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mwsteele

A newbies first layout

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mwsteele

Hey everyone!

 

So I just started getting into model trains again. And in our new house I will have about half a room for my hobby.

 

I picked up a few things already just to play around with and get started.

The Kato E5 set A and C

Kato Master Track 1

And a Digitrax DCC controller. the Zephyer xtra.

 

I got a pretty good deal on a lot of this stuff from my LHS. So I decided to spring for it. I do like the idea of DCC running multiple trains at different speeds and all this.

 

My interest is in the Japanese bullet trains, but I'm not modeling my railroad after a real life one. It will be my railroad :P

 

My layout will be L shape. With 6 feet on the short side, and 9 feet long on the other.

I will be building a table, that will be easy to disassemble incase we end up moving again. And I will be using Unitrack due to how easy it is to change and play around with.

The width of these will be about 3 feet or so. Maybe slightly shorter so I can easily reach the other side. But I want the trains turning to look natural.

 

I have no idea exactly how the layout will go. A yard, and station would be nice. I want a small village, with mostly country side, hills, tunnels.

 

I used to do miniature wargaming so I won't have any problem with the scenery and I'm willing to put time into this. This is a long term project.

 

I'll post some pics of the stuff I got, and the room later so that you can get an idea of what I'm working with. But in the meantime I'm looking for ideas with what I can do.

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Hobby Dreamer

Looking forward to your pics and progress!

 

Rick

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keitaro

my first suggestion would be to google anyrail and play about with the demo.

 

if you want shinkansens you will need large radii curves for a natural look.

 

i would suggest looking at tomix track too works just like kato but smaller in balast size and has a more natural track spacing. But what ever you choose is fine.

 

also to note for a 6 car shinkansen station you will need a pretty long station so be prepared to factor that in to your design.

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Bernard

mwsteele - First off welcome to the forum.....and you are at the right place to get suggestions and ideas for your new layout. That is a nice size layout you have planned....there are a couple of questions you'll have o ask yourself before you start building:

How many lines do you want to have on the layout....I recommend a yard for storage of your trains (it's impressive to see all your trains displayed on the layout even if they are not running) These are just a few suggestions but members will have more to offer....and have fun!

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KenS

It sounds like you have a good general plan in mind.  I'd recommend less than three feet for the general width, as reaching even two feet can be awkward.  My first layout was three feet deep, and there's a reason my second is two feet deep.  :grin

 

Consider making the end wider (the classic teardrop end of an island seen on so many layouts).  That way you can have a wide radius curve and still reach into the middle, but the main part of the layout where you only reach from the side is narrower.

 

And get some kind of track planning software that supports Unitrack and play with track plans.  You'll have a much better feel for how much you can fit, and what kinds of compromises you'll need to make.

 

Once you have some idea of what you want, post the track plan, and lots of us will be happy to suggest possible changes or point out potential problems.

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mwsteele

I downloaded the trial of Anyrail and was using the unitrack for my layout.

The layout in the picture is 30" wide for easier reach, 6 feet on the left 9 feet on the top.

The demo only allows me to place 50 pieces so it is not finished but you can get a general idea.

 

I'm not sure how to use all the track yet so there is nothing too advanced... I'd like to add in some double track and do interesting things on this.

You can see where I placed the train yard. It's very crude, again working with only 50 pieces.

 

Anyway if some can offer me some ideas of what I can do in this layout it would be greatly appriciated it!

 

Thanks!

 

Quick EDIT: I forgot to upload the pic, here it is.

post-827-13569930436113_thumb.jpg

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Bernard

My 1st thought in seeing you plan...will this be a free standing layout where you can go around it or will it be against a wall? I ask because one concern I have is the corner where the 6foot and 9foot boards meet. If it is against a wall, will you be able to reach deep into the corner to do scenery, re-rail a train, etc......make sure that corner is easily accessible.

