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Martijn Meerts

A non-Japanese layout

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Martijn Meerts

Some of you might have seen pictures/video's of my father's computer controlled layout. And while that layout ran quite well (the only problems being malfunctioning turnouts), it was lacking something which my father has been talking about for a while. The problem was that all traffic was 1-way only.

 

We've looked at adjusting the current layout to allow 2-way traffic on certain tracks, but it wouldn't be easily doable. The only option would be to start a new layout. Since I moved back in with my parents, and am now occupying a space that my mother used as a hobby space, my mother would need a new hobby space in the room where the train was located. That meant there was another reason to take down the current layout, and design a new one.

 

We have started taking down the current layout, and designing parts of the new one. This week we'll probably have taken down the entire old layout, and possibly we'll also have started on the benchwork of the new layout. The new layout will have at least the following features:

- Use the open-frame construction

- Will of course have 2 way traffic ;)

- Will have an additional freight only track

- Will have at least a 10 track shadow station

- Will have space for trains of about 1 meter long (locomotive + 5 cars)

- Will have 1 large-ish station (7-8 tracks), 1 medium station (2 tracks, 2 passing tracks) and 2-3 small stations/stops

- Will be computer controlled and fully automated

 

There's no finalized track plan yet, we're probably going to build the frame first to get a better idea of the actual space we have. Seeing it first hand gives a much better impression than using only a program.

 

I'll post some early track plan ideas (or, parts of a track plan), and some pictures of the old layout in the next few days.

 

 

(Of course I'll also be working on a Japanese layout in the (near) future, but my father's new layout has priority right now, and who knows, maybe there'll be some special appearances on that layout ;))

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Martijn Meerts

Wee update (although, still no pictures :))

 

The track plan is slowly starting to look a bit more complete, pretty happy with the main station and the layout of the double track main line. The freight line will probably also get 1 or 2 hidden sidings to add a bit of diversity there.

 

Main station building is very likely going to be a brand new one, the old ones we have have suffered a bit too much over the past years (the buildings are at least 20 years old) and it'll be lit with a bunch of LEDs. I'm trying to make the station area a bit realistic and busy with lots of small details and such.

 

We're also considering adding some Faller car system stuff, bus stop near the main station, and some general stuff, not sure about that yet though.

 

As for actual progress, we've started building the frame work, and we're also working on the main station area. I've printed part of the track plan in full scale, and pasted that on a wooden board. From there we can check the actual size of everything, and it'll also help with laying tracks, especially flex track.

 

Pictures coming soon, they won't be the best quality since I'm taking them with my iPhone, but I don't really want my DSLRs lying around in a room where a lot of sawing and moving things around is going on ;)

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Bernard

Marti - I can't wait to see photos of the construction you are doing. The automated computer control layout that you're planning is something I want to see a video of someday. :icon_salut:

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Mudkip Orange

Can you post a track plan?

 

In the meantime I see no reason why a bunch of J-prototype stuff can't make a Euro appearance now and then.

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Martijn Meerts

Marti - I can't wait to see photos of the construction you are doing. The automated computer control layout that you're planning is something I want to see a video of someday. :icon_salut:

 

Pictures are coming up. As I said, I took some with the iPhone, and they looked okay-ish on the iPhone's screen. However, after seeing them on my monitor I decided I really do need my DSLR to take reasonable pictures ;)

 

As for the video, it'll take a while before I can make those probably, but we're building the whole layout in stages. The double main line has priority, things like the freight line and shadow station will be added after the main line is operational.

 

 

 

Can you post a track plan?

 

In the meantime I see no reason why a bunch of J-prototype stuff can't make a Euro appearance now and then.

 

It would be possible to use Japanese trains on some parts of the layout, but in general the curves are too tight for many of the Japanese trains. We have to use a lot of the Minitrix track we already have, otherwise we'd be spending a fortune on new tracks, which isn't something we think sounds too good ;) Another problem is that my father uses the Selectrix digital system for his trains, while my Japanese trains use DCC. The 2 don't mix unfortunately, unless we get a new digital command center which supports Selectrix and DCC.

 

As for a track plan, here's a fairly rough initial version. Not all tracks are connected yet, not all turnouts are added yet either, and the turntable is missing as well.

 

- Light blue is the double main line

- Dark blue is hidden bits of the main line

- Green is the main station

- Red is the smaller station (platforms on the outside, so the 2 center lines are passing tracks)

- Grey is the freight line (completely separate at the moment, not too happy with it)

- Orange is the line going to and from the hidden fiddle yard

- Light yellow is the spiral going down to the fiddle yard about 20-25cm underneath the table (4 loops probably)

- Dark green/grey is the fiddle yard itself (I have a more complete version of it, just not in this track plan ;))

- Brown is the start of a small local/mountain/museum line

- The little grey bit in the bottom left is supposed to go to the turntable/service area

trackplan_v1.jpg

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to2leo

I really like the trackplan!  What program do you use?  I cannot wait to see the pictures.

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Bernard

Marti - That is one complex track plan and from first glance well thought out. From what I gather a viewer would constantly be surprised at when and where trains would be coming from which is great.

