Hello everyone, welcome to the layout design forum! This is a place where we can share layout design tips, and actually design layouts with input from all our members. Rich Melvin has asked me to kick things off with some parameters to try and point us in the right direction.
This part of the forum will not be about simply running trains in circles. It will be about how to design and build a miniature railroad transportation system. When a model railroad is designed with a purpose and it is designed correctly, a lifetime of enjoyment can be found on that single layout!
You may have heard of the Train Collectors Association train meet that is held in April and October every year. This meet is THE premier place for O and S gauge trains in the world. At this past April 2010 meet, Mike Taylor, one of our OGR forum members, suggested that we hold a layout design seminar on Thursday morning before the meet started. Mike arranged for a room in the Orange Hall (the main dealer hall) with the blessing of the TCA. Because of my involvement in designing many a layout and my experience in building prototype like track and switches at Ross Custom Switches for over 38 years, I was honored to be asked to give the opening presentation. 30 people attended with no other announcement than a notice on the forum! I think everyone including the TCA and OGR agree that the interest is such that a meeting will be held at each York. We also thought that a dedicated place on the OGR forum is warranted and OGR agreed, so here we are!
Here is a list of topics, some of which were discussed at the TCA meeting. We will elaborate on the forum as time goes by:
- JOHN ARMSTRONGS GIVENS AND DRUTHERS - WRITE THEM DOWN! (See information about John Armstrong below.)
- TABLE OR AROUND THE WALL - get up to 3 times the running space with around the wall!
- FINISH THE ROOM FIRST!
- LOOPS OR OPERATING RAILROAD
a. LOOPS EASY TO CHANGE BUT GET CHANGED BECAUSE OF BOREDOM
b. OPERATING NOT BORING BUT REQUIRES MORE PARTICIPATION
- DESIGN BEFORE BENCHWORK
a. AISLE WIDTH 30” MIN
b. REACH WIDTH 36” MAX
c. BENCHWORK HEIGHT
d. BEST HEIGHTS FOR VIEWING
e. WORKING UNDERNEATH THE LAYOUT
- L GIRDER BENCHWORK
- MINIMUM RADIUS
- SQUARES RELATE TO TRACK DIAMETER
- MAXIMUM GRADES
a. CURVES ON GRADES INCREASE EFFECTIVE GRADE
- HIDDEN TRACK = LONG DISTANCES
- S CURVES ON THE MAIN - THE GOOD
- S CURVES IN YARDS - THE BAD
- YARD LEADS
- DESIGN OF YARDS
a. The LADDER TRACK
b. Using #4 Switches
c. Using 4-WAY Switches
d. Using 3-WAY Switches
- STAGING YARDS
- REVERSE LOOPS, WYES, DOUBLE TRACK MAIN
- ODD SIDINGS CAN MAKE INTERESTING OPERATIONS
This is just a short list of things we will discuss. It ought to spark some constructive and thought-provoking ideas on building layouts.
For those of you who have never heard of John Armstrong, he was and still is considered one of the greatest model railroad designers in the world. I strongly suggest that you read anything and everything you can get your hands on that he published! I highly recommend two books to get you started; Track Planning for Realistic Operation by John Armstrong and Tony Koesters Realistic Model Railroad Operation. These are not the only books on the subject but they are a good start.
To get this new forum started, I will take you step by step through the thought process and design of a mid sized 3 rail layout. We will discuss the process and I'll add to it every few days until we get a workable design. I will be using the RR Track computer program to design this layout. I will upload the RR Track file to this forum for you to download as we progress through the build.
I envision many a layout being designed here, with folks submitting their space and givens and druthers for their dream empire and everyone chipping in their ideas!