Hello All, First thanks for your patience in advance as I have some limiting conceptual issues. I have read much from magazines, books and forums about planning, however even the most basic step is eluding me. My available area is an L shaped space that is 12 foot wide twenty 24 feet long with an additional 10 foot wide by 6 foot deep leg of the L. While trying to keep a 30-36" reach, planning out aisles for this shape with retaining the most layout area is obviously something beyond my comprehension. Any help, advise will be greatly appreciated.

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Last edited by Aegis21
Original Post

You didn't say if there was an opening or where it was, so I guessed it was on the right where your lines don't connect. Here are 2 ways of approaching the space. First is an around-the-room design. The second is a table with access on all sides. Obviously you get more usable track space with the around-the-room design and can use wider curves.

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First thing that you gotta do is get down on your knees and thank the Lord for granting you so much space.

Sorry for not giving entrance to area. The assumption that the right side is open, is correct. And it is totally open, giving access to both sides of the around the wall part of that section. So the open area could be wider than 3 feet.  I could put access  door(s) on the sides that of the inner "L"  So if you were standing at the left side looking into the room, the wall to your right, the wall that makes the 90 degree right into the "L" and the next wall that makes the next left.  I hope that is not too confusing. I am not sure if that will give any benefits or be a hindrance. The right side entrance to the room could be lengthened in the future, from 24' to 32'. T

And yes I am VERY Grateful for the large space, and do not want to waste any of it.

I do lean towards the around the room design and wondered about putting in some peninsulas for more layout room.

Also hoping to make a "lower" subway level that will come up to main level for a small elevated section.

Thanks for the replies, they are extremely helpful.

I don't know if I followed that, so I color-coded a few things.

And it is totally open, giving access to both sides of the around the wall part of that section. So the open area could be wider than 3 feet. Does this mean there is no Purple wall or does it just mean the small peninsulas on the right side could be 6' wide (Blue rectangles) instead of 3'?

I could put access door(s) on the sides that of the inner "L"  So if you were standing at the left side looking into the room, the wall to your right, the wall that makes the 90 degree right into the "L" and the next wall that makes the next left. Does this mean you could add door access through the Red and Green walls? If so, I guess that would let you fill in the Gray area.

wondered about putting in some peninsulas for more layout room. I suppose you could add the Green peninsula.

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Thanks for helping on the clarity. The black and grey walls are foundation walls without access. The purple, red and green are accessible (they have yet to be built) There will be a purple wall built so the blue area could be 6' .

The purple, red and green walls, have at least four to twelve feet behind them for water filters and another room. This is a basement build and is right now totally open.

Thanks for the ideas!

Ok, so here's what I've come up with then, assuming I understood what you said about the purple wall. I don't think I'd add the doors just to fill in the gray area, but that's up to you. If I were to add a door, I'd add a double door on the green wall.

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Again clarity is not my strong suit. The purple wall is not moveable, it is 12' from grey wall. I like your peninsular ideas. Let me know what you think of this possibility? It is your design with purple wall fixed at 12' Let me know plus and minus of this and any improvements that will help.

Thanks for your time and help

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Ok, got it. As you can see, I left 2 small peninsulas on the ends in case you wanted to add reversing loop capabilities. The Blue tracks are Atlas with O72 curves. The Yellow tracks are Atlas with O54 curves just to show how reversing loops would fit.

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THANKS Sooooo Much! This is a great help and a fantastic start! Reversing loops were some of the hopefuls on my list of track.

Iam looking at getting RR-Track but they are not accepting orders until later this month. uess it will have to wait. Not a big deal as now it is more what industries and towns do I want to build and where they should be built. Figure out a purpose for the railroad and possibly a subway set stuck it somewhere.

The blue track that goes across the opening, will allow me to, hopefully be using my 40" atlas bridge building  a lift up to pass through to the middle of the layout.

Any thoughts on control area placement?

