Howdy all,

New to the forum. Hopefully in the right spot. Looking to see others shelf layouts. Need some ideas on scenery to go with.

Just completed my shelf layout. Gargraves flex with O-54 fixed curves. 155ft of track. Had some issues with maintaining constant speed until I read and added a 14/2 buss wire. After installment of Gargraves feeder track pins, didn't like the gaps between the rails. So I just removed the black coating from center rail, and soldered wires directly to rail, then to buss wire.  Picked up a new MTH ES44AC. The onboard sound is new to me. More realistic now. After some scenery, plan to add an onboard camera and either pull power from a battery pack, or from rails. Also plan to add a fence around the layout as well. So if i do get a derail, will save the engine... and someones head.

My test design. Wooden dowels set in place with wood glue. 1/16th steel braided cable. Bought a 300 ft spool on ebay.. much cheaper than getting at local hardware store. Just trying to come up with an idea to attach cable ends to other sections cleanly as these are 4ft sections each. Still scratching the noggin.

 

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Looks nice.

  One way are barrel clamps. Find some with two tandem set screws. Thinner?Maybe uninsulated crimp connectors; thinner yet, metal tube and epoxy or solder.   If you can terminate in a pole, just butt two poles together.

   98%+ of my derailments happen to the outside of curves. I've had two divers; both before I perfected the track (old, graded). But not plastic locos and both were ok. The infrequency and perfecting trackwork stopped my railings from ever being put up. If I was going to sleep under it while running, I might add one overhead.

Captain Hindsight says; The railings could have been camouflaged bus wire. Depending on how you wired things, bus or just tracks, you might use them to fatten up your center rail side of the feed? It only has one rail worth of delivery ability vs the 2 outers

"Still trying to not shoot my eye out"

 

"Nursing insomnia one railcar at a time"

My aroma therapy? Smoke Pellets.

 





I personally wouldn't have made it in 4' sections.  I would have placed all the vertical poles and then run one wire through the whole things as it was a 300' spool.  Other then that I can't thing of anything that Adriatic didn't already say.

But I will say I love your idea and the look.  I may just steal it for my table top layout to keep the locomotives from dropping to the floor.  What size dowel rods did you use?  Could you share a sketch of hole locations and dowel spacing?

On my two high Mountain Cottage shelf 14x32 operations (1992-2009 RIP), I used 3-1/2 x 1/8 inch high plexiglass fence.  I bought 1/8"x 4x8 sheets and Lowe's cut the 3-1/2" wide strips for me on their upright panel glass cutter..I never had derailments as such but stringlinning derailment of 8-10 empty hoppers on the head end did occur at times on startup at curves. Mostly corrected by weighting first 8-10 cars with pennies. 

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In the last photo (above) just above, at the lower edge the plexiglas fence is friction-fitted between the stained window edge trim stop mold and the short blocks you see spaced along the lower track.   I eventually hid the wire runs and T-strips behind the Masonite riser panels all around the layout on the two stair-stepped tracks. 

I powered operations during the '90s  on the five tracks with 3 pw ZWs until TMCC installed and I switched over to five 180 watt PoHos linked to TPCs.  Fortunately I never had  an engine or car to hit the floor. Shelves were in the Domestic CEOs kitchen-breakfast room w/ 20" high ridge.

 

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A&Y RY[NC's Southern/N&W connector].

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The strips are 4" due to me cutting down a sheet of 4x8 white oak plywood in half to make my main planks / strips for shelf layout. Some of the left over pieces I cut down to 1/4" thick. Save wood, and money... Now I also thought about running the cable the length of the layout. I have not cut it yet into 4ft sections. Now these pieces ive come up with are only for the straight sections. I have several curved areas in layout.

Wood curves are cut to match the track. But if I go Premier with the engine I want to run, I may redo turns to O-72, as O-54 is the minimal. I don't want large amount of overhang. So i havent started making strips for the curved sections quite yet. Trying to pick between Imperial and Premier MTH Southern Pacific Daylight. Have same loco in HO...

Anyways...

Top pic... trying to show the installment of the next strip. Left the gap there for visual. But really, close the gap, then have correct 4" spacing between posts. Also a new MTH ES44AC i got from the LHS. Sound and pulling power!

