N Gauge Layout plans book.

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Iron Horseman

Well-Known Member
#2
I do not have that plan "book". Watching the video does NOT make me want to purchase it. I was not impressed with any of the plans they flashed past, and I didn't see anything that was not similar to stuff available in books costing much less. The plans they "combined" into a single larger layout seemed umm, umm, not to flow into a real larger railroad. They seemed to mix European and USA trains indiscriminately without even mentioning it. They showed layout images that did not appear to be from any of the plans in the book. So, No, to me it does not look like it is worth $37.

I went to my library and just grabbed a stack of books (see photo below), that you can pick up at swap meets, used book stores, for a $1-$5, and we give them away at the museum. The HO King-Size Plan Book I got at a hobby shop for $1.45. The two Iain Rice books on the far left might be an exception. I would think you could get all of these for the same $37 or less, and they would be much more valuable to you in the long run. These are obviously not all track plan books but I'm just trying to make a point. I didn't show a copy of A Clear Track to N-Gauge Fun. A great starter book for N-scale layouts. Also for some reason John Armstrong's Track Planing for Realistic Operation book was not in this particular stack. Russ Larson and Bob Hayden are a couple other authors I don't see represented. Maybe I should have done more than just grabbing a stack.

The two books front an center Custom-Line Track Plans for HO Railroads and 101 Track Plans for Model Railroaders have been my two go-to books for trackplan ideas for 4 decades. It might say HO in the title but that doesn't mean the plans can't be created in N or O or any other scale. I give them much credit for my layout designing skills

The Custom-Line book specifically explains the concept of each plan and describes how to operate it. Once those things are learned the concepts can be applied to the 101 Plans book (and any other for that matter). The 1957 Practical Guide to Model Railroading was a book I inherited from my father in pre-school and both memorized it and wore it out from then until 7th grade. It contains a few really good plans I have always wanted to build, but one can only build so many layouts.
IMG_7214.JPG
 
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migalyto

Well-Known Member
#3
I don't know that you need to spend $37 on a track plan book (unless you feel its something you want). Just do a search on the web for track plans, and you will get 100s if not 1000s. Probably the best thing to do would be to get a few of the free track planning software, and start drawing something to fit your space. When you have something, post it up here, and the guys can help you tweak it.

Here are a few:

http://xtrkcad.org/Wikka/HomePage

https://www.anyrail.com/en

https://www.scarm.info/index.php

https://www.scarm.info/index.php
 

bob

Administrator
Staff member
#7
I've seen websites like that one before. Run away. They take stuff they found online for free, throw it together in a virtual "book", and charge way too much. I would be very leery of buying from them.
 

bob

Administrator
Staff member
#8
On a somewhat related note, the forum bookstore has a huge selection of trackplan books. These are real physical books, by reputable publishers and sold by Amazon. so you know who you're dealing with.

http://www.modelrailroadbookstore.com/shop/product-category/books/track-plans/

We currently have an N scale track plan book available for $5. (That one is used, we have other ones that are new as well, though I don't see any new N scale ones right at the moment. The inventory changes often though.)

http://www.modelrailroadbookstore.com/shop/product/n-scale-model-railroad-track-plans/
 

bob

Administrator
Staff member
#9
This book might be of better value. I found it very helpful. I had to read most of it twice to fully understand some of it, but in my opinion a must have.

https://kalmbachhobbystore.com/product/book/12148
That is a good book. You can find it for less here:
http://www.modelrailroadbookstore.c...r-model-railroad-model-railroader3rd-edition/

Disclaimer, I may be a bit biased, since that's the forum bookstore, but you'll save over $4 buying it from us, and help support the forum. (Not getting rich here, just trying to help pay for the cost of renting the server)
 

MHinLA

Active Member
#10
To me it's like this: Real railroads meander where they need / needed to, in order to service either industries or passengers. As these two client types began growing along, above and below main lines, spurs and/or branch lines (for distant coal mines, quarries, logging ops, and town people) began tapping into the main lines from, many times, many miles away.
The other thing is that the 1:1 scale does not run in a continual loop (unless it's say, a belt line RR ). They're basically a squiggly line with facility at either end, such as a wye, turntable, or sometimes a balloon-track (found at very large passenger terminals, like Grand Central Station in NYC.) to turn engines and certain cars back in the direction they came from, loaded or empty.
If you want to operate your RR in this fashion ( called 'point to point' ) you can come up with your own track schematic in any number of ways which simulates this. Of course this does not mean you can't have the main, branch, or spur tracks loop over one another to create longer scale miles and add drama to the layout...
There are many many more 'continual-running' layout plans than 'point to point' plans...If your wish is to just watch a train go hither and dither with little to no ops in between (maybe stopping at stations), then a looped scheme is for you. That's perfectly fine. But, if you are instead interested in operating more like the 1:1 scale, then your best bet is a squiggly (or not), 'point to point' design where you're purposely forced to run more prototypical..
Bench construction, wiring, ballasting, and scenery 'how to books' are something I do recommend if you can't find how-tos from members of the forum, or at a local mrr club... Trust your instincts...If it seems logical, go ahead and do it. If it turns out to be a poor move, just take it up and re-think it. It's your railroad, fun is the key...M
 
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bob

Administrator
Staff member
#11
"1:1 scale does not run in a continual loop (unless it's say, a belt line RR ). "

You are correct, but just for fun, here's a photo of one of the exceptions. I installed the third track at this facility. It's a potash loadout for shipment overseas to Australia.

