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My Layout :)


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Hi all,


At Bernard's request (and also to get some advice and input), I am posting what I have on my layout so far.  ;D


I am still on the planning stages, not even a name yet, it will be N scale. Here is the drawing: (done on xtrkcad)



It basically draws inspiration from this layout from Noch:



The first stage will be laying out the track all flat on the baseboard (which is also flat), get the train running with simple dc wiring and I will think what to do next from there... that's why I am going to get Unitrack, because it is easy to pull apart and put together, and easy to modify the layout when the time comes to expand...   ;D


Other stuff:

-Baseboard had to be 60 cm wide. It has to be that small so it can sit on one side to the wall in my study room.

-It will have 2 mainlines

-No yard at this stage (nothing to put in the yard)

-Station will be on the upper section

-Not very prototypical, this is going to be my first layout, so I just want something not too complicated to run my train on  ;)




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Looks like a nice, simple layout that will be fun to watch trains on! I like it.


Two issues, however.

1) Maybe this doesn't bother you (it wouldn't bother me), but you probably won't be able to run shinkansen or other long-bodied trains on the inner loop. My Kato E4 series will traverse 243mm curves...85% of the time. The rest of the time it derails and makes a mess. Standard 20m cars shouldn't have any problems with it.


2) A serious problem: As a general rule, anytime you have a tight curve feed directly into a turnout, you'll get derailments. Trains running on the inner loop will pick those lower turnouts almost every time (read: constant derailment). Put a small section of straight track, at least the length of one bogie if not more, between the curves and the turnouts. It will shorten the runaround, but I think it's better than the alternative. You may have a similar problem with the outer loop and those first turnouts up top in the station, but the wider radius will be more forgiving. You'll just have to test, test, test.

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Andy - I really, really like this shelf layout. CaptO brings up a very good point about derailments on a curved turnout. Also since you are going to use Kato Unitrack, I don't know if they make curved turnouts.


Okay my one point. From your plan it looks like you are going to have a 4% grade to the upper level. That might be hard for some trains to pull a load up on. Would a 2% grade work for you?


Since this is your first layout how do you plan to make your grade up to the station level?

One easy solution is to use Woodlandscenics incline sets. They make them in different grades and are light-weight.

Here is a link to get an idea what they look like, they are made in 2%, 3% & 4% sets:


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The transitions from turnouts to the curves looks smooth. Short locos and wagons (like WAMU 80000) should run good on it. Locos like the MicroACE DF50 or many KATO ones has a higher selfweight and a good tracktion so that the 4% are possible. 


But sure: Testing is the best way to find out


EDIT: S-Curves makes more problem. There you must put a small straight between the direction change.

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S-curves are a problem, but to be honest, they haven't been so much of a problem for me. Different experiences, I suppose, which just underscore's SONIC's point that you really just need to lay out the track as you have it planned, and run lots and lots of trains...including on the planned grade.


Still, overall a good plan, and I look forward to seeing more of this layout!

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The worst combination is this for S-Curves with Tomix S280 without a straight track



MicroACE DD51 Double (Set) with the long TAKIs oder the Car Rack Set - that combinations derails 100%


So I decide that I dont build s-curves. That make the layout a little bit boring, but the trains run clear

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Thanks for the input, everyone.

Now, where to start?


SONIC883: I am going to use unitrack. I love the ED74 that you have on display on Picasa.... have to put that in my wish list now ;)


Bernard: Yeah, I am aware of the incline set (never used them though). In xtrkcad I entered an elevation of 2 inches, and the program tells me I need 4% incline. I thought, sweet, woodland scenic already has the right incline set. I wonder if the incline set will be wide enough for both the inner and outer loop .....


CaptOblivious: I am also happy to run my longer trains on the outside loop only. Hopefully it will run ok on the 282 radius...


I am planning to buy the track in stages, the first stage will the 282 radius and I will try running my N700 around the curves. Any problems, I would have to go up to 282/315 radius, although that will mean the track will go over my baseboard edge by 5 cm.  :-\

So hopefully it will run ok. And then I will try the incline. And I will also take a look at the S curve .....  ;D

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Maybe a ED75 is easyer to get


When you compare this with a ED73 or ED74 you will find only some small differences.


For your layout: More space is alway better. Have a look for a seperat plate on your shelf.

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Andy - the answer to your question, will the WS incline set take the 2 main lines and the answer is YES. If you look at my Bullet train layout I have posted here, all my inclines are WS. They will fit one HO scale track or 2 N scale tracks. They are made out of foam and are very easy to install onto wood or foam board with "Liquid Nails for Projects" which you can get at any hardward store. The incline set is a big time saver and is light weight.


I don't think you will have any problems with your trains making the 4% incline since you are running Kato. Before purchasing the 282/315 radius track to see if your N700 will make the curve, lets see if some members here have that radius & that train (or something similar) and see if they don't mind doing a test for you.

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I don't have the N700, but I do have a Kato E4 (the cars of which should be right about the same length), and it handles Tomix FineTrack 280mm curves without problem. I expect the Kato 282mm curves will likewise be just fine.

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Andy - any progress on your layout? I've been thinking about your design and I really like it, it will be fun watching trains run on it.

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Seconded, more news, please! I was thinking about your layout the other day while perusing the Noch catalog...

