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The Big Pink L


toc36

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Got inspired by PhilPhil's "Suburban Tokyo Themed Layout" and the use of Home Depot' HDX Shelves and rigid insulation foam.

 

For the base of the layout, I ended up using four sets of the five shelf 36" x 24" sets to build five bases and one set of the five shelf of 36" x 18" (due to a wall vent).

https://www.homedepot.com/p/HDX-72-in-H-x-36-in-W-x-24-in-D-5-Shelf-Plastic-Ventilated-Storage-Shelving-Unit-128974/100006678

https://www.homedepot.com/p/HDX-36-in-W-x-72-in-H-x-18-in-D-5-Shelf-Plastic-Ventilated-Storage-Unit-127932/100010588

 

I used nine 24" x 24" Foamular squares and 3 rolls of Scotch Double-Sided Mounting Tape.

https://www.homedepot.com/p/Project-Panels-FOAMULAR-1-in-x-2-ft-x-2-ft-R-5-Insulation-Sheathing-PP1/203553730

https://www.homedepot.com/p/3M-Scotch-0-75-in-x-9-72-yds-Permanent-Double-Sided-Indoor-Mounting-Tape-110-LONGDC/100200322

 

I got the idea of using the HDX Shelves from Klein's/ModelTrainStuff.  They have three layout tables (N, HO, and O) displayed in their store.  Although a little bit expensive, you have a tremendous amount of flexibility.  I built the L, took it apart and built a 9' x 6' C table, then re-built the L, took it apart again, reformed into a 6' x 2' table, and now circumnavigate the globe and re-formed the L.

 

For this iteration of the L, I trimmed the legs to match my bins and to have a short shelf to better balance storage and under-table wiring.  Another idea from Klein's.

 

If you go this path and need to build along a wall, you might want to figure out a way to use a 28" to 30" table top.  I would have done this except I am vertically challenged and do not have the reach.

 

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Part 2

 

Could not figure out how to change this Anyrail file for display:

Big L version 1.pdf

 

I'm using Kato track.  The outside curves are 11" / 282mm and the inside curves are 9" / 249mm.

 

Each of the two yards (not built yet) will accommodate four 8-9 car bullet trains.  I am using #4 turn-outs.  I realize that these can be very quirky.  I will need to figure out how to tune them.  I designed these yards so I can display and run my trains.  I was heavily influenced by Quintopia http://quinntopia.blogspot.com/2014/06/five-big-layout-mistakesthat-made-me.html .  Also, i wanted to break away from the X-Y axis linear layout that we are too often force into due to space.  The angle also allows my short arms to reach all the track and I won't have to to deep into the corner.

 

I will get a better camera and try to post more pics and maybe some videos.  I'm an analog guy trying to cope in a digital world............

 

 

 

 

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Interesting project.  Looking forward to following your progress. How is it for track noise?

Edited by bill937ca
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58 minutes ago, bill937ca said:

Interesting project.  Looking forward to following your progress. How is it for track noise?

It is a bit noisy.  Don't know if it's because of resonance, the length of the train,  or the track, or a combination there of ...........

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Toc,

 

great project! Glad you got something going!

 

i wonder if the noise is from the foam board being loose and resonating against the top shelf.

 

i wonder if an experiment of tacking down one shelf to the foam with a thin layer of caulking to see if it gets quieter there. Also might try pinning down the track to see if it’s vibrating on the foam.

 

Trains do make noise when they get longer and faster! 

 

Cheers

 

jeff

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1 hour ago, toc36 said:

Part 2

 

Could not figure out how to change this Anyrail file for display:

Big L version 1.pdf

 

I'm using Kato track.  The outside curves are 11" / 282mm and the inside curves are 9" / 249mm.

 

Each of the two yards (not built yet) will accommodate four 8-9 car bullet trains.  I am using #4 turn-outs.  I realize that these can be very quirky.  I will need to figure out how to tune them.  I designed these yards so I can display and run my trains.  I was heavily influenced by Quintopia http://quinntopia.blogspot.com/2014/06/five-big-layout-mistakesthat-made-me.html .  Also, i wanted to break away from the X-Y axis linear layout that we are too often force into due to space.  The angle also allows my short arms to reach all the track and I won't have to to deep into the corner.

