The Die is Cast

texasdon Sep 8, 2003

  1. texasdon

    texasdon E-Mail Bounces

    I suppose it is not as profound an event as when Ceasar crossed the Rubicon, but I have cast my die and committed to an S Scale layout for my new home. I went to the Houston GATS show on Saturday, and I could not resist the Showcase Lines S-9 in Rio Grande colors. Now that I own a locomotive, caboose, and covered hopper car, I have committed myself to an S Scale layout. Does anyone have any ideas for a trackplan that would provide industrial switching for a shortline railroad in a space 9'x12'?
  2. Greg Elems

    Greg Elems Staff Member

    Congratulations Don. I think you will like S. I guess some questions need to be addressed. Do you have anything in mind that you would like?

    Some things to consider.

    1. Power and control.
    DCC or DC with blocks
    2. One or more operators
    3. Point to point or continues
    4. Walk in, island or combination
    5. Staging and interchange
    6. Era
    7. Prototype or proto-freelance

    With a SW-9 in hand, did you get any track with it?
    Will you be using scale flex?

    Looking forward to your answers.
  3. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 HOn30 & N Scales Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter


    This is getting to be very interesting. Am anxious to hear how you progress! Keep it coming!


    Boxcab E50
  4. texasdon

    texasdon E-Mail Bounces

    Hi everyone,

    I enjoy my time on Trainboard, so I will certainly keep everyone posted on my progress. At the moment I own and SW9, a caboose, and one covered hopper car. I have also ordered some Shinohara flex track and a couple of #6 turnouts from Heimberger House. I will use this to experiment and to get some good measurements on the turnouts. I will also at least set up a test track to play a little with my train.

    The next step will be layout planning. Greg asked some interesting questions, which I will answer here:

    Power and control - I plan to use DCC, as I have a Digitrax system from my previous HO layout. I might upgrade to something newer, but I am a believer in digital. I will separate the layout into a few blocks to facilitate troubleshooting and locomotive configuration.

    # of Operators - I plan to design it so that I can run it by myself or have 1-2 other people operate with me. I don't expect to have space for more than 2-3 people to operate.

    Point to point vs continuous - I will provide the track for continuous operations, as sometimes you just have to veg out and watch trains run around. I plan to have point to point capability for real operating. My plan is to do a shortline switching railroad in the limited space, so this will probably be from a yard to industries.

    Walk-in versus other designs - don't know yet. I will need to play with this in design. I will probably end up accepting some sort of center cock-pit with a duck-under. This should not be too much of a hardship, as I plan to have the layout 48" or more above the floor.

    Staging and interchange - I do plan to provide some sort of staging/interchange as I design the layout. There will certainly be a place for the cars to be held for movement to industries, which can be made to represent an interchange.

    Era - still deciding, but somewhere between 1955 and 1985 is likely. I like early diesels and I want to set it within my lifetime, as I can more easily make convincing models of what I know first hand.

    Proto-type vs freelance - I will probably Proto freelance as Greg phrased it. I am still thinking about this, but a shortline lends itself to just about anything reasonable I want to do. I am thinking about what location/region I want to model.

    I appreciate any suggestions you might have on layout design ideas. I did order Cadrail to help me with some planning.

    I need to run to an early teleconference. I look forward to your comments.
  5. Greg Elems

    Greg Elems Staff Member

    With a 9 X 12 area, an island type would be pretty limiting for a switching layout, IMHO. The easiest layout would be around the wall with a duck under. On the other hand a lift bridge could eliminate the duck under. When the lift bridge is removed, it becomes a point to point switching layout. How deep would you have your layout against the wall? If it were 2 or 3 feet, that leaves 3 to 5 feet wide and 6 to 8 feet long of an area in the center. Have you considered a double deck layout? A helix would eat up to much room, but a mainline could travel from level to the next with a long grade going around the room. Have staging and yards on the bottom and the industrial area with the scenery on top.

    An out and back might work. The continuous running could go through interchange tracks. When not railfanning your layout the interchange tracks would hold cars.

    Well, those are some ideas for the layout.

    I see you already have DCC from you HO days. I too am sold on DCC. Whether used alone or with two other people, it sure makes operation nice. A friend of mine has come up with a neat layout idea. His layout will focus on a switch yard that has engines working both ends and a diesel service area. DCC made it possible to do this. He will also have an industrial area for locals to go and work. Also, he has a large staging yard underneath the layout for cycling cars and trains. The yard will be the main stage for his operations.

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