Posts are 1/4" x 48" dowel rods I got from Lowes. Cut them down to 2" each. Then drilled the post holes with a jig and drill press. 1/4" down for top hole, 3/4" down for lower hole.  From the ends of the strip, start out with 2", 1/4" hole for post, then 4" after that for the length of the strip. That way, when i join up the next strip, my post spacing is the same.  Oh and the offset from edge of wood to center of post is 3/8". Then ill cut these down to 3/4" width and install on my layout, butted up against the cork.

I thought about the plexi glass idea... back when I was trying to get ideas... but little on the expensive side when I was pricing a sheet of it.

Lower pictures... idea on what it looks like on the layout, and my next obstacles.. the curves.

Forgot to add: posts are held in place with wood glue only. Add to end of post and the hole, wipe away excess. Once glue dries, its a solid hold.

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Tugboat15,

I really like your posts and wire.  It's going to add something attractive to the layout.  Adriatic always has a great idea, and the one about using the fencing as bus wire is another one.

My overhead layout has been finished for 3 years.  I have posted many times on shelf layouts, and I had the perfect situation for one in the basement entertainment room.  I considered fencing many times, but the only two times cars have fallen was because I was talking instead of watching.  Never had an engine fall, and no cars ever broken, just a few of those cheap plastic trucks.  I prefer a double-tracked system, and I run 2 MTH engines on each track, controlled by DCS, and powered by one PW ZW.

These pics should show how the layout was done, including supports, wiring, backdrops, lighting, and accessories.  Feel free to ask questions or make comments.

 

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Good luck and best wishes on your newest train project.

Jerry

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Very nice. Where did you find that background paper that looks like buildings / mountains? I also see some hidden lighting. Is that light rope?

Also good source for freight cars? I want some tankers, like those blue conrails. I seem to just find the rail king rugged rail series, and some of the tankers i find, are beat up.

The backdrops are from Backdrop Junction.  Two city segments and two wooded hill segments.  He has a large selection, and he custom printed them to be 7 1/2 inches high.  I prefer the vinyl without the self-adhesive.  I used velcro to hang them, and spray glued a card stock backing to give them more support.  I think they came in 5 fifteen foot rolls.  If you give him a call, he is really good at adapting your choices to your sizes.  He printed three more large ones for my table layout, and they all look great.  Here is one behind an old shelf siding, and another atop the upper-level mall.

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Yes, the lighting is rope light.  They plug in to a regular outlet, so no extra wiring or voltage drop from the mains.  Since the layout is double-tracked and close to the ceiling, they can't be seen unless you get on a step stool.  They give a nice striated effect, which I like better than LED's.

By far the best deals in freight cars is Menards.  They have a large and growing collection.  I know what you mean about the blue Conrails.  I'd love to find a couple more, but they seem unavailable or outrageously priced.  Not sure why.

Jerry

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Thanks for the info. 

After work, I'll get on and look at what all is available. 

Just got DCS remote commander to work. Not plug n play like older engines.

Maybe I'll add a double line in the future. At the time during planning, didnt know about Gargraves track. Until I ran across a post on this site. 

Come from running mainly HO, and a coffee table N Scale layout. 

Track really cut costs way down... and made for a longer run. 

Nick

That sure looks like a fun basement Jerry. I can smell the air of the hockey table from here. The Ten Pin game in the corner being used as a table is killing me though. The last I played one was the long lower version; but they had both; and it was at the oddest backwoods hidden, gravel two track access log cabin pub ever... must have been off a snowmobiles route or something....Simlar amount of wood decor but with tall ceiling and errie wild game heads from all over the world hanging from the ceiling everywhere. Most with open mouths and teeth bared. Tasmanian devel, ram, bobcat, wolf, coyote, shreiking monkeys and purple faced baboon, coiled snakes etc. all on a system of rope and pullys that allowed them to be lowered from behind the bar to sit at face to face level at tables, right above your plate. An over the shoulder distraction was "risky" at "Worth's" "Were you did get your money's worth" ....fire Also where Gramps usually met up with locals for train deals. Good times, good times

"Still trying to not shoot my eye out"

 

"Nursing insomnia one railcar at a time"

My aroma therapy? Smoke Pellets.