Again HUGE Thanks

Reversing loops were some of the hopefuls on my list of track. Unfortunately, they take up a lot of space if you try to use large curves, hence the O54 curves in my example. The thing is when you have the capability to run multiple trains in different directions, the need to reverse trains is lessened, especially in around-the-room designs.

I am looking at getting RR-Track but they are not accepting orders until later this month. Guess it will have to wait. Not a big deal as now it is more what industries and towns do I want to build and where they should be built. Figure out a purpose for the railroad and possibly a subway set stuck it somewhere.  Just a thought, you might take a look at SCARM and AnyRail while you're waiting on RR-Track, both have trial versions limited to 100 tracks and both are cheaper than RR-Track. I have both RR-Track and SCARM and almost exclusively use SCRAM these days. Ken-OScale posts a lot of designs done with AnyRail.

The blue track that goes across the opening, will allow me to, hopefully be using my 40" atlas bridge building  a lift up to pass through to the middle of the layout. Shouldn't be any problem adding the bridge to a design.

Any thoughts on control area placement? Not really, too much depends on the design you come up with and how you decide to control things, particularly switches and accessories. If you go with a full DCS system (remote, TIU, AIU. WiFi), you can control it all from the remote and/or a tablet. If you're "old school" and prefer pushing buttons, then you might want a central control panel.

Thanks for all the help again, I will get scarm and use that if I can post layouts from scarm, is that possible?

Again Many Thanks

Okay, thought I would toss this in -

• 30" wide table - perhaps 36" on one side if a yard is needed - it is plenty for tracks and scenery
• Atlas 081 and O72 double main - crossovers, sidings to be added
•  O72 reversing circle on the inside corner- will only require a smaller increase of the table on that inside corner and still maintain good aisle width

I followed what I thought were the dimensions as none are marked on the table drawings

1' grid

refinement to come with design development

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Yes, you can post files from all the design programs. Here's the SCARM file of your space to get you started. I had to delete the reversing loops to get the track count below 100 so you can play with it. You won't be able to make add many tracks, but you can add a few and learn how to move tracks around, etc. To download the file, right-click and select Save As (or Save Link As, whatever is close). Sometimes it downloads as a .txt file, but all you have to do is change the filename to end with .scarm.

That said, I'm not trying to get you to buy SCARM instead of RR-Track. SCARM was free for a long time while it was in beta, so a lot of folks took advantage of that to save some money. Since it's gone commercial, the number of new users seems to have lessened, but then so has the number of new layout designs being posted. There is a lot of helpful information, tutorials, etc., on the SCARM site and a few folks here who will help you learn how to do things. There are also folks who will help with RR-Track and AnyRail.

I started using SCARM to help others with their designs. It wasn't available until after I had already bought RR-Track. Eventually, I was using it more and more because of all the designs being posted with it, the arguably better 3D view and the 3D simulation feature. RR-Track has a simulation too, but it's only 2D. When I mentioned it I didn't know the RR-Track would be available again on the 17th, so I thought you might want to check out other options. There are advantages/disadvantages to all of them. One advantage to RR-Track is you can purchase a library with a lot of accessories, buildings, bridges, etc. SCARM is limited, but you can create your own or copy what others have shared.

Note that SCARM and RR-Track are both Windows-based. If you use a Mac, you might consider RailModeler Pro or you'd have to use a Windows emulator.

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Hi Carl, Great ideas and starting points!  I have taken a bit of a crash course in scarm and have room dimensions that I will try to upload to this post. It will also contain a possible layout base around the room. The room dimensions are all fixed and per wife non negotiable.   The only leeway I will have is  the black wall can extend another 10' in the future.

Hope this helps clear any dimensional lack of clarity on my part.

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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.

Go with the largest curves you can fit in.  Here is a double mainline with O81/O90 curves.  The right side restricts using larger curves.  The 90 degree curves could be replaced with larger curves.

Jan

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I don't mean to nitpick, but as drawn the Green wall is 10' 6" and that will make a difference when you start adding track. The upper jut-out on the right is 4' 8", not 4' 6", and that may or may not make a difference, but I thought I'd point it out just in case.

