New guy here getting (re)started after 30-ish years...

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#1
Hey guys, name's Rob, I'm 43. Dad had lionel trains when he was a kid, came home from college one day to find that his mom had given them all away. Sad story, but lucky for me since he swore that'd never happen in my case. We went to train shows all the time when I was little, I'd come home with a new loco or car or part almost every time. He built me a pretty awesome layout when I was a kid, two separate mainlines, a yard, mountains, tunnels, remote switches, buildings and scenery, the whole thing was probably 8'x12' but I'm going from memory on that...

So I've got boxes of my lionel trains in the attic. We busted them out over Christmas since everything had been stored for 30 years to see what we've got and maybe play around with them some. Now I've got an idea in my brain to build a permanent layout in the basement. I'd like to build it over my pool table and put it on a winch/cable/pulley system to hoist it up to the ceiling when we're not playing with it or working on it. I'm a mechanical engineer so I can handle that part no worries.

So here's my layout idea - I need a hole in the center to clear the High Life light hanging over the pool table. When it comes down it'll just sit on top of said table. Just need to be able to run 1 train at a time (at least at first) to get me going. I need a kinda large yard since I have at least 40 pieces of rolling stock and I want a turntable since I have 8 or 10 locomotives (I'll probably scratch build that). Reverse loops are fun too so I added two of those. I've got a couple of bridges that Dad built that I'll likely incorporate but I don't want too much elevation change so it'll tuck up close when I raise it.

I modeled this in the free version of SCARM so most of the yard track is missing as is the turntable but it should be pretty obvious where that's going. Oh and this is all old school lionel rail with 031 curves. This layout is about 7.25' by 11.25' and the OD of my pool table is about 4.5' by 8' (it's an old Brunswick coin-op bar table but no more coin-op) so it'll overhang by about a foot and a half all the way around.
Rob


layout5.jpg
 
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Sirfoldalot

Plucked Tailfeathers
Staff member
#2
ROB -- Nice to make your acquaintance. That's a very nice track plan, and I see a lot of fun there - both building and operation.
I hope you will give us a ton of photos during your build. If I am ever going to have another layout = it will require possibly the same design except no pool table to sit on. (will need legs of some sort)
Your having "about a foot and a half all around" will be great! Nothing to stub your toes on. :p

Come over and YAK with us a bit in the ANPL "Coffee Shop" - March version. Just about anything goes and we have a frequent Lionel owner who resides there most every day - some people just call him - LOUIS!
 

migalyto

Well-Known Member
#4
Welcome to the group Rob! Looks like you have a great comfortable space to set up a railroad. Looking forward to watching your progress.
 

logandsawman

Well-Known Member
#5
Hi Rob,

That is a pretty interesting track design and I will be curious to see the execution, wonder if you are planning any structures or industry aside from the turntable/roundhouse.

By the way, welcome to the forum...Dave
 

KB02

Well-Known Member
#6
Hi Rob. My name's Bob. I'm 42 and have a similar pool table that I plan to build upon. :)
Currently my layout runs around the room, but I want to make a similar table to go on top of the table that can be lifted out. I'll be watching your build carefully! :) You've got a bit more headroom than I do, though, by the looks of it.
 
#8
Thanks for the warm welcome guys... Been reading through lots of posts on here and looking at all the amazing work and pictures... this place is addictive - and so is SCARM. New design below - more linear feet of yard and moved the turntable over to the left which gives an extra two stalls (8 vs. 6 before). I think I like this one better, what do y'all think? (again, yard straights and some of the bottom straight not shown due to SCARM track limit) Xformer and controls will go in the bottom left corner. Having the yard switches and the turntable closer will be better I think. A 15 degree step 20" diameter table is what I'm planning on here which should be plenty for me. Hopefully that will be long enough for my old Santa Fe F3 AA set? I think that's the longest one I have except for an A-B-A alco which I know won't but that's okay. They're all back up in the attic now, might have to drag the locos back out and measure... Anyway, this is all just planning stage and I likely won't start on it for a month or two (honey-do fireplace mantle and cabinets underway now). If you guys have any ideas or changes or suggestions, PLEASE chime in! I'm all ears...

