63 year old kid

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Bigboy57

New Member
Back in the late 60's, my dad and I had a pretty large basement layout. He was the brains of the operation and I was the learning kid. Well, life got in the way and eventually the layout was torn apart but all the rolling stock and locomotives were retained. This fairly large inventory is now in my possession as my Dad passed away a few years ago. The problem is that I don't have his knowledge as a resource anymore.

I have designed several HO layouts and have finally settled on a layout but my space is more limited than before. I have created a dog bone corner layout but had to use 3.5% inclines. I plan on running short trains with steam locomotives. Is this doable or am I asking for trouble?
 

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Selector

Well-Known Member
It seems to be okay, although those parallel stub tracks in the center could be curved to make them longer. What are they for?

There's nothing inherently wrong with steep grades as long as you understand how they limit your application of traction on them. A fun track plan that is also interesting needs to work, and it needs to fit first of all. So, if your overhead clearances are at least 3.5" to the bottom of the overhead structures, and as long as you know you'll have gauge loading clearance to the side where tracks get close, or where scenery will have to be close, it's all doable. And, if nothing else, you will eventually join the club of modelers who learn something from their first construction, including what you don't like or what doesn't work. :p
 

Sirfoldalot

Product Tester ACME INC.
Staff member
Looks like a very interesting concept. I need to study it a little longer, but I like the curving track around the layout rather than long straight boring runs. I think you have a nice start!
Welcome to the forum.
 

Bigboy57

New Member
Thank you for the replies. The stubs are a small switchyard. Reach is 36 inches and 30 inches in the middle sections and can get to 3 sides of the ends. I have 3.5 inches vertical to the bridge but that is track to track. I may need to raise the bridge but may create a slightly steeper incline. I am planning on building my own bridge which can be designed with minimum structure under roadbed.
 

migalyto

Well-Known Member
Dig out your tallest piece of rolling stock, and you can determine the bridge height. What era, and kind of equipment do you wish to model? If its modern, and you want Auto Racks, and hi-cube double stacks. Then you will need 4" minimum. The reason i say check your existing rolling stock, and locomotives is, 3.5% grade is starting to get on the steep side.

I guess another question would be are you going to go DC, or DCC? If you are going DCC route, then you can easily speed match, and rum several locomotives in a consist. Then a 4% grade wouldn't scare me off.
 

Bigboy57

New Member
I'm really into steam and planning my layout with that era in my design. I have some big steam...Big Boy, 4-8-8-2, and Cab forward to name a few. All are 60's era Riverossi. My layout will start as dc but I am planning on converting to DCC as time allows. My layout has 22" r so the big steam will probably sit on display a lot and and the smaller locos will do the work.
 

trailrider

Well-Known Member
Back in the late 60's, my dad and I had a pretty large basement layout. He was the brains of the operation and I was the learning kid. Well, life got in the way and eventually the layout was torn apart but all the rolling stock and locomotives were retained. This fairly large inventory is now in my possession as my Dad passed away a few years ago. The problem is that I don't have his knowledge as a resource anymore.

I have designed several HO layouts and have finally settled on a layout but my space is more limited than before. I have created a dog bone corner layout but had to use 3.5% inclines. I plan on running short trains with steam locomotives. Is this doable or am I asking for trouble?
You might cut down on your grades if you continued the main where the overpass is shown and simply connected it to the loop on the right. Also, be sure you aren't creating reversing loops. Go ahead and wire for DC, using blocks. When you go to DCC, it will be easy. On my own layout, I started with DC with a power pack large enough to handle several old Athearn blue box diesels and steam locomotives. When I added DCC, I went with an NCE Power Cab and booster, connecting each to separate sides of a DPDT toggle switch on my main control panel, with the center contacts wired to the track. That way, I can select which type of power, and don't take the chance of burning out the motors on my DC locos when I run one or more DCC's. (You have to watch that as DCC puts AC power on the track, which straight DC motors can't handle.) I've got way too many older locos to convert to DCC, plus those bought or converted to DCC and sound.
Have fun! Don't hesitate to ask for help!
 

santafewillie

Well-Known Member
am I asking for trouble?
The grade could be problematic for steam locos. Especially if you are using smaller ones that work on 22" radius curves, Otherwise it looks like a good plan. You might rework those spurs within the loops and add a couple more spurs for increased switching activities. Right now I don't see any reversing sections that could spell trouble in wiring. You may need a small stool to reach 36", but I don't know how tall you are. At 5'4", I need one!
 

GeeTee

Well-Known Member
With 22" radius probably a 2-8-0 ,would work , possibly 2-8-2 mike or 2-6-6-2 mallet , I don't know if the Big Boy or AC would make it around 22" , 3.5% is steep , the pilots on the locomotives may bottom out on the rails or the lead trucks may bottom on the pilot and the front drivers will lift .My gut instinct is the Big Boy and the AC would bottom out on 3.5% because of the long boilers. Even a 2-8-0 or a diesel might have trouble bottoming with 3.5% .
 

Selector

Well-Known Member
What some do in order to keep a grip on grades is to 'split the difference' between the lower tracks and upper. What I mean is, why not cause the lower track to dip about an inch, reaching its nadir just on either side of the overpass, and then climb on the other side? That way, the grade to the overpass can be reduced considerably.
 

Bigboy57

New Member
What some do in order to keep a grip on grades is to 'split the difference' between the lower tracks and upper. What I mean is, why not cause the lower track to dip about an inch, reaching its nadir just on either side of the overpass, and then climb on the other side? That way, the grade to the overpass can be reduced considerably.
That's exactly what I have done to get where I am now. A great trick to use on a small layout. We think alike.
 

Bigboy57

New Member
With 22" radius probably a 2-8-0 ,would work , possibly 2-8-2 mike or 2-6-6-2 mallet , I don't know if the Big Boy or AC would make it around 22" , 3.5% is steep , the pilots on the locomotives may bottom out on the rails or the lead trucks may bottom on the pilot and the front drivers will lift .My gut instinct is the Big Boy and the AC would bottom out on 3.5% because of the long boilers. Even a 2-8-0 or a diesel might have trouble bottoming with 3.5% .
Could be a problem. I was concerned about the 22r and even made a test track with that. Big boy will negotiate the curve flat but not pretty. Add an incline and it could be over the top.
 

Bigboy57

New Member
The grade could be problematic for steam locos. Especially if you are using smaller ones that work on 22" radius curves, Otherwise it looks like a good plan. You might rework those spurs within the loops and add a couple more spurs for increased switching activities. Right now I don't see any reversing sections that could spell trouble in wiring. You may need a small stool to reach 36", but I don't know how tall you are. At 5'4", I need one!
I was under the impression that the red legs are reverse loops. Is that not correct? I still have a lot to learn.
 

Bigboy57

New Member
You might cut down on your grades if you continued the main where the overpass is shown and simply connected it to the loop on the right. Also, be sure you aren't creating reversing loops. Go ahead and wire for DC, using blocks. When you go to DCC, it will be easy. On my own layout, I started with DC with a power pack large enough to handle several old Athearn blue box diesels and steam locomotives. When I added DCC, I went with an NCE Power Cab and booster, connecting each to separate sides of a DPDT toggle switch on my main control panel, with the center contacts wired to the track. That way, I can select which type of power, and don't take the chance of burning out the motors on my DC locos when I run one or more DCC's. (You have to watch that as DCC puts AC power on the track, which straight DC motors can't handle.) I've got way too many older locos to convert to DCC, plus those bought or converted to DCC and sound.
Have fun! Don't hesitate to ask for help!
I think i have 3 reverse loops...the red ones. Am I not thinking correctly?
 




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