Help Me Plan My Layout

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#1
Hi All,

I am new to the hobby. I bought a second hand layout last December, the Atlas plan of the Great Eastern Trunk Railway. I got hooked and decided to build a real Rail Road in the basement. It is currently unfinished but not for long. The drywall and other materials were purchased today, and work began this afternoon. A number of members on this forum helped me plan a benchwork plan to fit the basement. Now I am asking for some input on track placement and other features that would work in the space provided.

Can you give me some input on general track and feature placement options or concepts that would work on the layout below? All ideas welcome!!!

Givens: Room size 23' long by 12 feet wide, basement space, HO scale, Room is empty save for book shelves on south wall.


Druthers:
Pacific Northwest theme Great Northern Railway, Steam, Diesel, Freight, Passenger
Not picky about the era
I would like to run a continuous main line from one peninsula and back
Possibly a mountain on the left peninsula with an over and under bridge crossing
A switching yard along the wall at the top of the layout
A loco turn table and round house somewhere
Minimum 30" radius on main line

In general where should I place the main line track?
Can you recommend yard configuration that would work along the wall at the top of the layout?
Where should I put the loco turn table and round house?
What track or other features would be cool on this layout?
Clarification: The object on the peninsula on the right is a scenic divider which may or may not be used in the layout.

Thanks much,

Greg

Benchwork 3.jpg
 

tootnkumin

Well-Known Member
Staff member
#2
I've taken the liberty of copying and printing off an enlarged view of "the plan" as it stands and will use it to make some suggestions at first about the main line. A disclaimer here. "Anything I may say or suggest may not be used against me and may only be taken as suggestions, are not written in stone and can be changed or rejected by the recipient, Final choices/decisions are the sole right of the threads O.P.". Seeing you have shown an interest in the great north west, you must visit Chet's (Montanan) layout. Sure to inspire you. http://www.modelrailroadforums.com/...r-of-the-Logan-Valley&highlight=Logan+Central
 
#4
I've taken the liberty of copying and printing off an enlarged view of "the plan" as it stands and will use it to make some suggestions at first about the main line. A disclaimer here. "Anything I may say or suggest may not be used against me and may only be taken as suggestions, are not written in stone and can be changed or rejected by the recipient, Final choices/decisions are the sole right of the threads O.P.". Seeing you have shown an interest in the great north west, you must visit Chet's (Montanan) layout. Sure to inspire you. http://www.modelrailroadforums.com/...r-of-the-Logan-Valley&highlight=Logan+Central
I have seen that video of the layout. It is awesome. Can't wait to see your ideas. Don't worry, nothing will be held against you. I am truly grateful for the help.

I second the suggestion to view Chet's layout. With the space you have available, the possibilities are endless.
That is kind of my problem, I need help narrowing down the possibilities. :)
 

cajon

Active Member
#5
There's already a gazillion MR plans that have been posted thru the internet including this, other MR forums & Google. Doing a search using your listed druthers, should giver you plenty of plans to look thru.
 

DairyStateDad

Mumbling in the corner
#6
Instead of a peninsula to peninsula configuration, would all around the walls work, or a variation on that? There are some great ideas for those kinds of layouts, ranging from as small as about 9 x 11 feet to as big as or bigger than the room you are working in. And it's easier to get wider curves in an around-the-walls configuration while still having plenty of room to move around in side the layout space. Even with that you could still include a peninsula somewhere if you want the distinctive "going around the mountain" sort of look that can give you....My understanding is that the excellent layout that Montanan (Chet) has is more of an around-the walls configuration.
 
#7
After 13 years of living in our house I am finally getting around to finishing the basement. I bought a second hand train set over Christmas it is on an 4x8 sheet of plywood. Anyway I got hooked on model trains and decided to build a real train layout down stairs. Then the wife says why don't you finish the basement first? See how some projects just keep getting bigger as you go along? Then she says make sure you put sound insulation in the basement and in the basement bedroom too. I don't want to hear your trains up stairs. How do I let myself get roped into this stuff? I think it is because she is way smarter than me. She just waits for me to turn a corner then wham hits me with another one.

Anyway we picked up some drywall the other day and the wife and I carried it down to the basement. That was not easy. She earned a gold star for that no doubt about it. I put the insulation over the basement bed room yesterday. I hate working with fiberglass bat insulation, that stuff takes a week to work its way out of your skin. Today I finished the insulation and started hanging the sheet rock. I have a long way to go, but it is coming along. The pay off for me will be when I start building the benchwork for the layout.