And just for the sake of total clarity, I'm assuming the dimensions are inside measurements and the walls you're going to build will all go on the outside of this space. That may seem like a small thing, but I've seen people add basement walls that end up taking away from the actual interior size of the room. Normally that doesn't matter, but model railroad designs are a matter of inches, so losing 5"-6" to walls can be a big deal if not accounted for in advance.

NOTE: This is referring to the SCARM file Aegis posted, not Jan's file. Jan was posting as I was composing, so I didn't see his post. Fortunately, Jan used the file with a 10' wall and his choice of curves fit.

Last edited by DoubleDAZ

How about a reversing siding? Pictured here in green... along with a double mainline and a double crossover...

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DoubleDAZ posted:

I don't mean to nitpick, but as drawn the Green wall is 10' 6" and that will make a difference when you start adding track. The upper jut-out on the right is 4' 8", not 4' 6", and that may or may not make a difference, but I thought I'd point it out just in case.

And just for the sake of total clarity, I'm assuming the dimensions are inside measurements and the walls you're going to build will all go on the outside of this space. That may seem like a small thing, but I've seen people add basement walls that end up taking away from the actual interior size of the room. Normally that doesn't matter, but model railroad designs are a matter of inches, so losing 5"-6" to walls can be a big deal if not accounted for in advance.

Hi Dave, nitpick and find all mistakes etc. The details are EXTREMELY important and an inch here or there does/can make huge differences. You are correct he green wall 10'6" dimension the marked 4'6" is adjustable to aisle width and is drawn as 4'8" (I was playing with track and nudged that a bit without changing the label.

You are also correct with the wall dimensions being interior. The basement is 27' wide with supporting columns at the center. This actually allows me to build the purple wall 12'6" interior dimension from black wall. I was being cautious with initial dimensions, so 12' is actually 12'6"

Now this is before the walls are built however I have the leeway to make those dimensions when I build.

Now the bad news. I originally thought the leg of the L was to be 8' by 8' and supporting column was covered. Now that I convinced my wife to give 2.5' it will no longer be covered and is represented by the orange circle... ugh!

Here is an updated, more precise drawing.

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Sorry about the pic being cutoff, still new to scarm and posting

Thanks Jan and Bob Great ideas and advise! I will be looking at these options as I start to formulate what the railroad will do as its functions. Had thought of, or seen a reversing siding till now. I also like the sweeping curves, it sounds like those lend more realistic views of a real railroad.

THANKS a ton!

John

AEGIS21, you might be interested in my design thread for Rick's Layout which I did for Rick.  I noticed the similarity in shape, and thought you might want to scan this discussion for ideas.   Rick's layout space is larger, and access to the space is different, but many of the ideas and considerations would apply to your space as well.   Rick went with a double-track plan with cross-overs, with an elevated third mainline.   There are two town areas and a large yard, so trains can originate and service industries that make sense for train operation.  -Ken

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Thanks Ken! I see the resemblance in shape. Hope I can get something half as good and I will be thrilled!

Jan posted:

Go with the largest curves you can fit in.  Here is a double mainline with O81/O90 curves.  The right side restricts using larger curves.  The 90 degree curves could be replaced with larger curves.

Jan

I like Jan's double-track concept.   And concur with his suggestion on using the largest diameter than can fit.

I would drop the idea for the jut-out in the center, as you will need space for operators and builders to move around comfortably.  The 3'-wide aisle width is good, but you need more than just aisles IMO, you need space for two or three operators and visitors to move around the layout.   So retaining a larger open operating and train-watching area in the center will add value and enjoyment, more so than the added scenery or industry area.

