My Very First Layout, Ever!

CNE1899 Dec 19, 2020

  1. CNE1899

    CNE1899 TrainBoard Member

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    Okay,
    Here I go, I am starting my very first layout. I have never done a layout of any kind or scale.

    I have looked into many sites, read old Z-Track publications that my dad had collected and some "Starting In Z Scale" print outs he gave me as well.

    I have also checked out the "Guide To Z scale" site and the "Do It Yourself Z Scale" site.

    I want to do a Micro-Mini layout so I can focus on all the aspects of the layout equally, trackage, scenery, rolling stock, power, etc. This might also help me to finish it.

    The layout will be based on the Branford Steam Railroad, around 1915-1925.

    The BSRR runs from the New Haven Trap Rock quarry down to the Sound at Juniper Point, where there is a marine terminal for loading barges. In between there is a yard and interchange with the NY,NH&H. I will focus on steam with the possibility of a 44 Conner in the future(shortpainter).

    Below are three ideas I have for layouts. The first two I have all the turnouts for.

    I am looking for your thoughts and constructive criticism.

    Scott
    BSRR01.jpg BSRR02.jpg BSRR03.jpg
     
    Last edited: Dec 19, 2020
  2. JoeS

    JoeS TrainBoard Member

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    I’m a fan of continuous running so I like the first two. The second looks like it has potential to expand as well.
     
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  3. tjdreams

    tjdreams TrainBoard Member

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    One thing to keep in mind while designing your track plan is which Locomotives you intend to use and the minimum radius that they can run on. Some Locomotives will struggle or even de-rail trying to navigate the tight 145mm radius of Marklins 8510 sectional track.

    Generally speaking unless your only planning to use the shortest locomotives like Marklin' 0-6-0 switcher or the Rokuhan shorty you should always use the largest radius track you can.
     
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  4. Zscaleplanet

    Zscaleplanet TrainBoard Supporter

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    Scott,
    I'd infuse a few loops into the lower plan for continuous running, as JoeS also recommended. Rest assured, you'll grow bored quickly with the top two plans.

    Also, you might consider building small scenes on your layout that represent the Branford Steam Railroad, and then in other areas of the layout, let your imagination allow for other scenes that may or may not have existed along the route. Say, a small industrial area from that demonstrating that same era, or a cluster of homes, etc.

    Just my $0.02 worth of opinion.

    Lance
     
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  5. CNE1899

    CNE1899 TrainBoard Member

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    Joe,
    I like the first two for their simplicity and small foot print 24"x24". I wanted my first layout to be completed. But as Lance pointed out, it might get old.

    David, I will be running only 0-4-0 saddle tanks and maybe a 44 tanner. That is all that was run on the prototype I am basing this on. I will keep that in mind for my next layout though.

    Lance,
    One of the reasons I included the third layout, is the locos on the BSRR are run down the line forward, but come back in reverse.
    It is actually closer to the prototype than the two loops.
    I do like your ideas of adding some other areas of interest.

    Thanks everyone.
    Scott
     
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  6. mdvholland

    mdvholland TrainBoard Member

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    Scott, your first two plans combine continuous running with point to point so that is a nice combination. I agree with the others, in Z you’ll want a runaround when you get irritated with limited functionality / reliability for switching on the inch..

    What they lack is a siding (or two) so you can run two (or three) trains, which will greatly enhance the fun. Add a switch in adverse direction at each point and you can do a little switching, “parking” a freight car at a warehouse for example.

    Also, a more rectangular layout allows for some more scenery and more view blocks, thus creating a more interesting layout.

    You may want to check out Steffen’s “Newcomer layout”(https://www.trainboard.com/highball/index.php?threads/newcomer-layout.89953/), which is I think a very clever design.

    0,5 (euro) cents...
    Matt
     
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  7. ubiminor

    ubiminor TrainBoard Member

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    Dear Scott,
    please consider going modular. The advantages being that:
    1. you can start very easy with an oval with sidings on the straight sides and then grow in complexity as much as you want/can
    2. you can concentrate on each module and finish that (it is a great accomplishment that is achieved in shorter time)
    3. each module will benefit of the experience and skills you have developed in making the previous ones
    4. you can have a simple layout and then expand it, without losing you previous work
    5. you can 'retire' modules when you realise their not up to your current level
    6. modules are flexible in space occupancy
    7. you can collaborate with your fellow modellers and play together
    Unless one wants to develop a fairly complex mountain scenery, modular layouts have so many advantages w.r.t. monolithic layouts.
    Ciao
    G.
     
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  8. Joe Lovett

    Joe Lovett TrainBoard Member

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    Scott, I think ubiminor is correct about having your layout in modules. My N scale Boston Mountains Sub Division layout will have 12 modules that are 12 inches wide and 32 to 58 inches long. I added scenery as built each one so it shows progress pretty fast. So far have 8 modules in various stages of completion.

    Joe
     
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  9. CNE1899

    CNE1899 TrainBoard Member

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    Everyone,

    Thanks for the input. You all have given me layout ideas to consider. I am making changes to some of my layout plans in the evening.
    I am leaning towards a variation of the third layout. It allows me to grow and to use a cartridge to load
    stock from the interchange.
    I am merely using the BRSS as a basis for my RR, which will be a part of the rock company. I am thinking of calling the company, A. Small Rock Co. So the letters might be A.S.R.C.R.R.
    I've included a map from a 1964 MR article on the BSRR. You can see what I am trying to mimic while condensing the layout.
    In the meantime I have labeled the initial three layouts so you have a clearer idea of the function of my RR.

