Away We Go! Steel Mill Layout

Penner Mar 9, 2021

  1. sd90ns

    sd90ns TrainBoard Member

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    And do you think the real things win awards for architectural excellence and flawless construction?
    They are big, ugly, industrial buildings thrown up as cheaply as possible with the sole provision being that they keep the rain out and don't fall down in a strong wind.
    Cut yourself some slack.:)
     
  2. Shortround

    Shortround TrainBoard Member

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  3. HemiAdda2d

    HemiAdda2d Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    Excellent work so far!
     
  4. Penner

    Penner TrainBoard Member

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    I've started laying out the initial steel mill property track and that got me to wondering about ALL of the track I've planned on that side of the layout (mill AND mainline).

    So I have a quick question: Is it practical to run a long stretch of straight double mainline with 1" center-to-center spacing? As I've laid it out, it's visually appealing to me. I will definitely be increasing the track spacing on the curves entering and leaving that long stretch of straight track.

    I have no crossovers in the straight section.

    I like the look of the 1" center-to-center spacing on that long stretch of straight mainline, and there is enough clearance to avoid side-swipes in that run, but it seems like everything I've been reading says 1.25" (or maybe 1.125") is the practical minimum.
     
  5. BigJake

    BigJake TrainBoard Member

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    I think I'd test that (at speed) before I committed to it. Trains have been known to suck in towards each other at speed.
     
  6. Joe Lovett

    Joe Lovett TrainBoard Member

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    @Penner, it would probably be best to have minimum 1.25 inch spacing between straight tracks and 1.5 on curves to be safe for N scale. I've used those distances since 1984 and never had any problems.

    Really enjoying your build thread.

    Joe
     
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  7. HemiAdda2d

    HemiAdda2d Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    Also consider space for the big hook (fingers) in the event of a derailment.
     
  8. Penner

    Penner TrainBoard Member

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    Well ... thank you everyone for the input on the mainline track spacing. I've decided to fall back to 1.25" center-to-center.

    The initial track laying is going a bit slower than I expected; deliberately so. To be honest, I think I've been suffering from a bit of paralysis by analysis with respect to the proper method for laying down my Atlas C55 flex track. I've had a couple of false starts ... I already messed up the first piece of flex track I was working with, so I started to get a bit gun shy and began looking at every flex track laying video I could find.

    The good news is just finished reading up on a method for laying flex track that was recommended by Barstow Rick on another thread. I feel comfortable I'll be able to do this ... plus it actually makes sense to me. Hopefully I'll have a pic or two to show some actual progress by the end of this weekend.
    Hopefully ...

     
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  9. Penner

    Penner TrainBoard Member

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    Thank you, Joe. :)
     
  10. HemiAdda2d

    HemiAdda2d Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    Penner,
    Check out this link for an alternative tracklaying idea.
     
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  11. Penner

    Penner TrainBoard Member

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    Thanks, Hemi. Very helpful! (y)
     
  12. Penner

    Penner TrainBoard Member

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    Well, well, well ... I see an advance crew is doing some prep work for the mill property track that is being installed. ;)

    2021-06-11 track 1.jpg

    This is definitely a much slower process than I anticipated. The goal is still to lay down all of the mill property track to make sure it fits as originally planned without glue/caulk. Then I'll temporarily wire it up so I can run some trains over it and make sure their are no major problems before making things more permanent (er, or I guess I should probably say "relatively" permanent). :ROFLMAO:

    Although after watching the video Hemi kindly shared, I am going to go back and use the straight edge to make sure the straightaways are as straight as possible -- at least where they can be. The run against the wall has to do a bit of a jog towards and then away from the wall due to the positioning of the blast furnace. I originally was hoping that run could be perfectly straight, but space limitations preclude that.

    Here are a couple more pics ... at the pace I'm going, I suspect it's going to take a few more weeks before I have the preliminary mill property track entirely laid down!

    2021-06-11 track 2.jpg
    2021-06-11 track 3.jpg
     
  13. SDVike

    SDVike TrainBoard Member

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    Looks like you have a good start and a good plan.

    I’ve just finished up my yard and mainline. I’m happy with it but the one big mistake I made was not fully understanding how I wanted to power my frogs. I installed two turnouts without the proper jumpers soldered on. I was impatient. Now I have to figure out how to modify the turnouts in place, or pull them back up. I also forgot to add feeders to my yard tracks. This one is an easy fix. It’s just annoying that I bought pre-soldered rail joiners and forgot to install them.