Last edited by Ken-Oscale

Hi Ken, Great advise on the opening/aisle, I was looking at possibly rounding that center jut-out and sweep it back some. Not sure how to make a curve baseboard in scarm, or if it is even possible. ??? I also like Jan's double track and sweeping curves. I am looking at Rick's posts as you suggested and read the opinions on prototyping real railroad versus "running Trains around" From what was written I am leaning towards Rick's concept of serving industries and point to point operation with leeway to let imagination and nostalgia run amuck, LOL

Thanks

john

Aegis21 posted:

Here is an updated, more precise drawing.

I don't see the pole as a major problem as long as we know exactly where it is, but the wall dimensions still seem off. The Green wall at the top is now marked 10' 10" and that is where the Red wall is. The Purple wall in the center is marked 18' 6", but they don't add up to the 28' 6" length of the Black wall on the bottom. So either the Green wall is really 10' and the Red wall needs to be moved to the left or the Purple wall is only 17' 8" to make the total length 28' 6".

On another note, I've always assumed you'd want a dual main, I just thought it was too early to offer layout suggestions. I added the O72 track and O54 reversing loops just to provide some perspective of the space.

While I agree with using the widest cures you can, I wouldn't let that influence what I'd "like" on my layout. My first inclination is list everything I'd like and then see what will fit with different track sizes and configurations. But then I don't really care too much about how my engines look running around when it comes to engine overhang. If I need to use O54 or any other size curve to get what I want on the layout so be it. I do shy away from anything tighter than O36 even though all my equipment is rated for O31.

And while I also agree with the idea of wide aisles, that really depends on how many people you expect to be involved in operating the layout at any given time. I've visited 2000 sf layouts where the aisles are 36" throughout and was able to move around easily enough. Of course, that was just 5 adults walking around looking at various elements and not operating. If you plan to have grandkids playing engineer, then deleting the 6' wide peninsula might be a good idea, but that's completely up to and I think you're far from making that decision. My inclination would be to leave it in, but design around it unless you need to use it for something specific.

Along the same line, I agree with Carl's suggestion to use 30" deep decking and only add the extra 6" where you need to, like to add a yard, passenger station, etc. If you place track close to the wall and elevated, 36" can be too far to reach to lift a heavy engine or repair something.

John, to round things, you just "insert" new points and place them where you want them. However, I would keep the current baseboard as a template as you design and then modify the baseboard as you get closer to the final design.

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DoubleDAZ posted:
Aegis21 posted:

Here is an updated, more precise drawing.

I don't see the pole as a major problem as long as we know exactly where it is, but the wall dimensions still seem off. The Green wall at the top is now marked 10' 10" and that is where the Red wall is. This is correct!

The Purple wall in the center is marked 18' 6", but they don't add up to the 28' 6" length of the Black wall on the bottom. So either the Green wall is really 10' and the Red wall needs to be moved to the left or the Purple wall is only 17' 8" to make the total length 28' 6". Purple Wall is 17'8"

On another note, I've always assumed you'd want a dual main, I just thought it was too early to offer layout suggestions. I added the O72 track and O54 reversing loops just to provide some perspective of the space.

While I agree with using the widest cures you can, I wouldn't let that influence what I'd "like" on my layout. My first inclination is list everything I'd like and then see what will fit with different track sizes and configurations. But then I don't really care too much about how my engines look running around when it comes to engine overhang. If I need to use O54 or any other size curve to get what I want on the layout so be it. I do shy away from anything tighter than O36 even though all my equipment is rated for O31. AGAIN Great Advice!

And while I also agree with the idea of wide aisles, that really depends on how many people you expect to be involved in operating the layout at any given time. I've visited 2000 sf layouts where the aisles are 36" throughout and was able to move around easily enough. Of course, that was just 5 adults walking around looking at various elements and not operating. If you plan to have grandkids playing engineer, then deleting the 6' wide peninsula might be a good idea, but that's completely up to and I think you're far from making that decision. My inclination would be to leave it in, but design around it unless you need to use it for something specific. I will leave it in for now and see how track and scenery dictate the final shape with always keeping an eye on comfort. Since I am new to the area and virtually do not know a soul, I do not anticipate a huge crowd. lol

Along the same line, I agree with Carl's suggestion to use 30" deep decking and only add the extra 6" where you need to, like to add a yard, passenger station, etc. If you place track close to the wall and elevated, 36" can be too far to reach to lift a heavy engine or repair something. These are the tid bits of info I desperately need. Since never building or working with a large layout, I don't know what I don't know.

