John, that's a good attempt, but the "S" curve should be avoided and the tracks across the opening appear to be too close, but that will be determined by your bridges. There is a 2nd "S" curve to the left, but it's smoother and might be okay.

Anyway, I cut an O42 curve in half (close anyway) and inserted a straight to avoid the"S", then lined everything up to close the loop. One thing to avoid is using too many flex tracks and bending them too tight. I don't know what size curves your equipment is or will be rated for, but that flex is awfully close to O32. Even though my equipment is rated for O31, I use O36 for a minimum. When designing, I try to get close with as large of curves as possible, then I either cut them or delete them and close the gap with a flex. That way I know it won't end up being too tight.

zCapture

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Hi Dave, ok another THANKS for the cutting curve in half, inserting a straight to smooth out the "s" Also putting in a straight and recommending using curves as a guide then using flex for actual track layment will be used for sure.  The Bridge is an 40" Atlas O Gauge Double Track Pratt Truss Bridge So whatever the spacing is I will have to conform the track to use.

I tried to widen curves and clean things up a bit as it looked too crowded. Is the curved switch ok to use in the end of the loop?

Again Thanks for all the help.Reverse Loop 2

Trying to get to work on my railroad...

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Sorry, but I think you can do better. The photo shows what I go through to line things up and get them as smooth as possible. The Red lines are where I've already "snipped" using the Snip Off tool or where I intend to snip. As you can see I use sectional track for the important parts and then cut curves and straights after I line things up. It takes some finesse, zooming and a lot of trail&error.

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In this case, the first thing I did was fix the bridge because AFAIK the track separation over the bridge is 4.5".
I then removed the curved stuff and added straights.
I added the O72/O54 curved switch with O72 and O54 curves attached.
I moved them around until they matched the straights so I could snip them. This is where you have to zoom in enough to be able to see both ends and where the tracks overlap.

Here's the end result. As you can see, I went off the table, but one side can be extended and the other side reduced to compensate as long as the entrance remains wide enough.

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Another alternative is to use O42 curves to stay within the existing baseboard.

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All that said, I have no experience with the curved switches. I've read some say they are troublesome and others say they work fine. I did like that you didn't try to make the inside bottom tracks concentric. The example Jan posted was just to show how dual mains could work, but there is no reason to limit your thinking to everything being concentric around the entire layout. And many folks use flex for straights so they can add gentle curves vs long straight runs for a meandering effect like it is in reality.

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Hey Dave these are great lessons and a ton of knowledge. I hardly ever get offended when someone expresses their ideas and wisdom. I am totally new and welcome ALL criticism, as that is how people expand and gain knowledge. No one was ever born knowing everything they know now. Lots of learning went on to get to what ever age you are and the knowledge you posses.

I was trying my best knowing it would not be anywhere close to really good, let alone perfect. Again I thank you for the help and priceless knowledge. 

Trying to get to work on my railroad...

Hi Dave, I am too old to be afraid of learning, that I am not all knowing. LOL Thanks for the support and lessons. I think my next step is to list out what I would like for industries, towns, accessories, roads etc. And start making that long list short so I don't have to build a train building, which I neither the land or finances to do!

Your thoughts?

Dave, you are really getting this stuff down well! Interesting tips on your fitting methods above too. I have been getting a brief urge every once in a while to fire up SCARM and these tips seem to add encouragement. 

Just as a FYI, I was just going to say that the curved switches have the spacing vs pick up roller problems. I think that is the main problem with them. I don't think it matters what type of switch either? I think it's just the way they have to make them to get the curves correct? Anyway, I believe some folks here have found work arounds. I imagine it's more of a problem with the smaller engines as with the numbered switches as well. That is about all I know about these, FWIW.

Aegis21 posted:

Hi Dave, I have jumped on the Scarm band wagon and have been taking a crash course so to speak. Thanks for the knowledge and work you have put into my project. It is so appreciated. As you can see from my earlier post, the room dimensions and possible bench work. Not sure on bench work as it will depend on track features and uses for the railroad. 

To help all explain how new I am to this, I was fortunate as a young boy to get Lionel trains for Christmas and Birthday presents. My dad would set it up on in our tiny three room apt. that housed my Mom, Dad, Sister and myself. Not a lot of room to say the least.  Over the years my collection grew and then college hit and life began. Trains were put away for years, except the occasional Christmas set up. I am now newly retired, moved to a new area, Hadley Pa. (near Mercer pa. home of Mercer Junction train shop) So I am fortunate to have the time, my health, and space to build a model railroad. The last forty year gap in technology is amazing and totally unbelievable. I have a lot to learn about the new generation of trains. I have not been into railroads and how they worked in industry, and also have little knowledge of model railroad track functions. (ie reversing loops) I get how they can make a more point to point railroad which is more reality than a train running around in a circle. However, these things I am just learning. Where to put sidings? Should there be a yard? What industries will the railroad serve? Towns and destinations? I have a HUGE list of questions and probably don't know have of the questions I need to ask.

