Home layout doing double duty

txronharris May 26, 2020

  1. txronharris

    txronharris TrainBoard Member

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    I know as model railroaders we plan, draw, plan, draw, trash, plan, draw, and plan some more when we plan a layout. Sometimes I think the excitement of planning actually takes over and becomes almost as big a part of the journey as operating.

    So in that train of thought (yes, that was intended ;) ), I've been thinking about my home layout. I've settled on a shelf style and have two eight foot walls that I can now utilize for an "L" shaped switching layout. But I also like FreemoN and while we don't have a group here in DFW, I think having the opportunity to be a part of a large group of guys that travel to a show and get together and to make an awesome layout would be great.

    So I decided to apply the design parameters of making sure the layout has the proper width (it can be 24 to 26" wide) and am making it in 4ft portable sections that are wired to FreemoN standards. I'm thinking I'm going to use shelf style supports around the area to hold the layout and put it at the operating height I want, and will probably use some type of removable return loop on the ends if I want to do continuous runs.

    Have any of you done something like this? I think the ability to use the elements of modular railroading from either TTrak, NTrak, or FreemoN and incorporate them into a home layout makes sense. That way your modules don't just sit around between shows. Interested in your thoughts.
     
    wpsnts, nscalestation and gmorider like this.
  2. nscalestation

    nscalestation TrainBoard Supporter

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    Yes, I did something like this with a pair of Ntrak modules incorporated into a home layout between 1997 and 2001. My experience with this setup was mixed and I'll explain:

    • I never liked the seams that were between the modules and the other sections of the layout or the 13 connecting tracks that were needed to connect the modules into the layout. Of course with the FreemoN standard you don't need to deal with the connecting tracks and I think if you are planning the layout and modules together you will come up with a better design with fewer connections than I had with the modules already existing and trying to built the rest of the layout around them.
    • My Ntrak module were older 2 x 4 foot ones that were rather heavy and as I started to have back problems in my early 40's I was really having problems getting them in and out of the layout. These modules are still around and used in Ntrak setups after having been rebuilt to make them easier for me to handle.
    • On the positive side it was great to have the modules up all the time and work on them between Ntrak setups.

    Overall I think you could make this work well for you, just keep the modules light enough to get in and out of the layout easily. You will have modules that are well proven and be ready when there is a FreemoN layout that you can take them to.

    Here is a link to the layout I had with the pair of Ntrak modules as part of it:

    http://palisadecanyonrr.blogspot.com/p/previous-layout-los-angeles.html
     

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