Jos, I'm calling you out! is a free Model Railroad Discussion Forum and photo gallery. We cover all scales and sizes of model railroads. Whether you're a master model railroader or just getting started, you'll find something of interest here.


Fun Lover
Jos and anyone else,

I'd love to see what you come up with space I have available. I'm taking out as many restrictions as I can. I'm trying to disrupt my box as much as possible.


--The space below on the layout side.
–Pipe on upper wall.
--On the staging side, that is about all I can spare. It goes over the washer, dryer, sink, with the loop area going over my workbench. It does not need to be continuos. It can be stub end.
–1885 Southern Pacific and Rock Ridge Small Steam 4-4-0, 2-6-0, 2-8-0, Climax A –tunning larger stuff is optional
–Train City is large city, Rock Ridge is small silver mining town.
–Wife is artist. We will extend the city of Train City and the Mountains with a backdrop
–I can build any bench work you can design.


--Minimum Radius 18"–Bigger is better.
--Minimum Turnout #5 Mainline–#4 yards & industries--stick to one size like #5 because I will be using FastTrack Jigs and I don't want to buy a lot. I already have a #4 jig and enough materials for 10 turnouts. Custom turnouts are doable if needed. I can borrow a #8 jig.
–2% grade maximum. I don't need grade–see below
–elevations can be increased by lowering and building up bench work.
--Prefer 1 level, but will consider more if beautiful and logical.
–Prefer once through scene–except where logical prototypical track work would exist.
–Tunnels should be accessible–no turnouts in tunnels
–Maximize staging–but it should be easily accessible.

–Point-to-point concept with staging logically being two ends of the layout {Staging (Sacramento)–Train City–Rock Ridge–Staging (Virginia City)}
--Continuous running in Layout Area.
--Duck-under/liftout/gate is okay.
--Design with Ops in mind
–Passing sidings that will accommodate 6-7 4" cars, engine caboose Max engine size 9"
–Big Dramatic Scenery--emphasize focal areas
–High Trestle at least 15" long–no upper limit
–Yard 3 track Min. bigger the better, A/D track(s) Engine Service Ash, Wood, Sand, Water, Engine house, RIP track & shop. 10" Turntable–if roundhouse, don't need Engine house.
–Cattle Pens near city streets of Train City
– Industry in Train City
–Brewery 6 x 15"
–Lumber Yard 4 x 10"
–Foundry 4 buildings 6" x 15"
–More as useful–false fronts
–3 x 18 Ice Platform
Industries in Rock Ridge
–Silver mine–can vary 3 x 12 to 16" Hoist house and Headframe must be 4.5" above Tipple/separator house--track runs under tipple
–More as useful



Can provide pictures of most industries/buildings if needed.


Uh oh! Jos, you better load your six shooter with artillery shells:D . I believe Chip is serious and ready to make a big time challenge.;)

This should be interesting to follow, Chip.

grove den

naturally natural trees



grove den

naturally natural trees
WHOW....I am awake now CHIP!!
I've read your website some weeks ago : how to design your layout and don't you think there is the possebillity that there are may be a little bit much items/themes to have/built/model on this small area??.
Or is it that I may choose what fits.( think that fits on the layout) With other words: it is not necessary that all the items have to be in the design...?
Your wife IS INDEED AN ARTIST she can paint/draw very, very beautiful!!
I like her painting: "Lake grasses" very much( also her drawings/grafics!!)

Jos who is awake now.....

BTW: What's the minimum hight( from the floor) of the layout tracks incl. the frame work because You've told that there is some "furniture' under the layout...


Fun Lover

There needs to be storage for DVD's under the layout. If we take the whole Room, then the outside of the layout needs to be an entertainment center facing out. I can build the shelves into the benchwork. You just make track go where you want it to go and leave me to get it there.

Now if you have canyons and waterfalls and the like, you can take the scenery pretty much to the floor.

Oh, to answer your question. I was planning the base track height at 49".

Fit what you can, but remember Train City is a large dense city. It's just old.

While I didn't have much of an idea where I wanted the layout to go last night, I have a fair idea this morning.

BTW, Everything on I put above druthers list was on my last layout design and the space was smaller.


grove den

naturally natural trees
rough scetch I

Morning Chip,

Here my first rough, very very rough scetch..:eek:
Is it possible to make a staging in the other room with two levels and each level has his own 18" radius loop..
I was thinking: For the "main/ continuousline" one staging level at + 4 inches and one for the tracks of the "station/Rockcity level" - 4 inches
At the right side of the layout there is( just an idea:) ) a triangle to turn the steam engines and between or beside them( the tracks of the triangle) there are the facilities to restore the trains and of course the ( small :( ) engine house
BTW is it possible that you can "bend" the turnouts I mean to cut out some ties or to loose them from each other , like a flex rail/track...It could help to make the staging tracks longer for some inches

So far the results from the other side of the pond(s)


edit: may be instead of the "triangle" you can place the maquette of Rockcity overthere...?
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Fun Lover
About the turnouts. You can take out the straight parts before the points and that adds to the number of ladder tracks that will fit.

Two level staging is fine, but rmember, most of the cars are under 4" long so staging like this will hold 10 trains.



Fun Lover

I've been looking over your plan and although it is beautiful and would make for great railfanning, it doesn't achieve what I am looking for.

