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Hello all,

I am in the planning stages of a new and large N scale layout and would welcome any advice offered since I haven't built such a layout before!

My current plans are to use my revamped childhood layout as an end loop module and connect it via a large bridge module to a large station, set somewhere in western Austria (the Tirol region) and fairly close to the Swiss border to allow ÖBB or SBB trains to look at home. My determination to run *almost* scale length trains up to and including a double-headed EuroCity service with 11 coaches means the longest platforms have to be at least ~205 cm.

The station is to have Hauptbahnhof status and serves a large town in an area with much scope for Alpine tourism and sports, in addition to typical regional industries such as sustainable logging etc. The town lies on a primary two-track mainline route with much through-traffic, passenger and freight, including international trains. The trains will be operated with DCC, track is to Peco code 55. The station does not yet have a name...but something like Wörgl springs to mind! The time period is epochs IV and V, fully electrified.

My provisional track plan is probably too ambitious and slightly longer than necessary, and is intended to be built in two halves each on a 6' x 2' board so that 12 feet is available:

Loading area 1 is for post (PTT) and adjacent supermarket deliveries.
Loading area 2 is for local industry etc. and may be changed to include a ROLA terminal.
There are seven platforms, platform 1 may be lengthened (dotted areas) for the covenience of passengers catching EuroCity class trains.
The tracks below the station are for freight trains to be held temporarily/added to/shortened, with a depot area off towards the right.

I made a to scale trackplan in XTrackCAD4, which shows a slightly older version of the plan with a different lower platform arrangement:


All well and good so far, but the project is ambitious and I'm not really sure about many things, in particular if it resembles the typical Austrian prototype at all (I am not expecting anyone else to have a clue either!) but MOST IMPORTANTLY if it will be fun to construct and operate as designed? The plan is unfinished, but there could be major flaws that those with vastly more experience than me will spot instantly and I would welcome any advice or suggestions on the design.

Thanks in advance,

Goedel
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
QUOTE (adecoaches26point4 @ 16 Jul 2007, 17:41) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>Will you be operating(I'll use English) Loco waiting tracks for loco changes,direct passenger coaches (Kurswagon)adding or removing on arriving/departing passenger trains

The operational possibilities with this type of layout are endless

Have fun with this project.
Thanks both for the words of encouragement! I will definitely post pictures when I begin construction!

The siding off point 's' was intended as a locomotive waiting track, and possibly the one off point 'p' too...I haven't thought of it much and will think about revising my plans...I suppose that older Swiss and Austrian locomotives could exchange trains because of the narrower pantograph system Switzerland had, and the station is meant to be near the border. I had not planned on modifying passenger train compositions but if the station has ternimating trains as a HBF then it should be considered...the original plan was to store the trains in a large fiddle-yard directly underneath the two boards as mainly fixed rakes and then summon them to appear via the end sections with transition spirals.

Goedel
 

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Well I thought I should report on how I have got on! No layout yet but the plan has gone through many revisions...

When I discovered that Peco code 55 track was THAT expensive I decided that quite so many double slips etc. might be a tad excessive, especially for the first layout I will be building on my own, i.e. without the family expert on hand. I then rethought about where to base the layout, and decided in the end to go for a fairly large station in the Tirol - Ötztal which is to the west of Innsbruck on the wonderful Arlbergbahn to Bludenz, and so on the east-west axis to Switzerland (my other area of modelling).

Here on the excellent www.sporenplan.nl website I found a plan of the station from 1987 which I link to here so that you can compare it to my design!
http://www.sporenplan.nl/html_nl/sporenpla...38/oetztal.html

The station is in an area of beautiful valleys and mountains with lots of winter and summer tourism, and there are logging and other Alpine industries to model and of course all the Intercity and Eurocity trains and international and local freight trains as they traverse the primary artery of western Austria! This gives me huge flexibility with the prototype which is great. Also it is a point where the double track becomes single track for a time which, like on the real railway will lead to opportunities for shuffling the order of running, e.g. freight stopping in a passing loop for an express train to jump the queue etc.

Here is my latest plan, basically a lengthwise compressed Ötztal, set in 1980s to 2000s depending upon exactly which trains I am running at the time. Please note that the station is upside down relative to map of Austria; it will be viewed from the North side so I designed it that way.



It is 4 metres long, (the grid is 1 metre sections), and this is mainly because I haven't simplified the track work at all, but want to cram in platform space for an 11 coach express train (the EC 'Transalpin' is often 14+ coaches!) to stop. This works out at about 290 real metres, and my long platforms are about 1.8 scale metres so 288 real metres, which is a lot of platform to squeeze in!

The platforms are connected by underpass, the tracks closest to station building are passing loops and not used for embarking/disembarking. There is a goods loading area (grey) with warehouse (blue) and a large goods yard beyond which will be full of timber waiting transport, building materials, maybe a new gondola for a ski-lift etc. (in one photo I have of the real station there is a 4 metre model of the Eifel Tower in the yard!)

