New to site/about to begin my layout/Hello!

buckwheeeat Oct 28, 2012

  1. buckwheeeat

    buckwheeeat TrainBoard Member

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    Hello fellow railroad enthusiasts!

    I have recently completed building-out my pre-fab metal building with insulation and plywood interior. Last week I took all my old model railroad boxes down from the attic from when I use to spend hours and hours and hours as a young man up in my room, listening to music...weathering, sloping, counting pennies for locomotive...ect.

    Now, I am older and I will begin this process almost 15 years after I left the hobby for high school/college/life..now married and I can return to my hobby.

    I will probably begin with a 4x8 layout with a 2x4( or 2x8) off shoot for storing the trains. I have already built my workbench with overhead lights.

    What do you suggest I do to begin my research,layout design, and procurement of resources and time.

    Thanks in advance!
     
  2. paperkite

    paperkite TrainBoard Member

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    Welcome buckwheeeat. First place to go is " Layout design " forum , Next I might check out the " how to " forum as it covers a lot of what if's - how'd they do that ??? These two forums are right next to each other here : Model Railroading Forums on the main page. This section also covers all the gauges individually by forum . Keep in mind we like lotttssss of pictures :teeth:
     
  3. buckwheeeat

    buckwheeeat TrainBoard Member

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    Thanks! I appreciate your input.
     
  4. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 HOn30 & N Scales Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    Welcome to TrainBoard!
     
  5. chenxue

    chenxue TrainBoard Member

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    Hey buckwheeeat! (oh yeah!) Look, I am NO EXPERT but have built a couple of small layouts. And I will offer that, if you really have this dedicated space, build around the walls and don't get locked in to the tabletop concept. You will about double your available real estate and length of continuous run, and give yourself much more opportunity for detailed features like turntables, yards, loops, wyes, realistic elevation changes, etc., etc. You can have real backdrops instead of scenery blocks. Don't let your workbench get in the way of utilizing your available space! Wish I had your opportunities! Read up about what makes a good viewing height while you are researching layout designs.
    Just my 0.13 RMB, I'm sure others' opinions may vary.
    Best of Luck!
    Cid
     
  6. buckwheeeat

    buckwheeeat TrainBoard Member

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    WOW Thanks man. This is really interesting. I will be taking this into consideration. Great advice here. Something I have not considered..thought about it, but have not considered it. :cheers

     
  7. MarkInLA

    MarkInLA Permanently dispatched

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    I agree with Cid..The 4x8 table top is an old old, archaic way to build a MRR on...Being you are going in fresh,,get a Model RR Benchwork mag and get either 'open-grid' or 'L Girder' bench work going..Even ,say, 1x8 shelving along walls is more in tune with today's MRR construction standards...A flat, wide table is a big headache when reaching for a derailed train or making grades/scenery/tunnels/wiring..You want 1x4s forming a grid under your given realstate standing on about 48" 2x3 legs..Do it correctly now..It's fun, satisfying carpentry,too. Then learn the way to cut the plywood sub-roadbed and how to lay track on it.. You'll be happier in the end. Welcome aboard !.....Mark
     
  8. buckwheeeat

    buckwheeeat TrainBoard Member

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    Thank you Mark. I can see how this will be a lot more rewarding. I will be taking all this into consideration. Thank you again!

     
  9. Dave Jones

    Dave Jones TrainBoard Supporter

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    Agree with Cid and Mark. I'm dismantling my current layout that has average shelf width of 30 inches. The new one will not exceed 18". Even at shoulder height, everything should be in easy reach. Of course if you want to do a diorama of scenic grandeur, that a backdrop can't handle ... .
     
  10. buckwheeeat

    buckwheeeat TrainBoard Member

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    With the skinny layout, what is a recommended turn around area for a traxk that I would like to run instead of the straight piece and just going back and forth?
     
  11. buckwheeeat

    buckwheeeat TrainBoard Member

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    Also, Im looking at doing the old west theme. Any suggestions?
     
  12. Dave Jones

    Dave Jones TrainBoard Supporter

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    If you're looking at an old west theme you're also thinking small or short engines and cars. Early in this era small "armstrong" turntables one or two tracks leading off were far more common than later on. However, some turntables at the end of branches lasted into the diesel era, specially in the mid-west or more rural sections of the country. Later, many turntables were replaced with wye ("Y") tracks. With a wye, you need to make certain that each of the three legs of the wye can handle your longest engines and cabooses/combines.

