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Author Topic: Halfway  (Read 2400 times)

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Online impinabox

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Halfway
« on: March 07, 2020, 02:44:40 PM »
I've just spent an hour plotting some track on the baseboard and gluing down track bed and my back is aching so I'll have a rest and a cuppa and introduce my current layout project.  I've been struggling for a name but think I'll settle on 'Halfway', for a number of reasons...
  • It's name of the district of Sheffield where I live - yes, Sheffield is a strange place!
  • It's going to be halfway between reality and fairy-land
  • I seem to get halfway thru a project before I notice the design flaws and abandon it!
It'll do as a working title until I get more than halfway thru the build anyway.   :)

It's on a 2.4x1.2m plywood and batten base-board, free-standing on some surprisingly rigid IKEA legs.  (They have some Swedish name with lots of umlauts and stuff and I can look it up if anyone's interested.  They ARE very rigid tho - and height adjustable.)  Code 80 Peco track for various reasons: ignorance, caution, and good ole Yorkshire thrift, and DC controlled - coz I'm now officially an old fart and like to stick to what I know.  Here's the track plan from AnyRail...



There's a twin track main line going twice round the board (red and blue loops), a small branch line loop (green) going to a quarry (maybe) and small country halt (maybe) and a bunch of sidings (purple) so I can play at shunting.  The last will double up as a fiddle yard now that I've discovered what one of those is.

 ..AnyRail's 3D view shows how the tunnels and embankments and stuff work out...




Clearly I'm not going for ultimate realism but for a compromise that will allow sections to look real enough to satisfy my modelling urges but with enough track to provide lots of play value operational interest to keep the grand-sprogs quiet.  (There are three of the little  :censored: - so far- hence the need for three loops running at once.)

My tea is now cool enough to drink and my biscuit is gone so I'll go and make my back ache a bit more and come back later.
« Last Edit: March 07, 2020, 02:54:38 PM by impinabox »
Mike

If it's worth doing, it's worth doing badly.

Current layout project: Halfway - https://www.ngaugeforum.co.uk/SMFN/index.php?topic=48537.0

Offline andy911john

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Re: Halfway
« Reply #1 on: March 07, 2020, 03:51:19 PM »
Looks like  a great plan - I made a similar change to my own plan to give my his own line to operate.
BTW - +1 on the IKEA stuff.   I purchased a bunch a black trestle legs, I had to put a plywood extension to make them about 10" taller but they are very rigid and very strong.   Additionally, purchase plus delivery was less cost than buying the wood and making them myself.
Good luck with the rest of the build
A

Online impinabox

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Re: Halfway
« Reply #2 on: March 07, 2020, 04:25:01 PM »
Just waiting for the glue to dry on the last bit of track bed then I can finish off the ground floor track.  I'm using laminate floor underlay as track bed; it's pretty much the same material as the Woodland Scenics stuff but a little lighter and thinner, which is good - I used WS track bed last time round and thought it was too thick - even the N gauge variety. 

Next up is some bus wiring under the board and fitting and wiring the point motors.  I'm expecting that to be a bit of a nightmare - 6 wires per motor is tedious but it's the mechanical aspect that concerns me.  I bought an SPC point motor template at Warley last year - clips over the end of the point and has holes to drill pilot holes for mounting and one for the tie-bar hole.  If it works it'll be about the best 15 I've ever spent - watch this space (but don't hold your breath).

I found the name of the IKEA legs - Thyge - must've dreamt the umlauts...

I can thoroughly recommend them for free-standing layouts.  Also means I can tip the whole thing on to its side to work underneath the baseboard.
« Last Edit: March 07, 2020, 10:57:39 PM by impinabox »
Mike

If it's worth doing, it's worth doing badly.

Current layout project: Halfway - https://www.ngaugeforum.co.uk/SMFN/index.php?topic=48537.0

Online impinabox

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Re: Halfway
« Reply #3 on: March 07, 2020, 05:47:15 PM »
One thing that got me with my first attempt at twice-round the board layout was gradients.  How steep can they be and how to keep it smooth and straight - without lumps and bumps and sudden changes in gradient?

The top of the ramp was fine - the top deck was 3.5mm ply and I cut a tongue into it and just gently bent that downwards to meet the up ramp from the lower deck.  At the bottom I tried to gradually build up to the required slope with layers of progressively thicker paper and card.  Didn't work too well!  This time I'm using 3.5mm ply all the way down and I've routed a 3.5mm deep hole in the base board so I can start the up ramp flush and just gently bend it up.  The baseboard is 12mm ply so no problems losing 3.5mm.