The siding at the far left of the plan goes to a lineside quarry/gravel merchant so will have ballast wagons etc. visiting it, and the other sidings pointing away from the 'Innsbruck end' are for storing terminated trains etc., as Innsbruck is the Tirol's state capital who bring skiers and holidaymakers from the international airport there etc. etc.

Control: currently Roco multiMaus digital system.
Track: Peco code 55 elektrofrog, all long points except a few sidings which have medium points, and three Y points.
Baseboards: probably built in four 1 metre sections for ease of transport

According to the computer the station trackplan uses 17.5 metres of flexitrack and 20 points, for which the best price I can find comes to about £220. Does this sound reasonable for a layout of this size and scope, should I consider code 80 or does it look too toy like, and isn't very much cheaper? Can people see how I can improve the design, I don't have to be exactly faithful to the prototype track plan? (I've already sneaked some Y points in as then the angle is 5 degrees each way which helps a bit). Are there ways the 'operational fun' could be enhanced which I have overlooked? Some feedback would be super!

(This will all end up on my website hopefully, when ever I get round to updating it ... a long way off in the future!)
 

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Thank you all for your comments and my apologies for not saying so sooner.

I don't know if I mentioned it before but there is still a house move between me and my layout, however the good news is I should be moving in about 3 months time and I have the dimensions of the loft/attic in which I am building my layout.

I have a rather bothersome shape to play with in some respects but I've had a go at fitting my nice station plan for Ötztal in Western Austria into the space and its proving tricky! I've had to shorten the platforms slightly but this seems the best way to fit as much station in as possible. Beyond that there is a huge (probably far too big!) storage yard underneath and I have attempted to include plenty of open mainline as the railway wends its way through the Alps up to a higher altitude station (orange section is highest) and down again with splenty of scope for spectacular viaducts / bridges etc. just like on the Semmering or Tauernbahn. I've tried to situate the curves so they are concave to the viewer to enhance the close coupling appearance of models and make the radius as large and so realistic as possible. I plan to cram all the tight curves and spirals under mountainous scenery, not an original solution but very easy to do if you're making an Alpine model. Plenty of work still to be done to connect the various sections properly and ensure nice smooth height transitions with minimised gradients in scenic sections.

Any comments would be greatly appreciated, as the forum has so many members who are much further along this joyful path of layout construction that I have got...my only worry is that it's getting bigger and bigger and I don't want to start building a white elephant if possible...

I designed it on AnyRail with Peco code 55 track. I'm looking forward to requesting this thread gets moved to "On My Layout", fingers crossed, in about 3 months! I hope everyone has a Merry Christmas and no-one hears the rattling of loose detailing parts as they receive a present on Christmas Eve / Day / Epiphany!

 

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Again, thank you all for your comments and encouragement! Firstly, having now got periodic access to my new railway space I discovered that it contained a dust coated OO gauge layout and had been fully lined and timbered by the previous occupant. That's very lucky and very useful! I made a 3D model in Sketchup and decided that as the space isn't so tall then a swivel chair on castors is the best way of saving my back from lumbago, which has been useful for deciding on what should go where on the layout in terms of feasibility.



After removing the OO layout I noticed that the baseboards were very solidly constructed and seemed to be in useful places so I pulled out about a million track pins and thought...hmm, can I use the existing woodwork for my layout to save myself some effort? The answer would appear yes so I have adapted the evolving plan to include the existing boards (yellow). I hope to add a picture of the loft space at some point, (then this thread really will have become a blog and I should get it moved!) but it has no intruding beams or rafters etc. which is good.

QUOTE (john woodall @ 24 Dec 2008, 04:06) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>I think you are a storage yard short. The top line (red line that runs into the black) probably need one so that your overall plan goes Return loop-Storage Yard - Ötztal - storage yard - return loop.
QUOTE (Geoff Booth @ 24 Dec 2008, 09:25) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>The layout looks great and you certainly have plenty of hidden storage! I guess this is the loft/attic so I think a key question is how easy is it to reach all of your track? If you can comfortably get at all of it, especially the hidden stuff, then great but do you actually need all that hidden track?
If you had your storage focused across the bottom and then reducing once you have turned up the right hand end you would still have loads of storage but would save a packet on track and wiring (and time). Just a thought...

I have made the second station a terminus, and hopefully the current track arrangement makes the single storage yard adequate but I'm not sure. Perhaps the terminus should have one too. I've made the main storage yard smaller, and tried to concentrate all the point work in more accessible places. The main station should be on an elevated section running across the whole room and I hope to install the wiring with it out of position, and or build the layout with scope for "modularity of deconstruction" i.e. can lift off chunks of scenery to rerail that annoying coach with the dodgy bogie in the storage yard...speaking of which, I also have a fair sized window perfect for the periodic defenestration of defective runners.

