N Gauge Forum

Your Layout and Models => Layout Construction => Topic started by: Zunnan on November 21, 2010, 06:39:21 PM

Title: N Gauge Dog Bone
Post by: Zunnan on November 21, 2010, 06:39:21 PM
**edited edit ~ In light of the extremely unusual resurrection of an old abandoned layout, I've brought this dead thread back to life. The essence of the layouts construction is here, but if any extra detail of what went on several years ago before this layout was abandoned, upon specific request I will dig up the posts that remain from various locations and repost them here.**

Quote from: Zunnan
No I'm not swapping and changing my mind, Canon Streets stock has been sitting in boxes for closing in on 2 years, I really do need somewhere to be able to stretch their legs and keep everything in working order. I also need somewhere to be able to stow away the four 2' x 4' baseboards for the OO DCC layout ([url]http://www.newrailwaymodellers.co.uk/Forums/viewtopic.php?f=22&t=22972[/url]). What I'm thinking is to produce two 'chest of drawers' with each to hold two baseboards, so each chest will need internal dimensions of 2' x 4' by 3' high to house the boards. This in turn leaves me with a potential 2'2" x 8'4" workbench surface that is surplus to requirements; perfect dimensions for some N Gauge fun! :wink:

I'm thinking continuous run, with a twist. A classic dog bone trackplan twisted back on itself giving me 2 passing loops long enough to hold full length trains and allow a train to pass on each reverse loop. Now, a reverse loop in N takes up about 2' x 3', so that leaves a scenic section of just 2' x 5' or there abouts, and I don't like visible tight curvature so that cuts another 12" off the scenic run. Add into the mix that the reverse loops will need to be stacked on top of each other to save space means that the entire visible running line will need to be on a ruling gradient of 1:60 in order to meet the 50mm clearance required for the loops to sit one on top of the other. Quite the challenge, eh?

So the plan, this is the basic idea:


The problem I have with this plan is that the passing loop for the industrial sidings completes a reverse loop. However if I were to remove the crossing, bottom left, and just have the passing loop feed off the inner line, then there is no reverse loop on the layout at the expense of operational flexibility. To be honest, I'm not too fussed about that being as the yard spills directly into the upper storage loop, and that alone can soak up a lot of train movements to/from the yard. The alternative is some complex switching for DC to govern the yard feeds or two storage loops, or to convert to DCC and use a reverse module on either the entire yard, or a module for each of the loops. Personally, I think it would be easier to omit the crossover.

Any thoughts?

Quote from: Zunnan
I found with Canon Streets 1:35 on a tight curve that only the longest trains (8+ coaches, 30+ wagons) were seriously affected. Due to the constraints of the storage yard, I have found that the longest trains will be about 7 coaches in length, this length should fill the inner siding on either loop and from experience with Canon Street, a 1:60 or even 1:50 gradient should be workable with very little fuss. Well, I say 7 coaches, I checked with 3 cargowagons and a Peak so it could be 8 Mk1s and a short locomotive perhaps :lol:

I've just returned from my local model shop (HobbyRail) having forked out for the storage yard track, and it cost me less than it would from the box shifters. Not to mention a staple 1980s and early 90s Black Country workhorse for steel workings (class 31), also cheaper than certain box shifters knock them out for! The omens are so far looking good for this one, although I was only supposed to be pricing it up and buying the woodwork first. Looks like construction of the OO storage boxes will have to wait a couple of weeks now... :roll: :lol:

On another positive note, I think I've solved the reverse loop issue for either DC or DCC running with the passing loop.


The area shown in red is basically what will potentially cause a short. My options are isolate this area entirely and switch the track feeds independantly, or just remove the problematic point and crossover and have the passing loop fed off the inner line at both ends. I am at the moment favouring isolation, purely on the grounds of operational flexibility. For DC it will probably require a DPDT switch, likely governed by the points on the outer line to make the passing loop live to the outer line only when routed to do so, and then another manual DPDT to switch between running line feeds and the yards feed for shunting purposes. DCC would just require a reverse module for the red area I presume, given that the outer line and inner lines feeds are reversed (due to the storage loops) and the yard would have the same feed orientation as the inner loop.

Can anyone see any problems with either approach that I have missed?

Quote from: Zunnan
A full capacity check on the storage loops has now taken place running on DC with the track temporarily laid on the OO layout to complete a circuit. I think its safe to say that they work, and they happily hold full length trains. The only issue that I have is that Farish VGA vans can't use the middle road because they don't like the reverse curves on the exit pointwork. If I used streamline points they would be fine, but that would sacrifice capacity. However, they do run happily on the 9" radius inner loop, so at least they can be parked up 'off stage' on the loops rather than ran around then shunted back into the yard to get them out of the way.