    Many shelf layouts represent branch lines that end in a small town or significant industry. If you can tie both ends of the shelf together (an around the walls layout) your options become pretty much endless. As an example of a branch line that lasted 85 years, and I was fortunate enough to grow up with, for the branches' first 50 years it served a heavily agricultural area. A grist mill, 5 or 6 small packing sheds, a box making enterprise and at the very end, a small concrete block plant. And for those first 50 years the trains whether steam or diesel backed caboose first down the 9.75 miles of the branch and all the turn-outs (switches) were oriented so that a car could be spotted while the train was either in- or outbound, cars could be set out.

    By the early 1960s the area become more and more suburbanized and the grist mill, box making plant, and all packing sheds were gone. Replaced by a small insulation supplier, the same concrete block plant, a new fairly large prestress concrete plant, a Nabisco plant, and a few team tracks to handle the lumber loads to feed the suburbanation of the area.
    At this time the railroad installed a run-around track long enough to handle the engines, cars, and caboose that served the area. From that time on, the trains ran engine-first down the branch tho' on the way out they were first, but running backwards.

    All of these are possible scenarios for a shelf-type branch. While I'm in the process of dismantling my present layout, have no idea of future available space, I will have a branch using the lightest code rail I can find.
     
  13. buckwheeeat

    buckwheeeat TrainBoard Member

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    Thanks! Great info.
     
  14. chenxue

    chenxue TrainBoard Member

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    hi buckwheeeat! If you really don't want to go all the way 'round, you possibly could put a 15" radius loop (maybe a 34" dia. rounded shelf) on each end and have a continuous run around three sides of the shop or whatever. This also makes possible spots for a yard and a roundhouse.

    Have a good 'un...
    Cid
     
  15. Dave Jones

    Dave Jones TrainBoard Supporter

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    Buckwheeeat - In an earlier post I mentioned mostly the small businesses on the branch line. Certainly in the west before 1900 there were probably branch lines that served but a single large business or industry. My modelling era is 1957-67 and I'm currently "armchairing/day dreaming" my future layout. Especially the branch line since that may be as much as I'll have room for.

    However, I began thinking that if I only had space for one large industry - what could it be? In the earlier post I mentioned a large prestress concrete plant. For two or three years this plant supplied concrete members for a 3 or so mile long bridge. Visiting my parents one afternoon I counted 2 GP-7s and an FP-7 backing 63 hopper cars, led by a caboose down the branch backwards- very slowly with the conductor and rear brake on the rear platform blowing the cabs backup whistle at every roadway after first stopping for every roadway. My dad told me that in the previous weeks there had been similiar trains. Raw materials for the prestress plant.

    Typically trains on the branch never exceeded 2 units, 6 - 8 cars and a caboose. The speed limit on the 60-65 pound rail was 15 mph (per timetable). This train was probably making 8 - 10 mph! In your western scenario, trains could be delivering large rocks to a crusher for placement in/on a dam. The drawback here, is that 90-95% of your cars would be hoppers or gondolas.

    Better (from my point of view) would be a pulp or pulp/paper plant. Inbound trains would deliver wood racks, wood chip cars, tank or coal cars (fuel for the plant) and empty box cars (for pulp loading, vent equipped), or for paper loading (in the modern era) DF or other specially equipped cars.

    Excuse me for rambling on, but I'm trying to keep a written record of my thoughts for my new layout and if it helps anyone else - better yet.
     
  16. MarkInLA

    MarkInLA Permanently dispatched

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    If your track comes to a corner of the room and you can employ the wall 90Deg. to main, you might be able to build a 'wye', a 3 point track scheme to turn eguipment. This can also be used to simulate a junction of two lines at angles and a small interchange scheme ( to drop or pick up cars to/from other road..)..another way is with a turntable and maybe a simple engine house or shops..but turntables are a tad difficult with polarity concerns as loco is sitting on the TT bridge which reverses the + & - as it spins 180 degrees..
     
  17. buckwheeeat

    buckwheeeat TrainBoard Member

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    Thanks guys!
     
  18. trainman-ho

    trainman-ho TrainBoard Member

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    WOW
    That's a kicker of a website!

    Jim
     
  19. HOexplorer

    HOexplorer TrainBoard Supporter

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    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 13, 2012
  20. trainman-ho

    trainman-ho TrainBoard Member

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    WOW! WOW! and WOW!!

    That is just AWESOME!

    I am about your age and have been working on a similar layout as far as location is concerned (away from civilization ) Your lay out inspires me and humbles me at the same time.
    Thanks for sharing!

    Jim
     

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