Layout help

 
  ARodH Chief Train Controller

Location: East Oakleigh, Vic
Okay I've got an 4 foot by 6 foot layout board that I built many years ago.
It looked like

But after the chainsawing, I'm left with a blank board and a pile of mostly LIMA setrack.

When I built it, I think I bought most of the ex-local toy shop's stock aside from the two Peco points - which I think I either got from Hearns or Vic Hobby Center.
So now I'm probably operating in a strange order: buy rollingstock, get new track, think of a layout design and fix a roof's in there somewhere, when it comes to a stumblingblock: "Oh, you can't run 'x' on a curve less then 18 inches" WTFBBQ!! I break out some R2 double curves from the Peco starter pack and knock up a quick test section on a tabletop and appear to only have a problem with PL carriages fitted with the factory coupler. The problem seems to go away after fitting a mix of long and medium shank Kadee's and doesn't appear on the R3 test curve.

After all that I start playing with more test sections and in AnyRail muttering over why Peco has to be different between Setrack and Streamline and came up with the following which is a mix of Setrack, Streamline and flex:


And then after discovering anything the length of a PL carriage or FQX wagon when coupled, physically dislike going over a set of back to back ST240/1 points


I'm also starting to think I might've goofed by using SL-88/89 points and that I'll be better off adding a 2 foot extension, so I can run double loop and gain some space to try a better siding arrangement.

Edit: I've done some more thinking and playing with anyrail, if I use the three-ways on the main line oval/loop that means I don't need to use the SL-89 crossover network. Instead at that location I'll place the SL-88 plus a three-way with an inglenook-esc yard probably using all the setrack points (2 LH, 2RH) I have running off it. Up at the double slip, a short siding inside the oval and the other three-way closeing the loop and providing another two sidings or the staring point for the outer oval and one siding.

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  Shazam75 Chief Commissioner

Location: Brisbane
Before you lay any track you need to ask yourself a few questions.  What is the purpose of your model railway?  What do you want to achieve?  Do you want to play with trains or *model* a railway? Do you have an era in mind?  When you mentioned container wagons it seems you want to model the 70s to now period?  The layout drawn up doesn't make any sense.  How do you get to point A to point B without backing your train into one of the sidings.

Cheers
Shelton
  ARodH Chief Train Controller

Location: East Oakleigh, Vic
Um...I'd say more late 60's to now as I've got blue & gold VR locos with an aim to have mostly bogie exchange rollingstock, the de rigueur Lima candy 44cl and carriages to match and a smattering of green Australian National gear. A personal challenge to see what I can get on a 4' x 6' board with what I have to allow me a station, a yard, some onboard storage and of cause some constant running. To that as I mentioned earlier that I'm thinking that it may be necessary to add a 2 foot extension making a 4'x8' as I believe the sidings won't take the longest train I'd contemplate running. It's all still a work in progress.


  David Peters Dr Beeching

Location: "With Hey Boy".
You can of course get more of a run on a 6X4 board by going up and over at some point! This will give you a longer run and still have a single track though. You can buy the ramps etc you need to do this from most good hobby shops!

http://woodlandscenics.woodlandscenics.com/show/category/SubTerrainSystem/page/1
  ARodH Chief Train Controller

Location: East Oakleigh, Vic
I've not contemplated the Z-axis much due to where the board was kept while in storage limited the overall hight of things left attached to it. I have rediscovered that I still posess the majority of Faller's 120470 or 120471 Up and over bridge set, so that plus some subterrain sections is another element to contemplate using. Even if its just the straight sections and some piers.
  FirstStopCentral Chief Train Controller

You can of course get more of a run on a 6X4 board by going up and over at some point! This will give you a longer run and still have a single track though. You can buy the ramps etc you need to do this from most good hobby shops!

http://woodlandscenics.woodlandscenics.com/show/category/SubTerrainSystem/page/1
David Peters


Imagine the grades you would need on a 6 x 4 to go up and over and clear another track!

I don't believe that's feasible on such a small board.