 

I will get a better camera and try to post more pics and maybe some videos.  I'm an analog guy trying to cope in a digital world............

 

 

 

 

 

Very nice. A good looking layout. The liberal use of rerailers is wise. Also, I like how your yard lines are uniform length. Either a train fits the yard or it doesn't. No messing around, trying different yard lines to see where a train will fit. No inclines! It looks like a headache free and fun setup.

 

Are you going to add a double-crossover somewhere, or are you going to keep the two lines separate?

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1 hour ago, toc36 said:

It is a bit noisy.  Don't know if it's because of resonance, the length of the train,  or the track, or a combination there of ...........

Its a combination of them all. The noise is coming from the vibration of the track to the foam to the shelf. You have to create stability to absorb the vibration not transfer it.

 

That's a good plan, If I were you I would frame it up and then secure it on to the shelf.

 

I like it a lot I would tweak it so you can run it.

 

Inobu

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Imho the tracks are very near the edge of the tables. Maybe adding some clear acrylic strips or extending the foam base a bit could protect the trains from dropping down in case of a derailment. Usually one car length's of crash area or a half train high vertical barrier is good enough. Btw. have you checked all your shinkansens on the inner curve? Some may have problems with anything below 280 mm.

 

ps: i've converted your pdf to png by doing a screenshot and cutting it out:

L.thumb.png.8ab4d80dfd60885465066fe9ecbccb47.png

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I like the concept of running. I would add the elevated track and then have it come back down where the yard can get onto the main. Yes my geometry is off here but its just to promote the concept

Increase the radius and run super elevated. A chicane will allow for the larger radius "282" without adding/taking up too much floor space.   

 

Within the loops you can add the buildings with an access road between them.  

 

Its similar to Gavins

Inobu

 

With pink foam you can create a tri level layout dropping down 1 inch and rising 1 inch from the main. This cuts down on your run requirements.

So, yellow drops down 1 inch, the cyan rises 1 inch. Blue can stay level with orange the main.

toc36.jpg

toc36-1.jpg

Edited by inobu
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Yes that is looking more and more similar to mine. We both have L-shaped double loops of similar dimensions. Mine is a copy of a Kato plan that JR500 showed me. So I can't claim any originality. Sorry, when I looked at the track plan before I didn't think about track radii. 

 

I had a terrible experience with track radii at first. I foolishly thought of double superelevated track as "Shinkansen" track. I assumed that any radius sold in one of the Kato combination packs would be ok to run all my trains on. I selected the medium radius combination pack and designed my layout board to fit. Luckily when I up sized to the next radius I could still fit it on the board. Here are a few things I learned.

 

1. The smallest radius Kato double track that you can run shinkansens are marked WR414/381. For example Kato 20-544 for Viaduct or Kato 20181 for flat track.

 

2. You can't go directly from "Super elevated" to straight track. You need an intermediate "easement" piece that is superelevated on one side and non-superelevated on the other side. Kato 20-545 for viaduct or Kato 20-184 for flat track. There is a shorter easement flat track available but it will cause derailments. 

 

3. Even with the WR 414/381 track, you need to have a re-railer between the curve and the subsequent straight track if you want to reliably run Shinkansens. This is from the 500 Series package insert. It's a bit out of focus, I apologize. 

 

4. If you're putting re-railers on Kato double viaduct, use the Kato 20-026 instead of Kato 20-021. The color match is much better.

 

5. The chickane is a good idea. But don't go from one curve directly into the opposite curve. It will cause problems. Put a straight piece,  or better still a re-railer (kato 20-021) in between. 

 

6. Avoid inclines on the mainline. For sidelines it's ok. But for me, the slowdown on the ascend, can ruin the illusion. 

 

7. A plexiglass border is easy to add, and will save you a few tears!

 

I'll follow along, and add any further thoughts if they come to me.

 

 

Edited by cteno4
fixed imgur embed
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Let me second avoiding inclines on the main line.  If you enjoy watching trains run, you'll either have to constantly be adjusting the throttle or have trains crawl up the slopes then break the sound barrier on the way down.  My original plan was to make kato plan 30 on two tables, but I have since switched to a simple loop so I can enjoy watching trains run at realistic speeds.

Plan 30: 

http://www.katomodels.com/unitrackplan/plan_N2_94.shtml

The inclines on this one created lots of issues with running trains requiring constant attention.
 

