Track identification...

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Buelligan
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Track identification...

Postby Buelligan » Mon Aug 13, 2018 7:12 pm

Hi all, I've just joined as my son wants a Hornby Thomas set for Christmas, so I'm now trying to plan a layout for him.

My son has limited space, approximately 100cm x 190cm, the space under his bed, and I've found and used a programme called Anyrail to draw up some plans, which shows that with some very careful track laying, we should just about be able to fit this on the board (hopefully below is a photo of the track design). Unfortunately, having just had a quick google for track suppliers, I found one that had everything we'd need, but it came to nearly £250, which is far too much, as then I'd have to spend the same on things for my other 2 boys.

So in a bid to try and save money, I need to try and use as much of my old track from when I was a kid, as I possibly can. Theres another problem there though, as while the flexi and standard left/right points can be used easily enough, I've no idea what radius etc the curved points I've got are, all I can remember is that they are PECO. So a couple of questions, firstly, it is ok to mix Hornby and PECO track in the same layout isn't it? And secondly, is there a way I can find out what the curved points I've got are, or is it just a case of once I've made the board, lay it all out and see if it lines up ok?

Thanks for any help.

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Mountain
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Re: Track identification...

Postby Mountain » Mon Aug 13, 2018 7:50 pm

You can certainly mix Hornby and Peco track.
Here is a tip to save costs and to prevent derailments. Dont use the curved points along with their sidings. You could use a standard left hand point into a short siding instead. Curved points can be problematic when it comes to locos and stock staying on the track. I used to only use them if I had to and then try to use them in sidings rather then coming directly from a main line. The reason for the issues is mainly due to them having a long and open frog area which can cause the wheels can bounce up and down and cause issues.
Also the bottom loop siding line can be changed to use standard points instead of curved points.
The second thing is the diamond crossing in the middle. I would use a Peco set track crossing and not a Hornby one, as Hornby geometry has left or right hand diamond crossings (If they are the same as they were) which for the use you have is not ideal. The Peco diamond crossing is ideal.
The rest of the layout looks fine. You can use either Hornby or Peco. I prefer Peco points but Hornby points are to an almost similar quality these days so I'd certainly not avoid them.
If you have a lot of straight track in the design it is cheaper to use flexible track instead (Code 100) and cut it to length. It can also be curved etc, but best keep the tighter radius curves as sectional track.
One consideration (Though I tend not to be too concerned on a double track layout) is to avoid using first radius curves as a few modern locos, coaches and the odd wagon doesn't like them. Why I'd not be too bothered, is if you have a double track loop and the outer loop is second or larger radius, any stock that doesn't like first radius can run on the outer track, and your inner track can run the rest. If you have the space you can avoid first radius all together, but not all of us have such luxury.

There is another important consideration with the track plan and it is on the electrical side, and it has the same concern for DC or DCC operation. You will need either a couple of switches for the central bit or if DCC, you need a reversing module. You may need to look up how to wire for run round loops and triangles. It can certainly be done, but it is a little more complicated then just connecting track together.

I hope I have not dampened your plans too much as it looks an excellent fun design.
We have an excellent small layout planner who I often let take over on lovely designs... Emettman No doubt when he sees your plan he will offer some practical advice and ways round things.

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Bufferstop
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Re: Track identification...

Postby Bufferstop » Mon Aug 13, 2018 8:55 pm

If you're planning to buy Hornby Thomas models, get in quick. Hornby haven't taken up the option to renew the Thomas licensing, so current production is likely for the last. Take a look at the American versions from Bachmann. A firm called Tootally Thomas imports them. They are better models than the Hornby modifications of old models.
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Mountain
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Re: Track identification...

Postby Mountain » Mon Aug 13, 2018 9:27 pm

I have a Hornby Thomas and his two coaches and other Thomas related items.

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Emettman
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Re: Track identification...

Postby Emettman » Mon Aug 13, 2018 11:51 pm

[quote="Buelligan"]Hi all, I've just joined as my son wants a Hornby Thomas set for Christmas, so I'm now trying to plan a layout for him.

Hello Buelligan!

