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(Ignore my mess in the pics...I have a working basement!)

Hello! I have 2 questions for a new section I am building. It is not expandable and is independent from my main line. The space is 31-1/2” x 84”. Due to width restrictions in my basement, I run O27 tubular pretty much exclusively, but...

New area:

654AB094-C2E0-4B7D-B0E1-D45C1D48DDC0

1. Will O31 tubular work on a 31-1/2” table? I believe it will although the ties would be right at the edge of the table. I am mulling over this due to the fact that I should probably add a rail to keep things from careening over the edge.

2. Is there a way to make a 2 level layout in such a small area? I know how to do it with 2 independent loops, but I was looking for a way to move from one section to the other via graded tracks. If not, it’s not the end of the world by any means. I’m not worried about space for landscaping or buildings or anything. I just like having the most track/train action in small spaces.

Main line - 14’ x 39” roughly. Most of this was inherited from my grandfather.

40E79284-CCB0-4327-A86B-49190789171D2EA7ACFD-B4C9-4BDF-9300-4C7F6B7EAA3A9E8806FD-8CDE-48BB-8EB9-D1B65DD868BA

 

Attachments

Images (4)
  • 40E79284-CCB0-4327-A86B-49190789171D: Main line right
  • 2EA7ACFD-B4C9-4BDF-9300-4C7F6B7EAA3A: Main line left
  • 654AB094-C2E0-4B7D-B0E1-D45C1D48DDC0: New space
  • 9E8806FD-8CDE-48BB-8EB9-D1B65DD868BA: Control bridge for main line
Original Post

Replies sorted oldest to newest

O-31 track is 31 inches to the outside rails, so the ties would overhang your board. The trains will jump off the track at the curves if you run them at speed. O-27 would be a better choice if your engines and cars can handle the sharper curvature. With O-27, you have a cushion between the track and the edge of the table.  

Coca-Cola: In answer to your question #1...

1. Yes, 031 tubular track will fit because I have it on a small inner oval of my layout. (It actually measures just a little over 30 inches with all track connected together very snugly). However, you must take into consideration the overhang of your engines and cars in order to avoid derailments. In my situation it's used on an inner oval and I have more than an inch of open space beyond the outside rail. 

2. No comment.

Good Luck!

 

 

@third rail posted:

O-31 track is 31 inches to the outside rails, so the ties would overhang your board. The trains will jump off the track at the curves if you run them at speed. O-27 would be a better choice if your engines and cars can handle the sharper curvature. With O-27, you have a cushion between the track and the edge of the table.  

I have made sure that everything I pick up is O27 compatible. I agree about the cushion of space being better.

Thanks for responding!

@PH1975 posted:

Coca-Cola: In answer to your question #1...

1. Yes, 031 tubular track will fit because I have it on a small inner oval of my layout. (It actually measures just a little over 30 inches with all track connected together very snugly). However, you must take into consideration the overhang of your engines and cars in order to avoid derailments. In my situation it's used on an inner oval and I have more than an inch of open space beyond the outside rail. 

2. No comment.

Good Luck!

 

 

I have considered the overhang quite a bit. In fact, that’s the reason I cannot run my diesels on my main line. The back corners are too close to the wall!

Thanks for responding!

Really like your approach to your control panel. Saves layout space and looks great with the blue light.

Steve

Thank you! My grandpa had it set up like this with the 2 metal bridges and a board spanning the tops. I wanted something a little sturdier that also hid the wiring so I built the wooden bridge. Just needs a cup holder!

Thanks for responding!

Last edited by Coca Cola guy
@PRR1950 posted:

Even if you stick to O27 curves, there is a strong likelihood that some piece of equipment will hit your edge protection support entering a curve.  Either your support will be damaged or your equipment will be damaged.  At least 36 inch width is highly recommended, even with O27 track.

Chuck

I wish I could have gone to 36” but it wasn’t an option. I have already taken over more of the basement than I agreed to!

Thanks for responding!

