Welcome to the new OGR LAYOUT DESIGN FORUM!

The 3-rail O gauge hobby traces its roots back to Joshua Lionel Cowen and an oval of track under a Christmas tree. Because of those roots, track planning for larger O gauge layouts has often consisted of fitting as many concentric loops of track as possible into the available space. OGR author and contributor Dr. Bill Bramlage coined the phrase "Loop Runner" for this type of railroad, and it's a good name to describe the operation of this kind of layout. While Loop Running can certainly be enjoyable, for some it can get boring after a time.

This forum is not about Loop Running. The purpose of this forum is to show you how the "Fun Factor" of the O Gauge hobby can be enhanced when you start thinking about your model railroad as miniature transportation system. When a model railroad is designed so it can be operated like the real thing, it becomes a lot more fun. The use of staging yards, switching leads, passing sidings, producing and consuming industries, line-side industries and many other tricks of the trade can add a whole new level of enjoyment beyond running your trains in circles.

Many of you that decide to post on this forum will be using RR-Track to illustrate your layout designs. On this forum you can ATTACH A FILE, so if you want to share your layout designs, you can attach your RR-Track file right to your post! Other forum viewers can then download that file and see for themselves how your layout is designed, and perhaps even tweak it for their own use.

We understand that designing an O Gauge layout that mimics a real railroad will not appeal to everyone.

For many of you, the enjoyment of the hobby is centered around Loop Running because it is the ultimate expression of that little oval under the Christmas tree. It probably brings back many fond memories, too! If that's the way you enjoy the O Gauge hobby, that's perfectly fine. By the same token, because we have so many wide-ranging differences in how we all enjoy the hobby, let's not get into the old mind-set that says, "My way is better than your way, and you are all wrong." There are hundreds of ways to enjoy the O Gauge railroading hobby and NONE of them is wrong!

We hope you enjoy this new Layout Design Forum.

Rich Melvin

Original Post
Interesting but I am not sure I agree with the limits you put on the forum (no loops)or maybe I just don't understand it. Seems every major layout I have ever seen (Tony Lash's, Will Allen's and others) eventually loop who really had the space to run from one end to the other and back

I'll look forward to see what is submitted for ideas

 

-Chris

Chris, you're correct in that I may not have explained it well. Obviously EVERY layout is a loop of some sort because we eventually end up back where we started. The difference in the layouts we are looking for in this forum is that while running around the loop, there are things to do beyond just running around the loop.

  • The layout consists of more than a series of concentric loops
  • There are industries to serve along the main line
  • There are passing sidings for meeting opposing trains
  • Yards are designed so they can actually be used to switch cars into trains and not just store cars, trains and locomotives.
  • Engine servicing facilities are designed and laid out like the real thing and are placed so they can service the nearby yard
  • The design concept envisions a miniature transportation system with all the interconnecting services that demands
I know we are opening some new doors here and there is likely to be some misunderstandings as we work to bring things into clearer focus. It is always more difficult to explain a concept as opposed to something real, but that's what we are going to try to do here. Once you grasp the concept of the miniature transportation system, designing a layout to serve that system almost becomes second nature.

This is a learning process with a long learning curve. Today we are in Class Day One of Layout Design 101. It doesn't get much lower on the learning curve than that! But...it's gonna be a fun ride.

Rich Melvin

quote:
Hopefully, these concepts can be explained in a way that can be used on different sized layouts not just full basement layouts.
Good point, Chris. You do not have to build a monstrous layout to bring the miniature transportation system concept into play. I have a little 5' x 8' layout I built for my grandsons that has FOUR sidings for industry and two loops for running. You will see it in Run 245...our next issue.

Rich Melvin

I have a 5x9 layout. I have a siding/switching lead for my 364 loader. I can run cars to/from loader, and with an uncoupling track, switch cars on/off trains.

If I get tired of log cars, I an switch out my REA cars on my M&E trains, or in the modern area, use an Amtrak ALCO to switch cars in and out of my "SUNSET LTD."!

I run TMCC Conv. so the lead and the main on on different PowerMaster/PowerHouses. I use a few cars as a "extension", so the switcher does not cross blocks. A BPC is in the future.

The TEXAS SPECIAL:  The REAL RED streak of the golden prairies!

Rich...an excellent addition to the forum!

The concept of operating model trains prototypically is so often lost on many O gaugers. Some may not even be aware of the possibilities available to them.

The usual circle running is what is done and then the power is switched off and it's on to something else. Admittedly this can be fun for a while, but with the fine operating equipment we all enjoy these days, it really is very limiting to just run it round and round.

Hopefully this column will introduce folks to a new range of usage for their trains. Most of the smaller scale enthusiasts have known about and have been practicing realistic operations for decades, and the hobby has benefitted from this ever evolving concept in many ways. Quality control systems, and high performance locomotives and rolling stocks are entirely the result of operators demanding the better running qualities needed for realistic operation.

