My New N Scale Western Pacific Layout

WPZephyrFan Aug 2, 2022

  1. WPZephyrFan

    WPZephyrFan TrainBoard Member

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    I have finally rented a house and I'm living in it by myself (and my cat, Chloe). I have an 11 1/2' x 15' spare room for a layout. I'm hoping that this is my chance to build a decent layout for myself. I still work a LOT of hours, so progress will be slow, but I visited a friend's layout in Sacramento a couple of weeks ago and really was inspired to get to work. I've lived here since last November and I'm still unpacking, but here's a couple of views of the still cluttered room:

    DSCN2825.JPG DSCN2824.JPG
     
  2. mtntrainman

    mtntrainman TrainBoard Supporter

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    Most layouts start with a piece of paper. At least you have a room ! ;)(y)
     
  3. Pfunk

    Pfunk TrainBoard Member

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    ^THIS!^ I'm still working on finishing a room downstairs to put something up - is just 2x4s and concrete atm LOL

    You already have space and what looks like enough to keep you busy for a while! Have fun and share some pics as you go (y)
     
  4. JMaurer1

    JMaurer1 TrainBoard Member

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    Too bad you don't live in Sacramento, we are desperately looking for members for our NTrak group (we have trains, modules, scenery supplies, everything needed but people to do the work at this point).

    The longest journeys start with a single step. Go for it!
     
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  5. WPZephyrFan

    WPZephyrFan TrainBoard Member

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    My buddy Gary lives up in Sac. He gave me an open invitation to come visit and run trains. At least I now have a garage that I can do some carpentry in.
     
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  6. WPZephyrFan

    WPZephyrFan TrainBoard Member

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    So, my plans is for the layout to be 45 inches from the floor (about mid chest on me). I want it to be moduler so if I ever have to move (God forbid!) I can take it with me. I haven't decided on a track plan, but I'd like to have continuous running so I can turn on a train and listen to it make it's way around the layout while I work on one of my other hobbies, like my model cars and such. Much of the WP here in the Central Valley is single track and I still need to do some railfanning of what's left of the old WP. It won't be an exact representation but I want it to be somewhat close.
     
  7. JMaurer1

    JMaurer1 TrainBoard Member

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    Sounds like NTrak to me...we do red, yellow (as SP) and alt blue as WP. Either way, modular is always a good plan. I've lived where I am for 11 years, we own the home, and I still plan that I might move again (although there is nothing worse than moving...well, I've been told prison but that involves moving too).
     
  8. umtrr-author

    umtrr-author TrainBoard Member

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    Nitpick alert...

    There's a difference between "modular" and "sectional."

    Sectional layouts generally can only be put back together in exactly one way, while modular layouts are built such that pieces can be interchanged, like, for example, NTrak and TTrak layouts.

    The "two layouts ago" pike was sectional, but the sections weren't going to go together well in the new space so they were dismantled anyway.

    Proper planning prevents... well, you know the rest.
     
  9. WPZephyrFan

    WPZephyrFan TrainBoard Member

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    If you've ever seen Campbell Rice's layout, that's kind of what I want to do. Since I rent my house, I really don't want to start mounting it to the walls. I'm hoping that if I build it in sections, I can get one psrt finished or semi finished and move on to the next. I might do the ends first, with either a reverse loop or a loop of track at each end so I can run some trains while I work on the center connection section, if that makes sense.
     
  10. HemiAdda2d

    HemiAdda2d Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    I did a modular layout mounted to the walls of a rental house once, and when we had to move, the removal process necessitated some wall finishing repairs. No fun. The next layout was sectional, and when it had to move, it fit in the next house, but then I moved overseas where homes are smaller. I built a HCD layout for that reason. I'd love an around the walls layout, and I own my house now, but no budget or time for that. FWIW, start small, and a HCD is a great start. Modular is cool, too, but the unpredictability of the next home (room size/shape) makes building a modular layout tricky. Just personal (school of hard knocks) experience from a fairly nomadic modeler...
    For a Wobbly layout with single main, Altamont Pass would be a great idea. It's one of the more recognizable locales (along with Feather River Canyon, Williams Loop, etc), and the gently rolling topography would be easy to model on a HCD. The rolling hills can be used for view blocks to separate the layout into 2-3 signature scenes, however compressed. Making the layout with HCDs can be built into an L or U shape for more run.
     
  11. BigJake

    BigJake TrainBoard Member

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    This may be very basic for most readers, but perhaps some might benefit...

    Hollow-core-door (HCD) sized layouts are very popular in either 80x30 or 80x36 form factors. An 80" long by 36" wide door is the widest, standard size interior passage door available in the US. Hollow core doors are constructed with a wooden frame, and a wood veneer or thin hardboard skin on front and back. Between the skins in the middle is a web of cardboard stiffeners glued to both faces. This makes for a very light, very flat base for a model railroad. Many folks use 30" wide doors so that the reach to the back is easier. But the 36" wide door allows wider radii curves at the ends, and of course more room in the middle, so long as the layout will be easily movable out from the wall should (when) mishaps occur.

