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Author Topic: Newbie track planning advice  (Read 1939 times)

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Offline funkyorange

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Newbie track planning advice
« on: February 05, 2017, 10:26:46 pm »
I have endeavoured on copying a IKEA hack and adapting a glass table to include a train set. Like this one...

http://ikeahackers.net/wp-content/uploads/blogger/-GCqPaZUfwcI/TZV4FbDmASI/AAAAAAAAN68/c3LYB50My-Q/s1600/IMG_0061b-736806.jpg

I have created the modifications and cut a board which fits nicely in the table the dimensions are 77cm / 85.7cm. I have also bought the Graham Farish Countryside coal trainset which fits nicely inside like this...

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Graham-Farish-370-080-Countryside-DCC-Fitted/dp/B01ASJ8NX8

Now I have hit a stumbling block about how to go about planning the layout. I have scoured the internet for plans and have not found any - also downloaded SCARM but find it difficult to use. Its been a year now and no progess!

My plan is to create a simple layout with at least to circular tracks with perhaps to lengths that go in for a station and coal mine. Any help would be greatly appreciated!



Offline Sprintex

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Re: Newbie track planning advice
« Reply #1 on: February 05, 2017, 10:33:42 pm »
Download the free trial version of Anyrail - much easier to use ;)


Paul

Offline Bealman

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Re: Newbie track planning advice
« Reply #2 on: February 05, 2017, 10:44:53 pm »
G'day from Australia, funkyorange, and welcome to the NGF!  :thumbsup:

Not sure you'll be able to fit double track in that space, but I like the concept. Good luck with your project!
Vision over visibility. Bono, U2.

Offline Trent

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Re: Newbie track planning advice
« Reply #3 on: February 06, 2017, 12:00:58 am »
Welcome to the madhouse funkyorange. My thoughts:

You could also try a program called 'RailModeller' which has a free demo. Although the demo doesn't let you save, it can be used to just quickly see if some bit of track will fit or not. Otherwise I think it's about a fiver for the full thing.

The space you've got should fit a loop within a loop. I can tell you it would definitely work with Kato 315 curves on the outer loop and 282 curves on the inner loop. You'd need the short straight power feed pieces, two on each loop, which would 'push' the loop outward slightly but you'll have space.

Reverse direction of the power feeds relative to each other (so outer loop power feed sends power clockwise and the other anticlockwise) and then you can power both loops from one controller using a splitter, as long as you don't mind both trains doing the exact same thing but in different directions.

I can provide illustrations of this stuff tomorrow if need be.

I don't know other track well enough to say but I would think most brands have equivalent curved pieces. Have you made a layout any time before? If not Kato might be a good track system to start with, it can be easier in some ways.

You might be able to squeeze in some tight points, although any track running off these points would have to curve inside the loop, and it's difficult to couple and uncouple on curves.

As it's a looping layout under glass, and I would guess is going in a lounge as a conversation piece, my two cents would be to ignore points and sidings for this layout. If you obscure part of the loop using a cliff with tunnel mouths (easy to make - roughed up styrofoam blocks, painted) you can have the train appearing and disappearing, like you've caught the train somewhere along its journey going through countryside. You could focus on natural scenery and some trackside details, maybe the centre of the layout is farmland with animals. That way (ignoring stations and sidings, or any actual destination point for the train) you can 'justify' using almost any* locomotive and train combo.

You could also perhaps try having the track looping round a central lake** with boats, ducks?

Plus natural scenery is, on the whole, going to give you quicker results in terms of how long it takes to get nice finished results, than buildings. (No need to think about town planning and gutters.) Have a look at the Woodland Scenics product range (American but available fairly widely in the UK I think). They do a load of products designed to work together, grass, trees, bushes etc. Have a muck about with that stuff on a spare piece of cardboard as a try out perhaps. Just needs PVA glue.     

That said, I've got my pedantic head on here, and there's no hard and fast reason not to have a squeezed down, curved station platform along one half of the loop. Or to go with the coal theme you could have both tracks passing under a tipple.

