Author Topic: Lofty Ambitions  (Read 737 times)

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dckuk

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Lofty Ambitions
« on: September 26, 2016, 03:48:13 PM »
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I'll start transferring the running work in progress on my loft layout, which was originally intended to be a simple loop to run trans on.

Well, a simple loop roughly 11' x 33' that is!

I later "adapted" the plan to include a reasonable freight and passenger terminal ala John Armstrong, and have been making other improvements.

For now, feel free to browse the blog, which will be replicated here, from the beginning, with chronological dates.

http://loftlayout.blogspot.co.uk/

dckuk

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Re: Lofty Ambitions - June 17 2010
« Reply #1 on: September 26, 2016, 05:05:42 PM »
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How to have it all when you don’t have enough space...
We’ve probably all been there, unless you are fabulously blessed with far more space than is good for you; the desire to have more than you can fit within your current boundaries.

For me the desire is and always has been to recreate the long drag freights, extensive TOFC and COFC expresses, and of course the full length passenger trains from the heavyweight and streamline eras. I’m not really concerned with acquiring big steamers, or faithfully recreating freight operations of the transition era, so for the most part the greatest obstacle in my way has been space; space for the mainline run or a proper division-point yard (though that REALLY isn’t necessary). Some of the minor points of ‘want’ include broad twenty-four inch radius mainline curves (though lesser on the inside of double track is a compromise) and sufficient length of run that a train of fifty to seventy-five cars is not catching up with itself as it goes around and around.

Until now. Now I have access to a space that will allow me to indulge my need for wide open spaces, while continuing to build a compact and highly detailed urban-based primarily switching layout with a bit of mainline run. The division of time between two locations; my son’s flat (where I can get the space to build the mainline layout) and home (where I’ll continue to work on the Inland Port and Terminal Railway) really isn’t changing. What is changing is my drive to do something more productive “train wise” with my time away from home that at the same time allows me to indulge some of my “wants”.

The Plan

So what I am after is:

Twenty-two to twenty-four inch radius curves; nice in HO scale, but so far (at least to me) a serious, and out of reach, luxury
The desire to see a long train in the straight away (or gently rolling serpentine ‘straights’). If we figure 3.75” for a 50’ car (let’s call it four inches for the sake of it!), that means the previously mentioned fifty car (or fifty well) train comes out to two-hundred inches, or just under seventeen feet, plus locomotives and cars.
Simplicity. I DON’T want another project buried in detail work, so hand laid track is NOT the order of the day. I also have a BUNCH of flex from previous years’ of N-Scale, so Code 83 flex and Shinohara turnouts, plus a few Peco if I cannot get the Shinoara turnouts I need to round out crossovers.
The ability to run the remnants of “N-Scale past”; those locomotives that are just not up to code 55 track and DCC standards, such as my Con Cor SD40-2s, Model Power F40PHs, and some legacy freight cars as well as the gamut of Con Cor passenger rolling stock.
Prepare for a reasonable place to run properly detailed passenger trains, with working diaphragms and maybe even body-mounted couplers (like the new heavyweights that Micro-Trains are threatening to have available this summer).
Given a space of roughly thirty three feet by eleven and a half, I drew up this “initial” rough draft:

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Yes, THIRTY THREE FEET by ELEVEN AND A HALF FEET! But, it needs to stay narrow, as not to impose on the HO layout growing underneath it. And simplicity means I may actually get it running quickly, considering it is going to be a three day a month or so project...

To be continued…

dckuk

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Re: Lofty Ambitions - Construction – Week One
« Reply #2 on: September 26, 2016, 05:11:28 PM »
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Construction – Week One

I was off to a good start; after managing to decide a method to support a six-inch (about sixteen and a half centimeter) wide strip of foam baseboard and revising those plans it was all happening.Until tragedy struck:

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My glue gun failed, probably due to a clog from dried glue in the nozzle. Still, I managed to get four sections glued, supports up for the fifth, and plotted the corner sections and curves out.

