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Our basement layout


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What gifts? The cats won't let us under the tree--that's their spot!  :grin

Our cats climb in the tree. One year I notice that the angel on top had whiskers and a tail.  :cheesy

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Hahaha brilliant pic of your christmas layout + cat  :grin :grin

Is that just before he/she pounced on your enoden?


He pretty much just eyed it suspiciously, but he did manage to knock the 115 off the tracks. :-/

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It's snowy outside, but in the basement the thaw has finally begun:



Up-valley view




Down-valley view




the hills


The bare spots are for rock walls, water, right-of-way, tunnel openings, etc. The hills at the bottom of the valley have changed, too--now they have tunnels instead of cuts.

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Looking great! It must be nice to be done with landscaping and adding scenery! When working with models, coloring/painting is probably my favorite step; it really brings out everything you've been working on~ :grin

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I've had some unexpected time off and it's been cold, so we've gotten a  good bit done in the last couple of days.


First I pulled the crowded, too-short sidings off the ends of the point-to-point line. One of the switches got re-used to make a storage/waiting siding on that line at the main station. (I wanted to make a passing loop, but it wouldn't leave enough room for the station building). The new siding is at center left:






Lousy picture, but this is almost the entire station layout:






Then it was plastering time. The south end got plastering on the rest of the existing terrain, and plaster-cloth on the track risers so that I can plaster them and then put the track down for real:






There's also a new hill dividing the front area from the rear station. You can also sort-of see where the other extra switch got used to make a siding at that station:





And finally we plastered the hills and one major valley at the south end, and plaster-clothed the track risers there as well. I know it looks really dark, but this is just the first layer, and there will be lots of other, lighter colors on top:






Oh, and you'll notice some trees here and there. Robyn was experiment with placing some of our tree-candidate twigs to see how they'd look, but they don't have foliage yet.

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Lately I've realized that my one regret about our layout design is that the "main" line is only single-tracked. I don't know why I didn't catch on at the beginning that both Japanese and European layouts would look more realistic, and be more interesting to run, with a double-tracked main line. I also spent a lot time making the main line work with 19-inch curves so that we could get a Bachmann Acela, but now that I've heard so many bad things about them, I'm not planning to get one. Also, although we have a bit of Amtrak stuff, it's not really a main interest now.


I could, of course, tear the main line apart and replace it with Kato 15/16.5"-radius double tracked curves, but after a big vacation and car repairs, I can't really afford to do that. Plus it would make a big mess of the hills I've already built.


We have a bunch of extra Unitrack pieces left over, including some 15-inch curves. I'm trying to figure out if I can add a second line with 15-inch curves next to the 19-inch-curve line, and get double-tracking without buying a bunch of new stuff. Of course, that would require some creative use of short straights to keep the two lines reasonably close together, as well as some tunnel modifications, and in the end it might look a bit funny. I'm not sure if it's worth it or not....

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Mudkip Orange

Of course, that would require some creative use of short straights to keep the two lines reasonably close together, as well as some tunnel modifications, and in the end it might look a bit funny. I'm not sure if it's worth it or not....


I would say don't do it. What you could do though is just put turnouts at the end of each tunnel portal, so that your layout is doubletrack in the open areas but single track in the mountains. More than a few Japanese lines do that (Hokuhoku aka snow leopard express comes to mind)

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I should have mentioned that we're running DC--DCC isn't really an option. We have sidings at the stations; I guess we could try to extend those.

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Picture 1 shows just the existing mainline, with the other lines removed for clarity


Picture 2 shows my first crack at converting this to double track, but I haven't made sure that the new track would actually fit the existing hills/tunnels without modification. It seems unlikely that I could pull this off without some demolition and rebuilding.



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I like it (but I'm a sucker for double-track).


Have you considered having a crossover between the two tracks, or do you want to keep them totally independent? Even if operationally they're separate, having a way to move a train between them without using the "five fingered derrick" is handy.

