos floor, framing, and drywall. Then i can start the bench work.

Let the fun begin.

layout print with bench work


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  • layout print with bench work
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Congrats on the house and great layout space.

There are reach issues in the corners of your plan, and I'm assuming you're planning an opening or lift-out in the area to the left of the coal mine.

Keep in mind that some longer locos won't run on the 54" radius switches.

Don't forget to paint the ceiling and update the lighting.


I agree completely with what Mallard said. I'm a huge fan of an open, flat black ceiling mated with LED track lighting. Search this Forum for several threads on the subjects.

I note you want to get rid of the asbestos flooring. Be careful how you do it! Depending on its condition etc., it may be more prudent to leave it in place and cover it. I'm not the expert on this type of flooring, but I do know it's  huge can of worms and needs to be addressed properly.

Also, since you have decided to go with a more realistic look, think about your back drop. It is much easier to paint or install one before you build the layout!

That all said, have at it!



I've not heard of asbestos 'flooring'... but, I have dealt with asbestos roofing tiles.  They need to be removed without breaking (asbestos is a friable material and fibers will be sent aloft into the air when breakage occurs) and bagged immediately... also, you have to consider where they are to be disposed of beforehand.  Encapsulating it with a self leveling thin set or concrete @ 3,500 or better psi would probably be better, safer and cheaper.  It would offer moisture resistance... then tile, paint or carpet over it.   The thin set you could probably do yourself... it's self-leveling.  Nice Layout BTW!

Last edited by Dennis-LaRock

I like the plan but it could use some tweeks here and there.  You didn't mention what track and switches you plan to use, but there aren't too many who make 054-072 curved switches. You might also consider using numbered switches to transition between the mains and even on sidings. The numbered switches avoid the "S" curve created by facing two 072's for example.

If a train is running counter-clockwise there is a reverse loop available, but I don't see how a train running clockwise would be able to reverse direction.

I can't speak to the number of switches on your layout, I'm approaching 30 switches myself.

Nice plan Nate. Loop running and operations.

I'm sure it's going to change a hundred times before you build it. Sounds like you already have a plan in mind for the space. Just make sure you leave adequate access to service boilers, furnaces, water heaters, etc. The electric service panel requires 3' clear access in front. I prefer having a ceiling above, not exposed beams, but it's your house so.....

A few comments on Asbestos floor tile (ACT).

Yes- it contains asbestos, but the manufacturing process bonded the fibers and it is not readily friable when broken. It can be removed carefully and disposed of. In New York State- any amount over 100 sq ft is considered a large removal and must be done under containment with proper filtration and air monitoring (at least in a commercial setting). Also, the adhesive can contain asbestos and may need to be chemically removed.

The alternative is if it is solidly stuck to the floor, you can encapsulate it with a proper floor prep product. Even if you have a few loose pieces, you can remove them and patch over the spot. I've gone over a few small areas in my basement and used Henry skim coat to level the floor. New tile or carpet can go over it and you have a brand new floor. I put down peel and stick tile and it is solid.

Good luck- Bob

What Dan said... and, here is another.  Use the largest turnouts you can.  My poor little layout has curves of O45, O54 and O72.  I used all #5 and O72 turnouts with curve easements (my O45 & O54 curves start and end with O72 curves) to facilitate smooth transitions between lines and curves as much as possible.   For me... they look & function a whole lot better.  Dan, I'm not far behind @ 25 turnouts...

layout print with bench work

I second what others have said, you should consider access to all parts of the layout now before you build!

I have a similar sized layout at 12 x 24 with a yard extension, and even though I added a large center opening and a pop-up on the other end, I still have places that are difficult to reach.  The white lines are the outlines of a power lift bridge for access to the center section.

Layout View from Stairs

The freight yard extension joins the main layout with a manual lift bridge, obviously it's fairly accessible as it's only 36" wide.

Layout Freight Yard Extension

If I had it to do over, I'd think a little more about some of the access aspects.


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  • Layout View from Stairs
  • Layout Freight Yard Extension
Last edited by gunrunnerjohn

They're actually a pretty large company: Arkema Chemical Company, in 2020 their gross revenue was nine billion dollars.

Very interesting. I don't interact with chemical companies in my line of work. There must have been a train fan in the company leadership for them to request this special order. It reminds me of the Zep Cleaning Company tank car and box car that Lionel did for Zep back in the mid 1990's.  Any other items in the Arkema series like a boxcar or flatcar?

@wb47 posted:

Just me, but the plan has an awful lot of switches.

