N scale layout evolution

ggnlars Apr 21, 2021

  1. ggnlars

    ggnlars TrainBoard Member

    After much thought and many starts & stops, I have decided to change my focus in scale and the size of my goal layout.
    The biggest issue is that the place I have is not conducive to what I can come up with in HO scale.
    Probably the main issue is that the room is small & any layout will have to share the space.
    Ok, that probably means a smaller scale.
    The assortment of supplies in N scale is more than adequate, yes not as much detail, but that is all right..
    In researching the possibilities, the N-Trak concepts came to the surface.
    Previously I thought this idea was to confining and more focused on developing a module to take to a remote location to run trains with others.
    This time the T-Trak idea sunk in. The light weight & size nature is very appealing. Because of the room limitations, both will be important.
    The Layout in its finished form will be around the walls. The bottom of the module will rest on the height of the top door & window moldings. Most of the train running there will likely be continuous. Although there will be layout features, like engine facilities with a possible turn table, yard & staging as well as industries.
    The module construction from start to completely finished will be done on a work bench. It is anticipated that several modules can be brought together on the bench for point to point or switching activities.
    In some ways the high layout provides a storage/static display area as well as potential dynamic train work.
    Considering the space limits, that is my appears to be the best option.
    After playing with Any Rail. the challenge is to stick to the T-Trak standards. Will need to tweak some stuff as I go.
    It seems the Kato unitrak is set up for mostly straight line running. Curves seem to require a 90 degree turn because of the super elevation features.
    A first cut is shown here:

    Comments welcome.
  2. MK

    MK TrainBoard Member

    I'm not sure it's a good idea putting the layout that high off the floor. Most door heights are 80". You will be on a step ladder to run your trains? Switches on T-Trak modules are manually operated because the standards don't call for an accessories power bus. Up and down and up and down...

    And if you want to show your layout to visitors they really can't see much standing on the floor. So it's a step ladder for them too. The minimum depth of a T-Trak module is 13" ( don't quote me). At that height and depth you're not going to see much without something to stand on due to the angle of view.
    Hardcoaler, tonkphilip and Shortround like this.
  3. ggnlars

    ggnlars TrainBoard Member

    As I indicated, I am not expecting to run large sessions at that height. It is a module parking place that allows me to do limited train activities. The goal will be to bring down selected modules and have a point to point or simple oval on a table or several tables. The typical depth that I have seen is 8 1/4 in & 14 in. The standard I read lists a maximum depth of 14 in. Not all of the modules will be standard, but the ones that aren’t should have a valuable reason and still be candidates to be used on the tables.
  4. Chris Hall

    Chris Hall TrainBoard Member

    Interesting concept! I like that idea of storing the unused modules out of the way but still available for use if wanted. Have you considered a removable way of bringing a majority of the modules down to table height to do extended ops using the maximum space of the room available? Something like a basic box aluminium frame that can easily be dismantled and run around the walls of the room or is there furniture and the like that would prevent this?

    Just asking as a good 1/3 of the modules would not be interchangeable in their current form from the layout diagram on your site.

    I have no idea how T-Trak modules connect together but I'm sure you've thought about that and how you could easily remove a module from its storage position on the main layout.
  5. ggnlars

    ggnlars TrainBoard Member

    More thoughts:

    • The max depth for the modules is 14 inches.
      • That would allow more action than I have shown.
    • The staging could go behind the T-track modules.
      • This could allow an incline to a lower level that is under the modules
      • Will require some unique module aspects
    • Develop the scenes That will add some rational to the track structure & the module character.
    • Decided how to keep the T-Trak standards
    • In this process, a decision about Unitrack sections will be made
      • Is it to confining?
      • Is it better to use a more conventional track system with transition pieces?
    It seems appropriate to work the track plan & scenes now. The details of the modules will come as things progress.

    Many questions keep surfacing:

    • How are the modules mobile?
    • How are they connected?
    • How are they attached to the wall
    • How many are actually mobile?
    • Are two levels possible?
    • ......
    My goal in the near term is to refine the layout plan. Then identify two or three modules to build. At that point the details will be worked through, along with a number of others that I haven’t thought of.
  6. ggnlars

    ggnlars TrainBoard Member

  7. ggnlars

    ggnlars TrainBoard Member

    Last edited: Apr 26, 2021
  8. ggnlars

    ggnlars TrainBoard Member

    Most of my layout work was done with number 4 unit rack turnouts. I have been rethinking based on problems with those. Switching to number 6 cause some issues with configuration. Is it worth the change? Obviously the manline should be number 6 via standard, but the others could be either. Any thoughts?
  9. mtntrainman

    mtntrainman TrainBoard Supporter

    IMHO...go with the 6's if you can. May lose some trackage but you wont lose your mind fiddling and :censored::censored::censored:with the 4's.

  10. GP40X

    GP40X TrainBoard Member

    Have you been to the T-Trak Wiki yet. Lots of good information including how to address the Kato #4 turnout issues. The Wiki also has answers to the questions you are asking. HTH
  11. BigJake

    BigJake TrainBoard Member

    You might buy some additional headroom above the tracks if you create non-T-Trak, shallow "bridges" to span above the window and door. The shelves to support your modules would be set lower, such that their tracks are level with the bridges. A piece of 3/4" thick pine would span the door top easily (and has a nice front edge), and you could lay your Unitrack right on the board, or maybe with a half inch of foam for sound deadening.

    Or you could construct a thru-truss or suspension bridge to span the door top.

    Across the window, you could create a module or bridge support like a window valance that hangs down below the top of the window, covering the top of the blinds/shades/curtains.

    Whatever you do, I would strongly suggest mocking a section up, and temporarily installing it at the height you have planned, with the track back from the front edge like you plan. Can you see your N scale train on the rear track, while you are standing on the floor?

    Over the doors, around the room layouts are usually executed in larger scales for good reason.

    Alternatively, lift-out sections in front of the door and window would allow you to lower the track to eye-level (seated or standing).

    What about balloon-end U-turn modules on either side of the door, combined with a lift-out section in front of the window? This would give you unfettered access to the room (or to the bathroom from within the room) while running trains.

    These are just some ideas, that are worth exactly what you paid for them.
  12. ggnlars

    ggnlars TrainBoard Member

    GP40X & BigJake, thanks for your thoughtful replies.

    yes, I have read through the T-track wiki & refer to it in my planning.

    As you are indicating, I have been examining the height aspect. The limiting height in this room is the bottom of the upper molding. It is 80” (6’ 8”) from the floor. By putting the bottom of the supporting shelf there, the upper widow frame is only penetrated by 1/2 in or so. The other problem in the room is other things that are restrictions, like a wall mounted TV. Realistically the shelf can only be lowered about 8 inches before it starts running in to other things that create multiple breaks.
    My thinking on this is that it is going to be operational. However, I am thinking about employing a number of automation elements to do most of the control at the large layout location. The T-track aspect allows the concept of bringing a few modules down a setting up on a table top to do more operational running.
    Yes, I plan on mocking up every step as I go. As I have indicated, the initial build:http://www.llxlocomotives.com/?p=2788
    will go a long way to answer some of the height questions.
    In some ways I am thinking of the high shelf system as a operational storage for the T-track modules that I am intending to build.
    Anyone who has experience with automatic train control with Unitrack, input would be appreciated.
    Again, thanks for taking the time to contribute,

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