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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi,

I am looking to build my first OO layout and I have been playing around with various track plans, the latest of which can be found below (8 foot x 4 foot).

I found it quite tricky to come up with a layout that didn't have an engine and three carriages blocking the main two loops (I abandoned four carriages as this made running two trains almost impossible). I have noticed that many small layouts have very small sidings and stations so I'm not sure how they actual work when using even modest length trains.

I have included a small bypass on one of the sidings to allow the engine to be moved from one end of a train of wagons to the other. I haven't seen this on many layouts even large ones. Is there a reasons for this? Do people generally just lift the trains off the track and move them around?

Any comments appreciated.

Thx,
Stephen

 

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isopyl,

Nice track plan, much better than the ones I draw on the back of a *** packet.

I will answer one question for you and ask one.

What you call a 'baypass' is in spirit, quite correct. It is called a 'runround loop' and it does what you intuitively see is needed. Modellers hate lifting locos - if they have to do it - they refer to it as 'the hand of god'!

Now you say you haven't seen a 'runround loop' before; I think it would help a great deal if you could briefly add what you have read or seen that inspired your design. And finally, what sort of operations for your layout you had in mind.

TVBG
 

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On an end-to-end layout, sometimes you will find a run-around track that allows the loco to go to the other end of the train.

Before you glue it down permanently, run it a bit on the baseboard and see if it works. See if you can sort your wagons and coaches and garage your locos at the end of a session - without having to lift them off.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thx for the input so far

In answer to TVG, I have seen layouts with return loops which are quite large. All I was really saying is with most layouts I have seen so far around the internet and in Hornby's Track Plan book, even large ones, the siding are quite simple and wouldn't allow for moving the engine from one end of a set of wagons to the other. I'm really looking for a general purpose layout that can run a combination of passenger trains and a bit of shunting using three of four wagons. This I have found to be quite difficult when trying to fit it on an 8 x 4 foot board and leaving some room for scenery and buildings. I have to say that I do quite enjoy that fact that trains running in oppsite dirrections on the two different loops will seem to head towards each other until they hit the crossovers at the bottom (A bit too Adam's Family maybe?)

In answer to Doug, I will bear that in mind although this is the great thing about using Hornby VR2. It is not the best software to use (I found XtrkCad easier) but it is easy to test run trains. It allowed me to try out a passenger train with three carriages and a goods train to make sure they could move around with blocking the main loops.

First layout is always going to be a bit hit and miss but I might as well ask around and do the best I can.

Thx again.
 

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Isopyl,

Thanks for the further feedback. I think your plan is just as good as the plans in the Hornby book and the Peco Setrack book. I had guessed thats what you had read anyway, I am the Volebender General after all.

I think that you might consider building it as it stands.

Before you buy locos, tracks points and the new Hornby dcc. Just do the following for me.

Understand one point; 6x4 and 8x4 layouts are in fact the hardest to design. Some great designers have spent hours thinking about this size.

So, before you buy any of the above items please read C J Freezer, Track Plans for Various Locations and 60 Plans for Small locations. Both of these books are still published by Peco and you can get them for 2.50 each.

Look and see how Freezer deals with your 8x4 location and see how he answers some of your running requirements.

Please post your plan with any of Freezers ideas here as soon as you can.

TVBG
 

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The basic track plan looks interesting and as others have said designing 8x4 layouts which fit standard boards has been a long tradition. It really is worth looking at CJ Freezer as suggested.

Let me suggest another very good reason for trying the plan before you actually fix it & something to keep in mind.

One of the real difficulties of an 8x4 is that users often plan to use the with the 8ft side against a wall or even more problematically into a corner of the room. If you are in this position make sure that you can reach all your layout for maintainance, cleaning, derailments etc. The points into the station on your design might be the obvious problem area.

Something else that you might like to consider is a reversing loop. This will change your design considerably but if a train leaves the station how does it get back? A reversing loop - a diagonal accross the layout - would let this happen.

You could also consider making the board bigger by making it have more than one level. Let us suppose that you arrange for a station along the right hand 4ft edge at a level above the main tracks reached by a line that climbs from the main line. That will now free space for the diagonal reversing loop.

