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John Geeee's Garden Shed

Posted: Mon Nov 13, 2006 12:18 am
by John Geeeee
Hi All

I've been lurking on here for a couple of months now and and I feel Its about time I joined in ie begged for help ;-)

After a number of years I have finally persuaded my wife to let me have half of "MY" shed for a model rail layout. This is my first layout and I have been working on it for a couple of months now building baseboards, gathering equipment, and planning the layout. The size is 8ft x 9.5 ft. With a center operating area, (the blue bit in the diagram)

I am now at that stage where I don't know what to do next, theres that many things going on in my head, if you know what I mean!

I have laid out my track design but not permanently fixed it yet. I have built my main models (stations, sheds etc) to make sure everything fits. I now think I am ready to start fixing down the track and put the wiring in place.

My question is: Looking at the rough sketch of my layout below, should I go for a 4 track controller or just a two track controller?? My thoughts on the design were that I would have two trains moving on the twin track loop whilst also being able to control a train in each of the station terminus area and the Loco depot/shunting yard. How easy is it to keep an eye on things and would it be safer going for just two track control?


Any other comments anyone may have on the general design plan would also be appreciated. If I get a favorable response I can also post some photos of my progress in the Personal Layouts section.

Thanks for looking.

Posted: Mon Nov 13, 2006 12:23 am
by Raider
Welcome to the forum John - looks like a nice track plan.

I have a feeling that if you go for the 2 track controller, you may well regret not getting the 4 track version. Another option might be to have 2 X 2 track controllers - that way it would be easier if someone else was helping you to control the layout.

Feel free to start a thread in the personal layouts section - it's always good to see new layouts.


Posted: Mon Nov 13, 2006 12:26 am
by alvinlwh
I think you can easily go for the 4 track one. Looking at your 2 main line loop, the trains shouldn't crash if you left them alone.

Posted: Mon Nov 13, 2006 7:16 am
by Spavo
Nice plan, looks very good, from experience the cost between a 4 track controller and a 2 track is not that high so probably better to go for the 4 track however.....also from experience I have enough trouble concentrating what I'm doing when shunting with just one train running continuously.....god knows what it would be like with 2!

At the end of the day though it's your layout.....whatever you think is the right decision, good luck with it and get it in the personal layouts so we can admire your efforts!

Good start!

Posted: Mon Nov 13, 2006 8:20 am
by Silver Surfer
Hi John and welcome to the forum.

What gauge are you planning on? Before worrying about controllers I would check your plans by laying out some track as your design may need altering particularly in 00. The minimum radius for 00 is usually about 2 feet as anything smaller may cause running problems.

Looking at your plan it appears the 8' dimension is top to bottom and this contains at least two curves on the left and right hand edges for the outer running lines which would take up half the available 8' width. Add to this the room for the terminus station and you haven't got much room left, which itself brings into doubt the radius of the inner running lines (ie if you're using 2' on the outside lines the inner ones would need to be a great deal less) If you use larger than 2' on the outside ones this will take up a great deal more of your 8 foot width and the station dimensions may have to suffer.

I'm not 'rubbishing' your track plan but trying to save you going through what I've just been through (I've got 10'6" x 10'6" and struggled due to over ambitious track planning). So would strongly recommend laying out some track to see just how much room these things actually take up - usually more than you think. Get the track down, buy a single controller or the twin as suggested, and then decide what extra controllers you may need.

Also, carefully check your inclines and can you gain access to repair or recover anything behind the scenic break?

Of course if you're into 'N' gauge it may work like a dream.


Posted: Mon Nov 13, 2006 8:46 am
by Dave777
I'd go for a three track one. Leave two trains circulating on the loops while you control a third. I'm not sure how you would control one train in the terminus and another in the engine shed at the same time - both would need to be watched since left unattended they would smack into something.

If it were my layout I would wire it up for cab control and have the terminus and engine shed as seperate sections - then you just flip a switch depending on which area you wish to control. I just can't see you wanting or being able to control seperate locos in the terminus and engine shed areas at the same time. The ones on the loops you can just leave circulating unattended, but for the terminus and engine shed you'll be constantly looking back from one to the other to keep an eye on them. I just think you'll give up eventually and end up moving one at a time.

Posted: Mon Nov 13, 2006 8:49 am
by Dave777
Oh, and one thing to consider with the (impressive!) trackplan - how do you get trains back to the terminus?

Posted: Mon Nov 13, 2006 3:02 pm
by Infrontcat
Oh, and one thing to consider with the (impressive!) trackplan - how do you get trains back to the terminus?

