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Discussion Starter · #21 ·
OK - not my last :). Is there any reason why I can't mount my baseboard/trestle table on lockable castors so I can move it when I need access to the back/wall side? Then I could go to 9' x 4'. The setup will be in a 7m x 4m garage but the space I can (permanently) use is limited.
 

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sure that can work - but only you can decide that, I did see one clever option where the entire railway could be hoisted up and out of the way.
 

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Discussion Starter · #23 ·
That could be done, but it would need to be very strong to stay rigid and I would want it motorised (hey it is 2020) so I won't go that route :)
 

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@Kiwibarge

Sound advice from many, notably honourable mentions 34C and kristopher1805

Mate knowing where you are coming from (I was R/Cer and C/L aeromodeller for many many years prior to too) and ever the pragmatist I'll offer my perspective from when I started in model railway back in 2009. Rather a toy train set memory nostalgia inspired returnee than a hard core aficionado since in short pants, OO gauge was my choice then, and remains so now. Model rail is tactile and visual. Being older, for that reason I wouldn't go N then, argumentative disclaimer OMMV. However if you decide to go 00 gauge, do consider the following first.

End to end built along walls, a perennial favourite with seemingly endless -pardon the pun, options. Many serious model railway types derive pleasure from these. Other than a small/short modelling board, these don't suit my play value requirement.

Table tops. Whether using MDF or ply, most pragmatic to obtain materials to frame and build in our metric land will be 1200 x 600 sheets in your chosen thickness. They're a size facilitating easy handling and require no cutting other than handling and matching edge to edge over the frame. That's just a tad under 4' wide in the old money, and laid to whatever length your room accommodates. My smallest spare room (an air conditioned carpeted bedroom -comfort- which has built-ins, facilitating storage but reducing length) which is where I choose to play easily accommodates an 8'x4' walk around, but would squeeze in a 10'x 6' if I went to a central cutout control area with access flap and castors.

Sol's perspective earlier pretty much sums up the reality IMV&E. x 3' wide will do a fun enough shunting roundy, and you can even squeeze in a double track, but 8' x 4' is really the practical minimum tabletop size you'll want to facilitate a double oval for pleasurable (my value judgement) ops on a roundy. Don't do 3' wide would be my advice generally. Think again. It's far too constraining.

9'x 4' will facilitate operationally interesting roundy layout plans. Castors work fine on low pile carpet, even better on a concrete/polyurethane finished floor. Perfect if you can't access all sides. 8' x 4' or 9' x 4', the constraint is visual suspension disbelief length of express rakes. Compromise doesn't wear well on me, but given the choice of surrendering our HT room/Music Studio, compromise it remains. Living in hot 'n humid beside the ocean sub-tropical Qld, although toying with the idea repeatedly over the last decade of an dedicated shed for a larger layout, I arrive at the same decision on each occasion, discarding the idea even of one insulated and air-conditioned during play time.

GL with it which ever scale you decide. It's much more expensive hobby than RC, particularly now given our exchange rates for the Euro and GBP, but you can do it until you drop pretty much, at home without the travel expense or time/hassle, club fees or insurance nor the endless social BS and club politics that go hand in hand with R/C clubs. Cheers
 

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Discussion Starter · #25 ·
Hi Biggles

A man after my own heart - I clearly recognise the comments on RC clubs etc and as I was never going to be a pylon racer, I want something I can potter at in the workshop, might have to install a beer fridge though.

Agree with everything you said ie I am going with a 2700 x 1200 top with OO scale. Given our 4 week lockdown I have done a lot of research/pricing which as you said made me suck my teeth a bit on total cost as I want to go DCC from the start.

My only caveat is that planning and building it will be fun but not sure (without any experience) whether pottering trains around a couple of loops and a siding will sustain me long term. Of course at that stage you can tear it all to bits and start again :).