Anyway, I'm waffling, here is the current plan, which I hope is looking more managable than the last one I posted: The terminus station track plan I haven't really thought about properly, but should be able to cope with 4/5 coach regional trains I hope so it can probably be smaller than at present. (267 does not mean 267th exactly...as I started at 256 on this iteration I think, not sure why)

 

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Sorry David, and to anyone else too (I find it very annoying when it happens to me...
), its hard to know what size to post it as! I'll make it smaller at once!

It's now 900 pixels by something...perhaps the forum software needs adjusting to shrink images to fit users' window or screensize, or perhaps there could be some 'automatic-thumbnail-generate-and-replace' algorythm?
 

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QUOTE (Geoff Booth @ 18 Jan 2009, 21:13) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>It looks great and much more manageable than the previous layout. However, I have a nagging suspicion that the interface between your complex Hauptbahnhof and how you get to the hidden storage is too limited or a very long route. It also appears that one of your main lines out of the Hbf just stops (upper of the two green tracks exiting to the right) which will be very restricting. You might want to split the hidden storage so that it isn't just in and out on the upper "paradestrecke".

You may have looked at this in detail and be entirely happy but I also know from when I was planning you sometimes can't see the wood for the trees as you get transfixed on fitting things in. I might be wrong but worth a look just to be sure it is what you intend.
Hello Geoff

Thanks for your comments! It was intentional to have one track leading from the right hand end of the station as this is copied from the real Oetztal station, and at first I thought that this would create a nice operating challenge as two way traffic has to be juggled to prevent head on collisions, but now I'm not so sure if it's a good idea. The problem with the current plan I suppose is that it creates quite a long single track section in what behaves otherwise as a double track loop...hmm, more thought needed on this I think so that I'm not driven mad by operating it...

I agree about the storage, I think that it could do with further connections to the rest of the layout perhaps to increase functionality. Also I should make a dedicated storage area for push-pull trains, my Desiro DMU etc. that are going to travel up to the terminus as storing them in the main storage yard is probably inefficient use of space more difficult to operate. I was also thinking of making the upper paradestrecke three tracked with the terminus line running through into the storage yard entrance to perhaps a separate smaller yard. At least there's plenty of space to play with at the moment. I wonder if the big mainline loop needs a crossover at the midpoint and some side features or line-side industry sidings...

Also a small locomotive depot would be nice, I wonder where to put it? Gosh, still lots to decide before I put cheesewire to sundeala!
 

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Discussion Starter · #21 ·
QUOTE (dwb @ 18 Jan 2009, 19:16) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>Hi Goedel, thanks for doing the resize. It's fine for me now and I can see what's going on. I've only the one comment - if you want your hidden storage sidings to be of equal length, you can get this by reversing one of the entrance / exit ladders. Looks like a lot of fun!
Hello David,

That sounds a good idea although it might make some storage yard point motors harder to access. I was hoping to use side mounted ones as they'll be hidden and will be easier to install than underneath in theory.
 

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Hello again!

I have been busy revising my plan and after thinking about further storage yard integration I decided to see what happens if I swapped over the connections out of the main station, result is perhaps a better layout? The storage yard can of course be made more equal with tracks off/onto both of the pink mainlines but I wonder if some sort of train direction reversal loop or two would be a good idea...

The only problems with the new configuration might be the steeper gradients on the track on the 'paradestrecke' as they rise after the pointwork on the left to cross over the pink tracks...the red branch line is at 3% to this point (could be a bit softer) and the orange mainline at 2.5% (to give 7cm clearance at when crossing the pink tracks, perhaps I could go slightly lower...?). If I were to put this pointwork on a slope also then this would ease the other gradients...I think my models can manage the slopes but then again, will they look silly?

The storage yard tracks are probably too long and perhaps too many, I've tried adding a storage yard for branchline push-pull trains (5 coach max I think) and DMUs but these sidings are probably too long also. My computer tells me the total track length is now just under 110 metres...
...am I edging back towards a white elephant with too many points and lines etc.? Half the layout nows seems to be out of sight which is always a bit of a waste I think. Perhaps I need to add line side industries and corresonding sidings to store trains in?

Any thoughts would be most welcome!! Being merely a fan and occasional user of railways (which may change once house move complete!) I've tried to make it work a bit like a real railway (i.e. by using a real station trackplan...) but perhaps one of our Forum's experts can point out where the odd siding/connection or two will massively enhance operational enjoyment. The main station is still two tracks in, one track out, but the single track section only persists as far as the first tunnel. I still wonder if this feature from the original track plan will be more of a pain than a fun operating challenge?

 

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Just thought I'd add some pictures of the layout space before it construction begins (not for a month or two alas...)



