My first complete layout design

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railBuilderDhd

Active Member
Well, I'm not sure if anyone would believe it but the day I started building the layout has passed. I started the benchwork for the layout this weekend. I hope to have the bench built for winter so we can be building the layout over the winter. I will post photos as soon as I get some.

Dave
 

railBuilderDhd

Active Member
Well folks,
I have some progress on the layout. I'm happy to say I've built about 75% of the lower layout support and installed in the basement. I started to paint the wall because I figured it was easier to start that now then wait until the layout is completely built. I will post some progress photos as soon as I get some. I also thought it was a good idea to get the basic wire run on the layout before I installed the top of the bench since I can do it standing up now and not have to crawl under to run the wires.

This leads me to a question on what I need to do for a DCC layout this size. I've not wired a layout before so I'm not sure if I need to work in blocks or if the layout is small enough for one block. I would love to have some input on what I should run now. Here is what I'm thinking:

I can get away with one block?
I need to run the bus line (2 wires) under the entire track plan.
I need wires to run for accessories run the same as the main bus lines (2 wires).
Feeders will be run to each section of track as I get the track in place so for now I can't add the feeder lines
I would like to have the mainline cross from one loop to the other near the top right if I can. I would like to be able to revers the train direction in some location. Will I need special electronics for this?

I'm not a total dummy when it comes to DCC wiring I just never tried to complete a layout this size. I figure it's better to ask and get help now to save from crawling under the layout later if I can.

Thanks guys,
Dave
 
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Iron Horseman

Well-Known Member
I can get away with one block?
Yes, but I don't think you want to. With just one block a short anywhere on the layout will stop all trains. So a yard goat could halt main line trains. A train on the upper deck would stop all those on the lower, etc. I would have at least a block for each yard where a loco might be working independently, and the engine service area where bunches of locos will just be sitting sucking power, and possibly more. One generally doesn't want a short circuit somewhere out of sight (other side of a divider) causing a train here (this side of divider) to suddenly stop dead.


I need to run the bus line (2 wires) under the entire track plan.
I need wires to run for accessories run the same as the main bus lines (2 wires).
Feeders will be run to each section of track as I get the track in place so for now I can't add the feeder lines
Ok sounds reasonable.

I would like to have the mainline cross from one loop to the other near the top right if I can. I would like to be able to revers the train direction in some location. Will I need special electronics for this?
No issue crossing one loop to the other (unless the crossing is also reversing). Definitely an issue to reverse the train direction. With DCC this is easy with an "auto Reversing" unit.
 

railBuilderDhd

Active Member
Thanks - I do want to revers the train direction so I will need to look into the auto reverse unit. I will also figure out what I need to do for power blocks.

Dave
 

otiscnj

Well-Known Member
FWIW, I've used CAD extensively to plan 'what's possible,' but there is still nothing like 'laying things out on the layout,' or floor, to determine whether what you planned will work. Thinks like long ties, for the moveable switch points, like on Atlas switches, can wreak havoc with the best of plans, even if you cut them shorter. Also, I've found that sometimes what looks great on a plan, doesn't translate right, astehiclly, when I view it mocked up in 3D, where I plan on locating it. Additonally, sometimes sidings a plan aren't as long as they seem, when physically built.
v
 

montanan

Whiskey Merchant
You have it right when you mentioned actually laying track out to see if things will work out. I never had a track plan drawn out for my layout. My layout was build as a switching layout and if I did try to draw something out I found that in most cases things had to be altered in order to have room for an industry, having room for turnouts and trying to maintain a broad radius for the main line. When I built my last town which included a yard, engine facility and a few industries I found myself with turnouts and flex track scattered all over the place before finally coming up with a track plan that would actually work properly. After shuffling buildings, track and using a few colorful words, it ended up being totally different from what I first envisioned.
 

railBuilderDhd

Active Member
its funny how one problem solved creates a new problem. Like room for a mainline makes less for scenery and the details of a switch cause problems you cant see until the track is down. These point are why I finally started the work on the layout and stopped messing with the track plan. I do keep working on the plan a little to try and get a grip on elevations but I can see I'll need to be looking at the track on the Layout to get that correct. Like Im sure you can have so elevations over 2% grade but you need to see them first.

Thanks for the info and sticking with me on this so long.

Dave
 

new guy

Active Member
its funny how one problem solved creates a new problem. Like room for a mainline makes less for scenery and the details of a switch cause problems you cant see until the track is down. These point are why I finally started the work on the layout and stopped messing with the track plan. I do keep working on the plan a little to try and get a grip on elevations but I can see I'll need to be looking at the track on the Layout to get that correct. Like Im sure you can have so elevations over 2% grade but you need to see them first.

Thanks for the info and sticking with me on this so long.

