I've Found My Way Back To Model Railroading

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Good Sir Jim

They Make An HO Now?
3 years ago, I abandoned my last railroading project with frustration and general anger. Faulty equipment, a lack of knowledge on electronics in general, and clumsy fingers, horrible for laying track, working on trains, and anything with finesse.

With these passed years, I'd like to think I've gotten a little more careful, wise, and patient. And so when I found my old Chessie SW1500, when cleaing for a garage sale, the memories and joy of Model Railroading all came flooding back to me.

First, the Essington Line was a Figure-8 with some spurs. Then a Figure-8, with a double line overpass making the cross. Those were the first incarnation, 4'x8'. Then the limitations of a 10' wide room came to bear. The new Essington Junction became x2 2'x8' sections sandwiched into an L. Then, the plan finally has evolved into x2 2'x6' sections, still in the L, but with a smoother track plan, and keeping extra track and turnouts to a minimum, to fit budget (the Library don't pay much, eh?).



Givens: Small budget, requiring I keep with most of what I've got now.
10' wide room.
Switching yard layout due to lack of space.

Druthers: Use the turntable I didn't get to earlier.
Keep some variety via overpasses and tunnels. (I plan to use Woodland Scenics Foam Risers, unless anyone knows a more efficient alternative?)
Use some of the "Custom Mark 3 #4" Turnouts I accidentally bought way back when, instead of snap switches.

Suggestions? Comments? I shall photograph once I buy some 1'x4's to get the frame built. I plan to make a "Bedframe" and put a foam base on those.

Also, first time posting! Yay!
 
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NZRMac

In Training Down Under.
Welcome Jim!!

Looks good to me, The only problem maybe the grade from the lower level up to the main line. If this is HO you'll need more than 2" for clearance and a longer area to get up to that extra height.

Ken.
 
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Smoke

Southern Railway lives on
Welcome to the forum.:)

The plan looks good to me. Could you clarify to me which tracks are elevated 2". If I understand right the two tracks running parallel are the elevated ones. If so, your gonna have a couple steep grades.
 

SpaceMouse

Fun Lover
Welcome back to the hobby.

I question the rationale of creating two levels. The grades will be steep and it wastes a lot of space. 2 x 10 x 8 is a lot of space and you can do a lot with it. So I wonder why you waste space changing grades.

Here is my my layout. It is designed after the prototype in my town in 1950. Note that it could it is 30" x 96", but it could fit in 24 x 96. You have twice this much space.

indiana02.gif


With the space you have you could build a switching layout that would keep your little switcher busy for hours and not duplicate moves for months.

I like to recommend that people look at my article A Beginner's Guide to Layout Design IT takes about 5 minutes to read.
I'd also suggest that you get on Interlibrary Loan, Iain Rice's Small, Smart and Practical Track Plans.
 

NZRMac

In Training Down Under.
Love that sliding staging Chip, have you seen that staging from that guy in Greese? over on the MR forum, I'm thinking about something like that.

Ken.
 

Good Sir Jim

They Make An HO Now?
My apologies, I didn't clarify all the way. I plan to drop the underpass tracks an inch into the foam as needed for the 3" to get the clearance.

Smoke, you are correct, the two parallel tracks are the elevated ones.

Chip, while I would love to increase the amount of actual switching, my budget just can't allocate for that yet. I plan to leave open the space for expansion when I can fund it. And I have already read your guide, I found it wonderful. It's how I got familiar with Givens and Druthers. I'll go fishing for that book, we're in the process of moving from cards to computers.

I'm open to any and all suggestions for how to make the elevated track work. Another idea I've had is to make the base height of the Mainline 1", and the rest flat on the base. Then, I'd raise the Main and drop the underpasses 1" in the 3 needed places, so I'd have a few small inclines instead of a sudden large one.

Or, how can I economically expand the layout without too many purchases? I have a few more of the Mark 3 turnouts, I could add another spurr in the upper right corner. While I don't want to lose the elevated mainline, I could move it off to the back, or lose it entirely, if I can reach something just as enjoyable.
 
F

f1_indy2000

Guest
welcome back. I myself took time away from the hobby, though my pop and I built a layout at his house so I was able to keep running trains. Now I have started building my own layout. The benchwork was a chore in building and now I'm laying the roadbed. Instead of getting frustrated or feeling overwhelmed I've decided to look at it as problem solving and fun. I might add that before any of your curves you should allow atleast seven inches of straight track. That will keep things running smooth without the headaches of derailments. Your plan looks good and ENJOY. :)
 

SpaceMouse

Fun Lover
I also am running into budget constraints. How I am dealing with it is to start with a plan and add to it as I go. This is sort of like what you are doing, but I am not going to compromise the final product to get running soon. I'll build what I can and add as I can.