Fits like a stocking on a chicken's lip but it will be hidden inside a tunnel so no worries.  I made a better job of the second up ramp - honest!
« Last Edit: March 07, 2020, 06:03:26 PM by impinabox, Reason: errant apostrophes! »
Mike

If it's worth doing, it's worth doing badly.

Current layout project: Halfway - https://www.ngaugeforum.co.uk/SMFN/index.php?topic=48537.0

Online degsy_safc

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Re: Halfway
« Reply #4 on: March 07, 2020, 07:14:01 PM »
Hi Mike,

Love the 'Halfway' name  ;D

You've made some very quick progress, well done, looking forward to watching this one progress.

Another draw for the lads this afternoon - can't understand how we can't see a game out for 3 points opposed to 1 - bloody 96th minute they equalised, lack of concentration on our part I suspect..

Anyway enjoy the build..

cheers Derek.
Cheers Derek

Online impinabox

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Re: Halfway
« Reply #5 on: March 07, 2020, 08:34:40 PM »
Ah, no.  Progress actually started about 3 weeks ago but at that point I was on another railway modelling forum (which I shan't name but I'm sure you've guessed already) where N gauge was definitely 2nd class and it seemed nobody took me seriously after I mentioned using code 80 track!  This thread, for now, is a mixture of where I am now (ie. about 60% of track down, a lot of bent track pins and an aching back) and flashbacks to document how I got here - as much for my benefit in the future as much as anything else. 

I'll catch up in a day or three and in the mean time I'm enjoying reading about other folks' layouts that seem to be built to have fun with - yeah - that's what life's all about!   
:bounce:
« Last Edit: March 07, 2020, 08:38:18 PM by impinabox »
Mike

If it's worth doing, it's worth doing badly.

Current layout project: Halfway - https://www.ngaugeforum.co.uk/SMFN/index.php?topic=48537.0

Online Bealman

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Re: Halfway
« Reply #6 on: March 07, 2020, 11:10:16 PM »
I'm taking you seriously mate, my layout is Code 80, because when I started it, that's all there was.

I do have a couple of concerns, though.... those points seem to be very short radius... I do hope you're not going with the plastic frog set track ones. They are quite frankly, horrible.
Vision over visibility. Bono, U2.

Online impinabox

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Re: Halfway
« Reply #7 on: March 08, 2020, 03:52:54 PM »
Sorry Bealman - they are all, except one, ST-5s and ST-6s   :-[ 

I did say somewhere above that my track choice was based on ignorance.  When I first started playing at track design with SCARM and AnyRail I used the setrack libraries cuz they seemed a good place for a beginner to start.  I figured setrack would help me avoid silly errors and unfeasible layouts.  Next step was to buy a bunch of setrack pieces, including the dreaded ST-5s and 6s, and try and build something.  That's when 'Yorkshire thrift' came into play!

For now I am where I am.  I'm sure I'll discover some more silly mistakes before this project is halfway (?) completed so I'll stick with what I've got for now and try and learn enough to start my magnum opus.  Might have to move house for that tho!   :worried:
Mike

If it's worth doing, it's worth doing badly.

Current layout project: Halfway - https://www.ngaugeforum.co.uk/SMFN/index.php?topic=48537.0

Online impinabox

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Re: Halfway
« Reply #8 on: March 08, 2020, 07:50:48 PM »
At last the bottom deck track is down and I can start wiring it up.  Parts of this will be in tunnels covered by the top deck shortly so I want to test it thoroughly first.



The station area (top-right on the pic) is all straight track as I had problems with curves in the station last time round.  I fancied a gently curved station but just couldn't stand the thought of similar problems all over again and, if I'm honest, couldn't face the prospect of trying to build a platform with no straight edges at all.  Maybe next time!
Mike

If it's worth doing, it's worth doing badly.

Current layout project: Halfway - https://www.ngaugeforum.co.uk/SMFN/index.php?topic=48537.0

Online crewearpley40

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Re: Halfway
« Reply #9 on: March 08, 2020, 07:54:36 PM »
Please don't let mick newportnobby see this. The left side track is to me ..... too close to the baseboard edge. You don't want stock and items plunging downwards

Online impinabox

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Re: Halfway
« Reply #10 on: March 08, 2020, 07:59:42 PM »
s'OK, there'll be a back-scene board there to stop trains falling off the edge of the world!  Same around the sides.  And it's bang straight and parallel with the edge there coz they're the ramps between the top and bottom decks.
Mike

If it's worth doing, it's worth doing badly.