Have you looked at Kato plan 20?  It seems to be pretty close to your current plan but with superelevated curves and a station, and you could create a pretty big yard if you moved the entrance to the far right corner.  This would also minimize the amount of switches a train on the main line would have to cross each trip, which would reduce the amount of possible derailments.  I look forward to seeing how your layout progresses!

http://www.katomodels.com/unitrackplan/plan_N2_84.shtml

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My layout is designed to be very flexible.  As soon as it becomes permanent, I will be forced to move .......

 

"i wonder if an experiment of tacking down one shelf to the foam with a thin layer of caulking to see if it gets quieter there. Also might try pinning down the track to see if it’s vibrating on the foam."  The "permanence" of the Scotch Double-Sided Mounting Tape is still up in the air (questionable).  If this doesn't work, I will try caulking.  Elmer's did not work well in an earlier attempt.  I'm not sure if I want to pin down the track.  But, I intend to paint the foam and maybe the tackiness will reduce the vibration.  

 

"Are you going to add a double-crossover somewhere, or are you going to keep the two lines separate?"  I am undecided on including a double-crossover.  If I include one, I'm thinking of placing in on the short angled leg.  Where would you suggest?  My present intentions are to drink beer and watch my trains run.  Longer term operations could be different.

 

"That's a good plan, If I were you I would frame it up and then secure it on to the shelf."  I framed an earlier version of the L.  My initial thoughts are that it will make running the wiring (especially for the switches) more difficult.   I'll consider doing it when I start adding the two yards.

 

"Imho the tracks are very near the edge of the tables."  You are absolutely correct.  I've already had one car hit the carpet.  I wanted to get the maximum track radius given the 24" shelf width limitation.  A thought, maybe when I add the yards, I pull the shelf units 6" from the wall, and use 30" frames to allow wider radii and more train options.  

 

"With pink foam you can create a tri level layout dropping down 1 inch and rising 1 inch from the main."  Trying to go multi-level on an earlier version kicked my sorry a$$.  I tried using the Woodland Scenes Incline/Decline sets without proto-typing and it forced me to rebuild the entire top.  One bitten, twice shy.

 

"The smallest radius Kato double track that you can run shinkansens are marked WR414/381. For example Kato 20-544 for Viaduct or Kato 20181 for flat track"  I am currently running the Kato 787 and 883.  If I'm limited to these and similar, I'll be fine.  If I'm able to build out to the 30" shelf width, I'll  have more options.

 

"Have you looked at Kato plan 20?"  I have not looked at this plan.  I will study it a bit more.

 

 

Truth in lending ..............  I have these sets, but these are NOT my videos.

 

Thanks!!! I am really appreciative of the comments and ideas.  Keep them coming.  

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12 minutes ago, toc36 said:

I am undecided on including a double-crossover.  If I include one, I'm thinking of placing in on the short angled leg.  Where would you suggest?  My present intentions are to drink beer and watch my trains run.  Longer term operations could be different.

 

Anywhere is ok, as long as you have a straight segment on both sides. A rerailer on each side also adds some protection against occasional derailments.

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Toc,

 

yeah the polypropylene of the shelves won’t take Pva (white glue) well and also not so great on the foam unless roughed up. Plain old tub caulk shoud adhere to both and should be able to pty, cut it off with a putty knife if needed. Another thing to try is a layer of thin foam rubber or even bubble wrap between the foam and shelf and see what that does. Or a heavy cloth like a thin blanket or a bead spread. If the cloth works it could double as a skirt for the shelves below. Experiment and see what will do it for you! 

 

For pinnig down the track you can just take straight pins and push them in at the edge of the track at the roadbed angle. Just do pins directly across from each other. It works well to hold the track in place if needed and may stop vibration between the track and foam. 

 

Noise like this can be tricky as minor differences can make a big difference in the resulting noise. Also one set of citations at the right frequency can really be annoying to some while the rest is music to their ears!

 

cheers

 

jeff

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14 hours ago, gavino200 said:

 

Anywhere is ok, as long as you have a straight segment on both sides. A rerailer on each side also adds some protection against occasional derailments.

