Author Topic: Starting to plan first layout - seeking advice  (Read 907 times)

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digitaldave

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Re: Starting to plan first layout - seeking advice
« Reply #15 on: April 03, 2019, 02:10:05 PM »
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Wow! thanks for all the replies, you've given me lots to think about.

A couple of follow up points / questions...

Several of you have recommended against having a simple loop around the outside edge of the board so as to not have to reach over potentially running trains to reach stuff in the middle... This makes a lot of sense, but I have to say that many of the layouts I've seen seem to take exactly this approach. Bear in mind that I'm a complete novice at layout planning, so I may be missing some subtle (or not so subtle!) aspects.

@CRL mentioned a water wings plan, and I have to admit I'd never heard of that so had to look it up, but couldn't find anything definitve explaining what it was - my interpretation of what I found was that it would be something like a regular oval, but one side 'squashed' in towards the middle, is that about right? Are there other ways to do a water wings layout? If I have interpreted it right, then I guess the aim would be to use the part of the board 'freed up' by moving one part of the main line away from the edge for industry / switching / a yard?

@David K. Smith , I found your track plans independent of your post here, and I've had a look through some of the layouts. There were a couple that particularly caught my eye, e.g. Ocotillio Wells & El Centro - the inclusion of the SP mainline would be used for future expansion.

Having said that, I think I agree with those that have suggested keeping the first layuout relatively simple, and getting that working, before I worry about what to do next. I quite like the idea of keeping the first layout while building the second one so that I would still have a useable layout wilst the other was under construction, and hopefully I would learn from any mistakes and not repeat them!

CRL

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Re: Starting to plan first layout - seeking advice
« Reply #16 on: April 03, 2019, 03:23:23 PM »
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You’re correct on the water wings shape, also called a dogbone sometimes. The OW&EC layout you also referenced has that same basic shape of the continuous run track.

peteski

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Re: Starting to plan first layout - seeking advice
« Reply #17 on: April 03, 2019, 04:33:39 PM »
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You’re correct on the water wings shape, also called a dogbone sometimes.

Interesting.  I think you have that backwards.  "Dogbone" is the very common name (used by most modelers and in layout design books), and "water wings" is something I haven't heard up until now.  Or maybe "water wings" is  a new track-shape term, only used by the cool kids (while I'm heading towards the old fartdom).

Plus "dogbone" seems to be more closely describing the shape of the track.  Water wings (as I understand) are the air "pillows" worn on upper arms as a flotation device. That to me looks nothing like a dog-bone track shape.  :D
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CRL

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Re: Starting to plan first layout - seeking advice
« Reply #18 on: April 03, 2019, 07:50:48 PM »
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Water wings are not the arm floats you referenced. Water wings pre-date arm floats, and we’re also a description of what happens to Mae West’s boobs when she lays on her back. I used water wings as a descriptor since it has a relatively straight side and a curved side and is asymmetrical. A dogbone shape is symmetrical with two parallel sides and a blob on each end. 🦴
https://hoboken.pastperfectonline.com/webobject/C2487597-6184-4403-B8F4-949320631349
It’s not my fault other modelers have described the shape incorrectly.

peteski

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Re: Starting to plan first layout - seeking advice
« Reply #19 on: April 03, 2019, 10:59:45 PM »
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Water wings are not the arm floats you referenced. Water wings pre-date arm floats, and we’re also a description of what happens to Mae West’s boobs when she lays on her back. I used water wings as a descriptor since it has a relatively straight side and a curved side and is asymmetrical. A dogbone shape is symmetrical with two parallel sides and a blob on each end. 🦴
https://hoboken.pastperfectonline.com/webobject/C2487597-6184-4403-B8F4-949320631349
It’s not my fault other modelers have described the shape incorrectly.

I googled "water wings" and all I saw was bunch of:



https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Inflatable_armbands

Wasn't familiar with the term, so whatever I read on the Interwebs must be true and accurate.   :D Thanks for clarification  8)
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mmagliaro

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Re: Starting to plan first layout - seeking advice
« Reply #20 on: April 03, 2019, 11:28:45 PM »
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I hadn't heard the term "waterwings", but I looked around a little, and Atlas has a plan on their site with that name, and here's what it looks like:


A lot of "dogbone" plans still have the blobs asymmetrical like this, the center pushed more toward the back to open up the middle, but a strict "dogbone" would be more like:



So in that sense, I definitely see the difference, and the superiority, of more of a "waterwings" design because it is less symmetric and leaves all that space in the middle (where you can put sidings or your switching area, well within easy reach).


