No apologizes. I really enjoy watching trains run. It all started many years ago when on Christmas morning I woke up to find a Marx train running on a loop of track under our Christmas tree. Like many other guys guys on this forum I was hooked on trains at an early age.

I am now in my early 70’s and still get a great deal of pleasure just watching ‘em run.

I am having a layout built by PMD of Romeoville, Illinois which is about 25 miles from my house. I had been in contact with PMD for 7 month before the actual build started. They were in the final stages of a HO layout for a client on the west coast and I needed that project to wrap up before they could start mine. That was fine, as I got to view that layout with 95% of the scenery in place. Seeing this helped me make up my mind that PMD was right for me. 

My build started on December 28, 2018 and I expect delivery the end of September / early October. I have taken several pictures of the process and will start posting them soon. For now I will list some facts about the build and post a reasonable facsimile of the track plan. 

Yes, my layout is a loop. Actually two loops. This allows me to sit back, relax and let them run in opposite directions if I choose or in the same direction depending on my mood.

Layout Facts:

1. The layout is HO.
2. Outside dimensions 22’ x 11’
3. ALL track is Peco code 83
4. ALL turnouts are Peco #8’s - none are manual.
5. Each main line is divided 10 blocks.
6. Each yard track is divided into 2 blocks.
7. My plan is to use TrainController to automate the entire layout, with the option of each main line manually when my train buddies are over.
8. Every mainline curve has easements into and out of the curve and is super elevated.
9. Every elevation change also uses an easement at the base and summit.
10. Signaling, while not prototypical will be installed along each main to provide “eye candy”.
11.A lift gate on the left side (with a gas piston installed) will allow easy access into the layout for operators.

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I am a loop runner also. I have one really long loop that I run trains on. I like to keep my speed down to what it should be. I think the experience is similar to standing by the right of way of a full size railroad and watching trains pass by. I do a lot of that with my hometown railroad, which is CSX.

Rich Melvin posted:

It was Bill Bramlage that coined the phrase “Loop Runner.” Some of my best friends are Loop Runners.  😉

Mine too.  I’m gonna go out on a limb a say that the vast majority (somewhere around 95%) of all model railroaders are loopers.  Sure many have sidings serving every imaginable business but the bulk of the trains sooner or later revisit their point of origin.  And... there ain’t anything wrong with that. 

I am re-posting my track plan HERE as it was deleted from my original post because it had a link attached to it.

 

 

 

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The current mantra that point-to-point is more realistic suffers from a fatal flaw:  it is only realistic if the prototype is at most .5 miles long (that's about how long a mainline lucky people can fit, much less for most people, especially in the larger scales).

If you like switching between industries that are next door to one another, that's fine.  But if you want trains to run any distance at all, loops are unavoidable.

 

Frisco, MoPac, and T&P near Rolla, MO

SantaFeJim posted:


I am having a layout built by PMD (Progressive Model Design) of Romeoville, Illinois which is about 25 miles from my house. I had been in contact with PMD for 7 month before the actual build started. They were in the final stages of a HO layout for a client on the west coast and I needed that project to wrap up before they could start mine. That was fine, as I got to view that layout with 95% of the scenery in place. Seeing this helped me make up my mind that PMD was right for me. 

No more 3 rail in Indiana?

BobbyD posted:
SantaFeJim posted:


I am having a layout built by PMD Progressive Model Design) of Romeoville, Illinois which is about 25 miles from my house. I had been in contact with PMD for 7 month before the actual build started. They were in the final stages of a HO layout for a client on the west coast and I needed that project to wrap up before they could start mine. That was fine, as I got to view that layout with 95% of the scenery in place. Seeing this helped me make up my mind that PMD was right for me. 

No more 3 rail in Indiana?

I have no plans of stopping Indiana.  We are currently closed for the Summer and expect to open after Labor Day.

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Ditto here....

Which is better than being a bit "Loopy"...

loopy

 adjective
\ ˈlü-pē  \
loopierloopiest

Definition of loopy 

1having or characterized by loops
 
The latest issue of Model Railroader magazine has a contributing editor's article about 'Operations'.   Well, it's the local obsession with this...."Operations"...that encouraged my decision to bid adieu to HO.   The encouraging article shares a photo....with smiling operators...of a classic 'cornfield meet'.   No smiles over such things locally...  
So, since I couldn't get a grip on it, and the echoing mantra of "Model Railroading is Fun!" was yet whispering from off my right shoulder, I declared: "I'm a LOOPER!.....and proud of it!"  Libation in the left hand, throttle in the right....all's well.  O3R.....Fun!  Loops and all.
KD

Congratulations Jim on the upcoming looper layout!!  I will look forward to seeing some photographs of the layout when the time comes.