    NHTRC_Map.jpg
    BRSS01.jpg
    BRSS02.jpg BRSS03.jpg
     
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  10. CNE1899

    CNE1899 TrainBoard Member

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    Ubiminor, Joe,

    I like the modular suggestions. Do either of you have a particular idea for this layout?
     
  11. Joe Lovett

    Joe Lovett TrainBoard Member

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    How much room do you have for your layout?

    Joe
     
  12. CNE1899

    CNE1899 TrainBoard Member

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    Joe,
    None right now. Not sure when space will be available. That is why I was trying to work with a small footprint.
    I wanted to make the layout stowable.
    Scott
     
  13. ubiminor

    ubiminor TrainBoard Member

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    Dear Scott,
    If I were you I would start with the smallest layout that allows running trains and doing some little switching.
    I would also avoid switches on the curves. They give always problems.
    So an oval with one siding.
    I would also break the monotony of the oval with a diameter change
    Finally as my preference is for single track layouts I would use the general recipe of the TTZ and populate it with just one track for some of the modules.
    (it is always possible to add the second line later on)
    Anyway, with the above in mind, if I were to start a new layout for the first time this is what I would do (using Rokuhan track):
    Screenshot 2020-12-28 at 18.00.26.png
    I could start with the eight modules (1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8) or just with the first 6.
    Modules 2, 4 6, 7 are fully populated so I could bring them to TTZ gatherings and have fun with other TTZ fellows without compatibility issues.
    I'll be happy that the layout fits a kitchen table (being just 640 x 1300 mmˆ2) and when disassembled it just stacks up in a volume of 320 x 440 x 560 mmˆ3 (W x L x H) which is about the size of a trolley suitcase.
    Finally if I had some spare dollar I could replace the four switches with 2 double crossover switches (R078) so to have full reversibility.
     
    Last edited: Dec 28, 2020
  14. CNE1899

    CNE1899 TrainBoard Member

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    Okay Everyone,

    Thank you all for the latest input. I have refined several ideas and looked at modular.
    I am staying with the Marklin track because it is what I have now and I am on a budget.
    I am also limited in space both for a layout and storage.
    Taking into account what some said about the roundy round needing runarounds, I came up with a modification to
    layout number two in previous post.
    BSRR3.51.jpg
    Or a version with two runarounds.
    BSRR3.52.jpg
    I think the next layout has the possibility for a loop to run around behind the layout.
    BSRR6.jpg
    The last layout I looked at a three section modular configuration. BRSS10.jpg

    Let me know what you all think. It has helped me to consider my options.

    Thanks,
    Scott
     
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  15. DB_Z

    DB_Z TrainBoard Member

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    I think that an advantage with circular/oval layouts is that it is easy to run in new locos; whereas the modular configuration maybe gives a more realistic depiction of a railway. In the end, I think realism (if that is what you are going for) comes down to how you operate your layout rather than its configuration.
     
  16. rray

    rray Staff Member

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    I have watched lots of trains around the valley over the years, and they are usually pretty small, like 20 cars. They seem to drop cars here, and pickup cars there. And they seem to start at one end of the valley, and finish at the other end of the valley, then starting it all over. I guess that is what they call a point to point layout when modeled. This is actually fun model railroading.

    When I see a really long train, They seem to just pass through varied scenery, mostly bypassing towns by going straight through without stopping, or going around. These are what are often called the roundy rounders when modeled, that you often see at train shows. This is also popular with new guys to the hobby. Fast and furious! This can be fun too, but once you have done enough of it, you grow weary and loose interest.

    :D Model railroading is fun! :D
     
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  17. bostonjim

    bostonjim TrainBoard Member

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    I have to agree with you. Switching, starting and stopping trains is much more fun than a continuous running train. That being said, basically model what you know. I know urban, street-running trains with one or two boxcars being shunted from spot-to-spot. I have never really seen long consists in the area I live. If that is what you have grown up seeing then maybe that is what you will model. Remember though, even though Zee is tiny you can still run out of real estate in a hurry. Happy New Year. Jim
     
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  18. CNE1899

    CNE1899 TrainBoard Member

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    Thank you all for your input, it helped me settle on a layout design.
    I am going with the roundy round and include some sidings and an interchange to either connect
    to another layout or a loading cartridge.
    This will give me something to wet my feet with, do switching, and test and run locos as I build them.
    I am using Marklin switches as well as the dreaded curved switches. I will be using the "Do It Yourself Z Scale"
    site to help me tune the switches and convert them to under the table manual.

    BSRR3.53.jpg
    A.SmallRockCoSm.jpg
     
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  19. Joe Lovett

    Joe Lovett TrainBoard Member

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    Scott, you might consider moving turnout 8563R at the bottom closer to 8569 so the incline for bridge isn't as steep.

    Joe
     
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  20. CNE1899

    CNE1899 TrainBoard Member

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    Joe,
    Thanks. I'm glad I sketched up the whole layout, it made me see some things I didn't when I was looking at just a top view.
    I thought it might be a steep approach to the bridge, but forgot I can just swap the two sections to get a longer run.
    I appreciate such input.

    Scott
     
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