    There are (at least) a couple of basic ways to implement a reverse loop in a HCD size layout.

    One is to start with a basic oval, and add a diagonal track across the middle that creates the reverse loop. The only problem with this is that it only reverses in one direction; you have to back the train through it to reverse back to the original direction. You can add a second, opposite diagonal that crosses the original diagonal in the middle, for bi-directional reversing. This might be the best way on a 30" deep layout.

    Another basic approach is to start with a dogbone layout. First, a regular dogbone is a layout style, typically with double track lengthwise in the middle, and loop-backs on each end connecting the individual tracks of the double track. You can also think of a dogbone as an oval where the straight tracks are pinched together into a double track in the middle. A pair of opposing single crossovers, or a double crossover, anywhere in the double track creates the reverse capability in both directions. But a straight dogbone is usually too long for an 80" long HCD.

    To fit a dogbone layout in a HCD form factor, you can fold one end of the dogbone around, overlapping the other end: the folded dogbone. There are also twisted versions of the dogbone (folded or otherwise) which are more like figure eights, that when folded provide a little more complex (less visually predictable) train path.
     
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  12. DeaconKC

    DeaconKC TrainBoard Member

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    @BigJake Thanks for such a clear explanation for new or returning folks.
     
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  13. DeaconKC

    DeaconKC TrainBoard Member

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    ALRIGHT! He needs space.....Garage Sale at @WPZephyrFan 's hobby room!:sneaky:
     
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  14. WPZephyrFan

    WPZephyrFan TrainBoard Member

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    I still have my HCD layout. It's in the photos leaning up against the wall. I might set it up again and get it running, I'd just have to relay the UniTrack and do some wiring for the DCC system I bought for it. I did get a bit more work done, and I might have to have a garage sale if I can't fit everything in the room!

    DSCN2829.JPG
     
    Last edited: Aug 9, 2022 at 2:09 AM
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  15. WPZephyrFan

    WPZephyrFan TrainBoard Member

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    I also found some of my old HO Scale stuff from back when I was still married and my son was maybe 18 months old. This old girl is an Athearn Blue Box F45 that I painted and lettered for my Colorado and Western 5'x9' layout in a condo garage:

    DSCN2828.JPG
     
    Last edited: Aug 9, 2022 at 2:05 AM
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  16. Shortround

    Shortround TrainBoard Member

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    I could do much better with the HCDs I have laying around. Two 12", two 15", two 30" and a 34". If I had the room, the time and most important the money I could join them together.
    Then run trains all day or night (without neighbors).
    Of course being 20 years younger would help.
    I have a set of HOs and DCC in boxes. :oops:
    I'll just watch and enjoy.
     
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  17. BigJake

    BigJake TrainBoard Member

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    Shortround (Richard) brings up a very good point. Bifold closet doors are also available in flat hollow core construction, in narrower widths, but in pairs. I think they are the same thickness as interior passage doors. They can be useful for layouts on their own, or as extensions off of 30" or 36" HCDs. 24" wide HCDs are also readily available.

    Many modelers end up stacking rigid foam insulation sheets on top of them anyway, so there's no reason you have to have a flat-surfaced HCD. (Fake) raised-panel HCDs (with embossed hardboard skins) are also readily available, and although usually more expensive than flat ones, when marked down due to scratch & dent, they can be a bargain.
     
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  18. WPZephyrFan

    WPZephyrFan TrainBoard Member

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    When I was building my HCD, I was living in a tiny one bedroom apartment and no place to do anything. I got lucky and the manager threw away the door that I got. I bought the legs at Lowe's for like $20. I lived in that cracker box for 12 years and that's all I got accomplished! Work gets in the way of fun.
     
    Last edited: Aug 9, 2022 at 4:46 AM
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  19. mtntrainman

    mtntrainman TrainBoard Supporter

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    An idea for those with very limited room to work.

    Buy an interior HCD door WITH the door jams...

    Hang it on the wall with small shelf brackets under the bottom edge. I used cheap 1"x 1" "L" brackets on the inside/top as the top frame carries very little weight . Put some chains on the ends so it will fold down and be level. When done playing trains you fold it back up !! I did this above my dresser before I got THERR RV >

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    The one I bought @ Lowes had the hole pre drilled for the door knob hardware. It even had a plastic 'plug' that kept the door closed in the frame for delivery. You can see it just above the top left of The Chief Poster in the pic above. That plug is perfect for keeping the layout locked in the door frame when folded up and closed. (y)

    Just a thought...;):whistle:

    .
     
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  20. BigJake

    BigJake TrainBoard Member

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    HCDs with the door frames are called "pre-hung" doors, and are available at most lumber yards and home centers.
     
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