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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello all,
I am planning my ultimate layout and I have a few problems to overcome!
I think space isn’t really the issue, the main problem I have is that I simply have too many interests.
I love railways from all around the world and so I have collected models from the UK, America and European countries.
I’m only at the earliest design stage as my future house isn’t built yet! The layout will be in a basement underneath the future house.
Well I have considered numerous options simply for the shape of a new layout and I guess the simplest thing is to show you;
20211


I should be able to have a portion of an area of 100 square meters, I have to divide the whole thing into my wife’s hobby area, my own hobby area and a decent sized workshop.
Fortunately, my wife is very understanding and suggested that I take an ‘L’ shaped portion of the basement - this would give me approximately 10m x 10m or say, 12m x 8.3m or say, 14m x 7.14m - you get the picture, I hope.
For ease of planning, I’ll stick with 10m x 10m so if you look at “2” on the rhs of the picture, this gives me the overall shape of layout that I can work with.
Don’t forget that I have to also fit into this area another two rooms/workshops!
Therefore, I can only reasonably take say, a two metre strip along each wall but this still gives me a very substantial area for a layout! In imperial measurements, that’s over 32’ x 32’ and the legs of each ‘L’ being over six and a half feet deep!

Now, going back to my various interests, I have searched the internet and my soul to find a way of running British or American stock on a Germanic scenery layout, for example.
I can’t do it!
My only answer is to build separate decks for each interest and because I want to store trains separately off stage, I can only think of having a large helix to connect the various levels to the storage roads.
This way allows me to run British trains through British scenery and so forth. I was trying to assemble a collection of British H0 stuff together and over the last two decades, have a fair bit but it’s nothing like enough to show a segment of the East Coast main line for example. This forces me to look at 00 once again.
I only mention this because an added problem if I was trying to run a British mainline steam express through a German station (or vice versa) would be fouling of platforms! Similarly, American double stack container trains wouldn’t pass under even European bridges, let alone British ones.
Okay, gotta go now,
John E.
 

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I was thinking multi-deck and spirals before I reached the part where you mentioned them so perhaps you are on the right track already.

You could get over the clearance thing by making exit from the spiral 'optional' at each level using points. So say you had the fiddle yard storage at the bottom which is shared by all your interests then create decks above that - say US HO on the first level, German HO on the second and UK HO at the top. You just need a set of chairs with different heights to provide the ideal viewing angle for each level. All the bending up and down will keep you supple, much better than Tai Chi ;).

I would build the spirals from set track. Choose a radius that has matching curved points. I would start with Rocoline myself.

You might need to build a double helix to get this to work - one helix for going up and the other for going down. The separation does away with the need for crossovers. The only double helix I have ever experienced was a mini Eifel tower in Prague. It's weird going up the stairs never meeting the people coming down even though you can see and hear them.

David.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks David!
I’m actually planning to build a helix of my maximum width, 2m diameter!
My calculations show that equals a circumference of about 6m, allowing for clearances so a simple 10cm rise to allow double stacks and electric locomotives with their pantographs pinned up - this of course, equals a gradient of 1 in 60.
I’ve had some correspondence with a friend and he tells me that a British 00 Pacific type loco will still not be able to handle a nine coach train up such a helix, the problem being the amount of train on curved track rather than the outright grade itself.
By the way, although I will keep my interest in British H0, for operating purposes (running trains!), this British section will in all likelihood, have to be 00.
As David says above, if the 00 section is on the highest level, the narrow gauge effect will be much less visible. My apologies to anyone who is perfectly happy with 00 but ever since I discovered the wider gauges in 1980, aged 15, I have always railed against it!
Anyway, there are numerous ways of enhancing traction on model steam locomotives and I will continue to explore these aspects presently.

I really like RocoLine track and was delighted when Roco reintroduced it but I will only use it on the German/European section, I have a large box of SMP plain bullhead track for the British section, to be supplimented by Peco bullhead and I have a fair quantity of Peco code 83 for the American section!
All these are of course, 16.5mm gauge but all have different geometry and spacing s through the points etc. This leads me to think that the multi standard parts of the layout, the helix and the storage roads, will need to be code 100, probably Peco due to its universal nature.
Despite all this, I doubt I have enough track yet, to lay more than a single plain line through each section! I know the helix alone will consume a lot of track, as will the storage roads.