So please all bear with me as I am the true Newbie.

Thanks in Advance for all the help.

Hi, I just saw your topic!  Wow everyone has made a lot of progress in a short time.  Yes, we had times of that kind of activity with my layout design too.  Dave did most of the heavy lifting!  (Thanks again, Dave!!)  The folks here are a great help for sure.  I'll follow along, if I can keep up!!

I quickly picked up on that you live in Hadley near Mercer.  I live in Butler.  I am hoping to get construction started on my layout after the first of the year.  

I'll be 72 in March. I learn new things almost every day and hope that never stops. While I'm getting pretty good at using SCARM, I have a hard time coming up with ideas for cities and industries. I grew up 30 miles south of Green Bay and my only experience with railroads was the cabooses parked at a siding 300 or so yards form one of my childhood homes. I road the trains a few times from a small town called Brillion to a coastal town called Manitowoc on Lake Michigan. I never got to the point where I had enough space for a layout and still don't. My current project is building a showcase for my wife's Bedford Falls collection she got a long time ago from Target.

I got back into O Scale in 2012 and have had a number of setbacks getting something built. I've had rather large Christmas layouts (8x14), but nothing permanent. I've designed 5 different layouts for 2 bedrooms and part of the garage. I've even rearranged the garage for ta layout, but travel and a few medical issues kept delaying the build. Now I'm have issues with my sciatica that have affected my walking, so I'm having 2nd thoughts on the garage altogether. Between the heat and dust here in Phoenix, I think I'm going to concentrate on getting Bedford Falls up and running in the craft room.

It'll consist of oversize 4x8 tables butted to form an "L" in one corner of the 10x21 room. Since I really just like to watch trains run, it will have 3 simple ovals of various designs on 3 levels with the Bedford Falls buildings scattered around. All the excess buildings will be put on display shelves. It will be on wheels, so I can move it if I need to get behind it, but with no switches, I don't think that will be needed very often. I have a Christmas 4-6-0 steamer w/passenger cars I want to run during the holidays and a Veteran's SD70ACe diesel w/freight cars. I plan to add another diesel and maybe an old-style General 4-4-0 steamer w/passenger cars to run year round. It'll be DCS/TIU controlled and that's about it.

As for industries, there are the tried & true logging, coal mining, mineral mining and oil. You mentioned a subway rising up for a bit and that will kind of require a rather large cityscape, perhaps along the left wall. And since you mentioned lower level subway, you need to plan for elevation grades and those need to be 3% (3" in 12'), preferably closer to 2% (3" in 8'). The MTH graduated trestle set is made to rise 6.5" for a 4.7% grade (6.5" in 11.5').You need around 6." of clearance to account for track height and roadbed thickness. Of course, the subway will can be on it's own track below grade and you can hide the rise behind landscaping to achieve the look you want. But, it can take a lot of track below grade. Here's an example. Note that the Blue tracks in the Red circle do not clear the Purple tracks on top. That means the grade has to be started after the Purple tracks and then the grade will be steeper than most of is like, from 2.9% to 5.4%. Now, modern equipment can probably handle that, especially if the subway is limited to something like 3 cars. I'll let you look at the 3D view in SCARM.

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RTR12, you know I love the challenge and these days there's not much to challenge the old noggin. It brings up memories of when I wrote computer programs in the Air Force. It was always the challenge of doing things that hadn't been done before and doing them with minimum code, something that has been lost today with bloated coding. Thanks for the tip on curved/numbered switches.

Hi Dave I am 66 and try to learn something new everyday.  We grew up almost opposite cultures. I was born and raised in New York city. My Dad worked for the Pullman company in Long Island City. When I was a little tot the biggest thrill was to go to Manhattan and visit the Lionel display and then walk to Madison Hardware and drool!

I have been to Milwaukee many times for business reasons and have stayed over the weekends and toured the area all the way up to Green Bay. Beautiful country for sure, and VERY Friendly people. Totally different than the big city.  I did have the fortune to spend summers in Pa. with my Aunts and Uncles in a rural area, so I was truly blessed and grateful for all of those blessings. How did you end up in Phoenix? Long ways away for sure.

My back did act up this past summer and had me limping around in pain for several months. After constant pain and listening to my wife tell me to go to the chiropractor, I finally gave in and glad I did. It took several visits, but relief was quick and welcomed.  That is what probably started me on this project. Another blessing in disguise. Well good luck on your project and stay healthy.

