Hi all,

I'm in the process of designing my first layout.  I played with HO trains and slot cars as a kid, then discovered dirt bikes, girls then cars before heading off to college.  I'm a mechanical engineer but I prefer to be the shop fabricating .  We inherited my wife's father's trains more than a decade ago and I set up an oval around the Christmas tree one year but nothing again.  The tubular track was in poor shape and none of the cars had been run or serviced in years.  Recently I got the bug to do something with the trains again.  I mentioned it to the wife and she's all in. 

The space is fairly generous at 21.5 x 30.5 feet although it is odd shapped.  It is in a unfinished basement and the majority of the walls are concerete.  I do plan on painting them and putting some sort of panel on the stud walls.   I will also paint the floor.  The ceiling will remain unfinished.

I've done some homework, I've sketched a few track plans, sort of figured out SCRAM and have come up with my wish list:

  • All new
  • Gargraves flex track with Ross swtches
  • some sort of digital control system for tracks and trains
  • large curves on main lines O72 or better.  supersize on perimeter loop
  • proper easment into curves
  • 2 or 3 mainlines, possibly some sort of intertwined double figure 8 so trains don't continuously run same direction around layout
  • mainlines configurable to run as independent loops or one long loop
  • smaller O42 "mountain" railroad loop than connects to main line
  • try not to run lines parallel to wall and edge of track, too many straight lines more converging, diverging or diagonal lines
  • Not just concentric 90 curves in corners, except for double parallel lines
  • access areas, no long reaches
  • elevation change, not flat
  • hidden train storage under main benchwork, drive in, drive out
  • Diesel era, current time period
  • not modeling anywhere in  particular but may take inspiration from everywhere
  • big yard with service area
  • round house if space permits
  • somewhere to go - a place to pick up and drop off loads i.e. forrest, sawmill, furniture factory....
  • passenger trains and more than one station, all served by proper siding
  • big city, small town, farm and country areas
  • small refinery -  place to fill tankers, factories to deliver tanks to
  • coal mining and coal unloading areas
  • farms/stockyard
  • port/shipyard
  • passing sidings as needed
  • minimize duck unders
  • swing bridge okay
  • a place for dragons and other mythical creatures, because my 17 year old daughter said so and I agree

Beyond that, I don't know what I don't know.  I've been studying layouts for several weeks I've seen a bunch I like and they all tend to be some overlapping and intertwined figure 8s or loops of some sort for the main lines, I definitely don't want the layout to look like it was a catolog design with regular features.   

I sketched one up and promptly mangaed to fill the entire room with benchwork with difficult to access areas

20190814_222924

I refinied it a bit to get a more realistic look

20190814_224022

I still see access problems and it will make the room feel small as the remaing room area gets tight.  I've drawn the outline of the room in SCRAM and added some notes.  I'm open for suggestions, for track plan improvements and baseboard shapes.   

I've  attached the SCRAM file for the emply room but I haven't figured out how to go from SCRAM to .jpg, once I do I will post image of scram file.

 

Thanks in advance

Tom

 

Some see the glass as half empty,

Others see it as half full.

An Engineer sees the glass as twice as big as it needs to be.

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Looks like my scram file didn't upload properly.  Is there a way to share files other than media?  I'm certain my issue is caused by operator error.

Some see the glass as half empty,

Others see it as half full.

An Engineer sees the glass as twice as big as it needs to be.

Are you sure you want to fit all those things on your layout? Sometimes spacing things out gives it a more realistic look, and it's more fun to operate! Have you thought about doing HO? It's seen a lot of advancements in recent years, and fitting all those things onto an HO layout will work better. An HO layout will probably also cost less as well as give you an illusion of a larger layout.

The selection of things you want to add looks very fun! Also, keep in mind that roundhouses do not exist anymore for diesels. There are shops which serve a similar purpose. The mythical creature part is pretty cool. The minimal duck under part is important, it doesn't matter how old or young you are, duck unders are a pain.

~ Ameen(formally known as AmeenTrainGuy)

AmeenTrainGuy posted:

Are you sure you want to fit all those things on your layout? Sometimes spacing things out gives it a more realistic look, and it's more fun to operate! Have you thought about doing HO? It's seen a lot of advancements in recent years, and fitting all those things onto an HO layout will work better. An HO layout will probably also cost less as well as give you an illusion of a larger layout.

The selection of things you want to add looks very fun! Also, keep in mind that roundhouses do not exist anymore for diesels. There are shops which serve a similar purpose. The mythical creature part is pretty cool. The minimal duck under part is important, it doesn't matter how old or young you are, duck unders are a pain.