I think that initially I'll wire it for DC operation being as none of my stock is DCC fitted and theres loads of it to convert, but it will be build in such a way that DCC conversion will simply involve joining the droppers to a common BUS wire or reverse module(s) as required. Planning and initial testing done, let construction commence [size=75]when I've been paid...[/size]

Quote from: Zunnan
The second chest is now complete and the 00 layout successfully stowed away. I have used hinges to join the two chests, the hinges of the type that you can pull the pin out to release them and it works incredibly well. The whole unit is entirely mobile (if a little heavy) so it can be positioned pretty much wherever needed and be moved fairly easily to clean underneath and behind.

To give a general scale to it, the near scale length N Gauge train on top is sitting on the entrely visible section of the layout. On the plan this would be where the passing loop to the steel terminal is shown, although when built this section of line will be 50mm higher on a slight downward gradient falling to the left.

Quote from: Zunnan
Trust me on the carpentry involved in making those chests, the only thing I measured was the bracing timbers. Everything else is as it came off the shelves in the timber yard! Simple ideas work the best, a bit of paint is all that it took to tidy them up to make them look presentable. The serving hatch was there already, sadly I'm not quite that advanced when it comes to construction...but I do know a few good builders! :wink: One reason for the layout to be on wheels, I can roll it forward a few feet for those hot summer days so I can pester the missus to hand me cold beverages from the fridge. I can see that lasting all of 5 minutes before I get a slap :lol:

I'm definately going to at least trial hinging the baseboards, the problem being that the layout is split into two boards, so I will have to find an alternative to using dowels for track alignment. Bolts through brass tube drilled into the baseboard framework is at the moment the most likely and also the simplest solution. I'm at the stage now where this is the next thing on the agenda as the first board is all but complete including cork and lower level storage loops. It really only needs wiring up!

One storage loop down, the harder suspended one to go...It won't always look this empty :wink:

I've opted to isolate the loops themselves rather than faffing around with the passing loop for reverse modules or fancy DC switching arrangements. For DC each loop will be fed via a centre off DPDT switch which will correspond to the line the train is operating from. In short: train enters loop, stops, switch thrown, train now under control of the other line to continue. If I want continuous running, the running lines will also be fed via DPDT switches so I just set all the relevant swithes to 1 (or all to 2) and turn the knob on the chosen controller. If or when the time comes for DCC, it will be a simple hack job on the back of the switches; loops go to reverse module, running lines and freight yard to controller.

This shows the clearnace available from 50mm gained via the originally planned 1:60 incline. I can just get my fingers in on top of the vehicle under the ply, enough to reach the centre line, but I may well elect to increase the climb to 55mm. Because I've widened the layout by 4" and lengthened it by 2", the increase in radius at the far end of the layout from 2nd (10 3/8") to 13" means that the gradient can remain at 1:60 and comfortably accommodate the additional climb.

Quote from: Zunnan
After exploring the possibilities with using the extra space I allowed for the track bed I decided to have a play with how this would affect the upper storage loop. Initially this was to have been an identical mirror image for the lower loop, but providing a 4 track line made me have a rethink towards providing just 2 loops per pair of running lines rather than 3 as per the lower loop, this would extend the capacity to 4 loops, 2 for the outer 'slow' lines and 2 for the inner 'fast' lines. The outer loops also being capable of acting as a headshunt to the yard while still holding a full length train, especially on the outer loop.

This shows the reworking of the original plan. The track spacing as trains enter the loops needs to be at streamline spacing ideally, but I can alter the configuration of the 4 track lines spacing to have the wider spacing at the outside edge rather than in the center as shown here which will help with clearances. Clearances shouldn't be too much of an issue though, the Peak and Mk3 posed on the entry show that theres still plenty of room.

On the to fix list already is to replace the Setrack pointwork on the lower loop at the rear (the 47 is sitting on them) with medium radius Streamline pointwork. The Setrack switchbacks are too limiting in what trains can use the center siding without derailing on the pointwork here, so both upper and lower loops will lose the Setrack pointwork in this location. On the to do list is to wire up and thoroughly test the lower storage loop so that I can fix the upper board in place and get it corked ready for track laying. I also need to cut up some copperclad sheet to make the board joins. What I'm thinking here is to file a sleeper pattern into the copper sheet so that when painted it will be easier to blend in with the trackwork than just a flat lump of copperclad board. Once this is done it will allow me to lay the complete inner line to join up the storage loops for the first time. The pointwork amendments will have to wait unfortunately, but with half of the running lines down I will be able to at least guesstimate on the bridging requirements and possibly make a start on that.

Quote from: Zunnan
Going back to the first page, while the layout was still in the planning stage, I mentioned to m8internet that I had a cunning plan in producing my upper storage loops. The method used is seldom used in the modelling world but it is common as muck in the construction industry, although the methods and materials are understandably very different due to the forces involved in 1:1 scale building.