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Unfortunately, I just realized that what I thought was a stash of 15-inch curves is mostly 12-inch curves. So much for the idea of doing this with the track I have on hand....

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Scott, my advice, if you really have no money for this just go along with you initial plan. Finish the layout, run some trains. The doubling of your mainline can be set aside as a futur project, a project when you will have money to buy the right set of tracks. People often made changes to their layout when it's allmost completed, look at Quinntopia. He made some great transformation in the last weeks.


By the way, there is many mainline which are only single track in Japan and Europe.

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Unfortunately, I may have to go with that. After spending a lot of time with Railmodeller, I can't find a way to double-track that line without disrupting the existing landscaping and spending a lot of money. Sorry to raise the idea for no reason--I wish I had realized that so many of my curves were 12-inch.


I do wish the superelevated turns had a better selection of angles. Since the main turns are 45 degrees, it's hard to make them fit a layout that has odd angles.


The good news is that I have plenty of track for T-Trak experiments.  :grin

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Or you can try flextrack for the curves and the tunnels. It's usually quite cheap. You will however allways need to destroy some scenery.

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Yeah, the flextrack idea did occur to me. But to be honest I'm not sure I want to set myself back that far in terms of setup time. Call me lazy, but I like Unitrack. :-)

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Latest minor update--the track is finally all back down after all the messy plastering (shown in pictures above).


Next steps are lots of vegetation, starting the main town and station, and building up the "ground" an inch higher under the left end of the point-to-point line.

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Last night was more of a frustration session than an operating session. :-P I had thought about running some trains with Anders for a bit before he went to bed, but knew that I had to check the track over first, since we recently re-laid most of it after plastering.


Well, we spent the entire (short) time we had available turning up problems--mysteriously undone track joins, a missing Unijoiner that unpowered half the p-t-p line, a rogue blot of plaster on the track in another spot, etc., etc. Not to mention trying four different engines to get something that would run well enough to get around each line twice to do the check. And all this on top of a failed attempt to remove the old shelf brackets from the wall behind the layout, so that I can paint the wall blue instead of yellow. (Some of the screws are rusted in place, and I couldn't unscrew them or cut them out with what I had available).


Plus I realized that I may have to do some serious digging-up work where the express line goes under the first bridge and tunnel that I built (see picture)--my construction methods weren't great, and I don't think I managed (despite all the helpful warnings on here) to get enough bridge/tunnel clearance for taller pantographs. So far, the only thing I can think of is to slope the track down from the station and then back up on the back side of the layout. I need to re-measure tonight to confirm that all this is necessary. But bleah.


So anyway--I was having a serious "why do I bother, I'm an unskilled moron" night last night. Let's hope I can pull it together soon....


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So anyway--I was having a serious "why do I bother, I'm an unskilled moron" night last night. Let's hope I can pull it together soon....


I've had more than a few of those.  If you leave track alone, nevermind work on scenery next to it, the n-scale section-gang gremlins come out later that night and work their magic, so the next time you want to run a train it's hair-pulling time.


The last time I left my table-top unitrack layout alone for a couple of weeks, one of the tracks managed to half-unclip itself, causing mysterious derailments in my station the next time I ran trains (which I first thought was due to the viaduct station being out of alignment; it took a couple of days and running my fingertip along the rail-top to find the gap).


In other words, you have company in your frustration.  Probably lots of company unless I miss my guess.

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the n-scale section-gang gremlins come out later that night and work their magic


I knew I heard a noise in the basement...



I just always disassemble my entire layout before I go to bed!


I would do that, but I can never get the plaster cloth to go back together right.



The good news from this end is that it looks like the bridge/tunnel clearance is OK after all--the bridge and tunnel may look like utter $#!^, but at least all I need to do is reinforce the tunnel a bit and do a bunch of cosmetic work, rather than dig up that end of the layout.

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