Newbie layout: Seeking feedback on design

Wall E Mar 10, 2021

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  1. Wall E

    Wall E New Member

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    Hi All,

    New to the hobby and hoping to get some feedback before buying any more track. Modeling N scale in a 57'' x 24.5'' area within a closet with accordion doors. Benchwork already built to this dimension so it fits in and out of the closet for any future moves or working elsewhere. The train table sits on a rec table and I will be cleaning up underneath table for storing modeling components in rolling drawer units. Also built a 1' x 5' base while I was building this benchwork for a future switching layout shelf in a different location once I know better what I am doing.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Hoping to model 1950s-1970s general era (not too specific, just looking for roughly this time range in general), N scale, Kato Unitrack. I like Southern railway designs and am near Salisbury/Spencer NC so drawing inspirations from that region.

    Hoping to have the following, ranked in priority:
    1. Widest possible oval to let a train just run. 11.25 radius fits on this table fine with good running.
    2. Small yard for switching/deliveries/pickups with runaround track
    3. Freight building (grey box) for boxcars where cars pull up next to building for loading/unloading
    4. Grain elevator or warehouse style building where railcar goes into/under building (teal dashed lines)
    5. Town in the center empty space (TBD how to orient street, diagonally with the available space?)
    6. Team track (lime green) with one or two small vehicles unloading/loading
    7. Red buildings - undecided, other small trackside buildings? Loading ramp instead of a building? Could drop the red building close to the gray rectangle building
    8. Purple - undecided, small trackside building? Or nothing here if space didn't allow
    Mainly I am looking for advice on whether I am trying to fit too much into this space, and if the track plan itself makes sense or if there are suggestions out there relevant to "operations" on such a plan.
    [​IMG]

    Also, the yellow marks are where I thought it made sense to put kato terminal unijoiners
    • Are any of these redundant or uneccessary?
    • Am I missing any spots I should have?
    • Can I daisy chain the 1:3 kato power splitters together? Using a Kato power pack
    Thanks all for any insight and feedback!
     
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2021
  2. Wall E

    Wall E New Member

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  3. logging loco

    logging loco TrainBoard Supporter

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    Hi Wall E,
    Welcome to TrainBoard and to a fun and many faceted hobby.

    I like your lists and the fact you've prioritized..
    Your track plan looks sensible for a first layout.

    So here is my two cents worth.
    If the teal building is going to have a train go under it, I would put the majorty of it on the other side of the track.

    hardwood_furniture_company_933-3232_big.jpg

    Second I would slide the fright house back to the next spur back. In my opinion the truck side of a frieght house has a lot more opportunities for visual interest by adding vehicles and details to the loading docks.

    I also find arranging builds from shortest up front to tallest in the rear helps keep taller buildings from blocking the view of buildings behind them.

    I don't have any track planing software so I can't help you out with this. Unless you switching layout will be at another remote location, I would like to see your future layout be able to tie into the track work on this layout but still be easily removable.

    Maybe someone else will chime in and help you out if you agree with that idea.
     
    BNSF FAN likes this.
  4. in2tech

    in2tech TrainBoard Member

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    Very nice, good luck. Keep us up to date.
     
    BNSF FAN likes this.
  5. Wall E

    Wall E New Member

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    Thanks logging loco and in2tech for ideas! I like the idea about the freight terminal/feed mill areas having detail with trucks/docks etc. and amended the plan to back them up to each other for a shared space by getting the top right spur closer to the main rail loop. Also still exploring what models are available to try and find something OR turn the left spur track some to get a building fit where the train goes underneath. Might also add short extenders to both sides of the long track to create some more space over there but push the curves closer to the edge of the table.

    I figured out with AnyRail how to add shapes the exact reported dimensions of building model kits which helped me a lot in understanding whether or not a certain building would "fit"

    I also think it makes sense to implement the switching layout (1 foot x 5 feet) so it can all be connected since these will be semi-modular by design. What a great idea! Thanks! Might play with this some further to get a turn radius larger than 8.5 to get over to the switching layout so I could pull in a longer train/6 axle loco.

    Will keep posting updates as the design continues.

    [​IMG]


    Track
    20000 (S248), N Kato Unitrack, Straight 9 3/4". 3
    20010 (S186), N Kato Unitrack, Straight 7 5/16". 2
    20020 (S124), N Kato Unitrack, Straight 4 7/8". 2
    20030 (S64), N Kato Unitrack, Straight 2 17/32". 1
    20040 (S62), N Kato Unitrack, Straight 2 7/16". 3
    20045 (S62J), N Kato Unitrack, Straight transition Kato/Fleischmann 2 7/16". 1
    20048 (S50B-C), N Kato Unitrack, Buffer/Bumper Type C, 2". 5
    20101 (R249-15), N Kato Unitrack, Curve radius 9 13/16", angle 15º 2
    20110 (R282-45), N Kato Unitrack, Curve radius 11 3/32", angle 45º 8
    20121 (R315-15), N Kato Unitrack, Curve radius 12 13/32", angle 15º 8
    20170 (R216-45), N Kato Unitrack, Curve radius 8 1/2", angle 45º 2
    20202 (EP718-15L), N Kato Unitrack, Left turnout 7 5/16". (remote) 3
    20203 (EP718-15R), N Kato Unitrack, Right turnout 7 5/16". (remote) 2
    20220 (EP481-15L), N Kato Unitrack, Left turnout 4 31/32". (remote) 1
    20221 (EP481-15R), N Kato Unitrack, Right turnout 4 31/32". (remote) 2
    S33 (S33), N Kato Unitrack, Straight 1 5/16". 1
    S38 (S38), N Kato Unitrack, Straight 1 1/2". 1
     
    Joe D'Amato likes this.
  6. logging loco

    logging loco TrainBoard Supporter

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    If you plan on making the switching section removable you might consider adjusting the length so it can store on a shelf in the closet if need be.
     