*Although, must be said on a loop this tight make sure you check the minimum curve radius on any locomotive you buy.
**Lake also surprisingly easy - papier mache roughed up rizla cigarette papers painted ground colour at edges stippled to dark ground/black at centre then covered with Mod Podge gloss.

Online themadhippy

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Re: Newbie track planning advice
« Reply #4 on: February 06, 2017, 03:27:15 am »
Quote
Not sure you'll be able to fit double track in that space

challenge accepted

Offline dannyboy

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Re: Newbie track planning advice
« Reply #5 on: February 06, 2017, 03:48:03 am »
Quote
Not sure you'll be able to fit double track in that space

challenge accepted



Is that man good or is that man good  ???. I'm impressed madhippy  :thumbsup:
David.
I used to be indecisive - now I'm not - I don't think.

Offline newportnobby

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Re: Newbie track planning advice
« Reply #6 on: February 06, 2017, 06:54:06 am »
HI funkyorange, and welcome to the forum :wave:

That is a very impressive plan from themadhippy but I'm with Trent in advising no points. Nothing ever works perfectly all the time so you don't really want to be lifting the 'lid' of your coffee table every time something derails or stalls on a point :no:

Offline funkyorange

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Re: Newbie track planning advice
« Reply #7 on: February 06, 2017, 12:00:27 pm »
Wow you have all been so helpful! and that track layout has completely nailed what I'd like to do! Thats definitely made my week.

Im new to this so Im going to do a bit of reading up and get back with some more questions probably,

Thanks so much :)

Offline funkyorange

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Re: Newbie track planning advice
« Reply #8 on: February 07, 2017, 12:22:58 am »
Ok I have never done a layout before so Im a complete newbie!

Points - does the layout have points that themadhippy did? Do you mean points as electronic ones as supposed to manual ones? Either case the IKEA hack in done in such a way the train board is inset to a draw which can be pulled out so should be no issues to slide the draw out and reset any trains. Also I can fit a strap to pull out the board if any electrical work needs to be set-up underneath.

Track - obviously I have Graham Farnish type track already - but can switch. But in reply to using  KATO this could be done - Can/should I source from KATO?

In regards to the direction again not sure, but I have a electronic controller, I assumed as it had many channels you can set it up to press a channel then adjust the speed for multiple tracks as the same time?!

I have lots to learn so Im going to do some research too on this and have a n-guage magazine im going to read up and get some knowledge.

I like the idea about the tunnel and countryside, haven't really considered this but I am limited in vertical height to around 5.5cm. My vision is as I have settled in Yorkshire is to create a mini-yorkshire type of theme, Im based in semi rural area with a coal mining heritage to would like to capture this. My initial thought was half country side / coal mine and half town and train station. But im not sure about the vertical height limitation in terms of buildings, im tempted to start basic with perhaps a pond and do a second incarnation perhaps and make it more advanced with more features.

Thanks again everyone or your help, really excited to have a layout and advice to get started on this now :)


Offline Trent

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Re: Newbie track planning advice
« Reply #9 on: February 07, 2017, 01:37:02 am »
Points - does the layout have points that themadhippy did? Do you mean points as electronic ones as supposed to manual ones? Either case the IKEA hack in done in such a way the train board is inset to a draw which can be pulled out so should be no issues to slide the draw out and reset any trains. Also I can fit a strap to pull out the board if any electrical work needs to be set-up underneath.

Madhippy's plan certainly does have points, more than I assumed were possible. Hats off to that man.

Most points made by most manufacturers can be made to work electronically (using motors) or, alternatively, connected to mechanisms such as a rod in a tube that lets you operate them from a distance. But setting this up can be difficult and becomes more difficult the more points you have.

Kato points come with the motor and power lead included/built in, needing only an extra attachment to the controller ... however, about Kato:

Track - obviously I have Graham Farnish type track already - but can switch. But in reply to using  KATO this could be done - Can/should I source from KATO?

It's all about trade-off. With Kato you get ready installed point motors and rubber bits around the metal connecting plates that make the electric connection between pieces of track more reliable, b-u-u-u-t although being the same gauge (distance between rails) the pieces are physically bigger (coming with a plastic ballast shoulder moulded on) meaning that Madhippy's design couldn't be done using Kato (I think mh has used Peco there?).

