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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Friends,

After 27 years in the current job, I am going to quit at the end of the year and we are going to move to our new house on the Black Isle in the Highlands. May have to work again in the future but time for a break right now..The good news is we are going to spend some of our savings on an extension which contains a model railway room.

We have planning permission for it, and are about to send off spec to builders. Height of room is 2.2M here .... any suggestions for fitting out, lighting, power etc. would be gratefully received.

Schematic Rectangle Parallel Engineering Font

Thanks in advance

TimP
 

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First comment (and I am sure that most people are going to agree) that is an impressive size for a model railway room. It is going to make a lot of us green with envy. Is it going to be for the one purpose? If so, then in a sense it could be too large. You will find it takes a tremendous amount of time to finish a model railway of that size to a reasonable standard. You might get disheartened and abandon the whole thing. A layout that size is really a club project. If it is your first layout then I strongly advise you to start and finish something much smaller first. Of course, to some extent it depends on what gauge you are going to work in. That said, it's big even for O gauge, and that much O gauge is really going to cost something.

What ever you do, good luck. Cheers, Robert.
 

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Thats a nice sized room.

From experience I would suggest a minimum of 4 x double 13amp plug sockets.
Lighting using 4 foot flouresent tube fittings. 4 of the 3 tube type. I find good lighting essential,especially if ageing has begun

Last and not least make the room as comfortable as possible as regards heating.

David
 

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Great room. I like it. Sort of like mine, but mine is above the cars.

Insulate it properly so it is warm in Winter and cool in Summer. Finish it off well. Don't leave it unpainted and bare. Otherwise you'll get ahead of yourself, with the excitement of the space, you'll be building track and then you'll have to insulate, add plaster or paint. Why do I give you this advice... I've done it myself.

Instead a track in the middle, construct a layout around the sides. This leaves a large space in the middle. You can share this with the wife and family. Add gym equipment or other toys if required. This keeps them happy and then they let you buy more trains.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks,

Room size - opportunity for depression noted, but intend to build a bit at a time and well the kids have left home, the kit car is finished, I won't be renewing my football season tickets (1100 mile round trip just abit too much) so I figure what the hell.
Power points - noted thanks.
Lighting, yes agree want lots to help ageing eyesight - is fluorescent the best to go for - any other experiences recommendations?

TimP
 

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This is suggestion is a bit "off the wall", but I'll make it anyway. How about a set of sockets in the floor along the centre line of the room spaced one third from the end? This follows on from Doug's suggestion of gym equipment or similar in the middle. If you can't imagine a use for "trip" free mains power in the middle of the room, then ignore me. On the other hand, you only get one chance to lay a concrete floor...

David
 

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Hi Tim,

That's almost the same size as my own "hobby room" !

As already suggested (by David DWB) don't skimp on the sockets. Current regs require general purpose sockets to be at a certain height, unless they are for a particular use. Wire them on a separate ring with their own RCD, also have a switch by the door so that you can turn off all the power in one go.

Decent lighting is a must, as David (Ade) says - I would use Cat 2 fittings (the type they use in offices) - they are just over 50mm/2" deep & give a shadow free light. Pay a little extra & get "high frequency" fittings - no flicker & almost instant start. Use cool white tubes for decent colour rendering & finally split the switching up - you may not want them all on at the same time !

If you like I can get an exact lighting plan drawn up from one of our lighting suppliers. (PM me if you want).

Don't forget the heating arrangements - also, as there is only one window maybe an extract fan at the other end ?

Hope this helps.
 

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QUOTE (dbclass50 @ 11 Feb 2008, 18:28) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>Hi Tim,

That's almost the same size as my own "hobby room" !

As already suggested (by David DWB) don't skimp on the sockets. Current regs require general purpose sockets to be at a certain height, unless they are for a particular use. Wire them on a separate ring with their own RCD, also have a switch by the door so that you can turn off all the power in one go.

Decent lighting is a must, as David (Ade) says - I would use Cat 2 fittings (the type they use in offices) - they are just over 50mm/2" deep & give a shadow free light. Pay a little extra & get "high frequency" fittings - no flicker & almost instant start. Use cool white tubes for decent colour rendering & finally split the switching up - you may not want them all on at the same time !

If you like I can get an exact lighting plan drawn up from one of our lighting suppliers. (PM me if you want).

Don't forget the heating arrangements - also, as there is only one window maybe an extract fan at the other end ?

Hope this helps.

***Lighting is a funny thing: Very much each modellers preference I think.

I really don't like either natural light or flourescent on the model railway and prefer incandescent with colour correction bulbs as made by Philips and Osram - neutral light with no UV component to fade the scenery....

The layout room itself has NO windows at all but does have high quality office type flouro's - however they are all "off" when the layouts being worked on or used as the layout has an overall canopy and lighting valance of its own (I like full 2.4 metre height backscenes) with nothing but incandescents....

