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Hello Everyone,

Thought I would drop a note hello since I have not posted since the dark days of the OGR forums. And as I discovered, my posts are gone from that era too, between all the forum software switches, the changes through the years etc.  at least my original joining date is still viable.  After the first years, I would lurk and check in, but once part A of my original Missouri plywood hi-rail layout (as I called it back then) was built, I just enjoyed my trains and the hobby on my own for the next few decades.

I was a long time train buff and had several friends whose fathers had Lionel layouts in the 70s when I was in JH and HS. In addition I had my grandfathers old Flyer loop and a box of trains that I played with when I was in elementary school. I grew up, went to college, married, had a daughter, (Kristin) and it gave me the excuse to get back into toy trains. My first “good” train purchase was the Lionel FM Trainmaster in 1994, PRR livery., and the rest was history. I fell in love with the new O Scale offerings from MTH, etc. and plunged full bore into being a collector/operator. I run most everything I buy, (only exception is few unique rolling stock pieces that I have duplicates). I have around 25 MTH proto 1 Diesels and early first run steamers all Proto 1, all retrofitted with BCR units, and I currently run conventional. I love scale cars and engines. However, I am not a rivet counter. I enjoy a variety of road names, and like having a wide variety and example of different diesel and steamer types pulling unique and different scale cars.

I completed phase one of my Missouri Plywood RR in 1998. It was a 2x4 leg/frame table, 1/2” plywood on the frame, 1/2 acoustical foam on top which I isolated and attached with subfloor acoustical adhesive and then I glued a piece of 1/4” Luan on top so I could place my Ross sectional track on the cork roadbed and just nail the track into the top 1/4” Luan to keep the noise down. I love Ross track and switches. Steve was a great help in the mid 90’s. My bench system worked fairly well, and the basement was already dry walled, acoustical ceiling tiles, and the floor had carpeting which also helped with the noise.

I was young, happy, in my 30s and my daughter liked trains too. The “C” shaped 7’ square by 4’x4’ by 7’ square semi dog bone layout was accessible with a tall ladder and my youthful flexibility. I had an outer loop of 72” turns, an inner track with 064 and a yard area all with Ross Custom Switches and smaller radius track in the yard. Table height was 50” to allow my daughter a play area underneath that was carpeted and well lit for her Barbies. Several Barbie and Ken dates were part of the Missouri Plywood RR with empty coal cars serving as the transportation cars, and on more than one occasion, rolling stock was decorated with valentines and other decorations and multiple Barbies and Kens. She easily handled the trains and understood the physics involved and rarely had issues. When she did, my plexiglass layout railings took the brunt, (see photos) and the Z4000 rarely tripped it’s safety. (Pics attached are part of the layout as I was removing engines, bubble wrapping, moving rolling stock and dusting things off.)

The 90s rolled into the early 2000s, plans were to expand from a hi-rail plywood to a full scenic layout with second levels, a mountain division for my Shay, and include a double line elevated trestle area and duck under bridge at 5’6” off the ground between the square sections of the C shaped layout.

In 2000 Proto 2 came out, I ordered a few diesels, loved the new features and prototypical speeds.  New rolling stock kept coming into the house for a variety of long consists on my 60’ mainline, then in 2002 DCS was introduced.  I was a bit shocked.  I had a huge inventory of Proto 1 diesels, and 4 big steamers, (I knew I could upgrade those if needed,) but wow, I felt a bit frustrated.  I stopped buying all power units, put on hold all future layout expansion, and kept the layout at it’s current point.  Another reason for the hold, was we knew we were going to eventually move a final time after retirement.  I had a great collection of Lionel O scale cars, a few Lionel post war and some Lionel modern diesels from the 90s, and most of the good MTH Premiere rolling stock of that era.  (Not including those with Zinc Rot.. ggrrrrrrr. You can see a recent truck repair taking place on the layout.)  Regardless I had plenty to run, switch and operate as I was still busy with my career and a growing boy crazy daughter.

2002-2009 the RR operated sporadically but enough to keep the dust at bay, especially during our cold Midwest winters.  I always expanded at Christmas with a large upstairs 072 Christmas floor layout that was all over the entire living room and around the tree.  Our Daughter graduated HS in 2010, but we bought our farm in 2009, so any spare time was spent there on weekends and holidays until we both retired a few years later.  Starting around 2014 everything collected dust on the layout except the Christmas layout.  We retired, built our final home, and although we are now in our new home for a few years, the layout and rolling stock still was in the burbs of St. Louis. (Go Cards) My spouse kept subbing for a few years after retirement so we kept the house, but with Covid, that ended.  Time to move the layout and sell the house.  I did contemplate selling out, but my wonderful spouse assured me (more like talked sense into me not to sell) that once we move into our new home, your enthusiasm will come back.  Maybe it was chasing the UP 4014 Big Boy for a day here in Southeast Missouri, but my original layout plans I had in the past have continued to dwell and expand in my mind and I am enthused once again.

