N scale HCD layout planning

JT58 Feb 14, 2016

  1. JT58

    JT58 TrainBoard Member

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    I've been debating quite a bit about a long term track plan for my N-scale hollow core door (HCD) layout so yesterday I picked up "101 Track Plans" from the Model Railroader series and I think I may be on to something! This latest iteration is based off layout #28 - Rock Island & Moline Belt Line by Mark Canum - http://imgur.com/k1EXAoz


    Givens:

    • Layout size (36" x 80" HCD)
    • Kato Unitrack
    • Able to run two trains simultaneously, hands free
    • Elevated section with bridge
    • Reasonable grades (less than 3%)
    • Coal mining theme
    • Small yard
    • Expandable

    Druthers:

    • Reversing section
    • Able to run three or more trains
    • Passing siding on mainline
    • Staging track on the front side

    I think I've covered all the givens and even managed to fit in one of the druthers:

    • REALLY excited about the idea of dual reversing sections! I think that will work out quite well for keeping the continuous running interesting.
    • Managed to keep it to a 3% grade on the green section and since the elevated section is also a reversing loop I didn't have to worry about squeezing in another grade.
    • Can definitely run 2 trains without intervention and possibly a 3rd if I'm watching closely.
    • Plenty of room for a coal tipple next to the small yard and that will likely be the only industry I add.
    • Room to connect an expansion to the mainline on the bottom right. Long term plan is a second HCD to make an L shape.
    Any opinions? Here's the scarm file if you'd like to toy around -https://www.dropbox.com/s/g0wtoj3etk2c1zf/Rock Island variation 1.scarm?dl=1

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2016
  2. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    Can't see the SCARM file, without installing that program. Could you do a screen capture and post that?
     
  3. JT58

    JT58 TrainBoard Member

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    This link up at the top has a picture (http://imgur.com/k1EXAoz) and I edited the post to show the pic as well.
     
  4. traingeekboy

    traingeekboy TrainBoard Member

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    oops meant to delete my entry here. :)
     
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2016
  5. Steve S

    Steve S TrainBoard Member

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    I'm not a fan of reversing loops because they eat up a lot of space that could be devoted to scenery or industries. You want a coal mining theme, but that means mountains. How are you going to work mountains into that trackplan with so little space for scenery?

    Check out Model Railroader's Virginian project layout. It should easily fit onto a HCD since it's 4x8 in HO scale.
    http://www.ttnut.com/resources/image/3728

    Steve S
     
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2016
    JT58 likes this.
  6. JT58

    JT58 TrainBoard Member

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    Thanks for the advice! I'm less concerned about scenery and industries at this stage. Honestly, since I've never really tried, I'm not even sure how the modeling aspect of the hobby will work out. This is just to get my feet wet; allows me to play with trains and give modeling a shot to see if I'm capable. This may all turn out looking like an 8-yr old built it but I'm still determined to have fun!

    As for the mountains, I had planned for the mainline track at the rear to be inside a tunnel and the elevated section in front of it to be on a mountain ledge with the mountain rising in the background and into the right-rear corner. Not sure if that will pan out, but again... I'm still not even sure I CAN make mountains. It may end up just being a scenery picture in the background.
     
    crclass likes this.
  7. PK

    PK TrainBoard Member

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    My comment on loop to loop on a small layout is they require constant operator attention. If you want 2 trains hands free, you're limiting yourself to the blue & brown ovals and all the green track, including the bridge, will go unused. That's a fair amount of extra track & complexity that might not work the way you think. Auto reverse circuits can handle power polarity in a reverse loop if you use DCC, but you still have to throw the turnouts.

    The current issue of N-Scale magazine has 2 HCD size layouts that have similarities to your plan and might give you some ideas how you might scenic it. Just a warning, the Mar/Apr issue is erroneously labeled Jan/Feb. Jan/Feb has a blue title banner, Mar/Apr has a green J/F title banner.

    Remember if your first attempt at a mountain doesn't look the way you want, there's no shame trying again using what you learned the 1st time. Very few get everything right the first time.
    Jan/Feb has a bluetitle banner, .
     
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  8. JT58

    JT58 TrainBoard Member

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    Awesome, thank you! I will definitely check out that magazine!

    About the loops my thought was that I could run the blue/green sections together and have it reverse at each end but you're right that I would need to flip the turnouts with each pass... now we're getting into things I'd like to accomplish with JMRI eventually!
     
  9. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    True. One suggestion I often make is to take some scrap wood or foam to your work bench, and do a little practice there, first. When ready to move on, this practice can simply be tossed out. Your layout won't need any re-start tear down.
     
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  10. JT58

    JT58 TrainBoard Member

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    Yup, was already planning on that! I'll probably start toying with some scenery on another board soon.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
  11. JT58

    JT58 TrainBoard Member

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    Here's what I'm playing with while I decide on a final layout:

    [​IMG]


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
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  12. JT58

    JT58 TrainBoard Member

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    Well shoot, tried to 2 places for that N scale magazine and no luck...
     
  13. Russ Prentice

    Russ Prentice TrainBoard Member

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    I love it! Looks great. You're planning to use straight DC right?
     
  14. JT58

    JT58 TrainBoard Member

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    Nope, NCE PowerCab arrived last night! ;)
     
    crclass likes this.
  15. Russ Prentice

    Russ Prentice TrainBoard Member

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    Good deal JT. :D(y)
     
  16. EsK

    EsK TrainBoard Member

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    Hello,
    Am new at this. I have laid out this track plan. Using DCC, Kato. Digitrax DS64 for the turnouts and AR1 for the auto reversals.
    Need help to know at what locations are the loops to be insulated to install the AR1's.
    Thanks
     
  17. EsK

    EsK TrainBoard Member

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    Hello Boxcab,
    Being new at this, need your guidance. I have used the same track plan, Rock Island variation, as JT58 did. I see that he is not active on the forum and hence reaching out to you.
    1. Could you please advise as to where are the auto-reversals to be installed (locations on the plan)
    2. As PK mentioned, this plan won't be suitable for hands free operation of 2 trains. Any suggestions for a similar layout where I don't have to keep throwing the turnouts?
    Thanks
     
  18. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    Your first question would require someone who is more familiar than I, with DCC operations. Or perhaps this could be asked in our DCC forum.

    That layout pictured above, in post #11, would not require throwing switches, to operate two trains at one time. It is a very basic, solid plan. I am sure others can contribute more similar ideas.
     
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  19. EsK

    EsK TrainBoard Member

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    Thanks!
     
  20. Bob Hayden

    Bob Hayden New Member

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    Responding to JT58....did you ever build this? I played around with it last night, shrinking it to 30x72 to fit a desk and added a possible desk wing extension to the bottom left. Changed left hole to a turntable area and industry spurs to right. Had to leave out the TT and spur tracks due to SCARM track limitations. Min radius 11". Thinking of getting a bunch of Unitrack and building it just to run trains, learn DCC (and multiple reverse loops), and evaluate my equipment before embarking on a layout that is about double the size but will require a lot more planning to make it happen.
     

    Attached Files:

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