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Martijn Meerts

I really like the trackplan!  What program do you use?  I cannot wait to see the pictures.

 

I use Railmodeller, a fairly simple program for the Mac. Main advantage is that it has pretty much all tracks in its library, including Tomix. And adding items to a library is real easy as well.

 

Main problem is that it doesn't have a decent 3D view (yet), so you can't work with height at all. There are no layers either, which is a bit of a shame. Then again, I paid 25 USD for it or something, and there's life-long free updates it seems ;)

 

 

 

Marti - That is one complex track plan and from first glance well thought out. From what I gather a viewer would constantly be surprised at when and where trains would be coming from which is great.

 

Yeah, that's the main idea. My father has about 25 digital trains, and on the space we have (the longest side is 3 meters, the longest "leg" is 2.20 meters) it's impossible to have all trains running. So the only option is a hidden yard which can be accessed from multiple directions with the entrances hidden as well.

 

Whether everything will work remains to be seen, I'm not sure if everything will work with regards to height.

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Mudkip Orange

I LIKE the trackplan. What's the minimum radius on the Trix Track?

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serenityFan

Track plan: Wow!  :grin

 

How is the woodwork going ... especially around the spiral loop? you must be a handy carpenter  :grin

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Martijn Meerts

I LIKE the trackplan. What's the minimum radius on the Trix Track?

 

The smallest radius is 194.6 mm, which will cause problems for most Japanese trains. I've tried keeping them to a minimum, but in the spiral to the hidden yard for example, I had to use them. So the Japanese trains would never be able to go to the hidden yard ;)

 

 

 

Track plan: Wow!  :grin

 

How is the woodwork going ... especially around the spiral loop? you must be a handy carpenter  :grin

 

The main table framework is done, we've actually already started working on the larger station on the right side of the layout. The spiral and hidden yard will probably be added at a later stage, priority now is to get the main double loop up and running.

 

I've taken a bunch of pictures, but haven't imported them into Aperture yet. I should get around to doing so in the next couple of days.

 

(And no, I'm not a handy carpenter, I just "borrow" ideas from others and try to do the best I can with the limited tools I have available ;))

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disturbman

Oh my god... I'll be waiting for your pics and videos (once you can run sometrains).

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Bernard

Marti - Correct me if I'm wrong but you're using Minitrix Flex track? If so how do you like it, we don't have any of that in the US. Also what turnouts will you be using? For the Overhead tracks will you be making your own Viaducts or combining tracks like Unitrack or Fine track with the flex track?

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Martijn Meerts

Marti - Correct me if I'm wrong but you're using Minitrix Flex track? If so how do you like it, we don't have any of that in the US. Also what turnouts will you be using? For the Overhead tracks will you be making your own Viaducts or combining tracks like Unitrack or Fine track with the flex track?

 

It's mainly Roco flex track with a bit of Minitrix, Roco is cheaper and of the same or better quality. It's okay stuff, Roco has 2 versions, a fairly stiff track which is great for long straights, and a very flexible version which makes curves a lot easier. The turnouts are all Minitrix.

 

All the viaducts will be hand made, we're not using any other then Minitrix, Roco and possibly Fleischmann tracks.

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Martijn Meerts

Right, here are some pictures of the current progress.

 

 

Image 001:

The right leg of the U-shaped table, with a little corner chopped out to make it easier to get into and out of the room ;)

 

Image 002:

A bottom view of the table.

 

Image 003:

Detail of how the inner boards are connected to the outer boards. They don't fit completely, but we just don't have the right tools to make a perfect fit. The table is stable and quite sturdy though, so this'll do :)

 

Image 004:

Quick shot of how the 2 separate parts are connected. The table is 4 parts in total, the left leg, the middle piece, and 2 parts for the right leg.

 

Image 005:

Track plan of the station printed in full scale, and glued onto a wooden board. This is the shot after the wooden board has been cut to the correct shape. As a test, we're going to build the entire station (including buildings and ballast etc.) before continuing with the rest.

 

Image 006:

Detail view of the idea of using a full scale printout to accurately lay track.

001-table_right_leg.jpg

002-table_right_leg_bottom.jpg

003-table_detail.jpg

004-table_connection_detail.jpg

005-moritzburg_station.jpg

006-moritzburg_station_detail.jpg

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Martijn Meerts

Some might notice from the images above that we forgot to use cork before glueing on the track plan... Another problem was that the paper had expanded because we used white glue (which is water based) and so the track plan wasn't actually 1:1 anymore, but a little bigger. A 3rd problem was that the gap between the station platforms and tracks was too big. We didn't want them directly next to the track because certain wide trains tended to hit the roofs (a couple of diesels did that) or the platform (the rods of steam engines), but the gap was well over 1cm.

 

So, the track plan got adjusted slightly to fix the gap problem and printed once again in full scale. Of course, the wooden board the station is on will need to be adjusted because the new track plan is slightly longer. Not too much of a problem though ;)

 

Anyway, some more pictures of the progress.

 

Image 007:

View of the completed table. Longest edge is 3 meters, left leg is 1.60 meters, right leg is 2.20 meters, and the middle piece is 1 x 1 meters. The entire table is on 12 legs of 44x44mm, and each leg has a wheel so it's easy to move the table around.

