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[ Active Members: 4 | Anonymous Members: 0 | Guests: 69 ]  [ Total: 73 ]  [ Newest Member: HolmesELP ]
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Author Previous Topic: Construction of the new PRR Northern Division Topic Next Topic: fixing Diamond Scale Turntable  

BigSteam
New Hire



Posted - 02/25/2020 :  11:07:58 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Greetings all,

This first blurb will serve as a bit of a reintroduction of me and where I am at, then I will put down my first question or two.
I think I have been a member for 15 years or so, but mostly been a lurker across a few forums for 20 or so plus years - seen some forums come and go.
There are some fabulous talents here and I hope to start tapping in to that expertise as I am the "jack of all trades" guy.
I have started 2 other layouts in the past, put down some track, put power to it and run a few trains back and forth - DC only - never fully developed or completed - built a few kits - scratched a couple structures, etc.
I have no artistic talent or sense of color, but want to be a great weatherer of the likes I see here and layout builder for my own personal satisfaction.
I also have to warn you all that I may not be real responsive, but will try more in the future to be better.
I have many hundreds if not thousands of kits, cars, locomotives, details,tools, etc. - so, well positioned and ready to go - but slow.
Questions coming.
All the best and thanks in advance.
Chris


Country: USA | Posts: 33

BigSteam
New Hire



Posted - 02/25/2020 :  11:18:55 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I have my layout space pretty well defined and a general concept and it will be DCC and somewhat of a flexed transition era layout.
Part of my concept will be multi-level to help accommodate all of the structures and things I wish to include.
I plan to have 3 levels around the wall - "L-shaped" 24" lower - 44" mid and 64" upper. One end of the "L" will connect to the main portion of the layout and the other end was going to connect to a helix in a separate area. I was hoping to be able to transition up and down through the same helix, but as I hurt my head trying to think about it, I am not sure it is possible ?
Part of the concept is to run two mains down each level with some sidings or spurs coming off those.
Thoughts??
Thanks
Chris



Country: USA | Posts: 33 Go to Top of Page

TRAINS1941
Engineer

Premium Member


Posted - 02/25/2020 :  2:25:58 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Welcome Chris

Looking forward to your start up.


Jerry

"And in the end, itís not the years in your life that count. It's the life in your years." A. Lincoln

Country: USA | Posts: 12628 Go to Top of Page

jbvb
Fireman

Premium Member


Posted - 02/25/2020 :  2:46:09 PM  Show Profile  Visit jbvb's Homepage  Reply with Quote
A lot depends on what you want to see and do with the layout.

1. Do you want to watch trains run through scenes populated with your structures? Or do you want to try hosting visiting operators, either to just run trains, or maybe a sequence of trains, some of which switch, or full timetable & car-card or switch list operations? That choice says a lot about how you should plan the track.

A. Runners' layouts often have two or more independent main line loops, each of which usually has its own train. Yards are mostly for storage of complete trains, located so visitors get a good view.

B. Operators' layouts have staging, often out of sight, plus one or more large-ish yard set up so cars can be classified and trains made up/broken down while other traffic passes on the main. Towns have spurs plus passing sidings and runaround tracks for local freights. Some have passenger stations set up so cars can be switched into and out of through trains, and other trains can originate/terminate.

2. What equipment do you own/like to run? If it's big steam locos, you'll want broader radius curves (28-36" minimum radius on the main) and moderate grades. Long passenger cars and 86' freight cars also run and look better on wide curves.

Connecting 3 levels with a helix is mostly a matter of keeping the helix's track smooth and designing/building good vertical curves to get trains on/off at each level. If doing it all with one continuous spiral gets too complicated, two stacked but separate helixes can be substituted with little loss of flexibility.

Have you read any old articles or books by John Armstrong about track planning? He had a list of questions he called "Givens and Druthers" he'd ask a customer to guide his thinking. They'd be a good place to start.