I would support others in avoiding the curved points if that is feasible.
Tight curves are unavoidable in that space, and you have a workable design there.

I'm going to stick my neck out and make a couple of suggestions: do feel free to tell me to stop if I'm not being helpful.

From your design, I'd suggest:

TTE1.jpg


There are advantages in only having one return loop: it will hold a train up to 2' 6" clear of all other tracks, for one thing, and there is now room for internal sidings.
By taking the outer sidings off the outer passing loop track they can be shunted while leaving the inner and outer ovals clear to run trains (if there are three controllers!)
The outer short sidings are meant to be for locos.
Here's the parts plan for this:

TTE2.jpg


In these above the width is a very tight squeeze and it's still a struggle to get a platform inside the passing loop.
An answer to this is to put the passing loop at end, so that it takes up a bit of length, but not any width. Now there is room for a decent (curved) Island platform.

TTE3.jpg


To get that extra length the external sidings do have to come inside, but now nothing is cramped to the mm and there's room for one or more extra (shorter) sidings if wanted.

Just my thoughts,
Chris.
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Buelligan
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Re: Track identification...

Postby Buelligan » Tue Aug 14, 2018 5:06 pm

Thanks for the replies, I'll try and answer in order:

Thanks, the curved points are what I've already got though, so would save a fair few £'s and most of the engine that'll get run are my old ones, and they all (except the flying scotsman) ran ok over the curved points. I can't remember what brand the crossover piece is, but I think I have seen what you mean about the Hornby pieces, but I think they do a normal one as well now. I've got quite a few bits of flexi track which I'll try and use for the outer oval, keeping the cost down. As for the radius, I had read that radius 1 can be an issue, but I was planning on him using the inner oval for his Thomas and 2 coaches, and some troublesome trucks. With his Edward with some bigger coaches on the outer oval, (as well as my old Mallard and some even older ones that were my Dads, Duchess of Sutherland I think is one).

Is DCC the digital type of control? I think what we'll have is a DC setup, using an old Duette unit that was my dad's. What is the issue with the run round loops power? On my old layout it had 3 interconnected loops, with sidings inside and outside. Each loop had the wires from the transformer soldered to the base of the rails. So the sidings inside the inner oval were powered through the points on the inner oval. Middle oval had it's own power, and the outer oval had it's own power, and also powered the outer sidings. To go from 1 loop to another, for example inner to middle, to outer, I'd make sure the mid and outer transformers were off, open the points and use the inner tracks transformer to get the engine the outer loop, then close all the points and use the outer transformer. Then I could use the inner transformer to get another engine out of the yard. Would this not work the same with the passing loop at the bottom of my plans? Stop a train in there, close the points and use another on the other part? (I should mention that loop round is supposed to pass either side of a station platform).

Thanks, the bloke in the shop at the model railway in Mevagissey told me the same, when my son was having a meltdown because I wouldn't buy him the Thomas set they had there. But luckily my wife had already ordered a set from Amazon, for £43 delivered to our door. All checked when it got here and it works fine. He's also getting a Hornby Edward (which I think is already purchased), and some soon to be purchased troublesome trucks, from his grandparents. Also we went to a local museum when they had a Thomas day on their layout, and talking to the bloke running the trains he did recommend Tootally Thomas, and apparently it's a local comapny to us.


Thanks for those other plans, I'll have to show him, though I think he wants the cross over in the middle, he had another cheap set for his birthday and that had a loop and crossover and I think he wants to copy that. But the inside sidings do look good. The sidings on my plan were an after thought really. He'll only really need 2 sidings to put his 2 trains when the set gets put away, but I may use a mix of the designs. The loop at the bottom of my plan is hopefully where a station would just about squeeze in between the 2 tracks, so one train can stop, open the points and run a train from the other side, then stop that back at the station, close the points and run the other again. Depending on what I can achieve with the track I've got, I might go for a cut down version of 1 of your designs, and then at a later date if he still wants it, add in the cross over.

If I take a photo make a note of what track I've got would you be able to help me figure out exactly what I can do for minimal cost? I think it's going to cost me about £40 to make the base board on wheels.

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Emettman
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Re: Track identification...