Paul
  ARodH Chief Train Controller

Location: East Oakleigh, Vic
I vaguely remember having that issue with an early version of my first layout. I got the track up and over with no issue. It was the coming back down which I could never work out.
  Dieselfan Locomotive Fireman

There is a nice little series on building an up and over twice around on an 8x4 in Model Railways in Australia. Started issue 23, as I recall. In there they want you to cut your bench which is all a bit permanent for me. I see no reason why the foam won't do the trick - 'though I haven't yet tried it myself.

But yeah, 6x4 seems a bit tight. So if you've room for another 2 foot or so...

John
  David Peters Dr Beeching

Location: "With Hey Boy".
You can have curves on the grade as long as you are careful so the grade can be a bit longer than would normally be the case, it only has to cross once though and it only has to go up just enough to allow clearance under the bridge over about 3 inches or 76mm approx! But yes a bigger board say 8X4 would be much better though!
  Streamliner Junior Train Controller

Location: NSW South Coast
You could always try using a couple of diamond crossings, similar to Peco sl-8364, that would give you a continuous double loop without the need to change points or go up and over.

Have you considered cutting your 6x4 into smaller modules? either made into a loop or a point to point/ station to station U shape along the walls? that may give you a longer run and reduce the amount of real estate in the centre of the board to fill.

I had an 8x4 board with a similar double loop and sidings and I found it hard to make it look right. But as always it depends on the room you have to set up a layout! Be careful because it can soon get out of hand, My 'I'll just build a couple of modules in the corner, quickly turned into 10 modules taking up 5x2.5m and pretty much the whole lounge!
  ARodH Chief Train Controller

Location: East Oakleigh, Vic
I thought about trying to bid on those modules that were on ebay and pointed out to Dragonette but I couldn't see them in the usable spaces I have, which mostly disallow wall hugging nor a track layout for them. I think if I wanted to do large layout mounted on walls, I'd have to dig a basement or similar.

So currently I've found space for either a 4'x6' or 4'x8', I'm thinking of either using the one below or a double track variation of a previous 4'x6' with two feet added.


Although, now I'm starting to think of the possibility to do something similar to AMRA's Maryborough layout, say Seymour in eight feet? I suspect the total length with reversing loops at each end would be pushing twelve foot or more depending on just how much of it I'd care to model.
  Sally Ann Estreich Beginner

I have issue 25.i have missed out on issue 23 and 24.In those 2issues I would like maybe copies of building an up and over twice around 8x4 layout please could you help thank you
  ARodH Chief Train Controller

Location: East Oakleigh, Vic
According to https://www.facebook.com/modelrailwaysinaustralia digital back issues are apparently available via http://www.modelrailwaysinaustralia.com.au/ , physical copies of back issues should be still be available at those hobby stores that get it in.

I'm tempted to send Mr R. Searles, a message over his measurements of 4'x 8' being out by 2 & 4 centimeters, but then if all the sheeting you can find at Masters is that size, he must've missed the correct size marine ply. 'Cause, he'll probably fire back over my tendency to measure 100 mm with a #11 boot.
  ARodH Chief Train Controller

Location: East Oakleigh, Vic
Ayep, I've been playing with SCARM and I believe I have fixed the basic form of the double loop I'm planning on using, down. I'm just now messing with the formation of the inner yard and am probably going overboard designing them and should simplify it.



And to think, all of what I'm contemplating doing originates from the Peco Setrack starter set with some additions. Yet, I've been trying to limit my usage of Setrack points, due to the previously mentioned odd behavior of coupled >~50 foot carriages/wagons. The advice I've been given -and seen elsewhere- to mitigate the problem is: add a styrene strip shim to the check/guard rail.

Probably with more experience, time & a better determination of the space constraints, I'd make a add-on module for the complex yard. Or chainsaw it all and do a countrified Oakleigh/Westall hybrid with reversing loop ends.

--Rod
  David Peters Dr Beeching

Location: "With Hey Boy".
The late John Page here in Adelaide made a small 6X4 layout years back and exhibited it. A lot of people did not like it but John designed it into two sections that could be taken apart and sections added between then which he did later on, it was still possible though to exhibit the original layout if space was cramped. This might the way to go you can always add to the layout later if you get your dream room or garage or what ever. At home run the small layout but take it to an exhibition and you can run the lot if need be. This was not a modular layout though in the true sense, you could not change the sections around like a modular layout will let you. But it worked and up until a few years back his family was still exhibiting it!

