Designing an HO layout for my nephew...Please Critique.

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What do you think of this beginner layout for a 10 year old?


  • Total voters
    12
  • Poll closed .

Pacodutaco

Member
My nephew just turned 10 years old and is getting interested in model railroading. His father (my brother) and I have been
modeling for 25+ years on and off so we think this is a good thing to spend time with him on. Space is limited to a 4x6 area
and it has to be portable since they are renting the house they are in and will be moving to a new home in the future. Below
is what I came up with over the past two days. I tried to work in function along with the ability to try out modeling many
different things and styles. It will be simple DC since we are trying to keep it on the cheap and we already have the
transformer and a couple Bachman 2-8-0's to run.

Please let me know what you think and I am open to any suggestions for improving on this design.

Thanks,

John

Eli_Central.jpg
 

Sirfoldalot

Product Tester ACME INC.
Staff member
Nice planning from my viewpoint. I like the track plan.
I would not use less than one half inch plywood for the base, and a good grade such as birch or oak.
If you are planning to cover it with foam .. You could use wafer board to save some $.
Just my opinion only.
 

Pacodutaco

Member
Nice planning from my viewpoint. I like the track plan.
I would not use less than one half inch plywood for the base, and a good grade such as birch or oak.
If you are planning to cover it with foam .. You could use wafer board to save some $.
Just my opinion only.
Yes, it will be covered in at least 1 inch foam but most likely 2 inches so we can carve in terrain above and below track height without having any grades in such a small space.
 

Rico

BN Modeller
Nice little plan, looks like it could be expanded later on.
I'd add a place to run around the cars and push them in, but that depends on how your nephew would run it.
 

Iron Horseman

Well-Known Member
I really like the plan. As the others have said, a run-around would be nice to switch both the trailing and facing point switches. But trying to add one might mess up the nice points of this design. It can be operated by just running around the whole loop to get to the other side of the cars when necessary.

During the scenic phase, running a divider between the two sides will really make each of the towns stand out on their own and look much more realistic.
 
I really like the plan. As the others have said, a run-around would be nice to switch both the trailing and facing point switches. But trying to add one might mess up the nice points of this design. It can be operated by just running around the whole loop to get to the other side of the cars when necessary.

During the scenic phase, running a divider between the two sides will really make each of the towns stand out on their own and look much more realistic.
Yup...what he said. Scenic Divider transforms this layout, imo.
 

Pacodutaco

Member
Great suggestions guys. I have revised the plan based on what your feedback has been. Here is the latest version. My nephew really likes this version. As always, I love to get your feedback.

Eli_Central_Revised.jpg
 

logandsawman

Well-Known Member
Please let me know what you think and I am open to any suggestions for improving on this design.
I like that you are making a relatively simple plan for your nephew!!!!!

I am visualizing the train going around the track and backing into the spurs with the empty cars to get loaded up. No matter how you are going around the track, it looks to me like that might not work.

If you are going clockwise, you won't be able to back in to the lumber yard, and if counterlcockwise, the warehouse will be inaccessible, unless you move it a little.

I hope this helps !!!! lasm
 

cajon

Active Member
Would recommend not having the switchback at Eli Central. You'll always have to move the cars at Lumber Yard to switch Coal & Oil. Just make the Coal & Oil spur come off mail w/ LH switch & cross at grade the Lumber Yard spur. That's the way the real RRs do it. Yes switchbacks add more movements but if you look at it like reall RRs do it's a big waste of alot of time & money. Besides a crossing makes a MR more interesting to look at!
 

Pacodutaco

Member
Would recommend not having the switchback at Eli Central. You'll always have to move the cars at Lumber Yard to switch Coal & Oil. Just make the Coal & Oil spur come off mail w/ LH switch & cross at grade the Lumber Yard spur. That's the way the real RRs do it. Yes switchbacks add more movements but if you look at it like reall RRs do it's a big waste of alot of time & money. Besides a crossing makes a MR more interesting to look at!
Thanks for the input Andy, I had considered this also. Several people suggested the same thing so I have a 3rd version now to check out. It has been interesting getting everyone's feedback on this project. My nephew saw the changes from version 1 to version 2 last night at Grandpa's house and really is getting excited. Lets see if this 3rd version is going to pass muster.

