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  • Topic: Planning my outdoor layout

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    • June 24, 2020 8:10 AM EDT
      • South Dartmouth , Massachusetts
         
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      Planning my outdoor layout

      I have some ideas for planning out my layout but it’s my first time and I’m sure I can learn tons from those of you who’ve been there already. My outdoor area will be fed by a double track trestle coming out of my walkout basement, using the outside track, making a 90 degree gentle curve as it rounds the rock retaining wall to my raised area. This area Is around 45x50, give or take. The trains will return to the basement on the inside track of the trestle. There’re will be  top pond fed by a waterfall, running down a stream feeding a second pond. I want to have a mountain with a logging operation serviced by a separate line that will run from the mountain down to a service siding, and both ends reverse loops. A log train and mow train carrying loggers will alternate automatically on this line, stopping on the loops and the service area. I plan on using the RR Concepts electronics for my automation. There will be two end to ends on the layout. A short ore train running up on a high elevation and a trolley line running through the entire width of the layout ending at a station and disappearing into a tunnel. The main line will automatically split off, depending on magnet placement from the passenger route and the freight route. I have mentioned my thoughts before and supplied some pictures but I want to start on the planning stages now so will include the pictures again. i am interested in any ideas for laying out my railroad like computer programs also. I’m not following any specific prototype so I’m open to anything that will work to incorporate as many of my thoughts as possible. I know many think my plans are a huge undertaking and they are but I do stuff on this level a lot so I understand the work and effort that has to go into it. Because I’m new to it, im trying to get as much information as possible beforehand so there’s less mistakes made. I know there are some rules as far as grades go but I encourage even those basic rules to be posted here so this thread could be a great reference page down the road. My initial thoughts of laying out my railroad are the following:

      1. Measure out, stake, and square the area into a grid so the area can be transferred  to graph paper.

      2. using a laser level, shoot all elevations and try to create a 3D type topography of my area

      3. looking for good books on the subject of planning and laying out my layout. Which books or web articles?

    • June 24, 2020 9:54 AM EDT
      • Easton , Massachusetts
         
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      Ok Ted

      Ground or raised ?

      How is your body treating you now..How about 5 yrs from now..

      Go with the largest curve that will fit.

      Set some track and some cars out to see how it looks and think of how you will maintain green stuff etc..

      Good luck and see if you can master this.

       

       

      ____________________________________

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      The light in the tunnel might not be an engine , but a light in the caboose of my own train on my Roundy Round Rail Road !    My empire is complete...I think...

    • June 24, 2020 10:27 AM EDT
      • Candlewood Valley, Connecticut
         
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      I'm no expert, but I have a lot of practical experience with grades. Because of my topography, the best I can do on my layout is a long curving grade that exceeds 4% in places.  Locomotives with traction tires would routinely climb this grade pulling a reasonable train (6-10 cars) with no issues. That was back when I was running 1:29 stuff. Now, on the same hill, I am running 1:20.3 locos and they can usually handle about 5 cars up-grade. The real problem is surging on the down-grade.  Only my C-19 has a tight enough gearbox to run smooth either up or down.

       

      IF I had a choice, I would have kept grades to under 3% and preferably around 2%.

       

      FYI - You probably already know this, but grade percentage calculation is RISE / RUN.  In other words: a 10" rise over a run distance of 100" is 0.1 or 1%.

       

      Computer Program:  I use RR-Track.  It has a fairly short learning curve and a good selection of sectional track from several manufacturers. It does support flex track, but I find that feature difficult to use. A lot of folks use CADRail, but I have no experience with it.  Track planning software should not be relied on as being 100% accurate. You can use it to get a good idea of what will fit, but when you get track down, it always is a little different than the plan.

       

      And to back up what Sean said:  Consider your age and health. Building on the ground can be fun, but body parts get tired and it can become difficult to maintain. I am maybe two or three years tops away from not being able to work on the ground level portions of my railroad.  If you can stay elevated, either on bench work, or raised beds, your body will thank you for it sooner than you want to admit.

       

      There is nothing wrong with big plans. Just take a look at what Cliff is building!  Just know that it won't happen nearly as fast as you think it will

      ____________________________________

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    • June 24, 2020 12:51 PM EDT
      • South Dartmouth , Massachusetts
         
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      Sean McGillicuddy said:

      Ok Ted

      Ground or raised ?

      How is your body treating you now..How about 5 yrs from now..

      Go with the largest curve that will fit.

      Set some track and some cars out to see how it looks and think of how you will maintain green stuff etc..

      Good luck and see if you can master this.

       

       Thanks for the quick response and great questions Sean. I’m going to be 59 later this year and I’m still in good shape. Back is very good, shoulders are fair, mind is gone!

    • June 24, 2020 12:53 PM EDT
      • Fort Worth, Texas
         
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      Looks to me the hardest work is done, the pic with the hose running thru it would be my choice. Large enough area to do just about anything you want, some people have all the luck when it comes for a place for their railway.

       

      trainman

    • June 24, 2020 12:55 PM EDT
      • South Dartmouth , Massachusetts
         
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      Thanks for all the info and insight Jon. My wife is ten years younger and loves gardening so that’s a plus. I restore antique cars and know all to well how things take longer than you expect or anticipate. I just got a simple 34’ Chevy stovebolt 6 cylinder engine back from the machine shop for a rebuild that I dropped off a year ago last November! 

    • June 24, 2020 10:16 PM EDT
      • South Dartmouth , Massachusetts
         
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      Trainman, When we built our house 20 years ago I have my excavator build that area, rather than slope it like it is on the other side of the house, specifically for a train yard. I didn’t expect it to be over 20 years before I start on it but other aspects of life got in the way. It’s always been my intentio to run out of my basement and onto that plateau of land.

    • June 25, 2020 5:41 AM EDT
      • West Grove, Pennsylvania
         
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      I'd have to agree with Jon. I just rebuilt my layout and raised it off the ground, mainly to get away from all the maintenance involved, frost heave being the main culprit. 

      I also used RRTrack to help with designing the track work. Although I used all flex track on the layout, RRTack will give you a good idea of what fits in a given space. And what looked good on paper didn't necessarily fit reality, but it was easy enough to fix once the building began.

      This post was edited by Ken Brunt at June 29, 2020 8:33 AM EDT
      ____________________________________

      "Nothing in the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity." --Martin Luther King Jr

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