Yet another struggling for inspiration thread!

Any questions about designing a model railway layout or problems with track work.
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centenary
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Yet another struggling for inspiration thread!

Postby centenary » Fri Dec 11, 2020 8:50 pm

Ive an integral double garage in which Im going to build the new layout. One half is roughly 5.3m by 2.6m (so is the other give or take a millimeter!). There is a brick floor to ceiling pillar that protrudes from one wall by about 120mm. Im not going real edge to edge so actual length will be no more than 5m with width 2 - 2.25m.

Track will be OO gauge Peco code 100, intending using MegaPoints Controller for points, rest of layout will run DCC. Era? Not sure, thought more heritage as she like kettles while I like diesels but end of the day, idea is just to run trains and maybe occupy grandchild's time!

There are a few must haves. As both me and SWMBO who likes trains, are both getting on, walk through access is a must so either a lifting bridge or swing gate is required. Also, from the garage door end, another lift out or swing gate big enough to get a push bike through has to be present. Ideally stations to be able to accomodate trains of upto 7 carriages max. Id like a max 4 trains to run at a time even if that means 2 are standing in stations while the other 2 use passing lines. No curve is less than 505mm (3rd radius?)

Im not a proficient woodworker but I can make square cuts with a chop saw, drill holes and get surfaces level. I intend getting the wood supplier to cut any ply baseboards so they are straight edged and of the required width. Baseboard height is going to be about 1.1m

Im struggling to come up with a decent layout plan. Numerous designs and iterations in Anyrail with a helix or slope to a lower storage yard and trying to get 4 running lines with storage didnt shunt my wagons. I like the look of Hornby Magazine's Topley Dale. What I dont like about Topley is, the station is too small to accommodate the trains I want.

A 3rd & 4th radius helix doesnt work for me as it is simply too big and, after watching Charlie Bishop's 'issues' with Chadwick, Im not into adding magnets to my locos. A slope to a separate storage yard needs to take into account the two access points so would complicate things and tax my building skills.

So, like Topley, a same level storage yard can be on the same level with main through lines. In the attached plan, the two grey areas marked are roughly where the access points are needed. Ive moved the stations to the straight and each has a passing line. What HM call the 'diversion route' is repeated as the inner twin track 'loop.' 3 storage sidings are either side of the main through lines at the bottom.

But it all looks pretty 'meh.' In OO, there just isnt enough space to make the station straights a bit curvy and interesting. A lower storage yard doesnt seem to work as 1, it needs a separation of at least 300mm to access trains so a long sdescent would be required and a turn round loop even injust 3rd radius is over half a metre in an area roughly 2m wide!

I just noticed at far right this plan doesnt include a cross over to allow trains exiting the bottom sidings to cross to the right direction track on the same loop! BTW, the 700 marks are the front to back measurement for the baseboards.

Suggestions welcome!
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Topley_Dale.jpg

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Mountain
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Re: Yet another struggling for inspiration thread!

Postby Mountain » Sat Dec 12, 2020 12:28 pm

I can't give more advice at the moment other then give a couple of "Pointers".

[Just an extra thought. When looking at the two inner avoiding lines through the station it kinda reminded me about Cardiff Central station (Cardiff General was its older name), though Cardiff has longer platforms then you need. There are similar "Simpler" shorter platforms to look at on the railway network. I seem to remember at least one on the English side of the tunnel between Newport and Bristol Temple Meads].

You say you want to run four trains yet the trackplan only caters for two loops at the one end. I personally would concentrate on running two trains instead and slightly simplify the plan. (But this is me thinking, as through experience, the more track one has the more cleaning there is so a compromize can be a good idea).
But anyway. The plan itself looks interesting. I would put in headshunts, the odd reverse crossover and features like that to make it more believable on the scenic sections but as far as running models go, it looks good.

Headshunt... Think along the lines of a real railway. If wagons parked in a siding happened to break loose and roll towards the main running lines, the real railways would try to add a headshunt or run off road so the free running wagons would not foul the main line. Trap points can also be used. (Or is it catch points? Always get these mixed up!) It is the little features like this that bring a model railway to life.

I am undecided with your inner pair of lines. Could be made to look scenic but also may make the further track harder to access. I had thougts of simplifying by omitting these inner tracks and go for a narrower board, BUT these inner tracks do add character and extra running scope so maybe I would leave them in.