The subway vision is because growing up in NYC I virtually lived the subway system. It will be a second level under the main level and when it comes up out of the ground it will end at Coney Island, home of Nathan's Hot Dogs, the Cyclone and Parachute rides. So that can be a smaller isolated area without big skyscrapers.  Coal is an industry that I would like to have as my uncle was a coal miner in Pa. and his back yard became home to man made mountains of shale. They were called column banks, I think. They were huge, (although I was small LoL) and went for miles along the Susquehanna river in Pittson Pa. Area  Later in the 1980's kids would go 4 wheeling up on these banks of shale. Then someone finally figured how to use these mountains and they are all gone now. To me it feels like they are still there with white birch tress trying to grow on the sides of these mountains.

Sorry for getting nostalgic and side tracked.

Again thanks for all the help

DoubleDAZ posted:

RTR12, you know I love the challenge and these days there's not much to challenge the old noggin. It brings up memories of when I wrote computer programs in the Air Force. It was always the challenge of doing things that hadn't been done before and doing them with minimum code, something that has been lost today with bloated coding. Thanks for the tip on curved/numbered switches.

You're welcome and I think your old noggin has absorbed quite a bit of the layout planning software and layouts too! In the mid '80's I started dabbling in MS QuickBasic (it's structured, not like the built in DOS versions) as I got better at it I moved up to MS Basic Pro Development System with some add on libraries written in ASM. It could do about everything the fancier Prog languages could and yes we always tried to optimize the code. PCs were a lot slower back then. It was a lot of fun! Anyway, Windows became usable, MS discontinued development of the DOS based programming stuff (Basic PDS) and went to Visual Basic. To me it was just not the same after that and that ruined my interests in all of it. And so it goes for the old dinosaurs and program language documentation in book form.   

I am learning a lot (finally) about what I might 'actually' want in a layout by following along with the design process you guys use to develop plans for others. For me it's still a learning experience. What I thought I wanted earlier on has changed quite a bit.  

Apologies for the interruption. Now back to our regular scheduled topic here, the OP's layout...  

Mark Boyce posted:

Hi, I just saw your topic!  Wow everyone has made a lot of progress in a short time.  Yes, we had times of that kind of activity with my layout design too.  Dave did most of the heavy lifting!  (Thanks again, Dave!!)  The folks here are a great help for sure.  I'll follow along, if I can keep up!!

I quickly picked up on that you live in Hadley near Mercer.  I live in Butler.  I am hoping to get construction started on my layout after the first of the year.  

Hi Mark,

I hope I can keep up!   I have moved to Hadley this past year from Ct. about 500 miles away. I am not familiar with the area yet but I have been in Butler once this summer. Do you have postings of your layout here? Love to see them and learn so more!

Looking forward to some new friendships.

Thanks

John

 

Trying to get to work on my railroad...

rtr12 posted:
DoubleDAZ posted:

RTR12, you know I love the challenge and these days there's not much to challenge the old noggin. It brings up memories of when I wrote computer programs in the Air Force. It was always the challenge of doing things that hadn't been done before and doing them with minimum code, something that has been lost today with bloated coding. Thanks for the tip on curved/numbered switches.

You're welcome and I think your old noggin has absorbed quite a bit of the layout planning software and layouts too! In the mid '80's I started dabbling in MS QuickBasic (it's structured, not like the built in DOS versions) as I got better at it I moved up to MS Basic Pro Development System with some add on libraries written in ASM. It could do about everything the fancier Prog languages could and yes we always tried to optimize the code. PCs were a lot slower back then. It was a lot of fun! Anyway, Windows became usable, MS discontinued development of the DOS based programming stuff (Basic PDS) and went to Visual Basic. To me it was just not the same after that and that ruined my interests in all of it. And so it goes for the old dinosaurs and program language documentation in book form.   

I am learning a lot (finally) about what I might 'actually' want in a layout by following along with the design process you guys use to develop plans for others. For me it's still a learning experience. What I thought I wanted earlier on has changed quite a bit.  

Apologies for the interruption. Now back to our regular scheduled topic here, the OP's layout...  

We are old dinosaurs for sure. I think I still have my MS Basic book and code for testing gaming systems. I did get into visual basic but I too have left those dino days behind. I work with arduino and esp8266 micros and will try to incorporate them into railroading. Lots of neat stuff to do with these micros for sure.

 

Trying to get to work on my railroad...

Aegis21 posted:

How did you end up in Phoenix? Long ways away for sure.