The only problem is storing the extra sections when not in use though, but a water proof trailer to carry the layout could be used for this storage!
  ARodH Chief Train Controller

Location: East Oakleigh, Vic
I've been contemplating connecting my old 4x6 board to the new 4x8 but I don't have an available 4 x 14 foot space to try it out.

Yet more experimenting has produced this shunter's nightmare (when fully stocked) fiddle yard:

That's a SL-99, SL-90 SL-91, ST-202, ST-238 and three lengths of flex on a 0.6x1.2m board. I'm thinking that I should move most of the track left so I can increase the length of the sidings. And as I've been underestimating the length of the trains I'd like to run and therefore have started questioning the validity of my designs.
  ARodH Chief Train Controller

Location: East Oakleigh, Vic
Fixed the roof, built a board and placed all the Peco setrack I have in a loop with some sidings and ran a train




http://youtu.be/VsYCxI8RgPY (embed n/a)



After deciding that was good, added in a element of my playing in anyrail/scarm and started running some of my other stuff and thunk... the setrack point issue. Doh!



http://youtu.be/es88B4ZLZnQ (embed n/a again...)

I also tested my PL carriages over the same section with the results looking like the remnants of a kitten attack. Replacing the ST241s with SLE91s, a ST202 and some flextrack offcuts got the circle work to continue.

I suspect that I need to start thinking on power and control soonish, as the DC transformer I'm using is at least 20 years old and had a little issue getting that Lima 44 class to move, let alone run it and a Auscision B on the same track. Ring Engineering's Railpro or a z21 system looks more appealing to me, than some of the DCC systems I've seen.
  Lloyd1952 Locomotive Fireman

Location: Sydney, Australia
Here are a few suggestions for you to consider.

'S' Curves are a source of potential operating problems and long locomotives and carriages do not look good snaking through them. The two sets of crossovers you have could be changed from using two left hand points for one and two right hand points for the other to using a left and a right together and flowing it into the curve at the end of the straight. So for the bottom right hand crossover you would have a right hand point on the inner track mating with a left hand point on the outer. That way you avoid the 'S' curve in the cross over section. At the bottom left, you put a left hand point on the inner track and a right hand point on the outer. The other benefit is the passing loop that is formed on the inner track is now longer.

You are trying to put a lot of sidings into the inside of the layout and that dead end loco release looks quite short and clearance at the end of it and the other sidings with the inner loop might be tight.  Consider less in there. Points are expensive and you want the most value from them with siding length. What about a track running off the outer line to a (detachable if need be) siding or two which could act as a fiddle yard. If you face it in the opposite direction of your inner loop sidings, you could run out from the fiddle yard, around the layout as many laps as you like and then terminate in the inner yard etc.

I like Iain Rice's track planning ideas as he combines the best of British space limitations with American imaginative thinking. He gives each track plan a purpose and a story that helps increase transform the layout from a train set to a model railroad. He has been published in Model Railroader and has several books you could buy or borrow eg

http://www.amazon.com/Small-Smart-Practical-Track-Railroader/dp/0890244162

For DCC, I use NCE but if you are going down that route, see what your friends have and try theirs. I think NCE is an OK choice as it is reasonable value, easy to use with lots of features and good support.

Anyhow, hope these ideas might help,

Lloyd
  ARodH Chief Train Controller

Location: East Oakleigh, Vic
Thanks Lloyd, it took me a moment to understand your suggestion. So on the outer loop I connect the SL(E)-91 & 92's straight section directly to the R3 curve(plus a length of straight to join them) and the diverge to the straight of the opposite handed point and its diverge forms a part of the inner loop's R2 curve. Or should I use a curved point there like a SL-86 instead?

I believe the ST-241s produced more of an S curve than the SL-91s spaced with a ST-202 as I had no issue running 6 PL cars with C van behind my B class, all of them running kadee #148s (though I think there could be a short shank kadee or two somewhere in there. Probably in the B class. Sorry, Ausciscion, I didn't think the factory Bachman ezmate coupler would cut it.), when I could barely get any through there with the setrack points in place.

