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· Premium Member
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Hi there

there are lots of questions there so i have broken your post down a bit.

QUOTE (GreenBoy)What books of track plans are there, that you would recommend? I ask as i have seen some negative comments. I understand it is highly unlikely that i will be able to copy one verbatim, but i think it may be able to give me some ideas of what i can get in the space available.

There are books out there, but really i woudlnt buy one. Go through as many websites as you can find and look at track plans and look at other people's layouts. if you really want some bedtime reading then Cyrel Freezers track plan book is still in print i think. its available from peco or just about any decent model shop.
I have never seen a layout built to a track plan in a book. they are always adjusted to one's own tastes.

QUOTE (GreenBoy)Scale - i think from a detail point of view the OO scale is probably best for me, but i would appreciate comments. I have also been reading about P4 but am a little confused on this - i know this mainly to do with track guage - but does it affect line side accessories and buildings - or are HO/OO building kits acceptable?

In short, OO and P4 are the same scale (4mm:Foot) but OO is incorrect in that whe rails are too close together, P4 corrects this. Continental models are built to the slightly smaller HO scale (3.5mm:Foot) but the track is the correct width. Both HO and OO use a track width of 16.5mm. so if you have mates with OO stuff or fancy doing a bit of continental or think one day you may want to get a german loco on holiday then i suggest you stick with OO/HO.
in theory it does effect the lineside buildings. but i find the difference in scale small enough that it dosent bother me in the slightest.

QUOTE (GreenBoy)Hand built track - while i am at it - does anyone know of any good on-line tutorials on how to actualy build track? I have seen Templot which designs track and other track layout software, but i have not seen anything on the actual mechanics of building the stuff. I have seen some very expensive templates from a company called "Fast Tracks" but this is way more than i think most individuals would want to spend... so how do you go about laying hand built track - curving rails etc??

I dont know of any tutorials, but i would suggest you get a C&L kit and just get some real hands on experience. its really not difficult. the kits come with the frogs and switch rails ready made but i think thats a bit lazy as its really not difficult to make your own by pressing a rail against a large carborundum disc in a mini drill. the first one you make will probably not be good enough for a layout, but the second probably will be.
incidently i find some of the C&L kits have enough parts for 1.5 points. so with 2 kits you can usually make 3 points.

i would suggest you get a set of templates (or invest in temlot). they are very usefull for planning and will also give you a better idea of whats involved.

Next time you are stuck on a cold wet station because your train is running late, take a look at the line. see the positions of the check rails and how evrything seems to flow.

google earth is also good for track plans. see how the big boys do it!

QUOTE (GreenBoy)Sorry if these are real 'noob' questions but i am getting hung up on them instead of splashing the cash and diving in...

No problem. Its what we are here for.

You need to think very seriously about what scale you choose. i dont know how old you are but you may be able to model in N gauge now, but will you still be able to see those tiny parts in 5 or 10 years time? if you choose P4 then you are basically building kits. you may enjoy this but there will be times when you just want to see things run to unwind at the end of a stressfull day. i suggest you go for OO/HO.

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