KD, I saw that article in the latest MR magazine.  I skipped reading it.  I read MR from the late '60s until 2012 when I discovered OGR and O gauge 3-rail and I let my MR subscription expire.  I never could get into switching layouts, and following prototypes to the T.  I did reply to a cheapo 1-year subscription offer to MR last year, but am going to let it expire.  Skipping the above mentioned article tells you why.

Just wanted to post another picture from my early visits to PMD.  

I will be having a good size passenger station as one on the main scenes on my layout.  It will serve the complete 12-car EL Capitan set that Walther's released about five years ago.  I also have a complete Super Chief set which will stop on the other side of the platform.

Seeing the great detail in and around this fine passenger station made my decision to go with PMD a lot easier.  For that reason I call this one the money shot.  

 


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yes, with many it is just watching trains run same as we did with family so many Christmas mornings, for so many wonderful years.  Only, now, the loops are enormous and it is with our grandkids.  Trains run on track, to the pleasure and delight of all, whether it be two rails or three.  But, the enjoyment is the same.... each to his own.   And, BTW, Mother Earth is a loop runner...……..

Jesse   TCA

After an initial review and agreement of my track plan I made a small deposit to show PDM that I am truly interested in their services.  They use their design software to calculate material cost and plot the layout incorporating the easements how best to construct and size each section for transporting and assembling the finished product.  

Part of next phase includes building a small scale mock-up to aid in visualizing the layout in 3 dimensions.  (I get to keep this when the layout is delivered)

 

 

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gnnpnut posted:

My HO railroad runs from staging yard to staging yard.  While I have reversing loops at both ends, they are only used to stage trains.  When operating, they are not required.  Passenger trains have to run at a scale 50 mph to maintain schedule. 

I operate on eight different railroads in the Chicagoland area, and none of them are "loops".  They are all convincing. 

 

How long are the mainlines?

Frisco, MoPac, and T&P near Rolla, MO

PALALLIN, why do you think that mainlines are short on point to point layouts?  In HO, a scale mile is about 60 feet.  I operate on some HO layouts with mainlines that are at least 250 feet long (over 4 scale miles).  My own O-scale 3-rail layout is point to point with a 550 foot mainline (an O-scale mile is 110 feet).  One of the guys in town models the B&O in N-scale (33 feet to a scale mile) and his main line is almost 20 scale miles long.  These railroads all require a crew of 10 to 15 guys for an operating session.  The op sessions are social events and are loads of fun.

Back to Santa Fe Jims new layout.....

Jim it looks really cool...I'm curious as to why you went HO for the home layout?  I understand space considerations but you could put a pretty nice 0 gauge pike in 11x22....

I'd like to follow  but all the links take me to another forum that wants me to register before I could see your photos??

RD

Live the Dream,

Own the Best!

LIONEL!!

RD posted:

Back to Santa Fe Jims new layout.....

Jim it looks really cool...I'm curious as to why you went HO for the home layout?  I understand space considerations but you could put a pretty nice 0 gauge pike in 11x22....

I'd like to follow  but all the links take me to another forum that wants me to register before I could see your photos??

Rich - I know that I could have a decent O Scale layout in that space but, as you know, I already belong to a nice 3-Rail Scale club that has 60' x 36' layout.

To do my track plan on 3-rail O-Scale would require approx. 44' x 22'.  It would be considerably cheaper but I cannot accommodate that foot print.

As for links to see the pictures?  News to me?  Nobody else mentioned any problems.

BTW - How is you build coming along?  I REALLY liked the track plan that you posted here in March/April of last year.

I will be posting more pictures as time permits.  Stay tuned.

 

 

 

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I like to see a model train running along at typical operating speeds - say 30 to 60 miles-per-hour - chuffing, whistling, clickety-clack. On a modestly-sized layout, the only way that can be done is in a loop. Completely acceptable to me. Just turn them on and watch them run. I would quickly become bored if I was limited to having switchers shuffling boxcars onto sidings at 5 miles-per-hour.

MELGAR

Bob posted:

PALALLIN, why do you think that mainlines are short on point to point layouts?  In HO, a scale mile is about 60 feet.  I operate on some HO layouts with mainlines that are at least 250 feet long (over 4 scale miles).  My own O-scale 3-rail layout is point to point with a 550 foot mainline (an O-scale mile is 110 feet).  One of the guys in town models the B&O in N-scale (33 feet to a scale mile) and his main line is almost 20 scale miles long.  These railroads all require a crew of 10 to 15 guys for an operating session.  The op sessions are social events and are loads of fun.