I joined the Air Force in 1966 because I was tired of college and my friends got their draft notices, so I wanted to avoid the Army, but still wanted to serve. I went to the Navy recruiter, but he was busy on the phone, so I went next door to the Air Force, turned out to be the right move. First assignment was to Kadena AFB JA on Okinawa and then to Luke AFB here outside of Phoenix. While here I met my wife whose family lived here and fell in love with her and the Desert Southwest. Went to Da Nang Vietnam in 1971, then to Travis AFB CA followed by Scott AFB IL, Hickam AFB HI, Montgomery AL and Colorado Springs CO. I retired in 1993 and the plan was always to move back to Phoenix so my wife could spend time with her family as they aged. I had no desire to go back to cold WI, but we visit my side every couple of years or so when it thaws out. I delivered mail for 14.5 years and then called it quits for good. Now we do 3 or more road trips each year. There's always 1 to visit my brother wherever he's wintering on some beach and another to the Savannah area to visit our daughter and 2 college grandsons. Next year we hope the make the 3rd to Alaska and we always travel by car. No fear of flying or anything, just enjoy seeing the country.

Hi Dave,

I was a bit behind you as far as the war was concerned. I was in the draft  lottery and they stopped 10 numbers before mine. I finished college and went to work for a defense contractor that made guided missile systems for the navy. Wound up sailing on several ships around the world. Did the west pac tour on the USS Long Beach with the Truxton and aircraft carrier USS Enterprise. First nuclear fleet to sail together, 40 knots no smoke was the saying those days. Funny how so many lives run parallel without realizing it.

Aegis21 posted:
Mark Boyce posted:

Hi, I just saw your topic!  Wow everyone has made a lot of progress in a short time.  Yes, we had times of that kind of activity with my layout design too.  Dave did most of the heavy lifting!  (Thanks again, Dave!!)  The folks here are a great help for sure.  I'll follow along, if I can keep up!!

I quickly picked up on that you live in Hadley near Mercer.  I live in Butler.  I am hoping to get construction started on my layout after the first of the year.  

Hi Mark,

I hope I can keep up!   I have moved to Hadley this past year from Ct. about 500 miles away. I am not familiar with the area yet but I have been in Butler once this summer. Do you have postings of your layout here? Love to see them and learn so more!

Looking forward to some new friendships.

Thanks

John

 

John, Welcome to Western Pennsylvania!!  I am 62 and I would guess you could call me semi-retired.  I grew up in rural Butler County, 17 miles from town, and went to a rural school.  My wife grew up in Butler.  I lived about a half mile from the B&O mainline to Pittsburgh, and there was lots of F-unit traffic in those days.  I just missed the last of the Mallets that used to make that run.  Dad said a train set was too expensive for a gift, so I saved money and bought an HO set when I was about 12.  I build HO and N scale layouts, but in 2012, I decided to move to O gauge 3-rail because of my eyesight, and the great detail and sounds of modern O gauge trains.  So I have had a lot to learn too, and this Forum and the magazine have been my number one source for help and inspiration.

I would like to meet up with you someday.  Maybe we can pick a day to meet at Mercer Junction.  I haven't been there in a while.

Here is the link to the layout Dave and others here helped me plan. Blackwater Canyon Line  I started construction in January, then my wife saw how cramped my space was, so she gave me use of most of the family room.  Since our girls are grown and married, we really don't use that space.  That started us pack in the design mode all over again.  We actually just expanded the previous plan.  I want to get some updated thoughts on that layout topic soon.

Yes, I have been slowed a bit.  At first it was helping 4 elderly relatives, but now I have a medical problem of my own.  The chiropractor helped, but it looks like I have a disk problem affecting my right sciatic nerve.  I'm getting PT and in the process of getting tests to see the full nature of the disc problem.  I'm hoping to have some improvement so I can start moving what I started to build into the other room, and continue construction.

Aegis21 posted:

ok back to real railroading chit chat   How much room should be planned for a small town or industry? Are there typical building sizes for O Gauge? Any guidelines at all?

Here is a site for accessories that are compatible with SCARM. The drawing are somewhat crude and I don't know how close to scale they are, but they're helpful in determining footprints, etc. They are regullr SCARM files, so downloading is the same as what you do to download a SCARM file, right-click and Save As. If you just click the Download link, you'll end up with a text file that won't mean much. To make it easy to locate and use them, I created an Accessories folder in the SCARM folder. I then downloaded any of the objects I thought I might use (most of them). Using them is a bit cumbersome. You have to open the file and Copy the contents, then open your layout file, Paste them and move them where you want them. It's too bad the Paste command doesn't paste objects below the cursor, but that's another subject. Some of them are Grouped as a single object, but some are not, so make sure you copy all the elements. If you find one that isn't a Group, it's easy enough to make it a Group and using it will be easier.