 

Sorry, I totally forgot. To add a double crossover to double viaduct you need to make a simple and fairly easy modification to the viaduct base. I did a little description here (scroll down, it's toward the bottom of the page):  

 

Edited by gavino200
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17 hours ago, gavino200 said:

1. The smallest radius Kato double track that you can run shinkansens are marked WR414/381. For example Kato 20-544 for Viaduct or Kato 20181 for flat track.

3. Even with the WR 414/381 track, you need to have a re-railer between the curve and the subsequent straight track if you want to reliably run Shinkansens.

Just three remarks. First, as far as i know, the minimum radius is 282 mm for Kato curves. This is the same as the radius of the crossover. Having a radius less than this will cause derailments at all speeds, but 282 is usable as long as you don't go too fast. It could look ugly though as the close couplers on the shinkansen cars are stretched to the limits. For high speed running the 381/414 curves are good.

 

Second, the rerailer is not really need if the tracks are properly aligned, but Kato unitrack could get out of alignment due to the flexibility of the unijoiners. Imho the graphics in the instructions show the required straight between a narrow loading gauge bridge track and any curve next to it, so the middle of the cars leaning into the curve won't hit the side of the bridge.

 

For crossovers, i would say look at the prototype. On real high speed lines, there are no small radius crossovers or if there is one, it has a serious speed limit on it. The safe way is to use higher radius turnouts in a trailing direction. The Kato double track single crossover mounted in a way that both normal running directions pass the turnouts in the trailing direction would be much safer at high speeds. Double crossovers always have one turnout in the point direction and the single crossover solves this problem, while still allowing trains to access depots and switch the direction of running at stations. (btw. depot tracks should also be connected by trailing switches and preferably a protecting stub siding, so two turnouts have to be thrown properly for a yard train to get out to the mainline) For high speed lines, using Kato #6 turnouts allows passing the turnout in the straight direction at a higher speed. Always add half a car's worth of straight track before the point ends of the Kato turnouts if you want to pass them at more than yard speeds. For commuter lines using the standard 20 meter cars and running much slower and where you can slow down and speed up manually before and after every pass over any turnouts, these precautions could be ignored, just make sure you never let go of the throttle or set a proper low speed for safe operation. Imho by following either rule sets (built high speed or manually regulated conventional), you can leave out all the rerailers and still have a reliable layout.

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I use Tomix shinkansens on 282/315mm Kato double tracks without running issues.  Maybe if the are raised viaducts with walls, the overhang on the car might require larger curves, but I have no experience there.

Edited by katoftw
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7 hours ago, kvp said:

Just three remarks. First, as far as i know, the minimum radius is 282 mm for Kato curves. This is the same as the radius of the crossover. Having a radius less than this will cause derailments at all speeds, but 282 is usable as long as you don't go too fast. It could look ugly though as the close couplers on the shinkansen cars are stretched to the limits. For high speed running the 381/414 curves are good.

 

Second, the rerailer is not really need if the tracks are properly aligned, but Kato unitrack could get out of alignment due to the flexibility of the unijoiners. Imho the graphics in the instructions show the required straight between a narrow loading gauge bridge track and any curve next to it, so the middle of the cars leaning into the curve won't hit the side of the bridge.

 

For crossovers, i would say look at the prototype. On real high speed lines, there are no small radius crossovers or if there is one, it has a serious speed limit on it. The safe way is to use higher radius turnouts in a trailing direction. The Kato double track single crossover mounted in a way that both normal running directions pass the turnouts in the trailing direction would be much safer at high speeds. Double crossovers always have one turnout in the point direction and the single crossover solves this problem, while still allowing trains to access depots and switch the direction of running at stations. (btw. depot tracks should also be connected by trailing switches and preferably a protecting stub siding, so two turnouts have to be thrown properly for a yard train to get out to the mainline) For high speed lines, using Kato #6 turnouts allows passing the turnout in the straight direction at a higher speed. Always add half a car's worth of straight track before the point ends of the Kato turnouts if you want to pass them at more than yard speeds. For commuter lines using the standard 20 meter cars and running much slower and where you can slow down and speed up manually before and after every pass over any turnouts, these precautions could be ignored, just make sure you never let go of the throttle or set a proper low speed for safe operation. Imho by following either rule sets (built high speed or manually regulated conventional), you can leave out all the rerailers and still have a reliable layout.

