New Basement HO Layout

Affiliate Disclosure: We may receive a commision from some of the links and ads shown on this website (Learn More Here)

#1
I have designed my track layout using SCARM software. I built the bench work for double continuous run loops, with cross overs. The highlighted track designates raised bed at a 3% grade. The main turnouts are no. 6 and the switching ones are no .4. The minimum radius curves are 22". I do have access to all 4 sides by using a duck under since the bench work top is 42" from the floor, giving me 40" clear access. I designed a small cart with casters to ride on to go underneath since my 70 year old body is not as limber as it used to be.
I have attached my layout for your critique. Please offer any suggestions or corrections where I can improve the flow. I did not design a reversing loop. I'm told I will wish I had one. I'm also unsure if I will be using DC or DCC. I do have about a dozen older engines, some still in boxes, that are DC. The wiring could be quite frightening in DC. Wiring in DCC looks easier, but the expense is much more. All you seasoned modelers, please help.
Johns HO Layout.jpg
 

santafewillie

Well-Known Member
#2
If continuous running is your goal, the plan looks pretty good. There also appears to be several switching opportunities present as well. I am making three assumptions here, 1) the raised track on the top of the plan is for scenic variety only; 2) the partial third loop along the edge of the donut hole is also for scenic variation/alternate route; 3) the five stub-ended tracks near the bottom of the plan are for staging.
Suggestions: 1) Bring those two innermost staging tracks off the innermost partial loop with the switches located on the left side. This eliminates the need for the connecting track from the right side of the inner loop to the "ladder track". It also will allow multiple operators to operate with less interference with one another. You didn't provide dimensions, but an additional staging track looks like it would fit without crowding the scene too much.
2) Reduce the grade on the outer loop to 2%. If my math is correct, the difference between 2% and 3% is barely 1/2" in the center. The transition (vertical easement) into and out of 2% will be easier on your equipment.
3) If you feel comfortable with using it, use flex track for most of the layout.
4) See if you can adjust the track layout to reduce the amount of trackage that runs parallel to the layout edge. Some slight angling will actually make it less boring.
You don't need a reversing loop for this type of layout. Simply stage trains in both directions on those staging tracks. You will have to back in or out anyway, so what the heck?
DC wiring is only as frightening as you choose to make it. Proper use of Atlas Selectors and Connectors, or their equivalent makes most wiring easy. Put some thought into where you want your blocks to be and use an adequate number of feeders.
Disclaimer: I run DC and have the capability of running two trains at once, but I really can't pay attention to two at once so I only run one. I also run point to point with no continuous running.
 

wombat457

Well-Known Member
Staff member
#3
Looks as though you will have the best of both worlds ... being able to sit back and watch trains run OR become involved in switching and operational running. Looks good!
 

Iron Horseman

Well-Known Member
#4
I have designed my track layout … for double continuous run loops, with cross overs. The minimum radius curves are 22". ...
I have attached my layout for your critique. Please offer any suggestions or corrections where I can improve the flow. I did not design a reversing loop. I'm told I will wish I had one....unsure if I will be using DC or DCC
In reverse order ...
1. DC wiring isn't all that hard if one does it just one wire at a time. Plus there are hundreds of people out here to help. The DCC control part isn't all that expensive and definitely not that much more than DC once the cost of all the selectors and switches are considered. It is cost of decoders in the loco that will strike both the pocket book AND the time/effort of converting. Conversions can be easy or hard depending on the unit and how fancy one wants to get. You will just have to choose for your self if that is worth it or not. I've been DCC for over 23 years now and still have hundreds of DC locomotives waiting around to be converted.
2. Unless one is doing passenger train operation with some need to turn the whole train as a unit - reversing loops are highly overrated and generally un-prototypical.
3. Improving the flow. Basically this is two loops with an alternate route cut off. The cut off from the outer track loop and crossing the inter loop is the only flow impedance I see. I really like that design. In fact, I think that feature is the most interesting aspect of the layout. I would not change it.
4. suggestions or corrections
This is harder not knowing your overall concept. But A. As a prior poster noted straight tracks parallel to the straight edges of the layout are visually boring and toy train like. I will often just tilt the whole layout by 4-6 degrees. My other signature design element is to swoop the track gently so it is not straight.
B. What are the two tracks just above the yard? Are those industries or loco servicing facilities, or ? The answer to that will determine some of my comments.
C. More later got to get back to work....
 