On a side note, view one in 3D to see the full object. Then you can learn how it's assembled and make your own. You can find some general footprint specs, like length, width and height, online, but you won't find specs for individual elements, so it's hard make much more than a 3D box unless you know someone who has the accessory to measure things.

Mark Boyce posted:
Aegis21 posted

Hi Mark,

I hope I can keep up!   I have moved to Hadley this past year from Ct. about 500 miles away. I am not familiar with the area yet but I have been in Butler once this summer. Do you have postings of your layout here? Love to see them and learn so more!

Looking forward to some new friendships.

Thanks

John

 

John, Welcome to Western Pennsylvania!!  I am 62 and I would guess you could call me semi-retired.  I grew up in rural Butler County, 17 miles from town, and went to a rural school.  My wife grew up in Butler.  I lived about a half mile from the B&O mainline to Pittsburgh, and there was lots of F-unit traffic in those days.  I just missed the last of the Mallets that used to make that run.  Dad said a train set was too expensive for a gift, so I saved money and bought an HO set when I was about 12.  I build HO and N scale layouts, but in 2012, I decided to move to O gauge 3-rail because of my eyesight, and the great detail and sounds of modern O gauge trains.  So I have had a lot to learn too, and this Forum and the magazine have been my number one source for help and inspiration.

I would like to meet up with you someday.  Maybe we can pick a day to meet at Mercer Junction.  I haven't been there in a while.

Here is the link to the layout Dave and others here helped me plan. Blackwater Canyon Line  I started construction in January, then my wife saw how cramped my space was, so she gave me use of most of the family room.  Since our girls are grown and married, we really don't use that space.  That started us pack in the design mode all over again.  We actually just expanded the previous plan.  I want to get some updated thoughts on that layout topic soon.

Yes, I have been slowed a bit.  At first it was helping 4 elderly relatives, but now I have a medical problem of my own.  The chiropractor helped, but it looks like I have a disk problem affecting my right sciatic nerve.  I'm getting PT and in the process of getting tests to see the full nature of the disc problem.  I'm hoping to have some improvement so I can start moving what I started to build into the other room, and continue construction.

Thanks for the warm welcome! Sorry to hear about your back, the back is terrible but today's' science there are many options more so today than ever before. I worked as an engineer in the health care field since 1979 and was involved with the development of the first Cat Scan Machines and Mri machines. So I have seen many drastic improvements in these areas.

Meeting up sounds great, maybe after the holidays. I am pretty handy when it comes to wood working. That will be the least challenging part of my build. If you need any tools or assistance please don't hesitate to ask. I am fully retired, and my wife suffers from RHS retired husband syndrome. LOL The house is almost the way she wants it, there is only one small bedroom that needs carpet ripped up and laminate put down. I turned a large shed into a She Shed for her. Taking out the old swing doors and installing patio doors and replacing the siding to make a nice finished look. Of course I am still not finished unpacking my stuff and setting up the out building/second garage yet.   But wife comes first!

Your plans look great!

Starting to read your thread tonight!

DoubleDAZ posted:

Here is a site for accessories that are compatible with SCARM. The drawing are somewhat crude and I don't know how close to scale they are, but they're helpful in determining footprints, etc. They are regullr SCARM files, so downloading is the same as what you do to download a SCARM file, right-click and Save As. If you just click the Download link, you'll end up with a text file that won't mean much. To make it easy to locate and use them, I created an Accessories folder in the SCARM folder. I then downloaded any of the objects I thought I might use (most of them). Using them is a bit cumbersome. You have to open the file and Copy the contents, then open your layout file, Paste them and move them where you want them. It's too bad the Paste command doesn't paste objects below the cursor, but that's another subject. Some of them are Grouped as a single object, but some are not, so make sure you copy all the elements. If you find one that isn't a Group, it's easy enough to make it a Group and using it will be easier.

On a side note, view one in 3D to see the full object. Then you can learn how it's assembled and make your own. You can find some general footprint specs, like length, width and height, online, but you won't find specs for individual elements, so it's hard make much more than a 3D box unless you know someone who has the accessory to measure things.

Thanks Again Dave!

Trying to get to work on my railroad...

Aegis21 posted:
Mark Boyce posted:
Aegis21 posted

Hi Mark,

I hope I can keep up!   I have moved to Hadley this past year from Ct. about 500 miles away. I am not familiar with the area yet but I have been in Butler once this summer. Do you have postings of your layout here? Love to see them and learn so more!

Looking forward to some new friendships.

