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Author Topic: Suggested plans for a beginner  (Read 14033 times)

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Offline PostModN66

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Suggested plans for a beginner
« on: October 01, 2013, 05:04:28 pm »
A recent thread made me reflect that many beginners seem to be too ambitious with their designs - which is understandable if they have been inspired to start N gauge having seen Copenhagen Fields or Basingstoke.   But it got me thinking, exactly what do I mean when I suggest beginners do something small and simple, to learn the skills that they can then apply to their "proper" layout.

Somewhat arbitrarily I set myself a limit on 48" by 9", and five points.   Just by way of a thought experiment, I came up with the following within these criteria:



It is a diesel era layout.  My thinking is a two car DMU shuttling in and out of the station, and since everyone has too many locos, a loco shed.  The headshunt is big enough to take a loco plus dummy, or a loco and three loco fuel wagons.  Operational interest is very limited, but the point is to get this layout finished, learn the skills and move on - but with something nice to show for the effort.

What do you reckon?  Are my size and point limits too stringent?  Could you come up with a better beginner's plan within these limits, perhaps set in the steam era?

Cheers  Jon    :)
“We must conduct research and then accept the results. If they don't stand up to experimentation, Buddha's own words must be rejected.” ― Dalai Lama XIV

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Offline Jack

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Re: Suggested plans for a beginner
« Reply #1 on: October 01, 2013, 05:50:31 pm »
This has the making of a good tread.  :thumbsup:

Funny enough about a fortnight ago I started playing with Anyrail in trying to design a small steam layout for two coaches with a 0-6-0 and/or a DMU. Power would be DC because I have a controller that I use for my test track oval (Kato).

I'm tied down to a board size at 970mm x 415mm, the board is an off cut that I have knocking around, the fiddle board I'd use is another off cut from my main layout too. The idea would be to use no more than five sets of points and to use Code 80 Streamline that I have from previous re-starts (I use Code 55 on my main layout). Point control would be manual to start but prepped for point motors.

Project 180813 peco80
Project 180813 peco80

The layout could just as easy use a small diesel, Class 25 with a few wagons for example.


Today's Experts were yesterday's Beginners :)

Offline PostModN66

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Re: Suggested plans for a beginner
« Reply #2 on: October 01, 2013, 06:00:21 pm »
That looks great Jack - very much in line with the general level of complexity and size I was thinking.   :thumbsup:

Cheers   Jon  :)
“We must conduct research and then accept the results. If they don't stand up to experimentation, Buddha's own words must be rejected.” ― Dalai Lama XIV

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Offline NeMo

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Re: Suggested plans for a beginner
« Reply #3 on: October 01, 2013, 06:03:01 pm »
It certainly looks like a layout that would be quick to put together as well as inexpensive -- both key points!




My criticisms would be these:
  • There's no run-around loop, which would make working goods trains less fun. For sure, your layout doesn't suggest goods trains, but beginners often seem to find goods trains with a variety of wagons particularly attractive. You're absolutely right that a DMU could take care of actual branch line operations, with the sidings being exclusively for locomotives (or perhaps, for a twist, things like tamping machines if the sidings were to do with permanent way.
  • Hiding the fiddle yard in such a narrow baseboard, with a shed positioned close to the fiddle yard sidings, will be tricky. Certainly landscaping would be very "forced" (you'd have to use a combination of cliffs and tunnels. On the other hand, an urban environment would work better, with a brick embankment behind the shed and the fiddle yard hidden under a townscape. But urban environments are, I think, more difficult to do well.

I worked through a series of end-to-end layouts over the last couple of years, trying to find something that worked for me. In the end I found the round-and-round layout simply more fun, but perhaps that's because I'm using DC control; a beginner starting with DCC would definitely find your motive power depot (or steam shed) layout lots of fun, shuffling locomotives in and out of sheds, fuelling areas, and so on.

What about this for an idea: a very small run-around loop could be incorporated, together with a basic crane or gantry, enough for train consisting of one or two nuclear flask wagons? This would give a reason for quite a powerful locomotive to turn up with a single wagon (or better, the flask wagon plus a couple of barrier wagons) on what would otherwise be a very small branchline.

Cheers, NeMo

Offline kevin141

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Re: Suggested plans for a beginner
« Reply #4 on: October 01, 2013, 06:39:07 pm »
Like what you have done
kevin
Good dinner

Online port perran

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Re: Suggested plans for a beginner
« Reply #5 on: October 01, 2013, 08:58:10 pm »
As a beginner's project, looks good.
Should help to develop skills.
If you are happy with the outcome, could it form part of a larger layout at a later date ?
It's you railway so build it as you want and run whatever you like. The only rule is - ENJOY :
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Offline 4x2

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Re: Suggested plans for a beginner
« Reply #6 on: October 02, 2013, 08:28:33 am »
Good thread this... :thumbsup:
Here is my contribution - It's my current project which I think would be great for beginners, inspired by a few Scottish layouts i've seen recently. My layout is built on the top of two Ikea shelf units which are fixed together, I have posted a thread about it already, but I feel it works here too. The track plan is nice and simple and is about 48in x 9in, the station is served by a DMU (shuttle unit would work well here), i've left the points out connecting the station as they aren't really needed.

