Hi Dave, I am still following your progress. To me the layout priority seems unclear. The challenge is the space the upper reverse loop consumes. If it were not there the size of the center peninsula with the yard and roundhouse could be greatly increased. Were it my layout I would move that loop by extending the upper track across the bridge as a double decked arrangement then stack the two reverse loops in the lower left of the layout. Of course the last thing I want to do is make more design work for you with these comments.

Tom

Tom,

Never worry about causing me more work, I truly don't mind and enjoy the process.

I understand your suggestion and we've tried that on a different layout where it didn't work out. Here though, I don't want to change Bob's design too much until he chimes in. You did give me a slightly different idea to get more space. I'm not sure why one reversing loop is larger than the other, so I simply made the upper loop smaller and moved it further to the right. I didn't change the baseboard yet, but you can see how much space it frees up.

I can also get more space by expanding the blue and green ovals, but that might result in too much of the blue line being covered. I'm waiting on Bob to comment on that.

dejohn 2019-08-10 alt

 

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Dave, just for a reference point I pulled the dimensions that go with my layout pictures. The TT is 22" diameter, the RH is 24" deep. the tracks into the RH are 9.5" from pit wall to RH door. The angle between each stall is 9 degrees. The total distance from the points of the turnout to the back of the RH is 9'. Fewer stalls would not affect this dimension. There is no extra distance at all. The engines barely clear each other by the coaling tower. Upscaling by 64/48 it would take 12' to build it in O scale.  Using curved rather than numbered turnouts might save 6"; using a RH with a larger angle between stalls so it could be closer to the TT pit might save another 6".

Tom

Thanks, Mark. I just wish the area around the roundhouse wasn't so close to the edge of the peninsula. Even though I "think" the footprint is accurate, we won't know for sure until Bob has the equipment in his possession and can lay things out on the floor, table or something. He's not going to be able to build the bench work on the end of the peninsula until he knows for sure it's all going to fit as it does in SCARM. From the outer edge of the 34" turntable to the rear wall of the roundhouse is almost 8' and the whole section is almost 4' wide with the whisker tracks.

temp

 

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DoubleDAZ posted:

Tom,

Never worry about causing me more work, I truly don't mind and enjoy the process.

I understand your suggestion and we've tried that on a different layout where it didn't work out. Here though, I don't want to change Bob's design too much until he chimes in. You did give me a slightly different idea to get more space. I'm not sure why one reversing loop is larger than the other, so I simply made the upper loop smaller and moved it further to the right. I didn't change the baseboard yet, but you can see how much space it frees up.

I can also get more space by expanding the blue and green ovals, but that might result in too much of the blue line being covered. I'm waiting on Bob to comment on that.

dejohn 2019-08-10 alt

 

Dave,

You can change the layout any way you want. I am open to all suggestions. Once we see all the designs then we will have the forum vote for the best one for my space. Did I tell you the reason I have a second level is for a logging area?  I have a Shay and several logging accessories. Thank you.

Bob

 

Bob, I don't believe you did, but I may have missed it. Either way, that suggests the upper level will be on a separate deck that will cover parts of the main level. Right now it's only elevated 6" and that's not going to be enough to reach under to deal with problems. Even with a higher elevation, you'll likely need some removable hatches in the reversing loops. Here's a version with the deck and tracks elevated 12".

dejohn 2019-08-10 alt 

dejohn 2019-08-10 60 alt3d

 

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Hi Dave and Bob. Thought I would post this scale drawing of the structure of my layout in the room. At the maximum dimensions the layout is 17’x21’. Looking at the aisles the narrowest spot is 28” except for the very end of the one aisle. Some parts are 32” and the entrance area is 46” to accommodate the swing gate. The room walls follow the outside perimeter of the layout except at the swing gate.

I have been operating the layout for over 2 years now so I can comment on the space. At 28”+ this feels very tight and confining but works for three people operating trains. It is relatively easy for 2 people to pass each other. At max there have been six visitors inside the layout but only I was operating anything. I do not feel 24” would have worked for the aisle width.

One of the reasons this layout arrangement works is there is no control panel of any kind. It runs with Legacy and a comprehensive LCS installation. I have an iPad with the LCS on it for each operator and an iPhone or a Cab2 for each. The control cart is hidden under the peninsula, access is not required for operation. It holds all the transformers and power supplies.

There are 4 indicator panels built into the edge of the layout. These have block occupancy detection, turnout point clearance indication and a redundant turnout position indication for all hidden tracks. The layout has hidden track, reverse loops and a storage yard. Without these operation with hidden tracks would be much harder.

The layout has 4 levels of track but only one place, the peninsula, where it is double decked. The peninsula is 70” wide and the upper deck is 32” wide. The clearance is 12”, exactly as Dave recommends.

