N Scale T-Trak

billmtx Oct 28, 2010

  1. BigJake

    BigJake TrainBoard Member

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    Okay, in XTrakCAD, I combined a standard end cap module with a quad straight module on each track-end of the end cap (2 quad straight modules total) that measures ~29" x ~63" overall outline.

    That's the canvas for a "figure 8 end cap" jumbo module, as follows:

    The track plan incorporates a 90 degree over/under pass, plus the 180 degree curve on one end (like a partial, sideways figure 8.)

    Then I used the elevation profile tool, starting at one track entrance, to dive at -2.5% grade to -1" elevation underneath the crossing overpass. From there it climbs at +2.5% grade up and around the end cap to the top of the overpass at +1", and then down at -2.5% grade to the other track entrance at 0" elevation.

    Note, the "X" over/underpass in the track plan is as close to the end cap end as possible, to give enough room to climb/dive 1" from the entrances to where the tracks cross over/under each other in an X. All curves are T-Trak std 12-3/8" radius outer and 11" radius inner curves. The end cap portion could use the equivalent super-elevated doubletrack curves (270 degrees total), but I'm not sure I'd recommend it at these grades (could string-line a climbing train).

    So, this demonstrates that, with a 29" x 63" 'module' of standard T-Track dimension and locations for entrance and exit, one can create an over/under-pass track plan for T-Track! In fact, all you need to add is a standard T-Trak End Cap module, and you have a complete figure 8 loop!

    Just add mountainous terrain "seasoning to taste"...
     
    Massey likes this.
  2. BigJake

    BigJake TrainBoard Member

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    Here is an image of a T-Trak Figure 8 End Cap track plan:
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Nov 9, 2021
    BoxcabE50 likes this.
  3. BigJake

    BigJake TrainBoard Member

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    I checked my 2016 Ford Explorer, and this would easily fit in the back, with both 2nd and 3rd row seats folded...

    You could also combine the short straight combinations by cutting down 20-010 sections. Fifer Hobby has a video that shows how to properly cut down the length of a Unitrack straight section.
     
  4. Massey

    Massey TrainBoard Member

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    You could also break it up at the end where loop is and create an end cap module there, and that would make it a bit smaller and easier to transport
     
  5. BigJake

    BigJake TrainBoard Member

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    There are lots of places you could break it up, but none would provide an interface for standard T-trak modules, due to elevations at those new boundaries. The right hand end (in the diagram) is the only place where the standard T-trak interface's track positions are present.

    And getting complex terrain to match up across adjacent modules would be difficult. You'd almost have to build it in one piece and then carefully cut it in two. You'd have to build-in the structural supports, etc. of both pieces. And the total weight of the multiple sections would be more than the single-piece module.

    But if you need to do that for transport reasons, then you can break it up at the end cap boundary (~14"), and/or the first straight module boundaries on the right end (~51") fairly easily.

    In designing this module, I'm kind of surprised that I've never seen a front-to-back crossing (at grade, rather than fly-over) jumbo module. But that could also create a wiring issue, and potential need for auto-reversers. The closed nature of this module does not create such an electrical issue, even though the outer track interface leads to the inner track around the end (and back to the outer track at the other interface).
     
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  6. Massey

    Massey TrainBoard Member

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    Scenery over a seam is not as difficult as it would seem, you would just need to have the modules connected as you build. As for the need for a reverse loop, it wouldn’t be needed unless you make a loop type layout. If you make a out and back with end loops then the end loops would need the auto reversing just like a normal.
     
  7. BigJake

    BigJake TrainBoard Member

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    Well, hmmm... I started watching some videos of T-Trak setups at train shows, to see how the modules are used, and get different ideas. Wow! Lots of creativity.

    Seems most of the show setups insert a single module between the 1/4 turn modules, or use longer radius end caps, so the straight modules are not back to back, but have ~12" between them.

    Two shows had portions of their layouts set up with back-back straight modules, in which my concept would work. But extending the radius of the end cap, and thus the width of my jumbo module, would make it larger and harder to handle & transport (though it might still fit in the back of my explorer).

    I did see one back-back jumbo module (it had a z scale mining loop inside/above the N scale trackage). So there is precedent for jumbo modules like that.

    One thing that occurred to me was that, without incorporating the end cap, the two sides of a jumbo module could be quite far apart for the attendees to see, potentially having to walk a ways to see the other side.
     
  8. BigJake

    BigJake TrainBoard Member

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    Yeah, I saw some modules that were part of a set, and it looked like they had at least done the painting while the modules were connected. The surface could have been formed in one piece and sawn in two to ensure continuity.

    As far as the loop or no-loop issue, I'd guess that's not always within the module owner's control at a show... But maybe not, since I've never been involved with setting up a modular layout for a show before.

    So many aspects to learn... That's part of what attracts me!
     
  9. Massey

    Massey TrainBoard Member

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    The no control is why you need to plan for everything. I have been having this issue with my club as they didn’t have the foresight to plan for the future. I was the first new member in a while that actually has modules and mine loosely follow the standards, while theirs are not on any standard. So… I’m working on it.
     