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Hi guys.... it took a while to get all the tracks that I wanted, however your request for update could not have been better timed. The last pieces of unitrack that I need have just arrived by mail yesterday.


So far, while waiting for the track pieces, I have prepared the table and base for the layout. Also I prepared a blog to record all my progress.

The blog is still half finish, but it does have some more pics of the base. You can have a look here:




Just now, I put the track together and this is what it looks like now  ;D




As you can see, it is still all flat now. Already bought some ws incliner that I will try on the weekend.

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Martijn Meerts

Looking good ;)


Had a quick read through your blog as well, I actually think the whole "viewing height" thing is personal preference. I always enjoy watching a model layout from a bit higher up and get a more birds-eye view of the whole thing. I really don't like the modular layouts that have the model 1.5 meter above the floor, makes no sense  ::)



Seems model train fanatics have a thing with cats too, even though they're a model trains worst nightmare what with all the fur all over the place.. (Yes, I have 2 of them running around the house as well ;))

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Andy - you have a really nice start and it seems like everything is running with no problems.

First rule of model RR, it's your layout have fun!

So with that said, as Martijn pointed out, viewing line of site is a personal preference but what is more important to me is that everything is level and it seems like the 3 tables you're using are just that.

One suggestion, when you put down the "chipped board" how about gluing down a piece of insulation foam on top of the board. The foam comes in different depths from 1/2", 1", or 2".

Why I suggest this? Because when you start putting down your layout design, you might want to make other elements to the layout like a pond, a hill, etc. It will be very easy to carve into the foam to make this element in the future. (Plus the circular elevation on the left side where you have your yard can be easily made by cutting the foam with a bread knife into that circle.)


Also are you going to make the layout in 3 sections or join them together?


Oh, and as far as the height, your cats will love that, we have 4 and so far only Willow likes sneaking into the layout room to watch the long mice running. It's like Catzilla attacking Tokyo.

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Great start, can't wait to see more!


All: Seriously, people, cats? Really? How do your models survive? (Full disclosure: I'm severely allergic to cats, so I'm naturally biased against them...)

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Martijn Meerts



Great start, can't wait to see more!


All: Seriously, people, cats? Really? How do your models survive? (Full disclosure: I'm severely allergic to cats, so I'm naturally biased against them...)


Well, in my case, I don't run the trains (yet), although the few I have run once in a while way back when I first got started are filled with cat and need a good cleaning.


I love cats, but once I move I don't think I'll get any more of them. I think I'll go for something like a parrot or 2, or some tropical fish ;)

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I must be the odd one out - I am not keen on cats.

Bernard's correct - there is no right and wrong about this hobby.

Its a great layout if you have fun with it.

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So far, CaptOblivious and alpine are nay for cats, where as everyone else seems like yay for cats  ;D


Anyway, I have tried looking for those pink or blue foam (insulation foam?) however I can't find anything on a couple of visits to different local hardware stores. When I ask for insulation foam, I have been getting blank stares. Maybe here in Melbourne, they just don't use these kind of foam for insulation.  ???


The next best thing that I saw a while ago was some normal styrofoam (the messy breaking up kind of styrofoam) sheets at Clark Rubber (a rubber shop, sells all things rubber) however if I remember correctly, they were not cheap.


Among others, next on the agenda is somehow joining the 3 sections more permanently together (at the moment thay are still just sitting loosely on top of the tables).


Also I stopped by at the craft shop earlier today to buy some sewing pins, as suggested on another thread in this forum; time to check those inclines. Very helpful and thanks for the input on viewing heights as well  ;D

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Andy - Here are some photos of the early stages of my layout.

The 1st photo show a side view of the green (it's usually blue or pink but some how I got green) insulation foam board. It usually comes in 4'x8' sheets and very light.

I attached the foam board to the plywood table top and in some of the photo in yellow marker I made a grid of 1' square boxes. This was to transfer my layout plan onto the foam.


In the next 2 photos you can see how I pinned down the WS inclines (I use long quilting pins) to the foam and add the cord strips for the flex track I latter used.


And the last photo show that by using the foam board I latter carved out a river which was easy because all I did was trace out a river and carve down to the original plywood top.

A building supply company like Home Depot or Lowes carries the insulation foam and it's not very expensive. You can even save the leftover pieces to make hills, walls or mountains.

Hope this helps.

And as I'm typing this, my cat Emily is in her favorite spot, lying on my shoulders fast asleep.



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Among others, next on the agenda is somehow joining the 3 sections more permanently together (at the moment thay are still just sitting loosely on top of the tables).


You might consider something less than permanent, so you can port your layout around. I'm going to use velcro (hook-and-loop) straps on the sides to hold the two halves of mine together.

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The next best thing that I saw a while ago was some normal styrofoam (the messy breaking up kind of styrofoam) sheets at Clark Rubber (a rubber shop, sells all things rubber) however if I remember correctly, they were not cheap.



Woodland Scenics offers a line of Styrofoam sheets for modeling. But as you are in Australia it probably won't be cheap.


Double check your glues when working with foam.  Some can eat at the foam.

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Since you already have a wooden base, an additional insulation foam base may be overkill; you could just glue the risers directly to what you have. If you use a minimum 1/2" or 1" riser for all the tracks, you can still make ponds and valleys below the level of the tracks. This is in fact the method that Woodland Scenics recommends, I think.

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