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I went upstairs to do a rough sketch of the room. It is not finished and will need insulation and sheet rock but I wanted to get an idea of where to begin. I am having a company come out and foam insulate the whole attic. We will sheet rock it afterwards.  I know you guys are full of ideas. I downloaded SCARM. I am hoping to find some tutorials on youtube. The room is kind of funky shaped because of the stairs leading up to it and also the framing of the house. Right now it is studded. I will take pictures of the room in the near future but here is the rough sketch and rough measurements. My wife wants the closet to be built but for now I would like to use the space. I will be able to get exact measurements once I move all the clutter into the attic. Right now the only scale loco I have requires 048 but I should have room to go larger. Any and all help would be appreciated. Thanks in advance.

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Last edited by Southern4501
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Congrats on the new train room. Looks like a great space to work with. Plenty of great guys here who will chime in also. You can do a really nice around the room layout maybe with a couple of peninsulas, starting to the right of the stairs and around the three walls. Leave the closet area free (keep the CEO happy), for a work bench and maybe a couple of chairs.

Looks like a typical attic room. If I read your measurement correctly the walls are 3'6"? That's a decent height for bench work. Track plans are very subjective and many of the experts can chime in. Use the largest radius you can fit. Everything I read says 060 min- 072. Do you like to loop run or point to point and switch industries? I would do both personally.

Don't forget AC and heat.

Good luck- Bob

Remember that there is storage space below the layout, and you can use it to bargain for the "air rights" above it.  I would choose a table height of 3 ft since the junction of the ceiling and walls will limit that space's usability.

I would go for an around the room with part of the loop crossing and hugging the stairs.  That way you can have O72 curves and not limit your selection of equipment.

Jan

Southern4501,

  Man that room screams for a shelf ceiling layout to get you started and then the nice floor layout also.  Looks like it will be a nice Train Room.

Congrat on your new home!

Waited a long time for my Train Room also, and I am still working on the floor layouts.  Construction continues.

Hope you have as much fun with your new Train Room as I am having with mine.

PCRR/Dave

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Jan

I have told her the closet can be added back later for re-sale value.  It would make our house a 4 bedroom home. The way our house is built and where the hvac is there is tons of storage.  I just have to lay down some plywood.  

I had thought about using the closet area for control and a turntable across from the stairs in that same nook. This will be my first layout other than a 4x8. I would like to have running trains and point to point.  

I am in the planning stages, though getting closer to actual construction, and what I would recommend is to try and use the largest curves you can, from the layouts I have seen even 027 equipment looks better running on large curves, and an O48 min curve engine will look much better on O72 or larger, or if you ever get the hankering to run scale passenger cars or the big scale engines, this will allow that. My space is a lot smaller than yours, so to have large curves right now I am toying with  U shape (well, a U where the bottom is flat) where the flat bottom of the U is 6' x 9, then the the two arms are roughly 3x7, and will bridge the open end.  I have also thought of a folder dogbone, in the space I have I could easily do that with O72 curves on the mainline but would take away from something else I was thinking of doing. Given your space I would do an around the walls with maybe a peninsula to allow for a reverse loop at the top of your drawing, could lend itself to a lot of possibilities.

The only other thing I suggest (and that is all it is) is you don't necessarily have to jump into using all that space right off the bat, maybe design something that ultimately ends up room filling but you can build a smaller part of it now, to get your feet wet with the wiring and scenary and such of a bigger layout and in a different style than you have built, then expand it. I can only speak for myself, but now that I am contemplating building a larger layout (by my standards), I get overwhelmed at times looking at the things I am planning to do, using a track system I never have used before, wiring it for conventional block with an eye towards putting command control onto it, and trying to figure out whether to go open grid vs flat table top, etc........ A simple around the walls might be easier and then you can always expand it later...but in the end up to you, lot's of folks on here will have some great suggestions for you on what you can do. 

Southern4502,

BIGKID is giving you some good advise, you do not have to immediately construct every part of your Train Room layout at the same time.  In fact I engineered and constructed 1/2 of my Train Room layouts, leaving a sitting area for watching the big screen TV and have now started the engineering planning on most of the rest of the Train Room.  This also spreads out the cost, which in my case was a blessing.

PCRR/Dave

Building a nice Train Room today is not just nickels and dimes, it does cost some money.

Construction continues on the PCRR Train Room.

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Last edited by Pine Creek Railroad

It will only be a train room. No man cave or anything else. I do plan on shelves in some areas for my Hess collection and other stuff and trains.  I am really wanting to get it all planned out and ready for bench work and electrical. I know my drawing is crude. I am trying to figure out Scarm or is there a easier track planner out  there? I am lost lol. I am a visual person so seeing it is easier for me. It will pretty much be a flat layout because of the ceilings. I think it would look goofy to do backdrops on a angled ceiling. I think someone suggested to do the bench work at 36". That leaves about 6" for building height towards the back. Taller buildings can be against the window wall or where i put the roundhouse for now. I do have a Atlas double Pratt bridge I thought about using over the stairs if I don't build the closet for the disappearing train into the attic. 