Country: USA | Posts: 6513 Go to Top of Page

BigSteam
New Hire



Posted - 02/25/2020 :  5:33:28 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Thanks Jerry & jbvb,
This will be more of me running trains - not really for formal operating sessions and maybe not even totally prototypical operation - but some aspects may be close. I plan to have signals and occupancy detectors, etc. There will be some yards - larger staging out of view to be monitored by cameras - double track mains planned throughout and there will be some secondaries and branch lines, plus stub sidings to industries, etc. I like BigSteam to diminutive shays and such - 36" mains will be the goal. The helix thing is what I am struggling with at the moment - if I have two main tracks on each level is there a way to run up and down at will between levels or will I need a wye to consolidate the two into one prior to the helix and then alternate up or down traffic through the helix?? Thanks Chris



Country: USA | Posts: 33 Go to Top of Page

BigSteam
New Hire



Posted - 02/25/2020 :  5:36:52 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Ohh - I like my diesels as well. So one level will be primarily for steam era, but not exclusive. Another level will be primaritly diesel, but again not exclusive and third level just for more real estate and mutual operation. All the best. Chris


Country: USA | Posts: 33 Go to Top of Page

boomer44
Engine Wiper

Posted - 02/26/2020 :  08:44:04 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
quote:

I plan to have 3 levels around the wall - "L-shaped" 24" lower - 44" mid and 64" upper.
Thanks
Chris


Chris,
64" is pretty high. You'll need step stools for any kind of operations at that height. Some folks won't even be able to see the upper deck.

Gordon Spalty



Country: USA | Posts: 236 Go to Top of Page

jbvb
Fireman

Premium Member


Posted - 02/26/2020 :  09:28:14 AM  Show Profile  Visit jbvb's Homepage  Reply with Quote
I agree with Gordon - people's eyes are about halfway down the head, so an observer would have to be around 5' 10" to get anything but a railhead-level view.

Regarding the middle level junction with the helix, I think I could hand-lay one that would work. You need two curved wye turnouts plus a curved diamond at each end of the wye where the middle level connects to the helix. Normal helix design is constant-grade, to hold a standard minimum clearance between levels. So you need to be careful about vertical curves on the wye's legs. The vertical curve can't start till after the roadbeds separate. It needs to continue till both sides of the double track wye are parallel and at the same level, then you can join them.

I'm not sure how a double-track helix fits in with a primarily 'train watching' layout. It gives you a single, long route that covers the double-track loops on each level. But if you try to do anything beyond trains chasing each other around this long loop, you need to pay attention to switches and train speeds because trains start crossing each others' paths.

I've read about people building multi-deck layouts in any order of deck. But almost everyone who's started scenery on a deck over another deck with operational track has had to do a lot of cleaning.



Country: USA | Posts: 6513 Go to Top of Page

BigSteam
New Hire



Posted - 02/26/2020 :  5:53:01 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Greetings Boomer44 & jbvb,
Thanks for your inputs - I agree 64" may be a bit high for any visitors, however I am 74", so may just work for me. I would probably have to build some fold out steps in spots or have some light weight step stools. 64" is not locked in yet, just trying to give myself room to build and work on stuff - maybe 16" between levels may work, but as I age I do not want to have to fold my self up like a pretzel.

jbvb - you are right about being on top of stuff like the switches. As I think about it more I believe what I may have to do is tie the double track main on level one to a wye where the 2 tracks converge at the wye into 1 and then go into the helix room (so single track helix), then up to level 2 tie into one side of the main - let the train run around a bout 200 feet or so, then come back down the other side of the main - enter the helix room, then up to level 3 - hit the single part of the wye, then the "Y" end ties into the two tracks up top - seems like that may work for what I am trying to do - may not be a true double track main, but??
May just have to deal with some cleaning - not sure I fully understand if each level is the same width and covered why there would be more cleaning, maybe more during the build, but not sure what would cause issues once complete and just enjoying?
Thanks again for your thoughts and participation. Chris



Country: USA | Posts: 33 Go to Top of Page

jbvb
Fireman

Premium Member


Posted - 02/27/2020 :  07:23:20 AM  Show Profile  Visit jbvb's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Building track to operate reliably requires being able to look more or less straight down on it, and also side viewing from railhead height.

Depending on your operational goals, one thing that might help is the IR LED actuated Spring Switch controller Azatrax introduced last year. It makes mixing double and single track easier when the double track has a 'normal direction of traffic'. It doesn't prevent collisions between trains, though you might be able to use its built-in relays for some sort of 'stopping section'.

I haven't worked on a multi-level layout, but I imagine there would always be a temptation to 'do a little work' up above without covering whatever's beneath it.



Country: USA | Posts: 6513 Go to Top of Page

BigSteam
New Hire



Posted - 02/27/2020 :  12:19:40 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Thanks jbvb,
I will have to look into that - good tip.
Chris



Country: USA | Posts: 33 Go to Top of Page
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