As you have found out there are many many possibilities for you to consider. Sadly whilst this is probably the most popular size for a home railway it is rarely seen at exhibitions but it is worth going to model railway exhibitions, if you haven't done so, just to get some ideas.

Good luck & do come back & keep us updated as your thoughts develop.

Chris
 

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I have found that a 8ft x 4ft layout is most difficult to man handle due to both the size and weight of materials used in the construction.
If I was to start from scratch again, I would certainly design the same layout as at present but laid on a 2 off 4ft x 4ft boards and joined together, making it more manageable physically.
I have found in using a 8ft x 4ft board, that the maximum running stock to be one locomotive and three coaches or a three car DMU. On ending a session each time, the running stock is halted at the station, then run in reverse into a chosen siding by use of the points.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Once again, many thanks for all the useful comments.

I have the 60 Plans book on order and I will try and get the other companion book as well.

I think I would prefer the layout on one level to keeps things simple construction wise.

Anyway, I've played around with the plan this afternoon and made it even more complex. I've added a return loop, an extra station so the passenger trains can go between them and an extra goods area again so goods trains can travel between them. The junction area at the bottom is now looking pretty complex. I have also hinted where the road that services the main station will sit.

 

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Can't you put a double slip in place of diamond crossover nearest the platforms, you would then save two turnouts and make it look quite a bit better. It just appears to be too busy around the muliple junction.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Well first off I looked up "double slip" and now I know what one is, Hornby don't do one and therefore isn't included in their software.

Nice idea though
 

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You could get a Peco double slip in their code 100 track, pt no SL-90, you can pick one up via mail order for just under £20+P&P, it is compatible with hornby track. I was at a local toyfair today and saw a second hand one for under a tenner, it was tempting but I am using Peco code 75 track.

I am also using VR2 to plan my next layout, it will not identify the track pieces but it will check out the operational viability before I finalise the track plan.

Brian
 

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Ref your second plan.

I agree with two points made above.

Firstly 8x8 baseboards are very heavy & almost impossible to move in a confinrd room without damage, It is difficult to know how much expertise you have so I am assuming you know that a baseboard must be rigid.

Secondly I agree that the network of poits at the centre bottom looks amazingly complicated and that anything that you can do to simplify it will both look better and is likely to give you a lot less trouble running your locos.

I note that you choose not to consider more than one level which is fine but your return loop may not do what you hope. I assume that you want a passenger train to leave the terminus, go somewhere & then return to the terminus. Unfortunately your crossover loop does not let you do this as it is the wrong diagonal. Try it with your finger and you will see what I mean. Without reversing the train you cannot get back to the terminus once you have left it. The crossover loop must be the opposite diagonal to the one that is the terminus. This is very difficult to arrange on one level unless you make the terminus outside the main loop. You should also note that it is common to put a station on the reversing loop as unless you are going DCC control you will need to switch the power whenever you use the reversing loop - the easiest way is to stop the train, flick the switch & then drive off. If you don't understand the electrics please ask.

As has been said designing intensive 8x4's is an art form!

Chris
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Well I finally took on board what had been said or hinted at by double00 and ChrisE and scrapped my origanal plans. I would have found it very difficult to man handle an 8x4 board and the space it was to occupy would have left very little room for access, construction and to get to the windows.

So, I've decided to scape ideas of long passenger trains, loops and DCC for the moment and have gone for an end to end design based on two destinations separated by many miles reprsented by a hilly strip down the middle of the board and a tunnel (not shown on the plan below).

I will look around something like the Backmann Junior 0-4-0 locomotive and some short wagons along with some short passenger cars.

Anyway, comments as always appreciated.

 

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From the diagram it looks as if you have gone for 8' by 2'. If that's the case could you not add a further board of 2' square at each end of your present design. This would give you a U shape and a longer run between stations. It would also be possible to have say 4' of the 8' length as a fiddle yard, say 6" in from the back with whatever you like in front to disguise it. This would still keep you within the confines of 8' by 4'. Another good point about all U shaped layouts is that you have your back to half of the layout most of the time when operating which adds to the illusion of more space than there is. We are talking tight curves here of course.
If your presdent design is 8' by 18" then you would increase the other boards to 2'6".
If all this sounds a bit much how about an L shape?
 