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Slow and steady wins the race. If this is your first large layout then some good advice has been posted already to start small. Get some bench work up and track down and run some trains. Just build what YOU want - almost like a modular layout and keep adding sections when you are ready.

If you don't want to do backdrops on the sloped ceiling then at least paint it sky blue with some clouds. Adds a lot to the scene in front of it.

Bob

i think I set your room up in SCARM.  The notch on the left is where the closet would be.  The track crosses over the stairs with plenty of headroom as the layout is at least 3 ft above the attic floor.  The track hugs the stairwell wall on a shelf about 12 inches wide.  If you make the attic door open into the attic then it shouldn't be a problem.  Just put a lift out section.

The track is O81 and O72 so you could run anything you want.  I used Atlas track but you could use any other system.  A turntable will take up a space that's 6 ft by 3 ft. so I don't think it would work in the corner.

I attacked the SCARM file.  Just right click on it and click Save as... to put it on your computer.

Jan

Southern4501

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NICE space for trains.  I wish - like everyone else - I had that kind of blank canvas for my trains.

In any case, I would seriously look into MIANNE BENCHWORK (OGR sponsor) once you decide on a basic floor plan.  You won't believe how easily customized Mianne is - not to mention the very real ease of building.  Tim - the owner - typically will help you.

It will probably cost more than your local lumber-yard benchwork ... but SO worth it!

Check it out.    

Rough-in wiring for wall receptacles and switched overhead lighting before installing insulation. Heat/cooling ducts? Paint ceiling and rafter slope sky blue post drywall. Then build round the wall like Jan shows in Scarm. Rough wire the benchwork framing before you cover up to reduce "trainback/train neck" working time under the layout. Since you are planning Command Control if desirable your power center can be located on the wall under the layout. To avoid an entry duckunder you can follow advice above and use a lift out, a lift up bridge or a hinged drop down as pictured below. Jim Barrett shows "how to" for up or down in OGR video #11.  You will have walk around capability with the handheld remote.

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Last edited by Dewey Trogdon
Dewey Trogdon posted:

Rough-in wiring for wall receptacles and switched overhead lighting before installing insulation. Heat/cooling ducts? Paint ceiling and rafter slope sky blue post drywall. Then build round the wall like Jan shows in Scarm. Rough wire the benchwork framing before you cover up to reduce "trainback/train neck" working time under the layout. Since you are planning Command Control if desirable your power center can be located on the wall under the layout. To avoid an entry duckunder you can follow advice above and use a lift out, a lift up bridge or a hinged drop down as pictured below. Jim Barrett shows "how to" for up or down in OGR video #11. 

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Dewey, great looking train room! Nice work!

Ok. Time for a update. Insulation is in!!!!! We decided to foam the whole attic, not just the room. It is 1230pm and its about 76 up here. I am amazed.  Now onto sheet rock and closing it in.  I am really happy i will be able to have a dissappearing couple of lines.  I want them to go through a tunnel out over the stairs and into the attic and come back in on thw other side of the room. With all the christmas village stuff and stuff my mom has made when i was young, we are planning a rendition for the polar express for the kids on one half and maybe hogwarts on the other side. A question that will arise soon is bridge width with passing trains.  The Coors light has a big ol wide butt. I am curious if it can pass another train on the atlas double truss.  If not i will have to come up with a different bridge over the stairs.  I know its a little early for that question.  38564A64-CD02-401B-A48E-3A61083CF1ECDBA99A0C-A014-4169-AA88-7B76B7413E1C03C298F0-75F4-49B4-85C3-DDBF38899B7082B8F816-BB6A-47E4-93D2-92B955D67E31B4D3BD88-9985-4F9C-A3D4-846F4C40E50DCC49A10F-EF5F-4F84-8AE5-ED3B165A68ED

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The knee walls are short so the base of the layout is going to be around 36 inches.  I wont know exact until we finish the room. We start on electrical next week and the attic door and closet🙄. So it will be a flat around the room layout.   I want to start out the right way so here is what i have so far. I am going to be using TMCC and DCS. I wont have stacked shelve lines or a helix.  I do have a old ZW right now but i i need electronic protection from shorts or over loads.  Knowing i hate to fill holes if we have to take the layout down can you frame it and not attach it to the walls? How wide would you make the layout knowing the roof angle is taking up alot of the backspace. I havent figured out what to do about the background scenery. 

