Compact triangular office layout with broad curves

S t e f a n Oct 18, 2020 at 12:06 AM

  1. S t e f a n

    S t e f a n TrainBoard Member

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    After a slight mishap when trying to change the mounting height of my (very unfinished) small N scale layout, I decided to rebuild as a triangular 8' corner layout with 24" curves on the double mainline. The old 'L' shaped baseplate/shelf had only room for 13" radius turnaround loops.
    Here is the first draft of the layout; the bottom of the baseplate is 54" above the floor; trackwork will be code 55 micro engineering flex track and #6 ME turnouts. In the past I have mounted track on a sandwich of camper seal tape and that black slightly sticky roadbed material, but I'm open to suggestions.
    How is the Woodland Scenics foam track bed?

    office_new_20201016.jpg

    Goals:
    • I want to be able to run eight car passenger trains, as much as that is possible in a small 2nd bedroom/office type space. This means reasonably large curves, and reasonably long sidings (eight 85' cars in 1:160 scale = four feet). A double mainline might make sense, to allow to run two passenger trains at the same time.
    • I want to integrate a turntable and engine house I already have, also as a display area for locomotives and MOW equipment (e.g. a rotary snowplow/BR44 set).
    • It would be nice to leave space for future industries (e.g. I have a steel mill kit that I need to assemble).
    • I'm not sure how much switching etc. I actually want to do, but I don't want to design myself into a corner where I can't add features in the future. So the mainline layout should leave some room for extension.
    • I haven't decided yet whether I want to go vertical at all; for the mainline the emphasis should be on reliable running of long passenger trains, so that probably means staying flat.

    For now the plan is to get a running layout with some basic landscaping, and then maybe refine and add more landscaping, industry, extensions etc. later on.

    In the design above, I'm happy with the mainline length (about two times 30 feet) and the radii (mostly 24"), and with the amount of free space left.
    I'm not 100% happy with the stub end staging/storage tracks at the bottom left - the tracks could be longer, which might mean reducing the mainline radius a bit at the bottom curve -, and with the placement of and access to the turntable and engine house.
    I'm also just getting started with XtrkCAD, so I'm glad I was able to place turnouts at all. Some of the connections look a bit rough to me.

    The long diagonal has hinges at the bottom end (at the 2 foot line), which makes it easier to get to my computer desk under the northern/top shelf of the layout. I was thinking that at some point I might want to add a lift bridge at the top right end - Chicago has a prototype just south of the Amtrak facility- , but the tracks for turntable access collide with that idea right now.

    I would appreciate feedback on the general idea, and on the layout draft. I have built the benchwork/baseplate/shelf including the diagonal.
     

    Attached Files:

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  2. S t e f a n

    S t e f a n TrainBoard Member

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    A few pictures of the benchwork, in particular of the hinged diagonal lift section.

    The hinges: the rail heads need to be below the hinge pin axis, so that rail separation increases as the lift section opens.

    Shelf support: unfortunately the walls are double drywall over plaster-covered slats nailed to the studs, so it is quite difficult to screw into the studs. The right most bracket is attached to a stud. The same construction held up a much heavier solid wood base board.

    Shelf and lift section support: the turn buckle hung from a steel wire strung between a door and a window frame seems to work quite well to level the bench work.

    The lift section pulley attached to the horizontal steel wire:
     
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  3. Shortround

    Shortround TrainBoard Member

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    Some interesting ideas there. When I can get to it I have a 10'x10' area. At the entrance is a closet, door and 3'x4' extension area. Or use it for the computer. There's power and tv cable access there. I have the single layer drywalls but I don't think the landlord wouldn't agree to punching all the holes so it will have to be mounted on cabinets and shelving units.
    I would be interested in seeing a fuller description of the lift up section. I will need that near the closet and computer area.
    Richard
     
  4. S t e f a n

    S t e f a n TrainBoard Member

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    A few links:

     
  5. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    If simply being used to attach roadbed to underlayment, or track itself, have you ever tried carpet tape?
     
  6. S t e f a n

    S t e f a n TrainBoard Member

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    Hi Boxcab50, no, haven't used that yet. It's a fiber reinforced double sided tape with extra strong grip? What I like about the camper seal tape is that the grip is strong, but not too strong. I can remove it using a spackle, although I haven't tried removal from the glass fiber facing of the foam board. Probably even a weak glue will take off the paint layer and the top layer of fibers.

    In the past I have used cork roadbed, adhered on both sides (baseplate and track) with latex glue, and the camper seal/black rubber AMI instant roadbed combination. I found the AMI black rubber stuff a bit easier to work with, but t seems AMI is out of business, so I'll have to come up with something new.
     
    Last edited: Oct 19, 2020 at 3:21 AM
  7. Shortround

    Shortround TrainBoard Member

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    Carpet tape works nice but the camper seal tape will add a little soft cushioning I think. It may soften the noise as well as hide irregularities.
    Just my opinion.
     
  8. BigJake

    BigJake TrainBoard Member

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    24" curves will make your passenger trains look great!

    But the S curves at about the 6' mark, and again at the 8' mark on the left side, even with 24" radii on both sides, will be roughly as severe as a 12" radius transition directly to straight.

    It may not affect operations, but it may make those long passenger cars look more like toy trains.

    Broad, gentle S's can really show off a train and the scenery, but less might be more in this case.
     
  9. S t e f a n

    S t e f a n TrainBoard Member

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    BigJake, I'm not sure which way I want to go in that area; I looked at a layout variant with straight track there, but I was afraid all straight track between the three main line curves would be too boring. I should try to make the S a bit less pronounced, if I can figure out how to get XtrkCAD to do that.

    Other changes I'm thinking about:
    1. I'm thinking of moving the main double loop one or two inches to the right, and starting the first of the stub tracks already around the 6' mark, to make it longer and suitable for staging a whole passenger train. I will probably have to reduce the bottom end main line curve radius a bit (towards 20") to make space for that.
    2. I'm not sure how useful the shorter stub tracks really are; maybe fewer but longer tracks are better? In the current design (above) the center stub track forms part of a wye; but the track itself is much too short to turn a whole train around (it is 1' long; I'd need about 5').
    3. I'm not sure whether I want to move the long siding along the top wall to the inside of the double track mainline, and then access the turntable area from that siding. Having fewer turnouts on the main line seems an advantage.
    4. I could also try to keep the gap between the wall at the top and the tracks a bit larger, either for scenery (thin relief/front only passenger station?), or to allow future expansion. But the space I have overall is pretty limited, so there is an argument to be made for going as close to the wall as possible with the mainline, to maximize the track length available for running.
     

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