Regards
 

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2.7 x 1.2 tabletop is a sound choice, especially for a first layout. Reasonably easy, quick and inexpensive by MR standards to put together, versatile if limited in topography depression and elevation, and with lots of play value. It's the equivalent of having fun with a twin ballrace .46/.50 two stroke which has the versatility to power a model of a size which which fits in the car, doesn't cost the earth to buy or build, doesn't drink half a gallon of fuel per flight, nor require super servos to move its control surfaces, yet still flies well anything from a trainer through a sport/pattern-ish/PC-9CAP, Extra, Su-26 ARF or even semi-scale model.

For sure DCC is the way to go for anyone starting out. Lenz, NCE, ECU, Digitrax or Prodigy. I'm an NCE man myself, and would go there again, but if I wasn't I would probably go with one of the other two of those first three although that's a preference and not a disparagement of the other two.

In my observation what sustains interest in the model railway/train hobby is a very individual thing. There are a lot of head types in the hobby particularly fascinated by all facets of electronics and their problem solving a complex layout might engage. I'm not one of them. My fascination lies with the historical. Reading, researching, planning, tactile modelling, handling and observing a time period running in miniature engages me rather than construction of the electronic side or 'realistic' fantasy driving trains regimented to a timetable etc. Of course I do run them in multiples on my layout which will pragmatically accommodate up to three controllable in concurrent motion, but it's relaxing to sit with an espresso and create an circulating goods or mineral action diorama whilst perhaps shunting or operating another loco be it a sound equipped Merchant Navy Express, 2 car EMU/DMU or M7 operating an imagined Push-Pull branch line service. The thing about model railways us you can do it with reasonable competency and satisfaction until the end, or close to pretty much, which one can't with many activities as one ages physically.
 

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It will work, to get R4 you need 576 x2 or thereabouts and 3 foot gives you 915 and 10 inches is 254 so you have 1169 mm and you would need 1152 plus overlaps of 18/20 each side so you can just about get an R4 plus R3 inner loop for a twin track railway. Things depend upon what sort of railway you want, I run no less than 8 loops and like to see trains running round but some like to shunt or whatever but most UK rail is twin track.

A 3' middle gives you a couple of loops in fact long ago I had a table layout and I put the loops at the ends to stack a pair of trains and had both a station on one side and a spur with station and you could do something similar, just have to try fitting it as best you can, one point that can help is the PECO streamline Y point this is because it has a 24 degree parting so you get the standard 12 degree in each direction off the centre so this can be very helpful as it works like a standard point.

Since my computer died I cannot find these older photos so sorry not available.
 

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Discussion Starter · #28 ·
Thanks - playing with layouts at the moment in SCARM (and waiting for a couple of booklets of layouts to help inspire me).

Also trying to get my head around insulfrog/unifrog for DCC (don't think I can wait for the new unifrog) :)
 

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Insulfrog applies to all track, electrofrog applies to streamline as an option and unifrog is limited to the new bullhead rail which has a very limited model range so far but looks very promising, I did ask Richard at DCC Concepts as to whether his bullhead was compatible with the new Peco option and he did not know, I would want to know this is yes before going that way right now.

So your option is really Peco set track (spell checker keeps changing the real name) but the Bachmann is also valid, Continental track such as Flieschmann is actually a little tighter so your dimensions would work with F/Roco R4 and R3 comfortably but I still prefer the look of Peco.

DCC - now there is a can of worms and most people on here want you to buy the one they have, mine is the Roco Z21 and I went for this on the following grounds
1. It has infinite update ability
2. The graphics are provided by the iPad makes it cheaper.
3. It is compatible with other Roco track specials, turntable etc.
4. I have over 200 locos on the system (Android version gave up at 93) and still adding more!
5. I run 8 tracks concurrently
6. Not perfect but pretty good.

That said you may think differently !
Nothing cheap about this system and if you want a few blown decoders I can provide you at least 40.
Now my Goto 8 pin decoder is the DCC Concepts nano direct which so far has fitted everything
21 pin I have used the Bachmann again good results although DCCC make one as well
6 pin and 18 pin again Bachmann
4 pin - not yet been able to buy one! so my Peckett is confined to the tram track which is non dcc.

Finally - NEVER let dcc and analogue mix on the same track keep them completely and absolutely separate!
 