Fun fact: If you wanted to model this to scale in N scale, you'd need roughly 12 x 18 feet of space for the oval.

portland.jpg
 

MHinLA

Active Member
#12
Yes, I know of another like this. If still there, there's one in El Segundo, Ca. just below LAX in Los Angeles. Don't know exactly what it's for except likely the oil industry or the nuclear power plant not far from there.
 

bob

Administrator
Staff member
#15
I know but I dont know about there being "tons" ,....only 2 really for my size of 26x60.
OK, so that's basically 2' x 5'. Here's a suggestion for you, there are lots of small trackplans for HO scale, have a look at some of those.

Anything that would fit on a 4' x 8' in HO would fit on a 2+' x 5' in N. Anything that would fit on a 4 x 10' in HO should fit as well. You'll have to do a bit of conversion, but for basic concepts that would be a great place to start. Then you can make it your own.

As an example, the first plan on this pdf is a cool little track plan by Ian rice, looks like it could work well for your space.

http://mrr.trains.com/-/media/Files/PDF/Marketing/Trackplans4x8.pdf
 

migalyto

Well-Known Member
#16
Are you using Unitrack? If so, just start laying it out and snap it together with a simple loop. Run a train on it, and reconfigure it. With Unitrack you don't have to even affix it to the table top. I'm using it now on my HO layout just to see where it takes me. Put some track down, and have fun with it. No need to obsess over a track plan at this point. Get your feet wet first.
 
#17
Are you using Unitrack? If so, just start laying it out and snap it together with a simple loop. Run a train on it, and reconfigure it. With Unitrack you don't have to even affix it to the table top. I'm using it now on my HO layout just to see where it takes me. Put some track down, and have fun with it. No need to obsess over a track plan at this point. Get your feet wet first.
Yeah I have a unitrack loop setup now on my 26x60 bench for the kids to get some time with..Im now leaning towards keepp that layout basic for the kids, especially from a detail, time resource & standpoint. In the meantime Ill start to make plans for a "daddy level" layout using something like a 36x80 hollow core door as my foundation for the maybe a kato Woodland Scenics ridge plan or the Richfield & Fond du Lac Railroad ...Time to spend planning is not a luxury I have right now with kids, 40+ hour a week job...etc.
 
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Iron Horseman

Well-Known Member
#18
Are you using Unitrack? If so, just start laying it out and snap it together with a simple loop. Run a train on it, and reconfigure it. With Unitrack you don't have to even affix it to the table top. I'm using it now on my HO layout just to see where it takes me. Put some track down, and have fun with it. No need to obsess over a track plan at this point. Get your feet wet first.
This is a wonderful suggestion for several reasons. First is things look different in real life than they do as squiggles on a piece of paper. One doesn't make elevation or clearance issues when using real track that can easily be made while drawing. Distance and spaces for structures is much more obvious. A structure might fit in the space but real structures have room around them for people, vehicles, and other services. Those sorts of things, plus the vertical factor are easier to visualize in a real space than on a drawing. The next thing is being able to actually operate a train over the layout. There are always some things one finds while a train is trying to maneuver real track. Siding is too short, placement of the curve doesn't allow coupling, placement of a curve causing unwanted uncoupling, parallel tracks too close so trains side swipe each other, siding for industry is actually unusable because it is a through fare for other industries, can't fit your hand between to somethings, etc.

For this reason I always keep a huge box of sectional track around and a blank plywood sheet that I can lay stuff out and experiment with. I also have generic boxes I can place about to represent potential structures.
 

bob

Administrator
Staff member
#19
I was trying to find this photo earlier, but can't find my old version. I finally remembered where it was located, so I pulled a new version off of ebay.

You could build this entire yard, to scale, in a roughly 6 x 8 space in N scale. You wouldn't have any access and it would be a very boring layout unless you like switching subway cars from track to track but it would fit in an amazingly small space!

CTA Howard Street Yard outside of Chicago, IL

CTA-Howard.jpg
 
#20
Well I broke down and purchased more real estate for my layout last weekend..got an hollow core 36x80 inch door to use now so that should open options up quite a bit. One thing that I've discovered I enjoy is having a line that is continually running..so I think a main line that can operate independent of some switching lines. As time goes by my goal becomes clearer. One thing I dont want is alot of switching lines and support wiring right off the bat. Maybe 2 to 3 for now with the ability to expand later if I want.
 



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