Thanks

John

 

John, Welcome to Western Pennsylvania!!  I am 62 and I would guess you could call me semi-retired.  I grew up in rural Butler County, 17 miles from town, and went to a rural school.  My wife grew up in Butler.  I lived about a half mile from the B&O mainline to Pittsburgh, and there was lots of F-unit traffic in those days.  I just missed the last of the Mallets that used to make that run.  Dad said a train set was too expensive for a gift, so I saved money and bought an HO set when I was about 12.  I build HO and N scale layouts, but in 2012, I decided to move to O gauge 3-rail because of my eyesight, and the great detail and sounds of modern O gauge trains.  So I have had a lot to learn too, and this Forum and the magazine have been my number one source for help and inspiration.

I would like to meet up with you someday.  Maybe we can pick a day to meet at Mercer Junction.  I haven't been there in a while.

Here is the link to the layout Dave and others here helped me plan. Blackwater Canyon Line  I started construction in January, then my wife saw how cramped my space was, so she gave me use of most of the family room.  Since our girls are grown and married, we really don't use that space.  That started us pack in the design mode all over again.  We actually just expanded the previous plan.  I want to get some updated thoughts on that layout topic soon.

Yes, I have been slowed a bit.  At first it was helping 4 elderly relatives, but now I have a medical problem of my own.  The chiropractor helped, but it looks like I have a disk problem affecting my right sciatic nerve.  I'm getting PT and in the process of getting tests to see the full nature of the disc problem.  I'm hoping to have some improvement so I can start moving what I started to build into the other room, and continue construction.

Thanks for the warm welcome! Sorry to hear about your back, the back is terrible but today's' science there are many options more so today than ever before. I worked as an engineer in the health care field since 1979 and was involved with the development of the first Cat Scan Machines and Mri machines. So I have seen many drastic improvements in these areas.

Meeting up sounds great, maybe after the holidays. I am pretty handy when it comes to wood working. That will be the least challenging part of my build. If you need any tools or assistance please don't hesitate to ask. I am fully retired, and my wife suffers from RHS retired husband syndrome. LOL The house is almost the way she wants it, there is only one small bedroom that needs carpet ripped up and laminate put down. I turned a large shed into a She Shed for her. Taking out the old swing doors and installing patio doors and replacing the siding to make a nice finished look. Of course I am still not finished unpacking my stuff and setting up the out building/second garage yet.   But wife comes first!

Your plans look great!

Starting to read your thread tonight!

Thank you for the concern about my back and sciatic nerve.  Hopefully I'll be getting an MRI soon.  I have an EMG scheduled for Friday.  In the meantime, I finally was able to get sent to PT.

I'm glad you are taking a look at my design topic.  Not so much because it is mine, but more so for you to see how we went about it, and how new ideas made for radical changes.  I'm hoping you will see that folks are willing to go a different direction if you think you don't like what you see.

Yes, after the holidays for sure.  There is too much going on in December, and since you are still unpacking, that leaves you more busy than normal.  I';; look forward to meeting up with you.

Aegis21 posted:
rtr12 posted:
DoubleDAZ posted:

RTR12, you know I love the challenge and these days there's not much to challenge the old noggin. It brings up memories of when I wrote computer programs in the Air Force. It was always the challenge of doing things that hadn't been done before and doing them with minimum code, something that has been lost today with bloated coding. Thanks for the tip on curved/numbered switches.

You're welcome and I think your old noggin has absorbed quite a bit of the layout planning software and layouts too! In the mid '80's I started dabbling in MS QuickBasic (it's structured, not like the built in DOS versions) as I got better at it I moved up to MS Basic Pro Development System with some add on libraries written in ASM. It could do about everything the fancier Prog languages could and yes we always tried to optimize the code. PCs were a lot slower back then. It was a lot of fun! Anyway, Windows became usable, MS discontinued development of the DOS based programming stuff (Basic PDS) and went to Visual Basic. To me it was just not the same after that and that ruined my interests in all of it. And so it goes for the old dinosaurs and program language documentation in book form.   

I am learning a lot (finally) about what I might 'actually' want in a layout by following along with the design process you guys use to develop plans for others. For me it's still a learning experience. What I thought I wanted earlier on has changed quite a bit.  

Apologies for the interruption. Now back to our regular scheduled topic here, the OP's layout...  

We are old dinosaurs for sure. I think I still have my MS Basic book and code for testing gaming systems. I did get into visual basic but I too have left those dino days behind. I work with arduino and esp8266 micros and will try to incorporate them into railroading. Lots of neat stuff to do with these micros for sure.

 

I think I may still have the MS Basic PDS 7  5-1/4 floppies and manuals around here somewhere? Not sure about the QB stuff or my old ASM libraries? It was a fun time. I have dabbled with Arduinos, but I know nothing about C or C+ or whatever they use? Python is supposed to be easier and is becoming popular, some micro boards are now using it as well I think. There is a lot of neat train stuff you can do with the Arduino stuff, some of the forum members here have done some neat stuff with their layouts.