Also Kato has two types of points - number 6 which are longer and number 4 which are shorter, and you'd have to use number 4 in this space. The number 4 points have been known to derail locomotives, especially British locomotives. I've sometimes had this problem with my American locos, and sometimes not.

As you mention the pull-out section and that you've got a controller and track already (again I think Graham Farish train sets come with Peco track but someone else will be able to confirm?), it might be better to stick with that at least for this layout. 

In regards to the direction again not sure, but I have a electronic controller, I assumed as it had many channels you can set it up to press a channel then adjust the speed for multiple tracks as the same time?!

Is it a DCC or DC controller? Should say somewhere on box or paperwork. This will make quite a big difference in terms of how to set up things like the direction of the track.

I like the idea about the tunnel and countryside, haven't really considered this but I am limited in vertical height to around 5.5cm. My vision is as I have settled in Yorkshire is to create a mini-yorkshire type of theme, Im based in semi rural area with a coal mining heritage to would like to capture this. My initial thought was half country side / coal mine and half town and train station. But im not sure about the vertical height limitation in terms of buildings, im tempted to start basic with perhaps a pond and do a second incarnation perhaps and make it more advanced with more features.

A set of coal staithes would be a good option to fit that height, good example here:



Basically just wooden frames along a siding, a delivery of coal gets shoveled out of the trucks and is then picked up for delivery to people's houses. There are lots of coal staithe kits out there, or if you're feeling adventurous they'd be an easy project to scratch build out of cafe coffee stirrers. The horse-drawn coal cart there is a kit by Langley Miniature Models.   

Offline newportnobby

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Re: Newbie track planning advice
« Reply #10 on: February 07, 2017, 09:55:05 am »
If you're going to have points in a coffee table top layout then you will need to have some form of control other than 'the hand of God'. If you tried 'wire in tube' then you'd need the operating handles on the outside of the coffee table. If you attempt to use point motors with Peco track you will either have to use surface mounted motors which would require hiding/disguising or under board motors such as Seeps. If the track is set into a pull out drawer, is there enough space under the 'baseboard' for point motors to be fitted. You'd need to set the controls into the side of the coffee table or have a separate control panel.
Not being a DCC user I can't tell you if using DCC negates the stalling effect of small locos on insulfrog points (the ones with a big piece of dark brown plastic in the middle).

Online njee20

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Re: Newbie track planning advice
« Reply #11 on: February 07, 2017, 11:00:26 am »
Insulfrog points are as much of an issue in DCC.

Offline Bealman

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Re: Newbie track planning advice
« Reply #12 on: February 07, 2017, 11:28:41 am »
In my experience they are to be avoided full stop, no matter what size the point.

Shades of Triang Super 4. Eek.
Vision over visibility. Bono, U2.

Offline Jack

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Re: Newbie track planning advice
« Reply #13 on: February 07, 2017, 11:35:12 am »
The design by @themadhippy  is brilliant!

Ok I have never done a layout before so Im a complete newbie!



However for a first time build in such small area, while not impossible, could be very problematic. It seems that the track plan is made of Peco Code 55 and has a three way point which must have point polarity of some method employed. There are different ways this can be done depending which way you power up, DC or DCC. Colbalt motors have an easy Polarity Switch built in but you would have to lose some of the height as these would have to be fitted underneath You may have problems using surface point switches with the three way let alone find a way with the room you have to hid them with scenery.

I kind of go alone with @newportnobby and think about a simple layout for this size, learn the skills, make the mistakes and have the frustrations and then when you have more confidence, then build a themadhippy style plan.
Today's Experts were yesterday's Beginners :)

Offline funkyorange

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Re: Newbie track planning advice
« Reply #14 on: February 07, 2017, 05:00:50 pm »
Ok it seems points are problematic.

I understand the basic argument for against and points. Would it possible to use the @themadhippy design but leaving out (for now) the functionality to control points remotly either by lever or motor.

As for now if we wanted to use points we could put the board out and use it out of the table, of course this would be a good problem to think about in phase two once I have some grounding in the skills!

 

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