The goods yard is basically an 'Inglenook' (look up 'shunting puzzles') which gives interesting operation. The layout is exited via the road bridge to the fiddle yard which i've only shown 1 point, there is room for more. The fiddle yard is covered so I can still use the space.



[
« Last Edit: October 02, 2013, 08:33:24 am by 4x2 »
If it's got rails... you have my full, undivided attention - Steam, diesel and electric, 'tis all good !

Mike

Offline EtchedPixels

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Re: Suggested plans for a beginner
« Reply #7 on: October 02, 2013, 02:58:59 pm »
If you use couplers with delayed uncoupling you can put one uncoupler just before the scenic area instead.

Some ways you can play with that design below



The right hand purple link allows a runaround (the other end is assumed to be in the fiddle yard) so you can run steam era or freight more realistically). That also adjusts the goods shed so access is via a platform area and the end of the runaround is somewhere you can leave a van for unloading. You could even model end loading facilities - very common.

(As a PS: you can also make a footbridge or overall canopy start the end of the scenic area and extend the platform to the end of scenery, you can now run any size train you like back in the out of sight part of the station - it's there honestly and does need the big loco on the front 8) )

The black one shows how you can use the whole space scenically with something like a quayside and warehouses in front of the fiddle sidings. The purple line on the left shows extra complexity so the warehouses can also have a line through them (perhaps with the first floor over the line) into the yard.



The original layout in the thread actually reminds me of the 'Piano Line' - which is what I used for Llanast. The Piano line however works in a run-around. You can find the piano line design here along with a bit about the history of the layout and micro designs in general.

http://www.carendt.com/scrapbook/page61a/index.html#piano

(and my version of it is at)
http://www.carendt.com/scrapbook/page82a/

Alan
« Last Edit: October 02, 2013, 03:01:29 pm by EtchedPixels »
"Knowledge has no value or use for the solitary owner: to be enjoyed it must be communicated" -- Charles Pratt, 1st Earl Camden

Offline PostModN66

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Re: Suggested plans for a beginner
« Reply #8 on: October 02, 2013, 05:49:13 pm »

What about this for an idea: a very small run-around loop could be incorporated, together with a basic crane or gantry, enough for train consisting of one or two nuclear flask wagons? This would give a reason for quite a powerful locomotive to turn up with a single wagon (or better, the flask wagon plus a couple of barrier wagons) on what would otherwise be a very small branchline.



As per your suggestion Nemo,  :thankyousign: here is what I have come up with:



I couldn't get it to work without using a double slip, which means having to use code 55, and boht of these which make it a bit less of a beginner's layout.  It is also a couple of inches longer; I think it accommodates 2xclass 20 plus 2x Flask wagons, but I would have to do a more careful check to be absolutely sure.

It now resembles the Piano line even more, but has the advantage that you can shunt while a DMU is in the station.

Cheers

Jon   :)
“We must conduct research and then accept the results. If they don't stand up to experimentation, Buddha's own words must be rejected.” ― Dalai Lama XIV

My Postmodern Image Layouts

Lofthole http://www.ngaugeforum.co.uk/SMFN/index.php?topic=14792.msg147178#msg147178

Deansmoor http://www.ngaugeforum.co.uk/SMFN/index.php?topic=14741.msg146381#msg146381

Offline EtchedPixels

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Re: Suggested plans for a beginner
« Reply #9 on: October 02, 2013, 07:33:23 pm »
For a DMU type setup put the track the other side of the platform and add a point coming out of the fiddle yard, turn the double slip into a point- result. In fact if you make the station somewhat triangular you've even notionally got two platforms

Note also you only need to get one 20 and a flash in. You would leave the other half of the train parked mostly offscene
"Knowledge has no value or use for the solitary owner: to be enjoyed it must be communicated" -- Charles Pratt, 1st Earl Camden

Offline PostModN66

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Re: Suggested plans for a beginner
« Reply #10 on: October 03, 2013, 08:20:45 am »
Good call Alan,  :thankyousign:

Don't know how I missed it - a big improvement, though the point count is now a dangerous 6!  Tempted to build this:



The only tricky bit is the need to install an uncoupling magnet within a point.  Can't see this being an issue with a pair of rare earth magnets, though you would have to do it before installing the point probably.