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Ok this seems to have a life of its own! With the additional 10" in the L area. I need to move the one aisle over a foot to keep that section to less than 36" as recommended. It will be 34" with this revision. I also put in several points to round or shape at a later time if needed/wanted.

Still having trouble posting a full jpeg they all get cutoff. Is there a setting I need to change in scarm when exporting to jpeg?

Thanks again!

John

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John,

This seems to be a bug in SCARM (I need to contact Mixy about it), so I don't use the Export option. If you hit the "Fit To Screen" menu button, you'll notice that the "fill" is based on the baseboard and not all the elements in your project. I believe this is the reason some of the jpeg image seems to be cut off.

Here's what SCARM "fits"...........

Here's what's actually in the project..........Note the green rectangle.

Instead, I use the Windows "Snipping Tool" to snip as much or as little of the SCARM image as I want. To find the tool, simply hit the Windows key and start typing "snipping tool". When you see it, you can pin it to the Start bar. It's really a handy tool for capturing anything on the screen and lets you mark it up to point out items of interest, like what I circled in Red.

And since I'm posting, I fiddled a bit with Jan's rendition to fit the new space. Note I simply added some straight tracks and another crossover just to point out that you need both in order to travel between inner and outer runs.

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Now with O90/O99 curves.  The track passing the pole can be moved tp the other side.

Jan

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Last edited by Jan

I forgot to add that another reason I don't like the SCARM jpeg is because there are no rulers or grid lines.

Dave's right about the lack of ruler dots in the picture.  I converted the original bitmap (bmp) exported by SCARM to a jpeg so I checked the original bmp to see if they were eliminated in the conversion.  No dots in either.

Both Dave and I use a single crossover to establish track spacing of the loops.  Your final plan will have crossovers to meet your wants,

Jan

I sent a note off to Mixy about the jpeg problem that I think is caused by the "fit" process. I didn't mention the ruler or grid problem, but I did point him to this thread, so hopefully he'll see this discussion too.

My dad always said everyone could be a good bad example. lol Hope this helps get jpeg resolved

In the mean time I did find snippet thanks to all the Huge help from Dave

Thanks!

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Hello All,

Another question I have is how close can two tracks be on straight and curved sections? I will be using Gargraves track and Ross switches. Using Gargraves how can I replicate Jan's track work of my layout? Keeping the two lines parallel through curves. I tried 80" 89" 96" curves with varying degrees of failure.

Thanks again!

Like Jan, I use a crossover to keep my mains parallel. The key is configuring a crossover with the desired amount of separation. Generally folks seem to agree that 3.5" separation is the minimum for yards where trains move slowly and 4.5" for mains. Curves can be a different story depending on equipment being run. There is the engine overhang on the outside of curves and the rolling stock overhang on the inside of curves. Where they both meet on a curve determines the minimum amount of separation for your equipment. Of course, it depends on the look you want too.

In Jan's example, he used Atlas #5 switches, partly because they have a 4.5" separation. However, since you want to use Ross switches with GarGraves track, the closest you can get is the Ross 11° switch with a Ross 10 straight for a 5" separation without cutting track. I believe you can substitute any Ross # switch and get the same result.

The placement of the switches doesn't matter because you'll only include the ones you need in the final design. I added a Crossover Layer with some examples for you to look at. Note the separation, but also note the footprint. That often plays a role in which configuration you actually use.

Finally, I tried using GG O96 (Layer 96-89), O89 (Layer 89-80) and O80 (Layer 80-72). The photo shows the 80-72 results. One thing to remember is that the curve going up into the "L" becomes an inside curve, so it uses the tighter curve. This applies to the curves by the rightmost crossover. There are also 2 pieces of Flex Track as well as some places where tracks need to be cut. There's really a lot of trial & error getting things to line up for cutting.