Good Luck with your layout too, Dave will be a lot of help with your layout design, he's good at it and I think he enjoys it too!

Aegis21 posted:

ok back to real railroading chit chat   How much room should be planned for a small town or industry? Are there typical building sizes for O Gauge? Any guidelines at all?

Attached is a list of common Lionel and MTH accessories and structures with their dimensions that may be of help to you in designing a layout.

I believe this was originally created by Susan Deats.

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rtr12 posted:

I think I may still have the MS Basic PDS 7  5-1/4 floppies and manuals around here somewhere? Not sure about the QB stuff or my old ASM libraries? It was a fun time. I have dabbled with Arduinos, but I know nothing about C or C+ or whatever they use? Python is supposed to be easier and is becoming popular, some micro boards are now using it as well I think. There is a lot of neat train stuff you can do with the Arduino stuff, some of the forum members here have done some neat stuff with their layouts.

Good Luck with your layout too, Dave will be a lot of help with your layout design, he's good at it and I think he enjoys it too!

I am not sure if you can run and load any of that software on a newer computer any more. I have picked up on C++ and have a robot that I built with my daughter that is an object avoidance robot. Looks like there could be some good applications for it on the Railroad. 

Thanks for the words of encouragement, I need them!

Trying to get to work on my railroad...

Richie C. posted:
Aegis21 posted:

ok back to real railroading chit chat   How much room should be planned for a small town or industry? Are there typical building sizes for O Gauge? Any guidelines at all?

Attached is a list of common Lionel and MTH accessories and structures with their dimensions that may be of help to you in designing a layout.

I believe this was originally created by Susan Deats.

Thanks in advance for the pdf! I am sure it will be extremely useful.

Thanks

John

Aegis21 posted:
rtr12 posted:

I think I may still have the MS Basic PDS 7  5-1/4 floppies and manuals around here somewhere? Not sure about the QB stuff or my old ASM libraries? It was a fun time. I have dabbled with Arduinos, but I know nothing about C or C+ or whatever they use? Python is supposed to be easier and is becoming popular, some micro boards are now using it as well I think. There is a lot of neat train stuff you can do with the Arduino stuff, some of the forum members here have done some neat stuff with their layouts.

Good Luck with your layout too, Dave will be a lot of help with your layout design, he's good at it and I think he enjoys it too!

I am not sure if you can run and load any of that software on a newer computer any more. I have picked up on C++ and have a robot that I built with my daughter that is an object avoidance robot. Looks like there could be some good applications for it on the Railroad. 

Thanks for the words of encouragement, I need them!

I think I have the last release version of MS DOS around here somewhere as well. I have a couple of older PCs (maybe 10 years or so) that could probably be brought back to life as well. If the urge ever strikes. Of course I have forgotten most of what I knew back then. For the C++ stuff I'm luck that there is so much pre-made code out there so I can usually find something and 'hack it' into something I can use. You are lucky you were able to pick up on the C++ and continue on. Wish I would have stuck with it myself...too old now!

You are welcome on the encouragement. We all need that sometimes! We are also close to the same age, I'll be 66 next week. There is a lot of good help around here in all areas of the OGR forum, they cover all areas of toy/model train and anything you can think of to do with them. Great bunch of folks too! 

rtr12 posted:
Aegis21 posted:
rtr12 posted:

I think I may still have the MS Basic PDS 7  5-1/4 floppies and manuals around here somewhere? Not sure about the QB stuff or my old ASM libraries? It was a fun time. I have dabbled with Arduinos, but I know nothing about C or C+ or whatever they use? Python is supposed to be easier and is becoming popular, some micro boards are now using it as well I think. There is a lot of neat train stuff you can do with the Arduino stuff, some of the forum members here have done some neat stuff with their layouts.

Good Luck with your layout too, Dave will be a lot of help with your layout design, he's good at it and I think he enjoys it too!

I am not sure if you can run and load any of that software on a newer computer any more. I have picked up on C++ and have a robot that I built with my daughter that is an object avoidance robot. Looks like there could be some good applications for it on the Railroad. 

Thanks for the words of encouragement, I need them!

I think I have the last release version of MS DOS around here somewhere as well. I have a couple of older PCs (maybe 10 years or so) that could probably be brought back to life as well. If the urge ever strikes. Of course I have forgotten most of what I knew back then. For the C++ stuff I'm luck that there is so much pre-made code out there so I can usually find something and 'hack it' into something I can use. You are lucky you were able to pick up on the C++ and continue on. Wish I would have stuck with it myself...too old now!