Iron Horseman

Well-Known Member
#5
Its later.
C. I think you can make the passing siding near the top longer by moving the right hand turnout into the curve. Use the natural curve instead of adding an "S" to bring the lines parallel. On the other side take the siding from the alternate route track, once again gaining a car length more of capacity. These changes will require adjustments to the curve on the right and the alternate route track but I think both would be easy.

D. I sort of don't like the bridge just being there for the sake of a bridge. Maybe you could run a dummy track under it just to give it a reason to exist.

Here is the Louisville Railroad I mentioned earlier. Notice none of the track is parallel to the edges of the benchwork, save the one siding for the grain elevator. A main reason for the elevator being there is the attempt to make the track look like it is running through the scenery not around it.
 
Last edited:

Iron Horseman

Well-Known Member
#6
Back to B. If those are industries just above the yard I think they would be better served from the inside cut off loop. That would allow a few things: better looking exit to the inside loop, access for something other than a track passing through the area to the lower right, a 3rd different location along the "main" for switching., and finally shorter lead tracks to almost the exact same siding length.

E. I extended the green elevated track to the right and pulled it away from the other so it could have a longer distance to achieve its altitude. This lessens the grade and can make those spurs to the right be at a slightly higher elevation too. Nothing in the real world is flat. Not even a parking lot.

Having said all that, your layout is very nice how it is. Please do not think anything I've said are things you have to do, just suggestions and hopefully I've given you enough information to know why.
traingeek344.jpg
 

otiscnj

Active Member
#7
Instead of using 22" radius curves, why not 24"? Will allow larger cars and engines to operate just a little bit better. Also, the branch line with the 3 sidings at the end, how about making the sidings more parallel? Remember real estate costs money in the real world, and having 2 outer sidings closer to the middle siding will give you more room for buildings and scenery. If the 3 tracks at the bottom of the plan are supposed to be a yard, how about including a yard lead around the curve, that ties in on the right side?
 
#8
I use a 125 ft. folded dogbone for my 0-Scale 2-Rail layout.

My curves are 40", 45", and 50" radius.

I use no structures of any kind, because my layout was made to represent the desolate, high desert wilderness where I live, where there are only low mountain buttes, boulders, and gravel. No switches and no yards or sidings either.

This 82-year old Son of Steam likes it simple!

My only scenery is my Train and the Desert it runs through.

Will send pics when the Desert work is finished.

We have no Basements or 2-Story Homes up here in the High Desert...only a single level on a 3/4 acre lot.

Brakeman Hal
010.JPG
 
#9
I have designed my track layout using SCARM software. I built the bench work for double continuous run loops, with cross overs. The highlighted track designates raised bed at a 3% grade. The main turnouts are no. 6 and the switching ones are no .4. The minimum radius curves are 22". I do have access to all 4 sides by using a duck under since the bench work top is 42" from the floor, giving me 40" clear access. I designed a small cart with casters to ride on to go underneath since my 70 year old body is not as limber as it used to be.
I have attached my layout for your critique. Please offer any suggestions or corrections where I can improve the flow. I did not design a reversing loop. I'm told I will wish I had one. I'm also unsure if I will be using DC or DCC. I do have about a dozen older engines, some still in boxes, that are DC. The wiring could be quite frightening in DC. Wiring in DCC looks easier, but the expense is much more. All you seasoned modelers, please help. View attachment 28802
Essentially the "third" loop is a crossover between the inside track and the outside track. You could replace the entire loop with one left hand switch and, other than the length of run, have exactly the same operation.

I agree with extending the top siding to connect with the third loop to make it longer. Bigger question is what is its purpose? It doesn't really support any industry work directly since its on the opposite side of the layout from any of the connections to the industry leads. Is it a siding or a double ended industry spur?

I would move the righthand crossover at the yard to someplace on the right side of the layout. It will make things much more flexible. Right now the only way to get from the yard to the outer loop going counter clockwise is to leave the yard, go around the inner loop, come back through the yard area and crossover to the outer loop. By moving the RH crossover past the yard, the right side, the train can crossover sooner and be orbiting the layout allowing the yard engine full use of the yard tracks and the inside main more quickly.
 



ModelRailroadForums.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com