    Moral of the story, have patience. And plan out all your feeders, insulated rail, and point motors before attaching everything permanently. Test them too.

    I haven’t hooked up my DCC controller yet either. I hope that doesn’t bring new issues to light. I did do a continuity test on the turnouts before installing them. I also tested the switch motors on my first three turnouts. I felt confident I had the system down for the turnouts so I didn’t need to install the rest right away. I just drilled the holes as I installed each turn out.

    Oh, and I forgot under-track magnetic uncouplers. Again, I grew impatient and didn’t want to wait for some to arrive in the mail.

    I’m sure you will do fine based on the models I’ve already seen. Good luck!


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
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  14. Shortround

    Shortround TrainBoard Member

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    That sounds a lot like my first layout constructions. :oops:
    Now I have to start again. :rolleyes:
     
  15. Penner

    Penner TrainBoard Member

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    I'm most anxious about the turnouts and the tortoise motors -- the latter because I am not yet sure how I will be attaching those motors to the foam (but that's another worry for down the line).

    I will definitely be powering the frogs; the Atlas C55 turnouts have a nice little lug on the side of them that will make that easy peasy.
     
  16. SDVike

    SDVike TrainBoard Member

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    I put a layer of 1/4” plywood underneath the foam specifically for attaching the tortoise machines. It may not be too late for you to add that. I’m using 2” foam and the wires that come with the tortoise machines is not long enough to reach through the 2 1/2” of plywood, foam, and cork. I found some thick and longer piano wire at hobby lobby that allows me to make it work.

    I’m not familiar with Atlas N-scale track but if it’s like HO, I think you have less prep work then the Peco Electro frog. Either way, your testing it without permanent placement is the way to go.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
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  17. Penner

    Penner TrainBoard Member

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    It's been awhile since I gave an update. Work is still progressing on laying the track on the mill property, but a combination of inexperience and life in general is making it go slower than I expected. But, hey ... that's okay because I'm truly in no hurry. :)

    Anyway, as I've progressed I've had to make a few minor changes over the past two weeks from the original plan. Early on I discovered that I was going to have to do a rough lay out of almost ALL of the mill track (save for the high line, which will be the very last track to go down on the layout) to make sure that all of the buildings are going to fit in the tight spaces allocated for them.

    So for now, the track is simply being pinned down until I am sure everything is going to fit. Here are a few more photos of progress so far. If I'm lucky I may have a complete rough layout of the mill property track finished in the next couple of weeks. Then again ... what's that they say about the best laid plans of mice and men? :sneaky:

    2021-06-27 track 1.jpg 2021-06-27 track 2.jpg 2021-06-27 track 3.jpg 2021-06-27 track 4.jpg 2021-06-27 track 5.jpg
     
  18. Penner

    Penner TrainBoard Member

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    Today I opened up two packages of Atlas Code 55 #10 RIGHT turnouts and that's when I noticed one of the packages actually contained a LEFT turnout, despite being labeled as a RIGHT turnout. :eek: It was no biggie as I bought a few extras of all the turnouts, but still ... that was an eye-opener!

    I was just wondering if anybody else ever have the same thing happen to them?
     
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  19. TrainzLuvr

    TrainzLuvr TrainBoard Member

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    I just came across this thread, because I've been looking for some Steel Mill examples in N scale for a branch line on my layout, and your work so far looks awesome!

    For whatever reason I thought I could cram some portion of the steelworks in 42"x10" main space, 20"x6" approach on the lift gate, and a bit of irregular shape on the adjacent wall I have, but seeing your setup and some of the others I came across, it would probably be criminal to do it on my layout.
     
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  20. BigJake

    BigJake TrainBoard Member

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    TrainsLuvr,

    I hear you, but we cannot let the wonderful things we see here keep us from our own efforts to suspend reality for ourselves.

    The challenge is in suspending reality just enough to realize our own dreams, within the space, time, finances and skill we have available. I'm sure everybody is, in some way, a little disappointed in (at least) some aspect of their layout that they feel is just not quite right.

    Far be it from me to stop trying just because I can't do it even as well as, let alone better than, what I have seen here and elsewhere. Sometimes we have to temper our dreams and enjoy that.

    Plus, I can only enjoy their layouts and efforts vicariously through prose, pictures and perhaps even videos. I can get my hands dirty and run trains on mine!
     
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