Troubleshoot my layout

So I'm putting together the plans for my layout (roughly 4x8). Right now, the outer loop and sidings will house two LionChief trains. The shorter siding will allow me to "store" one of the trains, and I will have a switch that I'll throw to turn power off to it. The second one will be for taking a train to the loading docks etc along that section. The very inner loop will be for a conventional layout. I haven't decided if I want to complete a loop inside it or not, though it may be an option. Looks like I have enough space ... but is there any running constraints that I haven't taken into consideration?

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Thank you for taking a look.

You could have a steam train, if you'd just lay down your tracks.


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Original Post


Think about connecting the inner loop to the outer loop and turning the inner loop siding around so it is a trailing siding like the rest. It will give you more operational enjoyment plus you can isolate it so you would be able to run conventional on one loop and command control on the other or command control / conventional on both. You would need two extra turnouts to do this.



Looks like a good start to a fun layout, some similarity to the one I'm working on, also 4'x8' overall. One of the issues I'm struggling with a bit is space for operating accessories, clearances between trains, buildings, and scenery. Temporarily building track, running trains, placing things, etc. is being a help to me with trying to figure out where stuff will ultimately go, and how much fun it will be to run.

I cannot see the parts #'s to determine which diameter curve you are using. O36 curves with a 5" in the center fit on a 48" wide table. Looks like your roughly 4 x 8 has expanded quite a bit.EDITk I see that it's 2 4.5" - so only a 4" growth - 52" will be expensive lumber - wise.

Whichever siding that you are using to park an engine, put a 1 3/8" track right after the divergence (turn-out) to accommodate a simple toggle switch to kill power to center (Hot) rail.




Arctic Railroad


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Set up the curved sections and put your largest engines and rolling stock on both curves and check for any overhangs, steps, steam engine cabs, etc., that may hit.

Also- if you change the direction of the short siding on the bottom and move the turnout one track to the right, you could make the siding longer and maybe even add a second. Don't know what you had planned for the empty space on that side of the table but it could be a nice freight yard with Opp acc.

The long siding that wraps around could become a passing siding with a second turnout at the end too.


Three Rails Are Better Than None 

Carl, I'm using Trax. The way I had it currently set up is O36 curve on the outer loop with a "straightaway" comprised of one 4.5" and two 1 3/8" straights. The siding is O31 curve with a straightaway of two 1 3/8" straights. And the innermost loop is just O27. Traxx gives me about an inch clearance at front and back ... which may not be enough. I thought I could screw a 2x4 on the back, level with the tabletop, to give me enough space for corner clearance of all my trains. 

As for the O31 switch, would a O36 switch fit in that space or are they the same dimensions?

Here is the most up-to-date layout. I figure the switch on the O27 could lead to a passenger platform (my Plasticville Union Station).

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You could have a steam train, if you'd just lay down your tracks.


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   Have you spaced the curves enough for engine overhang? You need to test with your largest offenders. Check, don't assume  

  Diesel & car handrails, toolboxes, tanks (inside has overhang too), & steps, steamer cowcatchers, etc. And dont forget about up high because cab roofs kick out too (e.g. on a Birk jr, the cab kicks out more than the pilot.)    There is also the combo to consider. Long cars on the outside loop and a Birk on the inside and you may clip your cars with the Birk cab's roof while in curves.

I used a rough cut 2x4 with a sheet of 1/4" hardboard as a fast grab spacer when I lay track down (tube track). 

"Still trying to not shoot my eye out"


"Nursing insomnia one railcar at a time"

My aroma therapy? Smoke Pellets.


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