This will be a pretty major project, expensive in terms of track, baseboard materials and other materials so it will be a necessarily slow project that I hope will occupy me for the rest of my life. I’m lucky that I have most of the American and European stuff that I “need” but am virtually starting over with British 00, only having a couple of items remaining from a massive clear out a few years ago. Oh well!
My interests wax and wain over time so I foresee that I may spend a few weeks or months on say, the American section only to change and then focus on the British or German section.
Cheers for now,
John E.
 

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If the wheel standards of all your stock will work on it, you might want to consider Peco's code 75 flat bottom streamline. It forms curves so much more easily than code 100, the rail joiner alone holds it kink free at joints on easy curves of the radius you will most likely use. (I was surprised about how much easier it was, but the rail cross section is roughly half that of code 100, so no wonder it forms so easily.) There's no downside relative to code 100 streamline that has emerged since I started using it, which must be about 14 years ago.
 

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To get British 00 pacifics up a 1:60 on a curve have you considered using DCC Concepts Power Base system?

David
 
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One thing here puzzles me, you have 2 metre boards pushed against a blank wall? you cannot reach across this far so 1 metre is as far as an average bloke can reach. Given your interests I suggest a visit to minature wonderland in Hamburg as this has loads of layouts and all sorts of devices such as spirals.

design for access as if it goes wrong I can guarantee it'll be in the least accessible place.

In terms of gradients 1 in 60 is easy, I use 1 in 33 and that works so you are pessimistic there should be no bother at all.

As to track then I have no experience with bullhead but I like the idea of it.

As above 1 in 87 German and 1 in 76 British comes out the same size pretty much, thus German kit buildings/bridges etc seem happy running OO stock.
 

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Re HO stock on bullhead track. A lot of HO models have quite deep wheel flanges. Some of the ones I have rub along the top of the chairs on bullhead track.
I am assuming that the bullhead track is code 75.

David
 
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Surely bullhead rail is deeper than code 75 flat bottom rail? in which case code 75 is out and the only product to use is code 100? I went this way because of a large amount of legacy product and in particular my hundreds of Wrenn wagons with their pizza cutter wheels, I do run some German bogie hoppers and I must say without issues on my Totton the Brent coal trains (being a bit similar to those used on this traffic) and I suppose the German manufacturers using code 100 confirms all that
 

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My experience is with handbuilt track which uses DCC Concepts stainless steel rail - Rail (Bullhead) 4mm Scale (Stainless Steel) L=960mm (10 Pack) which they describe as being equivalent to code 75.

This is a close up ...




I don't know how well trains run over it when under power as I haven't got round to connecting it to anything ...

David
 
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certainly looks more like the railway I remember quite impressed, I'll have to try some, only issue is the noch underlay which is designed for code 100 and which I find easy to use with an acceptable overall look.
 

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The track fan at the end of the Towcaster Station using Noch underlay. I do not use the point flat system as it is naff but cut and shape the regular line track to fit, bit of a knack but hope you think it looks OK. Might be useful for John to think about as choosing track is the biggest issue to face and he will have a lot of it
 

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Hi WoW That is one hell of a project . Mine still in process is no where near that size of yours and the amount of times i have changed my mind on different parts. The only thing that was Certain was my track look what happened to my choice. Profi Fleischmann track, they stopped making it bummer. Good job i had 99% of it by forward planning. I wish i had stuck to the 4 lane oblong flat roundy roundy and i would have been up and running by now As my partner says it will be constant work in progress. Good Luck looking forward to the pics.
Babs
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
If the wheel standards of all your stock will work on it, you might want to consider Peco's code 75 flat bottom streamline. It forms curves so much more easily than code 100, the rail joiner alone holds it kink free at joints on easy curves of the radius you will most likely use. (I was surprised about how much easier it was, but the rail cross section is roughly half that of code 100, so no wonder it forms so easily.) There's no downside relative to code 100 streamline that has emerged since I started using it, which must be about 14 years ago.
Thanks Mr 34C!
Yes, of course! I realised a day or so after I posted this, that the ECML would have been relaid with flat bottom rails, what? In the 1950’s? Therefore Peco code 75 will be spot on for this.

To get British 00 pacifics up a 1:60 on a curve have you considered using DCC Concepts Power Base system?