Three weeks ago, the process of packing and moving the trains and track started, and the first business was to gather all the powered units, dust them off, box a few up, bubble wrap most, and haul them and their boxes to the new basement home. (2.3 hours away)  Next phase in a few weeks is moving all the rolling stock.  Finally I will pull all the Ross track and switches and possibly the cork roadbed.  The 2x4 benchwork will be salvaged for scrap wood, and the plywood top, foam tile, luan, will be cut up and thrown away because of the adhesive.

This ends my catching up post.  Another  post/installment on my future layout, The Ozark Mountain RR, will be forthcoming in this thread in a few weeks.  I look forward to your thoughts and comments.  Fortunately having done something once, I can avoid SOME errors, but know that others will occur. I apologize for my much to long reintroduction at the OGR forums.  In my next followup post in this thread I will announce my intention and plans for the new layout, how much room I have been allocated in the basement and what my plans are for operating the Ozark Mountain RR.

Thanks for taking the time to read.  Glad to be back on board.  Life is good.

Wade

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Last edited by Commodorefirst
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@Jay Francis posted:

It will be fun to watch your progress. Since  you are starting anew I would suggest you identify the available space and determine what might need to be done to make life easier for you. For example, overhead lighting, outlets availability, and HVAC needs. Give some thought to doing a backdrop before building.

Thanks Jay, appreciate the advice. We built our home new, from our plans, and certain things were already allocated for during our custom build.  As an example, our basement, while only partially finished, is fully lit with full spectrum LED lighting, and I have dedicated electrical home runs with each being a 20 amp 4 outlet gang boxes and they are spaced close together for power requirements.  The space is fully conditioned, with built in dehumidifiers.  

However, excellent point regarding the backdrops, something I have not thought about much, but need to consider.  

Space allocation and location has been thought about a lot.  Regarding making things easier, my plans are already to have all switches closer than two feet to table edge, and all track is to be a max of of 32” from the outside of the table or closer.

Ok, quick question, what can I expect when I am pulling the old track and cork off the old layout?  Midwest cork from 1998 stapled to the Luan and then the Ross sectional track spiked/nailed through ties through cork into the 1/4” Luan.  Sometimes 2/3 nails depending on curve and straight section.

No glue or ballast, just 23 years of being in place.  I was planning on using my smaller thin drywall scrapper tools to gently lift and pry sections up gently, maybe small pliers to grab the nail heads.

What do you think the condition of the cork will be?  Track, I plan to reuse as much as possible along with my old switches.  Regarding new roadbed on the future layout, still undecided cork, foam, or Ross bed.

Last edited by Commodorefirst

Hello, thought I would place an image of my layout, (rough draft.) Still in the very early planning stages. The around the room layout with loops at each end is necessary because of our basement layout. The front stairs and mechanical room are centered in our basement. With the loop tables I will have 4.5’ of aisle space between the inner stairs and mechanical room and the loop areas.   Updated 10-6-2021.

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Dimensions as you look at the photo are 36’ across the top, 27-28’ down each side, the loop areas on each side are 12x8. Tables 3’ deep max except the loop areas. Benchwork is still in the air, leaning Mianne, but considering a shelf on the longer 3’ areas, and only using tables on the loop areas to save costs.

Blue mainline is 088 minimums, and Green is 072. 031 in the yard. All Ross Sectional track. I have about a quarter of the needed track from the old layout. All switches will be manual throw like my old layout and reachable. Each switch will also have a lighted brass switch stand light. There is a plan for an elevated third line in a mountain area with trestles etc, a later phase.

I am not modeling a specific line or favor any particular rolling stock.  I like variety and various road names.  I enjoy having and running a  large variety of different scale Diesels and Locos.  I run long consists that may have 30-40 different hoppers, another consist may be an entire train of tankers, PS2 hoppers, etc.  This is why I need large storage/classification yards.  I like switching and building consists by hand and changing power units.  (with the rolling stock on the track.) Rolling stock tends toward modern era with mostly MTH Premiere and scale O Lionel with a touch of scale Atlas and K-Line to fill out.

Trying to leave space for scenery, and backdrops, and possible industries. Thanks for looking and suggestions.

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note: I received a bit more space allocation to add a third 8’x3’ yard area and allow a raised 6’ long bridge to be part of the elevated trestle, mountain elevated 054 line.  Just a rough draft again, I changed the layout design in the previous post above.


Progress with the move.  Powered Units all moved a few weeks ago.  All the in the box rolling stock (mix of new and run) were moved this week, all that is left is about 80 more cars that need to be dusted and cleaned and moved, removal of  the display shelves in the old basement, then the track and switch removal can begin.  Goal is to get everything out of the old basement to the new before thanksgiving.  Pic of the rolling stock load in the new basement, this is near where one of the 12’x8’ loop areas will be placed.

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Welcome back to the forum.