As to which era. Probably the easiest I found was the B.R. blue era where you can run steam specials through?

When you mentioned this initially about wanting to run steam and diesel, a narrow gauge preserved railway sprang to mind, but how about a standard gauge preserved railway?

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centenary
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Re: Yet another struggling for inspiration thread!

Postby centenary » Sat Dec 12, 2020 1:16 pm

Mountain wrote:I can't give more advice at the moment other then give a couple of "Pointers".

You say you want to run four trains yet the trackplan only caters for two loops at the one end. I personally would concentrate on running two trains instead and slightly simplify the plan. (But this is me thinking, as through experience, the more track one has the more cleaning there is so a compromize can be a good idea).
But anyway. The plan itself looks interesting. I would put in headshunts, the odd reverse crossover and features like that to make it more believable on the scenic sections but as far as running models go, it looks good.

Headshunt... Think along the lines of a real railway. If wagons parked in a siding happened to break loose and roll towards the main running lines, the real railways would try to add a headshunt or run off road so the free running wagons would not foul the main line. Trap points can also be used. (Or is it catch points? Always get these mixed up!) It is the little features like this that bring a model railway to life.

I am undecided with your inner pair of lines. Could be made to look scenic but also may make the further track harder to access. I had thougts of simplifying by omitting these inner tracks and go for a narrower board, BUT these inner tracks do add character and extra running scope so maybe I would leave them in.

As to which era. Probably the easiest I found was the B.R. blue era where you can run steam specials through?

When you mentioned this initially about wanting to run steam and diesel, a narrow gauge preserved railway sprang to mind, but how about a standard gauge preserved railway?


Thanks for your comments. As you can tell, Im torn between having 4 trains but in reality, only 2 running at a time. The idea is 2 trains would be stood in the stations while 2 would be running. With DCC, 1 train moved out of the station after the passing train has gone through and that brought into the station on the next lap. (Maybe that's 3 trains running then and not the 4!).

Ive tried to make a Topley Dale 4 lines layout but it makes the garage door end of the layout very tight and requiring the stations to be shortened. I can grab about another 120cm towards the garage door but this then means the base board is even closer to the door than Id like.

If the brick work pillar wasnt there, life would be a lot easier! I cant flip the layout because as mentioned, wifey and I need an easy access and if you have trains stabled over a swing gate or lift out section, makes it unusable. Ive tried swapping the inner loop and outer but again, this would mean having to reduce the storage lines else that end of the layout gets very tight.

I can feel another revision coming on as well as looking at where to put a couple of headshunts.

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Mountain
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Re: Yet another struggling for inspiration thread!

Postby Mountain » Sat Dec 12, 2020 11:41 pm

Just to mention there are alternatives to consider if you have not already made a start in buying anything.

N gauge is available in DCC now but how they get decoders into them I don't know, and some even have sound.

There is actually a lot of choice in your garage size but obviously one needs to go careful for two resons. The first is reaching over to get at things and the second is, like you mention, that of storage.

You could do a simpler plan being a 00 or a H0 gauge double track layout. H0? Well. I can just see "Big Boy" chugging along with a train of boxcars... Haha!

009 may be an answer you may not have thought about. I model in 0-16.5 these days as I enjoy making the things, but with 0-16.5 one has to make things oneself.
009 (And H0e) is an easier option because locos and rolling stock are now commercially available and the range of stock is expanding.

Why narrow gauge? Well. You wanted steam and diesel to mix? Probably you will see more of both mixing on todays narrow gauge scenes then you will see anywhere else! The other benefit is that not only can narrow gauge be used in a small space but it was made for it.
The potential with your garage is that 009 will quite easily turn on a 2ft wide board (60cm) and still be able to run larger trains (Larger in narrow gauge terms). One can turn sharper still if one wants to keep to small locos and short wheelbase stock but in 009 (And the European equivalent being H0e) it is nice to be able to run larger locos like Fairlies or the occasional Garratt.

Now why I mention 009 is because it is possible to build a multi level layout which turns its trains without crossing any doorways in the same scale that 00 gauge uses. This in itself can be attractive as it solves many issues where space is concerned.

I have gone up a scale to 7mm (0-16.5 is the narrow gauge of 0 gauge) and my locos and stock use 00 or H0 chassis and wheels as they run on the same width track (16.5mm). 009 and H0e run on N gauge width track (9mm).


