Another first time 8 by 4

Post your design ideas for any layout that you are planning to build in the future. Keep members up-to-date with your designs and future plans for your layout.
UrbanHermit
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Another first time 8 by 4

Postby UrbanHermit » Fri Sep 19, 2008 1:17 pm

May I present my first real-life (as opposed to daydreaming!) layout plan for your comments and evaluation?

A bit of background might be useful to explain why the plan is the way it is. I’ve been wanting to do a bit of railway modelling for years, and now in my middle age I’ve finally found an excuse in my 23 year-old autistic son’s love of trains (Wonder where he got that from?), when I cunningly suggested he might like a train set for his birthday. He chose the Hornby Pendolino set, which wouldn’t have been my choice, but at least it comes complete with DCC.

The first thing I did was build a 6 by 4 baseboard (that trackmat isn’t really a serious option), buy the next track pack and expand it to a double oval with a couple of small sidings. The Hornby Terrier I got second-hand at Jane’s Trains in Tooting can chug round the inner oval and do a bit of basic shunting while the Pendolino whooshes round the outer oval. But we’ve still got little more than a train set, and it would be nice to move up to something more like a proper layout.

Now it’s finally come down to designing a layout with a view to actually building it, I’ve had several design constraints to deal with. They are:
A: Space;
B: The need to cater for my son’s tastes. He likes to watch the trains go;
C: Having to make the layout suitable for the Pendolino.

A: Space. I think most of us know this one. In my case the only possible place for a layout is on the dining table, and it can’t hinge down from the wall because there is a window in the way. It has to be lifted on and off the table and carried into the hall for storage. Realistically the maximum size for this is what we’ve already got, 6 by 4, but the length and speed of the Pendolino dwarf a layout of this size. The board I bought was 8 by 4, so I have a 2 by 4 piece left over. I decided to move up to 8 by 4 by means of a detachable extension.

B: So that my son can watch the trains go, a continuous run is essential, preferably double-tracked so that I can take advantage of DCC and do something else at the same time. I quite like watching the trains go too, but I’d also like to be able to do other things. I decided to try and work in a station, a goods yard and an engine shed.

C: The Pendolino will not go round first radius curves, and isn’t even very happy on second radius, so first radius curves are relegated to the goods yard. The length of the Pendolino’s carriages and the massive overhangs at each end preclude building a station on a curve, as the clearances demanded would push the platform edges ludicrously far from the tracks. The station has to be straight, and (with the Pendolino in mind again) the platforms as long as possible.

I considered the possibility of turning the detachable 2 by 4 section end-on to make a sort of fat L-shape, and having a terminus on it, but by the time you’ve provided a run-round loop for terminating engines that’s nearly half of your platform space gone in pointwork, and also we’re still stuck with that short 6 by 4 oval. I settled on the plain 8 by 4 rectangle with a two-road through station, possibly with a short bay platform.

I’m proposing to use sectional track, because as a beginner I don’t feel quite ready yet to move up to flexitrack (unless you can persuade me different!).

Anyway, here is the plan. I would have liked to use third and fourth radius curves for the main line (there is just room), but then I couldn’t have had crossovers at each end of the station for engines to run round their trains and to provide access to the good yard from both lines, since the only curved points on the market are for second and third radius curves, and there’s no room for crossovers on the straight. The long siding at the left hand end is intended as a sort of minimalist fiddle yard, a place to park stock not in use.

As a matter of possible interest, I did this plan to scale on MS Paint, taking dimensions from Hornby’s track geometry diagram and using a scale of four pixels to the centimetre. This is a reduction.
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UrbanHermit
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Re: Another first time 8 by 4

Postby UrbanHermit » Mon Oct 13, 2008 12:24 am

Well, I guess the lack of any reaction to my plan either means that I've got it right, or that it's too boring to be worth commenting on. Not sure which...

Undeterred, I've made a couple of alterations. The first is adding a facing crossover to the "busy" end of the station, the idea being to make it easier for trains on the outer oval to reach the goods yard. The second is extending that long "parking" siding into a loop, (a) to give more room for parked stock and (b) because it's more fun that way, giving the possibility of an alternative route around the baseboard.

I do wonder if I haven't gone a bit overboard on the MPD, and whether I should cut it down a bit so there's more room for scenery and even a tunnel in the top left corner.
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S_Jay
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Re: Another first time 8 by 4

Postby S_Jay » Mon Oct 13, 2008 1:52 pm

Has no one answered? That's because it looks great, with plenty of scope for operation and shunting :)

As a compromise plan it works well. One thing to note is that my son started out wanting an oval of track, but once I added sidings and started to use it more as a shunting layout, he pretty quickly got bored of tail chasing and wanted to shunt trucks :)

So don't give up hope of having a shunting layout yet!
My Layout, My world, My rules, if that's ok?
My layout with no progress http://www.newrailwaymodellers.co.uk/Forums/viewtopic.php?t=14866
My other layout with progress http://www.newrailwaymodellers.co.uk/Forums/viewtopic.php?f=22&t=18394

UrbanHermit
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Re: Another first time 8 by 4

Postby UrbanHermit » Mon Oct 13, 2008 9:16 pm

Thanks for your kind and encouraging comments.

