Please Review my Planned Layout -- And Auto Reverse/Switch Questions

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#1
I posted this first in the wrong area...

Okay, I have a layout that in my mind should work. Can you please review it so that I can be sure the investment will not end up a pile of track in a box?

Explanation:

Two separate tracks. Each track will have its own power transformer and control. All Atlas true-track components.

The purple track is for an Atlas locomotive with four cars (Atlas HO 35). The main radius is 22" the inner loop is an 18" radius.

Are the radiuses okay for this train at moderate to slow speed?

The blue track is elevated to clear the bottom track and will run a single (inexpensive) Bachmann trolley car. It includes a switched side that ends in a bumper.

I assume that if the trolley is not stopped using the transformer control, it will jump the bumper correct? Thus I plan on installing an auto reverser (Circuitron 5401 AR-2 Automatic Reversing Circuit).

After the rev circuit reverses the trolley, I assume that the trolley will continue to run in reverse until the operator changes direction at the transformer control correct? Any issues I should consider in regards to the auto reverser?

When the trolley transverses the loop in reverse I assume it will jump the track if the side switch is not returned to the original state, correct? Any way to prevent such derailments?

I plan to use an Atlas 205 connector block that includes three SPST electrical switches to control the track switches. Should that work? I may substitute mini toggle switches.

I am concerned about the track switches and derailments. Again, I assume the train / trolley will derail if it hits the track switch with the switch set to the other direction, correct? Is there anything I can do to prevent such derailments in case the kids forget to switch the track correctly?

Thanks again for all of your help!!!

jack


 

Selector

Well-Known Member
#2
Jack, first please accept my congratulations for taking the time and effort, and some would admit courage, to post a track plan for review. :)

I wish I could encourage you by saying your plan looks great, but I would be less than honest. First, it comprises two nested ovals, and the inner one seems to have a branch rising over the outer on the left, on a grade of some sort, and then turning south. You won't get an engine up over that ramp...not in the space you have to get the clearance over the tracks and higher rolling items below it. Our models, like their real world counterparts, don't do well on steep grades. You will be disappointed.

You say the inner loop is elevated...okay, that will solve the problem I mention, although you still have two nested loops. And that setup greatly limits the longevity of your layout.

You will be bored to tears inside of two weeks with that layout. Let me ask you this...what do the trains do? What do they do in the real world? They earn the railroad money! They do this by stopping at places, setting out empty cars to be filled by customers, and coupling to those that are filled and ready to be delivered to distribution points or to consignees. If you and I don't play a good bit of that process, we end up with oval layouts that bore us to tears inside of two weeks.

Please, either explain more about your purpose with this layout you propose, or take a deep breath, and begin to read about basic layout track plan design...Space Mouse's guide is a good start, and there are numerous design sites on the www.

And we'll help, too. :D

-Crandell
 
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#3
Crandell,

Thanks for your advice and honest appraisal. The layout is for my two very young grandsons. The oldest of which absolutely loves trains, both model and real.

To further explain the layout, the trolley (blue) rail is completely elevated so there will be no grade. No ramps.

The large oval open area will include downtown buildings served by the trolley and will include an HO slot car track serving as surface roads between the buildings. I realize that the HO car scale is different than trains, but for my grandkids I think it will work. The car lanes will operate in opposite directions simulating downtown traffic.

Since the kids are still very young I think the track will keep their interest, at least initially. This came about because we have a local model railroad restaurant. And our oldest grandson just loves their simple (much simplier than mine) layout. Protected behind plexiglass windows (like ours will be), it includes large momentary buttons to start the two trains which run in an oval. (http://www.allaboarddiner.com/ .... http://www.allaboarddiner.com/NewWebGallery/)

So I figured my layout will keep him busy for a 1/2 hour a day or so and as he gets older we can add and complicate things. Currently, it will be in the oldest's bedroom but down the road a much larger layout can go downstairs.

Also, the kids will only control start/stop of the trains and cars, and the switches. I plan to automate the switches (or auto stop the train) if possible in case the kids forget to throw the switch.

I do agree that for an adult, the layout is not "real" nor very interesting, but I think it will serve our little guys for awhile. But with that said, not sure I am convinced.

Yikes!!!

Again, if you have any additional comments or suggestions, please send them along. You have been very helpful and I greatly appreciate it!!!!!

One other thing, how do you setup for rail car decoupling, coupling?

Thanks again,
jack


 
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ianacole

Well-Known Member
#4
If you haven't already thought of it, I'd REALLY step down the voltage supplied to the HO slot track. This will keep the cars slower, and more likely on the track, minimizing crushing by little bodies as they try to reset cars.
 