I mention these options just to show there is more to it then just 00 or N which can satisfy your desires in the size you have available.

00 and H0 are what I call "Safe bets" because nearly everything one needs is available even if it does cost a bit.

And finally, though it is a tight squeeze, 0 gauge can also be an option. The chunkiness of those things along with their lovely running qualities that 0 gauge models are renowned would make a lovely little layout even as a single branch line, and despite 0 gauge seemingly costing more, it can actually end up being cheaper in the long run then using 00, because a single track branch line is not needing to use so much track, and one is going to keep to smaller locos with less stock by the nature of the layout one can build in that size. Example. A smaller 0-4-0 or 0-6-0 loco is around £200 to £300. Coaches are around £100 each the last time I noticed. Maybe up to £200 each. So £400 to £500 gives you something that feels nice and solid. Now one could easily pay the same amount in 00 for a complete train to fit in the same space. Maybe a loco (£100 to about £175) and six coaches which seem to be around £35 to £45 each for something decent. So that is about £300 to £500 for a complete passenger train and though it will be nice, somehow 0 gauge makes you feel like you have better value and I find the larger scale is easier to work with. (Though I model on a much tighter budget in that scale and model the narrow gauge version in a very confined size. An oval of track on a 7ft x 2ft board with two passing loops and a siding).

Anyway... I have expanded some options to consider that may provide an attractive alternative.

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roganty
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Re: Yet another struggling for inspiration thread!

Postby roganty » Sun Dec 13, 2020 12:44 pm

You might want to have a read through this thread, it is in a similar sized space and might give you some ideas.
Main Layout: Planning | The Build

Erikslund - a small shunting layout

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centenary
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Re: Yet another struggling for inspiration thread!

Postby centenary » Sun Dec 13, 2020 2:54 pm

Thanks both.

I posted another thread 'Should have gone N scale' but we've bought a number of 00 gauge locos and stock we liked the look off. Additionally, with a quite large garage, you'd think getting an interesting layout in would be easy (and to some it might be).

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Mountain
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Re: Yet another struggling for inspiration thread!

Postby Mountain » Sun Dec 13, 2020 5:30 pm

centenary wrote:Thanks both.

I posted another thread 'Should have gone N scale' but we've bought a number of 00 gauge locos and stock we liked the look off. Additionally, with a quite large garage, you'd think getting an interesting layout in would be easy (and to some it might be).


Haha. I found that. One can easily design in a small space but when it gets larger somehow the ideas are more difficult to find.

Plenty of time.

00 will work fine. A double track mainline is probably the best idea with sidings etc. Prehaps a branchline leading off it?

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Re: Yet another struggling for inspiration thread!

Postby Bigmet » Sun Dec 13, 2020 9:09 pm

centenary wrote:...it all looks pretty 'meh.' In OO, there just isn't enough space to make the station straights a bit curvy and interesting...

OK, you have drawn a large set track 'oval': straight, 90 degree bend, straight, bend, straight, bend, straight, bend. Not very exciting for the 'station' area of the layout. You could - starting from the lift/gate by the garage door - put the points on the lift section; then make a sweeping large radius curve in flexitrack across the whole long side. (If that long side is accessible from both sides, it could be wider than 700mm, which provides more flexibility to the track plan; will reduce the width of the central operating well.)

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centenary
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Re: Yet another struggling for inspiration thread!

Postby centenary » Mon Dec 14, 2020 8:02 pm

Mountain wrote:
centenary wrote:Thanks both.

I posted another thread 'Should have gone N scale' but we've bought a number of 00 gauge locos and stock we liked the look off. Additionally, with a quite large garage, you'd think getting an interesting layout in would be easy (and to some it might be).


Haha. I found that. One can easily design in a small space but when it gets larger somehow the ideas are more difficult to find.

Plenty of time.

00 will work fine. A double track mainline is probably the best idea with sidings etc. Prehaps a branchline leading off it?


Yes, I think reducing the 4 main lines to 2 on the station side, maybework in some branch sidings is yet another iteration to work on!

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centenary
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Re: Yet another struggling for inspiration thread!

Postby centenary » Mon Dec 14, 2020 8:31 pm

Bigmet wrote:
centenary wrote:...it all looks pretty 'meh.' In OO, there just isn't enough space to make the station straights a bit curvy and interesting...