Most of those sidings in the middle seen in my doodlings are no longer likely to built anything like described, due to building an off-board fiddle yard module (my foam board experiment), which I was going to add a link to by replacing the ST-238 at a three-way with an SL-91, a catchpoint and running a length of flex off the table. Currently that area's a blank sheet after the catchpoint attached to the double slip leg that goes that way. I don't believe running out of points is going to be an issue as I've acquired a stack of 2nd hand SLE91,92 it's more a matter of using what I have at hand appropriately. The way it's been going, I'm starting to think that I should've bought a box of flextrack as I don't think I've bought enough.

As to DCC, if I take my trains to a club layout for a run during a DCC slot, I'd rather have something that'll run with minimal fuss. Hence my attraction to something like Railpro, though for just home usage I can see the appeal of z21. Which I understand is duplicatable to a degree with the other systems but not right out of the box.
  NSWGR1855 Deputy Commissioner

Fixed the roof, built a board and placed all the Peco setrack I have in a loop with some sidings and ran a train




http://youtu.be/VsYCxI8RgPY (embed n/a)



After deciding that was good, added in a element of my playing in anyrail/scarm and started running some of my other stuff and thunk... the setrack point issue. Doh!



http://youtu.be/es88B4ZLZnQ (embed n/a again...)

I also tested my PL carriages over the same section with the results looking like the remnants of a kitten attack. Replacing the ST241s with SLE91s, a ST202 and some flextrack offcuts got the circle work to continue.

I suspect that I need to start thinking on power and control soonish, as the DC transformer I'm using is at least 20 years old and had a little issue getting that Lima 44 class to move, let alone run it and a Auscision B on the same track. Ring Engineering's Railpro or a z21 system looks more appealing to me, than some of the DCC systems I've seen.
ARodH


Firstly I see you have your 6'x4' train set inside a larger space. You have severely limited what you can do by sticking with 6' x 4'. I would suggest you have the space for a much larger layout. The most efficient layout design for maximum run is to build your model railway around the walls of your room. The layout board width does not need to be very wide. I also would suggest you use a larger minimum radius so you can run long carriages. Peco medium radius turnouts are the smallest turnout radius I would suggest. See the AMRA minimum radius standard at http://www.amra.asn.au/standards.htm

Terry Flynn.
  ARodH Chief Train Controller

Location: East Oakleigh, Vic
What's currently laid is temporary and I've used all the track that comes in the peco starter pack to do it, with the addition of some radius 3 setrack. If I wanted to resurrect my old 4x6 layout, I've a stack of radius 1 steel track I could be using, but I wouldn't be able to use any decent recent era Australian equipment and would be forced to go purely UK or European.
I'm going by the minimums of what the manufacter recommends: 18" & 22" which roughly translates to setrack radius 2 & 3.
I can't do wall running mainly because i had enough trouble trying to do what I've done so far, nor do I have the wood working skills, equipment or the time. Yes, I've managed to build boards usable for island running in 4x6 & 4x8, but if any carpenter examined my work *shudder*

I am quite happy to use small radius peco streamline points as the meet my current requirements and except to have no issues with the few medium radius elements that I do have aside from the known warped double slip as I seem to have resolved that particular issue.

As to running a larger radius curve, I swear I've seen some exhibition layouts in a smaller footprint than mine, using a similar radius to what I am, with the same rolling stock that I have.
  Lloyd1952 Locomotive Fireman

Location: Sydney, Australia
To answer your question about curved points. Yes you could do that for the crossovers but I would stay with standard ones. We never have enough space but Terry is correct. 6' x 4' and 18'' radius is very limiting for an HO layout using current Australian models but if that is all you can have, read authors like Iain Rice, to make the most of the space. Or have a look at this for extreme ideas if you have no space.
http://www.carendt.com/links/

If your limitation is woodworking skills, buy some internal doors and put some bracing under them to stop warping or look at some of those workshop bench modules at Bunnings etc.

DO NOT use any old steel track you have. Put that straight in the bin and I would stay clear of those double slips that have warped. They can be tricky at the best of times.

You are getting advice here. Go to exhibitions, hobby shops or clubs if you have one and do some Google searches on designing and building model railways.

In the end, it is your model railway but you can learn from all of our mistakes without having to suffer the pain yourself.