One of the drawbacks to using GarGraves is the lack of the smaller fitter pieces that both Atlas and FasTrack have. However GarGraves is fairly easy to cut and bend. In fact, some builders have used nothing but flex on their layouts.

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Thanks Dave Again! Cutting track is not a problem, just knowing what the clearances should be a huge help. I admit to having a tendency to have track too close. The instruction on the curves with examples is awesome.

Also I am hoping these loops can have sidings and spurs for industry use. Also someplace to reverse would be nice, however from what I have read that is probably out of the question with my space.

Thanks for the info and layout file as always, it is greatly appreciated.

Here is an attempt at sneaking in a reverse loop.

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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.

z

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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.

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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.

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.

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

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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Last edited by DoubleDAZ

Sorry, I posted the wrong SCARM files, so I edited the post with the new ones.

Oh, and I'm trying to tell you how you should do things or how it's supposed to look, just showing alternatives.

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.

John, I think you're doing great with SCARM. Most folks new to software are afraid to post their attempts and I think you learn a lot more when folks have something to work with and can show you ways it might be improved.

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!

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.

Mark, I had a lot of fun with yours and hope to see it some day.

DoubleDAZ posted:

Mark, I had a lot of fun with yours and hope to see it some day.

Dave, I hope to see it some day too!  LOL. And yours as well!!

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

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.

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.

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?

John, many of us include links to our layout planning threads in our signature, so check the bottom of our posts.

Again Thanks Dave

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?

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!

DoubleDAZ posted:

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!

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!

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!

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

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.

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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.

z

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.

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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Bryant Dunivan 111417 posted:

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.

I did go to the York show this past Oct. I was just overwhelmed at all the trains, displays and such. Too much to take in without knowing what I will be doing or wanting to do. I went Friday and stayed overnight and went Saturday morning then headed home. (long trip for me)

Yes I am working on a theme/storyline for the past couple of months. Although it appears to me as a chicken/egg thing. Of course I want a million things, however space and design dictate how many of those things are possible. I originally wanted the following:

1. Freight Line with industries
2. Passenger line with stops
3. At least one Small town and other scattered buildings
4. Major passenger station (thinking Grand Central Station in NYC)
5. coal mining and industry
6. Subway with end stop Coney Island in Brooklyn NY
7. Some Mountainous area (Coal mining area Scranton/Wilkes Barre Pa. )

I know the Grand station is probably out as it would require a major skyscraper area.  And yes a yard would be nice also to have. I pictured Sunnyside Yards in Long Island City where my Dad worked for the Pullman company. I will remember about not ballasting till totally satisfied with layout! So many wants, so little space and time.

Thanks for the input

DoubleDAZ posted:

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?

I wasn't sure about the "S" thanks for clearing that up. As far as large trains small curves, at present the largest I have are 4 - 18" passenger cars Lionel 19079 heavyweights and a Diesel set K-Line K28701H which are 17.5" long. They are huge compared to the rest of my collection and although they look fantastic, if they won't work or look out of place I might sell them and get a smaller replacement. Not sure on how that will pan out yet. I did get a good deal on them at the time a couple of years ago. I still haven't taken them out of the box to run or test.

The 3" elevation was me playing with scarm table depth and valley terrain. I think adding the "subway" threw things off so to speak. And yes you are correct, this is by no means a final layout, but scarm practice and getting an idea what is possible in the space I have been given. Again which came first Chicken (design wants) or the egg( actual room size and layout constraints)

I picture the subway will be it's own layer under the table and then at the end elevate up to end at Coney Island. So it will skirt the edge of the table as much as possible with stations along the way. Not sure how far below main table it will/should be yet. The subway will probably be last part of the build, if it gets put in the end design at all.

Again Thanks Dave.