The ponderous motion of a heavy locomtoive slowly easing a string freight cars into a factory siding and gently uncoupling them is every bit as much fun as racing trains around in circles and generally more realistic since it is often what the real RR's do each day.

There are those whose space for a layout is very limited, and therefore models are simply displayed on a shelf. However, they may have the space to build a small shelf layout...no roundy round capability perhaps...BUT...carefully switching cars in and out of complex industrial sidings arranged along a wall of building flats could become an all consuming segment of this hobby for such individuals. It sure beats having no layout at all I would say.

Some may wish to keep them rolling in circles and this works for them, but turn the page and see what else is being done with model train...they are now being used as part of a model railroad!!

Again I think this forum is a very worthwhile addition here. Good going Rich!

Bob
Bob A,

I agree... maybe the RRT users could put a PDF file in addition to the rrt file.

If you select "print" in RRT and install CutePDF (free and high quality), it would be easy to include a pdf of the layouts.

I use XtrakCad so I don't get to see the rrt files.

Ed

Home of the Union Eastern, Thomaston & Williamstown Railroad

quote:
Originally posted by eddiem:
Bob A,

I agree... maybe the RRT users could put a PDF file in addition to the rrt file.

If you select "print" in RRT and install CutePDF (free and high quality), it would be easy to include a pdf of the layouts.

I use XtrakCad so I don't get to see the rrt files.

Ed


I have never been able to print to a pdf. Is it a RRtrack shortcoming or am I just not using the correct pdf software. I have PDF Suite
This discussion of RRT files and PDF files is an apples and oranges issue.

The "rrt" files posted here are RR-Track Layout files. They can ONLY be opened with the RR-Track software program, available here. Anyone can download the rrt files and save them to your computer someplace, however you won't be able to do anything with them unless you have RR-Track installed on your computer.

PDF files are a completely separate file format having nothing to do with RR-Track or this forum. Whether or not you can produce a PDF file is determined by whether or not you have the software to produce a PDF file installed on your computer. This is NOT something that is included within RR-Track, nor should it be.

There are a lot of free programs available to make PDF's. You do NOT need the $1,000 Adobe Creative Suite 4 to do this. If you Google "pdf creator" you will find a lot of free programs for making PDF's. Once installed, your printer choice menu will include an option for a PDF printer. You simply print to the PDF printer and you have a PDF file. Very simple, I do it literally every day. In fact, every page of O Gauge Railroading magazine is produced with PDF files.

Now, having said all that, I have found that there is one problem in printing PDF's from RR-Track, even when you DO have PDF creation software installed. To print a PDF from RR-Track, your PDF Printer must be set as your default printer in Windows. This is done via the Control Panel in Windows. RR-Track's print routine does not allow you to choose a printer from within RR-Track. Maybe this is something Russ will fix in a future release, but for now, if you want a PDF out of RR-Track, your PDF Printer MUST be set as the Default Printer in Windows. I do not know if MAC's suffer from this same issue.

To change your default printer in Windows, do this:

START > CONTROL PANEL > PRINTERS and FAXES
This will open a window that will show all the printers you have installed on your computer. One of them will have a check mark beside it. That is your "Default" printer. If you do not see your PDF Printer here, stop. That means you don't have a PDF Printer installed.


If you DO see your PDF Printer in the list, do this:
RIGHT-CLICK on the PDF PRINTER icon.
Choose "Set As Default Printer" and click it. That's it. You're done.

Close the control panel, open RR-Track and print your PDF.

Rich Melvin

Rich

Thanks for that info about the default printer. I didn't know that.

However, having done that, when I open RRTrack and go to print, it still is showing my HP printer.

I even rebooted my laptop but no change. When I look in control panel, the pdf software is shown as the default.

As much as I love RRTrack, printing functionality is a major weakness.
Hey this sounds like a good idea. But I am on a mac. I would like to buy and sell and talk to other members in real time. I also have plenty of photos and some videos on youtube that I think members would like. I don't know my way around the computer world. I think I have the reply to post down, only because there is a button that say's reply.I finished my 36X20 layout in december eleven months from 2x4's to scenic layout.
Good Morning Everyone,
First time to post on this forum, I want to thank everyone for a great forum and I'm really excited about starting a brand new Hi Rail layout. I'm totally new to this part of the hobby, I've always been interested in building a 3-rail layout using craftsman kits and running the layout in a prototypical manner. All of my previous doings in the model railroading hobby has been in N, HO, Sn3 and On30 and I dabbled in O scale 2 rail for a while. However, I've always in the back of my mind wanted to do something in 3-rail.

I'm really glad to find the layout design group, I'm looking forward to learning from everyone on the forum. Currently I don't have a lot of O Gauge equipment, I do have a large number of O scale craftsman kits so I'm pretty well set up in that part, I don't have a large room for a layout but I'm working on securing a larger area than I have for my future layout.

I figure since I'm a newbie to this type of layout building, I'm going to keep it more toward the simple style at first and once I get my feet wet and I'm a little more comfortable with what I'm doing, then I'll expand to a more complicated style layout with both running and lots of switching. Being a former SP switchman, I love switching and find it very enjoyable to do.

