New guy switching from N gauge to HO gauge

RevivalinHO153 Mar 6, 2022

  1. RevivalinHO153

    RevivalinHO153 New Member

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    Hi, name is Tom, am in the process of trying to sell my small N gauge layout, tired of how small everything is. Now entering the world of HO. My first train at age 8 was a Lionel under the christmas tree. I have been on this earth for seven decades and plan on living forever, and so far so good! Had a basic HO layout as a teen but no money to do much with it. Left the hobby for military service, and after that got into the great outdoors as a hobby. Have had the N layout for 20 years but frustration meant there were years when I wouldn't touch it. Still doing outdoor stuff, but want to enjoy the hobby in a gauge that works for me. Have used AnyRail and Trackplayer to design a layout to fit in a 10'x13' room. I like alot of places for rail activity as you will see in a photo of my layout once I figure out how to post pics. Track is Kato Unitrack
     

    Attached Files:

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  2. in2tech

    in2tech TrainBoard Member

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    Welcome, and man that is one layout for sure. One thing for sure you are really good with track planning software. Looks amazing!
     
  3. Hytec

    Hytec TrainBoard Member

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    Hi Tom. welcome. That's an elaborate layout, which will be fun to build. Please post photos as you go.
     
  4. BNSF FAN

    BNSF FAN TrainBoard Supporter

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    Welcome to TrainBoard Tom!
     
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  5. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 HOn30 & N Scales Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    Welcome to TrainBoard!
     
    BNSF FAN likes this.
  6. gmorider

    gmorider TrainBoard Member

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    Welcome to TrainBoard!
     
  7. fitz

    fitz TrainBoard Member

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    Welcome aboard, Tom, I am impressed with your layout plan.
     
  8. RevivalinHO153

    RevivalinHO153 New Member

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    Thanks to you all! The AnyRail track planning software is so neat, and helpful, technology is wonderful. Didn't have that 20 years ago when I made my N scale layout. And being able to run trains on the layout plan with TrackPlayer software showed me places where there were track problems and clearance issues. One thing I found out was that the HO 2-111 and 2-212 curved pieces of Kato track listed in AnyRail are not sold separately by Kato and never were (I asked Kato). Turns out they come with some #4 turnouts but not #6. They do come with the new HO 2-852 and 2-853 turnouts.

    Please offer any critiques, I am open to them, and to suggestions.
     
  9. Pfunk

    Pfunk TrainBoard Member

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    That's a wild design! WOW. Welcome
     
  10. RevivalinHO153

    RevivalinHO153 New Member

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    Hey, I'm back. had to take time to plan and go on a 6 day 49 mile backpack trip in wilderness canyons in Utah. Also had to redo my track plan due to getting one huge surprise that I would not have seen had I not ordered a few turnouts.

    I discovered upon unpacking some turnouts that some track components listed in the KATO track library in AnyRail must be used with the turnouts and only with the turnouts and thus are not available to use anywhere else due to their design of the molded ballast roadbed. In my original plan, since I was not aware of this issue, I used those turnout accessory pieces many other places in my track plan. Unless a user wants to take a Dremel tool to other track pieces to modify them to fit, these specific accessory track pieces are the only way one can connect regular track pieces to the turnouts.

    This was extremely frustrating for me, I was angry that this crucial information wasn't addressed by AnyRail. I had to remove these specialized accessory pieces from my track plan, which made the plan look like the old pick-up sticks I played with when I was a child, toss them in the air and see where they all randomly land. That is what my layout then resembled. Just a bunch of disconnected track laying about randomly! Had I waited to order KATO turnouts until I had the benchwork built around the perimeter of the room, I would have had an expensive re-work to do. It took many many hours to rebuild my layout plan with the correct unique turnout accessory pieces incorporated to each of the 37 turnouts, and to redo the plan with the common track elements to once again make it a workable layout. I did test runs of my locomotives and longest rolling stock on the temporary benchwork track and no problems, even at a fast speed.

    With all that said though, I really do like the AnyRail software, finding it very valuable for designing a layout, easy to use, and it beats paper and pencil! I especially like being able to run the layout through it's paces in TrainPlayer software, which catches any track connection errors in the plan. So I do highly recommend AnyRail

    I strongly recommend the software designers add some notes to the item description one sees in the item's tooltip and on the status bar, when the mouse pointer is placed over a track segment in the KATO HO track library.

    So I now have my track plan in it's final form. I have built a mock-up benchwork in the spare room to make sure that it all fits and the space for this human being to move around also works, which it does, as long as I don't gain many more inches to my waistline! Next is to repaint the room, and then build the valance to hold the LED light strips, and then the permanent benchwork. Here is my layout. Comments and critiques are still welcome. Thanks to all those in this forum and others that gave me alot of valuable input.

    Version 5.1.jpg
     
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  11. Skyraider

    Skyraider TrainBoard Member

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    Are you using Kato Unitrack?

    Paul Moore
     
  12. in2tech

    in2tech TrainBoard Member

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    Nice design.
     
  13. RevivalinHO153

    RevivalinHO153 New Member

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    Yes I am using KATO HO Unitrack. If you are going to use AnyRail CAD software to design a layout and use KATO HO track, I can post here some important info on some track pieces in the KATO HO track library
     
    Hytec likes this.
  14. Skyraider

    Skyraider TrainBoard Member

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    My layout is basically done except for detailing. If you have any questions regarding Unitrack, message me and we can talk. My mainline and passenger sidings are HO Unitrack. There are a few things that are good to know beforehand. If you plan to use DCC, you will need to turn off the power routing function on the switches...stuff like that.
     
  15. RevivalinHO153

    RevivalinHO153 New Member

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    Skyraider, I am interested in any info you have on KATO Unitrack that isn't published, thanks
     
  16. Skyraider

    Skyraider TrainBoard Member

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    As I said before, if you are going the DCC route, you will need to turn off the power routing function on the switches. The track is actually a Japanese prototype (tie spacing is different than American), but if you weather it, it looks pretty good. I used several acrylic washes on the roadbed to hide the plastic look and it worked pretty well. The other thing I did, cosmetically, was to build up the scenery base next to the track to hide the height of the roadbed. It looked too tall to me.

    It would be smart to buy a few extra pieces of the short straight sections in case something ends up not fitting as you expected. Depending on how you plan to wire the track, you can minimize the number of Kato factory made wiring pieces you buy. They are expensive. If budget is not really an issue or time is a great limitation, the Kato wire works great--it is just expensive. On my feeders I cut the connector off of the end and spliced regular wire to it (soldered). It works fine. If you don't want to use their feeder tracks, you can easily make your own feeder rail joiners. There are a couple of online primers for doing this. Here's one:

    https://www.fiferhobby.com/how-to-make-your-own-kato-uni-joiner-power-feeders/

    This is a big help if you need feeders in a place where the Kato track won't fit. Feel free to message me through the forum and I'll send you my phone number.

    Here are a few photos of Kato track after it's been weathered. There is even some Kato track on stub end industry sidings. IMG_4973.JPG IMG_4964.JPG IMG_5151.JPG IMG_5152.JPG
     
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