John,

Yes, it is hard to know what you may want on a first layout that is more than just circles around a Christmas Tree or on a sheet of plywood.  Some folks like a lot of switching cars at industries and in the yards.  I find a little of that okay, but not a steady diet.  I am more of a railfan, wanting to see a train run through multiple scenes Some people like a number of independent loops and have several trains running at a time.  Of course like most of us, you want to replicate scenes and train movements like you have seen in the real world; ie the subway.  You are ahead of many since you realize you can't have it all, Grand Central Station would look odd without a whole set of skyscrapers and how do you fit that into your space with Anthracite Mountain running?

I had two large passenger engines and two sets of long passenger cars I thought I could run on wide 072 loops while having other track for mountain hauling.  Well you may have seen in my topic where I discarded that idea, sold the big engine and long cars, and am going with just the small ones.  Nothing larger than a 2-8-0 Consolidation and first generation diesels, with 15" passenger cars.

Yes, the trip to York is a long trip for me too.  I have gone twice, but didn't go this past October.  We should join up and go together sometime.

Mark Boyce posted:

John,

Yes, it is hard to know what you may want on a first layout that is more than just circles around a Christmas Tree or on a sheet of plywood.  Some folks like a lot of switching cars at industries and in the yards.  I find a little of that okay, but not a steady diet.  I am more of a railfan, wanting to see a train run through multiple scenes Some people like a number of independent loops and have several trains running at a time.  Of course like most of us, you want to replicate scenes and train movements like you have seen in the real world; ie the subway.  You are ahead of many since you realize you can't have it all, Grand Central Station would look odd without a whole set of skyscrapers and how do you fit that into your space with Anthracite Mountain running?

I had two large passenger engines and two sets of long passenger cars I thought I could run on wide 072 loops while having other track for mountain hauling.  Well you may have seen in my topic where I discarded that idea, sold the big engine and long cars, and am going with just the small ones.  Nothing larger than a 2-8-0 Consolidation and first generation diesels, with 15" passenger cars.

Yes, the trip to York is a long trip for me too.  I have gone twice, but didn't go this past October.  We should join up and go together sometime.

Hi Mark,

Grand Central Station in the middle of the mountains would take more than imagination to be plausible. Yes I did read your letting go of those large items and scaled down the trains to fit the space/layout design. Your space is similar to mine and I do like your layout. Lots went into it and wow the transitioning from the smaller 12x12 to what you have now is fantastic. Going to York together sounds like a great idea and lots of fun.  I am so ignorant of Model railroading terms it is pathetic.  You wrote:"Nothing larger than a 2-8-0 Consolidation" 2-8-0 are the wheels on the loco I assume, how do you get length or size from that? Or is it just a look it up and read the dimensions.

2-8-0 and the like are "Whyte notation" for locomotive wheel arrangement and generally indicates the size of the engine.

Thanks Bill!

I learn something new everyday! Appreciate the help in understanding this hobby and railroads.

Bill,  Many thanks for the diagrams of the Whyte notation.

John, the manufacturer will give the length, but perhaps more important, the recommended minimum curve for each engine in its documentation.  My MTH engines have this information right on the label on the box, and online.  Other manufacturers do the same.  It is something to keep in mind with passenger cars and long modern freight cars as well.

Here is an example using my largest engine:    https://mthtrains.com/20-3166-1    Now, I bought this engine used for a little more than than half the original MSRP from a member of this Forum.  All but one of my engines were bought used.  The new one was an inexpensive small diesel.

Last edited by Mark Boyce
Aegis21 posted:

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

Happy Birthday to you too!  We are pretty close, mine's a week from tomorrow.

Mark Boyce posted:

Bill,  Many thanks for the diagrams of the Whyte notation.

John, the manufacturer will give the length, but perhaps more important, the recommended minimum curve for each engine in its documentation.  My MTH engines have this information right on the label on the box, and online.  Other manufacturers do the same.  It is something to keep in mind with passenger cars and long modern freight cars as well.