Eli_Central_HO_4x6_Revision#2_Info.jpg
 
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Pacodutaco

Member
I got word from my brother last night that he is considering allowing a 4x8 as a maximum instead of the 4x6. If this happens, I guess I will be converting this layout to a 4x8. I will post if this takes place.
 

cajon

Active Member
Thanks for the input Andy, I had considered this also. Several people suggested the same thing so I have a 3rd version now to check out. It has been interesting getting everyone's feedback on this project. My nephew saw the changes from version 1 to version 2 last night at Grandpa's house and really is getting excited. Lets see if this 3rd version is going to pass muster.
If you could add one more piece of track to the spurs, there would be enough room to add another industry. Also something to consider for when the layout gets too many cars, make the interchange track a staging tray.
View attachment 40985
8-STAGING TRAY.jpg
 

MGWSY

Active Member
Would recommend not having the switchback at Eli Central. You'll always have to move the cars at Lumber Yard to switch Coal & Oil. Just make the Coal & Oil spur come off mail w/ LH switch & cross at grade the Lumber Yard spur. That's the way the real RRs do it. Yes switchbacks add more movements but if you look at it like reall RRs do it's a big waste of alot of time & money. Besides a crossing makes a MR more interesting to look at!
Also is if you keep to the revised plan is there enough room by the lumber yuard to fit a Hopper or Tank car along with the 2-8-0 and tender so it can shove the car into there. As for Real railroads using crossings its highly unlikely they would go through the expense as these Co's can get switched at the same time and Diamonds are a maintenance headache.
 

cajon

Active Member
. As for Real railroads using crossings its highly unlikely they would go through the expense as these Co's can get switched at the same time and Diamonds are a maintenance headache.
That's true for mainline Xings but not true for those used in switching operations given the low speeds they are run over. There's plenty of them used on industrial & other switching RRs especially when using switchbacks take twice or more longer to switch. Real RRs go by "time is money", in other words more labor costs reduce profits!
 

MGWSY

Active Member
That's true for mainline Xings but not true for those used in switching operations given the low speeds they are run over. There's plenty of them used on industrial & other switching RRs especially when using switchbacks take twice or more longer to switch. Real RRs go by "time is money", in other words more labor costs reduce profits!
That's understandable for busy places but not for 2 Co's each getting a car or 2. I know that the RR I worked for had some real PITA switching for industries and avoided using diamonds anywhere unless absolutely necessary I have had to pull out 8 cars that were on spot to get 1 empty then re spot the 8 cars back in their original spots. In the drawing with the diamond your not only adding the diamond but another switch on the main which again is another maintenance deal that RR's try to avoid. I know there were some Co's that had a similar track layout in real life and we would just have a spot time set up for them so they both can get empties pulled and loads spotted at the same time which was usually at night when they were closed, you will rarely see a customer leave a car half empty waiting to be unloaded as they start paying for that car from the time its spotted till the time its released by the Co. so they try to get them unloaded ASAP unless they are private cars ending in X and not RR owned cars. Now I am just speaking from real world experience from the RR I worked for and I know other RR's do it their own way but it just my 2 cents.
 

cajon

Active Member
Mark
Worked for BNSF as a conductor & their were very few Xings used except in very tight situations. But am modeling their LAJ Ry & their are plenty of Xings used there. There are 2 switchbacks (no longer used) but all the industries had their own spurs so NO cars had to be moved. MAX authorized speed on the LAJ is 10 MPH & switching speeds are way less than that so using diamonds doesn't cost all that much compared to the added labor costs from using switchbacks. Have all the LAJ Switching Maps so do know a little about their tracks And have been to a few of their 22 Switching Leads. My LAJ plan only covers the Leads in Vernon CA. In their heyday LAJ had 64 miles of track "crammed" into 2 mi. by 5 mi. area. So the modelers term of "selective compression" is very apparent there. :)
 
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NScaler

Engineer in Training
I saw crossovers on the spurs where I grew up. It was a somewhat busy area for trains serving a few small industries. A paper recycling company always had a couple cars. And there was a produce distributor that wrapped bananas. They had a crossing right behind the produce distributor that I always admired when I took my smoke break. So his use of a crossing here is quite appropriate from what I remember.
 




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