The loop uses a completely normal 9mm ply trackbed/baseboard which is 'pizzacuttered' to open out the baseboard surface to give access both inside and outside to the lower level storage loop. This effectively turns the baseboard here into one large 270 degree curved bridge. Owing to the tight clearance requirements below the baseboard level, a conventional framework is completely out of the question to retain the shallow 1:60 gradient (it actually works out at 1:56.8 due to slight changes in the location of gradient transitions and lengths). Of course, a 9mm thick ply trackbed that is just 165mm (6 1/2") wide and curved through 270 degrees is going to need substantial support, but with no allowance afforded to a framework below the trackbed, I quickly sided with a framework built as part of the side of the trackbed which dictated that the material be very thin and also rigid. Wood is out of the question, its too thick and too much fuss to bend to the required radii at a thickness that would afford any support at all. Plastic is also a complete none starter due to the flexibility of thin materials, so I turned to metal. To keep things lightweight I opted for aluminium, and to fix sturdily enough to the ply it would need to fix to the underside of the board so it would have to be an 'L' section. Rolling/pressing aluminium to this shape isn't ideal, so I reached the final decision of using extruded aluminium.


Naturally, metal in this shape isn't flexible, and my needs dictated that it be fixed to an inside radius that would fit inside 1st radius N Gauge setrack (9" radius) and provide clearance for lengthy stock which reduced the required radius to 8 1/4". Simple solution, slot the bottom lip of the 'L' section into 1" sections. Please note, at 10pm the neighbours do NOT appreciate the use of a 3mm grinding disc to cut dozens of slots into extruded aluminium. I wore ear defenders and STILL ended up with ringing in my ears!


With several feet of 'L' section so treated, I then drilled out and countersunk each and every lip that had been cut so that I could go into overkill with 10mm long panel screws to fix the aluminium to the ply base. Where the rails of the lower level loop pass outside the bounds of the upper loop, I also formed several flat beams which fixed into place allowing me to bridge over the offending rails to fit the supports. These supports are simply formed with 6mm threaded rod, held in place with nuts and washers, which affords extremely fine tuning to the height, and then holds it all in place more than firmly.


So, how does the finished product look?



And how strong is it? Well, I can push down on the apex of the board between supports and just about deflect it by 1-2mm with almost my full bodyweight. Lets hops all those screws can hold it in place if the ply ever decides to warp upwards, because it sure as heck ain't going to warp downwards...oh, wait...the nuts holding it in place are fixed at the top of the wood, so it can't go upwards either! :lol:

An added bonus to the design (completely by accident I hasten to add) is that the framework itself forms a barrier to stop derailed trains from falling over the edge too, which is a nice touch as it means I don't have to come up with something else to serve that purpose.
Title: Re: N Gauge Dog Bone
Post by: ToothFairy on November 22, 2010, 01:11:23 AM
Thanks for all these posts and pics - inspiring and informative 8), with a few ideas that are going straight into my (still really on the drawing board) layout!

- Michael
Title: Re: N Gauge Dog Bone
Post by: NGF Staff on November 22, 2010, 04:31:13 AM
A superb layout, and lovely clear pictures.  Your engineering work is very neat....even if the neighbours didn't appreciate it.   ;D
Title: Re: N Gauge Dog Bone
Post by: Chris on November 22, 2010, 09:43:48 PM
Superb work on the bridges and the baseboard is very well put together. Rather you than me with all that wiring though! :o
Title: Re: N Gauge Dog Bone
Post by: Tank on November 23, 2010, 09:33:15 AM
I agree, too much wiring for my brain to contend with!   ;D  The work you've put in is brilliant.   :NGAUGE:
Title: Re: N Gauge Dog Bone
Post by: Lawrence on January 03, 2011, 02:51:24 PM
Very accomplished work there Zunnan, and some great teach ins and tips too.  I would be really interested to know if you could annotate your track plan with how you wired it all up especially the reversing loop part, are you using an auto switching relay?
Title: Re: N Gauge Dog Bone
Post by: Zunnan on February 14, 2014, 02:30:56 AM
Well, well, well...Who would have thought that I'd resurrect an old layout that fell by the wayside?!

What can I say, the ONLY reason this layout even survived is because it was basically sitting on top of an active portable 8x4 00 layout, and to remove it would cause structural instability to the storage unit...A change in circumstances just over a year ago saw a house move and the 00 layout was to be kept, so it went into storage along with the skeletal remains of this N Gauge layout, now bereft of its BR Blues stock and all of the track that was unattached. Everything remained in storage for several months until the new house was ready to take an influx of model railway bits and pieces ranging from US H0 and N scales, British 00 and even British O gauge, and there it has all lain gathering dust while I split my time between work in one city and spending time with the missus when I'm not working. A chance arrival in the post today however, rekindled the need for a working N Gauge layout. To my amazement, after checking the polarity and re-connecting 4 wires, this neglected heap still works! I know I'm no slouch when it comes to wiring, but 3 years of storage in at times damp locations, and it still works faultlessly, even I'm surprised!

