MI #96599

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N Micro-Trains Missouri Illinois Freight Boxcar

Micro-Trains Freight Boxcar

Missouri Illinois

D&H #8006

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Z Micro-Trains Lines Delaware Hudson Freight Flatcar Bulkhead

Micro-Trains Freight Flatcar Bulkhead

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M&PP #5

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WP&Y #53

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HO Athearn Tank

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N Scale Layout – Design Stage – Concept #1 / Level #1

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Well, I am slowly getting serious about building my first major layout.  The wife and I are about 90% in agreement on ROW space in the basement for an N Scale layout.  I have been using RTS (from Atlas) using the Code 55 Library to start looking at various concepts.  I tossed out an early draft to see what kind of feedback I would get and got lots of good advise from various folks from various RR forums.  After taking in their initial comments I have come up with another draft that I will be presenting on those same forums as well.

Here is where I am at currently…

  • Diagram A – Draft measurements of the ROW space and potential bench-work area
    1. I want to make a statement that the “Doors” will not be getting re-hung and the Lower / East door is a small closet so it will be closed nearly 100% of the time
    2. The Shelf in the “Train Room” is staying as shown and thus needs reasonable access to it
    3. The Area outside for “Train Room” is for a Helix that must have limited holes through the wall; preferable to the extreme edges only just inside the existing 2×4 supports in the wall
    4. “If” the ROW gets expanded, the 38″ depth in the “Family Room” would extend to the North/Right to the other window.  The “Fireplace” is not used so having a layout shelving over it is not an issue plus the shelving would be significantly high to pass over the desk and leaving ample space above the desktop surface.
    5. This layout is being planned to be used as an “Operator-less” system so aisle space does not need to support multiple operators needing to pass one another but wide enough for maintenance.
    6. I plan to have two, maybe three, levels (hence the Helix) so bench-work at each level will likely be highly similar if not identical and thus support for the upper level(s) need to be considered.
    7. I have decided that at 15″ radii is the minimum given my N Scale roster
    8. Folks have also suggested I go with Turnout #7 as the smallest turnout.
    9. For a Double Slip the plan will be to use Turnout #10′s and a crossover track
    10. That leaves the below shaded grid area for layout bench-work for all the various levels

So, with these limitations, I was trying to go with interior aisles for a Walk Around of 24″ but folks have been pushing that I go with at least 30″.  I had thought to put the Return Loop(s)” behind the door but folks have strongly suggested I place them under the Helix so the door can open wider can open wider.  Naturally too, the wider the radii for the Helix the better with access from the outside and well as interior.  The scenery concept will be roughed Rocky Mountains with no industries along the path so depth of view will be about 12″ throughout most of the layout.  This leaves the below as the potential bench-work area.

My Roster is “DC” based and right now I don’t see putting in the Time nor $$$ to convert to “DCC” but that could change over time.  With that said, I am looking to have two “Continuous Loop” tracks (Track #1 / Track #2) be on each level and mostly at different elevations.  The exception to this is to have an area for a Double Slip where one train can use both Track #1 and Track #2 as one large Mainline.  So, here is what Track #1 (GREEN) might look like and where the Double Slip Track (RED) might be placed to get to/from Track #2 (BLUE) as well as the direction of travel the train would take.  I have made a few track sections BROWN where potential Bridges / Trestles would be placed.  Track #1 (GREEN) would be the LOWER Track line so this design would stack upward from here as shown below.

Now lets hide Track #1 (GREEN) for a bit and show Track #2 (BLUE) next as well as the HELIX.  With the Double Slip Track  (RED) in its place from above, Track #2 (BLUE) builds from that placement.  Again since this is a planned multiple deck “DC” design, Helix traffic must be able to Enter and Exit Level #1 via a Double Helix.  I believe we can squeeze in an Outer Loop using 17.50″ Radii track and thus use 16.25″ for the Inner Loop.  There has been some debate as to direction of travel on a Helix so for now I will design based on the Outer as being Upward and the Inner as being Downward traffic.  Given this concept, Track #2 would operate in the direction as shown which in turn dictation the diction Track#1 took.  Like with Track #1, Track #2 will have its Return Loop under the Helix and Track #2 would also be the touch point to/from the Helix.  So, here is how Track #2 (BLUE) might look on Level #1

Putting these two track plan diagrams together (below) now shows the track plan concept of Level #1.  The Inner part of the Helix will need to make extra rotations downward so the track can pass under both the ramp toward the Outer as well as the Return Loop for Track #2.  One can now trace the train path where two trains can operate independent on separate tracks, a single train can operate over both tracks using the Double Slip, and a train using Track #2 and optionally Exit/Enter Level #1 via the Helix.

As stated earlier, Level #2 needs to be supported and in this design would be done using two 4″ wide View Blocks where supports can be raised from the interior where wall supports can’t reach.  My roughed Rocky Mountain scenery also needs a canyon.  My initial plan was to have a thin aisle but folks have made be rethink that; so, I moved it to the Bottom / East section where a viewer would look downward over Track #2 (BLUE) to Track #1 (GREEN)and use the View Block as the far side of the canyon wall with a river passing between the tracks.   One could also view the canyon from the Right/North side lengthwise.  Another View Block would extend perpendicular to support the remained of center section of the bench-work.  Again this being a roughed Rocky Mountain scenery, Tunnels will be a plenty.  To hide the Heavy Track of the Double Slip area it would be hidden (with removal access) via say a simple say old-time Depot / Water Tank often found in remote areas.  Also in these deep /remote roughed Rocky Mountain it was not uncommon from tracks to loop back under themselves using Tunnels and/or Bridges and having to cross water ways forged by White Water and Waterfalls

Well, time to present this to the various RR forums for more feedback to see if Level #1 could go from being just a Concept before thinking of how Level #2 might look since it would heavily depend on Level #1 bench-work design and supporting structures…

D&H #36

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Adirondack Consist #2

HO Walthers Passenger Dome

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Adirondack Consist #2

HO Walthers Passenger Dome

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