Postby Emettman » Tue Aug 14, 2018 7:37 pm

Information above absorbed, I think. I'll take it in order.

" the curved points are what I've already got "
I've worked them into the last sketch, but had to flip it as you only showed one right-hand curved point.
I thought I could use them on the end passing loop but they make the curves horrible.
** Even as it is the outer loop of the outer track has have some R1** Only the inner path of the outer oval is completely R2.
Taking more space for the station to get R2 on both tracks doesn't leave enough room for the return loop.

Even Edward with full size coaches is big, here.

" using an old Duette unit that was my dad's. What is the issue with the run round loops power? "
If the return loop is always used in the same direction it can be worked automatically using four diodes
The train enters the blue section, stops, the controller direction is reversed and the train moves off in the same direction as before on the blue, but is now aligned for the other direction for the inner oval. An on/off switch for this section would be useful if more trains might be acquired.

The swapping tracks by using "one controller dead" and the points as switches works, as long as nothing is forgotten.
The alternative is to have the yellow section of the track on my sketches switchable (1 DPDT) so it can be assigned to either the inner or outer controller, but never to both. The outer section has it for crossover moves, but the rest of the time it's part of the inner oval.
Point switching can be used for the passing loop, but the lower right loco siding is then difficult to feed. it's probably simplest to lose it.
Otherwise section feeds as shown solves the problem. (this allows the points to be made non-isolating, which stops any issues of poor contact with the moving point blades.)

"The loop at the bottom of my plan is hopefully where a station would just about squeeze in between the 2 tracks, "
I had a try on Anyrail and the platform would be very narrow. It doesn't look as though a standard Hornby platform width would go. The proof will be on playing with the track full size.

Adjusted version, with part numbers

TTE5.jpg


Chris.
Last edited by Emettman on Wed Aug 15, 2018 2:58 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Flashbang
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Re: Track identification...

Postby Flashbang » Wed Aug 15, 2018 12:44 pm

Hi
As youre probably aware but I'll point it out, that all the plans shown above have Reverse loops. This means that a left hand rail meets a right handed rail and the result without precautions is a full short circuit!
A minimum of four insulated rail joiners (nylon fishplates) are needed to totally isolated the loops rails from the rest of the railway.
Electrically the loop needs to be longer than the longest complete train to travel over that section. i.e. a whole train - loco, wagons or carriages should fit in between the entrance and the exit IRJs. This is especially important where a reverse loop module on DCC is used. It can where length of the loop is not sufficient involve pushing the loops electrical section out beyond the points that control the loop!
How are these reverse loops to be controlled?
On DC you can use toggle switches or point motor operated DPDT switch to flip the loops rail polarity or use a bridge rectifier which can only be used for one direction running or even wire a totally separate DC train controller to the loops rails.
While on a DCC layout many users with reverse loops will opt for a fully automatic reverse loop module or use a dual frog juicer.
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Buelligan
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Re: Track identification...

Postby Buelligan » Wed Aug 15, 2018 4:12 pm

Emettman wrote:Information above absorbed, I think. I'll take it in order.

" the curved points are what I've already got "
I've worked them into the last sketch, but had to flip it as you only showed one right-hand curved point.
I thought I could use them on the end passing loop but they make the curves horrible.
** Even as it is the outer loop of the outer track has have some R1** Only the inner path of the outer oval is completely R2.
Taking more space for the station to get R2 on both tracks doesn't leave enough room for the return loop.

Even Edward with full size coaches is big, here.

" using an old Duette unit that was my dad's. What is the issue with the run round loops power? "
If the return loop is always used in the same direction it can be worked automatically using four diodes
The train enters the blue section, stops, the controller direction is reversed and the train moves off in the same direction as before on the blue, but is now aligned for the other direction for the inner oval. An on/off switch for this section would be useful if more trains might be acquired.

The swapping tracks by using "one controller dead" and the points as switches works, as long as nothing is forgotten.
The alternative is to have the yellow section of the track on my sketches switchable (1 DPDT) so it can be assigned to either the inner or outer controller, but never to both. The outer section has it for crossover moves, but the rest of the time it's part of the inner oval.
Point switching can be used for the passing loop, but the lower right loco siding is then difficult to feed. it's probably simplest to lose it.
Otherwise section feeds as shown solves the problem. (this allows the points to be made non-isolating, which stops any issues of poor contact with the moving point blades.)

