Layout Design general discussion

traingeekboy Jan 2, 2019

  1. Rockytop

    Rockytop New Member

    I have enjoyed reading this thread and it confirmed my observation that we don't have to aspire to the big, super-detailed layouts to fully enjoy the hobby. I just sat through the layout design special interest group Zoom meeting a week or 2 ago and it was interesting that the conclusion of most presenters was they needed to buy a bigger house. Almost all of them said that at the end of their presentation.

    It's the design and build process that's important for most of us whether it's a large or small layout. We set our own requirements for a design and go from there. It's good to know and understand some basics of operations and yard requirements and work with them along with our own requirements. I have found the writings of John Armstrong to be most interesting and inspiring.

    As for me, I'm working with Z scale here initially on a 2' x 4' board. I played around with N scale a long time ago, but the Z scale is a fascinating challenge. The plan is to learn DCC and all that goes with that. Who knows where this will lead.

    Thanks for starting this thread. It's been very interesting to read.
    Chops and logging loco like this.
  2. Mudkip Orange

    Mudkip Orange TrainBoard Member

    Missed this thread the first couple times.

    I think part of the appeal of streamliners and commuter trains for me is precisely that they don't switch. Maybe you split a train apart at Spokane or San Antonio. But that happens once on a two- or three-day schedule, so you don't have to model it if you don't want to. Interurban/EMU ops are even simpler since a train join/split is just coupling one into the back of the other.

    Of course, if you you're not switching, "trains should only run through the same scene once" - which was MR orthodoxy by the mid-90's - yields a layout which is 90% switching. I tend to prefer bowl-of-spaghetti type plans, which works since pretty much any area with dense commuter rail ops has trains crossing under and over each other, whether we're talking Chicago or Berlin or Kyoto.

    Z on a 2x4 sounds fun.
    BigJake likes this.
  3. BigJake

    BigJake TrainBoard Member

    I like watching trains run, but I also like switching cars, whether in a yard, or at an industry.

    I like terrain working with trackage, and vice versa.

    I'd like a large room-filling layout, but I don't have room for even a small, around-the-walls layout.

    So I'm compromising with an N scale spaghetti bowl layout, in the form of a folded dog-bone, on a hollow core door. In that space, I'm working in a mainline loop, with an industrial district and a small interchange yard. The shank of the bone provides for double-track meets/passes, and crossovers allow reverse-running while consuming no additional space. Grade level crossings and some shared trackage add more operational interest.

    On a side note, I highly recommend John Armstrong's book "Track Planning for Realistic Operation". If you are not familiar with railroad operations, it is an eye-opener, and has tons guidance for modelling operational features, while not getting too wrapped up in specific industries.
    Mark Ricci likes this.
  4. Chops

    Chops TrainBoard Member

    DCC fits into Z?? When did that happen?? The next great thing will be Tn3. Or maybe 1:900, or why stop there? 1:1800. Build your next layout on a grain of rice!
  5. Rockytop

    Rockytop New Member

    Almost there. This is on the order of 1:900.
    Penner likes this.
  6. logging loco

    logging loco TrainBoard Member

    Great discussion going on here.
    In the late 90's early 2000's I was convinced I wanted to build a full basement size N scale layout. I was divorced and had just bought my first home. I spent a year developing and drawing a track plan, and purchasing the kits for the major structures.
    If I had started that layout I would have never moved from that house. That neighborhood is no longer a place I would like to live. I'm glad I didn't build that layout.

    That was four household moves ago. Now I've been married fifteen years and retired. I also have other hobbies and interests that require space and time. Model railroading has been put on and off hold a few time over the years.

    I'm currently working on a hollow core door layout that gives me some switching operations and continuous run ability.

    While not a micro layout I'm still able to stand the layout on end and use the surface under the layout as work surface for other hobbies.

    At our current house my hobby room is approximately 7½'x15', a little bigger than a closet. It's a corner room on the second floor with two windows. It's nice being out of the basement. Having a small layout it will be nice to work on it outside on sunny days.

    For all of the above, I'm sold on small layouts for my situation.
    Mark Ricci, BigJake and traingeekboy like this.
  7. sd90ns

    sd90ns TrainBoard Member

    My layout can be thought of as a massive switching layout that just happens to have a pretty decent "Mainline" running through it, which chiefly serves the function of moving a set of cars between one switching region or another where the various and sundry B&I's are located.

    If you think about, it real railroads only exist to move products A,B & C from points D, E & F to locals G, H & I so I made an attempt to have a lot, a whole lot, of businesses and industries that serve one another in one manner or another.
    Included are a couple of interchange tracks and a "Rail-to-Sea" ferry apron.

    It is a very crowded layout that fills a 12x12 apx. bedroom including a small closet that allows for some really interesting trackwork.
    And don't think that didn't take a minute to figure out all the angles and dimensions.

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