MVW

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Re: Starting to plan first layout - seeking advice
« Reply #21 on: April 04, 2019, 09:38:48 AM »
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I hadn't heard the term "waterwings", but I looked around a little, and Atlas has a plan on their site with that name, and here's what it looks like:




Yep, reminds me of Mae West.

 :trollface:

Jim

Maletrain

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Re: Starting to plan first layout - seeking advice
« Reply #22 on: April 04, 2019, 10:58:24 AM »
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Yow - 2 "S" curves!

Wouldn't it be better for that "water wings" layout to have the turnouts in the straight back run turn into the curves rather than away from them?  Don't want a lot of derailments in the hardest to reach area (if you can't get to that side of the layout because it is against the wall).

wm3798

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Re: Starting to plan first layout - seeking advice
« Reply #23 on: April 04, 2019, 11:01:55 AM »
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More challenging would be wiring the double crossover to account for the two reverse loop circuits you'd need when running that route, then back again if you're running the oval...  I guess auto reversers on DCC would do the trick, but that's a lot of reversing of polarity going on there.

Lee
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CRL

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Re: Starting to plan first layout - seeking advice
« Reply #24 on: April 04, 2019, 11:27:46 AM »
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I wouldn’t push the indentation back that far and would eliminate the double crossover.

mmagliaro

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Re: Starting to plan first layout - seeking advice
« Reply #25 on: April 04, 2019, 11:38:20 AM »
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My point in showing that particular plan was just to show the basic shape of a waterwings layout, not to promote that particular track plan.   The important positive concept of a plan with a shape like that it leaves some reachable space in the middle for scenery or some sidings.   If the door surface is big enough, and you can fit in the curves, I'd even skew the whole thing on the door so that the back straight trackage isn't parallel to the table edge.  It is much more interesting to have tracks moving toward and away from the edges instead of "running along the parallel" like a race track.

CRL

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Re: Starting to plan first layout - seeking advice
« Reply #26 on: April 04, 2019, 12:06:06 PM »
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If the door surface is big enough, and you can fit in the curves, I'd even skew the whole thing on the door so that the back straight trackage isn't parallel to the table edge.  It is much more interesting to have tracks moving toward and away from the edges instead of "running along the parallel" like a race track.
This is a very good point. I detest track running parallel to the edge of a layout... one of my objections to current NTrak and TTrak modular standards. However, a standard HCD is barely wide enough to accommodate a reasonable radius for the end loops in n-scale, so unless you go with a wider board, you won’t gain much offset to avoid one side being parallel with the edge.

Maletrain

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Re: Starting to plan first layout - seeking advice
« Reply #27 on: April 04, 2019, 12:39:14 PM »
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For a practice layout, I wouldn't get too hung-up on the aesthetics of the track plan.  A race-track type oval going around the edge may not look as pleasing as a squiggly plan that avoids that image, but it is much more practical for testing locomotives, track, etc.  For instance, if I want to know how much a loco can pull up a particular grade, I can put blocks under the legs on one end or one side and temporarily make any grade I want, using the curves or  not using the curves for a test.  I can also have independent routes with different radii (inside each other) that allow continuous running of locos/rolling stock that have different sensitivities to tight radius curves.  Speaking of curves, squiggly track plans typically end-up with tighter curves than race-course plans, with less straight-aways and more potential for S curves.  Plus, they are harder to modify to change just one particular feature that proves problematic or otherwise undesirable.

And, you can practice scenery on a racetrack design just as easily as on a squiggly design.  Switching, too.

vt_railroad_guy

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Re: Starting to plan first layout - seeking advice
« Reply #28 on: April 04, 2019, 12:55:51 PM »
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I'm not overly experienced (yet) in many aspects of model railroad building, but for me finding an existing plan as a starting point (I chose the MRR Carolina Central) was a great way to get the ball rolling.  Maybe as a first layout you follow the plan or maybe you tweak it (as I did) to better suit your interests.  I have a REALLY short attention span, so I needed to get trains running quickly to keep me engaged in the development of my layout.  In the end only you know what you like and it may take some trial and error to figure out exactly what that is. 

Welcome and Happy Railroading :)