  7. Wall E

    Wall E New Member

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    Luckily there is a shelf above. The switching benchwork component is 60'' long but it will fit through the doors and up on the shelf at a slight angle.

    Just need to clean the closet out first... :unsure:
     
  8. logging loco

    logging loco TrainBoard Supporter

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    Great.
    Your not alone there!
     
  9. Shortround

    Shortround TrainBoard Member

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    I could always use that. :eek:
     
  10. BigJake

    BigJake TrainBoard Member

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    I have some concerns about S-curves at the ends of the run-around, and elsewhere. The the transition to 12-3/8R curves on the diverging routes of the #6 switches (28R) is roughly equivalent to an 8.5R from straight track. The smallest radius 15 degree curve that will work reliably in an S with a 28R is the 19R, which is equivalent to 11R from straight track (same as you have on your oval).

    However, if instead of using a curve to go parallel to the mainline, you used a RH #6 switch on the diverging route of that LH#6 to get to your yard (eliminating the LH #6 to the yard), it would give you some room to make your yard longer, where you could stagger the ends to create room for wider industries, instead of having to spread the yard tracks out, where you have a horrible 12R-12R S curve (equivalent to 6-3/16R from straight track).

    And the resulting 28R/28R S curve is much gentler (14R equivalent transition from straight). You'll need a 28R curve on the right end of the runaround to match the RH#6 on the left end.

    If you want another small industry spur, you could replace the aforementioned 28R on the right end of the runaround with a RH#6, to give you another spur off that end.

    As a bonus, the "horizontal span" of 28R exactly matches the standard 7-5/16" straight pieces, so you don't need the short pieces to make lengths match up. For reference, a 19R spans the same length as a 4-7/8" straight.

    You have another severe S on the bottom yard track (co-op shed) that needs a 19R curve there.

    Finally, the new spur for the freight house, needs a 19R to ease that S.

    Assuming you want to have no worse than ~9-3/4R equivalent S transitions, the following combinations would be OK:
    28R/15R (9-3/4R equivalent)
    28R/19R (11R equivalent)
    28R/28R (14R equivalent)
    19R/19R (9-1/2R equivalent)​

    Otherwise, and generally speaking, that's a nice layout for such a small space; well done!

    I'll address terminal joiner locations in a separate response...
     
    logging loco likes this.
  11. BigJake

    BigJake TrainBoard Member

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    About the terminal unijoiner locations...

    First, it helps to understand how kato turnouts are wired. They are "Power-Routing" which means that power is conducted from the single-track end, to only the other end that is selected. The other route is not powered. However, it turns out that the outer rails of the switch run through from end to end, it is only the "frog rails" (the inner two rails of the two-track end) that are electrically switched on/off depending on the route selected. Therefore, assuming the single-track end is suitably powered, you can use a single pair of terminal unijoiners on just those two inner rails, rather than two pairs, one for each track. Note that the polarity of those two inner rails is flipped, so pay attention to that. I suggest you pick a color (blue or white) wire, and use one color for the outside rail of the oval, and the other color for the inside, and power the frog rails according to which oval rail they will be connected to when the switch is thrown accordingly.

    So, knowing that, I would use a terminal unijoiner pair in between the two switches on the top of the oval, and one pair in each "crotch" of those two switches. That takes care of the top of your layout.

    For the bottom side of the oval, I would put a terminal unijoiner pair on each end of the run-around, and then one termnal unijoiner for the crotch of each switch.

    By my count, that's 11 terminal unijoiners (3 on the mainline oval, and one for each of your 8 switches, including the switch leading to your add-on switching module). So you will need 5 Y cables. I would keep daisy-chaining to a minimum. Start with one 3-Y feeding three more 3-Y's, and one of those feeds the 5th 3-Y.

    Hope this is at least slightly clearer than mud...
     
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  12. BigJake

    BigJake TrainBoard Member

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    I should mention some folks use a box car (or any car with sides on it, probably not a flat car), with a piece of colored tape on one side (hint: blue painters tape matches the blue wire on the unijoiners, but white masking tape would match the other wire just as well.) Now put that car on the track, and push it (by hand) everywhere it can go, all over the layout (throwing switches as needed). Wherever you get to a place that needs a unijoiner, put the blue-wired joiner on the rail under the blue tape on your box car, and the white-wired joiner on the other rail.

    This works beautifully unless you have a reversing loop (which, thankfully, you do not).

    I mentioned painter's tape because it is unlikely to peel paint or decals off your freight car...
     
    logging loco likes this.
  13. Mudkip Orange

    Mudkip Orange TrainBoard Member

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    You certainly can. And Kato uses standard Tamiya R/C connectors, so if you want to try your hand at stripping or soldering searching "tamiya connectors" will get you generic stuff that will mate with the Kato pack and accessories.

    BigJake's tape-on-car method works well for common rail wiring, this is the method Atlas's electronics are based around and is by far the most common in the US. I tend to fully isolate blocks with an insulated joiner on both rails. Either works fine.
     
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  14. BigJake

    BigJake TrainBoard Member

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    I would add that just because you have/use isolated blocks, does not mean you don't need uniform rail polarity between them. But you might need more than one color of tape on the side(s) of that car.
     

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