Newbie laying track

Barry Gordon Dec 19, 2019

  1. Barry Gordon

    Barry Gordon TrainBoard Member

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    I am building a small layout in my Home Theater. The layout is in a constrained space that is 122" x 8.75". It is under the screen sitting on a granite shelf which is 3" below the screen. Here is a picture of the theater front.
    TheaterScreen.jpg

    The baseboard is 3/4" thick and sits 1" above the granite shelf. This should be ample space for wires, buss, and terminal blocks. I can raise this distance to 2" between the shelf and the bottom of the baseboard if need be. Control will all be wireless from a controller I will design and build interfacing through the JMRI WII-Throttle interface. The track is all Kato Unitrack with #6 turnouts and R718-15 curved sections attached to the turnouts to generate the parallel tracks. Here is a partial picture of the layout/baseboard (under construction) It is symmetrical along the center line shown in red).
    Layout.png

    I plan to run only three trains in the system and am planning on supplying a maximum of 2.5 amps to the tracks. Switch motors and accessories to be separately powered. Stubs (terminating in bumpers) will be insulated so that power can be cut to them leaving a train on the stub. I plan to put a sensor before each bumper so I can either kill power to the stub or reverse the train. That logic will be in the control system.

    I have several questions.

    What is the proper spacing between the roadbeds or rails, of two parallel tracks assuming the R718-15 curved sections are attached directly to the switches. I want to build a gauge so I can ensure the runs are parallel. Is such a gauge commercially available?

    What is the best way to fasten the Kato Unitrack to the baseboard? Nails, Glue? If glue, what kind?

    Is there a commercial sensor (IR or track-based) That I can use to sense a train approaching a switch from the frog side to ensure the switch is properly facing? I can handle the electronics but would like some advice on the sensor. I will also like to use the same sensor at the bumper end of a track so I can either reverse the train or cut power to the section.

    Thanks in advance,

    Barry Gordon
     
    Mo-Pac likes this.
  2. Hytec

    Hytec TrainBoard Member

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    Hi Barry, Welcome. I'd like to give you answers, but your questions are way above my pay grade. I'm just a DC Dinosaur for the past 72 years.

    Since Unitrak is available in both HO and N, I don't know which scale you're modeling. However I recommend you ask your questions in the model forum that matches your scale. I look forward to your progress, whichever scale. Your plan looks great, Good Luck.
     
    JimJ likes this.
  3. Barry Gordon

    Barry Gordon TrainBoard Member

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    That was dumb of me. I am using "N" scale as HO is a bit too large for the space I have.
     
  4. Barry Gordon

    Barry Gordon TrainBoard Member

    23
    6
    2
    I am building a small layout in my Home Theater. The layout is in a constrained space that is 122" x 8.75". It is under the screen sitting on a granite shelf which is 3" below the screen. Here is a picture of the theater front.
    [​IMG]

    The baseboard is 3/4" thick and sits 1" above the granite shelf. This should be ample space for wires, buss, and terminal blocks. I can raise this distance to 2" between the shelf and the bottom of the baseboard if need be. Control will all be wireless from a controller I will design and build interfacing through the JMRI WII-Throttle interface. The track is all Kato Unitrack in "N" gauge/scale with #6 turnouts and R718-15 curved sections attached to the turnouts to generate the parallel tracks. Here is a partial picture of the layout/baseboard (under construction) It is symmetrical along the center line shown in red).
    [​IMG]

    I plan to run only three trains in the system and am planning on supplying a maximum of 2.5 amps to the tracks. Switch motors and accessories to be separately powered. Stubs (terminating in bumpers) will be insulated so that power can be cut to them leaving a train on the stub. I plan to put a sensor before each bumper so I can either kill power to the stub or reverse the train. That logic will be in the control system.

    I have several questions.

    What is the proper spacing between the roadbeds or rails, of two parallel tracks assuming the R718-15 curved sections are attached directly to the switches. I want to build a gauge so I can ensure the runs are parallel. Is such a gauge commercially available?

    What is the best way to fasten the Kato Unitrack to the baseboard? Nails, Glue? If glue, what kind?

    Is there a commercial sensor (IR or track-based) That I can use to sense a train approaching a switch from the frog side to ensure the switch is properly facing? I can handle the electronics but would like some advice on the sensor. I will also like to use the same sensor at the bumper end of a track so I can either reverse the train or cut power to the section.

    Is there a reliable remotely controllable uncoupler that I can buy or build? If I am modeling a yard I would like to be able to take apart trains.

    Thanks in advance,

    Barry Gordon

    P.S. I originally posted this in a different forum but was advised I might have greater success in the N scale forum
     
  5. Grey One

    Grey One TrainBoard Supporter

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    If you are planing on a lot of switching then you want to allow for room to couple / uncouple by hand.
    Overall in a space like you have I reccomend
    • A small designated yard at one end
    • A 1 or 2 track interchange at the other
    • A few select industries
    • Try putting the industries at an angle
    • Consider having 'modules' you can setup, connect to and put away easily
    On a layout of that size you should be able to see the end of the track, slow down the train and stop before hitting the bumpers. Then go over and manually disconnect the cars.
    Baring that, Kato has come out with a Bluetooth system so you control the train from your phone to a 'smart device'. You should be able to be at the desired location of the shunted car.

    Hope this helps.
     
  6. traingeekboy

    traingeekboy TrainBoard Member

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    I do rail spacing based on my fingers. How much space do I need to have to parallel trains and still get my fingers in between there to re-rail a car.
     
  7. Inkaneer

    Inkaneer TrainBoard Member

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    Looking over your track in the photo I see a possible problem. From the crossover where you drew the red line and going to the right there is appears to be a diamond crossover to the top track. But there is no access to the track below the top track. You will need to add two right hand switches to the top track and connect the two segments. That will allow you to access that track. The alternative is to remove the diamond crossover and replace it with a double slip switch which I do not think Kato makes for their Unitrack line. I'm not sure about that as I use Unitrack only for a rudimentary test oval.

    Also, running three trains on this track plan at the same time would be extremely difficult. Two trains would be somewhat difficult.
     
    Last edited: Dec 20, 2019
    Mo-Pac likes this.
  8. Grey One

    Grey One TrainBoard Supporter

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    Over all I would completely change the design rather than try to fix various problems.
    Crossing - Might use that as leading to the interchange, (see 'Abstraction'
    Double Track Main - I would go with a single track main. See 'Crossover'.
    Double Crossover - Basically I would omit it completely unless you wanted to use it as part of a double track main the length of the layout but I feel it takes too much room
    Interchange - I would put in the bottom left For easier access
    Yard, Three tracks, (10 to 12 cars), I would put in bottom right - for easier access. Needs a run-around
    Abstraction done in MS Paint
    No attempt at spell checking was made.
    This is what I would do more or less and in no way represents the only way.
     

    Attached Files:

  9. James Fitch

    James Fitch TrainBoard Member

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    Where are your priorities man! You should dedicate the room to trains and put that TV somewhere else!

    I just finished a 15x 33 foot basement room. I could have hung a hi res digital projector on the ceiling and a huge screen at one end of the room, but then were would I put my layout? Trains first man!
     
  10. MK

    MK TrainBoard Member

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    LOL!!!!!!!!
     

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