 

Image 008:

The new version of the station. This time I used pins to keep the paper in place, and we actually didn't forget the cork this time around ;) The cork is standard stuff, about 2mm thick.

 

Image 009:

Closeup of a turnout after the first round of weathering. I also use pins to keep the track somewhat in place before fastening it to the table with a screw and washers.

 

Image 010:

Turnout after the second round of weathering. I painted the sleepers and added some colour variations in the rusty plates. You can also see the temporary screws and washers that keep the track in place. We'll ballast it like that, and the track will be kept in place with the glue used on the ballast as well as by the ballast itself. The temporary screws and washers will then be taken out, and the small bits of un-ballasted track underneath the washers will be ballasted. That way there are no screws or nails to transfer noise from the track to the wooden board. (Of course, the cork will become rather hard because of the white glue, and still transfer most of the noise, but hey ;))

007-table_complete.jpg

008-moritzburg_station_v2.jpg

009-turnout_detail.jpg

010-turnout_detail.jpg

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Bernard

Marti - I didn't realize it was going to be an open frame, really well planned out and on top of it you're neat when you work. Great idea of temp screwing down the turnouts to prevent shifting. Are you going to use switch machines and if so which ones? 

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to2leo

Martijn, an amazing and very organized layout.  I see you even have wheels for the frame to move apart for maintenance and cleaning?

 

For me I just played around with unitracks to get the best results with my general idea, connecting and disconnecting.

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qwertyaardvark

Looking good so far~! Much better carpentry than I'm currently capable of. Much practice needed for me... Looking forward to seeing some more pictures and seeing/learning how a room-sized layout gets built!  :grin

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Mossberg

Looking very good. I wish I could do the base work as good as this. But I am always in such a hurry when I am doing this part. Can't wait to get started on the landscape. But then I always have to pay back twice later.

 

It looks like you are using the Minitrix turnouts with non polarized frogs. What's your experience from them? On my Swedish Model Railway forum people always recommends turnouts with a polarized frog. I have tried both kinds (both from Minitrix and Fleischmann) and I really haven't noticed that big difference between them. But what is your opinion?

 

Best regards

Magnus M

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scott

Image 005:

Track plan of the station printed in full scale

 

I now have ESES (Extreme Station Envy Syndrome). :-)

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disturbman

lol... glad to have you back here and typing Scott. That was too long.

 

And Martijn, I'm definately jealous of your carpentry skills. I just finished building my kitchen's work table (don't know the real name in english ; aka the thing where you put the sink in). I've been screwing crews for four days now... One of my finger looks like a patatoïd and is now home of three nice blisters.

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Martijn Meerts

Marti - I didn't realize it was going to be an open frame, really well planned out and on top of it you're neat when you work. Great idea of temp screwing down the turnouts to prevent shifting. Are you going to use switch machines and if so which ones? 

 

We'll just be using the standard (and rather big and ugly) Minitrix switch machines. I would've preferred servo's, but it would be too expensive, plus we already have about 40-45 of the Minitrix switch machines =)

 

 

 

Looking very good. I wish I could do the base work as good as this. But I am always in such a hurry when I am doing this part. Can't wait to get started on the landscape. But then I always have to pay back twice later.

 

It looks like you are using the Minitrix turnouts with non polarized frogs. What's your experience from them? On my Swedish Model Railway forum people always recommends turnouts with a polarized frog. I have tried both kinds (both from Minitrix and Fleischmann) and I really haven't noticed that big difference between them. But what is your opinion?

 

Best regards

Magnus M

 

I tend not to like the landscaping all that much, I'm no good at making mountains ;)

 

We have problems now and then with the shorter trains stalling on turnouts, a problem which would be solved with polarized frogs. Other than that, many turnouts with polarized frogs need special (and more expensive) digital decoders. Most our turnouts are from before anyone knew what polarized frogs were, and replacing all of them now is a waste of money. If I had to start over I'd probably go for polarized frogs though.

 

 

 

lol... glad to have you back here and typing Scott. That was too long.

 

And Martijn, I'm definately jealous of your carpentry skills. I just finished building my kitchen's work table (don't know the real name in english ; aka the thing where you put the sink in). I've been screwing crews for four days now... One of my finger looks like a patatoïd and is now home of three nice blisters.

 

Hehehe.. I'm cheating.. I'm putting all these pictures online all at once, but in reality it took about 4-5 days to build the framework ;)

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Mossberg

many turnouts with polarized frogs need special (and more expensive) digital decoders.

 

I was not aware of that. I am using the same Selectrix function decoder (Trix 66828) for all my turnouts, both with and without polarized frogs.

 

Why would they need special decoders?

 

/Magnus M

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Martijn Meerts

It depends a bit on the turnout and the power routing features and such. I'm actually not sure if it's the decoder that needs to be "special" or the turnout motor, I know that the Tortoise motors for example have special outputs for connecting to the frogs of a polarized frogs turnout. I also seem to remember seeing decoders that specifically mention polarized turnouts.

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