David
Yes but no but yes! Actually I am considering a cheaper, simpler alternative - snipping off strips of thin sheet steel and glueing that under the track, any magnets attached to locomotives will work just as well on that as on a commercial system, surely? The number of turns required on such a helix would cause me to need miles of the stuff! (Sorry, kilometres!).
Cheers,
John E.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
One thing here puzzles me, you have 2 metre boards pushed against a blank wall? you cannot reach across this far so 1 metre is as far as an average bloke can reach. Given your interests I suggest a visit to minature wonderland in Hamburg as this has loads of layouts and all sorts of devices such as spirals.

design for access as if it goes wrong I can guarantee it'll be in the least accessible place.

In terms of gradients 1 in 60 is easy, I use 1 in 33 and that works so you are pessimistic there should be no bother at all.

As to track then I have no experience with bullhead but I like the idea of it.

As above 1 in 87 German and 1 in 76 British comes out the same size pretty much, thus German kit buildings/bridges etc seem happy running OO stock.
Hi Kristopher,
I will have a 2m deep working area and the helix will use the whole 2m.
The rest of the decks of the layout will all be around half a metre giving me plenty of aisle room and making it easy to reach into the layout.
Cheers,
John E.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
The track fan at the end of the Towcaster Station using Noch underlay. I do not use the point flat system as it is naff but cut and shape the regular line track to fit, bit of a knack but hope you think it looks OK. Might be useful for John to think about as choosing track is the biggest issue to face and he will have a lot of it
Thanks Kristopher!
I have used some of the Noch underlay on one of my old layouts and I liked it!
Unlike the Peco foam underlay, it seemed to not degrade over time.
I used to get a fair bit of gravel coming off whenever it got touched though so eventually I passed it on to a former friend.
Something to bear in mind of course, thanks.

Hi WoW That is one hell of a project . Mine still in process is no where near that size of yours and the amount of times i have changed my mind on different parts. The only thing that was Certain was my track look what happened to my choice. Profi Fleischmann track, they stopped making it bummer. Good job i had 99% of it by forward planning. I wish i had stuck to the 4 lane oblong flat roundy roundy and i would have been up and running by now As my partner says it will be constant work in progress. Good Luck looking forward to the pics.
Babs
Hi Babs,
Thanks! Yes, it is a major project, I hope I live long enough to complete at least some of it!
I look forward to showing some pictures.

Cheers all,
John E.
 

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Yes but no but yes! Actually I am considering a cheaper, simpler alternative - snipping off strips of thin sheet steel and glueing that under the track, any magnets attached to locomotives will work just as well on that as on a commercial system, surely?
Don't see why not.
My only advice is to be sure you have something that thick under all the track. I have a short section without and the transition is noticeable and troublesome despite the plate being very thin.

David
 
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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Hi All,
Firstly, thanks for all the comments and suggestions, I do appreciate everything you all say!
Secondly, over the past few weeks or so, I’ve been helping my friend and neighbour, Takis who is a third generation (or more) boat builder, one of only seven left in Greece. There used to be hundreds of them, I’m sure.
Anyway, Takis has a substantial “shed” outside his workshop and I happened to ask how large it is, the answer surprised me at approximately 14 metres by 7! This is approximately 100 square meters, the same as my future house. I didn’t realise just how large such a structure actually is - in person as it were.
Therefore, I am now thinking this is a better size for both the house and the hobby room underneath so this is what I am working with now.

Allied to this is the knowledge that the long leg of my ’L’ shaped layout is around 45 feet long (!) and the short leg is around 22 feet - then maybe if each level has it’s own turnaround section where the proposed helix was to be, that could be developed as a set of storage tracks as well as a turnaround. Maybe most of the 22’ section could be given over to storage, after all, a forty five foot long layout is huge!
Removing the helix would save considerable costs as the point was for it to provide access to storage for all three levels but it would consume a lot of materials and track.
Each level could then have storage tracks most suitable for the rolling stock on that level.

I realise that I have to do some drawing to illustrate what I’m on about!
Cheers,
John E.
 

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Me - jealous that size is fabulous, you'll be popular with the maker of track as well as well as the wood supplier. so a great challenge.
Through all this I would also suggest you buy
1. vertical track cutter
2. Sideways track cutters
3. Selection of files
4. Pin hammer and pusher
5. Mini screwdrivers
6. A Dremel is very good. with small drills
These are the basics but you may need some others, the vertical track cutters are vital.
 
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