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Discussion Starter · #30 ·
I will be using Setrack at this stage. Why is electrofrog only suitable for Streamline? Are you then saying Insulfrog is my only choice for DCC Setrack?
 

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And introduce yourself to bjrangi, who has just returned to the forum after an absence. Have a look at his recent posts, he is also working on a 'lockdown layout'. You have a lot in common regarding your interests.

Lockdown Layout

Cheers,
6991
 

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Simply, UK OO set track is only made with dead crossing points 'insulfrog', (and a very small selection of point types it is too).

Peco have until recently supplied their OO Steamline track systems in both dead crossing 'insulfrog' and live crossing 'electrofrog';
but their recently introduced bullhead range uses a 'unifrog' system which presumably is to be the new standard. If you had the
space, then the Streamline products would be the easy choice, but you really need 10x5 (and up) if going for a circuit as the
flexible track is best at 24" radius and up.

There are alternatives. Kato make a very capable set track system by all accounts, never used it, but have read good things of it.
In your position with nothing purchased, I would say it is worth looking at such alternatives in set track, the UK item is fifty years
since introduction, and was nothing special then compared to what was available in HO. My continental cousins had track pieces
such as double slips by 1960, and points with integrated motors not long after, greater choices in curve radii, and so on. I don't
use it, but others might have some direct experience to offer.
 

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Discussion Starter · #34 ·
I looked at Tillig and Kato but too expensive. Fleischmann is a possible but don't know how it compares with Peco in terms of quality (or its pricing).
 

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One of the problems is point angle and loop separation I too looked at Flieschmann and found an 18 degree angle, Set track is 22.5 degree and Streamline 12 degree, obviously the wider the angle the shorter the point and thus longer the loop, the other critical factor are coaches, the mark 1 in BR parlance has a longish wheelbase and significant overhang (as do Pullmans) so as you go sharper the end sweep and the chord cutting of the centre of the coach needs more space so the 67mm centres of Set track are needed for R3 and under the other issue is end sweep and these can hit each other.

When I laid out my 4 track I used set track and kept the spacing under hidden areas but had to pull some tricks in the streamline areas to stop contact between coaches passing and you have no choice. Streamline has a 50 mm centres I found 55 to be easier, with your space set track is unavoidable.

By the way when I built the inner loop I used R3 and R4 and made up R5 and R6 using Flexi track and the little red Peco gauge.

The Heljan O2 is definitely NOT for set track - anything tighter than R6 and it gives trouble and the front truck is very thin on the flange as well
My two are seen here - still got to like them though
 

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QUOTE Fleischmann is a possible
Since Roco took over Fleischmann they have rationalised the ranges so that now Roco = HO and Fleischmann = n.
If I was in the market for a good set track range I would be considering Roco.

David
 

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Just to add, Rainer Modellbahn in Innsbruck have a special on all Roco track at the moment, which may make a difference in overall cost. Plus sending to NZ it will already be Mwst free (-19%), so cost will be about 35% lower than list. Worth having a look I'd say, based on dwb's sage advice.

6991

www.modellbahn.at
 

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Discussion Starter · #38 ·
My wife speaks fluent German but whether she wishes to be my technical translator is a moot point :). I will do a quick costing exercise, but being a poor pensioner the range and cost of Peco is attractive.
 

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QUOTE (Kiwibarge @ 1 Apr 2020, 18:53) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>As an aside, I will probably go with the Roco Z21 DCC system. Rainer has only a couple of Roco track sets on their site.
Mate,
I just re-checked - they have the full range, flexi-trak, points, with trackbed, without trackbed, all kinds, full range on special at -14%, which, after -20% Mwst, makes it a pretty good buy. I put the link below (without trackbed) for you to check out, you can navigate around the site for the options. The offer lasts until the weekend.
They are also pretty good with us down under, I have made several orders with them. You do not have to be Brain of Britain, or even a German-speaking wife to do this (my wife also speaks German, thankfully not as well as me).
Happy shopping,
6991

Without trackbed
 
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