Well this should be fun to vicariously enjoy if your epic table build is any indication. Your table is the lamborghini of train tables, so the actual layout should be something special.
I can't claim credit for the excellent carpentry, I was the apprentice on that job! Tom T. did the heavy lifting, he's something else when it comes to that stuff! I wouldn't have anything like this is it weren't for Tom's excellent skills and guidance. I can do basic carpentry, but I didn't have the knowledge or experience to create something like this ended up. I did learn a lot during the build, and I feel I could do a reasonable facsimile of the build having seen the techniques and done a bunch of the work.
Good to see you are finally getting started on laying track. Did you have to put the double slip switch right on the edge of the lift bridge? Seems like asking for trouble/more work. Or is that the part of the plan that didn’t quite work out?
Actually, the two DSS are key to allowing me access to all three loops as well as full access to the yard. I originally had a sea of switches trying to do the same thing, that was one of the realizations I came to after actually setting the switches onto the layout and seeing that reality bites. I had one DSS in the design and switches, I finally realized that another DSS would solve a bunch of the problems that I was addressing poorly with three switches!
What? Say it ain't so haha what issues did you run into?
I've relied heavily on software. I hope I don't run into TOO many problems.
Things like I used a 101 switch off of the double-slip switch, found out that the 201 switch is what matches the angle of the DSS. Fortunately, I happened to have one of those I could swap out from another place on the plan, so I was able to resolve that easier than many of the issues. I have a bunch of #6 switches that I can't use, turns out they're REALLY for big layouts! I thought it would be nice to have the gradual angle when going between loops, but those suckers are way longer than I could fit in. They seemed to fit on paper, but they sure didn't fit when I got to actually using them. Several other places I had a switch that when I actually got to the actual track it really didn't work out well. One of the issues with designing with Flex track is it's very easy to create almost anything on paper that looks good, but when you try to duplicate it for real, you realize that things don't actually work the way you like.
I'm also seeing stuff that would be really neat to do now that I have actually started laying track down on the table, so the plan is undergoing considerable modification.
I'm from the sectional track camp for my previous builds, and this is the biggest thing I've attempted. It's also my first time using flex track as well. Lessons are coming hard and fast, but I will persevere!
This is the current plan, but it's undergoing some minor mods as we speak. I have yet to add some extra industry sidings that will show up. If I could figure out how to represent my interior cutout in AnyRail, it would be shown. The main loop is still what I originally envisioned, a two-level folded dog-bone, total track length around 140 feet. I've added a couple of extra loops on the right, one on each level. I envision them being used for either continuous running when guests are here (if we ever exit lockdown!) and I can't pay attention to what's happening, or simply a nice spot to park a train or two. There is a table level spur on the extreme right that will be my workshop entry spur for launching stuff from the bench.