My ONE and ONLY project ...

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wombat457

Well-Known Member
Staff member
#1
I have to be honest, I am a little hesitant to post anything about this project as some of my previous ventures have not come to fruition for various reasons. This however; is something I have been working on for a couple of weeks and is the 5th or 6th design.

For those who know me, you will know that I am not interested in operations or reality or even the rationale or logic of what I end up with. My inspiration is to have as much runnable track as possible, for the space available, without making it look cluttered or overly laden with track. You will also know that my main focus is the scenery of the layout and allow it to bring the layout to life - to distract from the (sometimes) obvious real world flaws that may exist in my plans.

As such, this is what I have in mind for the replacement of my HO layout:







The plan calls for about 160' of N Scale Code 80 track work incorporating 50 or so lengths of flex along with 18 turnouts.

The plan will allow me to run 4 trains freely, without the need for control over any of them due to the 4 separate lines. The 4 lines represent a double passenger line and a double freight line, and so begins the fictionality (yeah I know - not a real word) of the layout. Both lines are accessible from each other - passenger to freight and visa versa. At the same time, the small "yard/siding" will provide me with enough "excitement" should I feel the need to be actively engaged in the layout and does allow for expansion should it be needed some where down the track.

The plan is drawn with the scenery in mind and what can go where and how. I have not defined any specific area for any specific thing, leaving me the prerogative of putting a town etc where I think it will best fit once the track work is in place. In the past I have tried to create something around the scenery, towns, industry and so forth and that has done nothing more than create confusion and frustration for me. Track planning is not my strong point, so when I get something I like, I leave it and make the scenery side fit the plan.

I am sure some of you, or perhaps many of you, will see flaws and problems etc in the plan and I am, as always, open to being advised of those issues and having those problem areas pointed out. As always, I look forward to your thoughts...
 

ianacole

Active Member
#2
I like it... looks fun! One thought: how would it look with the reverse loop in the upper left flipped around - upper left to middle right?
 
#3
I have to be honest, I am a little hesitant to post anything about this project as some of my previous ventures have not come to fruition for various reasons.
Ha! I would guess I have 100s of layout projects and plans that have not come to fruition. I would say several of yours made it further than many of mine. This has some similarities to the shed layout.

You found a whole new "wing" on the right hand side.

I am sure some of you, or perhaps many of you, will see flaws and problems etc in the plan and I am, as always, open to being advised of those issues and having those problem areas pointed out. As always, I look forward to your thoughts...
What did you have in mind for the "S" curve from the siding on the top to the yard? I don't know if you realize that it adds a reversing loop electrical issue to the layout. It also limits the use of that upper yard track, as that yard track must be kept clear to get to that "S".

If it were mine, I would use the natural curve of the track coming into the crossover area for the curved part of the turnout to eliminate the "S" curve(s) on the outer line (red), and maybe relocate the freight to passenger crossovers as well (pink). The latter of course (on one side or the other) would dictate a crossing over train have to make at least one loop on the median track before reaching the 3rd track over.
alternate yar.png
 
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wombat457

Well-Known Member
Staff member
#4
I like it... looks fun! One thought: how would it look with the reverse loop in the upper left flipped around - upper left to middle right?
Thanks Ian, but one question - I have a "reverse loop" in there some where? If I do, it will have to go. There is no way I am going to try to deal with the wiring for that, but I really don't see where you mean. If I understand what a reverse loop is, I don't think there is one; however, my understanding of a reverse loop could be completely "A Up".

Ha! I would guess I have 100s of layout projects and plans that have not come to fruition. I would say several of yours made it further than many of mine. This has some similarities to the shed layout.
Thanks mate, and now you mention it, it does bear some similarities. I think sub consciously I probably took the things I really did like about all of my other "plans" and put them all into one. Perhaps in 5 years I'll find something better and, who knows, add that "improvement" into this plan.