We have lived in two houses like that.  The first was a tiny cape cod and the bedrooms were in the attic area.  The previous owner had put in fiberglas batting, and it wasn't too bad up there, but I did put in a window air conditioner.  The second was a high peaked attic over a complete ranch,  We discussed doing what you are doing for an attic train room.  With the high ceiling it would have worked well, track going behind the stairwell and everything.  Then 7 years ago, my mother-in-law wanted us to buy my wife's grandmother's house, and here we are.  I'm looking forward to seeing what you do with the attic!!!!

I don't think the knee walls will be a problem and you can certainly build your frame w/o attaching it to the walls. It will essentially just be a series of table tops. It won't be as stable as attaching to the wall, but should not be a problem. Think of the modular layouts that are brought to train shows that have no wall support.

As far as electronic protection, there are numerous threads on the Forum that have discussed the need for fuses and TV suppressors, which you should be able to access for more information.

Most hobbyists will recommend staying at no more than 30" wide for your layout, but unless everyone is really short or physically challenged, you should be able to go to 36" with minimal effort. Even though the area under the roof wall will largely be unuseable for running trains, I would still build out almost to the edge of the wall because you can put all sorts of small, short items like sheds, picnic tables, abandoned trailers, tents, campgrounds, scenery, etc. in that area. In fact you might be able to go to 40" wide because that area will likely only have to be accessed one time for each item you install and the "workable area" you will have to repeatedly access will still only be 30" - 36" wide.

Just my $ 0.02

Oh how familiar that looks! I wish I had done the spray foam instead of the pink stuff. Looks like you have more headroom than me.

BTW I pulled a dedicated 20A circuit for the attic. More than enough for a 14x39 layout.

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To span the stairwell, I used G Gauge Deck Girder Bridges from Garden Metal Products. The track is 5 rail GarGraves.

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I'm one of the carpenters in our modular train club. It was natural for me to build a series of modules to go around the room. If you have the aptitude, you can buy a good power miter saw, Kreg Tool, lumber, and hardware for less than you'll spend for the factory built stuff. And in the end, you still have the tools!

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Go with the biggest curves that will fit! On the far end of my layout I have 0120/0128/0138

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BTW, decent lighting in the attic for photography is a bear. Good luck with that!

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Last edited by Gilly@N&W

Thanks Gilly for the idea. What length is that bridge. I went and measured the width in the stairs and it is just over 3ft.. The Atlas double truss is too long to go there. I have always loved the wooden bridges and trestles. Might try to find plans for that. I like Dewey's photos of the under framing. I think I am going that route. Modular and adjustable legs for leveling. We are going to start installing the electrical for the room this coming week. I am installing two bathroom fans, one towards each end to evacuate smoke when I am running it and also in case someone comes over that has breathing issues I can clear it out into the attic.

Gilly@N&W posted:

Oh how familiar that looks! I wish I had done the spray foam instead of the pink stuff. Looks like you have more headroom than me.

BTW I pulled a dedicated 20A circuit for the attic. More than enough for a 14x39 layout.

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To span the stairwell, I used G Gauge Deck Girder Bridges from Garden Metal Products. The track is 5 rail GarGraves.

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I'm one of the carpenters in our modular train club. It was natural for me to build a series of modules to go around the room. If you have the aptitude, you can buy a good power miter saw, Kreg Tool, lumber, and hardware for less than you'll spend for the factory built stuff. And in the end, you still have the tools!

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Go with the biggest curves that will fit! On the far end of my layout I have 0120/0128/0138

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BTW, decent lighting in the attic for photography is a bear. Good luck with that!

What is the layout height and what is the distance from the layout till the roof starts to climb. I was thinking about doing the same thing. Leaving some vertical for trees and then let the roof angle up. Curious to what size your room is as well. My ceiling height is 9ft at the center. Thanks

Last edited by Southern4501

The bridge is 35" long. My stairs are 36" +/- too.

The layout height is 32". I did that for three reasons. It makes viewing for my Granddaughters easier.  IMHO the layout just looks better in the space. And, the lower height gives me a longer reach. I can easily reach things up to 42" from the edge.

The track to top of the knee wall is 12". More than enough for any train. My ceiling height is one big limitation. It is 6'8". Technically, not a room, but a storage area.

The main room area is 14'x18'; unfinished area is 14x21' giving me the O/A 14'x39'.

BTW I installed a bathroom exhaust fan as well. It does a great job of pulling smoke out of the space. 

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I took a lot of inspiration from Dewey Trogdon as well. Especially his yard area; so much so that I have named my yard "Trogdon Yard".

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Last edited by Gilly@N&W

An attic layout is great!  You guys inspired me to scan pics of my first layout in the attic of our first home.  My father had built two in the basement of his first house.  We both built the table and mountains in this one.  There are 8 full 4X8's and pieces of three more. These pics are more than 30 years old.  You can see how rudimentary things were in those days.  My craftsmanship, available supplies, and budget were certainly issues that affected this pre-DCS and TMCC layout. 