Dave - I do have a couple buildings and whatnots that I will probably incorporate, but I think this will be mostly grass and trees and maybe some shallow rolling hills (if there's room for that both horizontally and vertically - might not be) and things like that. I might make a mountain and tunnel in the top right corner but will have to keep it pretty low so the table can still lift up as high as possible. For the center hole (pool table light) I will make a lift out section with a big old lake - that sounds fun right?
Rob
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Bruette

Well-Known Member
#9
Welcome back Rob, it's great to see another Lionel man!

Before you finalize your track plans consider if you might want some of the bigger modern Lionel trains, they require bigger curves. If you are sticking with the old style track you can still buy O72 curves. Lionel no longer makes the old style track, but there is still plenty of it available.

Have fun with your trains!
 

Iron Horseman

Well-Known Member
#11
New design below - more linear feet of yard and moved the turntable over to the left which gives an extra two stalls (8 vs. 6 before). I think I like this one better, what do y'all think?
I think your yard would have a greater capacity if you took it off from the right hand side. I am worried about entering a turntable off of a curved piece of track. If you ever want to run two trains simultaneously there is a serious pinch point.
rickenbackerman.jpg
 
#12
Bruette, thanks for the thought. I might look into that... Maybe at least on the outer loop... I do have a newer (80's?) Williams SD45 that has a tough time with the 031 curves... this dude (but not my pic):
SD45.jpg

Dave, thanks!
Iron Horseman, thanks for the input! I will for sure fix the pinch point and look into your yard suggestion some more. I also saw a thread on cutting down switches to make for closer yard track spacing that I'm also going to look into. But what's wrong with entering a turntable from a curve?
And speaking of turntables, I'm picking up an Atlas 24"-er and three stall roundhouse this Sunday for a pretty decent price. Not sure if I will be able to use the house since it's HUGE but I will definitely be using the TT. I know not all that detailed or (apparently from what I have read) reliable, but it'll save me a lot of time in scratch building one. And I can also do that down the road...
 
#13
Next revision... 042 curves on the outer loop (I'll have to get some, don't think I have any but there's a guy on the auction site selling 12 pieces for fifty bucks). 24" dia turntable. Got rid of the pinch point, moved the yard switches back over to the right. Some track missing due to SCARM limit on the free version. Still about the same size as the first one I posted. The vertical tracks in the center represent the pool table light hole (and it's gonna be tight!). Starting to wonder if I'm trying to cram 10lbs of poo in a 5lb bag...
layout7.jpg
 
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Iron Horseman

Well-Known Member
#14
But what's wrong with entering a turntable from a curve?
When a locomotive is going through a curve it really wants to go straight, so is pushing on the outside rail. The tighter the radius the harder it pushes against it. So when that wheel pushing against the outside rail transitions onto a turntable the turntable takes all that stress. Depending on how weak or strong the turntable mechanizm is, the table could shift in that direction making the next set of wheels derail.
 
#15
Oh man, that makes total sense. Thanks for explaining! So that begs the question, what's the minimum length of straight recommended before entering the TT? It will add width to my layout which is already about as big as I want it to be...
 

Iron Horseman

Well-Known Member
#16
Oh man, that makes total sense. Thanks for explaining! So that begs the question, what's the minimum length of straight recommended before entering the TT? It will add width to my layout which is already about as big as I want it to be...
It all depends on the locomotive and how things are connected (wheels to truck to bolster), but it is going to be a much bigger deal with steam locomotives than the SD45 you showed in the picture above. Diesels with only 4 wheel trucks it will matter even less.

If it were me, I would measure the length of one of those SD45 trucks and make the straight just a bit longer than that. For example, if the wheels are 3.5" front to back (wheelbase) I would make a straight minimum of 4" long. That way that first set of wheels would be lined up straight going onto the turntable. There will still be some sideways push from the rest of the loco and back wheels, but it isn't nearly as much as the "bind" on a single truck.
For a Steam locomotive I would make the straight a bit longer than the wheelbase of the main driving wheels.
 
#17
Thanks man, just what I needed to know. Picked up my Atlas 24" turntable and three stall roundhouse this weekend. The roundhouse is HUGE! Don't think I will use it for this project but I will hang on to it...
 





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