 





Assume you're talking about the Menard's selection.  Metal wheels, plastic trucks.  Can't beat the price....

Here's an older pic.  All the cars are Menard's.

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Pulling power depends on what you have, engines and grades.  I normally pull 20 cars per consist.  My own experience is that the cars have more trouble than the engines.  Most guys put their heaviest cars closest to the engine.  Some add extra weight (to the cars) to keep them from derailing around curves when they are pulling many other cars behind them.  I have seen engines pulling 70+ cars on a flat grade.

Jerry

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JerryG posted:

Assume you're talking about the Menard's selection.  Metal wheels, plastic trucks.  Can't beat the price....

 

Only the 10" flatcars and the new gondolas have plastic trucks. Everything else is die-cast trucks (the 14" flatcars even have roller-bearing trucks with rotating bearing caps).

Plastic wheelsets don't exist in the Menards' lineup. Rolling qualities are very good (I pulled a 30-car train of the 10" flatcars with a starter-set 0-8-0 steamer--no problems at all). You might find some examples of diecast trucks with dislodged axles that don't roll too well, in which case shoving the axle end back into the recess in the truck sideframe where they belong should cure this (the axles are a somewhat loose fit in the diecast truck frames)

---PCJ

My YouTube videos

"Wait... Why am I rolling? Am I moving or are the trees moving? What'd you say about my brakes? Youtookoutmywhaaat?

Holy Cow I Can't Staaahp!!"

--MAD's Thomas the "Unstoppable" Tank engine

Doing a trial run with LED strip light.  At 100% brightness level. Very cool effect. Daughter now wants train, and the lighting in her room. So looks like Ill be doing an expansion soon.  I haven't looked yet, but who makes a good cross track section?

Yeah.. thanks for telling me about Menards. I have about 400.00 or so on freight wish list. Waiting on a bulk of tankers to arrive. Trying to limit what I buy, although its hard, since in October, MTH suppose to release new loco and psngr cars of the SP daylight.

Have a business trip coming up in 2 weeks. Always search for what is around.  Be in Indiana for a week. Found out ill be near Mr. Muffin's trains. Def going to make a stop there. Wish I had the space for that size of a layout.

 

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I'm up north near Noblesville Indiana for work this week. Found a few Menards, but no luck with the freight. Is there any way to see what stores have stock?  Didn't want to ship to store, then if any ship delay, seem like a mess to get them sent back home. Not sure if most or all stock was online order only.

Thanks

Nick

We produce 1" deep shadowboxes that range in height from 8" to 12" that are ideal as backdrops for shelf layouts. They can be constructed as shallow as 3/4" and still be viable for lighting. We can also produce just them as flats if you have extreme depth limitations. The flats are about 1/4" deep. 

Our StreetScape Series 1 is just about sold out. Only a few of the S1-6 3-story 6" x 9" (right end) shadowboxes remain.

We are currently producing our StreetScape Series 2 of shadowboxes in time for York in October. This shadowbox set of buildings ranges in height from 3- to 5-stories. Only ten of each building will be produced.  Like Series 1, Series 2 will consist of six buildings: S2-1 3-story 6" x 9" (left end), S2-2 5-story 8" x 12", S2-3 3-story 4" x 8", S2-4 4-Story 6" x 9", S2-5 3-story 4" x 8" and S2-6 3-story 6" x 9" (right end). As with all of our shadowboxes, each has individual floors and ceilings. The unlit set is priced at $255.00. A lit set, with every floor individually lit, is priced at $355.00. You have your choice of clear or translucent windows when you place your order. 

If you are interested in placing an order, reach out to me directly at the shop and/or place an order on-line. We are running a York early order discount through September 17. By entering YORKF18EARLYORDER10% as the coupon code when you check out, you will see the 10% savings.

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StreetScape shadowboxes, 6" to 9" tall

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Union Pacific Trackside Warehouse, 7-1/8" tall in 12" long interlocking sections, can be made as long as you need, can be made with windows on both floors (no loading dock that sticks out about 12").

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Well, while new engine out for warranty work, got a few pieces of o63 and o74 track to see the difference.

With the 70' passenger cars.. only 1/8" less from inner rail to edge of car. For right now, not going to change all the curves in layout. As of right now, only one area is going to be modded. Make a straight section instead of 2 almost back to back o54 curves to avoid studs. 