"The loop at the bottom of my plan is hopefully where a station would just about squeeze in between the 2 tracks, "
I had a try on Anyrail and the platform would be very narrow. It doesn't look as though a standard Hornby platform width would go. The proof will be on playing with the track full size.

Adjusted version, with part numbers

TTE5.jpg

Chris.



Thanks, I've shown him and unfortunately he still wants 'Santa' to build him my original design, so I'll have to work on changing his mind. I'll have another measure up, I think I can get a little more width on the layout if I pull their bed out, and put something in to fill the gap between the bed and the wall to stop anything falling onto it. Might be able to get another 15cm.

Theres things he likes about both my original, and you last design:
In mine he likes the crossover, and the loop being on the straight section at the bottom.
From yours he likes the sidings being in the middle, and the short siding on the bottom corner.

So I think I'll have to go for a mix of the 2, try and keep the loop at the bottom, and make it wide enough to get a platform in the middle, and only have the 1 track going across the middle, to allow for the sidings in the middle. Going back a couple of posts, it'd be like your 1st design, but with the sidings on the other side, and move the points joining the inner and outer ovals to the other side, to allow for a station platform at the bottom, with a footbridge linking the 2 platforms. I've only got the free version of anyrail so am limited to 50 pieces of track, and its on the windows partition of my Mac so I have to shut it all down and switch over so it's not the easiest.

Flashbang wrote:Hi
As youre probably aware but I'll point it out, that all the plans shown above have Reverse loops. This means that a left hand rail meets a right handed rail and the result without precautions is a full short circuit!
A minimum of four insulated rail joiners (nylon fishplates) are needed to totally isolated the loops rails from the rest of the railway.
Electrically the loop needs to be longer than the longest complete train to travel over that section. i.e. a whole train - loco, wagons or carriages should fit in between the entrance and the exit IRJs. This is especially important where a reverse loop module on DCC is used. It can where length of the loop is not sufficient involve pushing the loops electrical section out beyond the points that control the loop!
How are these reverse loops to be controlled?
On DC you can use toggle switches or point motor operated DPDT switch to flip the loops rail polarity or use a bridge rectifier which can only be used for one direction running or even wire a totally separate DC train controller to the loops rails.
While on a DCC layout many users with reverse loops will opt for a fully automatic reverse loop module or use a dual frog juicer.


I'm sure you'll all think I'm crazy and he's too young, but he's only 3, will be 4 in February, so it all needs to be simple to operate, not too many switches. He's very good at driving his RC tank, doing the steering, turning the turret, raising and lowering the gun as well as doing the machine gun and main gun. I think the track across the centre would only really be used for changing direction, so opening the points and driving it through, then stopping, closing the point and reversing the direction on the controller should be ok for him to remember. (I'll also admit, I have no idea what a lot of that means myself, not done anything with trains since I was a child and all mine was very simple to operate. My uncle had all sorts of servo operated points and signals, he was the one for all that sort of technical stuff).

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Mountain
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Re: Track identification...

Postby Mountain » Wed Aug 15, 2018 4:24 pm

To simplify the reason for a switch and isolating sections. Each rail carries an electrical current to the train. Think of it as a positive and negative (In model railways we call them feed and return). Now with a reverse loop, the rails align themselves in such a way that the positives and negatives touch causing a direct short. The inclusion of an isolating section with a switch (One can use diodes if trains only take the loop in the one direction) will mean that one can change the polarity as the train is in the section which would otherwise cause a direct short. I hope it makes sense.
You could always form the blue track (In Emets latest plan) into two sidings instead and this would avoid the issue, but you won't be able to turn trains.
AA switch should be simple enough as one is changing points anyway. It can in theory be installed on the bottom of the points (Peco sell switches that fix to the point motors) so it may be possible to work it out in this way. (I'm not thinking clear enough at the moment to work it out...).

Buelligan
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Re: Track identification...