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These views show the supports I installed; short ones are just wide enough to support the spans every two feet, and the longer runs between two of the roof supports to add a bit more structural integrity.

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The foam by itself is rather plain; it is possible to imagine how this space can be used to run long trains. Two of my Atlas/Rivarossi SW1500 units, and eleven coal hoppers.

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Notice how the train is dwarfed by even this initial section. I chose the code 83 track so these could run here, and I had a bunch of it left over from previous layouts. If I need more, it is more cost effect to source Peco locally that to import ME code 55, and I didn’t want to spent a year hand laying a couple of hundred feet of track!

When viewed from the far end you can’t even see the train!

Ed Kapuscinski

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Re: Lofty Ambitions
« Reply #3 on: September 26, 2016, 05:15:26 PM »
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I like it. Reminds me of my old shelf layout.

dckuk

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Re: Lofty Ambitions - Week Three
« Reply #4 on: September 26, 2016, 05:17:15 PM »
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Week Three

Before doing anything else I spent a little time fashioning some simple brackets for the drooping foam:

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The principal is a squared bracket made from two pieces of wood, glued and screwed together. I added a piece of scrap under the bottom to apply “lift” to the front where it was needed. Since the foam here was already glued in place, these just site under it, and support it. Gluing them would have been more mess than it was worth.

For the opposite end of the loft (near the access stairs) I went for a little better visual affect, since this is the part that will be seen on entry, and hopefully better wood means less maintenance in a potentially dangerous place. And since I was adding everything with prior knowledge of what ‘worked’ and what ‘didn’t’, I fashioned the sufficient number of brackets and fastened them to the support rail prior to placing the foam. I was thus able to ensure everything was solid, level, and even if I say so, looking pretty good:

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A pan shot of the end wall, cobbled together form three individual pictures; it is enough to convey what's happening...

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The newspaper covers the HO line underneath, to keep brick dust out of the track. I really should have moved it before taking pictures…

This makes three of the four sides ready for track, which I did start on Sunday, getting about one-third of the way along one side, probably about twelve to fifteen feet of track installed. No wiring or soldering so far, as I wanted to see how it handles the temperature changes over the next two weeks. I’ll probably solder joints on the corners, but leave the others to ‘float’, and add feeders every section of rail that is not soldered, which should work out to no more than nine feet.

I only laid one line so far, to see how I could get on with the meandering track alignment, and to give me a chance to get all the way around before I run out and have to buy more! Plus I have to decide how to handle the turnouts; so far Bob’s (BobTheBear) method with a micro-switch at track level is at the fore-front, though I might need to be a little more creative if I build the freight/passenger yard and station I have been toying with. But more on that next month.

For now, a motivation:

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Thirteen cars of heavyweight action, following a Bachmann Northern. This is the reason I decided to take up the challenge; thirteen cars of passenger train is dwarfed by the size of the run!

And one more thing:In the “features” I discussed adding a fairly sizable “Rural” Union Depot with service tracks and passenger switching options.

Well, I decided to take this one step farther, and I modified the idea slightly after finding this plan I drew up for a possible N-Track project (before the 'local' N-Track bunch irritated the bejesus out of me):

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It's adapted from John Armstrong's Track Planning for Realistic Operation, and features "everything" you would want in a division point yard. Leads for two switchers, passenger station, coach yard, and plenty of car storage.

I might fiddle some more with the plan now that N-Track compatibility is not a requirement, and hopefully make it sectional and removable so it can travel. That way I can take it in to the local shows and impressive the hell out of the locals.

The full-size image can be viewed in my photobucket space:
http://i350.photobucket.com/albums/q425/dckuk/Lofty%20Ambitions/condensedyardplan.png

More progress in a few days’ time!

dckuk

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Re: Lofty Ambitions
« Reply #5 on: September 26, 2016, 05:19:06 PM »
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I like it. Reminds me of my old shelf layout.

Thanks Ed; it is not something I would have considered back in the states, but the moderate year-round temperature makes it possible, and the too-small houses don't leave many options...

Dennis