Hello trainboarders, I have been lurking for a month or two now, thinking about getting into model railroading. My dad and I built a HO 4x8 layout with Tyco stuff when I was 8-10 years old and because of the fact that I have a 3year old daughter now Iam considering getting into it again for her sake.
I have been working on the layout below for about a month now. I plan to do it in HO. I have read all of the pros and cons (mostly cons) of doing these rectangle type layouts but here is my rationale. I have a complex of 3 garages connected by a smooth driveway. If my layout had wheels I could move it between any of these garages based on the needs occupying the garage at anytime. Also, I could always reserve the option to move it out into the driveway on nice days or when messy work needs to be done. I plan to make the table top with levelers so that I can level the table out per location. It seems anything but a rectangle layout wouldnt work well on wheels. My concern is based on some members pointing to expansion and contraction damage on their layouts from extreme temps. These garages can be heated but I would only like to heat them temporarily and not full time. I do have the space and the option to move the layout indoors over the winter, although legs would be removable, it would have to be tipped on its side through doorways.
I would appreciate some critique on the layout.
The scene will be fictional but will be based on the Pacific NW, lots of trees, etc. I plan to run a freight train at first then add a passenger train and a trolley in the future. The tolley line is what you see running through "town", and has not had much thought yet.
The "yard" at the bottom is 2'x5' and catilevers off the main table 8". I would like the yard to be 4" off the main table height. The rectangle in the center of the yard is a "view down" to the tracks below with railings around it. I didnt want to go with a full blown yard as there just isnt the space to work with, and I would like to see this whole thing become a module for a larger layout (with a real yard) in the future. The back of the yard closest to town will be building facades and have some sort of scenic divider (buildings tops viewed from both sides?) that is still low enough you can see the yard from the other side of the table over it. I could use some help on setting up the switching in the yard for the best return on investment, and considering moving the loco building over to the left corner with the "X".
As far as the main track, going to the right out of the yard through the tunnel, that curve is 22", the rest are 24", It does a double loop. The switch on the left entering the yard is a Walthers 24"/22" curved switch which I believe is a code 83 so I think Iam stuck with code 83 track. Iam seriously considering the WS foam roadbed. The only thing I really question is my grades, I have not put a lot of thought in it yet but I think they are doable at a glance with just over a 3% grade maximum.
I would like to tackle handbuilding the trestle which is going to be about 3' long. Iam a residential framing contractor by trade, and currently a general contractor specializing in remodel work so supplies and benchwork shouldnt be an issue. You can see the industries labeled, where the ? is Iam considering something to do with gas or oil as I would like to run tankers in my train. I plan to purchase a DCC system (NCE powercab?) not long after the track starts getting laid. I have considered the yard track closest to the bottom edge of the yard as a programming track.
Anyways, any help or suggestions would be appreciated. Iam really ready to start my bench work immediately and I think some of the finer details will be worked out as I start the table. I have ordered Atlas's track templates. I think I might want to set all of my switches then fill in with flex track exclusively to cut down on rail joints. Is there a reason why I shouldnt go this route?