Unfortunately, I see several potential problems based on assumptions I have to make.  First, you will need at least 2 lifts to get into the center of your loops, one on each end (assuming you want to avoid duckunders).  But, assuming the orange line represents your elevated mountain line, the lift down there looks like it will entail raising mountains, not an easy feat.  Second, with such wide curves on the mainlines, and assuming you will eventually run longer cars and engines, it is kind of pointless to use O31 curves in yards and sidings.  I would recommend using O72 minimum curves everywhere.  Finally, you say you want industries and scenery, put your track plan doesn't seem to leave much room for them except as backdrops.

Just thinking out loud here.

Chuck

@PRR1950 posted:

Welcome back to the forum.

Unfortunately, I see several potential problems based on assumptions I have to make.  First, you will need at least 2 lifts to get into the center of your loops, one on each end (assuming you want to avoid duckunders).  But, assuming the orange line represents your elevated mountain line, the lift down there looks like it will entail raising mountains, not an easy feat.  Second, with such wide curves on the mainlines, and assuming you will eventually run longer cars and engines, it is kind of pointless to use O31 curves in yards and sidings.  I would recommend using O72 minimum curves everywhere.  Finally, you say you want industries and scenery, put your track plan doesn't seem to leave much room for them except as backdrops.

Just thinking out loud here.

Chuck

Chuck, thanks so much for your detailed thoughts, and you bring up points I have long been contemplating.  Regarding those 031 turns, I am still debating about having them or just removing them. Do you think I should just remove them?  I had them there more for a switcher to move and change directions when building and moving consists.  However, I had an early plan with only straight dead end sidings yards, but thought why not?  Like you, I would love to have 072 in the yards but with the forced around the wall layout, I feel limited.  I do have some very long rolling stock, that would never be in those turns, same with my engines.

I was neglectful in discussing what I found out about me and my layout I used for several decades.  I really wanted rolling stock and larger engine storage on the tracks, and not having to place and remove things all the time.  I will run a long consist of 30 double door box cars, then I want to park those cars and run another long consist of tank cars.  Followed by something else, or a modern intermodal unit.  My old layout was all 072 on the largest loop.  

Regarding duckunder and lifts. I wish I did not have to have them.   I am planning for the bridge area to be a duck under, it will be 50” off the floor, and the loop areas are also duck under just for emergency access and not lifts.  The right side loop may will have flat scenic work, a few buildings, but the size of the opening is just an indication of the Mianne benchwork and will probably be smaller.  It is there for track laying purposes and access to the back corner.  I found that 99.8% of my issues with derailments occurred on the switch areas because of my operations error:  Forgetting to switch a line.  

I also have thought about a side hinged lift area on the right loop on the two main lines, and just removing that yellow siding storage loop on the right table.  


A good catch regarding the mountain area.  I am actually am thinking about not having a lift out, but a hollow mountain area in the center to access the two main lines from inside the mountain in case of issues with the mainline track.  A good portion of the mainlines will be in tunnels in that loop area and the elevated 054 line will be on the raised exterior of the scenic area.  

I would also appreciate your thoughts regarding a turntable and roundhouse area on the 3’x8’ area instead of another yard area.  Something I am considering.  Thank you so much for commenting.  Truly appreciate your thoughts.

Last edited by Commodorefirst

There are several discussions on the OGR forum about placement and use of turntables and roundhouses.  Suffice it to say that with the size of equipment you might run on those large curves, you will need a large turntable & roundhouse.  So, your minimum size requirements are probably going to be at least 4' x 9'.  Because they do require so much space, many modelers place them within their O72 / O81 loops which are built to allow reach access from almost all sides.

Finally, you should probably read some of the other discussions here about duck-unders.  No one can stop you from doing whatever you choose, but most here recommend against their use because they are not "future proof" when mobility issues arise.

Chuck

@PRR1950 posted:

There are several discussions on the OGR forum about placement and use of turntables and roundhouses.  Suffice it to say that with the size of equipment you might run on those large curves, you will need a large turntable & roundhouse.  So, your minimum size requirements are probably going to be at least 4' x 9'.  Because they do require so much space, many modelers place them within their O72 / O81 loops which are built to allow reach access from almost all sides.

Finally, you should probably read some of the other discussions here about duck-unders.  No one can stop you from doing whatever you choose, but most here recommend against their use because they are not "future proof" when mobility issues arise.

Chuck

Thanks for your thoughts, I have probably read all of the hundreds of threads that discuss or cuss about duck unders here on the forums, but see little way to have 088/072 loops with an around the wall layout that I require without hinged track sections, lift outs or duck unders.  I do have alternative plans to not have a bridge, and instead keep the raised area over the table in a modified dog bone.

Regarding the room for turntable, I know that ideally to fit the large articulated steam engines I currently have, plus the Pennsy Centipede, AC6 cab forward, DDA40x etc, I would need a much much larger area.  I was contemplating just a diesel round table, but figuring number of tracks, and bays, I leaned toward the yards  Thanks for providing food for my thought process.  

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