You found a whole new "wing" on the right hand side.
Yeah, a little more room. I have a 5' desk and a printer stand on the opposite wall to that of the current bench work. Both those things are going so I will gain about 45" of wall space, where the "extension will go". That will give me a further 5.5' in length and up to 40" of depth in that corner, although it won't be as wide as 40" I don't think.

What did you have in mind for the "S" curve from the siding on the top to the yard? I don't know if you realize that it adds a reversing loop electrical issue to the layout. It also limits the use of that upper yard track, as that yard track must be kept clear to get to that "S".
See my reply to Ian - I didn't think that was a reverse loop. Now you guys have pointed it out, that track from the siding/yard to the top of the layout is gone. I have enough problems with wiring without adding to the confusion for myself.

Is there an alternative?

If it were mine, I would use the natural curve of the track coming into the crossover area for the curved part of the turnout to eliminate the "S" curve(s) on the outer line (red), and maybe relocate the freight to passenger crossovers as well (pink). The latter of course (on one side or the other) would dictate a crossing over train have to make at least one loop on the median track before reaching the 3rd track over.
View attachment 63019
I like the idea of using curved turnouts to eliminate the "S" curve/s as well as using the "natural curve to get from the freight line to the passenger line as shown in "pink".

I knew that a train would need to do an almost full loop of the layout to get to the next track over, that was something I can't seem to get around the way the plan sits. Mind you, I don't really mind if that ends up being the case though. It is either that or clutter that smallish straight section at the top with another 4 turnouts, and I really don't think that would work.

I looked at the turnouts a fair bit and ended up wishing I didn't have as much Code 80- track and turnouts as I do or I would be building this with Code 55 and have the luxury of double cross overs. So far, I haven't found any Code 80 double cross overs other than Tomix, which doesn't come close to being compatible with Peco code 80.

Anyway, thanks for the comments guy and ESPECIALLY for pointing out the darn reverse loop thing I inadvertently included - that, in itself, is a life saer for me.
 

montanan

Whiskey Merchant
#5
This looks like you have been tweaking the plan that you had before you took time off from the hobby. I don't see any problem not being interested in operations. It's your layout and your rules Tony.

My home layout was built mainly for operations. I really enjoy switching a lot. Since you took time off, I found a model railroad club just over the pass from me in the old Northern Pacific Depot in Livingston, MT. It is quite a large layout that occupies three room in the basement. It's a 50 mile trip one way for me and I try to attend the Saturday operating sessions they have every week that is open to the public. They try to keep as many trains running as possible. This does allow me to just "Run Trains" long distances. It is a DCC layout and I did invest in a DCC locomotive to run on the layout although with Digitrax I cn also run some of mt DC equipment.

The sessions can be a real hoot when you have six to eight trains all running at the same time without a good communication system. Someone will holler across the room to throw a switch to put a train on a passing siding to avoid a head on wreck or to send a train off to another part of the layout.

This is something that I can't do at home and really enjoy it. It is a lot of fun to get some miles (scale) on the trains.

Looking forward to your progress.
 

Selector

Active Member
#6
That diagonal track by itself at the left, the one that crosses between the two mains for several feet...that looks like a potential for electrical problems as it constitutes a reversal. If you start at its southernmost turnout, go east around the loop, and then take the divergent route through its other end's turnout and rejoin the main...that closes a turnback loop.
 

ianacole

Active Member
#7
That diagonal track by itself at the left, the one that crosses between the two mains for several feet...that looks like a potential for electrical problems as it constitutes a reversal. If you start at its southernmost turnout, go east around the loop, and then take the divergent route through its other end's turnout and rejoin the main...that closes a turnback loop.
That's the loop I was referencing...
 

Selector

Active Member
#8
Yes, I see that, but I was addressing his apparent inability to see it. IOW, it escapes him, and he's asking if he has one, and if so, it will have to go.

