Seeking ideas for Christmas layout revamp-- 16'x5' board!

Hi all, 

I want to make some changes to my 16'x5' Christmas table this year! I run three independent lines of FasTrack using DCS; two mainlines run the perimeter of my city area; and I had one line completely elevated last year. I didn't have much time to do bridgework and kind of pieced things together; I wasn't completely satisfied with my design. This year I will remove the yard from the lower portion to make room for city expansion, and I wanted to experiment more with the third line... I have the time this year to make a long truss bridge along the back wall-- I love seeing long bridges on folks' layouts. I have a NWSL chopper and plan to do the job with basswood, balsa and some extra aluminum siding I've been holding on to. The left side of the layout I want to be dedicated to a coal mine and some spurs for cars. I DO have access to the entire back wall (minus 3 feet of the top left corner) for construction and cleaning as needed. However, there is no room for expansion in any direction. Perhaps someone has an idea for a reversing loop under the table, but I'm not sure where or how I'd accomplish that. But I do find them extremely interesting! Here again is my checklist of what I want to do with the line:

-Elevated in entirety, or parts? 
-Coal mining area on the left side (tunnels are already made for the two mainlines, I have plenty of supplies and would not mind making more.) Area will be on a solid board, elevated above the lower level and tunnels.
-Truss bridge expanse somewhere in the back, to serve as the backdrop for the town!

Any suggestions are welcome appreciated.

PS- Take a look at the images for a clearer idea... I have the SCARM project file and image of what I'm working on presently, and there's also a photo I took during last year's construction. All of the black bridge work has been deconstructed and will be re-purposed. 

Cheers!

-Aaron
Warren, MI

Aaron B

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photo 4 [2)photo 4[2)You need miniature Christmas trees. Lots of them. Tons of them, in a wide variety of styles and sizes. They don't even have to light up, unless you are handy with such an effort. Select trees that have lots of sparkle to them, some even decorated with ornaments. Thus, you'll be give guests plenty to see, as a result, and plenty to be dazzled by, as well as yourself. You could even use some regular deciduous trees as I have utilized here, but give them some snowfall on them.

That's my opinion.

Oh, and you can slide in among the variety of Holiday trees various reindeer and elves and snowmen, and fill the landscape around and containing everything with temporary , fine snowIMG_1367bIMG_1464 (available thru Jim Elster's Scenic Express. You can vacuum the loose snow up after the Holiday is over.)

FrankM

P.S. The presence of trees, and even some low foliage, adds contrast to the hard edges of the track and buildings, thus, heightening visual interest when looking over the entire panorama.

P.P.S. And/or you can add a stream or pond giving it tons of glitter to help pretend it is water or frozen.12-22-12 426

Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge has limits.     Dr. W.Dyer

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You may want to consider posting all JPG. And inserting them into the text. (option appears after loading "sucess", check the new box before you hit "finish") Not all pdf open for everyone. (I struck out with three readers) SCARM is Windows only. Lots of Apple & Androids out there too. An Android doesn't always work on viewing from a thumbnail like that.

"Still trying to not shoot my eye out"

 

"Nursing insomnia one railcar at a time"

My aroma therapy? Smoke Pellets.

 





Aaron, do you already have plans and materials for your bridge?  I ask because Plastruct has a very nice O scale truss bridge kit, #3002 that lists for $39.95--it's 30" in length, but Plastruct states in its listing that it can easily be widened and lengthened

 

KIT-2.jpg

https://plastruct.com/shop/tra...-kits/3002-kit-3002/

FWIW, I made this kit in O scale before Plastruct offered it in that scale.  I purchased the HO scale kit, had the diagram/plans enlarged to O scale and purchased the equivalent materials.  Turned out extremely well IMHO.  I'm currently investigating how to lengthen the bridge since it was damaged at both ends during a move--if it needs repairs at the ends, why not investigate making it longer?

 

Carl

Adriatic posted:
You may want to consider posting all JPG. And inserting them into the text. (option appears after loading "sucess", check the new box before you hit "finish") Not all pdf open for everyone. (I struck out with three readers) SCARM is Windows only. Lots of Apple & Androids out there too. An Android doesn't always work on viewing from a thumbnail like that.

Christmas layout 2018

There we go!

Aaron B

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Hey, I spotted you're in Warren. I'm Downriver, just S. of 94&Tel. myself. Still "313"

And fyi, Frank's work is outstanding with a lot of deep thought applied if you aren't familar with it.... And to confuse us all thoroughly, so is moonMAN's (Carl)

  An under layout reverse loop will take away some area too. You'll need a about a 72-ish turnout to stay tight to the inner; or outer line( under the el line) for the grade(s)

If you run dcs in command mode it isn't as big a deal, but conventional and grades are work. As in throttle work. "Look Ma, no hands" looping in conventional needs block control to slow on a down grade or throttle up for a climb.  Or you have to really be on the ball for the downhill or risk rolling in the curve at the bottom 

  The size, 16x5 is pretty good, but it would take all of it and more to get a "good grade". And you will need two grades for a reverse loop in each direction. IMO it would be a lot of work in a short time to do it all and finish before Christmas unless you really hustle.

I have a 7" climb over 15' and that limits what locos can climb, and how much even my best, can pull up the grade (about 10 hoppers with a magnetraction pulmor E-33. Some smaller locos cant even make it alone)

    You will need about 7" of drop. I suggest you play with a grade for a day or two on the floor, testing your engines by pulling cars on a grade first, then decide.

   I was thinking the dark track was the el, but the spur sidings are "the yard" aren't they.. I thought that yard was ground level...?  

  I'm gonna stop here on that, till you set me straight.

  Three lines is easy enough to run, but four lines can be a bit much just in case your curious. I'm usually running 3 out of 4.

  IMO a double reverse loop is really the way to go. Right through the town too. No stubs, just stop for an unload. 

  I did a single reverse and was sorry it wasn't a double in a week. I'm a looper and the ability to reverse both directions without touching anything would have fit my style of running better.    My sidings are just eye candy, I don't really use them.  I kind of knew it too, but conned myself. I guess it was to make sure, eh? After all, I'm not a kid anymore.(on the outside )

  Actually I just watch the train. I was just as happy running on carpet. Diorama just happened to be something else I enjoyed as a kid. And my style is still toyish and abstract vs scale. I really only ever look at scenery when the train isn't running.

  The narcissistic turn in this is actually in hopes you consider your own style of running and building a bit more while you can.

"Still trying to not shoot my eye out"

 

"Nursing insomnia one railcar at a time"

My aroma therapy? Smoke Pellets.

 





Thank you for the thoughtful reply. Yep, I’m from the 586! 

So the darker gray region is the “upper” portion of the layout. I generally run all command control but I do have conventional engines. Which loop I run them on is not a big deal. On my pop’s old layout we ran all conventional (trains dating from the 60’s!) so we knew how finicky grades were... we decided on no grades. I have an “upper level” piece that goes over the tunnels on the left hand side of the layout. It is a 4x5 piece that covers that 4x5 table. I am now aware I might not have made that clear as per the photo! The prexisting yard was removed and I will not be using my turntable this year... wanted more room for the city to expand.

I, too, like running trains. I’m not much for yards, freight exchanges, etc. I’m more about scenery! I would like to designate the left elevated area a coal mine, and have a couple of spurs there for some coal cars. 

Cheers!

Aaron B

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