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Track Layout & Design Help with designing your track work

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Old 24-04-2018, 11:49 PM   #11
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The only thing I would add about planning for a large space is that it can be worth planning individual features or areas and then joining them up.

The other thing I'd say is consider an off-scene area.
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Old 25-04-2018, 11:29 AM   #12
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One of the good ways to start if one is a beginner is with the traditional "Test layout" or "First layout" made (If one is using 00 or H0 gauge) on either a 6ftx4ft board or an 8ft x 4ft board if one has the space. The reason for this is, with a traditional trainset with extra track added, you get to learn sizes and what fits where and what doesn't. While it can be more difficult to get a more realistic effect this way, one learns a huge amount and one can play with the designs. Sectional track is a blessing in this way though dont forget to also have a go at trying out flexible track where one dust it to the desired length as in the long run, flexible track can save you a fortune and you can add more realistic sweeping curves with it etc.
This is the advantage of using code 100 rail as it has the same rail height as most sectional track systems in this scale.
With the smaller N gauge a similar thing can be done on a smaller board (2ftx4ft is the N gauge equivalent of an 8ftx4ft in 00 gauge). Dont be scared to try things out. Buy secondhand if you want to try things that could be messed up if you get it wrong! (While it is normally recommended to get new track, for a first test layout you may learn a lot by experimenting with old track... The point doesn't work... Let's find out how to fix it etc. Old track can then be used in sidings when one first starts learning the hobby and new track used for the main running lines just like they did with the real railways, and just like they did with the real railways, scrap track is used for fence posts etc. Near here are fenceposts made from rails which came from Brunel's baulk road broad gauge track).
If you ever buy secondhand track for experimenting with (E.g. cutting and soldering to make different track infrastructure, make sure it is cheap! New track is the best for good running).

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Old 25-04-2018, 07:07 PM   #13
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Just from limited personal experience (1st Layout) and probably the hard way, you can expect to experiment and amend the track plan as improvements show themselves as more track gets laid.

Once I got the track down and started running loco's I noticed radius curves were too tight in places for trains with longer coaches whilst running along side each other.

Then I changed the layout regarding points and crossovers for better running and snagging.
I started thinking about operational needs and where and what I wanted to do with the running and made further adjustments.

I didn't want to get too far into the project and then realise I had gone the wrong route.

My point being, that unless your a planning God you will review and amend often, and as and when required.

I enjoyed it all and only considered it to be a positive learning experience, knowing that I will now be better prepared for the next one .
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Old 25-04-2018, 11:28 PM   #14
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Thanks for the advice, appreciated.

I have a few ideas in mind of what I want, but it's incorporating them which has got me head scratching. I have the Peco Turntable and Train Shed and I also want to create a Coal Mine. I also have the Heljan Brewery, but am not too fussed about fitting that in if I can't make it work.

I had a model railway on a 8ft x 4ft baseboard for a number of years, but had to pull it down about 5 years ago - i've kept with hand in with the hobby as I have relatives and friends who have layouts too.

Now I have a house with a fairly open-plan loft, I intend to make the most of it and create a decent layout in that space.
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Old 31-05-2018, 03:04 PM   #15
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Bookmark this page which is useful to refer to when planning a layout:
Railway Modelling is about life, the universe and everything.
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Old 31-05-2018, 03:39 PM   #16
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@ScottC..........have a look at Dave Howarth's superb loft layout, may help with laying out various areas of interest..... ......HB
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Old 31-05-2018, 09:42 PM   #17
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I would recommend the use of AnyRail software....... I designed my layout with it, built the baseboards and then printed out the track plan full size....... once laid out on the boards it gives a much better idea of where your need to add / remove track or adjust clearances or move points to avoid areas where under board battens existed etc. it also helped when I came to lay the actual track as I had a rough template for the flexitrack........ might not suit everybody, especially tree lovers ( as it involved over a 150-off printed sheets), but as a complete rookie it worked for me.

Hope this is helpful and good luck - Richard
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Old 01-06-2018, 01:12 PM   #18
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I would agree with whoever said about planning the individual areas first and then worry about how you link them up. So for the coal mine can is it going to be a single siding or something more complicated.
Attached is a quick idea for a coal mine, the bottom point is the connection to the mainline and although its not much it is 1.5m long and about 0.6m deep but could be compressed.

the vague idea is that a mainline engine brings the train to the first siding and can then a shunter from the shed can pull it onto the second to release the loco, as these sidings are longer than the next two the shunter will then have to push the train into the first one split it and then take half to the conveyor before bringing it back to the first siding and doing the same with the second. train gets rebuilt and the big engine can come back.

Anyway look forward to seeing what you create

PS, ive no idea how life like the operation would be, it was simply looking at creating something that would allow some fiddling around with trains, and if not in use give a reasonable amount of storage for stock

PPS, I feel that I made the mistake of concentrating too much on the running lines than the areas of interest, I can spiral a train around my layout for about 30m of track and it will only repeat 2m but a lot of the sidings are awkward to use.
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Old 01-06-2018, 04:42 PM   #19
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Railmodeller Pro is a great piece of software - I use it myself - but sometimes there’s no substitute for laying out some track on the board and seeing how it works.
There is a fine line between 'hobby' and 'mental illness'. I run trains along that line whenever possible
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Old 01-06-2018, 09:33 PM   #20
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If I may suggest, since you say you have some room to work with, try to keep your facing turnouts a yard or two apart. My eternal temptation, particularly with the narrow radii of British OO, was to try to wedge as much as possible into a 4 x 8 space, which worked
reasonably reliably with facing turnouts with short wheel base rolling stock, but failed
more than reasonably when I got drawn into double bogie coaches.

Another bit worth remembering is to place at least one rerailer, preferably two inside each entrance, of a tunnel. Lastly, siting a turnout inside, or under a tunnel, or any hard to reach spot, is a fool's errand.

At our model train club, a dozen or more turn outs are situated below tunnels and landscape, and we have collectively spent hundreds of hours on hand and knee
trying to retrieve stalled and derailed trains.

The video below is after I pulled up two years of track planning and achieving a simpler
track plan using facing turnouts in a 4 x 8 space. Not wishing to preempt your post, but rather illustrate what I mean by "facing turnouts."
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