You can see the effects of no paneling on the attic walls.   Backdrops?  OGR forum?  Never entered my mind.  Roadbed was dried coffee grounds.  Computers were useless at that time, and a cell was something found at your local police department.  Nevertheless, that layout was huge and enormously fun.  At the end, I could run eight engines independently.  Everything was Lionel, and it included a bunch of the old operating accessories.  Though I now have a large table layout, plus a large overhead layout in our basement, I still miss that great attic layout.

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When you're in your 30's, it's easy to crawl under and pop up through that access hole... 

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It took me weeks to build that bridge in the background.  The cool thing was that you could see the trains running across it from outside that small dormer window.

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This pic shows the only surviving section of that old layout.  We carried it into the basement of our current home.  Twenty years later, I began a new layout with what was left over from the old one.

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This is the first of three rooms for the newest table layout.  It pretty much shows what that section looks like today.  Of course, this one has multiple large backdrops, DCS, and LCP's.  It requires 3 PWZW's, a Z4000, and a CW80 for a trolley line.  I run 9 separate trains at a time.

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Good luck on your new attic project, Southern4501.  Try to keep posting on your progress.

Jerry

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All i can say is wow. What a Fun looking layout.  That was huge and the new one looks huge too.  Yeah i love the wood trestle. I think they are a work of art. I wish my window was lower so you could see the trains running.  My goal is to have a fun layout for kids to come and visit during the Piedmont Pilgrimage here in georgia. There are not many layouts on the south side of atlanta and especially ones that a child might be able to operate. So I will have dedicated lines for the kids to run.  We are looking at the 10th anniversary lionchief polar express and also the lionchief hogwarts. Trying to find a nice model of the hogwarts castle as well. One side will be winter wonderland and the other side octoberfest.  But i do want more than just 2 loops. 

Last edited by Southern4501

Anyrail used to offer a free version, limit by piece number. Screen shots and a photo app. get you a full visual on high piece counts.. but you must mind the measurements on your own that way. 

  SCARM starts out slow, and you may get stuck at times as things get deeper & tricks more numerous; but there is help here, and on the SCARM site as well as trick ortiented video there too. (the author is a member here.." mixy" or "mixey"?... Milan.)  Once over the initial learning curve, it gets easier and faster. Each more in depth trick really makes huge impact on looks & speed alike.

Scarm is the most customizable and worth learning IMO. Trying others now will only confuse matters and slow learning it IMO.... just don't say it wasn't mentioned   It allows you to build in a very "minecraft" manner .(looks wise..ive never used minecraft).  Ive made custom building, bridge, car, and engine representations ...all custom in real life.. I don't think the other softwares can offer that ... unless of course they updated to keep up with the "upstart" competition. (to play devils advocate, SCARM needed to devolpe the "sandbox test mode" to get closer to RRTrack brand software level itself)

And congrats on the new place 

This couldn't be done nearly as well on other software previously.

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With some changes... like the gantry is gone & tunnel is back where it was. Crane too. Still enough like the above to see they are very much the same and with the zoomable multi axis view, using a farm you can't have a great idea of a view before you touch any supplies.4.5x9spaceALL

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Unless you just desire to display your power and control center topside, I suggest it is a good idea to place it on the wall under the layout and save topside space.  Also; what type of turnouts-- (track switches) are you planning and how many? Again, going under the layout with Tortoise motors leaves you room topside between sidings, and close tracks.  Above you can mount switchstand lights on extended ties, lights which are mechanically rotated by the throwbar for the Tortoise motors that open and close the switch points. I have 17  tortoise motors easily operating from a small repurposed DC wall wart. 

Just things to think about--not necessarily applicable for your railroad.

 IMG_1539-007Tortoise motors mounted under one section of the Service Yard.

 

(1)Below: Organization and distribution of Layout Railpower and topside meter panel and Power Guard connections.

(2) below:  overall Layout Power Center showing TMCC railpower components and connections for meters and TVS( transient voltage suppressor).

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Topside,  Homemade stuff: schematic with Tortoise toggle switch control, VAC and AAC meter panel, Power Guards(lights) and VDC meter for Tortoise power.

Position of toggle handle indicates at a glance whether turnout direction is to the main ("thru") or to siding ("out").  Simple: auto body striping on vinyl shelf liner.

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Last edited by Dewey Trogdon
J Daddy posted:

Sweet! 

My preference is around the walls... a long run folded over dog bone... maybe you can fit a double decker with hidden staging? 

Good luck on the new layout!

Most of my staging is planned for the attic. Right now i am trying to figure out Mt Crumpit for whovillle and also the helix climb for the polar express.  

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