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PECO N gauge Setrack 80 4ft by 3ft

Started by Galactus, January 13, 2020, 10:26:40 am

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Galactus

Attached is my first try at an N gauge layout.
Any suggested improvements, suggestions or problems please let me know.
Thank you all for any help.

Tom Springer

Galactus,

Having the .ANY file attached instead of a PDF allows people to make better comments because track lengths, elevations, measurements, etc. can be obtained.

For a first layout, you have a good start.  Hopefully, this one will help you to get used to AnyRail and its functions by developing it further.

At this point, my suggestion is to take this layout over to TrainPlayer, use a simple 2-car train from the default car collection, the diesel engine and the small tankcar, and move this train around your layout and see what happens versus what you expect to happen. This usually results in various "surprises".

One special consideration for turntables: where tracks 'connect' to the turntable, they should be straight to avoid derailment issues; try to have at least a 1-inch straight segment (for N-scale) where the engine crosses over into/exits from the turntable.
Tom Springer

(Unintentional Pyromaniac)

Galactus

Thank you for your comments Tom. I was not aware of Trainplayer and will certainly give it a go.
I have attached to .any file to this reply.
Once again thank you for your assistance.
regards
Colin

Tom Springer

Colin,

Thank you for attaching the file; I hope it helps others to aid you with comments.

One consideration as you progress: use AnyRail sections and color coding to indicate where you have 'power districts', and look for where you will need to have 'reversing sections' as you change directions.  Hint: turntables are their own reversing districts.

You haven't said whether you are DC or DCC.  As a beginning layout designer, I'm guessing DC to start with.  Even with DC, you should think about power isolation, so that a short somewhere only shuts down that 'power block'; these districts make finding power problems a lot easier.  We all have derailments, coupler issues with cars jumping tracks, etc.

There are comments to be provided in the future, but using TrainPlayer on this first layout is the most important as far as I'm concerned; check track lengths, make sure you clear any turnouts so you can throw them, and see if basic operations function as you visualize they should.
Tom Springer

(Unintentional Pyromaniac)

Tom Springer

Colin,

I'm not the type of guy who generally would tell anyone what they should do; my philosophy has always been to ask questions and either challenge (or just suggest) what might be possible.  I prefer to encourage people to learn by doing, not learn by me telling.  So, with that in place ...

Via TrainPlayer, once you get a look at how your layout operates, as you start to look at changes, if you want comments about 'future considerations', it would be helpful if you could share some of your intentions and desires.  Are you looking for a hands-on 'operations' oriented layout, one that has some purpose based on earlier experiences (some model railroad areas from their childhood), a favorite prototype, etc?

Seeing there are 2 stations - implying a point-to-point type of operation - are you doing passenger trains, freight, or some combo?  Passenger, in general, could just mean a short-line operation from one station to the other, or possibly a tourist-type line, out and back.  Freight, on the other hand usually means pickups and deliveries and non-station locations ("industries").

It would also be helpful to know the era/type of equipment you are looking at.  Especially with regard to the curves and their radii.

Or are you just looking for an 'entry' level type of layout as you 'tip-toe' into this hobby, one you could get developed quickly without making it into a 'big effort' and then go on to the next layout (as we all have done, probably too many times)?

Tom Springer

(Unintentional Pyromaniac)

Galactus

Hi Tom,
Thank you for your replies. I have already tried trainplayer and as you suggested it has given me potential problems with my proposed layout. I should at this point tell you that I am constructing a portable layout to be utilised by my 8 year old granddaughter when I visit her. I have purchased some "Thomas" engines and rolling stock 
so I really need to produce an interesting layout but fairly easy to manipulate. I am now considering leaving out the turntable and will upload the revised layout when I have completed and tested on trainplayer. I constructed a 00 layout last year which she used at Christmas and really enjoyed the experience but I had to hire a van to transport the layout so thought I would try N gauge for the next effort.
Once again Tom thank you for your comments and suggestions.
regards
Colin

Tom Springer

Colin,

Interesting, imo this changes everything with a focus on Thomas the Tank Engine's world and an 8-year-old and Grandpa's fun time world.

You're right to drop that turntable.  I used it, it's a pain to operate manually and aligning the tracks at times, and trying to automate it was even more of a pita.  Not something I'd want an 8-year-old to have to do.

If you haven't bought any of the Peco track, I strongly recommend you look at Kato track (and I am not a fan of Kato sectional track).  It's easy to use in your situation, has everything you would need, is already 'ballasted' so that wouldn't be an issue.

For fun time with your Granddaughter, you don't want to spend time constantly working on the layout, you want to run trains and enjoy life.  So maybe look for a Thomas-type existing track plan that might be easy to do and fun for both of you.

Look at these Youtube videos for ideas/concepts/things that might appeal to both of you:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vR_FzwrFzy4  (better of these 2)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UUozMtfR9G4

Think about how much fun your Granddaughter would have over time adding trees and other scenery elements,  Maybe even people and some vehicles, too.  Things she could be responsible for finding, like signs, might also help make it hers and looking forward to every visit to add things.

Also back in 2013, there was this post in the forum that you might find interesting:

https://www.anyrail.com/forum_en/index.php?topic=1867.0

Don't know if he's still around, but you might send him a PM and see what he ended up doing and what he learned.
Tom Springer

(Unintentional Pyromaniac)

Galactus

Hi Tom,
Thank you for the information and links. Unfortunately I have already purchased the two starter sets of Peco code 80 track so will need to stick to that now. I agree with your comments about having fun and realise I may be going too far so I will reassess what to do. She has expressed a wish to have a two level area so I will need to have a gradient but I think I need to simplify the sidings and allow more area for additional items of interest.
I am going to investigate what layouts are around and I have purchased a few books so I will now investigate before I decide where to go from here.
I really appreciate your help and you have already taught me a lot.
regards
Colin
 

Tom Springer

Colin,

If you are staying with Peco C80, be cautious using those ST-5/6 stub switches; they need movements through them at very slow speeds to avoid derailments, and putting them back-to-back creates the infamous S-curve situation, so the speed must be kept down.  If she is operating, make sure that this is understood.

Two-level area: are these 2 separate tracks, or, effectively, 2 loops 'joined'?  What does she want in that context, 2 trains operating, crossing over each other type of approach, or did she see something somewhere she liked/was inspired by?

As you proceed, watch for the trap of ending up with single-direction operation; gets boring for people not deeply into railroad operations.  And give some thought to different ways to vary operations over time.  If things are always running "the same", life might become boring.

One last thing you might consider is to have turnouts at 2 corners, one whose straight path is going to the left away from the layout, and one at the opposite corner that goes to the right; both through paths simply 'stop' at the edge of the layout.
two track trial with turntable.jpg

Why? "Future expansion".  Make her think about what might be beyond the ends of those tracks.  This also allows you to create all sorts of small 'add-on' sections that could change over time (make her use her creative mind in deciding what these could be).  With 2 'add-on' places, you could simply move a single add-on part from one side to the other, and that might help should any boredom start to set in.  And you get the joy of surprising her with new parts for the layout over time.

Have fun.
Tom Springer

(Unintentional Pyromaniac)

Galactus

Hi Tom,
Thank you for your recent update, all taken on board and the layout will have a major rethink before I proceed.
regards
Colin