The lighting is very good (clear mid-day sun, easily dimmable too) but the downside is its not very "green" atttitude wise and adds up - my current layout uses 54 100 watt bulbs appx 30 inches apart which has a tendency to reduce the need for any added heating in the room :).... and the scenery drys quickly too!

Really nice light though.... dead natural and with more character than flouro's somehow. I wouldn't change it for anything.

Richard

PS - you can't have too many power points - that is really good advice from everyone!
 

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QUOTE (TimP @ 10 Feb 2008, 19:47) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>Friends,

After 27 years in the current job, I am going to quit at the end of the year and we are going to move to our new house on the Black Isle in the Highlands. May have to work again in the future but time for a break right now..The good news is we are going to spend some of our savings on an extension which contains a model railway room.

We have planning permission for it, and are about to send off spec to builders. Height of room is 2.2M here .... any suggestions for fitting out, lighting, power etc. would be gratefully received.

View attachment 352

Thanks in advance

TimP

I would certainly think about adding another window both for ventilation and natural light.

Do not like tube lighting myself and if you were thinking about electronics they can interfere - especially with infrared sensors. They are also expensive to dim if you might be thinking about dusk operations.

Power points are cheap to put in during building - decide where your modelling bench is going to be and have some at desk height.

Ensure that the floor is really well insulated-with the garage between the room and the house (and I assume the garage will not be heated) it is going to be a diffiult space to heat comfortably and efficiently.

I assume there is a good reason for the garage being between the room and the house? Other wise being adjacent to the house with the garage outide it would be easier to heat and more convenient for the workshop.

Brian Martin
 

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QUOTE (Richard Johnson @ 11 Feb 2008, 09:46) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>***Lighting is a funny thing: Very much each modellers preference I think.

....I really don't like either natural light or flourescent on the model railway and prefer incandescent with colour correction bulbs as made by Philips and Osram - neutral light with no UV component to fade the scenery....

....The lighting is very good (clear mid-day sun, easily dimmable too) but the downside is its not very "green" atttitude wise and adds up - my current layout uses 54 100 watt bulbs appx 30 inches apart which has a tendency to reduce the need for any added heating in the room :).... and the scenery drys quickly too!....
I wonder why most people lighting their layout stick with mains voltage lamps, either flourescent or incandescent, when low voltage bulbs are readily available - I refer to the 12v 20/35/50watt type reflector bulbs with a GX5.3 base. These are small, light-weight, readily mounted on small tracks for easy adjustment and have a range of beam angles available. They also have the advantage of being nearly twice as efficient as ordinary incandescent bulbs, so you can virtually halve the wattage for a given light level, and a life some 2 to 5 times that of the ordinary bulb. Their robust filaments are also more resistant to movement, on or off.
And they have the great safety advantage that you can keep mains voltages completely off the layout by having remote floor-mounted transformers or electronic power supplies for them.

Regards,
John Webb
 

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12v GX5.3's were very popular with shop display lighting & are now considered "old hat". They do give an excellent light & are available in a colour that simulates sunlight. However, they also give off loads of heat & require heavy cables connecting them to remote transformers. (300watts @ 12v requires 25a). If you use a 12v track they are quite heavy in construction. If you use a 240v track then the fitting have an integral transformer/power unit.

The mains powered equivelent, the "Hi-Spots" have a poor service life & also suffer from poor lampholder design.

The other thing to consider is the dreaded building regs in which a certain total of the lighting installed must be energy efficient - this project may, or may not come under them !
 

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QUOTE (John Webb @ 11 Feb 2008, 19:23) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>I wonder why most people lighting their layout stick with mains voltage lamps, either flourescent or incandescent, when low voltage bulbs are readily available - I refer to the 12v 20/35/50watt type reflector bulbs with a GX5.3 base. These are small, light-weight, readily mounted on small tracks for easy adjustment and have a range of beam angles available. They also have the advantage of being nearly twice as efficient as ordinary incandescent bulbs, so you can virtually halve the wattage for a given light level, and a life some 2 to 5 times that of the ordinary bulb. Their robust filaments are also more resistant to movement, on or off.
And they have the great safety advantage that you can keep mains voltages completely off the layout by having remote floor-mounted transformers or electronic power supplies for them.

Regards,
John Webb

**Hi John

For a smaller layout perhaps.... but for me the 240v incandescent was just what I wanted after trying several different options first. Also, I did some real world tests - ten of each possible light type and 240v incandescent simply won hands down.