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mwsteele

It will be against a wall. Do you have like another layout I can do within the same space constraints that you think would work well?

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Bernard

Before you re-design the layout, I suggest you take masking tape and outline the tables on the floor......then with it down see if you are able to reach the corner where the tables meet......if you can't then how about cutting a groove in the tables where the tables are smaller. (I hope I'm explaining clearly what I'm trying to describe?)

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mwsteele

Thanks for the tip!

 

I think I'm just going to go with a straight table along a longer wall, it's a 10 foot wall, and I'll make it 30" wide so I can use 30 degree track.

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The_Ghan

Thanks for the tip!

 

I think I'm just going to go with a straight table along a longer wall, it's a 10 foot wall, and I'll make it 30" wide so I can use 30 degree track.

 

My layout is twice as wide, but accessible from both sides - not against a wall.  If you're running shinkansens I suggest you make the ends wider.  I suggest you look at the TrainWeb Tomix page and compare what Kato and Tomix have on offer.  For shinkansen, I would use 2 x (Tomix DC539/502-22.5-SL) and 3 x (Tomix DC465/428-45-SL) to make up a 180o bend.  You need a width of 40" to do this comfortable.

 

BTW, despite what the webpages says, I believe Kato now has larger radii curves.  I use Tomix track myself so maybe a Kato expert can jump in here.

 

Cheers

 

The_Ghan

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keitaro

what bernard is trying to say is have a cut in the corner to access up there as it will be hard to reach i recomend it too i coloured red the area suggested.

 

It's just a small area you can pop your hands up to re-rail or collect derailed trains

post-484-13569930436884_thumb.jpg

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The_Ghan

Get any work done today keitaro?  :grin  :grin  :grin

 

Cheers

 

The_Ghan

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mwsteele

Thanks for the suggestion Ghan. The problem is that the room is technically a storage room, I moved everything into one corner so I could have access to it. I'll take a look, do some measurments. How wide are the curves that you use in your layout? Can you point me to some pics?

 

Thanks

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keitaro

Get any work done today keitaro?   :grin  :grin  :grin

 

Cheers

 

The_Ghan

 

yeah plenty i ended up on thursday heading down to the lab and fixing up a whole rack for the test server we have. found about 100k worth of unused equip didn't know we even had ....

no wonder the auditors get the shits with us  :laugh: :laugh: :laugh: :laugh:

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seabilliau

Thanks for the tip!

 

I think I'm just going to go with a straight table along a longer wall, it's a 10 foot wall, and I'll make it 30" wide so I can use 30 degree track.

 

My layout is twice as wide, but accessible from both sides - not against a wall.  If you're running shinkansens I suggest you make the ends wider.  I suggest you look at the TrainWeb Tomix page and compare what Kato and Tomix have on offer.  For shinkansen, I would use 2 x (Tomix DC539/502-22.5-SL) and 3 x (Tomix DC465/428-45-SL) to make up a 180o bend.  You need a width of 40" to do this comfortable.

 

BTW, despite what the webpages says, I believe Kato now has larger radii curves.  I use Tomix track myself so maybe a Kato expert can jump in here.

 

Cheers

 

The_Ghan

 

The Kato V16 has 17 5/8" - 19". Not sure about single track radii this big but I'm getting my V16 and V12 packs today.

20-876.jpg

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Mudkip Orange

HS has the single-pack version of these (no need to buy the entire pack)... when MBK gets a few in I'm'a buy some fo sho.

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mwsteele

I went out to the hardware store today, did some measuring and figured that a 36" width would be alright for me. I got all the wood I need, going to assemble it over the weekend, I will be updating this thread with pics of progress. In the meantime here are a couple pics of what I have so far.