Fist off, by trimming the 4 turnout exit lengths( to the siding under the controls), you could gain ¼"-½" and shift everything else away from the wall a tad more. this would make the 2-S turns less pronunced too. (straighter; you are removing excess angle. (+base trimming is needed on at least one in a pair)

  Changing them to a larger dia or NUMBERED (scale style). turnout is another way to bring parllel tracks closer when opposed to form an S and straighten the angles during the change too.  (some large dia turnouts are pre-trimmed for this and include an extra piece of curve you simple leave off for closer spacing of parallels.)

You only need to climb about 5"; so you are ahead of the normal grade game already (eyeballed off the KW...? Get the exact rise measured between tops)

You might be able to pull it off by narrowing and shortening the lower loop to 27"x?" and starting the grade in the left corner closest to us, going up to the wall, then to the right and up again to the apex. Id add a tall plexi fence along the lower left side from wall fwd and right along the bench face about 5" as downhill derailment will definitely head right for the floor in those curves.

Add a reverse loops to compliment looping the grade both ways. (cool anyhow to never have to touch a loco or train to reverse it)  You will be limited in length of trains, but I suggest experiments anyhow to see if dealing with a grade while actually running is "for you" as well as for learning your equipment's limits better. Id clear the lower bench and set up the L shape to try it (up needs the most attention).. Scraps of paneling and lumber are near perfect to stack for a temporary set of piers. (paint um grey for cement?)

  A step grade is fun but also takes constant throttle attention without auto block voltage control on the grade or command controls. (not to hard really)

The other options: tunnel under then main bench and cut a long hole to rise out of on the main bench, or adding 3" along both bench faces and adding the grade right there. Another bridge or tunnel to keep your lower body and cloths from interfering while doing this 3" reach over.

Hi Coca Cola, 

Welcome to the forum. I too have a small layout, 38” X 110”.  I tried an over/under layout in that space and was able to make it work with 027 tubular track but I wasn’t happy with the arrangement. I wanted to keep the grade to 3% - 3 1/2% and it basically took all my real estate. One of my requirements is to run two or three short trains at the same time so I’m going with a small independent upper level.  I want to run trains not constantly watch for derailments. 

I used AnyRail software to design my layout before I built it. You could possibly squeeze in an 027 over/under in 31 1/2 X 84 but the grade would be fairly steep. 

John

@Adriatic posted:

Fist off, by trimming the 4 turnout exit lengths( to the siding under the controls), you could gain ¼"-½" and shift everything else away from the wall a tad more. this would make the 2-S turns less pronunced too. (straighter; you are removing excess angle. (+base trimming is needed on at least one in a pair)

  Changing them to a larger dia or NUMBERED (scale style). turnout is another way to bring parllel tracks closer when opposed to form an S and straighten the angles during the change too.  (some large dia turnouts are pre-trimmed for this and include an extra piece of curve you simple leave off for closer spacing of parallels.)

You only need to climb about 5"; so you are ahead of the normal grade game already (eyeballed off the KW...? Get the exact rise measured between tops)

You might be able to pull it off by narrowing and shortening the lower loop to 27"x?" and starting the grade in the left corner closest to us, going up to the wall, then to the right and up again to the apex. Id add a tall plexi fence along the lower left side from wall fwd and right along the bench face about 5" as downhill derailment will definitely head right for the floor in those curves.

Add a reverse loops to compliment looping the grade both ways. (cool anyhow to never have to touch a loco or train to reverse it)  You will be limited in length of trains, but I suggest experiments anyhow to see if dealing with a grade while actually running is "for you" as well as for learning your equipment's limits better. Id clear the lower bench and set up the L shape to try it (up needs the most attention).. Scraps of paneling and lumber are near perfect to stack for a temporary set of piers. (paint um grey for cement?)

  A step grade is fun but also takes constant throttle attention without auto block voltage control on the grade or command controls. (not to hard really)

The other options: tunnel under then main bench and cut a long hole to rise out of on the main bench, or adding 3" along both bench faces and adding the grade right there. Another bridge or tunnel to keep your lower body and cloths from interfering while doing this 3" reach over.

I love these tips, but I am not changing the main line on the upper table (for now).  I am definitely taking this to heart, however, as the fun for me is in building and rebuilding, so I know the day will come!