Looks good for an operating layout; several areas for industries.  It is missing a dedicated yard lead, but the inside station track can be used for that.  The two inside station tracks can also be used as a yard run around track if no passenger trains are parked there.  Not ideal, but usable for one-two operators.

OK to many people to reply to, so it going to be one big post.

We now for sure that the floor is. This was my great grand parents house. Some tiles are already popped up and missing. Between my grand father, father and my self we think its the smart move. If we ever go to sell it later we dont need to worry about it then. We will we be sealing the floor after its all removed. Then followed with some carpet squares.

For the ceiling, its not at a standard height. Track lighting my be a little issue. For right now the plan is to go with recessed lighting. I havent really looked into any low profile track lighting.

Backdrops- Once the bench work is in the back drop will be put in place. That way i can match the elevation.

Access points- until the track plan is 100% i wont know.

054 curves- the only spots will be any of the curved switches. So most large engines wont be using them at all.

track plan- currently making some adjustments.

Carpet squares is a great idea! Definitely stay away from the interlocking rubber type. They are cheaper, but they also tend to be excellent generators of static electricity, which is bad news for electronics.

When I did the floor in my train room my employer was renovating offices. I talked with the contractor and was able to get all I needed and more to redo my room free of charge. The squares were in practically brand new condition, and I was able to keep them from going to a land fill. Win-win in my book! Ask around. You may get lucky!



Last edited by lehighline

Wise move on the floor Nate. If you have it in the budget then its gone and never to deal with it again.

Carpet tile is great stuff. We use it in the buildings at the College I work for. If it can withstand college kids.........

Definitely research the track lights. With the advent of LED's they make some really small fixtures now.


For the ceiling, its not at a standard height. Track lighting my be a little issue. For right now the plan is to go with recessed lighting. I havent really looked into any low profile track lighting.

Since I bought the house with a finished basement, I already had the lighting that I would be stuck with without a lot of work and expense.  So, I concentrated on making the existing lighting as good as I could.

Consider these wide angle and really bright PAR38 bulbs.  Sunco 2800LM 90º Wide Beam bulbs for the recessed lighting.  I was unhappy with the lighting with the stock bulbs over my layout until I got these.  BOY, talk about light!  I can also dim them way down for any mood, and they're as bright as I'd ever want lighting over the layout.  For only six bulbs over the main layout benchwork, they're more than sufficient, and the wide angle really spreads the light.  This is the 3rd bulb type I tried, these did the trick.


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  • mceclip1

Still working on fine tuning the track plan. While talking with the wife about running some old conventional engines. She asked wouldn't it look weird running semi scale in a full scale and weathered layout. So going to cross a childhood dream off the list. We will be adding two loops that will be along the ceiling. Nothing to crazy just a large loop. I already have the proto type brackets ready. Just need to figure out how many I need to make now. I'm guessing for the brackets I will be spacing them out about 3 feet apart. Thinking of using 1/2 or 3/4 finished plywood and staining it.Screenshot [8)


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  • Screenshot (8)

Nate, it looks like a good overall plan.  You are on top of the suggestions others made concerning the plan and the room.  We had to sell the house I, my dad, and my grandfather grew up in.  It had asbestos tiles in the kitchen.  The kitchen was vintage 1920s still when we sold it 2 years ago; except for the tiles, refrigerator, and stove.  The house itself dated to the 1880s.  We hated to see it go.  Here in Butler County, Pennsylvania, we didn't have to remove the tiles since they were intact.  However, Bob is on top of the process in NY (He's always on top of any regulations), which is usually one of the most stringent states on everything, so it seems.  It's good to get the room ready before building.  I should have put carpet tiles down on my cement floor before building my layout.  I'm looking forward to seeing this layout being built!

Was hoping to finish the furnace and the start the floor this weekend. Our track department doesn’t have any one how know how to weld. So I’m going in tomorrow to weld up some damages  switch points. So not to sure how much will get done this weekend.

Luckily my grand father and father both own a construction company. So we have dealt with this stuff before. Hoping to have Everything ready for framing next month.

Ok not the best layout print. Thinking this will be as close as i get until i can really see it.

Green is for customer sidings

blue yard or service areas

red main line

yellow - track drops 3 inchs, the other track will go up 3 inchs.

Still not to sure where i will put the icing platform. Added in a full track lead and enought room to build a train. I know it wont really fit to well but I always wanted to model a barge. Will make a small fun switching area while sitting at the bar area. Yes you heard that right. With moving the turntable im able to go with my original. Up against the edge of the table will  be my bar edge table looking into the train room. This will also work well with the height the track will be built at. Running the height higher then normal will help  with the lift bridge look more to scale.

new layout paint


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  • new layout paint

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