New N-Scale Layout - Mountain Based

Mad_Mader Dec 16, 2011

  1. Mad_Mader

    Mad_Mader TrainBoard Member

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    Ok here it goes. I have yet to build a complete layout. I have finally convinced my wife to let me build a 4x8 ft layout, and have came up with a track plan that I honestly like. Only issue is, I am not sure if it will fit. This layout looks a bit congested to say the least. Most of the congestion is actually hidden within the mountain. The mountain areas are shaded grey. There is a lumber mill will a mill pond next to the river, and I will also have a mine, city/town area, turntable, roundhouse, lumber operations in the mountain, rural town(s) throughout the mountain as well. This layout is meant to incorporate everything I love about the railroad. Turntables and roundhouses have always facinated me. Logging has also been one of the things I have loved when watching trains or videos. To be honest, my layout is inspired by John Allen's Gorre&Daphetid. That is what got me into model railroading. I saw the book at the library one day, checked it out and fell in love. This layout is basically taking the room I have and incorporating what I can to "emulate" what he accomplished. Please tell me what you think and any and all input is greatly appreciated.
    IMG_20111216_114745.jpg
     
  2. paulus

    paulus TrainBoard Member

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    hi Mad
    my first impressions are threefold:

    1) an 8x4 has reach-in problems, it simply is to wide. It probably is not the best start anyway; you could read this:http://www.layoutvision.com/id47.html and
    http://www.layoutvision.com/id28.html
    These plans are HO mostly, though MR-magazine published a lot of suitable plans for N-scale this year as well. The Salt Lake plan is from 2 years ago.

    2)John Allen's initional layout was rather straight forward; yours more a bowl of spaghetti. For a first layout a simpler plan would be my choice. Tracks, with switches in tunnels should be avoided as much as possible. Derailments and maintenance problems always happen on the places the hardest to reach.

    3)Hard to tell, you are cheating with grades, radii and the angles of your turnouts bigtime. If you need some guidence here just ask. Do your home work first and more properly. Adding the altitude of all spots where your tracks are crossing each other, would be a nice start.
    Smile
    Paul
     
  3. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    Looking at the upper left corner, I see what appears to be switches inside a tunnel. If you must do so, remember to provide easy access for maintenance, etc.
     
  4. RBrodzinsky

    RBrodzinsky Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    Assume you would have access on all 4 sides? If not, the comment about reach is correct (not enough available). I would stay away from switches in tunnels, and even as many curves, unless you specifically build access.

    Looks like you have a lot of under 12 inch radii, some under 9 inches. Depending on what you are running, you could be fine, or it can cause a lot of problems.

    4x8 is plenty of room for a nice N scale layout, and can easily accommodate a turntable/roundhouse area and a mountain logging area. I would focus on those plus a small yard. Sounds like you may want a combination of continuous running with a maintenance yard, so think about how you want to operate your layout. Once you start thinking that way, the plan will rework itself.
     
  5. HOexplorer

    HOexplorer TrainBoard Supporter

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    I guess I would like to know why you never finished a layout before? This is quite an undertaking and I like the spagetti reference by a previous poster. My take is to get another simpler layout plan and finished it. This layout will be a nightmare for you I'm thinking. Remember, your 'city' will only be a town, and with all the track running through the rest of the layout I'm not sure where the logging and mountains will go? I can only think that much of this plan will be underneath the mountains and ineccessable. Good luck, Jim
     
  6. Mad_Mader

    Mad_Mader TrainBoard Member

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    This is my rough sketch. As far as tracks going over and under each other, I have no clue at this point. That was my rough sketch, alot of thought went into it, mostly trying to figure out how to make it so that I could run trains in multiple directions without cutting off another section of track completely. I have never finished a layout due to alot of different causes. Money issues, moving problems ( military life isnt easy on these types of things when moving, ive destroyed 2 other layouts during moves already. Time is a big factor, I completely stopped and sold off one layout that I had just started when my wife found out she was pregnant with my youngest son. I tried to keep all turns over the 9" radius, not sure if I did or not. Some of the track inside the mountain will be outside the mountain, just have to get my mock up built so that I can see where track will be coming in and out of all the areas, so I didnt put tunnel portals on my initial sketch for those that I didnt know about. I will be drawing up another plan with the things your guys have said in mind and hopefully this one will make more "sense". Also, reach is not an issue, the layout will be accessible from all four sides. Thank you guys for the input.
     
  7. utrkusr

    utrkusr TrainBoard Member

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    In looking at your track plan, I think you will find that the figure eight path on the right two thirds is an endless loop with no escape. If you go around the upper right loop CW you can never reverse direction or get out of the figure eight. If you start around the upper right loop CCW, you can get to the left hand loop once which will immediately put you back on the right hand figure eight in the CW direction and no escape. You need some crossovers from loop to loop so you can reverse directions and escape. But then every plan takes a while to develop.
     
  8. ScooterX

    ScooterX TrainBoard Member

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    I'll tell you what worked for me, and maybe it will help you. I'm pretty good with designing things on paper (its what I do professionally) but I got a LOT more done with my hands than I did on paper. Paper track planning is fun (I loved doing it) but it didn't really get me very far with actually BUILDING anything.
    I'm about 90% done with my track layout, and mine is just a simple 17' long bookshelf layout. What worked for me is to get a bunch of track (in my case, Kato UniTrack), snap it together, and push some trains around it. I don't even have it wired - I'm really just pushing and pulling the cars. This taught me a lot, very quickly.
    I could see exactly how long my sidings needed to be (I have modern cars, so I need pretty long sidings) and how my stock looks going through a #4 or a #6 switch, and how it looks on those banked 15" radius curves (not pretty, but nothing will derail). In my case, I had to re-design my sidings to hold a typical 5-car intermodal set. (These are all linked together, so there is no option of "just use 4".)
    So, get that 4x8 out, put some legs under it, and start snapping track together. You might find that your narrow-gauge short line with 30' ore cars looks terrific with the plan you have. Or, you might discover that going 'round and 'round with your 70' Pullman sleepers on 9" curves feels a bit tight. The best part, is you'll actually have some trains on some track and it will look like something is happening. I spent hours pushing 5 cars back and forth... and it was FUN!
     
