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Author Topic: Hello from Los Angeles - another newbie  (Read 272 times)

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Offline LASteve

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Hello from Los Angeles - another newbie
« on: July 21, 2018, 04:50:18 am »
Hi all

I just wanted to say hello and introduce myself. A long time ago in a galaxy far away I had an HO/OO gauge train set. I'm dipping my toe back into the water and I'm planning an n-gauge era 5 or 6 (always allow yourself some leeway) end-to-end model railway (not a train set this time!).

I know I'm too old, short-sighted and unsteady of hand to be messing with tiny railways, but space is at a premium and I figured it's n-gauge or spend more hours watching everyone else's YouTube postings.

So here I am. I was born in the UK and have great memories of the Leeds-York mainline that ran past the end of our garden in Leeds when I was a kid, and spent my early youth in Winchester trainspotting on the Waterloo-Southampton-Bournemouth main line, and snagging the odd trip up to Reading to see the "exotic" Western Region. I'm planning on a kinda-sorta Western Region branch line with plenty of artistic license.

I'm going to have a ton of questions, I've never laid an inch of track in my life, and so thank all of you in advance for your patience and understanding.

Offline Bealman

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Re: Hello from Los Angeles - another newbie
« Reply #1 on: July 21, 2018, 05:00:40 am »
G'day from another ex-pat, Steve, and welcome to the NGF!  :thumbsup:

Great to have you onboard!  :beers:

I like the sound of your plan! A lot of modellers consider the old WR branch terminus a bit hackneyed, but some of the best layouts I've seen have been models of west country stations.

Looking forward to developments!  :thumbsup:
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Offline port perran

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Re: Hello from Los Angeles - another newbie
« Reply #2 on: July 21, 2018, 08:02:51 am »
Welcome aboard.
I like the sound of another WR branchline.
Please keep us posted with updates.
If it looks right then it most probably is right.


Offline Newportnobby

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Re: Hello from Los Angeles - another newbie
« Reply #3 on: July 21, 2018, 08:44:44 am »
Hi Steve, and welcome aboard :wave:
The 2 areas you mentioned were great in their heyday for trainspotting, especially in the steam era.
The great thing about N gauge is you can have decent length trains running through scenery in a relatively small space. If you're creating a branch line then train length is not so important but don't be tempted to fill your baseboard with track. As a rough rule of thumb no train should occupy more than a third of the scenic section (unless it's a long freight train) if using UK outline stock. You might find more tips and pitfall avoidance here...........

http://www.ngaugeforum.co.uk/SMFN/index.php?topic=35556.msg416493#msg416493

Offline Railwaygun

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Re: Hello from Los Angeles - another newbie
« Reply #4 on: July 21, 2018, 10:33:58 am »
if you are a bit fumble fingered, consider Kato Unitrack - easy to lay ( and take up if you want to change) built in point motors, plug'n play electrics and very reliable. you can change to other track when if/when you have got your eye in !

search the forum for info.

http://www.ngaugeforum.co.uk/SMFN/index.php?topic=25575.new#new

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Offline RailGooner

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Re: Hello from Los Angeles - another newbie
« Reply #5 on: July 21, 2018, 11:12:28 am »
Hi Steve, welcome aboard! :wave:

I second Nick's recommendation of Unitrack - simple, reliable, and much more adaptable/customisable than it gets credit for.
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Online REGP

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Re: Hello from Los Angeles - another newbie
« Reply #6 on: July 21, 2018, 12:31:50 pm »
Welcome Steve, here’s another vote for Kato Unitrack from a fumble fingered, arthritic N Gauger.

The track is easy to modify if you need to and can be made to look less plasticity with the application of a little paint.

Ray

Offline Train Waiting

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Re: Hello from Los Angeles - another newbie
« Reply #7 on: July 21, 2018, 01:18:44 pm »
Welcome aboard, Steve.

Best wishes.