For instance, I will be building all of the structures from paper/cardboard until I can work on them individually.

Also, there may be other things you have no thought of. My local club has a bunch of brass track they cannot give away. One young club member took that track and has built a nice layout. He replaces the old brass as he can afford it. I wouldn't be surprized if there wasn't someone here that a bunch of brass that could help you out.

Build the plans for your dream, then figure out how to build it after the plans are set.
 

Good Sir Jim

They Make An HO Now?
Thanks to everyone for their responses. I've revised the plan for a possible final time, and I believe this time I've got everything fixed.



I moved the Mainline to the back of the area, more or less switched its position and the turntable's. This allows me to put in the maximum space for each ramp up and down to the mainline.

As the plan says, the Mainline will be 3" high, and the rest at 1". For the two underpasses I have, I will drop the track one inch to get the needed clearence. For the four total ramps, I have listed the length horizontally and the incline vertically. The only one I'm worried about is the 33" flex-track up 2", it might be a tight fit.

I'm more than glad I found these forums, I want to thank everyone again for all the help and insights. Now, to go find a CN Zebra Stripe GP7. :cool:
 
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NZRMac

In Training Down Under.
Jim, the only concern is the grade 33" along and up 2" is a 6% grade which is mighty steep. A good six axle loco will pull 1 or 2 cars before it slips.

and the 46" for 2" up is 4.3% and on a curve which adds to the %, frustrating huh!! we're all in the same boat, looking for more space than we have!!

Ken.
 
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IronBeltKen

Lazy Daydreamer
Jim, welcome aboard! I was away from this hobby for 15 years before I came back.

Your 2nd track plan is big improvement over the first, should provide lots of switching action. What era are you modeling - 1970's?

[LATER EDIT:] I didn't notice until later that what you have is a Chessie SW, so it couldn't possibly be the fifties...oooops!:eek:
 
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NZRMac

In Training Down Under.
Jim, the only concern is the grade 33" along and up 2" is a 6% grade which is mighty steep. A good six axle loco will pull 1 or 2 cars before it slips.

and the 46" for 2" up is 4.3% and on a curve which adds to the %, frustrating huh!! we're all in the same boat, looking for more space than we have!!

Ken.
Am I right here guys?? just checking:eek:

Ken.
 

grove den

naturally natural trees
to steep

Jim welcome too to this great forum!!
And right away a bunch of mrrguys are criticize your plan:eek: lol;)

Yes Ken I think too that the slopes are to steep.
Tried to explain it with the last trackplan of Jim
My "drawing is a little bitt bettter than my writing";) I mean: I can better explain it with a drawing than with words..

Jos
 
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JeffShultz

Stay off the tracks!
4% is about the steepest you'd ever want to try. I've worked at eliminating them from my layout, trying for a 2% max instead, since 4% pretty much requires doubleheaded locomotives for any decent pulling ability. It also makes for nasty transitions at the top and bottom - if you don't curve into the slope gradually (and I don't see how you can), you'll break your train in half as coupler's ride up so high or low that they are no longer hooked (working from sad experience here).

I'd recommend avoiding the "tracks over tracks" plans and go for a single level instead.
 

Good Sir Jim

They Make An HO Now?
Hmm. I'd like to ask, then, if it's painfully difficult to build a custom crossing? I'll pull a 9" straight from the upper left curve in the yard, and have it cross the flex track section and mainline.

Is that a viable idea? Any programs or books or websites I should visit?

Thanks once more for everyone's insight. Ken L, for your question, and in all honesty, a specific era is not one of the most important aspects of this particular railroad. I have a Chessie SW, and plan to purchase a CN GP7, and eventually an SD8, although road name has not yet been decided. Possibly SP.
 

IronBeltKen

Lazy Daydreamer
Hmm. I'd like to ask, then, if it's painfully difficult to build a custom crossing? I'll pull a 9" straight from the upper left curve in the yard, and have it cross the flex track section and mainline. ...
I never did it myself, but if you follow this link you'll see someone who has (lots of good closeup photos too):
http://www.bronx-terminal.com/?p=5

This guy's a master at handlaying track, he has to be in order to do the kind of scenes he likes. Do a google search on Tim Warris and you'll find a lot more...
 
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