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When designing a fiddle yard and station platform, a common fault made by beginners and that includes myself, is the length of rail to accomodate the number of coaches and wagons decided upon. A fiddle yard may have several roads laid, and each road having one or more RH/LH point interlocking to enable all roads to reach the main line.
A fault is to misjudge the required distance at points, is the total length of the number of coaches/wagons plus the locomotive will exceed the length of rail laid and will encroach the point and block other roads movement.
I ensure, when laying track utilising points, that the total length of rolling stock is measured and adding a further 6 inches (150mm).
 

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Please remember that in what I say I have no idea who you are.
I know this does not answer your question yet but if we are to be as helpful as is possible we need to know a bit more first & you need to consider these points.

So firstly tell us about you. You might be 12 years old small & agile or like me you might be 50+ 1.80m+ far too heavy & stiff. This really does make a difference.

The second question is what do you want to run? Your initial suggestion was for long continuous run passenger trains & now you are looking at very short end to end small goods & local passenger where the main interest would be shunting. Be honest with yourself decide what you are really interested in. Do you want a continuous run & can't see how to get one or is it not a priority? Is shunting the thing & a continuous run eye candy. Are you steam or diesel or both etc.

Secondly lets talk about the space that you have available. You obviously believed that 8x4 was possible but difficult. What is going to be underneath the layout. This matters as a small central crawl access for emergency use allows ideas that if say the layout were to be above a bed would not be sensible.

Your current plan is for a guessed 8' plank. Is going round a corner onto a second wall with a narrow plank a possibility? What width of plank could you easily cope with?

Did your 8x4 need to be put away after every use & is that still true of your current design. It is a certainty that a layout that is difficult to get ready will not be used.

Are you committed to OO gauge or might N gauge be of interest to you?

Chris
 

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All good questions. If you modeled US prototype I would suggest based on what I last saw a small logging layout and for you to lose half your points as doubleOO pointed out you'll do nothing but block other lines.

Not sure what would be similiar in the UK. Another suggestion what about an urban street/rail car line or how about you make a module to add to others??
 

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Hi, why not consider N gauge, you can get more into the same space allowing you to run longer trains in terms of number of coaches.
If I can cope with the small scale at age 72 I don't see why anyone should have a problem.

Cheers MIKE
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Again, lot's of useful comments and here are my answers to some of the comments and questions:

QUOTE add a further board of 2' square at each end of your present design
That seems reasonable idea but even first radius curves take up 15" and that is assuming the feeding track is tight against the edges and so this would leave very little extra usable track area. All the L and U shaped plans in the "60 Plans for small railways" are quite large (e.g. 13x8', 9x7', 7x6', etc).

QUOTE When designing a fiddle yard and station platform, a common fault made ... is the length of rail to accomodate the number of coaches and wagons
Fair comment but the physical space restricts the length. I will just have to use small engines and small wagons. Can't see a way round that.

QUOTE You might be 12 years old small & agile or like me you might be 50+
Somewhere in between but living by myself so I need to move things around by myself. The physical floor space I have available at a maximum is 8.5x4' and of course I need access to all sides to built it in the first place (lay track, add scenery, etc).

QUOTE The second question is what do you want to run?
I want to run two continuous loops and two trains going at the same time and lots of interesting sidings and junctions. Trouble is that really takes an 8x4' board minimum and the only space for it is under the window and so that plan is out (I need access to the window really). Even a cutout in the middle doesn't work and I'm not prepared to duck under the table to open the curtains or the window, such practical matters I know


The end to end idea I still like but I don't just want one 'end' of a layout which is why I have gone for two destinations with a hill down the middle separating them.

I can't really get enthusiastic about N gauge. I want to do OO gauge as I have some track, some wagons and some models I want to re-use.

Thx again for your time
 
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