"...Thanks Ian, but one question - I have a "reverse loop" in there some where? If I do...". We might, together, convince him that if it was important for some reason, even if just to turn trains so that flange wear evens out over time, it would be simple to manage. A PSX-AR from Digital Specialties is very simple to wire such that it powers that segment if he gaps it on both ends, just as an example, or if he has a DPDT lying about some place, he could very easily wire that to reverse that one gapped segment.
 

wombat457

Well-Known Member
Staff member
#9
What Crandell said ... If I now understand what is being said, if I were to loose the "yard/siding" and simply ran a section of track from the main line at the bottom (where the siding/yard starts) to where the "offending track" rejoins the main at the top, that will remove the "reverse loop problem"? Is that right?

Basically, all I am looking for is something to break the "space" in that area - if that makes sense.
 

wombat457

Well-Known Member
Staff member
#10
Chet,

Sorry mate, missed your post. It is a little like what I was working on in some ways. I didn't go back to look at that so I didn't get back into a rut so to speak - I wanted a "fresh start" with a new outlook. As it turns out, I seem to keep going back to the fundamental design anyway.

Even though I will be the only one running trains here, I like to get them going and leave them be to do their own thing. The fun part of this hobby is the "build" more so than sitting back and watching the trains for hours on end. I guess that is why I am constantly making changes in one way or another. This plan lets me run 4 trains at once, and let them go without supervision if I want, but also gives me the option to "play" as well if I want, albeit only changing a train from track to another. I have to admit though, it might be nice to have some one else running say the passenger train while I ran the freight then work out things as we went our own way on the layout. Might make for some interest, or a lot of damage :)

Anyway, that is a far way down the track but does give me something to aim at.

I guess my thought/planning process is a step by step thing. Make sure I get the bench work cut and properly in place (open grid/cookie cutter) focusing on the grades and transitions, get the road bed (cork) and track laid as perfectly as possible with minimal soldered joins other than turnouts and curves, ensure I get the wiring for the track connected and sufficient (+) for the entire layout for DCC, then look at the scenery. The longest part of this build will be on the "bench work" as that is the part that will determine the end result. Needless to say, minor changes will most likely happen during the build.

Anyway, that's more or less an over view of what I am thinking at the moment, but you know me, that can change :)
 
#11
Yes, I see that, but I was addressing his apparent inability to see it. IOW, it escapes him, and he's asking if he has one, and if so, it will have to go.

"...Thanks Ian, but one question - I have a "reverse loop" in there some where? If I do...". We might, together, convince him that if it was important for some reason, even if just to turn trains so that flange wear evens out over time, it would be simple to manage. A PSX-AR from Digital Specialties is very simple to wire such that it powers that segment if he gaps it on both ends, just as an example, or if he has a DPDT lying about some place, he could very easily wire that to reverse that one gapped segment.
My apologies, I wasn't clear in that I was responding to Tony's question to me using your much clearer language than mine :)

Agreed on trying to convince... it's a great way to turn trains around and let them run the other way for a bit ... double the fun ;) I see you mention using DCC. A reverse loop in DCC is very easy to configure. As Crandell mentioned, you really only need 3 pieces of gear to make it automatic. The PSX-AR and two sets of isolating rail joiners (one each for either end of the reverse loop section. The biggest concern is making sure the section between the isolating joiners is long enough, which it looks like you've got plenty of room for.
 
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Selector

Active Member
#12
Ian makes an excellent point; the length of train matters as much as the length of the reversed track matters. The Digital Specialties folks say that you can actually have a metal-tired consist longer than the gapped and controlled segment, but if you want to run ops that way through the reversed track, you must double-gap at each end. I won't go into details because their site has the instructions for the PSX-AR...if you are interested. It may pile onto you and seem like it's all a bit much and over-involved. But, with the instructions on the floor and you wiring the PSX above your head, it goes reasonably easily, quickly, and it will work like a hot damn...every time.

I can even offer you a tip to keep the PSX cool since it's an electronic device always being fed power...if you would like more info. Think about how important this reversible length really is, and if you'd rather have it incorporated eventually, I'll fill you in.
 

wombat457

Well-Known Member
Staff member
#13
Thanks guys and to tell you the truth, the idea of being able to "reverse the direction of the train" is great and something I would like to be able to do. The ONLY problem for me is the wiring side of things - I seem to have a knack of messing up anything but straight forward wiring :(

I will take your words for it that the wiring isn't that hard and the instructions that come with the PSX-AR are pretty clear. If I do go that route, expect a lot of idiotic questions from me though.