John
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Offline Lawrence

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Re: Hello from Los Angeles - another newbie
« Reply #8 on: July 21, 2018, 07:05:22 pm »
Hi Steve, welcome aboard. Space at a premium! and there's me thinking everyone stateside had massive HO basement layouts! Anyway have fun whatever you are doing  :thumbsup:

Offline LASteve

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Re: Hello from Los Angeles - another newbie
« Reply #9 on: July 21, 2018, 07:10:25 pm »
Thanks to everyone for the warm welcome and the advice and links.

Regarding the choice of track, I've been doing some comparisons (as much as is possible from LA) and talking to my local hobby store and I'm coming down pretty much in favor of Peco Code 55. I'm not going to be doing a ton of track laying, and the plan is what goes down stays down (I know, pipe dreams, right?) so the fiddly nature isn't too daunting. Triumph of hope over experience, probably! I'm planning to use Electrofrog points.

I'm going DCC from the get-go. I've already got a Power Cab DCC starter set sitting on my shelf alongside a couple of lengths of test track (Atlas Code 80). I do have a locomotive and some rolling stock, but I'm waiting on the delivery of the DCC decoder. When that arrives, I'll have something to experiment with (read "play with") while I work on the main project.

I'm planning to pull the trigger shortly on the track plan and order the track pieces and point motors (SEEP?) from my local hobby store. They don't keep Peco in stock, but they can get it for me. I know that it's probably cheaper to get it from the Interwebs, but the store has already given me a ton of advice regarding the basics of DCC, so I want to show them some support, especially as I'm going to be getting the bulk of my rolling stock and locomotives from UK suppliers. I'm sure I'm going to be asking them more questions when it comes to wiring, so I think it's fair to put my business their way when I can.

I'm planning a "shelf" railway, the scenic area runs along one wall and measures about 100" x 20". The fiddle yard and work area runs at right-angles down the side wall and is about 68" x 15". I want to introduce some interest with small changes in elevation (not the track, that stays flat) so I'm planning to build the baseboards on two levels right from the start. I'm not planning on doing anything crazy with baseboard engineering, some 2x1 bracing and plywood of a suitable thickness should do the trick. I'm going to try to be as efficient as possible with planning where the track is going, where the pointwork is, etc. so that I can hopefully do as much of the wiring as possible in advance so that I don't have to spend a lot of time under the boards banging my head on stuff.

In my research and planning I've learned (obvious, really!) that railways don't just pop up out of nowhere for no good reason, so I've been storyboarding why my railway is there, and why it looks like it does. I've also settled on the era 5/6 because that's what I remember best when I was growing up and still had time for innocent pursuits such as watching trains!

So - my branch line is a single track to the fictional small town/large village Moorpark and connects to the mainline at the junction some miles away. Trains used to run through the station and beyond, but post-Beeching the line now terminates at Moorpark and the track to the west is being torn up. The branch survived complete closure as Moorpark serves not only the village, but also a large military base close by and civilian workers commute from a wide area, particularly from towns on the main line. There is some commuting in the other direction, but in the era this portrays, the mass commutes to London, more than 80 miles away, are still something for the future as housing is still affordable closer to the capital.

The military installation aside, Moorpark is still a rural community with an active farming economy and a well-preserved historical town center which attracts weekend tourists.

So - the railway is a single line running from east to west emerging from a tunnel under a fold of the downs, crossing above a small river before entering the station area. Once across the river and the road running alongside it, the line divides to send inbound services either to the longer "main" platform 1 on the south side of the station or the shorter bay platform 2 on the north. I call it a "bay" but there is only a platform on one side. I'm not sure if this is still the right terminology but it's the best I can come up with.

When the train is routed to the appropriate platform, it passes two small sidings. The short siding on the north side is a fuel point for DMU or diesel locomotives, the longer one on the south side is the goods yard with the single track running through a small goods shed.

Arriving at platform 1 there is a run-around loop to the south to allow engines on this platform to prepare for the return journey. There is a water tower for the (dwindling) steam traffic, but no coaling facility or turntable. Steam locomotives therefore run "bunker first" on the return. Beyond the station and the runaround point work, the track terminates with the old track bed still clearly visible beyond. Platform 1 can accommodate a rake of four Mk1 coaches, or three coaches and a brake van along with the locomotive.