 

I like to be able to run any train through any part of the layout at any speed. If I can't do that then I consider it problematic. I also like to relax in the room, or exercise in the room, and be assured of zero derailments. I run most trains at moderate speeds. But I think Shinkansens look best going fast.

 

The rerailers may not strictly be necessary, but they make derailment essentially a never event. All my trains used to take the 90 or 180 degree double viaduct turn without problems. Then my 500 series started having trouble going one way on the inside turn. The problem was only with the train in one direction so obviously it developed a slight problem with a bogie. I was checking the package insert for the bogie part number when I saw the little diagram with the rerailer. So I tried adding a rerailer, and it solved the problem. In this case it wasn't a problem with track geometry. However, I do have a couple of cats that like to wreck havoc with my geometry in spite of my best efforts to keep them out of the room. I'm not fixing my track down until I model around them. My Komache had problems with the Chickane. Add rerailers. Problem disappears. So the bottom line is that rerailers are cheap, the light grey ones look ok on the viaduct, and adding them makes the reliability of the track completely bulletproof. So they're now part of my layout. Incidentally the show layout at the Kato Hobby center has quite a few rerailers.

 

Same for the double cross. It's mostly the front guide rails of steam engines that occasionally have problems with them. Add rerailers. No problem. Not saying they're for everyone but for me they add an extra factor of reliability.

 

 

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"Shinkansans are no good under 280mm curves."  I may have been too liberal with referencing bullet trains.  I have a couple, and a few commuter trains.  I haven't tried my Shins yet.  But since they won't run, I can shorten both of the yards by 9".  This opens up the center for another dual line in the future.

 

I worked on Anyrail for using a 30" width vice 24".  Moving the shelves 6" from the wall will not have a major impact in the traffic pattern of the room.  This will allow me to used the 315/282mm curves.  Will incorporate this if/when I re-build the layout.  

 

I thought about how to best frame the layout if I build out to 30". I plan on primarily using 1/2"x2"x4' poplar. It is inexpensive.  I can special order 12' and 8' lengths.  This will also make under-layout electrical work vastly easier.

 

"So, yellow drops down 1 inch, the cyan rises 1 inch. Blue can stay level with orange the main."  I appreciate the additional design.  For this build, I think I need to keep it flat.  I designed the diagonal yards for three reasons:  (1) to reduce the X-Y axis visual appearance; (2) to avoid going deep into the back corner, and; (3) to minimize switching.  The yards are really part of the mainline.

 

Although I want to start re-build to the 30" width, I think I need to get get this current layout to my pre-planned level of operation.  This weekend I intend to work on feeder lines and leaning how to tweak the #4 switches.  ANY TECHNIQUES AND IDEAS HERE WILL BE GREATLY APPRECIATED!!!!!!!

 

 

Edited by toc36
grammar
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Toc,

 

hey yell if you want to come come over and rip up some 1/2” Baltic birch ply for your framing. It works out to a little less than $2 per 5’ x 2” strip. Probably a lot cheaper than poplar and it’s super sturdy stuff with a lot less warping with drying out an less splitting, but tougher stuff than poplar. We can run it thru the planer and get nice smooth edges. I’d look at dong 30” wide x 4’ Long modules and bolt them together. She can cut cross pieces for internal support for the foam and also to pickup the shelves and give wiring room. Also with the 2” you can use the 2” cherry veneer on the exposed edge for a fancy look at like $1 per module (it’s about 16 cents a foot). 

 

Other option if you don’t like the foam sound you could just use 5mm luan ply.

 

cheers

 

jeff

 

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6 hours ago, toc36 said:

This weekend I intend to work on feeder lines and leaning how to tweak the #4 switches.  ANY TECHNIQUES AND IDEAS HERE WILL BE GREATLY APPRECIATED!!!!!!!

Just make sure that you have a piece of straight before the point side and use the point motor instead of hand switching. Also check the underside if the switching bar is aligned correctly as i had at least two misaligned ones straight out of the box. Generally there is no other tweaking needed for the newer ones as the design was modified slightly. Kato even fixed the switched up english text on the underside.

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5 hours ago, cteno4 said:

hey yell if you want to come come over and rip up some 1/2” Baltic birch ply for your framing. It works out to a little less than $2 per 5’ x 2” strip.

 

Man, I wish I lived a few thousand miles closer!  Jeff can sell layout bench work as a retirement gig.

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