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RudyB
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219 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Some time ago I became member of a model railway club. After a while I got the 'itch' to create a layout for myself, at home. I have a room that served as an office, but since I quit working now is available for other purposes.

So ... a 'model railway project' started somewhere in June 2014.

I (try to) keep a website / blog with the project progress. Here's the link to the blog.

Progress of past week: in stead of tinkering with electronics (which is fun) it now was time for some 'real hardware': creation of the wooden tables (which is also fun
).

 

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RudyB
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219 Posts
Discussion Starter · #2 ·
This weekend some progress has been made on the layout design.

If you think 'he just threw all the track on the table he had room for' ... then, well ... you might be right
I did read several articles on layout design. About time periods, about setting goals for your layout, about the design of a shunting area ... and what not. The point is, probably I'm not a 'typical model railway hobbyist'. To me it need not be 'prototypical'. My main interest is on the electronics and the computer control. That is what the layout caters for.

Detailed info on the website.

Curious on any feedback / advice / pitfalls you may see.

 

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RudyB
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219 Posts
Thx for your feedback Ian.

The two long sides of the table are against a wall. There is a manhole in the middle at the left, which makes it possible to reach the area close to the wall. Also the laptop rests on a separate lid that can be taken away. I hope that will be enough.

Indeed I'm still considering dual track for the South loop. On the other hand I liked to have a single track so it is clearly visble trains are waiting for each other.
 

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RudyB
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219 Posts
@Grifter_Guru - the layouts are done with SCARM. Looks like you know the program


With regard to the single or double track South loop ... I'll do a computer simulatien with EEP to see to what extend it acts as a bottleneck that constantly obstructs traffic flow, or if only every now and then a train has to wait.
 

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RudyB
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219 Posts
That would be great if you would take the effort to show what you meant in SCARM. I'll upload it tomorrow when I'm at my PC and send you a PM with the link.

EEP is a PC model railroad simulator. It's originally a German program, but an English version has recently been released, called Railroad-X. An example is over here on my website.
 

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RudyB
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219 Posts
Some very useful feedback on the layout has been received. Based on that, four changes have been made:

1.One lane of the South terminal has been given up. One switch less was needed, which allows longer lanes, which allows longer trains.

2. Lane 4 of the South terminal is allocated to store the loco that is going to pull out the train from lane 3. That got rid of the short sidetrack in the middle of the North bend. This gives the layout a bit more 'calm'.

3. The switch for the West terminal lanes was moved from the main track to the terminal tracks, without sacrificing train length: the whole junction-street was shifted North a bit.

4. Two industry sidetracks are added. Together with the sidetrack that already was there and the inner lane of the North bend this now forms an industrial area with some shunting play possibilities.

 

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RudyB
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219 Posts
Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Haha, G_G ... and I know how come you have that feeling
.

Alas, this week there is no more time for doing any layout planning work. Possibly next week either. Well ... that maybe gives some time to let evrything 'sink in'.

The choice for single or double track ... I plan a sim to check out if it is a bottleneck.

Thanks for all the feedback and help.
 

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RudyB
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219 Posts
Based on some useful and constructive forum feedback, a few more revisions have been made to the layout. Also a small turntable has been added, where the locs that are going to pull the cargo trains out of the terminals can be turned around.

Traffic wise, I decided on having 2 'Intercity' trains. They run only on the mainline and they have a stop at station West, lane 3 and 4, and sometimes at North lane 4. But they never enter the terminal stations. Then there are two shuttle passenger trains and two cargo trains that can drive everywhere, they also enter and stop at the terminal stations.

The layout is simulated with 'Eisenbahn-X'. That way traffic flow can be visualized and possible problems or bottlenecks can already be found before building the layout in real. In the sim train traffic is fully random, with the only restriction that the two Intercity trains never enter a terminal station. For those who own EEP-X, the layout and LUA code can be downloaded here.

The videos shows that train traffic actually runs quite smooth. Please don't look at the backward driving of the cargo trains. Decoupling and coupling of another loco is not included in the sim.

Some times trains have to wait a bit, until the block they want to enter becomes free, but not in a way that it looks disturbing. The South loop single track does not seem to be much of a bottleneck. It more looks like station West lane 3 and 4 (where all trains halt) are the bottleneck of the layout. Also it canbe noticed that there is very little traffic at terminal South lne 3 and 4. My bet is that with some tuning of parameters in PC control software this might be improved a bit.

All and all I think this is the layout that is going to be built ...

Here are two video's:
- This one has comments that explain things a bit.
- This one just shows some minutes of LUA controlled train traffic.

 

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RudyB
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219 Posts
Discussion Starter · #14 ·
To make space to set up the tables for the layout, 2 large bureau tables need to be sold first.

In the mean time some investigative work has been done on how to mount the servo drives for the points under the table.

There are many ways to do it ... this is possibly one of the simplest and cheapest ways. Link to the video.