Thanks guys again and yep, I would like to keep things the way they are. Perhaps to start with, I could lay all of the track but NOT join that reverse section at the top. If I did that, I shouldn't have an issue with the power right, not till I physically form the reverse loop? If I am correct in my thinking, that will be the way I will go.
 

wombat457

Well-Known Member
Staff member
#14
Just looked at that PSX-AR gadget and it does seem simple enough, even for an electronic klutz like me BUT, is it really this easy to install?



Gaps on both rails at either end of the "loop/reverse section"
Pos/Neg to the main wiring from the DCC
pos/neg to the reverse loop section of track

That's it? Nothing more to do? One thing I should add here is all of my turn outs will be MANUALLY operated, NO Tortoise Machines etc to mess with. Will that make a difference, as everything I saw seemed to include a Tortoise Machine?

If it is that easy then all I would need to do is put in gaps/insulated joiners as shown right:



The insulated joiners/gaps would be on the turnouts themselves I assume.
 
#15
That's all there is to it ... it really is that simple. My suggestion is still that that section runs upper left to lower right, rather than upper right to lower left as you have it now. You won't be running into the stub end of that track, allowing you to run full trains down and out, and can actually extend the length of that reverse if you feel the need.
 
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wombat457

Well-Known Member
Staff member
#16
Okay, I noticed one major flaw with the above plan - the reverse loop track is ineffective as it is. A train cannot get on that track from the south and has to terminate at the southern end if entering the "loop" from the north. The engine has to disconnect, do a lap of the layout to rejoin the rolling stock at the other end. As such, the reverse loop as it is is completely pointless.

Therefore, will this work better:

 
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wombat457

Well-Known Member
Staff member
#17
That's all there is to it ... it really is that simple. My suggestion is still that that section runs upper left to lower right, rather than upper right to lower left as you have it now. You won't be running into the stub end of that track, allowing you to run full trains down and out, and can actually extend the length of that reverse if you feel the need.
:) I caught that myself, believe it or not, see above. Thanks for the confirmation mate re the PSX-AR wiring, that boosts my confidence no end.

Who say's you can't teach an "Old Dog" new tricks :)
 
#18
Hello Tony.......yes installing the PSX-AR reverse is that easy. I am by no means an electric/electronic guru. I am building my first layout and I have a PSX-AR installed on one leg of a Wye track. I just took my time and followed the directions.
The only thing I had to redo, is the rail gap at the insulated joiners at each end of the loop, I had to make them bigger so the train wheels would not touch both at the same time. I used black styrene pieces to fill the gaps........
 

wombat457

Well-Known Member
Staff member
#19
...
The only thing I had to redo, is the rail gap at the insulated joiners at each end of the loop, I had to make them bigger so the train wheels would not touch both at the same time. I used black styrene pieces to fill the gaps........
Jerry,

Thanks for the tip, I'll keep that in mind for when the time comes. How large a gap did you end up with, keeping in mind I am working in N Scale? In the past, when I put in "expansion gaps" I use a business card to gauge my gap width. Would that be enough do you think?
 
#20
Hello Tony.......yes installing the PSX-AR reverse is that easy. I am by no means an electric/electronic guru. I am building my first layout and I have a PSX-AR installed on one leg of a Wye track. I just took my time and followed the directions.
The only thing I had to redo, is the rail gap at the insulated joiners at each end of the loop, I had to make them bigger so the train wheels would not touch both at the same time. I used black styrene pieces to fill the gaps........

The only thing I had to redo, is the rail gap at the insulated joiners at each end of the loop, I had to make them bigger so the train wheels would not touch both at the same time. I used black styrene pieces to fill the gaps........[/QUOTE]

You shouldn't have to insulate the gaps that much. I am guessing you have a short reversing section and a normal length train covers over both ends.

Modeling the roaring 20's
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