Current layout project: Halfway - https://www.ngaugeforum.co.uk/SMFN/index.php?topic=48537.0

Offline DarrwestLU6

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Re: Halfway
« Reply #11 on: March 12, 2020, 07:49:32 PM »
Looks very good so far. Some tips from my mistakes:
  • As you were asking about gradients: for long trains 1 in 50 is recommended on a curve, you might get away with as steep as 1 in 30 on the straight, but this may limit the length of trains you can pull. When I was planning my layout I allowed a 40mm clearance between top of track and underside of the next bit. Do you have locos and stock yet to test a bit of spare track on a bit of wood?
  • Clearances: You might find this useful: https://www.modelrailforum.com/forums/index.php?act=attach&type=post&id=862 BUT always test clearance from loco to platform (e.g. valve gear on steamers might get stuck). Think about increasing the gaps on curves and build in more space between double tracks on the main line on curves for the coaches, they really do overhang! (Best test this with a coach or two on each track as you position the track, check they can pass OK).

Hope that helps.
Hogwarts to King's Cross - My layout under construction: http://www.ngaugeforum.co.uk/SMFN/index.php?topic=43358.msg536504#msg536504

Online impinabox

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Re: Halfway
« Reply #12 on: March 12, 2020, 10:00:36 PM »
Thanks for those tips Darrwest. 

I guess I made the same gradient mistakes as you on my first attempt at a layout a few months ago.  After some initial tests with a Fairburn tank (my first and only loco at the time) and 4 coaches I had gradients of around 3.5-4% but then I bought another couple of locos including a GF Castle Class and it just couldn't cope - ground to a halt half way up.  My elderly Mallard struggled a bit too so that was the end of that layout! This time round I've limited the gradients to around 1.7% max (1 in 60-ish) and taken great care to keep the ramps flat - no lumps or changes in gradient!  I've got as far as testing the lower halves and the Castle Class has no trouble now.

One of my trains is a Tomy 'Thomas the Tank Engine' (for the grand-sprogs of course  :-[ ) and that little  :censored: is just not to scale - taller and wider than anything else I've got - so that is the clearance tester - for platforms, bridges and tunnels.  If Thomas can get thru anything can!  I think I'm down to about 38mm between the top and bottom deck now and Thomas clears the bottom of the top deck by about 2mm.
Mike

If it's worth doing, it's worth doing badly.

Current layout project: Halfway - https://www.ngaugeforum.co.uk/SMFN/index.php?topic=48537.0

Online impinabox

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Re: Halfway
« Reply #13 on: March 12, 2020, 11:19:29 PM »
I've just got the bottom deck wired up and connected to the controller so I can test the track laid so far.  The mainline sections are fine, even the bends at the bottom of the ramps.  The bit that's causing trouble this time is the curve at the right hand end of the branch line loop (the green bit).

I've built this out of flex track like the rest of the layout but the curve is too long for a single flex.  I joined and soldered two flexes together while they were straight in the hope of keeping them smooth when bent but they still kinked enough to cause derailments.  Where I've joined flexes elsewhere it's been on straights but this bit is all curves and I'm struggling to figure out how to build it.  I'm even considering building this section out of 3rd radius settrack to keep it smooth - ironically that ends up needing a half straight in the middle! Whatever happens it has to be reliable as this section will be pretty much inaccessible inside a tuinnel when the layout is complete. 

If anyone has any suggestions I'd love to hear them.
Mike

If it's worth doing, it's worth doing badly.

Current layout project: Halfway - https://www.ngaugeforum.co.uk/SMFN/index.php?topic=48537.0

Online Bealman

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Re: Halfway
« Reply #14 on: March 13, 2020, 12:05:30 AM »
I have used the technique of soldering two lengths when straight, and then curving them. It worked for me on gentle curves, but of course the problem is that the rail on the inside of the curve becomes longer than the one on the outside of the curve.

I think I sorted it by bending, seeing the length discrepancies, and then cutting to equalise before joining, but it's so long ago, I have difficulty recalling exactly.

I do know there is no set track at all on my layout, but there are some pretty tight curves, so I must have managed it somehow!

One extremely tight curve with flexible track. (Code 80, behind the scenes, note distorted sleepers):

« Last Edit: March 13, 2020, 12:13:55 AM by Bealman »
Vision over visibility. Bono, U2.

 

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