I'm still not sure though - sauna or railway room?
Being honest the fact that it's all lined and insulated has saved me a lot of work and should help regulate the temperature, and a sky-light window is very useful as not everyone can just cut a hole in their roof! I'm planning to make it as dust free as possible by using laminated board flooring despite the racket a swivell chair / shoes will make on the stuff!

Edit re post 25 - Hello David, the framework from the old OO layout is massive for N scale, fortunately only 1 metre deep at the end, but to the side its 1.4 metres deep. As can be seen from layout plans above I'm not planning on using it all because as you say its so far away to reach for the inevitable derailment!!
 

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Dear fellow hobbists and enthusiasts!

Firstly thank you all for the above comments and interest!

Having moved house (at last) and unpacked (at least partially) I can begin to impose my will on the loft, and so have put down some laminate flooring (foul stuff I find) lifted from elsewhere in the villa house which is perfect for a swivel chair and further minimises dust generation hopefully... it is for this reason the entire loft interior is now coated with wooden panneling. I probably should varnish/stain the wood to maximise its lifespan, but as I decided not to include the sauna in the end it shouldn't get damp!

As can also be seen in the picture below I have added a blackout (actually a blueout) blind with reflective outer surface to reduce the temperature variations, and I have to say it has made a noticable difference in the summer (what summer!?) this year. It is of course an obvious thing to do.



Also, the old loft ladder was a rather rickety and old contraption, so I replaced it with a telescopic ladder which I'm rather pleased with. The legs telescope up in sections once you release a catch on the bottom step, each step then pressing a release catch on the step above, and then the compressed ladder is swung up into the loft with no effort at all by some viciously strong springs (think locomotive bogie springs!!).



And on to the layout itself (Construction to actually begin this year!!). I've been refining my track plan to maximise use of space and hopefully fun and interest to operate, along with careful design to keep construction and pre-defenestration derailment management easier. It would as ever be super to have the feedback of our experts and enthusiasts, all comments encouraged!



Sorry about the picture quality, I was experimenting with how to minimise the size without losing information. I hope that it is not too big for peoples' screens as some of my earlier escapades in "billboard" posting have been!

As may be seen above, I have resolved to cut access holes in the huge exisiting base board and route the storage yards 1,2 and 3 around these for convenience and to maximise storage space.

The grey lines are sketches for roads, with nice hair pin bends, and I thought a lake to reflect the trains in would be good in photographs, and where would I be without a hydroelectric power plant modelling Austria!?

The high level station has moved and I've added helices to provide most of the change in height as otherwise all the winding crossing track (as seen in the older designs above) looks a bit silly, I personally don't like to see tracks crammed in left right and centre in every available free centimetre (this is what H0 TMD planks are for I always thought?!)

Finally I have tried to make as many hidden curves at least radius 25cm so that nice Hobbytrain steam trains (Badische IVh, Württembergische C et al.) can go round without falling off (I'm sure they won't anyway!!).

I wonder if anyone has ideas on how to make more it more fun/interesting to operate? Perhaps more line-side industry spurs etc. or do I need more pointwork/passing loops etc to add interest (e.g. on mountain line on the right hand side)?
 

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QUOTE (billericaybill @ 14 Sep 2009, 16:16) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>I haven't really followed all of the development in detail so I am not sure i understand it all, but any way I'll venture some feedback. I think the Otztal Hbf is so developed and will look so good that the paradestrecke will only detract from it visually. It also adds complexity and imho its still a bit complex for a one man layout. (I have buit 12 or so over the last 40 years). So pehaps this coud lbe omitted or left as part of the fiddleyard route. As far as some industries go that nice long stretch by the workbench calls out for a lay by loop and a couple of related industries if there is the width.

I would also be inclined to seal the boards with something as there is often a lot of fine dust on the surface of machined boards, at least the ones i have built with. A spray job of some kind would make it quick and easy and I dont think it matters what you seal it with from the dust perspective.
Thanks for your comments Andrew! Twelve in 40 years sounds prolific - did you keep them all or was it agony sometimes to "wipe the slate clean" for the next? I shall look again at the need for the paradestrecke, the only advantage I can see in having one is that it reduces the amount of hidden track, perhaps with judicious scenery placement / sufficient height difference / tree cover the parallel zones can be isolated for the viewer? I agree that over by the workbench it looks fairly dull, although a nice place to work if I can set it up so that the occasional train runs past while I'm screaming obscenities during decoder installation...(try getting the casing off a Minitrix doppelstockwagen to install interior lighting and you realise that performing Nuclear Magnetic Resonance by hand is easier!).

Thanks for the advice on boards, I didn't realise they could harbour so much dust, it should also assist in keeping the water content more uniform.

Thanks for the encouragement Brian. I'll try not to post again until I've actually started physical construction though, I hate purely theoretical layout threads!
 
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