Ooh Dave, you read my mind mate :wink:

Seriously though John, it looks like a great idea in principle but I find 1:1 planning, i.e. laying it all out on the floor with the boundaries marked or on the board itself is the only way to get a true measure. If you've done that and you're happy with it, that's Jim-Dandy, but from the sketch, it does appear there is no means of reversing the trains once they ,eave the station. One solution you may consider is having a reversing siding under the scenic bit. This opens a new problem in that you then have to either run round or have another loco (perhaps from the last train you parked there) ready to bring the train back out.

Or even better (and if you have the room) put a third platform at the intermediate station and reverse the trains there. Put in a loco spur too though as it's a fair trek to the MPD! Though that's cool 'cos it means 'light-engine' diagrams aplenty! :wink:

Hope our help is useful to you matey. Good luck. And at the risk of sounding like a parrot, 'send us some pictures'... 'cos we like piccies on here :)



Posted: Mon Nov 13, 2006 3:04 pm
by Infrontcat
,eave the station.

Eeeek! No edit button! Now everyone can see that I can't type for toffee.

Oh the shame.... :oops:

Posted: Mon Nov 13, 2006 4:46 pm
by Class 60
Hi John, Welcome to the forum

Thats one hell of a track plan :D

I think the best bets is to go with the 4 track controller, it will make life easier in the long run if you did have a 2 track controller and then decide to get another 1 :)

Any other comments anyone may have on the general design plan would also be appreciated. If I get a favorable response I can also post some photos of my progress in the Personal Layouts section.

Please do !! I would love to see some pics of your layout 8)

Posted: Mon Nov 13, 2006 5:12 pm
by Danny
Wow what an excellent plan! Sorry I can't help you with how many controllers.


Posted: Mon Nov 13, 2006 5:30 pm
by Derek
That's a heck of a plan, John :shock:

For the controllers, I'd suggest buying a four track one, unless you plan to have two people operating it, when 2 two tracks would be easier (more room for the two bodies ;))

You probably should try one of the track planning programs, that would tell you if your sketch is feasable within your board limits, most peeps seem to use XTrkCad.

Posted: Mon Nov 13, 2006 7:48 pm
by John Geeeee
Wow! Thanks for all the encouraging replies much appreciated.

It sounds like the answer to the main question is "go for as much as you can". I agree Dave777 that I will probably only operate a loco in either the Terminus or the Loco shed areas one at a time. I was thinking that mainly it would be easier to have a 4 track controller from a wiring aspect. I guess I needed to know that I was not being over ambitious with level of control and didn't want to lose myself in trying to figure out how to do it all from just 2 track control.

Silver Surfer the layout is 00. The track is laid out at the moment just not fixed. I have attached some pictures below just to complete this topic. I hope know one minds me putting these in in this forum, I will post any further pics in Personal Layouts once this "design" thread is complete. I have allowed for only 3 passenger carriages and Loco for station lengths etc. I have run the trains around the layout without too many problems as yet so I think the curves are ok or I hope should be once its all pinned down.

Dave777/Infrontcat The reversing trains bit has lost me a bit :? I think my plan was to reverse push out of the terminus onto the "up" line loop and then change direction so that the loco was going forwards. On the "Down" loop I thought it was a matter of reversing the train to the terminus once I passed the crossover and pointson the right hand edge. I was planning to use mainly steam era with a little dabble into some diesel locos. I thought my main problem was going to be a lack of turntable. I thought I had sufficient manouvering room with a run round at the terminus platforms. Are you saying I should have another run round in another place as well?

My only other concern was am I trying to cram in too much track and not enough room for scenery? Now I look at the pics I see a different view and I think there is plenty of space. Although I havnt quite pictured how to do the scenery to seperate the MPD from the terminus. I was possibly planning on adding an extra 6 inches or so to the left edge just to give a bit more room for "outside" the station.

Anyway Have a look at the piccies below and see if you can spot anymore problems. I appreciate all your comments, afterall you have all been there and done it, I feel I havn't done anything yet! I know I still have to sort out the gradient a bit better. I was also thinking that I could try and squeeze in a turntable in the far corner at the top left end from the terminus, I could fit in about a 15" radius. How big is a typical turntable??




Posted: Mon Nov 13, 2006 8:04 pm
by Class 60
It looks great already 8) im sure that when you get into the scenery side of it, it will look fantastic :)

Posted: Mon Nov 13, 2006 8:07 pm
by Raider
Looks like a decent amount of space you have there - the track doesn't seem overly cramped from the photos.

If you want to go with just 3 controllers you could have a switch which swaps control from 1 area to another so that you can only control trains on the 2 loops and either the shunting or other area.