  9. Mad_Mader

    Mad_Mader TrainBoard Member

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    Thank you guys for the input. I noticed the lack of crossovers as well once once I went back. The and took a look. Im going to clean upthe track inside the mountain quit a bit. Necer thought about switches inside mountains being an issue but I can see where it could be one.I will be posting a rebised layout plan later today hopedully itll look and funcrion better. Im going to do away with the town ciry idea and instead will jave farm and ranchland on that side of the layout. Will have a mine and lumber mill still and will put a logging camp and log pickup somewhere along to mountain. Well until I get my nrw layout drawn out. Happy railroading everyone
     
  10. paulus

    paulus TrainBoard Member

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    hi Mad
    to show you what I found. The drawing is made with Atlas tracks, #5 switches and R min = 10" .
    [​IMG]
    Paul
     
  11. Mad_Mader

    Mad_Mader TrainBoard Member

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    Thats interesting. What program did you use to make that layout. that would work so much better than trying to draw this thing out.
     
  12. RhB_HJ

    RhB_HJ TrainBoard Member

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    There are several programs on the market that give you accurate results. BTW one condition that hasn't been mentioned yet: there are two return loops in that design. Since the design is a bit of heap of spaghetti they are not as plain to see, but they certainly are in there.

    And one more comment; I'm quite familiar with the practices the railroads apply in the mountains. Condensed they are: build it as simple as possible it will be hard enough to maintain even then. Follow the lay of the land and use every topographical advantage.

    Some people would be amazed how following those principals will simplify things.

    As always strictly my opinion based on what I've gleaned and learned during 60 years of watching how "they do it". ;) :)
     
  13. paulus

    paulus TrainBoard Member

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    hi Mad,
    I used Atlas RTS, a free down loadable cad program.
    BTW using a compass, ruler and a basic knowlegde about switches is just as easy.
    Cheating on dimensions usually is the biggest pitfall.

    If I were you I would pay attention to the first remark made earlier. An 8x4 is probably not the best choice.
    Anyway since you could not get your self to finding out about grades and altitudes, keeping your plan simple is not a bad idea.
    Keep in mind radii of about 10 " will limit the type of cars and engines you are able to operate.
    Not knowing your space nor your wife 2 Hollow Core Doors could be an interesting alternative. Since they are not that wide they can be placed against the wall.
    Have some thoughts about layout height too. Table height will probably turn out way to low.
    Paul
     
  14. Mad_Mader

    Mad_Mader TrainBoard Member

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    Well I have been pretty busy the last few days so I havent been able to sit down and revise my layout plan. I have started playing around with Atlas RTS, but its a slow pace, but Ill figure it out eventually. I have decided that the "spagetti" will have to go for a more simple plan and switches inside the mountain will also be taken out. The city/town idea is going away, instead I am going to make it rolling hills with farm and ranches. I will still incorporate a mine, logging mill, logging camp, turntable and roundhouse. I just have to look at the layout some more and find where they are best suited. The mine is up for question, because I have to find an optimal place for it, and with the layout its not seeming that I will find an area with enough openess to accomplish this mission. We shall see though. Hopefully I can have a revised layout up today. Thank you guys for your helpful input.
     
  15. paulus

    paulus TrainBoard Member

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    Hi Mad,a drawing of the room always is the best start. You might as well explain about limitations. Some like doors and window are like givings. Some others might be due to other reasons, like the use of the room by family members for other purposes.Anyway imagine a 40 to 60 inch high table 8 x 4 in the middle of the room, with access all around it.The space it takes is at least 10 x 8, which could be filled in a different way.The link i provided to Byron Henderson's webside showed you a different use of space, besides some great trackplans.This is Byron's rendering of the current project railroad by the MR-staff.
    In HO, so can you imagine what is possible in N-scale?
    Paul
     
  16. Mad_Mader

    Mad_Mader TrainBoard Member

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    Thats pretty awesome how they took the same space and made a lot larger layout. My layout is not so lucky though. My layout has to be able to easily move out when I do,since I live on base and wont be here perminently. I wonder if i should make the layout more geared towards modular sections for easy movement. That borders insanity with my current skillsenently. Kinda sucks. Hmmm. 2x4 layout is sounding better every second lol.
     
  17. hoyden

    hoyden TrainBoard Supporter

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    I chose a 4.5x8.5 format for its portability. I like the around the walls style but do not want to risk the layout not fitting some future living space.
     
  18. mr1967

    mr1967 TrainBoard Member

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    have you considered a pair of Hollow Core Doors (HCD) in an L configuration? very portable and they have a good bit of diversity. a google search for "n scale hollow core door" yields some interesting results.
     
  19. PW&NJ

    PW&NJ TrainBoard Member

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    Definitely look at the double-HCD options. That was going to be my original plan (until it hit me that I can't afford to build something as neat as that, anyway):

    [​IMG]

    These are designed to come apart, and the top layout can run on it's own, too.
     
  20. RatonMan

    RatonMan TrainBoard Member

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    Mad_Mader‎: Check your PM.
     

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