Several reasons - * Too localised in heat * I did not want ANY beaming and all of them were too focussed, and therefore required to be far closer together than I'd have liked (which would have meant appx 85 of them) * The reliability was NOT good on my real world tests (it was bad on compact flourescent too, which I did not expect) * they did not have a truly colour corrected/neutral light unless I bought the bulbs as additional to the original lamp purchase (exxy) * they were anyway way too expensive compared to standard bases and bulbs...... * They draw high current / required a LOT of 12v transformers which is extra wiring I just couldn't be bothered with.(It was easier to add a full 20 amp 240v circuit just for the 240v layout lighting)

Overall 240V incandescent was lower cost, available with truly neutral bulbs, easy as pie to install and dim, easy to computer control if needed..... no real downside except that it uses a lot of power - but then again how long are they really on for anyway - still peanuts for power cost.

Richard
 

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QUOTE (Richard Johnson @ 11 Feb 2008, 16:46) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>**Hi John

For a smaller layout perhaps.... but for me the 240v incandescent was just what I wanted after trying several different options first. Also, I did some real world tests - ten of each possible light type and 240v incandescent simply won hands down.

Several reasons - * Too localised in heat * I did not want ANY beaming and all of them were too focussed, and therefore required to be far closer together than I'd have liked (which would have meant appx 85 of them) * The reliability was NOT good on my real world tests (it was bad on compact flourescent too, which I did not expect) * they did not have a truly colour corrected/neutral light unless I bought the bulbs as additional to the original lamp purchase (exxy) * they were anyway way too expensive compared to standard bases and bulbs...... * They draw high current / required a LOT of 12v transformers which is extra wiring I just couldn't be bothered with.(It was easier to add a full 20 amp 240v circuit just for the 240v layout lighting)

Overall 240V incandescent was lower cost, available with truly neutral bulbs, easy as pie to install and dim, easy to computer control if needed..... no real downside except that it uses a lot of power - but then again how long are they really on for anyway - still peanuts for power cost.

Richard

Hi Tim,

Everyone seems to be concentrating on lighting which is, I agree, very important. One thing you might like to also think about is storage space. I am still in the design stage of my own 'Hobby Room' which is a mere 3.5 m x 3.0 m but have decided that to just use the room for a railway layout would be an awful waste of space. I am therfore going to install kitchen type cabinets (frame and doors only) and build the layout on top. Result - lots of space for storage and a good solid base to build the layout on. I am also going to install wall cabinets above the layout (space for all those old Railway Mags etc.) with colour correcting fluorescent tube lights tucked underneath and behind a pelmet. That way I hope to create a more theatrical look with the lighting concentrated on the layout rather than it just being illuminated by the general room lighting.

Hope this is helpful.

Regards,

Expat.
 

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I am incredibly envious that you are moving to the Black Isle........one of my favoured spots in the whole world.....I have relatives buried at Tore.

The room is indeed a goodly size.

The window issue is a bit of a poisoned chalice, as natural sunlight CAN play havoc with scenic materials.

Whilst O gauge seems a worthwhile aim....the cost of it can be prohibitive......and at best a modest layout would result??

Smaller scales open an opportunity for US-style of layout design...with narrow, round-the -walls boards, and a central peninsula or two.
This would present an ideal opportunity for a pretty-much complete, small UK branch, or 'non-mainline'' model..maybe something like the somerset& dorset joint?

or Midland and great northern?

[OR IN KEEPING WITH YOUR NEW LOCATION......THE HIGHLAND RAILWAY NORTH OF INVERNESS?]..or Dingwall onwards??

the idea being, a considerable length of run, between stations, of which there may be several.......thus enhancing prototypical operation.

In other words, the trains actually DO something...they go SOMEWHERE...rather than to a fictitious fiddle yard?

Also, what COULD be considered, is not actually filling the room with ONE layout....but using the space to have several, smaller, more 'achievable' layouts......perhaps of different prototypes, and/or scales?

this would help combat the 'staleness' of inspiration that inevitably must set in with one, big, project?

Why not plan to have the layout at chest height? This offers a more 'realistic' viewing angle than the traditional table-top height.

lucky you..I envy you the location..albeit, not the space.....
 

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Like the idea's from Expat - never really thought about that - what a great way to utilise space that may otherwise have been wasted or (underneath the layout) used as a dumping ground. Just have to bear in mind access to things on the underneath of the layout such as wiring or point motors. Could always have the cubboards just under plain track though.
 

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QUOTE (dbclass50 @ 11 Feb 2008, 21:38) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>Like the idea's from Expat - never really thought about that - what a great way to utilise space that may otherwise have been wasted or (underneath the layout) used as a dumping ground. Just have to bear in mind access to things on the underneath of the layout such as wiring or point motors. Could always have the cubboards just under plain track though.