Oh and I got a 6 pack of Menard's tankers, and one motton salt.... should have left the zip ties on trucks... when removed... they were so loose.. had to dismantle 4 of 6 car's and tighten the screws.

Working on fencing right now.20181004_20003020181004_19594120181004_202215

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Engine has been out for warranty repair work. The main board went out as what ive been told by the tech. On our last week, so hopefully next week, I have engine on its way back to me.

But in the meantime, got a request to keep train within one room at night.  So, got me a pair of Ross 100, 101 switches with z1000s , and some Gargraves O-72 sectional track. Just finished one side today. One to go.   Would have been much easier to have done this in the beginning. Still have some painting and tunnel entrance work to do.

For those of you with switches. How do you power them? I thought about feeding off buss wire, but was told 18v may cause them to bounce after switching sides. Whats out there, or something easy to make to drop down voltage 3-4 volts?

Also need a drop down for passenger cars / caboose. For me, looks much better with some light, vs. full brightness all the time. Was thinking of adding in a small adjustable pot. But maybe someone has come up with something, so thought I would check.

Thanks.

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Tugboat and Mark,

I only had room for one siding.  It's a nice long one, though.  I had a space along one wall for a 12 inch wide board (11 1/2), while all the rest are 10 (9 1/2) inches.  The small yard is three 10 inchers, doweled, glued, and clamped together.   Also, I only needed a total of four switches.

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Five years ago, I only had Lionel 022 switches.  I used these three for the yard, plus one Gargraves switch for the siding.  I have since used only Ross switches for my table layout expansion.  Here are the controllers, located in a corner, underneath the yard.   They are simply threaded off the wood and through the louvers.  It's pretty dark under there, so you don't notice the wires.  Otherwise, I would pull them back out of sight.  They are all powered directly, all the way back to one of the two ZW auxillary power posts.  There are no issues with "bouncing."  Naturally, that wire is on top, out of sight.

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If you mean a "drop down for passenger cars/caboose" is a way to step down lighting in your cars, I recommend Gunrunner John's module, which can be found at Henning's Trains.  I replaced all of my 10 passenger cars lights with those modules, and LED light strips.  Takes a load off my mainlines power demands. 

I love shelf layouts.  

Jerry

 

 

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GunRunnerJohns modules are pretty slick and sanitary. It should steady lights as well, no flicker.

Another simpler approach would be diodes (or bridge rectifier=4 diodes) like this... +&- are connected.  The end result is still ac like used this.sketch-1539477491275

Diodes alone just need to oppose each other, with legs connected. 2 diodes for each small .7v drop (each handles ½ an ac wave, + or -). Pairs get chained in series for a total.

"Still trying to not shoot my eye out"

 

"Nursing insomnia one railcar at a time"

My aroma therapy? Smoke Pellets.

 





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Oh, you won't need 10amp.

Add bulb amps, choose well over that for cooler diodes. Likely not 2amp used, but 4amp is a nice size to work with imo. Check heat CAREFULLY after a few minutes to decide on saftey laying on plastic etc. Diodes get HOT and can burn your fingers.

Switches, I've never measured a draw on, but have used 4a myself.  They aren't super active so stay really cool in general.

"Still trying to not shoot my eye out"

 

"Nursing insomnia one railcar at a time"

My aroma therapy? Smoke Pellets.

 





JerryG posted:

Tugboat15,

I really like your posts and wire.  It's going to add something attractive to the layout.  Adriatic always has a great idea, and the one about using the fencing as bus wire is another one.

My overhead layout has been finished for 3 years.  I have posted many times on shelf layouts, and I had the perfect situation for one in the basement entertainment room.  I considered fencing many times, but the only two times cars have fallen was because I was talking instead of watching.  Never had an engine fall, and no cars ever broken, just a few of those cheap plastic trucks.  I prefer a double-tracked system, and I run 2 MTH engines on each track, controlled by DCS, and powered by one PW ZW.

These pics should show how the layout was done, including supports, wiring, backdrops, lighting, and accessories.  Feel free to ask questions or make comments.