No, I'm not sure I want all those things.  I think I want them.  I agree there needs to be space between things and realize my wish list will need some editing as this process moves forward.  I could live without the port/shipyard area, the round house and the coal mine.  Maybe two towns is a better description, with the smaller consisting of a passenger station and a country store and one industrial siding.  My thought were the smaller radius mountain railraod would serve the logging, mining and farm areas and bring full cars to main line to be transported to other places, while the main lines go around or thru mountain.

I thought about HO and I agree I could have my own little empire in that kind of space but her Dad left us O guage and that's what she wants to continue with.

Maybe I could put the diesel roundhouse with the mythical creatures...

Some see the glass as half empty,

Others see it as half full.

An Engineer sees the glass as twice as big as it needs to be.

Jan posted:

Your file loaded just fine.  People need to "Save as" and then open it to view it.  If you just click on it, you'll see text.

Jan

room outline

Thanks Jan.  I was just clicking on it.  

Some see the glass as half empty,

Others see it as half full.

An Engineer sees the glass as twice as big as it needs to be.

AmeenTrainGuy posted:

Have you thought about doing HO? It's seen a lot of advancements in recent years, and fitting all those things onto an HO layout will work better. An HO layout will probably also cost less as well as give you an illusion of a larger layout.

 

Cost less.  Really, have you priced good HO locomotives and rolling stock recently?

All factors considered, I feel 3-rail O-Scale layout would be less expensive.  Unless you are not planning on adding structures.  The foot print required for an “O” structure could easily accept 3-4 HO structures.  An HO layout would require more of everything... trees, people, buildings, vehicles... the list goes on.

 

687



Nice track plan, but as a layout plan, I agree access and reach are a problem, and will likely detract from your enjoyment.   Perhaps another revision could be worked out?

Not sure about elevations, and where tracks would meet at crossing rather than crossing above or below, put perhaps something like this could be worked-out:

forum-revision

O Gauge: the IMAX of Model Railroading, and a multi-sensory experience.

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Hi Tom,

Well, since you want to avoid 90 degree curves in corners, you have virtually eliminated "around the wall" designs which give you easiest access to all parts of the layout with one swing bridge.  Given the shape of your walls and the location of utilities, bathroom and entry doors, I would suggest a V shaped design with the legs of the V heading into the northwest (but not too far) and southwest corners.  Each leg should be wide enough to permit a "walk-in" area to fix problems with a swing bridge at each entrance.

Off of this basic design, you could build peninsulas for the structures and activities you covet.  You could even have the mainline from one leg cross over the mainline from the other leg near the point where the two legs meet to form the V.

For other ideas to develop track plans in unusual shape rooms, look at www.layoutvision.com.

Chuck

PS  It's SCARM, not SCRAM.

PRR1950 posted:

Hi Tom,

Well, since you want to avoid 90 degree curves in corners, you have virtually eliminated "around the wall" designs which give you easiest access to all parts of the layout with one swing bridge.  Given the shape of your walls and the location of utilities, bathroom and entry doors, I would suggest a V shaped design with the legs of the V heading into the northwest (but not too far) and southwest corners.  Each leg should be wide enough to permit a "walk-in" area to fix problems with a swing bridge at each entrance.

Off of this basic design, you could build peninsulas for the structures and activities you covet.  You could even have the mainline from one leg cross over the mainline from the other leg near the point where the two legs meet to form the V.

For other ideas to develop track plans in unusual shape rooms, look at www.layoutvision.com.

Chuck

PS  It's SCARM, not SCRAM.

It's not that I want to avoid 90 degree curves in corners, it's I don't want all the curves to be exactly concentric and all the lines to be parallel to the walls and edge of the benchwork.  I realize that some parts of the track will follow the contours of the room.  I just don't want to notice that it does.  Maybe I've given this too much emphasis.

Some see the glass as half empty,

Others see it as half full.

An Engineer sees the glass as twice as big as it needs to be.

Ken-Oscale posted:

Nice track plan, but as a layout plan, I agree access and reach are a problem, and will likely detract from your enjoyment.   Perhaps another revision could be worked out?

Not sure about elevations, and where tracks would meet at crossing rather than crossing above or below, put perhaps something like this could be worked-out:

forum-revision

I do have one of these in the garage that I don't use.  Folded up flat and hanging on the wall for more than a few years.  I think they call it a topside creeper.  It should help some with reach , especially if the waste pipe needs a cleanout.  I think I will commit to a duck under to access the water pressure regulator and inside water disconnect.  I have another valve outside at the meter that is easy to access if I need to turn off whole house water and don't want to duck under.

 

engine creeper

 

But I do agree, the process needs to continue.  I've spent many evenings in the space, starring and visualing.  I think my next step is to sketch a few different versions of potential benchwork and try to adapt some similar track plans to them.  

 

Some see the glass as half empty,

Others see it as half full.

An Engineer sees the glass as twice as big as it needs to be.

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