Seven year layout drought is over! - SCARM layout design for Bonus Room in new home!

We are moving to Washington State later this year and right now the plan is to use half of the modest sized bonus room (13'x15') for my next layout.  My early designs really dominated the room, leaving no space for other uses.  But sanity has returned, and I scaled back the design to use half of the room.

The layout is in the far side of the room, opposite the entry door.  It butts up to windows that measure 7' wide.  The windows have blinds and don't get any direct sunlight.  The home is new construction with central air conditioning and heating.  The reach over layout to windows is 30". 

The front of the room has a large computer desk, built-in shelving, closet, and bathroom entry door.  There is room for a sitting/reading area.

My last layout used FasTrack, but I had severe rusting problems. So I started experimenting with MTH and Atlas nickel silver track systems. After the table is built, I plan to experiment with Gargarves and Ross.

This first track plan was designed to use the limited pieces I already have, which is mostly RealTrax and some Atlas. The lower level is RealTrax, including the switches I have already purchased. The upper level is Atlas, which was in short supply seven years ago, so no Atlas switches.

Five things I like about this design:

* All the track is NOT parallel to the table sides.
* There are "destinations" for the trains on either side of the U.
* Larger radius continuous running on the upper level.
* Two loops on lower level allow total of 3 trains to run continuously.
* Single track (for now) bridging the access aisle.

Thanks for looking, and please post any suggestions on how you would improve this plan.

SCARM file in zip folder attachment.

Alan

 3-D U-Shape Layout MTH RealTrax lower Atlas top level

 U-Shape Layout MTH RealTrax lower Atlas top level

She caught the Katy and left me a mule to ride...

 

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Congrats for planning ahead.

My 2 cents, which is worth every penny...

30" is a long way to reach to a window.  Even if you don't expect to need to open/close it, you will still need to clean it, and it may eventually need to be repaired/replaced (even new houses have defects).

Rust problems with your FasTrack were likely environmental, which hopefully won't exist in the new space.  Not criticizing your choice of track, but switching brands/types is unlikely to prevent rust.

If the bridge across the opening is fixed in place, it will create access issues for less-mobile people, and it will probably be bumped by visitors.  Can you make it removable?

The switch in the upper-right corner appears to create an access issue, between the reach and having a tunnel in front of it.

Great you have the space, but I would suggest a pause right now.  Once you are in the space try to mock up this layout as best you can and check reach.  Can you get to the areas you need to for construction, maintenance, scenery, derailments etc.  Running 3+ trains is cool, consider noise levels and your ability to monitor all that action.  As others have said here before there is an article about planning where the author suggests you create a list of "givens" and "druthers".  If there was a Pulitzer prize for model railroad writing, this is the one.  I would also suggest you do what I did with many a memo I had to write, put it aside for a day and see if you are still of that mind the following day.  If you are bring it to a trusted colleague for further review before committing to a course of action.

Mallard4468 posted:

Congrats for planning ahead.

My 2 cents, which is worth every penny...

30" is a long way to reach to a window.  Even if you don't expect to need to open/close it, you will still need to clean it, and it may eventually need to be repaired/replaced (even new houses have defects).

Rust problems with your FasTrack were likely environmental, which hopefully won't exist in the new space.  Not criticizing your choice of track, but switching brands/types is unlikely to prevent rust.

If the bridge across the opening is fixed in place, it will create access issues for less-mobile people, and it will probably be bumped by visitors.  Can you make it removable?

The switch in the upper-right corner appears to create an access issue, between the reach and having a tunnel in front of it.

Good points, thank you for taking the time to respond!

My original plan used a 24" reach along the back section in front of the windows, and the center access space was 72" by 36".   I am concerned about access to the windows and that section will have another purpose as well.   I plan to store my IKEA stereo console (71"w x 16"d x 19"h ) under the layout.   I'll be test fitting as I build and will make modifications as needed.

To get trains running ASAP once the bench work is built, this track plan uses the track pieces I already have.  I fully expect it will change, maybe drastically once I start  actually using the space.

I modded my layout drawing to show "Removable Swing Down Section".   May start with removable and morph into swing down.