Drywall day1.jpg Drywall Day1b.jpg
 

DairyStateDad

Mumbling in the corner
#8
Good on you that you've got the skills to hang the drywall yourself. I'm marginally handy around the house, but that's way above my pay grade. We just had my layout room done and hired it out -- but it's a much smaller space than you've got, so it only cost an arm, not an arm and a leg....
 

santafewillie

Well-Known Member
#9
Wow! A wife that helped carry the drywall downstairs. She's a keeper!. An old trick that my father-in-law taught me about fiberglass insulation is to use some old stockings or pantyhose as a washrag to get it off. He was in the demolition business and dealt with it on a daily basis. If I remember correctly, it worked for me 40+ years ago. Actually your wife's suggestion to finish the basement first is a good one, as far as the train room is concerned. Nothing like trying to hang lights and drywall above benchwork, with or without track. An early suggestion for the roundhouse is to locate it on the left peninsula where you have access from both sides. How low are the bookshelves on the left, and how often would you need to access them? With a little slimming down of the left peninsula, you might be able to fit a narrow staging yard along the left wall and use the bookshelves for static storage and display of your fleet. That is if you are like me and "overbuy" rolling stock. LOL
Looking forward to your progress.

Willie
 
#10
You will be fired up when you build the bench work, I know I was and still am ( http://www.modelrailroadforums.com/...g-inspired-from-my-old-Central-Midland-Layout ) This is my progress from start to where I am now. Do yourself a favor, make sure your radius are big enough to handle the equipment you buy and plan to run. That was my old layout problem. I like the passenger sets and my layout barely could handle them, they looked funny running around a tight radius.

Once you start laying the track, as I am doing now, you will change your design a few times. As I lay the track down I keep coming up with more and more ideas. That's what makes this hobby enjoyable though.:D
 
#11
An early suggestion for the roundhouse is to locate it on the left peninsula where you have access from both sides. How low are the bookshelves on the left, and how often would you need to access them? With a little slimming down of the left peninsula, you might be able to fit a narrow staging yard along the left wall and use the bookshelves for static storage and display of your fleet. That is if you are like me and "overbuy" rolling stock. LOL
Looking forward to your progress.

Willie
Thanks Willie,
The book shelves are floor to about 5 feet high. So they would have to be removed if I wanted to use that as a staging area. But that is a great thought, I would need to find a place to relocate the shelves....... hmmm.

Good on you that you've got the skills to hang the drywall yourself. I'm marginally handy around the house, but that's way above my pay grade. We just had my layout room done and hired it out -- but it's a much smaller space than you've got, so it only cost an arm, not an arm and a leg....
Thanks,
The dry wall work will have to be done after work and on the weekends, so it might be pretty slow going. But I am motivated to go as fast as I can.

You will be fired up when you build the bench work, I know I was and still am ( http://www.modelrailroadforums.com/...g-inspired-from-my-old-Central-Midland-Layout ) This is my progress from start to where I am now. Do yourself a favor, make sure your radius are big enough to handle the equipment you buy and plan to run. That was my old layout problem. I like the passenger sets and my layout barely could handle them, they looked funny running around a tight radius.

Once you start laying the track, as I am doing now, you will change your design a few times. As I lay the track down I keep coming up with more and more ideas. That's what makes this hobby enjoyable though.:D
Hi Eric,
I have been watching your thread with great interest as we seem to be on somewhat parallel paths. You are a couple of months ahead of me and have a great deal more experience. I hope you don't mind if I steal er...copy some of your ideas and ask for some input from time to time. I want to make sure the radius on my main line is at least 30 inches..... That should be enough to run a big steam loco and some long passenger trains. Looking forward to watching your layout unfold.

Thanks for the input.
 
#12
Steal..copy all you want how do you think I got mine[emoji16]. I ll be glad to answer anything I can for you. Looking great!!!

Plus you'll catch up, I have to be gone for 1/2 of March so it will be idle

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 
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#13
Now I am asking for some input on track placement and other features that would work in the space provided.
Can you give me some input on general track and feature placement options or concepts that would work on the layout below?
This bench work plan pretty much dictates the placement of the main line unless you are wanting to bridge the isle between the two peninsulas. I assumed not. I also assumed you want continuous running loop.