 

100_0743

100_0655

 

 

 

 

JerryG posted:

The backdrops are from Backdrop Junction.  Two city segments and two wooded hill segments.  He has a large selection, and he custom printed them to be 7 1/2 inches high.  I prefer the vinyl without the self-adhesive.  I used velcro to hang them, and spray glued a card stock backing to give them more support.  I think they came in 5 fifteen foot rolls.  If you give him a call, he is really good at adapting your choices to your sizes.  He printed three more large ones for my table layout, and they all look great.  Here is one behind an old shelf siding, and another atop the upper-level mall.

 

 

Yes, the lighting is rope light.  They plug in to a regular outlet, so no extra wiring or voltage drop from the mains.  Since the layout is double-tracked and close to the ceiling, they can't be seen unless you get on a step stool.  They give a nice striated effect, which I like better than LED's.

By far the best deals in freight cars is Menards.  They have a large and growing collection.  I know what you mean about the blue Conrails.  I'd love to find a couple more, but they seem unavailable or outrageously priced.  Not sure why.

Jerry

Jerry like you layout look and my favorite =Newcastle beer neon sign.

 

George

Yeah, George.  Thanks.  It used to be my favorite.  Too bad they farmed out US distribution to Holland.  You can't replace that water in England.  The Holland beer sucks.  On the other hand, Bass Ale finally figured out that New York state water wasn't up to par.  Now that Bass has changed to New Hampshire, it is back to tasting like real Bass Ale.

Jerry, Thank you for showing us your siding and yard before putting it up on the wall.  My mistake was building these shelves on the wall, then adding track and wires.  It has been a literal pain in the neck!  I just ran trains on it a few minutes ago.  The inner loop has to be abandoned for a siding on two walls.

Jerry, mine is 6 3/4” from the ceiling.  It is as low as I could put it and get it above the door in a 7 1/2 foot high ceiling in the downstairs family room.  This house is 50 years old, but you would think they would put just one more corse of blocks in the basement level.

I built it with the same method as all my layouts.  Put in a sturdy shelf, then lay track.  I didn’t think it through!  LOL

I put together a shelf layout in my loft which is 2 track around a 25x25 room with one double bridge across entrance where I run my long trains, my lower layout is an E shaped 13x21 which has 060 and 048 radius fasttrack, the shelf is 042 and 036 made with gargraves flextrack.IMG_0589IMG_1661

Paradise & Pacific Railroad

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I looked up the Johns module. Little pricey. And adds up quick doing all my passenger cars.  I may try the diode method in one car for a test.  Do you have a number code for them?

Switches to buss line. Check.

My layout is 11.5" ceiling to base of wood. Wish my ladder had half steps. Be perfect for cleaning track, adding in new sections. Sucks to slouch over while working, adjusting, thinking...

Finished install of other side in the room. But ran out of cork ... Still able to test run old engine around the closed loop with a few cars. 

Now I can finally start working on the fencing around the whole thing. 

 

John, Yours looks great!!  Better woodworking craftsmanship than mine for sure, but mine is in a dark basement family room, so even my wife wasn't concerned.

Tugboat, I hear you about wishing you had half steps on the ladder.  I wish the same for my 7 1/2 foot ceiling.  I have the same slouching problem.  At first I used a three step aluminum step ladder, now I use a three step folding aluminum platform that is about 15" wide and 3 feet long.  It is much safer, but still is a few inches too high for ease of my neck and back.

Mark:  Wow.  Nice pics.  Cool boxcars.  I see what you mean.  Yours is really close to the ceiling.  It looks like you're running with no roadbed.  How is the sound with the trains going by?

Ron:  Nice to have both layouts in the same room.  Can you post more pics?  Especially, that double bridge over the entrance, but, the table layout, too.

 

Here are two videos I finally took last week.  I prefer short videos.  The focus of these two are the trains themselves.  The poker group loves watching them go by and so do I.  Hopefully, these show what the whole layout looks like.  You can't see the spur, which is 20 feet long and runs to the small yard over the fireplace.

About 200 ft of gargraves, all DCS, one PWZW, one TIU.   I still have our two original ZW's from the 50's.  Bought another one last year because the table layout has gotten so large.  They all run like champs. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YqBnwltM8tI 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yxOyPFM76Do

Jerry

 

 

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