I think Bob’s layout looks good, especially with the 3D views. Ultimately the layout needs to match the operating desires of its owner, not us commenters.73F99DCF-6E07-48ED-BFC0-A2B31E89F164

Tom

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TrainHead posted:

Dave,

Do you think I should add track to the lower level by my stairs? We would need to get rid the cross over (lower level) and the bascule bridge on the upper level.

I love the 3-D view of the layout.

Thanks,

Bob

Do you mean something like this?

dejohn 2019-08-14 60

dejohn 2019-08-14 60a

dejohn 2019-08-14 60b

 

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Bob, I’m with you. IMHO, you’ll be operating from the larger open space and the aisles on both sides of the peninsula are just for access to deal with problems. One thing we haven’t discussed is what operating system you’re going to use and where you’re going to put a command center, if any.

My layout is an around-the-room with a center peninsula.  on the entrance side (with lift up) the aisle is 3 feet wide by 24 feet.  It is the intended viewing area and has stools to sit on.  Two people can pass the space.  Around the end of the peninsula and other side, the aisle is 2 feet wide which is enough for one person to operate and work on the layout but not pass another person..

One thought to remember is that you need to have sufficient space for viewers to stand, turn around, and move about.  You have about 24 sq. ft. which will allow 4 to stand comfortably.  You still have space in the aisles.

Are your stairs open to the train room.  It would be a great place for kids to view the trains!

Jan

Bob, the brown decking in the photos I posted on 8-14 shows what will be covered unless you have something else in mind. You may have problems reaching some things even though I increased the separation to 12". Most affected is the crossover beneath the upper reversing loop. However, as the layout is currently configured, you can actually do away with the crossover. It was only needed if you elected not to include the shortcut between the yard and turntable.

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Bob,

No, just the long run to the short sidings for a logging operation. I see I should move the bascule bridge to the scrap yard siding up top and put a girder bridge where it was in the reversing loop. I haven’t paid much attention to those things while we were working on the basic track configuration.

I did another version with the reversing loop moved from the lower left to the lower right. This upper level is for a Shay to service a logging operation and I didn't like the long run along to bottom from the reversing loop to the 2 sidings. To me, the Shay would have had to back all that way to pick up and drop off. Putting a siding inside the reversing loop gives a longer run and makes it easier to service a single siding, though a 2nd siding could be added easy enough.

I think Bob is on the fence as to which size turntable to use and which design to build. I have no experience with ether turntables or roundhouses and can only use the measurements I've been given. Assuming all those have been correct, the space allows for sizes 28" through 34" by simply changing the length of the lead and whisker tracks. If he uses the smaller TT, he can shrink the bump-out a bit, but since he has a 30" engine that he wants to be able to put in the roundhouse, I think it's a no-brainer to go with the larger TT. He could probably get away with a 30", but why take the chance? I think this design maximizes the use of the available space and gives him everything he's asked for.

dejohn 2019-08-14 60 alt

dejohn 2019-08-14 60 alt 3d

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I remeasured some key dimensions on my own layout for input here. Looking at the upper logging plan I recommend the height above the lower layout be 15". My center peninsula, very similar to the one here is 6' across. there is a second deck above the center of it that is 32" wide, open on 3 sides but 10" above the lower level. It is dark under it and feels claustrophobic. There is another section along a wall that has a 15" separation. the extra 5" is literally night and day. I recommend 40" and 55" heights. Also except where the reverse loops are keep the upper deck as narrow as possible, 12" but no more than 15". This would allow some parallel switching sidings along the main line as well.

It looks like the lower yard and turntable is optimized. I would connect the track coming from the four sidings at a point on the lower side of the layout well past the current yellow to blue interchange connection. This would allow storage of a fully made up train off the mainline. To access the blue line the train would need to make a loop around the yellow line after exiting the yard.

Just some thoughts from living with my own layout for 2 years now.

Tom

Tom, if you look at the 2nd photo in my post on 8-14, you’ll see there’s another crossover just past the bridge. The yellow and blue are dual mains and the yellow is not intended to be an assembly/storage track, though it can be used as such when desired. The crossover spacing is so there is a runaround for when Bob wants to run clockwise. The only way to run clockwise is to pull cars out of the yard, place them on the yellow track between the turnouts, then runaround to pick them up from the front. Then the process will have to be reversed to push them back into the yard.

When it comes to spacing between levels, TrainRoomGary has found 18” to be optimal on his triple deck layout and that’s what I’ve suggested to others. I only placed it at 12” as a minimum here to point out to Bob that 6”-7” won’t work as originally drawn. 15” might be a good compromise though, it’s all up to Bob.

Thanks Dave, I went back and looked at those plans. I assumed since there were no reverse loops on the lower level trains would always run counter clockwise.