You are welcome on the encouragement. We all need that sometimes! We are also close to the same age, I'll be 66 next week. There is a lot of good help around here in all areas of the OGR forum, they cover all areas of toy/model train and anything you can think of to do with them. Great bunch of folks too! 

I'll be 66 this Saturday! LOL Happy Birthday in Advance

Trying to get to work on my railroad...

This is my first attempt at adding a second reverse loop. It maybe tending towards spaghetti, and I think an S curve needs to be broken up. Just looking for possibilities that can be done with this set up.  I am tending on having an under layout track for subway which will only be point to point. 12_18_18fPic

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John, Your first attempt at something in SCARM is better than mine was.    My thinking is if there is one reversing loop, then a second is needed to reverse back again, otherwise, why bother.  However, other folks see it differently and are quite happy.  My plan is a loop to loop, with the loops folded on top of each other.

I downloaded your plan and I see track level 1 which I take it is the subway route.  It makes sense.  I'll leave more analysis to the big guns.  I'm a cap gun or pop gun when it comes to track planning even though I have run trains for 50 years.  

Hi Mark,

Thanks for the encouragement on my attempts. My intuition was two loops or none, however I haven't  set  trains up or made layouts (other than a Christmas oval) The scary part of this project is the sheer lack of knowing what the final product will accomplish. Since I have only seen large layouts on display, the functioning and use/control of a large layout for fun and entertainment is an unknown for me. My other obstacle is imagining different track heights and using tunnels and bridges. I like your layout with the different heights and layers. I am reading as much as I can and hoping to garner some inspiration along the way.

Thanks

John

DoubleDAZ posted:

John, that's a good attempt, but the "S" curve should be avoided and the tracks across the opening appear to be too close, but that will be determined by your bridges. There is a 2nd "S" curve to the left, but it's smoother and might be okay.

Anyway, I cut an O42 curve in half (close anyway) and inserted a straight to avoid the"S", then lined everything up to close the loop. One thing to avoid is using too many flex tracks and bending them too tight. I don't know what size curves your equipment is or will be rated for, but that flex is awfully close to O32. Even though my equipment is rated for O31, I use O36 for a minimum. When designing, I try to get close with as large of curves as possible, then I either cut them or delete them and close the gap with a flex. That way I know it won't end up being too tight.

zCapture

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John,you are on th right track with a program like Scarm.  You can also use their module to place a train on your layout to see it work.  I spent about 6 months planning before I ordered track. 

Also, remember to create a theme (s) or a storyline in your plan.  If you don't, you will get bored and  use your new layout to test new engines and shut it off.  I would also consider a trip to York to see what is available for you to incorporate.

One more piece of input.  Consider adding a 4 way or something to park about 3 or 4 engines or locomotives.  They are heavy and sometimes delicate.  Best to minimize handling.

like others on the forum, I could go on and on. One more thing.  Do not ballast until your layout wiring is complete, dead nuts sure.  Run your layout without ballast do r a f e will months to m a key sure you are satisfied.  It is your layout and creativity.  "To thine own self, be true".  Good luck.  You will be a kid again.  It's fun.

Bryant

TCA 18-73717

John, I don't see any "S" curves, but then my eyesight isn't what it once was. An "S" curve is where there are 2 curved tracks connected together that go in opposing directions. The solution is to add a straight track between them, usually a 10" or longer track. This eliminates the stress on the cars and couplers from getting pulled in opposite directions at the same time. It appears you'e done that.

I would like to take this opportunity to remind you that by adding the O54 curves, you are limiting the size of engines you will be able to run. That means you won't be able to run anything that requires curves larger that O54, like the MTH Premier 4-8-8-4 Big Boy steamer. Personally, I don't have a problem with it because anything I buy will run with O31 curves, but I felt I needed to point out the limitation you are imposing with the tighter curves.

I'd also like to take a moment to discuss grades. I noticed some of the elevations got changed to 3" and that just won't work, so I changed them back to 6.5". Then I fiddled with the subway grade at the top of it's run. You can see I moved the beginning of the grade (Blue track) which changes where it will appear (Orange track). It also increased the grade to 4.7%. Have you considered an auto-reversing trolley instead of a subway?

Mark Boyce posted:

My thinking is if there is one reversing loop, then a second is needed to reverse back again, otherwise, why bother. 

Good catch Mark, I completely missed it. I knew something wasn't right, but just didn't see it, too early here.

John, here's the latest. I didn't spend any time cleaning things up because I'm not sure this is anywhere close to the final plan once you've taken the time to think about all the things you've been mentioning when it comes to something for trains to do. I'm looking at this as simply a way for you to get proficient with SCARM, so you need to tell me if I'm wrong to think that way.

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