Thanks for replying!

@CA John posted:

Hi Coca Cola, 

Welcome to the forum. I too have a small layout, 38” X 110”.  I tried an over/under layout in that space and was able to make it work with 027 tubular track but I wasn’t happy with the arrangement. I wanted to keep the grade to 3% - 3 1/2% and it basically took all my real estate. One of my requirements is to run two or three short trains at the same time so I’m going with a small independent upper level.  I want to run trains not constantly watch for derailments. 

I used AnyRail software to design my layout before I built it. You could possibly squeeze in an 027 over/under in 31 1/2 X 84 but the grade would be fairly steep. 

John

I am thinking that my limited space just isn’t going to allow for an over/under.  That’s not a huge deal to me.  I am thinking about running an independent trolley line above now.  Will give me something without eating up the space.

Thanks for replying!

I’m weighing three options for an independent upper loop; a small 027 oval, a trolly line, or an On30 logging or mining train. I’m leaning towards the On30 line because it will allow more visual interest in a smaller footprint.  Problem is I have zero track and equipment in that scale. But that’s OK, I have enough work to do on the first level in order to even have a second level. 


John

Now see, a decent trolley can normally climb a wall giggling.

My guess whould be 8-10% and no telling if it had a traction tire.

You might be able to go from lower level grade to a 2cnd tier elevation with a trolley line  (say a 10-12" toal rise)

There is opportunity to explore more prototypical operations here really. I suggest trying the different ways of running for sure. Looping trains are my indoor campfire and makes up most of my run time. But I have done the prototype stuff plenty of times before. From switching to timetables and scale distances, speeds, stops, etc.. Don't assume you do or don't like things; try them first. Some folk like the organization/ timeline challenge more than trains themselves. (look at Tycoon and Farm games)

( I loop while playing a shunting game app sometimes, lol)

Scene: a small switcher pretty much dedicated to the lowlands. Long trains can't pull out ofthe hole, but a switcher likely could with 1-2 cars. So the switcher dominates the lowland shuffles, and takes just one or two cars uphill onto a siding on the highland slowly assembling a train there, and maybe grabbing supplies &/or empties for product during returns to the lowland, or waiting for the upland train to drop its cars, and take the new train, etc.

@CA John posted:

I’m weighing three options for an independent upper loop; a small 027 oval, a trolly line, or an On30 logging or mining train. I’m leaning towards the On30 line because it will allow more visual interest in a smaller footprint.  Problem is I have zero track and equipment in that scale. But that’s OK, I have enough work to do on the first level in order to even have a second level. 


John

Just the fact that I already have a boatload of O27 has been the main reason I have considered a trolley track.  I would just need to get a trolley, and the shop I frequent always seems to have a few around.

Thanks for replying!

@Adriatic posted:

Now see, a decent trolley can normally climb a wall giggling.

My guess whould be 8-10% and no telling if it had a traction tire.

You might be able to go from lower level grade to a 2cnd tier elevation with a trolley line  (say a 10-12" toal rise)

There is opportunity to explore more prototypical operations here really. I suggest trying the different ways of running for sure. Looping trains are my indoor campfire and makes up most of my run time. But I have done the prototype stuff plenty of times before. From switching to timetables and scale distances, speeds, stops, etc.. Don't assume you do or don't like things; try them first. Some folk like the organization/ timeline challenge more than trains themselves. (look at Tycoon and Farm games)

( I loop while playing a shunting game app sometimes, lol)

Scene: a small switcher pretty much dedicated to the lowlands. Long trains can't pull out ofthe hole, but a switcher likely could with 1-2 cars. So the switcher dominates the lowland shuffles, and takes just one or two cars uphill onto a siding on the highland slowly assembling a train there, and maybe grabbing supplies &/or empties for product during returns to the lowland, or waiting for the upland train to drop its cars, and take the new train, etc.

Those are some great things to consider, and I can definitely see a small switcher being a possibility.  This is why I came to this board...the ideas here seem to be infinite!

Thanks for replying!

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