18" is better than 15" if the space works.  I do not like the top of the cars and engines to be higher than eye level. So that says the top of the trains must be less than 60". Subtract 5" for the roadbed, track and train height the table height is 55" off the floor. If the bottom level is 40" high and the thickness of the upper deck structure is 3" (a 1"x3" plus a 1/2" plywood) that leaves 15" clear between the  2 levels. In my world the lower level would have to be 37" high to get 18" clear space. Were me and my operating friends all 6'-4" then I could make the layout higher!!!

This is mostly personal preference. As long as the owner is satisfied then all is well.

Tom

I am a little over 5'-10" and my eye level is 65" in bare feet. The top of my trains on the highest track is 54" I find this works for me but would not want it any higher; the upper passenger yard is 6 tracks wide and that makes it harder to see across. Were it just one track near the edge it could be a couple inches higher.

My wife's eye level is 58" and the upper level track is too high for her to look at comfortably. She cannot see the trains on the passenger station tracks beyond the first track.

Everyone's preference on how they want to look at their layout is different. I prefer a slight downward view but many like to have their track near eye level. I think that because of the depth of the reverse loop portions of the upper level having the layout plywood top at 50" would work for you. I would recommend a lower level table height of 35" as a compromise of getting barely adequate separation from the upper level and also not having the lower level too low.

I found testing these heights by drawing lines on the wall did not work well. The lines seemed low. When the room filling layout was installed including scenery that varied from 3" to 18" above track level plus the backdrop that extends to 7' everything seemed much higher and I am frequently looking slightly up at the scenic elements that are part of the layout. It became a very immersive experience to be in the train room.

Tom

Yes I prefer viewing trains up close so High is better.  Now that it is harder to bend down layouts at train shows are harder to view especially the smaller scales (not to criticize smaller scales, as I built HO and N scale layouts when I was a lot younger 

Bob, no matter how you slice it, you're going to have to compromise on the view. Your height actually has little to do with it because no matter how short or tall, you still have 12" to 18" between levels to deal with. Your eye level is going the be around 60". If you start with the main level at 40", the upper level will  be between 52" and 58". But that doesn't count the height of the trains that are about 4.5" tall, so you're really talking 56.5" to 62.5".

IMHO, anything over 15" is too high, especially when the train is going through the reversing loops. Otherwise the train will be along the wall, so being able to see over it is a moot point. And, when it comes to the loops, I'm not sure that's a big deal either. Looking at my latest design, I changed the location of the siding in the bottom loop. I'd run through it by taking the 1st turnout to go around the loop, stop past the 2nd turnout and back up to service the siding. that way even at 55", you'll be able to watch the action.

And when it comes to the view, I changed the location of the lower right crossover so the turnouts weren't covered by the upper level decking. I added a siding in the upper right off the blue main to make use of that space below the upper level. I relocated the siding beneath the upper level loop and added a passing siding along the yellow run so the siding could be serviced without blocking the yellow main. There are 3 turnouts covered by the upper decking, but if you place the landscaping on a pop-out section, you'll be able to access them fairly easily. I added a few more buildings too, but didn't have the ones shown in your drawing. If you'll send me the basic measurements for length, width and height, I can create some objects to better show placement. Oh, and I a.dded a river, but only on the upper level

dejohn 2019-08-14 60 alt2

 

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Bob, here are the changes you asked for. I added a 2nd siding on the main level in the upper right. i wasn't sure how far apart you wanted them, so I just added a 5.5" track to give them some separation. The main elevation is now 36" and the upper elevation is 54".

Complete layout
dejohn 2019-09-11 daz

View of main level without upper level
dejohn 2019-09-11 daz-main

3D view
dejohn 2019-09-11 daz-3d

 

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I am very very very  happy with this layout!!!!!! You did a phenomenal job!!!!!! You should be very proud of yourself.

Is the diameter of the TT 34 or 30 in this drawing? Also, is there anyway you can get one or two more tracks in the siding you just created on the man level?

I believe 5.5 from center rail to center rail is standard, but I am not sure.

Also, what do you think about the height of the tables? Do you foresee any major problems? I believe my ceiling height is 84 inches.