Compromise? Well, yes, nearly all railway modelling is a compromise in one way or another, isn't it? Unless you're into ProtoFour or something like that - but that sort of thing doesn't really have a place in a site intended for new railway modellers.

Oh yes, I've just read on another thread that the engine shed at Guildford was right up against a tunnel, so what's to stop mine being too? That's that problem solved.

OK. Suitably encouraged, now I'll have to see if I can't actually get round to building the damn thing.
"I fell out of favour with heaven somewhere, and I'm here for the hell of it now." (Kirsty MacColl)

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barks
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Re: Another first time 8 by 4

Postby barks » Sun Oct 26, 2008 7:16 pm

hi,

looks great,
if it were mine i would rather a nice train waiting in a station than on a side track, i would loop around the bottom station and reverse the top siding as the outer is normally clockwise and run it to top right then you can move goods from the middle to top right.

regards
barks :D
My Layout so far...

UrbanHermit
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Re: Another first time 8 by 4

Postby UrbanHermit » Wed Oct 29, 2008 11:08 am

barks,

Thanks for the encouraging comments. Your own layout looks pretty spectacular. I didn't feel up to multiple levels on my first attempt, especially as the layout is going to have to be put onto and taken down from the dining table!

Your idea for the outside loop is nice, but the reasons it's the way it is are:
(a) the right two feet of the baseboard will be detachable, as denoted by the purple line in the plan (too big to carry otherwise), and I don't really want any more tracks crossing the break than necessary;
(b) a third platform road along the outside of the station would be right off the edge of the baseboard! There just isn't room without using smaller radius curves for the main line, which i don't want to do.

At some stage I'd like to put a tunnel in the top left corner, and with this scenic break and a bit of imagination, use the loop for a number of different purposes as the fit takes me:
(1) a place to park stock;
(2) an alternative route round the layout;
(3) a branch line vanishing "beyond the tunnel";
(4) a place for carriages to hauled from some carriage sidings, also "beyond the tunnel".
"I fell out of favour with heaven somewhere, and I'm here for the hell of it now." (Kirsty MacColl)

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barks
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Re: Another first time 8 by 4

Postby barks » Wed Oct 29, 2008 11:30 pm

ok,
sorry it looked to me like the grey box was the base board size..
a good thing about a detachable board there is that in the future you could easily make a new bigger detachable board :wink:

thanks for you comments, my layout is just crazy :D

regards
barks
My Layout so far...

thewaiter
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Re: Another first time 8 by 4

Postby thewaiter » Thu Jan 08, 2009 3:04 pm

Urban,

As a newbie myself who bought his son a Pendolino set for Christmas I wanted to know how the layout is progressing ? I have a 6*4 board at the moment but the Pendolino needs something larger ..... :lol:


Kevin

UrbanHermit
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Re: Another first time 8 by 4

Postby UrbanHermit » Tue Jan 13, 2009 8:32 pm

Hi, thewaiter.

Sorry for the tardy reply, but I thought my old thread had died the death and hadn’t checked back for a while.

Well, I’ve got Stage 1 of the track down (that is, less the MPD and some of the sidings, which are waiting on when funds allow), and it’s nice to have a bit more room for the Pendolino to stretch its legs, or maybe I should say its wheels. It does look better on the larger layout.

I haven’t wired it properly yet, so we’re still running on train set electrics, plugging in via the Hornby connecting track. Despite what they say, it does work, though not perfectly. The Pendolino is very sensitive to dead spots, and coughs and splutters on places that my little Terrier sails over without noticing. I’ll have to get that wiring done!

I think the station platforms are, regrettably, going to have to be a little shorter than shown in the plan. That overhang on the Pendolino sweeps out a really wide arc on curves. We have a Metcalfe custom platform kit, so we can make them whatever size we like.

If you’re thinking of doing something similar, I should warn you that the curved crossovers, though they look great and can be traversed at quite high speeds, are not as simple as they might look. May I modestly (Ahem!) direct you to my thread that shows exactly how they’re done?

viewtopic.php?f=15&t=19526

People have reported problems with derailments on Hornby curved points, so Peco ones are recommended.
"I fell out of favour with heaven somewhere, and I'm here for the hell of it now." (Kirsty MacColl)

thewaiter
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Re: Another first time 8 by 4

Postby thewaiter » Wed Jan 14, 2009 8:47 am

Urban,

great to hear back from you, I recognise a couple of pproblems you refer to.. dead spots especially going slow across the Honrby points, the Pendolino sometimes stops on the plastic bit :evil: very annoying. I have also had derailments ...... what I hope to do is get a bigger board have the Pendolino running on the outside and have a shunting yard on the inside, I love the BR blues !!... i have looked at loads of layouts and I'm trying to formulate a plan.

I'll take a look at the other thread


all the best

Kevin

UrbanHermit
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Re: Another first time 8 by 4

Postby UrbanHermit » Sat Jan 17, 2009 8:44 pm

That's very similar to what I wanted, though I'm a steam man myself. If you want a bigger shunting yard than I was able to work in (and I tried hard, believe me!), you could put it where I've put my steam engine shed.
"I fell out of favour with heaven somewhere, and I'm here for the hell of it now." (Kirsty MacColl)


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