Hi Brian,

If, as I am, you use an open grid system it is no problem to access wiring etc from inside the cupboards as they are frames and fronts only (i.e. no worktop). I am using 12mm x 150mm ply formers connected with halving joints at 250mm centres in each direction with a track bed of 6mm ply on 12mm plywood risers fixed to the grid. It's strong. light and won't distort with temperature/humidity changes. With relatively minor carpentry skills it's amazing what can be incorporated into the cupboards e.g. a slide out work bench which slides back in when not in use and just looks like another cupboard door.

The cupboards were a big selling point to 'The Boss' who had visions of the room turning into a total tip.

Regards,

Expat.
 

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Thanks to those who contributed to the lighting comments - most interesting! My apologies for the temporary hi-jack of the topic.

Best wishes for a successful railway room.

Regards,
John Webb
 

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a> Anyone is always welcome to hijack "my" threads...it's a bit like a chat in the pub, you don't expect to bring the meeting to order and stay on topic do you!

b> One window here is to allow us to meet relevant building regs over insulation, as we are having lots of windows elsewhere, where non-cave dwelling members of the family may want to look out on the view of the Cromarty Firth!

c> Really settled on OO. I'd love to EM or P4, but think that I might save that for a future generation. Decision based on cost, availability of nice RTR stuff, and wanting enough interesting layout to give varied operation.... since you have been kind enough to express interest here is my very very rough current thinking...

Slope Rectangle Map Font Parallel

the fiddle yard will be replaced with coach sidings, the terminus is just a stub, that needs designing. It needs an engine shed somewhere. The vacant corner of the room is for desk, clean work area.

d> Storage space - I have already bought (off good old ebay) five lovely cupboards that fit under the layout. So far I have just built two test baseboards in another part of the house to try out various ideas for construction, e.g. tortoise motor fittings, baseboard joining etc. (and not of course to give me somewhere to 'play trains' whilst the extension is being built, no, no, no!). Next experiment is to try some tillig track with tortoise point motors.

e>I know it's hackneyed, but I intend to model WR transition, which is a bit of a way from 'home' but as a child I regularly stood on paddington station waiting for the relatives to arrive from Bristol, on trains hauled by Castles etc. and like many I was a spotter and often stood on Twyford station as Westerns, Hymeks and Warships went by....why has nothing since been as beautiful as those diesels?

f>As to lighting, having read the comments on here, I think maybe I will go fluorescent just to get a really high light level when I want it, perhaps with two or three separate switches, that will make up light to work by and then some gentler lighting for operating.

g>For electrics, I think I will have low level sockets, except in the area I want the desk, clean work area where I will have them above bench height.

h>For heating, currently planning on installing skirting board radiator system.

Thanks again for everyone's brain power

TimP
 

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QUOTE (TimP @ 12 Feb 2008, 23:57) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>a> Anyone is always welcome to hijack "my" threads...it's a bit like a chat in the pub, you don't expect to bring the meeting to order and stay on topic do you!

b> One window here is to allow us to meet relevant building regs over insulation, as we are having lots of windows elsewhere, where non-cave dwelling members of the family may want to look out on the view of the Cromarty Firth!

c> Really settled on OO. I'd love to EM or P4, but think that I might save that for a future generation. Decision based on cost, availability of nice RTR stuff, and wanting enough interesting layout to give varied operation.... since you have been kind enough to express interest here is my very very rough current thinking...

View attachment 353

the fiddle yard will be replaced with coach sidings, the terminus is just a stub, that needs designing. It needs an engine shed somewhere. The vacant corner of the room is for desk, clean work area.

d> Storage space - I have already bought (off good old ebay) five lovely cupboards that fit under the layout. So far I have just built two test baseboards in another part of the house to try out various ideas for construction, e.g. tortoise motor fittings, baseboard joining etc. (and not of course to give me somewhere to 'play trains' whilst the extension is being built, no, no, no!). Next experiment is to try some tillig track with tortoise point motors.

e>I know it's hackneyed, but I intend to model WR transition, which is a bit of a way from 'home' but as a child I regularly stood on paddington station waiting for the relatives to arrive from Bristol, on trains hauled by Castles etc. and like many I was a spotter and often stood on Twyford station as Westerns, Hymeks and Warships went by....why has nothing since been as beautiful as those diesels?

f>As to lighting, having read the comments on here, I think maybe I will go fluorescent just to get a really high light level when I want it, perhaps with two or three separate switches, that will make up light to work by and then some gentler lighting for operating.

g>For electrics, I think I will have low level sockets, except in the area I want the desk, clean work area where I will have them above bench height.

h>For heating, currently planning on installing skirting board radiator system.

Thanks again for everyone's brain power

TimP

Hi Tim,

Apologies for going off the 'thread' again but have you given any thought to under-floor heating. I can highly recommend it. Nice warm feet in the winter!!!

Like the layout by the way and wholeheartedly commend your choice of era/region. I also have many fond memories of those GWR/BR transition days.

Regards,

Expat

Regards,
 
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