The bay platform 2 accommodates DMUs up to four cars, but a three-car Class 101 is the most common configuration to be seen. On the north side of platform 2, there is a small yard with two short sidings, one is used for livestock transfers from road transport from local farms, the other temporarily holds coaches, goods wagons or mail vans.

The ticket office is at the eastern end of the platform, the bay platform 2 terminates at the wall of the station building. Entrance to the station is from the car park in the north-west corner which rises gently from the west and the north to grade level with the station entrance. Emerging from the station building brings passengers directly onto the platform.

There is a small signal box at the western end of the railway; it controls the signalling and points for the loop and for access to the sidings to the north and the goods yard to the south, and the level crossing gates.  Trains  can be held at the eastern end of the level crossing until the two-way semaphore signal clears it to one of the two platforms. Two start signals at the eastern end of the platform clear trains for departure from each platform (I'm not so sure about the placement of the signals, I need to do more research on this).

There is a shunter or station pilot assigned to the station to handle the movement of the livestock wagons and freight. I could get all crazy with the horsepower of this locomotive, but I think I'll curb my enthusiasm and go with a class 8. I'd love to see one of the big brutish diesels on the rails, but there is a limit to the suspension of disbelief, even in ModelWorld.

The landscape is predominantly flat once the track emerges from a short cutting from the tunnel to the west, although the land does fall towards the river at the eastern end of the station and falls away south of the station.

That's about it. I'll post a track plan when I've tidied up my AnyRail prototype and added in the scenic elements I'm describing above, and then you can all tell me I'm crazy and explain where I'm heading for disaster and disappointment.

Lawrence - I live in a townhouse with parking under the building, so no massive basement to spend a bazillion $$ on a mega-HO layout. Probably a good thing.

Oh, and RailGooner - I'm a Chelsea fan, don't hold it against me. I introduced my wife to Premier League soccer a while ago, and after a careful review of the teams, the management and the style of play, promptly decided she was, henceforth, going with Arsenal, and so she remains.

On a matter of protocol, if I do want to post progress on the model, do I start a new thread with its own subject?

Oh, also, I apologize in advance for the US English spelling in some cases. I've lived here a LONG time and it's ingrained.

Thanks!

« Last Edit: July 22, 2018, 12:51:58 am by LASteve, Reason: Compass directions incorrect »

Offline BobB

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Re: Hello from Los Angeles - another newbie
« Reply #10 on: July 21, 2018, 07:33:02 pm »
Given your interest, history etc. why not think of one of the lines coming out of Basingstoke ? You could run Western and Southern stock with visitors from Midland and Eastern on the cross country routes. Maybe go a little bit north to Reading with even more diversity but a more complex station (which with compresibility you'll have room for).

Welcome to the forum. Plan.\, plan and plan again before you lay the track !

Offline dannyboy

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Re: Hello from Los Angeles - another newbie
« Reply #11 on: July 21, 2018, 08:45:02 pm »
Welcome to the forum LASteve. The description of your proposed layout sounds very interesting and yes, it would be better to start a new thread, then we all know where to look.  I am from Bradford myself, so if I wanted to look at trains, I had to go into the centre to Exchange or Forster Square stations. :thumbsup:
David.
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Offline Newportnobby

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Re: Hello from Los Angeles - another newbie
« Reply #12 on: July 21, 2018, 10:03:38 pm »
Hi Steve,
Nice back story to your proposed layout.
I suggest you put the track plan in a post in the 'Layout Planning' section and then when you are happy with the changes you'll make ( :D) start another post in 'Layout Construction' when your 'engineering' commences

Offline Tank

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Re: Hello from Los Angeles - another newbie
« Reply #13 on: July 22, 2018, 02:35:59 pm »
Welcome to the forum.  :)  Nice to have a member from that area.  I have family 'down the road' in Thousand Oaks.

Offline Caz

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Re: Hello from Los Angeles - another newbie
« Reply #14 on: July 22, 2018, 05:18:20 pm »
Welcome to our friendly forum Steve for even another ex-pat and a WR branch line sounds just the job, but then I'm biased towards anything GWR and on.
 :welcomesign:

 

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