First Layout Goofs to Avoid

Sven Sep 16, 2001

  1. Sven

    Sven New Member

    JohnC's post about his foamboard melting because he used epoxy liquid nails (instead of latex) points out the errors we all have made when planning and building a new layout.
    Maybe this would be a good time to share similar stories of our own goofs in hopes to help others avoid them.
    For me, it was using an old kitchen table as my 4x6 benchwork.
    The table was (and I say was)about 3x4, and I laid a piece of 3/4", 4x6 plywood for a flat layout.
    It worked great! It was easy as well to drill through the formica top to thread the wires, etc.
    I had just finished soldering the last turnout wiring, had everything connected, and after perfect tests throughout the process, was ready to start the scenics.
    It only took a small bumping into the table when the legs collapsed, the plywood shifted, and most every piece of wiring was ripped out.
    Two weeks work down the drain, but a lesson well learned.
    An elephant could dance on the current table, and as I start my third layout using L girders, you can bet it will be done right.
    So, what happened to YOU?
    God Bless America!
  2. Alan

    Alan Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

    Hello Sven, a warm welcome to Traimboard, and especially the N scale forum :D

    My goofs are so long ago, I cannot remember what they were, but I surely must have made some - all part of the learning curve [​IMG] In those days we did not have the internet and sites like this to warn us of possible problems!
  3. JohnC

    JohnC TrainBoard Member


    I could add another one!

    Don't wire it all at once either. Powered up a very, very large N-Scale layout, and then there was a POP. I blew up an MRC controller! I had crossed the common wire somewhere! It took me hours to find the problem even with a DVM and a light.

    My current layout, would you believe, had no wiring problems as I wire one block at a time and tested each one as I went along.

    Hopefully we learn from our mistakes.

  4. porkypine52

    porkypine52 TrainBoard Member

    Mistakes on the layout!?! We don't have enough page space for me to go on.
    Don't try to do too much too fast. Stop take a deep breath and have a couple of your modelling buddies look over your SUPER SIZE, KNOCK 'EM DEAD, LETS FILL THE BASEMENT, layout plans. They will always note something that needs to be changed. Remember that once you build this one of a kind layout, you will have to maintain it. Wiring diagrams, track plans, etc. don't lose them.
    Don't use the same size turnouts everwhere. I don't use #4 turnouts anyplace except one or two industrial interior sidings, NEVER on the main line, secondary lines or yard tracks. I use #6 turnouts in the place of #4 turnouts because #4 turnouts are just two sharp for most applications.
    Use FLEX TRACK, not sectional track. Trackage will flow a lot smoother, you will have less problems with rail joiners, and power feed will be better also.
    Don't get the idea that the layout is finished. It never is, ask your wife and she will tell you this also. So sit back, take you time and do what you want to, when you want to do it. After all it is YOUR layout, and do it your way.

    'Nuff Said
  5. sillystringtheory

    sillystringtheory TrainBoard Member

    Before closing in my helix area on my layout, I bought a Walthers double stack car and two containers to make sure there was plenty of overhead clearance as the helix winds under several uprights and cross braces. Much to my surprise one day (years later), I had a major pile-up in my helix area only to find that not all containers are the same height (OOPS!). :mad: Needless to say, I had to get in to that same area that had been long ago closed in with a moto-tool and grind extra clearance into the cross braces and such. :cool:
  6. dmurphy

    dmurphy TrainBoard Member

    Boy, I made many mistakes and continue to do so - but they're all learning experiences - albeit expensive ones sometimes. I inadvertently stored some cars next to a hot water pipe where the radiated heat melted them. I worked mightily to rework track where cars were consistently derailing only to find out the track was fine - the rolling stock wheels were out of gauge. I set up a Rube Goldberg powerpack arrangements - with trainset powerpacks running accessories and wires and cords running every which way only to trip over one and rip 'em all out. Skipped putting in carpet or fixing up the basement before putting together this small layout and promptly dropped an engine on the concrete floor.


Share This Page