Lloyd
  NSWGR1855 Deputy Commissioner

What's currently laid is temporary and I've used all the track that comes in the peco starter pack to do it, with the addition of some radius 3 setrack. If I wanted to resurrect my old 4x6 layout, I've a stack of radius 1 steel track I could be using, but I wouldn't be able to use any decent recent era Australian equipment and would be forced to go purely UK or European.
I'm going by the minimums of what the manufacter recommends: 18" & 22" which roughly translates to setrack radius 2 & 3.
I can't do wall running mainly because i had enough trouble trying to do what I've done so far, nor do I have the wood working skills, equipment or the time. Yes, I've managed to build boards usable for island running in 4x6 & 4x8, but if any carpenter examined my work *shudder*

I am quite happy to use small radius peco streamline points as the meet my current requirements and except to have no issues with the few medium radius elements that I do have aside from the known warped double slip as I seem to have resolved that particular issue.

As to running a larger radius curve, I swear I've seen some exhibition layouts in a smaller footprint than mine, using a similar radius to what I am, with the same rolling stock that I have.
ARodH


In many respects building an around the wall layout is just as easy. Consider using brackets mounted on the wall to support a shelf method of construction. Rough wood work can be covered up by scenery. Only the duck under is a pain if you make a big oval.
Peco set track turnouts are only 18' radius, therefore many of today's RTR Australian models will derail on them. Also when you build a yard with turnouts you often end up with a reverse curve. It is often necessary to increase the reverse curve radius by 20% from a manufacturers minimum radius, as manufacturers offten do not account for this. Thus a model designed for 22' minimum radius minimum reverse curve radius becomes 26.4" radius. That is why I suggested Peco medium (36") radius turnouts as a minimum. Peco small radius is only 24" radius). Also remember the manufactures minimum radius is a limit, and if you have the slightest kink in your joint, derailments are likely. On the other hand a slight kink in a larger radius will not be as critical. Put another way it takes greater skill to lay derailment free small radius curves. Why are we talking in inches, Australia went metric last century.

Approximate conversion are

18"= 457mm
22"= 559mm
24"= 610mm
26.4"= 670mm
36"= 914mm

Cheers,

Terry Flynn.
  ARodH Chief Train Controller

Location: East Oakleigh, Vic
Sorry, been having a bad week that ended with doctors and nurses being astounded that the emergency services left me alone at the roadside, requiring me to make my own way to the Emergency department via a GP.

I work in both measurement standards, as my overseer only understands the old standard and most of the things I work on still use both.

Wall mounting in the garage is unfeasible, mainly due to suspicions on the state of the galvanised iron/steel walls and the inaccessibility of said exterior walls to apply re-enforcement. Some of those benches look to be perfect if we need to replace what's currently supporting the 4'x8' or to support some of foamboard modules I've built or contemplating.

Lloyd, does the following picture come close to displaying your suggestion?


I suspect using the Peco setrack ST-240/241 points are a way to make it work for a R2-R3 crossover, while the small radius Peco streamline points could do R3-R4. Unless there's other pre-assembled points that fit better? I haven't looked at diy points like Fast tracks, as I'm still working on getting flextrack to behave.


And while I'm using Peco Streamline, I'm prefering to use the Setrack spacing as it lets me handle rollingstock in close yardage.
  Lloyd1952 Locomotive Fireman

Location: Sydney, Australia
Yes, that's the concept with the points but you don't necessarily need the short straight between them. Your rollingstock will flow through this arrangement better than the usual set up. You can also experiment with starting a yard ladder on a curve by running a series of right hand points off the right hand road of each point (or left hand point off left hand road).
And yes, apologies for using old speak measurements. My excuse is the railway I model is pre metric NSW late 1950's but I know an 8' x 4' is a 2400 x 1200 and a near miss is as good as a mile.
As your space is tight, if buying new locos, you can avoid big locos like NR's and super long modern rollingstock. Make NSW 44's or VR B Class your biggest. Triang Hornby Princess and Brittania type locos can fly around 18'', sorry, 450mm curves but a Eureka 38 or R won't be as happy. Smaller locos like a NSW 48 or 73 or VR Y or F will look more convincing hauling 4 wheelers than double headed NR's hauling an 8 car Indian Pacific.

Lloyd

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