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@Will posted:

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.

@Lehigh74 posted:

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!

@BillYo414 posted:

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.

Switch Fit #7_3D

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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.

Switch Fit #7_3D

John I love it!  Especially the whole "Zoo Junction" thing you have going on center right!  Philly / Pennsy people know what I'm talking about   Would you please be kind enough to post your current AnyRail file?  I would like to explore the right side in more detail.  What a fun and exciting time this must be for you!

@Ted S posted:

John I love it!  Especially the whole "Zoo Junction" thing you have going on center right!  Philly / Pennsy people know what I'm talking about   Would you please be kind enough to post your current AnyRail file?  I would like to explore the right side in more detail.  What a fun and exciting time this must be for you!

Looking to see the 3-ring circus?   Here's my latest plan, but I'm already ripping that apart to make it closer to what we actually have on the table now that I've discovered some flaws in the layout.   The plan below reflects what is in the 3D view, things are changing as we speak.

John's Preliminary Track Plan.any

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John, it is hard to see what is going on in the center there. I can see there are two levels, but I am having trouble pulling them apart. Does your software let you color code the different levels? Or if you send me a plan of each level ( top view, .jpeg or .png- could be screen save ) I can bring them into Photoshop and superimpose them and add color for each level.

GRJ

Glad to see your are designing and building a layout in addition to your role as a regular contributor to this forum. Now you  can do your "day job" 8 to 5, contribute to the OGR Forum 6 to 10, and immerse yourself in layout plans from 10 to midnight. That schedule will keep you off the streets and safe from COVID-19!

Carry on, valiantly ...

Mike Mottler    LCCA 12394
mottlermike10@gmail.com

Spent a few hours, cutting lumber for the elevated sections.  Got the ramps cut, just need to cut the loop for the elevated track on the other end.  Obviously, the blocks were just for sizing and checking elevation, I have to work on the permanent supports.  The bit piece on the end gets a center section cutout, but I'm going to finalize the exact location of the track there before that happens.  Have some trimming to do on one of the other pieces, but it's nice to make some progress.

20200927_20174220200927_20174720200927_20183320200927_201838

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I actually have foam roadbed, I will be putting that down when it's time.  However, the ramps are only a "trial fit", they're not actually going to be supported with blue foam, that was just getting them all cut and fitted.  Still to go is cutting the elevated section on the right and having all of it fit together.  Once everything is cut, I can start laying the track permanently under the elevated sections and then get them nailed down.

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Gunrunner John, your table work is awesome, just wondering if you plan to use cork roadbed, or some other type of roadbed under the track? Also, are you using Gargraves or Atlas O track? Watching this neat layout unfold will be a lot of fun  as I’m sure with your electrical knowledge it will be state of the art. It’s an exciting time in our hobby with so many neat train items available from our manufacturers. Keep the pictures coming. Happy Railroading. 

@Mark Boyce posted:

What does Tom mean by recessing the plywood into the Homasote? 

Mark, in order to start at table level with the elevated track, you have to taper into the Homasote, see below.  The 1/2" Homasote is cut out and the 1/2" plywood for the elevated ramp starts at table level there.

As you can see, the indicated spot actually has the ramp plywood even with the Homasote and it gradually ramps up.  I have a couple of feet of gradual ramp easement to minimize issues transitioning into the grade.

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Mark, in order to start at table level with the elevated track, you have to taper into the Homasote, see below.  The 1/2" Homasote is cut out and the 1/2" plywood for the elevated ramp starts at table level there.

As you can see, the indicated spot actually has the ramp plywood even with the Homasote and it gradually ramps up.  I have a couple of feet of gradual ramp easement to minimize issues transitioning into the grade.

Thank you, John.  I can see where the lighter layer is tapered down to the darker layer, and it will make a great vertical easement into your grade.  So are you grinding away plywood, Homasote, or both to get the taper?

If you wish to use Homasote on the elevated portion: 

Once you have established the smooth vertical curve  transition into the incline then you can terminate that piece of plywood and continue with incline plywood by lowering the incline plywood 1/2" and back it up 8" +/-  and attach the top of the elevated plywood to the bottom of the transition piece.  This gives you a 1/2" step to continue with Homasote for the remainder of the elevated portion.

For purposes of this paragraph let's just imagine the dual track subroadbed is 9" wide.   When you have already cut your subroadbed material and it is on a curve where backing it up would not be work well then simply fabricate a matching curved 9" X 16" gusset attaching it 8" (half way) under the severed incline, add  a  9" X  8" piece of curved plywood on top of the exposed portion of scabbed gusset as a extension of the established incline.  Now that 9" X 8" add-on-piece becomes the sandwich interface for the bottom of the  vertical curve transition piece.  With that done you have a 1/2" step down and to accommodate the 1/2" Homasote and can now continue on up the hill with Homasote.

Once you work with Homasote it is hard to go back to laying right a way on plywood decking.

Continuing:  if dropping the rest of the 1/2" plywood ramp happens to mess  with your calculated clearance for the lower tracks which you are going to pass over, no problem.  Just use the step method again.  Stop the plywood 4" back from the C/L of the lower track, stop the Homasote 12" back from the C/L of the lower track, and instead of using Homasote use the 1/2" plywood as a replacement for just over the lower track.  This will recapture the clearance you originally desired.  Now once past the lower track reverse the step to return to a Homasote working surface.

Over pass Homasote substitution example:

Because of the  shallow angle of the overpass the 1/2" Homasote replacement is quite long.  The brown paint is where the Homasote stops.  The plywood is the same stiff 1/2" Birch multiply we used  on GRJ's main decking.

IMG_7575

This view shows how long the top plywood gusset had to run.  The spiral easement template is to draw a centerline for the track.

IMG_7580

The intrusive block corner is now embraced with a light weight removable mountain so as to be able to easily service the turnout

 

 

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Last edited by Tom Tee

It's just a lot of words.  I would be glad to stop by and cut in the 1/2" step for you.  Should take less than an hour. Nothing in my previous post will affect the rate of the grade percentage.

If you let me loose there I might just back up the start of the vertical curve transition to the slip switch and further reduce the grade percentage .

Last edited by Tom Tee

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