New On30 Track Plan

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BayHighRY

New Member
Hi all,

New member coming in looking for feedback. I'm considering starting my first model railroad this year. I've spent the last few months researching different aspects of starting a railroad - benchwork, foam core build up, trackwork (best tracks, mainly leaning towards Flextrack for On30 scale), soldering, electrical wiring issues, track power vs battery power, budgeting, scenery, modular vs whole track plans, etc and have a decent sense of the pacing of the whole process. I've got some limited space to work with but an okay budget to get started and want to make sure I make good decisions about the design and creation of my indoor railroad as possible (happy mistakes are inevitable and the learning curve will be steep but that's part of the fun!). I'm looking to fit as much as I can into a 7x4 space using the layout design below and am looking for feedback on the design and any suggestions for starting a railroad - I'm aware this is much more ambitious than a simple flat loop but I figured I'd swing for the fences if I'm already putting up the effort and money for it. The track plan is below:

Track Plan.JPG


The track plan features a loop that crosses over itself to maximize the runtime of a train around the area with a step grade of 4% in some spots around the layout.

3D1.JPG


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The main viewing area would be front on, with just enough space for a roundhouse and turntable as well as some side tracks. The station in front of the roundhouse will likely be a flat platform with a water tank on the end before the tunnel. Trees and foliage will disguise the back town area and switching tracks higher up the grade. The highest mountain and grade after the water tank will transition the tunnel to the back portion of the layout, a hidden scene of the tall bridge crossing over the lower loop, something akin to the Georgetown loop. The tricky part here is remembering that despite the HO track size, the engines are On30 size and require larger clearances, hence the 5 inch gap between track and bottom of the trestle (this might need further wiggling in the actual construction). A shack and lakeside will accompany this scenery.

3D3.JPG


The other side of the railroad reveals a double trestle over a river as the lower and higher loop equalizes for a moment before heading different levels. This would be more heavily covered with trees and brush to create breaks in each scene.

3D6.JPG


The lower track coming up will be a point of concern in the planning, making sure that 5 inch height is maintained without bumping the top level too much, seen next for the switching that sits above:

3D4.JPG


Probably the few places where some switching operations is available with this track space, with buildings and potentially a small town in the hillside or a log mill might go here. It's not much, but I think I can make the most of it.

3D5.JPG


The bigger attraction down the hillside would be the roundhouse area, with just enough room for a 3 engine portal and some sidings. The sizing here has to be pretty tight, so this would be another concern to make it all fit.

3D7.JPG


That's the plan at this moment, would like to hear any member's feedback on their experience starting out, I'm willing to take things slow and incorporate ideas into the planning or just see what you think. Thank you and glad to be here!
 

CHRISTIAN

Happy to be here !
Very interesting project. I will follow it with great interest. Now it's the turn of the Real Modelers (which I am not) to answer all your questions!
 

Rico

BN Modeller
I wasn’t sure about the “up and over” of the plan but I guess 4% would achieve this in short distance.
I like it! Only thing I might do is reduce the track from the turntable and add a stub track for cars?
I'll be following along.
 

BayHighRY

New Member
I wasn’t sure about the “up and over” of the plan but I guess 4% would achieve this in short distance.
I like it! Only thing I might do is reduce the track from the turntable and add a stub track for cars?
I'll be following along.
If absolutely needed I could expand another half foot to give more track distance to accompany a lower grade level, perhaps 3.5% so not to be too stressful on the engines for continual operation. I would love to have a switching area in the roundhouse portion - perhaps sacrificing a roundhouse for a switching area and a 2 door engine shed instead? That's a potential option..
 

BayHighRY

New Member
Very interesting project. I will follow it with great interest. Now it's the turn of the Real Modelers (which I am not) to answer all your questions!
Thank you! Looking forward to seeing what obstacles might come into play. The electrical wiring for me would be the biggest challenge to have it organized below the benchwork and in place for the buildings at night or for the roundhouse lights, etc. Maybe some tips on that from fellow posters would be useful at this stage.
 

Iron Horseman

Well-Known Member
New member coming in looking for feedback.