People don't use trains to travel 4 miles.  Heck, I don't even use a car all the time to do 4 or 5 miles.  20 miles?  That's still a short, short-line.  There are industrial sites that have more than 4 miles of track on the same property.

My trains travel hundreds of miles, KC to Birmingham; St. Louis to Paris, TX; Carthage, MO, to Memphis; etc.  All in 5 x 10 feet.

I say enjoy your trains however you want to, but I want my trains to travel more realistic distances. 

Frisco, MoPac, and T&P near Rolla, MO

I'm a looper AND a switcher. First I watch the Royal Gorge in the Summer of '64 make it's way from Pueblo to Provo on the loop of track around the perimeter of my 11X12 train room. Then I operate the present-day Titusville/Bradford/Petrolia/wherever Turn from interchange to town and back, setting out and picking up empties and loads at the several on-line industries.

 

All model railroading is caricature because we are always compressing huge geographic distances&features into a tiny fraction of the land travelled by any prototype except the shortest shortlines. One could accurately model the Strasburg Rail Road but that wouldn't be very exciting, would it? Caricature is a powerful tool, though, and the suspension-of-disbelief created by an effective model railroad gives great pleasure, amirite? 

Lew

Lew

 

Operator of the Plywood Empire Route in the Beautiful Berkshires

Growing old is so much more fun than the only alternative.

geysergazer posted:

 All model railroading is caricature because we are always compressing huge geographic distances&features into a tiny fraction of the land travelled by any prototype except the shortest shortlines. One could accurately model the Strasburg Rail Road but that wouldn't be very exciting, would it? Caricature is a powerful tool, though, and the suspension-of-disbelief created by an effective model railroad gives great pleasure, amirite? 

Lew

Absolutely. 

Mark in Oregon

SantaFeJim posted:
RD posted:

Back to Santa Fe Jims new layout.....

Jim it looks really cool...I'm curious as to why you went HO for the home layout?  I understand space considerations but you could put a pretty nice 0 gauge pike in 11x22....

I'd like to follow  but all the links take me to another forum that wants me to register before I could see your photos??

Rich - I know that I could have a decent O Scale layout in that space but, as you know, I already belong to a nice 3-Rail Scale club that has 60' x 36' layout.

To do my track plan on 3-rail O-Scale would require approx. 44' x 22'.  It would be considerably cheaper but I cannot accommodate that foot print.

As for links to see the pictures?  News to me?  Nobody else mentioned any problems.

BTW - How is you build coming along?  I REALLY liked the track plan that you posted here in March/April of last year.

I will be posting more pictures as time permits.  Stay tuned.

 

 

 

Jim,

I get it.... I'm glad you're not giving up on 0-Scale with all the beautiful  Santa Fe equipment  you have!  The photos I could see look great and the scale model is the nuts!

As for me I'm still  planning to build that plan.. I had a lot of help from the forum converting it to 0 from HO to fit my space and I have the plan in RRT .... still working on the room.. I want to make sure I have that done first and I had a couple of minor setbacks... I'm also struggling with the question.. build it myself or have it built by a professional builder??   I'm having problems visualizing the benchwork and how to handle the different levels... but I retired last January so now I have nothing but time and no more excuses.....

RD

Live the Dream,

Own the Best!

LIONEL!!

gnnpnut posted:
palallin posted:

People don't use trains to travel 4 miles.  Heck, I don't even use a car all the time to do 4 or 5 miles.  20 miles?  That's still a short, short-line.  There are industrial sites that have more than 4 miles of track on the same property.

My trains travel hundreds of miles, KC to Birmingham; St. Louis to Paris, TX; Carthage, MO, to Memphis; etc.  All in 5 x 10 feet.

I say enjoy your trains however you want to, but I want my trains to travel more realistic distances. 

Pallalin, based on your photograph, I'll assume that you do Civil War reenactments?  Using a similar analogy to your observations regarding the  "current mantra that point-to-point is more realistic" is akin to my saying that your Civil war activities are not realistic since you are not firing live rounds out of your small arms and artillery.  You make compromises in that hobby also, and I'm sure that your reenactment battlefields don't mimic the size of the real battles either. 

 

Certainly!  We don't eat rancid food, either, judging dysentery to be too authentic

That said, we all have to choose what compromises we make.  I want my trains to run long distances without stopping.  I will accept passing the same town numerous times to make that happen.

I say my way is better for me.  I say your way is better for you.  I will not say that either way is simply better.  Point-to-point is not better, which is the current mantra of the "voices" of the hobby.  It accomplishes a purpose loops cannot.  But they, in turn, accomplish a purpose point-to-point cannot.  And that statement was my point in responding to the thread.

Frisco, MoPac, and T&P near Rolla, MO

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