Cheers

Jon   :)
“We must conduct research and then accept the results. If they don't stand up to experimentation, Buddha's own words must be rejected.” ― Dalai Lama XIV

My Postmodern Image Layouts

Lofthole http://www.ngaugeforum.co.uk/SMFN/index.php?topic=14792.msg147178#msg147178

Deansmoor http://www.ngaugeforum.co.uk/SMFN/index.php?topic=14741.msg146381#msg146381

Offline Jack

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Re: Suggested plans for a beginner
« Reply #11 on: October 03, 2013, 08:54:53 am »
The talk about using uncoupling magnets maybe drawing away from the point of the thread. I thought the idea of the thread was a layout for total beginners. That being the case I think most total beginners would be horrified at the thought of modifying wagons and locos.

I know that Dapol have made it easier with their new range of NEM magnetic couplings but these don't fit all locos and wagons so easily. Would a beginner really want to have a go at modifying an 08 and wagons for example. Most of the second hand stock available from fleabay will not have modern NEM pockets and would need modifying to fit magnetic couplings.

Just a thought.

And as for going as far as six sets of points, now we're beginning to live dangerously  ;D


PS How do the Peco manual un-couplers (Peco SL-330) stack up, I've never tried them?
« Last Edit: October 03, 2013, 09:08:08 am by Jack9465, Reason: Added PS »
Today's Experts were yesterday's Beginners :)

Offline PostModN66

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Re: Suggested plans for a beginner
« Reply #12 on: October 03, 2013, 09:25:00 am »
Hi Jack,

A good point - though as it happens the Nuclear Flask wagons and New Class 20 locos from Farish are both NEM equipped, so wouldn't require modification.

The trouble is with older non-NEM wagons is that there really is no simple and reliable way to achieve uncoupling without at least some modification or tinkering. Even using the Peco system with the lift arm requires you to bend them and glue them on (and only works with Peco wagons).  I have tried the manual couplers and they require quite a lot of fiddling to get them to work well, and can result in the whole wagon getting lifted up if you get it wrong, or the couplings are less than perfectly free.

I think on balance I would suggest to a beginner buying at least one loco and a couple of wagons that are NEM fitted, and treating the job of getting the uncoupling to work well as part of the learning process.  You can marshal non-NEM stock between these wagons.   There seem to be for example plenty of Dapol 66s with NEM couplers second-hand on EBay.  They can progress to modifying older stock as their skills improve.

As time goes by and more NEM stock turns up on the second-hand market this should become less of an issue.

Cheers

 Jon   ;)
“We must conduct research and then accept the results. If they don't stand up to experimentation, Buddha's own words must be rejected.” ― Dalai Lama XIV

My Postmodern Image Layouts

Lofthole http://www.ngaugeforum.co.uk/SMFN/index.php?topic=14792.msg147178#msg147178

Deansmoor http://www.ngaugeforum.co.uk/SMFN/index.php?topic=14741.msg146381#msg146381

Offline EtchedPixels

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Re: Suggested plans for a beginner
« Reply #13 on: October 03, 2013, 11:13:19 am »
Ok so here is a quickly knocked up "beginner" version.



All Peco set-track, less points, only one power feed needed for the basic layout. All the platform edges are straight to make construction easier. Dotted bit shows the optional second platform and extra feed. I've kept the station as an interesting shape because it's easy to do and still has straight edges.

I'd assume the back right would be a backscene with something like a hedge and a bit of detail in front to get a perspective effect. Modern era in front of the station would be the goods yard. Left would be something like a big building blocking the fiddle yard view, then the loading area and lots of security fence and flashing lights.

In fact you could probably do a military base or various other specialist freight terminals (oil or steel for example) this way. Perhaps even a 1980s paranoia style military nuclear installation if you like lots of modern military paraphenalia and big spotlights. Something in the style of Northmoor from  the original TV "Edge of Darkness" but without the awesome Clapton soundtrack.

If you have the extra inch you can straighten the run around bottom left.
"Knowledge has no value or use for the solitary owner: to be enjoyed it must be communicated" -- Charles Pratt, 1st Earl Camden

Offline NeMo

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Re: Suggested plans for a beginner
« Reply #14 on: October 04, 2013, 06:11:41 pm »
Some really good track plan ideas here, but what's even better is the discussion of running the trains in an authentic way. I think beginners will really appreciate that sort of discussion. :NGF:

I noticed that Farish are bringing out some proper nuclear flask barrier wagons; apparently some type of modified (?) HAA-like hopper. Given that the flasks are meant to be indestructible, what's the job of the barrier wagons?

Cheers, NeMo

 

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