OK, you have drawn a large set track 'oval': straight, 90 degree bend, straight, bend, straight, bend, straight, bend. Not very exciting for the 'station' area of the layout. You could - starting from the lift/gate by the garage door - put the points on the lift section; then make a sweeping large radius curve in flexitrack across the whole long side. (If that long side is accessible from both sides, it could be wider than 700mm, which provides more flexibility to the track plan; will reduce the width of the central operating well.)


Yes, I agree about the 'oval,' the constraints are my building skills, dislike of helix \ slope to a below board storage area. Overall it is based on HM's Topley Dale. The stations on Topley are too short hence why I moved them onto the longer straight. I read it's best keeping lift bridge or swing gates as simple as possible using just straight track and no points.

I need to work on getting a bit of curve into the old station side and just having 2 main lines.

The garage on the station side has, from the garage door, a floor to ceiling, short supporting wall for about 4 foot, an 8 foot open access gap to the other garage then another floor to ceiling supporting wall about 4 foot to top right of the plan.

Im toying with moving the station(s) to the garage door curve so I can working in some sidings, more like Topley Dale has. Boards dont have to be 700mm wide, that was just something I was working with. They could be 450-500mm or almost a metre.

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roganty
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Re: Yet another struggling for inspiration thread!

Postby roganty » Mon Dec 14, 2020 10:13 pm

Here's an idea; What about move the station to the bottom right, furthest point from the garage door. You could potentially have some extra storage loops hidden 'back stage' behind a back scene.
Maybe model a smaller station with an island platform in the area you originally placed a station. You can use that station for stopping trains in while you run some others around.

One trick normally used is to model the station above the tracks, and have only a small amount of the platforms showing below. The hidden area can then include additional lines for storage or passing loops.
The only provision required is to allow for access for ease of track cleaning or derailments.
Main Layout: Planning | The Build

Erikslund - a small shunting layout

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Mountain
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Re: Yet another struggling for inspiration thread!

Postby Mountain » Tue Dec 15, 2020 12:45 am

A station on a bend is a good space saving idea.

Bigmet
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Re: Yet another struggling for inspiration thread!

Postby Bigmet » Tue Dec 15, 2020 11:24 am

centenary wrote:...I agree about the 'oval,' the constraints are my building skills... I read it's best keeping lift bridge or swing gates as simple as possible using just straight track and no points...

OK, I see the problem. I have to tell you that 'lift out' sections for access - however arranged - immediately put you in the 'advanced' layout construction category, so how are your carpentry skills?

The mechanical principles are simply described. Build the layout structure so that it is stable as the 'lift out' is operated, and thus always returns to the same position, secured by close fitting slide bolt(s) or similar. Then and only then do you lay the track over it, permanently secure it, and cut through the tracks at the break lines. This way the rails realign automatically. Many ways to skin this cat in terms of detail design, which you can find online.

The alternative is to lay set track loose across the lift out section, and break and remake the track joints every time. That quickly gets 'very old' operationally, but does provide complete freedom in terms of what track runs over it, and making alterations to the layout.

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Re: Yet another struggling for inspiration thread!

Postby Ex-Pat » Tue Dec 15, 2020 2:04 pm

Just to expand on Bigmet's post, you will find some of his points shown in practice here:

viewtopic.php?f=22&t=50019&start=30#p615522

It isn't the only way of course, but it works fine for me.

Best of luck!

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centenary
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Re: Yet another struggling for inspiration thread!

Postby centenary » Tue Dec 15, 2020 8:18 pm

Once again, thanks for all the comments.

Yes, Ive pondering moving the stations to the bottom right inner loop if I can make them long enough to accommodate the trains. If I do re site the stations, I think 2 will be sufficient. For a whole host of reasons, the storage sidings are best placed on the bottom right outer loop.

Yes, a lift bridge \ swing gate fills me with dread. Seen a lot of vids on YT. About the best one is a guy mpeterll with his swing gate but there again, he's not only a very good model railway builder, he's a carpenter so knows his onions in that department. Of course another alternative is to build the layout a little higher than normal (not too much) and get one of those wheeled gardening stools for wifey and me to use so she \ I can get under the boards and no need for a swing gate \ bridge!!


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