#5
Crandell and all,

Originally I had considered a layout with lots of sides to docks that would include coupling and decoupling of cars, and so forth. But using the True-Track, I was told that the couplers-decouplers don't work (at least automatically, remember, I plan to keep the kids' hands off of the layout for the first few years).

Am I wrong, can I include "auto" coupling, decoupling? Would that add more interest? Currently, I only have approx 4' x 6' to work with (give or take 6" here or there).

Thanks again,
Jack
 
#6
If you haven't already thought of it, I'd REALLY step down the voltage supplied to the HO slot track. This will keep the cars slower, and more likely on the track, minimizing crushing by little bodies as they try to reset cars.
I have thought of that. How do you step down the voltage?

I figured I would simply set the controllerd (car and train) to a set speed and hide the controllers, only allowing the kids to throw switches to energize the cars, trains, handle the track switches, etc.

But I would prefer to allow the boys to access the controllers and speed as long as I could somehow externally limit the speed. Any ideas?

Thanks
jack



Jack
 
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ianacole

Well-Known Member
#7
I have thought of that. How do you step down the voltage?

I figured I would simply set the controller to a set speed and hide the controller, only allowing the kids to throw switches to energize the train, handle the track switches, etc.

But I would prefer to allow the boys to access the controller and speed as long as I could somehow externally limit the speed. Any ideas?

Thanks
jack



Jack
There are a couple of approaches you could take with this. You can modify the controllers so the throttle can only be depressed to a defined point, wire in a different powersupply, or get a powersupply that has variable output (some controllers out there do this as well). I have a 1/32 setup for slot cars, and when the boys are running, I step the voltage down to 9VDC from the 14VDC that I run at. Doesn't eliminate all of the "offs," but the slower speeds coupled with their own cars minimize the amount of damage when cars leave the track.
 
#8
I posted this first in the wrong area...

Okay, I have a layout that in my mind should work. Can you please review it so that I can be sure the investment will not end up a pile of track in a box?
How big is the room you will have this in?

Will your grandsons (or you) actually have 8x10 or 8x12 feet of open floor space available (for a 4x6 or 4x8 foot layout with 2 foot aisles all around) ?

If you want to run an automated layout anyways, do it in N scale and on a 30" x 80" HCD (Hollow Core Door). That at least can be placed into a corner in a room, without needing access aisles all around the layout, just access from the front.

Besides - a 30" x 80" N scale layout is about the equivalent to a 4.5 foot x 12 foot H0 scale layout.

You would have room for a more interesting track plan than you would on a small rectangular H0 scale layout, while fitting into a much smaller space in their (or your) home - basically a 4 1/2 foot deep and about 7 foot long area - which is still a good chunk of a room, but not quite as domineering of space as the bigger layout.

Smile,
Stein
 
#9
I only have about 4-1/2 feet by 6-1/2 feet to work with. I thought about N scale, but figured the HO was a better fit now and down the road. I assumed, perhaps wrongly, that the HO engines were better, more choices in track and accessories, and again, more expandable if they decide to do so later.

With that said, I will take some time and look at N guage options. Sure a lot of N guage layout ideas out there.

Also, for now, the layout will be in a corner with access to one end and the front. And plexiglass will be used to keep their hands off of the layout until they are older. I am modeling this somewhat after a restaurant layout as seen above.

Thanks

jack
 
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#10
I only have about 4-1/2 feet by 6-1/2 feet to work with.
Mmm - would you have more space to work with if you went long and narrow instead?

Say like 15 feet down two walls or more walls of a room, but only a foot or so deep ? That's 15 square feet of layout area, compared with 29.5 square feet for a rectangular 4.5 x 6.5 foot table, but it would give you a run about the same length as one 18" radius loop around a 4.5 x 6.5 foot table, and your buildings etc wouldn't need to have much depth to them, since they can only be viewed from one side.

Just run two parallell tracks for streetcars/trolleys down that way, and let the lines be controlled by pushbuttons independent of each other, with the streetcar stopping when it gets to the end of the layout, having to push a button to start again.

Or run a streetcar in the front, and an a acela express or some such thing (ie a passenger train that can run both ways easily) on an elevated track in front of buildings further back.

If you want to, you can add faller car system cars that will follow some predetermined path through the layout.

If you want to scale it down, a 15 foot long H0 scale linear layout is the equivalent of about an 8 foot N scale linear layout - ie about one bedroom wall's worth of layout.

Lots of options here - it all comes down to what space you have available, and how you want the thing to work.

Smile,
Stein
 
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