In a way this really isn't fair, because I have a vision in my head and you can't know it.

Please don't spend any more time on this. Save your energy for critiquing my plan. Thanks for the sketch. We certainly see different possibilities.

grove den

naturally natural trees
that's a pitty...but may be a next time

O.K Chip:)
Rex: Have to put my 6 shooter back into the grease...( or don't you "put" guns, to store,into grease?) LOL


I have a vision in my head
Cannot you explain /show/ write about it, to us. I mean how it could look like , what kind of scene you've got in mind...or did you already wrote about that in this forum..
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Fun Lover
BTW Cannot you explain /show/ write about it, to us. I mean how it could look like , what kind of scene you've got in mind...or did you already wrote about that in this forum..

It kinda-sorta is an outgrowth of the old layout. The visuals are bigger, that's all. The right side of the layout is all trees and a dirt road from Train City to Rock Ridge. There may be a cattleman's line shack. What I'm seeing now is a flowing track along that side. It is very mountainous and has at least two trestles--a high one that spans the canyon and waterfalls in the corner, and lower one(s) that even out the mountain sides. Look at the trees below and imagine the whole right side looking like this.


Train City gets its name from dense track, but every track has to have a reason and it can't be there without buildings, roads, and industries. I'd like to continue that theme only make it larger and grander. Maybe even bring in some 3-4 story buildings. But still have the rough and ready street.


The left side can now be 30 inches so I see a yard going down that side. The turntable might not fit, but a configuration of industries like on the plan above will fit in front or behind the yard. The turntable could then be closer to the main.

Rock Ridge looks very much the same but the mine has more tracks, a company town and another industry. The mine now sits on the same level with the town and tipple goes over that track in the front.


Actually, the plan above is very close to what I am looking for. I'm just trying to tweek a little more out of it.

The thing that scares me is the duck-under. If I have other room staging, that's a lot of ducking under. I may revert to the previous plan for that reason alone.


The problem for you is that I am trying to balance that look with operations and I'm the only one that can make the compromises. However, I'm still open to being blown away.


Jos removes six-shooter, checks his loads, and adjusts his stance. He's ready now!:D

A thought:
Chip, you have a good imigination. Would it help the description to tell a travel story about the layout, e.g. " Leaving the station at ..., I can see the approaching hills covered in ... I can see a silver mine over on the left, covered is dust and grime. After an hour we arrived at Carson City, a town of several hundred miners, cowboys, bargirls, and storekeepers. etc...:confused:


Fun Lover
Well, this is closer to what I had in mind. The bridge is a lift-out, although that doesn't make me happy and might be a deal breaker. Going back and forth to staging in the other room might be too much.



Fun Lover
What I like.

Continuous running.
22 Radius curves on mainline. #5 turnouts on main.
Rock Ridge area is clean and industries are more developed.
Track coming from lift out behind yard cannot be seen from operating area.
Relatively large yard.
Roundhouse (Will have to scratch-build one that small. No sweat.
More buildings in Train City.

What I don't like:

Fewer Industries in Train City and don't fit as well.
Train City industries are not fluid and logical Feels thrown together.
Bridge makes it hard to get to staging in other room and to the station in Rock Ridge.

I think what may come out of this is a hybrid between the two plans.


Fun Lover
As an aside, what's the story on the reddish tint to your pictures?:D

Not 100% sure. Because the red rock in the area, the gound color has a slight reddish tint. That seems to be amplified by the red rocks. The lights are a combination of full-spectrum and incandescent. It's also possible that auto-adjust white-balance is off in the camera.

However, the red tint has been there through three cameras.

grove den

naturally natural trees
no comments????

Chip you mean about the reddish tint/color of the rocks??
Or about your last plan including the possebillity of the hybrid of the two...
BTW I made a "clean" scetch/drawing of the layout. JUST FOR FUN Chip ;) I was thinking of with the givens and druthers you gave us.
It's tough to get them all on that surface/space....:eek:
But why don't you "want" two levels on your layout...You can make that easy with an open frame structure...
It gives you an extra dimension: "going up" with the scennery. You know what I mean/try to explain...
Try to explain it to you with some drawings tomorrow, incl. the rock ridge and traincityplan that's turning in my head. At least an attempt to make that plan...Now it's time to say good night and go to ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz pfiiiiiew....


Lazy Daydreamer
Chip, how far is your layout off the floor where that liftout is located?

On my current layout, liftouts were a "necessary evil" if I wanted to have all the desired scenic elements and broad-enough mainline curves (a scourge of modern-era modeling). But since they're 50" off the floor, I can duck under them with little trouble.


Fun Lover

About the two levels.

I'm not worried about the construction. I was a contractor for 15 years. The two-level thing is personal. My club has two decks and a place where I operate a couple times a year has 4 levels. So, what don't I like?

First of all, transition between levels takes either a lot of space (and that space is often tainted by the transition) or a helix, or a steep incline, or combination of the three.

Second, lighting is an issue on the lower levels and you don't get the effect of a good backdrop if you have to bend over to see it. The upper deck always impedes the view. It also impedes reach.

Third. With two levels neither level is the perfect height.

All that being said, I can be talked into a great plan. I have been impressed with plans that make the transition without there seeming to be a transition.

I have some revisions to make to the plan I posted as well. Maybe tomorrow.

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