As another has said or implied, I think the round table is a bit over powering. They consume sooo much space. On a layout in this scale (On30) that is this small two stalls at most would seem more appropriate, or better just a two stall engine house without the round table.

Stretching another 1/2 foot would help the looks too.
 

BayHighRY

New Member
Point to consider: If you do not have access from all four sides, the trains will derail on the back portion well out of reach.
Thanks for the tip, access is a concern of mine in the tunnels. Would a hallow backside (showing both tunnels "open" from the back be a workable solution? Or maybe some portals for access that can be removed with a hidden panel. It would be an engineering challenge for that aspect
 

BayHighRY

New Member
As another has said or implied, I think the round table is a bit over powering. They consume sooo much space. On a layout in this scale (On30) that is this small two stalls at most would seem more appropriate, or better just a two stall engine house without the round table.

Stretching another 1/2 foot would help the looks too.
What do you think about this design? This would be with a 2-shed engine house and give a bit more room for siding decorations
3D8.JPG
 

kjd

Go make something!
I would think about what you want from your railroad. Do you want to watch trains go around? Do you want to move cars to different spots? If watching trains, the turntable would be fine. If you like switching, I'd put more car spots there and just have a single stall engine house. Keep in mind your given space just enough to model a football field in O scale so space needs to be used carefully.

What is your room space like? If your emphasis is more toward switching, cutting the board in half or thirds and putting it along the walls could help with the illusion trains are moving from place to place. You won't be able to let the train do laps though if you don't have room for loops at the ends.

I like switching so even though I have a smallish, half a one car garage, loop, I have two switching areas. One is used as staging and trains come from there, do a couple laps on the loop and then stop and switch out the cars at the other. The train returns via a couple laps around the loop in the opposite direction and goes back to staging. The staging is two parallel tracks, two train lengths long, with a cross over in the middle. That way I can have four sets of cars to switch with. The returning train pushes the next set of cars off the run around while at the same time drops the train it brought. It is ready to go again and can easily stop and pick the caboose off the cars that just arrived. That is part of how I've made use of my small space.
 

BayHighRY

New Member
I would think about what you want from your railroad. Do you want to watch trains go around? Do you want to move cars to different spots? If watching trains, the turntable would be fine. If you like switching, I'd put more car spots there and just have a single stall engine house. Keep in mind your given space just enough to model a football field in O scale so space needs to be used carefully.

What is your room space like? If your emphasis is more toward switching, cutting the board in half or thirds and putting it along the walls could help with the illusion trains are moving from place to place. You won't be able to let the train do laps though if you don't have room for loops at the ends.

I like switching so even though I have a smallish, half a one car garage, loop, I have two switching areas. One is used as staging and trains come from there, do a couple laps on the loop and then stop and switch out the cars at the other. The train returns via a couple laps around the loop in the opposite direction and goes back to staging. The staging is two parallel tracks, two train lengths long, with a cross over in the middle. That way I can have four sets of cars to switch with. The returning train pushes the next set of cars off the run around while at the same time drops the train it brought. It is ready to go again and can easily stop and pick the caboose off the cars that just arrived. That is part of how I've made use of my small space.
I prefer watching the train go around as that's less management for me. Switching the cars with a few limited turnouts would be satisfactory, and I do have a spur going off the railroad if I ever decide to add an additional yard or expand the overall layout. Doing the cross-over loop at this stage would maximize the track length given the space I have (rectangular 7x4'). I do like the versality of a good switching yard and maybe sometime down the road I'll angle towards doing a proper big yard for that purpose.
 

Rico

BN Modeller
You could possibly do a smaller turntable and still have a couple stub tracks?
Of course your longest loco will dictate the length I suppose.
I do like the plan and the run it provides!
 

BayHighRY

New Member
You could possibly do a smaller turntable and still have a couple stub tracks?
Of course your longest loco will dictate the length I suppose.
I do like the plan and the run it provides!
This is the new version with added engine house and siding tracks.

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3D10.JPG


This would provide room for car shunting and minor operations at the "yard". The black box would be a coal tower or other structure for the engines. The max length at this point is 6.5" actually, but could be expanded to 7 if necessary.
 

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