Large Scale Central

Indoor Daydreams

So between Vic and his micros, Tye and his indoor, Shawn and his backwoods loggers, the engine house I am building for the build challenge, my acquisition of a Lil Big Hauler, and a need to redecorate the basement, I am inspired and have decided to focus on the indoor layout before doing the outdoor layout (at least in full force). Not to mention I will be running trains sooner this way.

The theme for the indoor is the Sinsley Mountain Logging and Mining Company. It will be roughly 1/24 but that is a very rubber scale as its in the middle so I can fudge from all other scales. My givens for the layout are, lots of under layout storage, accommodation for hobby work station, a yard with engine house and gallows turn table, a station, a saw mill, a mine and stamp mill, looped continuous running. My druthers were a logging operation, dock area, and town, and maximize elevation gain, and one grade separated crossing, tunnels and bridges. Limitations would be 4% grade and 30" diameter corners.

My work station height is set and 28" tall and base layout height is 36" tall. I want to maintain 30" wide walkways minimum and the area around my work station would be 44". The overall area I have to work with is 154" by 139", the room is actually 178" instead of the 154" but there is a built in cabinet which naturally limits the length on the south wall (which is the top wall in the picture) to the 154"and the stairs land in the lower right corner coming in from the right and so I wanted a 30" walk way going along the right wall so that side of the layout is 148" and not 154". I also want to not have to reach more than 30" to 36" across any part of the layout. In order to do that on the upper left corner I have to notch the bench work in and there will be a 30" long Howe Truss bridge that can lift out for access and that area will house a tunnel which will be accessible from underneath should the odd occasion arise where i need to fish out a train or work on track.

With all that said this is what I came up with.

In this I have kept to all my limitations. I got all my givens. I had to omit a regular grade crossing but there will be a 32mm track for a tram between mine and mill that cross either over or on the hill above a section of track. I have one tunnel and at least one bridge and maybe some other small ones as I begin landscaping. Each of the heights are just sort of base elevations so I could visualize the continuous up hill nature. Keeping in mind that these will be very small locos and very small cars I think I have a decent track set up. Only two s curves with no straight separating the curves but hopefully cars will be made to handle it. The dock area will be a shadow of What I wanted it to be but I will make it look good enough. The railroad transfers all of its good by ferry and barge.

Anyway this is the plan. Its like the 5th evolution of design for the space. I like this one. It will require me to hand lay all the turnouts and they will be stub style and yes they will be curved through out the diverging track. Llagas code 215 aluminum will get the nod and the locos will be RC/battery. Have i left anything out.

Edit: Oh I did leave one given out. It had to have operations and switching ability as well as roundy round

S curves can be a problem. If you can move the switch back a bit and then not curve the full 90, maybe you could get a small straight section in there to help with the S curves I wish I had that kind of space, but then again, if I did I wouldn’t be a large scaler.

Edit, I looked at the drawing again, and what I suggested for the loop on the lower right would only work if you could move the loop out. Given you walkway isle width, I guess that is not possible.

Also, personally, I would not want my trains close to the layout edge without something to prevent them from taking the concrete dive. A burm, trees, fences, something.

As to the trains on the edge; I have pondered this and there will be something. Even if the edge trim sticks up higher than the terrain then so be it. But anywhere I can it will be landscaping or maybe a guardrail. But I agree that will have to be addressed.

The S curves I only have two that are not separated by a straight section. I am hoping since these will be serious shorty cars they will snake through. If not I will have to modify the plan. Maybe I can fudge something else I will keep thinking on it. Mainly I am working out the bench layout as much as anything so I can start construction.

The deal with the boss is that I can have the entire basement area as long as A) it fits all my hobby stuff and B) looks good. The room needs to be remodeled. When I built it no one told me to put in a floor drain and common sense didn’t kick in and it was built without any drain. Needless to say it is a swimming pool. We had a flood from an upstairs bathroom and it ruined the flooring base board trim. We had 2" of water before it was discovered. So the floor is coming out and floor drain (2 that just drain into the gravel, our gravel drains excellent no need to pipe it out for emergencies) installed and then base cabinets put in and then the remainder of the floor tiled.

Cool, I really like how you incorporated your work bench into the layout. A great space saver and you always need a piece of track on the work bench any way. As far as S curves go, the real logging lines had them too. check out this shot of the Tionesta Valley ROW I was hiking 2 weeks ago. You can clearly see the S curve here, though the radii may not be quite as tight as yours.


I’m glad I know of at least one person who jumps from one idea to the next faster than I do!

OK I redid the two s curves. Though they are still somewhat S curves I messaged them out greatly and on the lower right I redid where the town and mill was to lengthen out the loop. That will be much nicer. I saved over the old picture so no comparison but the new one is back up on top in the original post.

The beauty of having the track incorporated into the work bench is the elevation difference. The track will run a minimum of 8 inches above the work surface so I will make draws or cubby holes or something useful under the track. An like you said it brings it to the bench for what ever I might need.

This will likely be built in sections. the white section and bench would be first and allow some switching fun. And then the mine logging area in a second phase. Need to determine the amount of track I have.

Randy, but there is a straight section in the middle of that S curve…

Devon, ats better

Devon, is this track powered or battery/rc? Curious about the reverse loops

Looks like you got all your bases covered, Devon. Can’t wait to see it come to life. What program did you use to draw the track plan?

I must be missing something. I don’t see any reverse curves where two curved tracks are joined together.

Dan Padova said:

I must be missing something. I don’t see any reverse curves where two curved tracks are joined together.

Technically it’s at the lumber mill, but I think the transition is gentle enough as not to be a problem.