Postby Buelligan » Wed Aug 15, 2018 6:40 pm

Mountain wrote:To simplify the reason for a switch and isolating sections. Each rail carries an electrical current to the train. Think of it as a positive and negative (In model railways we call them feed and return). Now with a reverse loop, the rails align themselves in such a way that the positives and negatives touch causing a direct short. The inclusion of an isolating section with a switch (One can use diodes if trains only take the loop in the one direction) will mean that one can change the polarity as the train is in the section which would otherwise cause a direct short. I hope it makes sense.
You could always form the blue track (In Emets latest plan) into two sidings instead and this would avoid the issue, but you won't be able to turn trains.
AA switch should be simple enough as one is changing points anyway. It can in theory be installed on the bottom of the points (Peco sell switches that fix to the point motors) so it may be possible to work it out in this way. (I'm not thinking clear enough at the moment to work it out...).


Ah right, yea I can see the problem. Would it work it I just had it so he opened the points to go into the centre section, stop there close that point and open the point at the other end, then once through close that point and it'll just be on the oval again? Or have I once again missed an obvious flaw?

Here's a list of the track I've already got, so whatever design is done in time for Christmas will have to be possible with this (plus the track that comes with the Thomas set). It's his birthday in February so he can some track for his birthday if he wants.

4x right turn out points 2 hornby R613 2 peco setrack reg (there is another Hornby R613, but the tracks gone a bit rusty)

1x left turnout point hornby R612

1x long left turnout point peco

2x left curve points

2x right curve points

8x curve sections hornby R605

1x hornby R8073 M right turnout

2x hornby R606 short curve

5x hornby R609 long curve

3x hornby R607 medium curve

2x hornby R600 straight short

2x hornby R601 straight long

2x hornby R8206 power track

Plus about 8 lengths of flexi that are 80-100cm long, and 6 shorter pieces of flexi at various lengths

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Mountain
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Re: Track identification...

Postby Mountain » Wed Aug 15, 2018 7:09 pm

The normal operation is to have an extra switch that changes the polarity. One switches the first point. Drives the train in and stops it. Then one switches the switch, and then changes the second point and drives off, not forgetting to change the first point back again afterwards.
You have some nice track there. Haha its a challenge for Emettman! (Sorry Emettman. You are so good at suggesting plans and ideas that I think of your expertise whenever I come to things like this).

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Emettman
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Re: Track identification...

Postby Emettman » Thu Aug 16, 2018 10:59 pm

It's quite surprising what a few more inches of width will allow.

I added just 5", not 6" to the previous allowance.

All the outside tracks are now R2 or better and the curved points have some natural homes.

TTE6.jpg


Extra feature: the crossover between the inner and outer loops is now long enough to hold an extra shortish train while costing no extra points to do this.

Parts version:
TTE7.jpg


Looking at your list of parts, if you have more right points than left you'd want the mirror image version of this,
and in either case the short outside loco siding needs to shift to the other end of the short platform to give 2 Rt and 2 Lt curved points.
The arrangement of the sidings is flexible to a degree, so can use up one or two "wrong handed" points.

If you want to plan full size, which will need doing at some point, photocopying some extra curves and points is a quick cheat.
Is the Thomas set R2 or R3 curves?

This is probably about the best I can do.

Chris
"It's his madness that keeps him sane."

Buelligan
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Re: Track identification...

Postby Buelligan » Fri Aug 17, 2018 8:59 pm

Thanks, that layout looks great, I'll show him in the morning and see what he thinks. I'm not too sure what radius the track in the Thomas set is, I'll have to get it out again and have a look. Thanks for all your help. Now it's on to gathering the bits together to make the base board.

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Re: Track identification...

Postby Buelligan » Sat Aug 18, 2018 12:31 pm

Just had a look and the track in the Thomas set is 8 sections of R609, which I think is 3rd radius isn't it? Can I ask what program it is you're using to design the layouts?
Showed my son the final design this morning and he still wanted the original I'd done, so I was trying to persuade him otherwise, and it turned out the main sticking point of your designs is that he doesn't want the track to be orange and yellow etc, preferred the grey track in my design.


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