New member, working on a 5x10

Discussion in 'N Scale' started by brianmcgaha, Jan 14, 2010.

  1. brianmcgaha

    brianmcgaha New Member

    Hello trainboarders, I have been lurking for a month or two now, thinking about getting into model railroading. My dad and I built a HO 4x8 layout with Tyco stuff when I was 8-10 years old and because of the fact that I have a 3year old daughter now Iam considering getting into it again for her sake. ;)
    I have been working on the layout below for about a month now. I plan to do it in HO. I have read all of the pros and cons (mostly cons) of doing these rectangle type layouts but here is my rationale. I have a complex of 3 garages connected by a smooth driveway. If my layout had wheels I could move it between any of these garages based on the needs occupying the garage at anytime. Also, I could always reserve the option to move it out into the driveway on nice days or when messy work needs to be done. I plan to make the table top with levelers so that I can level the table out per location. It seems anything but a rectangle layout wouldnt work well on wheels. My concern is based on some members pointing to expansion and contraction damage on their layouts from extreme temps. These garages can be heated but I would only like to heat them temporarily and not full time. I do have the space and the option to move the layout indoors over the winter, although legs would be removable, it would have to be tipped on its side through doorways.
    I would appreciate some critique on the layout.
    Some explanation:
    The scene will be fictional but will be based on the Pacific NW, lots of trees, etc. I plan to run a freight train at first then add a passenger train and a trolley in the future. The tolley line is what you see running through "town", and has not had much thought yet.
    The "yard" at the bottom is 2'x5' and catilevers off the main table 8". I would like the yard to be 4" off the main table height. The rectangle in the center of the yard is a "view down" to the tracks below with railings around it. I didnt want to go with a full blown yard as there just isnt the space to work with, and I would like to see this whole thing become a module for a larger layout (with a real yard) in the future. The back of the yard closest to town will be building facades and have some sort of scenic divider (buildings tops viewed from both sides?) that is still low enough you can see the yard from the other side of the table over it. I could use some help on setting up the switching in the yard for the best return on investment, and considering moving the loco building over to the left corner with the "X".
    As far as the main track, going to the right out of the yard through the tunnel, that curve is 22", the rest are 24", It does a double loop. The switch on the left entering the yard is a Walthers 24"/22" curved switch which I believe is a code 83 so I think Iam stuck with code 83 track. Iam seriously considering the WS foam roadbed. The only thing I really question is my grades, I have not put a lot of thought in it yet but I think they are doable at a glance with just over a 3% grade maximum.
    I would like to tackle handbuilding the trestle which is going to be about 3' long. Iam a residential framing contractor by trade, and currently a general contractor specializing in remodel work so supplies and benchwork shouldnt be an issue. You can see the industries labeled, where the ? is Iam considering something to do with gas or oil as I would like to run tankers in my train. I plan to purchase a DCC system (NCE powercab?) not long after the track starts getting laid. I have considered the yard track closest to the bottom edge of the yard as a programming track.
    Anyways, any help or suggestions would be appreciated. Iam really ready to start my bench work immediately and I think some of the finer details will be worked out as I start the table. I have ordered Atlas's track templates. I think I might want to set all of my switches then fill in with flex track exclusively to cut down on rail joints. Is there a reason why I shouldnt go this route?
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 14, 2010
  2. mtaylor

    mtaylor Staff Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

  3. mucols

    mucols TrainBoard Member

    Well Hello and welcome aboard! I'm just getting back into the hobby as well and starting my [roughly] 12'x4' N-Scale layout. I like how yours has the overlapping loops - that should look like a really nice effect. Your choice of locations to model is excellent (of course I'm biased by growing up in the Pacific Northwest).

    How did you decide to make the benchwork? I made mine out of L-girders with a plywood top and planned on using foam to make my grades and such - now I'm regretting that because it's sure getting heavy quickly and we might have to move soon!

    Have fun with the new layout.
  4. Triplex

    Triplex TrainBoard Member


    I don't think your layout plan will work as shown. You haven't allowed nearly enough space for switches.
  5. brianmcgaha

    brianmcgaha New Member

    Thanks for the links, I see there is a cause for concern. I think this is a good reason to use the foam road bed glued down with track glued on top of it and a heavy ballast.

    The benchwork will be a combination of masonite top, and a L-girder type system to create the grades. My main concern for the table is a simple leveling system.

    Thanks for the warm welcome and keep the comments coming.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 14, 2010
  6. brianmcgaha

    brianmcgaha New Member

    I was afraid of this comment as I have seen it repetitively. Its tough to get the angles and lengths down on paper. Iam a visual guy thats why I ordered the atlas templates. I think I will build the table and lay it all out with the templates and a compass. Hopefully I dont have to make to many adjustments.
    Is there templates out there for the curved turnouts?
    Does anyone have much experience with curved turnouts, are the Walthers good or should I be looking at another brand?
  7. brianmcgaha

    brianmcgaha New Member

    Well I threw the table together today here are some pics....

    Iam pretty happy with the way this turned out. The coolest thing is the levelers. As most people know, garage floors are not level and based on how close to 3%+ the grades are going to be I figured it had to be level based on location. The table can also be adjusted from about 33" to about 38" high. In the last pic you can see the allthread. I can either lock the table down to the legs or leave it so it can be lifted off at any time.
    I also installed locking caster wheels. I plan to build a couple of long short benches that will store on the platform below so my daughter and her friends can get their eyes above the edge of the table. I think I will also mount some handles on the sides so they can hold on to the table and stabilize themselves without touching the top of the table. I did forget to add holes in the joists for wire routing but I can add that at a later time.
    After these pics I sheeted the top with plywood. I plan to paint the top white temporarily to aid in layout clarity. I also ordered a Walthers curved turnout (for layout purposes) and a couple buildings I might want to use on the layout but most importantly to get a sense of scale.
    This is getting fun. BTW, I only have $38 into this table. ;)
  8. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 Administrator Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

    Welcome to TrainBoard!

    That framework certainly looks plenty sturdy. With the top on, it's probably rock solid.

    Please post some photos, as you get the track planning worked out, and start laying it.

    Boxcab E50
  9. SackOHammers

    SackOHammers TrainBoard Member

    Each person sort of has their own 'best way' of figuring out how to get your layout from your mind to reality. I tried a few things before I figured out what worked best for me. You mentioned you are going to use atlas templates and lay them out and see what you can fit together. I can appreciate the hands on approach. You may also consider using free software like Xtrkcad. Takes a little getting used to, but the templates are already there and you can quickly move things around in there and find out what will work and what will not. You can also quickly switch between different manufacturer's templates. I found that I could get what I wanted by using the Peco turnouts... the layout just wouldn't work in the space I wanted with Atlas turnouts. With the software it was easy for me to figure that out. So, you might want to try that out before spending money on templates from more than one manufacturer. But, I also realize that not everyone is comfortable using software and a hands on approach is easier.

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