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Michiganeer

New Member
I have a fair number of questions since I am new to model railroading. One question I have is what is the best software to use to play around with designing layouts? I am specifically interested in Fast Track. I have tried SCARM but it doesn't seem to work well in connecting the track the way Lionel suggests its components for specific layouts. Maybe I have an old version. Any help is appreciated. Thanks.
 

2Tracks

Ol' School
Michiganeer, welcome to the forum and welcome to MODEL RAILROADING. Sorry, can't help you with track planning software, but there are people here that can, they'll be along......
 

Patrick

GNRR Mechanic always fixing stuff
Greetings and Welcome to here.

Been a long time since my Lionel days and won't be much help with the software as I drew mine on paper because I found it easier. I'm a Network Administrator who tries to stay away from computer anything in my free time.
 

Michiganeer

New Member
Greetings and Welcome to here.

Been a long time since my Lionel days and won't be much help with the software as I drew mine on paper because I found it easier. I'm a Network Administrator who tries to stay away from computer anything in my free time.
So what kind of track did you use and how were you able to get it to translate from paper to fitting properly on your layout?
 

Patrick

GNRR Mechanic always fixing stuff
So what kind of track did you use and how were you able to get it to translate from paper to fitting properly on your layout?
I am using Atlas HO code 100 and laid it out. I am also using a lot of flex track (flexible track) to create my curves and such. It is a lot easier to position than fixed track. I'm not sure Lionel makes flex track for O scale (assuming you're using O27 or O scale). I know they are making HO flex track.

I used graph paper and then drew layout lines on my benchwork and transferred the design. It may not be exact, but that's one reason I'm using flex. I'm currently using a table top type bench, although were I to do it over, I'd reconsider. My table(s) are made from 2' x 8' tables and currently arranged in a "U" shape with a lift bridge across the open end. My knees are too bad to duck under anymore.
 

ianacole

Well-Known Member
If you're planning a move in a relatively short time (and I'd consider 5 years short given how long it takes me to build a layout) I'd consider a smaller switching layout. This will provide a few benefits:
  1. Can be accomplished using just snap track/predefined track sizes (Atlas code 100 or 83 if doing HO)
  2. Can be small enough to finish in relatively short order so you can get to using the layout - I'd recommend something in the range of 1.5'x4' to 2'x4', or thereabouts. Will get you to operations faster and you can work on details while mixing in operation sessions
  3. Gives an opportunity for a "quick win" - starting too big can be overwhelming and lead to not completing the layout
  4. Practice for a larger layout - learn how to wire, scenery, etc.
  5. Can be incorporated into a larger layout at a later date
  6. Easy to move, may not require disassembly
One example of this can be found here: http://www.wymann.info/ShuntingPuzzles/Timesaver/timesaver-trackplan.html, but there are plenty of examples of smaller switching layouts on the web.
 

Michiganeer

New Member
If you're planning a move in a relatively short time (and I'd consider 5 years short given how long it takes me to build a layout) I'd consider a smaller switching layout. This will provide a few benefits:
  1. Can be accomplished using just snap track/predefined track sizes (Atlas code 100 or 83 if doing HO)
  2. Can be small enough to finish in relatively short order so you can get to using the layout - I'd recommend something in the range of 1.5'x4' to 2'x4', or thereabouts. Will get you to operations faster and you can work on details while mixing in operation sessions
  3. Gives an opportunity for a "quick win" - starting too big can be overwhelming and lead to not completing the layout
  4. Practice for a larger layout - learn how to wire, scenery, etc.
  5. Can be incorporated into a larger layout at a later date
  6. Easy to move, may not require disassembly
One example of this can be found here: http://www.wymann.info/ShuntingPuzzles/Timesaver/timesaver-trackplan.html, but there are plenty of examples of smaller switching layouts on the web.
Wow. Thank you so much for all of the information. I am zeroed in on O gauge but that's all I am certain about (haha). I will go through the web site you sent. Thank you again.
 

boatwrench

Active Member
Welcome.

I read an article in the past few months that made sense. It was about building a layout on a plank. 8" wide by six feet long. The theory presented was that in this small space you would learn, develop and use all the skills needed for when the time comes to build a large layout you wouldn't be jumping into the deep end so to speak.

Good luck on whatever you decide.
 

Michiganeer

New Member
Welcome.

I read an article in the past few months that made sense. It was about building a layout on a plank. 8" wide by six feet long. The theory presented was that in this small space you would learn, develop and use all the skills needed for when the time comes to build a large layout you wouldn't be jumping into the deep end so to speak.

Good luck on whatever you decide.
Any chance you recall where the article was?
 

CM-Fan

Active Member
is it easy to disassemble? I know that I will be moving in 5 years.
Sorry - can't help you with the software, I still draw track plans on napkins.

I read not long ago about the "Free-mo method" on building layouts. A lot of people are using this system for larger scales to work in small sections and also for transporting if needed.

Welcome to the best hobby ever!
 




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