Dave
Don't skimp on the wiring, on grades the most important thing is grade change, 1-2% at a time and the rest is up to you and the space available. I run mine in two foot chunks, 2, 3, 4, 3, 2%, I've got the room for it though, I'm also running a 2, 4, 4, 2. I try to give at least a 2 car length to each piece of grade, WS risers make 2 feet easier. The grade changes cause the coupler issues, "slamming" into a 4% grade just will not do. Not in HO.
 
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new guy

Active Member
I'm not trying to get my grade much more then 2-2.5%. I think the most I will see is close to a 3% grade.

Dave
Perfecto! It should not be a problem. LOL! I see you have also seen that we kinda make enough problems for ourselves as we go along!

The "need for speed" can be strong and I know it is hard to hold those horses back sometimes but you seem to have a good steady pace going, not too rushed, a good way to go.
 

railBuilderDhd

Active Member
Hey folks,

I have an update on the layout progress. The bench work is going along and I hope to build the last section this week or weekend. I'm starting to run wire as I get the last section ready to add to the layout and I've placed an order for some track. I only ordered some track as I never realized the cost of track for sure a layout. Not surprised the cost because like anything to do with the hobby it's not cheap. I'm going with code 100 because I figured it will be best with my sons little hands. As I get all that done I had some input on the layout from some other forum. There was a guy that was kind enough to help and did a redesign of the layout. From that I now have a new track plan with 2 mainlines. That's a real bonus as I can have one for me and one for my son.

Love to hear what you guys think of the new plan.

Dave

 

santafewillie

Same Ol' Buzzard
Dave - Looks like a good plan for two operators that want to run. Son runs on the red main and dad switches on the blue main. Two things though that I see that glare out as issues to me, maybe not to you, it's your layout. First, coming out of the engine facility, one must go almost completely around the layout in order to get to a crossover to the red main line on the right, unless a backing maneuver is planned at the top. Not sure if this is intentional or not. Secondly, after making the left curve out of the engine facility, there are two back-to-back entry points to the blue main line that are redundant. I would eliminate the second one and use the room to make a LH crossover from the blue main to the red main...takes care of issue #1. I would definitely add the yard if for no other reason than to have a place to store a few cars on the layout. You already have one track there, add another so you have a track for cars ready for pick-up and another track to drop cars off. The layout seems to be oriented for clockwise running mainly. To avoid backing engines into the terminal, which only really matters with steam, you may consider adding a crossover between the two green (looks green!) tracks at the top center.
My 2¢ worth. Have fun.

Willie
 

railBuilderDhd

Active Member
Willie
Thanks. Those are all good points. I'll work on that and see what I come up with.

If i do connect the top green track to the lower track that will create a reversing loop correct?

Dave.
 

new guy

Active Member
When in doubt, add a yard! LOL! Sage and sane advice, layouts and collections tend to expand. Your son will need space for his growing collection! (That's what you tell SWMBO when you want to knock out a wall for more layout space) "It's for the children!"
 

railBuilderDhd

Active Member
Willie - I will get the new switch locations done and post a new image soon. Next I will need to know how I will be dealing with the wiring of DCC and the revers loop. I know there are more items I need to get to make all that happen. For now I'm just trying the track and wood in place to keep moving.

For the yard I know I really can use one and for expanding collections I already have more cars then will fit on any yard I could fit in that space. If the entire layout was a yard I could make it look like a yard that's real busy now. LOL to much in the collection already. I'm going to need to clear out a lot of what I have soon.

Dave
 

railBuilderDhd

Active Member
Well, I was able to sketch in new tracks and more info but not with the track layout program yet. I'm now thinking I want to have the layout on the left top side under scenery. This will hide the yard and give me more area for scenery. I will need to work out the details but I have one thing going for me. I can have the yard go down in elevation a little because I'm using a layer of foam on the bench work.

I've made some changes to the switch areas and I've connected the top main line to the bottom engine facility entrance. This will require more help figuring out how to wire this correctly but I'm sure it's not that hard to get correct.

Let me know what you think about it now.

Dave

 

otiscnj

Well-Known Member
I like the new yard. Leave it exposed. Also, cross over in front of the cement plant needs to be reversed, so trains can get into/out of yard. I'd make the road between the plant and yard, a river, with the access road to the cement plant, from the aisle or end sides of the peninsula, or along the river. I might also tie one or two the yard tracks, into the passing siding along the 'back' of the layout.

The connection between the blue tracks over on the right side, is actually a reversing section. I'd think very carefully about building it as shown.
 
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railBuilderDhd

Active Member
Well, I'm getting close to the final trackwork I'll be doing. I may have a few tweaks from here but over all I'm happy with the tacks. I have worked the elevations and I can get 3.5" clearance from track to track with a max of 2.45% grade. Not to bad I figure for even running a container car if I like. I'll add those details soon.

The added yard to the left area can be worked later. For now I need to get the rest of the track work done so we can run trains. My son is getting to a point he thinks this will never happen (he's 4 so it's been a long time). I fixed the space around the cement plant so I can get a yard in there with a little room for scenery. I'm open to hear what you folks think.

Dave

 




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