Just a few Thoughts On Layout Design.

Help with designing your track work
Mountain Goat
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Just a few Thoughts On Layout Design.

#1

Post by Mountain Goat » Sat Oct 06, 2018 12:54 am

No doubt we all have our own preferences on what makes a really good layout and what does not, and we all have different ideas. I just thought I'd like to share a few thoughts on what I feel is more likely to give good results.


1. Try not to overdo the trackwork. It is far too easy to fill the board with track and then find one doesn't have the room to add the scenic touch.

2. Though this is a personal preference, I do prefer an oval to an end to end layout as I can give my trains a run. Yes, seeing the same train repeat its lap may not be that realistic, but the ability to sit back and let the trains run compensates for this. (This is my personal experience. Others feel free to think otherwize in regards to this point).

3. If one is modelling in 00 or H0 gauge and one has an 8x4 or a 6x4 board or similar (Or 4x2 or smaller in N gauge) consider keeping to a single track oval with sidings rather then a double track main line, and also consider keeping with branch line type locomotives and stock. They just blend in better with the overall look in a confined space. (Its not that I want to stop you running what you like and if you want a double track oval, go for it! It is just that out of all the layouts that I have looked at over the years, double track with express locomotives tend to look a bit squashed in.

4. If you are building a layout where space is at a premium and one has adopted an oval of track, consider laying the oval in a diagonal type of plan rather then lining the track up to follow the baseboard edge. This stops the eye from thinking "Trainset oval". Another way to achieve a similar effect is to avoid dead straight track. (Flexible track can help here). Just a slight bend makes a world of difference.

5. Consider leaving space for signals and designing the trackwork to include prototype features like headshunts in the design.

6. Consider taking dummy sidings or junctions to the baseboard edge to give the illusion that the " Rest of the world" is out there. It makes the layout look larger then it is. Make sure that trains can't run off the edge though !

7. You dont have to be confined to these points above. Go and have some fun! :D They are just a few observations to help the layouts look convincing. At the end of the day it is your little railway so it is up to you. :) Enjoy!

Bandit Mick
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Re: Just a few Thoughts On Layout Design.

#2

Post by Bandit Mick » Sat Oct 06, 2018 2:33 pm

Good advice from Mountain Goat. Only deviation I make is to build end to end.

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IanS
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Re: Just a few Thoughts On Layout Design.

#3

Post by IanS » Sat Oct 06, 2018 3:13 pm

Or do a mixture..... a little end to end section or shunting yard as a siding to an oval.

Mountain Goat
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Re: Just a few Thoughts On Layout Design.

#4

Post by Mountain Goat » Sat Oct 06, 2018 7:16 pm

Thanks for the replies.
Something of note. Dont be afraid to look outside your own preferred gauge or scale or preferred railway company for ideas. There are generations of modellers who have been before us in the past and very few ideas or even technology is actually new (There's often someone somewhere who's tried something before). So it is a good idea to read things which one may not normally read to get ideas.
Something else to point out is dont be scared to try new things. Thinking back, part of what I enjoy the most in modelling in 7mm narrow gauge is that time it is the ideal scale and gauge for trying new things, but whatever scale and gauge you have chosen it is worth looking at trying something you have not tried before jut to learn new things. It could change your whole outlook on modelling!
Sometimes it takes several failed attempts (Or partly successful attempts) before one ends up with a layout that one is happy with. This is part of the fun of learning.

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RAF96
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Re: Just a few Thoughts On Layout Design.

#5

Post by RAF96 » Sun Oct 07, 2018 7:41 am

I have tried various layouts and found that I prefer roundy-round layouts.

My first was an L shaped set of loops with an inner yard at one end and that worked well for me.
Next was a single track folded eight but although the yard in one end was fine the station platforms in the other end were too short and uni-directional for access. It had good long runs though.
Third was a five track L shaped end to end and whilst interesting to use it required full attention all the time and its popularity soon faded.
Current layout is a triple loop roundy with TT and sidings used mostly for testing purposes, but at least I can let the locos loose on their own.

I get great satisfaction from designing layouts using software and the likes of SCARM has a train sim built in that allows me to run the trains on the plan and that soon shows up any operational whoopies in the design.

Remember its your layout and you know what you want to do with it at days end. All I can say is plan it to death before laying track, as it will change.
Rob

Mountain Goat
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Re: Just a few Thoughts On Layout Design.

#6

Post by Mountain Goat » Sun Oct 07, 2018 9:06 pm

I think that one issue most of us face is that we normally end up with more stock then we have room for and hence we try to squash more track on our already crowded boards. It is not easy finding a solution for this!

Mountain Goat
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Re: Just a few Thoughts On Layout Design.

#7

Post by Mountain Goat » Sun Oct 07, 2018 10:57 pm

I would love to have a large end to end layout but where trains have a long length of run and there is no shortage of siding space etc... A whole railway in miniature! However, it isn't easy to do. I've seen it done in 00 gauge where someone had interweaving scenes on a large multi level layout and he modelled quite a bit of the GWR system. Yes, it was all a compromise, but it was very impressive. However I'd hate to clean all that track!
I did make a simplified version with three stations and the track washed in and out through many tunnels etc... I had it on two levels so had three seperate scenes. It normally took an average of a minute and a half to go from one end to the other. (45 seconds flat out if I remember). However it was a case of being alert as a minute and a half would soon pass where the odd train would plough through the buffers! :lol: Track wasn't easy to get at to clean.... Good in theory but one couldn't just sit back and watch the trains go by like one can do with an oval. That layout was the first time I'd scratchbuilt a piece of track. It was a double track to double track 90° crossing (Hence the need to scratchbuild it).

Ron S
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Re: Just a few Thoughts On Layout Design.

#8

Post by Ron S » Mon Oct 08, 2018 9:33 am

My layout is basically end to end in a 12 x 20ft room but I have the option of a couple of continuous runs
http://www.nmra.org.au/Layout_Tours/Ron ... index.html
http://www.nmra.org.au/Operations/Syste ... ation.html look at Devan & Summersettt
Ron

NCE DCC, 00 scale, very loosely based on GWR

Mountain Goat
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Re: Just a few Thoughts On Layout Design.

#9

Post by Mountain Goat » Wed Oct 10, 2018 10:22 am

I was admiring your lovely control panels. That's the sort of thing I had in mind for a big DCC layout when I had my own house. It was going to run round the two upstairs bedrooms in such a way that as one walked up the stairs one would be walking into the middle of the layout without knowing. The layout would be narrow and follow the perimeter walls.

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RSR Engineer
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Re: Just a few Thoughts On Layout Design.

#10

Post by RSR Engineer » Thu Oct 11, 2018 12:10 pm

Couldn't help noticing what MG said. When I posted pix of my lower levels under construction he and WTD both stated their concerns about dirty track and derailments. As I said at the time, I decided to go ahead and chance it. My point here, though, is about hidden sidings. It may have been noticed that my so-called northern sidings (the dark green diagram) are entered "head first", i.e. the train pulls in and backs out. I was inspired by an N gauge layout with this arrangement that I believe I saw on the old Forum. My reasoning was that it's safer to pull than to push through facing points (and, of course, safer to push through trailing ones). I'd be interested to know other members' thoughts on the matter.

URL dark green diagram: https://www.flickr.com/photos/53775591@ ... 833141776/
URL head first sidings: https://www.flickr.com/photos/53775591@ ... 833141776/ (hope I'm not infringing copyright with this)

Cheers,
Artur

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