  10. CSX Robert

    CSX Robert TrainBoard Member

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    Interesting. I could be wrong and I could not find it spelled out in the standards, but it is my understanding that the T-Trak mainlines are expected to be level.
     
  11. Massey

    Massey TrainBoard Member

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    It isn’t spelled out per-se but assumed due to the small nature of these modules, that you wouldn’t have the space for an incline. There is nothing saying you can’t on the other hand. So long as your modules meet standards into and out of your module or module set then anything else in the middle is fair game, and this includes inclines. I watched a video on YouTube of a club that had Tehachapi loop in T-trak by using dedicated modules to make the loop. They met size and height standards at the ends, but had to use special “short” tables to drop down before the loop, then the outlet of the loop was normal table height. The entire set was 16’ or so long by the looks of it in the video. Of course I can’t find it now to link it… it was in a video from a large show.
     
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  12. BigJake

    BigJake TrainBoard Member

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    That is my understanding. The track height above the table is defined only at the module interfaces. The fact that it is always the same height at the interfaces does not dictate that the track must be level between interfaces. And of course, the track must have a low enough grade at the interface such that it can still reliably inter-mate with level track on adjacent, standard modules. Unitrack and Unijoiners are fairly flexible in that regard.
     
  13. CSX Robert

    CSX Robert TrainBoard Member

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    I would definitely check with any clubs or organizations you hope to setup with and see what their stance is. The fact that they don't list a maximum grade still leaves me to believe that they don't expect any grades. If you're bringing a train to run on a T-Trak layout, how can you be sure it's gong to run if you don't know the maximum grade on the layout?
     
  14. Massey

    Massey TrainBoard Member

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    Again, there isn’t any spec for grades in the T-trak specifications, only specs for interfaces with other modules. I have only ever seen one module set with a grade and it was the Tehachapi loop module described above. I have never seen one in person. But there is nothing in the specs saying you can’t. Now if you were planning on making a 6% grade logging module for geared steam engines, I would suggest making bypass tracks for everyone else. But a 1% or 2% grade over a few feet should be scaleable by most trains, and shouldn’t cause any issues.
     
  15. BigJake

    BigJake TrainBoard Member

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    The T-Track layouts I have seen online (videos of shows, etc.) and in person seem to run multiple, independent loops, rather than one large, all-encompassing loop. This allows more trains to run simultaneously without fear of running into each other (distractions occur at shows). It would also allow choosing which loop to run a train that could not negotiate 2.5% grades with curves.

    Given the variety of larger than "standard" radius curve, junction, and end cap modules, I have a feeling the universal compatibility between all modules and all trains is already strained. On the other hand, going to a larger radius end-cap format would reduce the grade on a same-length jumbo module, or reduce the length of a same grade jumbo module.

    But your advise is sage; checking with local club(s) is always a good idea, particularly with multiple options for end cap radius.

    At this point, I'm still in the concept phase of this idea, and have not yet decided to implement it.
     
  16. Massey

    Massey TrainBoard Member

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    So I finally got a couple of modules out and got some work done on them. My branchline/front-to-back modules got their wiring fixed. I had a bad connection on a power pole, and one of the jumpers was crossed so it would short whenever it was plugged in. Then I moved on to the scenery on the front to backs and got a few more bits on one, and got the second one started. Next up is shaping the foam…

    F60FC0AC-63DE-4369-A267-0D6B3023A348.jpeg 6B38A55D-DC49-4616-8D03-60394151CC2A.jpeg


    Next up was finishing up the middle of the Rte 66 set. I finished the ballast and desert on the near edge, reglued the building, and added some desert bushes. Alls that’s left is painting the road stripes.

    C1E91A65-7DF6-4292-ACA1-669D7597DA79.jpeg D8E82EC9-19EE-46BE-AA96-C8500BFB9017.jpeg FE6046D5-BA4B-4297-A5A7-69F89DDA65E4.jpeg

    P.s. the big open area is for the train station, but it’s currently put away.
     
  17. Bookbear1

    Bookbear1 TrainBoard Supporter

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    Yay! for winter progress.
     
  18. r_i_straw

    r_i_straw Mostly N Scale Staff Member

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    On the subject of grades, at the Oklahoma City Train show a month ago, they connected the T-Trak layout to the NTRAK layout with a helix. Now that was a nice grade. I had a little trouble with my old timer Bachmann 4-4-0 with 6 cars making it up hill but everything else I ran did just fine. Yours truly in the blue mask cleaning track on the NTRAK layout. ;)
    Screen Shot 2022-01-03 at 12.03.09 PM.png
     
  19. Massey

    Massey TrainBoard Member

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    Something went wrong… see next post.
     
    Last edited: Jan 6, 2022
  20. Massey

    Massey TrainBoard Member

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    Ok I got a couple pics of the modules today. I was mainly taking them for the banner on my YouTube channel, link to that is in my sig.

    aside from a couple items in the “old town” side I’m good to go.

    AB85D113-4779-4BFF-9368-E5E7C85304E4.jpeg FD06EE1D-91D6-4A8F-8636-80D1A2E164AB.jpeg 74386D5A-A993-4B88-9B66-89E42DB6C559.jpeg FD9DF5C6-FA70-4AE5-BF7D-DBD4C0F012E4.jpeg
     

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