Vic Yes Battery/RC. In fact I just got my first LED light controller to make the Dan P ESC (actually my modified version) posted in the the electronics section to power my first Lil Big Hauler. If that doesn’t work out I will use Tony’s little alpha controller.

Dan H,

I used Anyrail’s free trail version. You are allowed 50 pieces of track in the free version and there are 50 pieces of track so I can’t build it bigger lol

Dan P,

If you came late to the party you won’t see the problematic S curves because I already removed them and when I saved the photo in my freight shed I saved it under the same name which changed it in the OP. So you are seeing the fixed version where I messaged things to remove the problematic S curves.

Don’t hold your breath while waiting for this to materialize. Anyone who follows my work won’t that’s for sure. I am like two years into my first locomotive build. That should be done next month. I have a real bad tendency to wander and change my mind. And I do have to finish a stair railing, some molding, and trim in a bathroom before I will feel like I can tackle a new remodel job. So it will be awhile. One of the biggest reasons for planning this is work out what needs to be done in the way of cabinets. Since it has a logging sawmill theme we are going to build the cabinets under the layout out of recycled pallet lumber. So I will start gather good pallets and stock piling the necessary lumber. something like this.

What track are you thinking of using? Track bender for the curves?

I am going to use Llagas code 215 aluminum. I am going to hand spike it all. As for a bender well haven’t gotten that far. I am open to suggestions. I honestly figured maybe making one, I have looked at tutorials on it and its not much different than a regular metal bender, a couple bearings and a some sort of a third wheel with a crank handle on it. Though I will need a bender for outside so purchasing one is certainly a consideration. Aluminum I would think would bend easy. For ties I want to try making real hand hewn log ties like I started with the MIK build. I bought a little extra rail when I got the stuff for the build so that I can play with making 30" diameter stub switches and then I will lay up the engine house to the switch coming out of the turn table right away. Then I can 1) see if I can make that style and tight of a curved turnout and 2) see how the ties do as they age.

I know I read somewhere that there are benders that will go way down for bending rails for turn tables.

Personally, I would eliminate that tight curve at the bottom right and just extend that top curve into the station track. This would give you more room for your lumber mill area. Then you could add a siding from in front of the station closer to the edge of the layout, like so:

You’d still have that reverse loop, but you could eliminate a switch. Another option for the lumber mill siding would be on that curve just past the station. That way the throw for the switch would be even closer to the edge. That tight inside curve just seemed a bit redundant to me with that track that goes to the station being right there.

What I have found is that what looks good on paper usually goes right out the window as soon as the first piece of track goes down…(

I like your ideas - all of them including the recycled pallet wood cabinets. You’re going to need some really good pry bars to get that wood. Many of then are now power stapled and they are a bear too break down - even more so to get the staples out. But the look and cost may be worth the effort.

I think small 20ft cars will do fine on these curves. Your era calls for link-and-pin (I like to call them Lincoln Pin) couplers and you can always extend the links if you need a bit more swing. If you want simple, hook & loop may work. I think knuckles are probably a no-go.l For logs, disconnects with pivoting bunks would get around them, but with a 30 or 40 foot log they will look kind of funny overhanging the inside of the curves.

Plexy glass could be used @ the edge for that Oooops moment.


Thanks for that revision. I actually had something similar drawn with the station siding connecting back in as you show but still had all the business in the middle of that loop. Your way is more clean and it does alleviate some problem areas. It would eliminate the idea I had for the docks and steamboat interchange but that is a druther and not a given and I might fudge it in somehow anyway. But all in all I think I like the simplicity of what your thinking.

On the notion of things changing as track goes down, well I think your absolutely right on that one. But given sucha confined space and the need for the bench work to be cabinets I have to have at least and idea of what I want and can live with so that I can build the base and have it work in the space. Now once the top is on and the shape defined all bets are off where the track goes from there. For one thing I won’t be limited to prebent shapes and I am not great at making Anyrail do exactly what I want. I am sure there will be mods. But I have to have a vision for at least what the base will be so I can move around the room and layout and utilize every inch of storage potential.


Vic, the king of tight corners, has given me very sound advice from experience on how to get cars around tight corners. First the cars will all be very small. There will be extreme longitudinal compression on all cars. Second is the use of Lincoln Pin. he sets them up to be truck mounted in many cases and uses longer links this adds a lot of flexibility. There is also the use of axle sets with wheel bearings so that each wheel negotiates the corner independently. So I think if he can get around a 20" diameter my 30" will be a breeze. For the log cars I like your idea, I am not fond of the disconnect type cars but that’s a compromise that might just have to be made. and the logs on this road likely wont be over 20’ to keep it in a uniform “disproportion” with all the other stubby cars.


I am not opposed to plexi. In fact that would be better than a guard rail. less visually distracting.

So I messed around with Ken’s idea and I like this better. It cleaned up that corner and will allow more flexibility in locating the town and the mill. That siding location is more or less negotiable until I can see how it will best fit in there with what ever buildings are built. I still really wanted a dock so I moved it over next to the engine house. A small pier that would hold a couple cars at a time. Also a note on my almost pointless turntable. I am surprised, somewhat, why no one has asked why it is there. It has a turnout on the engine house side to direct locos to their proper stall and a Wye section on the other side that could be used for turning locomotives. So why in the world would I put a turn table there (if you notice there is one small section of track leading off of it and that was thrown as an after thought)? Because I want one and so I will use it to turn locos regardless of its necessity.(

It will be a 16" gallows style because I think they are just dang cool looking and 16" is the max length I can make an engine that will fit inthe house which is about perfect. The Lil Big Hauler w/tender minus the awful hook and loop is just under 16". I know I had to very precisely build the house to fit it. The other two locos I have planned to play on this line will be tender less and therefore shorter.