Bob,

Thank you, but the layout design is yours, I just converted it from your drawing and added some changes based on what would fit in SCARM and those suggested by others. Here's the latest version.

dejohn 2019-09-13 daz

opt1

 

Anyway, I don't see any problem with the heights, but a lot of folks believe 36" is too low. My Christmas layouts have been around 36", but I like to look down and take in the full view whereas others like them at eye level. If I want to view at eye level, I simply pull up a chair and sit down. The thing is that when you visit layouts around the country, especially the large ones like Chi-Town Union Station in MI and NorthlandZ in NJ, you'll find sections at all levels, from knee high to way over your head. For many, it's a matter of how much they can bend over or duck under. As we age, it becomes harder to get beneath a 36" table to fix wiring,etc. When the table is 36", that means there's only 32" or less clearance under it. Personally, I think you'll be fine with any heights, 36/18 to 40/15. Bear in mind that the only place the amount of separation between levels will be somewhat important is under the reversing loops. The 36/18 gives you a viewing height for the Shay of 54" and I don't think you'd want to go any higher than that. That's why I say to use 15 if you go with 40.

The TT is 34". As I've said, there isn't a 30" TT in the SCARM library, so if you're now leaning toward the 30", I can only use a circle to represent it. And I misspoke earlier. I looked at the layout again and if you go with the 30, the roundhouse and it's whisker tracks will have to be moved 2" closer to the TT or the ends of the whiskers will overlap each other. And, rather that lengthen the lead tracks on the left, the TT could be moved 2" to the left. That would shorten the peninsula by 4". Also, don't forget that no matter which one you chose, there will be some adjustments needed as you build, especially where tracks need to be custom cut to length.

opt1

opt2

Technically, there is no standard for enter-to-center clearance because it all depends on the engines you plan to run and their overhang, particularly steamers. 5.5" is a good all around compromise, but I believe there are some large articulated engines that need 6", if not more, depending on the design of the layout. The biggest problem area is where 2 such engines meet on a curve. Atlas O-72 turnouts are 5.5" and I suspect that's may be where the 5.5" comes from. However, their #5 turnouts are only 4.5" and Ross #11s are only 4.25". In any case, as things stand, you won't have any problems with clearance that I can see.

I'm not sure what you have planned for the extra spurs in the upper right on the main level,, but here are 2 options. Opt 2 is a bit more problematic because the turnouts are further back and will be more difficult to reach. It is more elegant and provides more storage.

opt1

opt2

 

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Personal opinion, I like the ladder style better. It gives more track space but less scenic space. Since this is under the upper level the loss of scenic space should not be a problem. I am always short of yard space when I operate.

Regarding layout height as I commented before it is a personal preference item. My layout's main structure level is 39" The rail is then 40" to 41" high due to the scenery and roadbed thickness. Rail height is what determines how your trains appear to your eye. The 6' long section that holds the river and bridge crossings is 35" high. My highest level of track is 52", top of scenery is 68" and top of backdrop is 80". The layout seems higher to the eye than it really is because so much detail is above eye level. Either 36"/18" or 40"/15" will work. Were this my layout I would use 38"/16". Reason is based on my living with my own layout for two years. The O gauge trains are taller and the track height is much higher than my scale profile S gauge track. I would also consider supporting the upper reverse loop sections on thin posts to eliminate the 1"x3" framing on those layout sections.

I think you have the start of a great layout here.

Tom

AmFlyer posted:

Personal opinion, I like the ladder style better. It gives more track space but less scenic space. Since this is under the upper level the loss of scenic space should not be a problem. I am always short of yard space when I operate.

Regarding layout height as I commented before it is a personal preference item. My layout's main structure level is 39" The rail is then 40" to 41" high due to the scenery and roadbed thickness. Rail height is what determines how your trains appear to your eye. The 6' long section that holds the river and bridge crossings is 35" high. My highest level of track is 52", top of scenery is 68" and top of backdrop is 80". The layout seems higher to the eye than it really is because so much detail is above eye level. Either 36"/18" or 40"/15" will work. Were this my layout I would use 38"/16". Reason is based on my living with my own layout for two years. The O gauge trains are taller and the track height is much higher than my scale profile S gauge track. I would also consider supporting the upper reverse loop sections on thin posts to eliminate the 1"x3" framing on those layout sections.

I think you have the start of a great layout here.

Hi Tom,

What do you mean ladder style? Thanks.

Bob

Bob, ladder style is in option 2. Each turnout is on top of the next and each spur is like a rung on a ladder. Option 1 has a partial ladder, but the lead track is a bit convoluted and that yard is not smooth. I only did it because it puts the most used turnouts toward the aisle where reaching them will be easier.

If you already have the accessory, simply measure the widest and longest sides so I can draw a rectangle to see how it fits. If you want some idea of how it looks in 3D, I’ll need the tallest part too. If you don’t have the accessory, let me know the name, brand, maybe where you plan to buy and I’ll try to find it online, sites usually include some specs. For example, you have a logging camp in your drawing, but I have no idea how big the buildings are, how many there will be, etc. I don’t know if what’s in the drawing are actual accessories that you have or just an idea of what you’d like for landscaping. You also want a coaling tower, but I have no idea how much space it’s going to take. Same with the water tower.

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