 

IMG_0973.jpg

IMG_0974.jpg

IMG_0975.jpg

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KenS

Looking at your track plan, I see a couple of places where you go from a left-hand curve to a right-hand curve.  That's what's called an "S-curve", and it can be problematic, particularly for longer cars like Shinkansen.  These things are insidious, and always seem to find their way into my track plans.  It's a good idea to break them up by putting at least a 124mm straight in between the two curves. A straight longer than your longest car (like a 248mm) is even better, but often that's not practical. And keep in mind that a switch is a curve, and curves leading into switches can create an S-curve.

 

In terms of the layout, one key question to answer is what length trains do you want to run?  A prototypical Shinkansen can be 8-16 cars long depending on the model and the specific service.  With a 9' long side you may have room for a station with platforms for trains around 6-8 cars, but if you want to run trains even that long, there may not be room for a yard large enough as well.  And with a sixteen-car train, you've probably got one station with a curve in it, and some track, but not much else.

 

If your software lets you draw a rectangle with a size (or has structure parts like platforms) measure your cars and make a "platform" long enough for the train you want to run, and then try to arrange track around it.  I've found that very helpful in visualizing what the track diagram really implies for use.

 

If you want both a yard and a station, they probably both end up on the long table, for length reasons (unless you're happy with a short train).  They could be together on one side, representing a station with storage tracks nearby, or on opposite sides of the table, representing a separate yard facility.  Yard tracks for a Shinkansen can be stub tracks (switch at only one end) which will save space, and it will be easier to put a curve in the yard than using curved platforms (unless you want to scratch-build platforms, which shouldn't actually be that hard).  Station sidings should be through sidings (switches as both ends) which take up more space. 

 

Unless you don't want a continuous loop, and want to put the yard at one end (e.g., wrapping from the back of the long table around onto the short table) and make a stub-track station at the other end along the front of the long table (e.g., like the Tokaido Shinkansen platforms at Tokyo station) and not worry about closing the loop between them, which would gain you some space.  You'd need to focus on running trains in and out of the station on a schedule (a typical "shelf layout" approach to operations).  Personally, I like loops, but it's a matter of taste.

 

Another thing to think about is putting the station at the back and elevated, and the yard at the front at ground-level.  This gets away from the sameness of a flat board.  You won't get a lot of elevation between front and back, but even an inch or so is enough to create a visual difference. The elevated station could be on a viaduct, or just slope the land up (the viaduct might look more prototypical).

 

When I planned my second layout, I spent about two months sketching track plans before doing any carpentry.  And once I had the tables, I spent about three months trying out and adjusting the track plan with Unitrack to be sure it worked before I began putting down any fixed scenery.  But then I'm really slow.  :grin

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mwsteele

Got one of my tables done today. Its 5x3, basically it's what the space would allow. I've including some pics of my progress so far so you can see the space I'm working with. I have 5-6 cars on the train and that would probably be max for a Japanese bullet train.

IMG_0979.jpg

IMG_0978.jpg

IMG_0977.jpg

IMG_0976.jpg

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Bernard

Very nice construction of your first table, nice and solid. I never mentioned using insulating "foam board" to put on top of your table. Depending on which country you live (I'm in New York, USA) it should be fairly easy to get. I recommend foam board for a could of reasons....it will deaden the sound and most important for me, it makes scenery easy! You can carve out a river, build mountains or hills on top of it and it's light weight.

Here is a photo of how I made a river on my layout just by carving into the foam board:

post-22-13569930437473_thumb.jpg

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mwsteele

Yeah that's something I'm going to get next. Just have to find a place here that sells it. All I could find at the place I was at yesterday was the 1inch by 2 feet ones. I want a 4x8 in 2 inches or something similar.

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mwsteele

Got my first video up on youtube!

 

I've been looking at unitram lately too to go with my layout. Just a small section like at the end of a city. Tranisitioning into countryside.

 

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Mudkip Orange

So are you gonna buy R381's or go straight to doubletrack?

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mwsteele

What would you suggest?

 

I'm going to transition from the outside of a city into a rural environment. I'm not sure if they have double track all the way or what...

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