I see a few options. 1. The most obvious is a folded dog bone. With that you can twist one side or the other for the bridge crossing(s). 2. Second most obvious would be a loop-to-loop type layout. That would be the least amount of track, but be more difficult to work in the bridge crossing. On other fronts that would be more challenging to run. 3. If there is a chance of stacking the reversing loops, one could get a really long main line run, have the twist for the bridge, maybe have a hidden staging area. 4. If one really wants a lot of main line trackage at the sacrifice of other items one could stack the loops on both peninsulas. That would put 4 main line tracks through the narrow area. Not so bad if one put two of those lines on a different level, but a much higher complexity.
Simple folded dog bone.
GNnotcrossing.jpg

The optional twists (BTW the solid circle is 30" just for visualization of scale).
GNcrossing.jpg

Loop to Loop
GNreverseloop.jpg

Stacked loop-to-loop
GNstackedreverseloop.jpg

A turntable and round house pose a similar limitation. Assuming the desire is not for an Atlas type 9" table, but something more like 75'-90', they will basically consume one or the other peninsula all to themselves.
 
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#14
This bench work plan pretty much dictates the placement of the main line unless you are wanting to bridge the isle between the two peninsulas. I assumed not. I also assumed you want continuous running loop.

I see a few options. 1. The most obvious is a folded dog bone. With that you can twist one side or the other for the bridge crossing(s). 2. Second most obvious would be a loop-to-loop type layout. That would be the least amount of track, but be more difficult to work in the bridge crossing. On other fronts that would be more challenging to run. 3. If there is a chance of stacking the reversing loops, one could get a really long main line run, have the twist for the bridge, maybe have a hidden staging area. 4. If one really wants a lot of main line trackage at the sacrifice of other items one could stack the loops on both peninsulas. That would put 4 main line tracks through the narrow area. Not so bad if one put two of those lines on a different level, but a much higher complexity.
Simple folded dog bone.
View attachment 55861

The optional twists (BTW the solid circle is 30" just for visualization of scale).
View attachment 55862

Loop to Loop
View attachment 55863

Stacked loop-to-loop
View attachment 55864

A turntable and round house pose a similar limitation. Assuming the desire is not for an Atlas type 9" table, but something more like 75'-90', they will basically consume one or the other peninsula all to themselves.
Those are exactly the kind of options I was looking for and your assumptions are spot on. :) I like the folded dog bone idea with twists best at first glance. Would a parallel double main line work with this configuration? Or one main line stacked on top of the other?

I know what an 9" Atlas round table looks like as I have one on my Great Eastern Trunk layout now. I will google the other to get an idea about what that looks like.

You have really given me some food for thought and great visuals to focus on.

Thanks much.

Greg
 
#16
I Iron Horseman and I came to much the same conclusions. This is my "take" on it

Tootnkumin, you and Iorn Horseman nailed it!! You guys are awesome!!! I love it. Over and under, wide corners, continuous loop, a yard at the top of the layout with an overpass, plenty of siding track between the peninsulas to move over and let other trains pass going the opposite direction, even a staging area I had not even thought about. I guess the book shelves will have to go!! I feel like Santa just showed up. I am very excited. :)
 
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tootnkumin

Well-Known Member
Staff member
#17
This (I hope) is a pic of the type of bridge I envisioned to overpass the yard. the inspiration for this comes from John Allen's Gorre & Daphetid Railroad where he used something similar over his

DS060901161443[1].jpg
 

tootnkumin

Well-Known Member
Staff member
#20
Once you've got your room all lined and finished, take some accurate measurements of length, width and any other peculiarities (how square or not it is/wider at one end or the other etc) so the plan can be changed where needed.

As drawn, much of the track is elevated. Starting at the yard's overbridge and travelling left to right, it maintains that height down along the long curved wall and over the next 2 bridges (these might be best combined into a long curved trestle, so the lower track behind that section is visible from within the layout, through the trestle). The track then passes through the tunnel in the scene divider (or mountain) and begins a down grade all the way around the "blob", and levels out at base grade just before it passes back under the bridge (or trestle). Continuing up towards the yard tracks and past it's turnouts, still on the main, it passes under the top end of the overbridge. Hidden under the O/bridge is a RH turnout. If you were to travel on the straight through track, you would actually be on the top (short) yard track, taking the RH diverging route instead, keeps you on the main. (There's an optical illusion where the yard tracks pass under the O/bridge than makes them appear to have kinks in them).

Continuing on down the left side and under the small bridge, you begin the upward climb around the left "blob", back to the O/bridge where we started. There may be enough space to the left and below the O/bridge for your T/table and roundhouse connecting to the bottom track of the yard. If not then they might need to be installed inside the bottom loop. There is room for other industries/sidings at several places around the layout, so plenty of potential.
 



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