Looking forward to learning a lot. Thanks and have a good day.

J. Motts
sptrainnut

JEM

sptrainnut

TCA 12-67009

 

J.Motts....

WELCOME ABOARD!!! Any help that you may need, you will find here on the forum. This place is THE place to be as you progress toward your new layout. You may want to post over on the 3-rail forum to introduce yourself since I am sure there are many others that would like to welcome you.....

Thanks,
Alan

Looks good on first glance at lunch. Will play with it more tonight. As the youngsters I work with me say, Adjust, Pops, or be left behind!

Jim B&O, Ma & Pa., Canton, and WM

TCA '04, WB&A '05, MDOG '11

"Be happy. You never know how much time you have left"

Originally Posted by OGR Webmaster:
This discussion of RRT files and PDF files is an apples and oranges issue.

The "rrt" files posted here are RR-Track Layout files. They can ONLY be opened with the RR-Track software program, available here. Anyone can download the rrt files and save them to your computer someplace, however you won't be able to do anything with them unless you have RR-Track installed on your computer.

PDF files are a completely separate file format having nothing to do with RR-Track or this forum. Whether or not you can produce a PDF file is determined by whether or not you have the software to produce a PDF file installed on your computer. This is NOT something that is included within RR-Track, nor should it be.

There are a lot of free programs available to make PDF's. You do NOT need the $1,000 Adobe Creative Suite 4 to do this. If you Google "pdf creator" you will find a lot of free programs for making PDF's. Once installed, your printer choice menu will include an option for a PDF printer. You simply print to the PDF printer and you have a PDF file. Very simple, I do it literally every day. In fact, every page of O Gauge Railroading magazine is produced with PDF files.

Now, having said all that, I have found that there is one problem in printing PDF's from RR-Track, even when you DO have PDF creation software installed. To print a PDF from RR-Track, your PDF Printer must be set as your default printer in Windows. This is done via the Control Panel in Windows. RR-Track's print routine does not allow you to choose a printer from within RR-Track. Maybe this is something Russ will fix in a future release, but for now, if you want a PDF out of RR-Track, your PDF Printer MUST be set as the Default Printer in Windows. I do not know if MAC's suffer from this same issue.

To change your default printer in Windows, do this:

START > CONTROL PANEL > PRINTERS and FAXES
This will open a window that will show all the printers you have installed on your computer. One of them will have a check mark beside it. That is your "Default" printer. If you do not see your PDF Printer here, stop. That means you don't have a PDF Printer installed.


If you DO see your PDF Printer in the list, do this:
RIGHT-CLICK on the PDF PRINTER icon.
Choose "Set As Default Printer" and click it. That's it. You're done.

Close the control panel, open RR-Track and print your PDF.

Rich, thanks so much for clarifying the purpose and goals of the layout forum. The suggestion for RRT users to provide PDF's is a good one. I've been working with version 5.0 but hadn't tried printing so I wanted to test the process of creating a pdf of a track image. I'm on Windows 7 and when I access the file menu in RRT 5.0 there is a Print Setup option. I was able to select my PDF printer in that dialog and then use the print option to create the pdf file. It wasn't necessary to set the pdf printer as the default. Could be a difference in Windows versions. Here is an example. Not pleased with the color conversion so I'll need to tweak that a bit.

 

Steve

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Originally Posted by SantaFeJim:

KnobKnee -

 

Your track plan is one ob the best I have ever seen posted on this forum.  Good luck with it.

Thanks Jim. I'll likely post an update to my thread and plan this weekend. I don't deserve the credit. The folks on this forum have contributed so much to my knowledge base and my design.

 

Steve

As Matt Jackson says of the AGHR layout.  "going from point A to point A for 1/8 of a century.

 

My new layout will contain both A to A double track, and a third line which will have a terminal on both ends with many a interchange yard in between connecting all track as some point. the South Philly, Dixie and Western. 

I know where I have been, I know where I am at, I am hopeful I know where I am going.(The devil and God are talking it over).

Rich,

   I guess I always though all this was understood, thanks for all your efforts over the years, and Merry Christmas to you and  your family.

 

J Mott,

  Breakman welcome to the forum, lots of good people here, and great info also.

PCRR/Dave

Never worry about what other people think, be strong and walk in the way of the Lord.

Posting to this Forum for the first time.

As an experienced layout builder it is my opinion that "just running in loops" is perfectly fine for those whose idea of relaxation is to watch the trains run. I would guestimate that the majority of layouts out there, especially the smaller layouts, are built to do just that.

There are probably sidings on those layouts but they are built to send cars to the associated accessories or to store cars and not primarily to do switching.

 

It is also my opinion that the most fun for "operators" is to operate like a real railroad as much as possible. Sidings for storing trains, yards, sidings, switching, is the most fun I have. I do not see why we cannot incorporate some of each. My layout certainly does.

 

Scrapiron

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