The yard is gone, scrapped in the move, and track for it long gone, so that will have to be rebuilt. None of the scenery survives, it is literally bare open frame boards, much as it was when under construction in late 2010. The first post in this thread, deleted when I 'killed' the layout, has been restored to basically the position the layout is in as things now stand. If I find any of the scenic pieces, or even just the bridges I'll dig around and see if I can repost how they were made at the time, plus any restoration work needed. As things are though, this layout is back on the slow burner, and is most certainly a working continous loop! (there is a brand new loco running in on it right now ;) )
Title: Re: N Gauge Dog Bone
Post by: Newportnobby on February 14, 2014, 01:20:39 PM
Smashing history to the layout - the extruded aluminium is a work of art on it's own :thumbsup:
Great to see it is being resurrected.
Title: Re: N Gauge Dog Bone
Post by: jonclox on February 14, 2014, 02:22:40 PM
I remember reading the thread when it was 1st posted but had forgotten about it.
Good to see you  and the layout back and the thread starting to be resurrected
Title: Re: N Gauge Dog Bone
Post by: pgm2008 on February 14, 2014, 03:45:33 PM
Fortunately I'm still at the planning stage but this thread has given me a number of very useful ideas that I shall be incorporating into my proposed "office layout" - Thanks muchly!!
Title: Re: N Gauge Dog Bone
Post by: LMScat on February 14, 2014, 07:03:08 PM
Smashing history to the layout - the extruded aluminium is a work of art on it's own :thumbsup:
Great to see it is being resurrected.

Yup,what NPN said  :greatwork:]
Title: Re: N Gauge Dog Bone
Post by: Zunnan on May 14, 2014, 08:32:57 PM
After a few delays, and the need to entirely remove all traces of the original yard and baseboard substructure thereof, I have finally been able to get the new board in. Tracklaying commenced about 30 minutes later and was complete by the end of an evening. I know I can be slow to get things started, but when the ball is rolling, it doesn't take much for me to go a little over the top!


It didn't take long for me to requisition a piece of loft insulating board, mark it out and cut it to shape, then begin hacking it to bits to form the basis of the disused railway junction which is to pass up and over the running lines. The premise being that there was once a line running diagonally across that end of the layout with a line linking between the high and low levels. The yard (steelworks) was later expanded and cut through the embankment, leaving the remains in place. I'll have to build a skewed bridge over the station at the rear of the layout, and a large retaining wall. Fun times ahead!


I couldn't leave it pink for long though...Hanging basket liner, when on special offer in B&Q has its uses!

Title: Re: N Gauge Dog Bone
Post by: Newportnobby on May 14, 2014, 08:37:51 PM
Like the look of the hanging basket stuff as I have some ready for the new build. The only problem I found with the stuff is it's generally round, so involves a bit of intricate cutting to make the most of it :doh:

The layout looks very interesting but please either slow down or come round and do my track for me :-[
Title: Re: N Gauge Dog Bone
Post by: Zunnan on May 14, 2014, 08:47:05 PM
When I lay the liner I don't do it the conventional way of gluing it down backing side up and then peeling it up when dry. I cut it into triangles with sides of 3-4" and tease out the liner at the edges, then I lay the pieces on to neat PVA and at the joins I re-knit the teased out liner. I use a cheap nasty PVA for the job too as it takes longer to dry, which gives me a bit more time to get the joins nice and neat, almost invisible. Doing it the traditional way, I think looks awful on N layouts and doesn't really sit well with me on 00 either, its too coarse. Doing it this way gives it a nice uneven depth and unkempt appearance, but it still looks on the coarse side for N; when you look closely anyway.
Title: Re: N Gauge Dog Bone
Post by: Zunnan on December 13, 2014, 09:08:15 PM
With the rush to get 21B presentable for Warley as well as building the little ones Christmas present (honestly...3 layouts on the go is a nightmare!), my little home layout has been neglected...yet again.

I've tidied up the rough edges around the basket liner and walled in the edge up to trackside as far as the bridge (offcut of painted brick from the canal towpath on Bournville...) which will finally allow me to get the ballast down at some point, when I'm not building other layouts... I did get time to cobble together a quick pipe load for a bogie bolster, possibly a little overloaded, but compared to some loads I've seen inflicted on these poor wagons it is positively lightweight!


It is made from soldered 1.5mm brass tube. Painted Halfords matt black and dry brushed with varying browns, but the best thing is that it gives a nice lump of weight to the wagon which helps its trackholding quite considerably :thumbsup:
SimplePortal 2.3.5 © 2008-2012, SimplePortal