Yes that upper right switch could be a issue.  I did save a version without the two switches that make the right side an independent loop.  Gotta love SCARM for making it so easy.  

Thanks!

She caught the Katy and left me a mule to ride...

 
necrails posted:

Great you have the space, but I would suggest a pause right now.  Once you are in the space try to mock up this layout as best you can and check reach.  Can you get to the areas you need to for construction, maintenance, scenery, derailments etc.  Running 3+ trains is cool, consider noise levels and your ability to monitor all that action.  As others have said here before there is an article about planning where the author suggests you create a list of "givens" and "druthers".  If there was a Pulitzer prize for model railroad writing, this is the one.  I would also suggest you do what I did with many a memo I had to write, put it aside for a day and see if you are still of that mind the following day.  If you are bring it to a trusted colleague for further review before committing to a course of action.

Thanks so much for taking the time to read and reply!

Noise is a concern and I have read many of the threads on the forum about track systems, roadbed, and surface materials.  I expect to go through a period of trying out different options.  Will take time and money but hey - I'm retired now and it's all fun! 

Alan

She caught the Katy and left me a mule to ride...

 
Kelunaboy posted:

 

 U-Shape Layout MTH RealTrax lower Atlas top level

On the lower level left side, you have a wye, which combined with your oval, can also act as a reverse loop.  On the upper right side at the tunnel area, you have what LOOKS like a reverse loop wye, but in fact is not.  If you can work in an extra pair of switches (just to the left of the tunnels on the parallel trackage should be one real easy spot), you can have an opposing reverse loop, which would allow you to change directions of a train at will.  As it stands now, you would have to perform a backing maneuver at the reverse loop on the left side.

Otherwise, you have the makings of a pretty nice and interesting track plan. 

Paul  

Ship Rock Island ROCKET FREIGHT

 

2 Rails?  3 Rails?  Doesn't matter, I can't count that high anyway.

I love the smell of fresh-brewed creosote first thing in the morning.

Because the upper loop is not connected to the main layout you could raise the elevated track to whatever height you want. 

Maybe consider eye level so you can have just a mild "duck you head" movement.

You could eliminate the aisle bridge altogether if you had a pair of matching elevated reverse loops just before the aisle.  Something like this:

Jeff's upper loops 004

Having just added an isolated eye level point to point R.O.W. with return balloons to my own layout,  there are times after a work session when I just like to watch my Triplex run, much like a mesmorizing fish tank.

Eternity is a long time to have been wrong.

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LTom Tee posted:

Because the upper loop is not connected to the main layout you could raise the elevated track to whatever height you want. 

Maybe consider eye level so you can have just a mild "duck you head" movement.

You could eliminate the aisle bridge altogether if you had a pair of matching elevated reverse loops just before the aisle.  Something like this:

Jeff's upper loops 004

Having just added an isolated eye level point to point R.O.W. with return balloons to my own layout,  there are times after a work session when I just like to watch my Triplex run, much like a mesmorizing fish tank.

Thanks for the ideas, very nice track work!

What track and switches are those?

Looks like you built it off layout?

Rasing the height could be done, but as long as the house “feels” new I’m not going too attach anything to the walls.  With that in mind the track supports could get a bit tall.

I’m with you on watching trains run, sometimes with the lights off...

Alan

 

She caught the Katy and left me a mule to ride...

 

I used 1 1/2" dowels as column support.  A fun toy train approach using MTH Scale Tracks.

Below are photos of the wiring and the opposite loop;

Jeff's upper loops 003

This elevated feature was built to accommodate trolleys, RDCs and Galloping Geese. 

Jeff's upper loops 002Jeff's upper loops 001

For my own layout I used a pair of these cookie cutter modules with spring operated Ross turnouts and GG track for an elevated eye level 70' length fun run.  I made a 4' X 8' LH and RH  balloon with half of the loop in a mountain:

IMG_8802

 

For support you can use wooden hanger rod cups mounted on the bottom of the sub roadbed plywood and top of platform.  I drilled a hollow void through the center of the column for the wire feed.  You can see by the cup pattern where the elevated line ran:

Shade tree photos 002 

 

 

Eternity is a long time to have been wrong.

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