 

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RudyB
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219 Posts
Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Yesterday some good progress has been made ... the tables are placed. I really have to thank hobby club friend Richard. Without his help it would not have been possible to accomplish this.

The two pictures show the metamorphosis. A few more pictures can be found on the blog via this link.

The tables are not finished yet. A 7mm soft top layer is planned for sound damping and I'm also planning a heightened edge along the sides, such that rolling stock can't fall off the table and it probably will also improve the looks a bit.

From:


To:
 

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RudyB
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219 Posts
Hi Sarah.

'Ideal'? Well ... yeah ... close!


It's all in the eye of the beholder. The design greatly depends on the purpose one has with a layout. This layout is totally unrealistic and it has too much track on too small a surface. But I like to play with the electronics and the computer control, not so much with scenery or 'exact' representations of real world. This layout caters to my needs.

The outer dimension is 300 x 300 cm. The top-left blob is 180x180 and the bottom-right blob is 120x120. I uploaded the SCARM file, please feel free to use it to your liking. You can find it here: https://app.box.com/s/w3di09c2sk8frf6rbeh7

The track is Peco HO 75. The points are electrofrog SLE191 and SLE192.

Space constraints always are an issue. I hope you will be able to find, or to figure out, your 'ideal' layout. I'm curious to see what you're going to come up with, will you let us know?
 

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RudyB
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219 Posts
Discussion Starter · #26 ·
Almost did not dare post my first weathering experiences here. But then ... not every story is a success story. My first weathering attempts were not more than that ... an attempt. Oh well ... one has to start somewhere.


Link to some really bad weathering pictures:

On the positive ... I was able to get 48 shades of weathering powder on the cheap: eye shadow from the local supermarket for just €0,79 a box, 12 colors plus 2 foam appliers. But maybe that's one of the iussues ... probably not the right material. However ... it seems it can be used nicely to add some rust or dust spots here and there.

 

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RudyB
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219 Posts
Discussion Starter · #27 ·
Today a few more steps have been made. First, the green top layer of 7mm soft board is placed. Pictures follow later this week.

Then a test has been performed with track fixing. I do not like to glue. I like to keep the option open to change the layout, or maybe even start all over again with another layout, at a later time. Not impossible with glue, but still the rail becomes a bit messy. Alternatives could be to use nails, or screws. Yet, I opted for another solution ... the use of metal flower binding wire.

The 1st image shows the fixing wire when it was still green, and therefore visible. After tipping it with a black marker pen it became so well camouflaged that it is almost invisible at normal viewing distances.

More info and more images on the blog via this link.




 

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RudyB
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219 Posts
A couple of important changes have been made to the layout.

First, a few points needed to be moved. They were placed exactly on top of wooden bars under the table, which would have made it impossible to properly install the servo drives.

Second, the connection of the industry tracks has been changed. They were attached to station West main line, which means traffic would have to be interrupted with any shunting operations. The tracks are now connected to station South via a long lead, whch means shunting can take place while (fully automated) main line traffic can simply carry on. A big improvement in play possibilities.

Link to the layout page on the blog.

New situation:


Old situation:
 

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RudyB
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219 Posts
Discussion Starter · #29 ·
Past Wednesday an order for 21 points and 13 buffers was placed at www.ehattons.com, a UK company. Order processing and shipping from UK to the Netherlands went very smooth … the package was delivered next day.

I combined the points into the 6 'junctions streets' that I need. With some points it was necessary to remove two outer ends of 2 sleepers in order to be able to connect them. This was easily done using a Dremel, still I wonder why Peco did not design this in?

Then ... yesterday another internet order was delivered from Modeltreinexpress: 2 locs and 2 ESU LokPilot-4 decoders. Of course I tried them out immediately, luckily they seem to work fine.

More info and images on the blog:
- The first track has been laid
- New rolling stock: 2 DCC loco's



 

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RudyB
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219 Posts
Discussion Starter · #31 ·
First of all ... best wishes for a good and healthy 2015 to everyone.

Finally there was time to do some serious track laying. The South loop has gotten its definitive shape, it's ready to be fixed to the table. Also the two East-most points have got their place, including the servo- and frog wire holes drilled in the table.

I must admit that laying flex track is not something that comes easy to me. To make curves (which is 100% the case with this layout
, after bending, the rail has to be pushed or pulled back and forth trough the sleepers. Then bend again ... then push or pull again ... etc. It is quite some 'fumbling'. Also using the Dremel to cut the rails at length can easily go wrong. A few tenths of a mm too short and you have to start all over again. Luckily that has not yet happened and I must say, when done, the end result looks really satisfactory.

For the pushing and pulling I did not like to use pliers just like that. Metal on metal the rail could easily get scratched or damaged. There is a simple solution: I used a piece of rubber of an old bicycle inner tube as a protection layer. This works very nice in 2 ways. It has better friction which makes pulling or pushing easier, and it protects the rail from being damaged.

The blog has a few extra pictures.





 
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