Here is an example using my largest engine:    https://mthtrains.com/20-3166-1    Now, I bought this engine used for a little more than than half the original MSRP from a member of this Forum.  All but one of my engines were bought used.  The new one was an inexpensive small diesel.

Hi Mark,

I looked up the curve for my largest diesel and it is 0-72 minimum Shame I will now e-bay this unit with passenger cars. However it will be a better looking fit with smaller size engines in this space. I have acquired several engines and freight cars from a local auction in Ct. when I lived in that state. I did get some real good deals and will at least break even I hope. These were new in box as they came from a bankruptcy. We will see how they do on e-bay. I may wait till next fall as I do not have the time to list and ship. Plus it is so close to Christmas I might do better next year.

Thanks for the Info! Extremely helpful as always!

rtr12 posted:
Aegis21 posted:

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

Happy Birthday to you too!  We are pretty close, mine's a week from tomorrow.

Thanks! I don't know if I should celebrating anymore... lol

John, I like listing trains for sale on the OGR Forum For Sale section.  You have much better chance of working a deal with an honest person here than on EBay.  I do not mean to criticize EBay, it is just that the comradery here is better

Mark Boyce posted:

John, I like listing trains for sale on the OGR Forum For Sale section.  You have much better chance of working a deal with an honest person here than on EBay.  I do not mean to criticize EBay, it is just that the comradery here is better

Well noted! Thanks

I took a couple of hours this evening to work  on our plan,  Momimum mainline and revering loop curves is O63.

Jan

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Wonderful job Jan. I like it, but am concerned about the reach to the double crossover, unless John adds an access hatch by the spurs.

Jan posted:

I took a couple of hours this evening to work  on our plan,  Momimum mainline and revering loop curves is O63.

Jan

NICE work Jan! I was playing around a bit with a yard on the left side which put the purple curves back to a larger size. Again I was just playing around so to speak. This layout has no purpose as of yet, (except to run trains) But it is a great start and gives a great indication of what can be done in this area.

DoubleDAZ posted:

Wonderful job Jan. I like it, but am concerned about the reach to the double crossover, unless John adds an access hatch by the spurs.

Thanks for the heads up on the dreaded reach factor.  I would like to avoid an access hatch if at all possible. Could possibly move the left crossover to the left until it becomes reachable. The other crossover could be moved towards the right as far as the Bridge??? Again Thanks Dave for picking up on that!

I like having a purpose for my railroad, such as hauling coal or logs from point A to point B.  Some folks are quite happy with the purpose of just running trains.  Either is great!  It depends on what you want to do.

Mark Boyce posted:

I like having a purpose for my railroad, such as hauling coal or logs from point A to point B.  Some folks are quite happy with the purpose of just running trains.  Either is great!  It depends on what you want to do.

I would like to have a purpose for the railroad. Not totally sure yet what that maybe, but coal is definitely on the short list of mine. And sometimes just having a train run is nice, kind of like setting on the porch and hearing the diesel horn off in the distance and anticipating the train coming past the neighborhood.

I agree about the reach problem, that any of us over 60 should make sure we don’t design something we can’t maintain.  Just since we designed my layout I now that I have a disk and sciatic nerve problem.  I am glad my plan provides for easy access to all points.

That said, I don’t know how to fix the problem other than taking a different approach to that area.  I guess I could put on my thinking cap, but I don’t know where I left it!!!

Aegis21 posted:
Mark Boyce posted:

I like having a purpose for my railroad, such as hauling coal or logs from point A to point B.  Some folks are quite happy with the purpose of just running trains.  Either is great!  It depends on what you want to do.

I would like to have a purpose for the railroad. Not totally sure yet what that maybe, but coal is definitely on the short list of mine. And sometimes just having a train run is nice, kind of like setting on the porch and hearing the diesel horn off in the distance and anticipating the train coming past the neighborhood.

I always have a continuous run ability to use on occasions I want to break in a new engine or just run trains.  You may have seen that discussion early on in my topic.  A true point to point only layout was suggested.  Most people don’t go for that.

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