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Topic: First Train Layout - Feedback Welcomed/Wanted (Kato Unitrack)  (Read 7508 times)

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Offline jnord

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First Train Layout - Feedback Welcomed/Wanted (Kato Unitrack)
« on: January 23, 2011, 10:17:51 pm »
I am designing my first layout with my 8 year old son.  He has some HO and N-scale loops that he has played around with for about a year or so but I/we decided to make a more extensive layout with scenery etc...   I have completed the basic bench work that fits into our basement in a manner pleasing to other family members and have designed this layout in Kato to fit on it.  It is a modification of the sc&hb track plan that was on this site, flipped around and separated into 2 distinct sections.  The thought here is that we would have 2 DC track packs to operate 2 trains at once.  Continuous operation is the idea with a few switches and industry to make things more interesting.  Realistic operation is not really a goal here, just family fun and something that we can both learn from.

My son wanted a wild west theme so we have that in the left half and the inner loop/mountain loop of the layout.  He then also saw the new Kato bullet train and decided we should have that too so we have a more modern city on the right side with a passenger station and potentially some industry serviced by the old west train.  I know it is goofy but should be fun and if we want to switch it around to all wild west or all modern in the future we can do that.  As you can see I do not have any buildings in the layout but plan to add them in soon.  I am not sure what I want in the middle so your advice would be helpful.

What would I like from this posting?  some advice to make it more interesting, fun and something that may actually work. The plan is currently in Kato and doesn't quite fit together but I think it would in reality.  I am not sure that I will use Kato in the end due to cost and may wind up using Atlas code 80.  My thought right now is if I get something to fit together in unitrack then I can switch the plan to Atlas and build it that way.  If we go Atlas I know that I will have to fit most of the track together.

Thanks for your help.

Offline Jeff

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Re: First Train Layout - Feedback Welcomed/Wanted (Kato Unitrack)
« Reply #1 on: January 24, 2011, 02:20:43 am »
First off, welcome to the AR community! It's a great program and just keeps getting better.

As to the layout, I'm finding it a little difficult deciding what to say. As a starter layout, it's not at all bad. What has got me stopped is your saying that you may or may not be using Kato Unitrack. If you are, then as you noticed, it kind of cramps your style in a lot of ways. If you're not, then we can get more creative. It all depends on a lot of factors. You say your son is 8. It depends a great deal on him (as well as the cost). If he's a mature 8, he may feel confined by Unitrack more than he can stand. On the other hand, as he matures, he may want to take the whole thing apart and go for something more realistic. You see? There are so many factors that the rest of us don't know that it's hard to really comment on it.

In any case, if you stick with Unitrack, I would modify the area of the mine a little, to include a second siding (for empty ore cars). Also, there is a turnout on the upper right corner of the layout that has no track on the branch. This may be for future expansion, but if not, I would remove it and replace it with a curved piece. I've included your plan with the expanded mine...

If you decide to go Atlas, you'll find that all your fitting problems go away, since you can always cut and fit their flex track.
« Last Edit: January 24, 2011, 02:23:12 am by Jeff »

Offline jnord

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Re: First Train Layout - Feedback Welcomed/Wanted (Kato Unitrack)
« Reply #2 on: January 24, 2011, 04:15:27 am »
Good questions and thanks for the input.  I would say that my son is fairly mature and careful in working with our trains.  As such I am leaning much more towards the Atlas track.  A lot of this project will be working with the scenery and given the time that the project will take us, I don't see us taking it apart and re-doing it for quite a while.  It is nice to hear that it is pretty good as a first attempt but I would like to hear some more advanced/realistic ideas that we could consider.

By the way you are right about the turnout on the right.  That may lead to future expansion which would be sidings and maybe a shed.  I think I could easily extend the inner loop into those sidings as well.

Offline Jeff

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Re: First Train Layout - Feedback Welcomed/Wanted (Kato Unitrack)
« Reply #3 on: January 24, 2011, 02:07:09 pm »
Given the amount of space you have, I'm sure something better can be done with Atlas track. I know how I was at 8 and if I'd had a father who would listen, my initial layout would have been much different, not to mention the trains that ran on it.

Now, if only I'd had AnyRail and a computer to run it on!

I'll [play around with your space and see what comes out :)

Offline Jeff

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Re: First Train Layout - Feedback Welcomed/Wanted (Kato Unitrack)
« Reply #4 on: January 24, 2011, 04:38:08 pm »
Ok, here's a suggestion. It's not polished and there's plenty of room for modifications. There's a spot that really needs another crossover on the 'Main' line, for one thing. At least using Atlas code 80 means that modifications or expansion can be done at any time with little problem.

Basically, I've provided a double-track outer loop for the high speed trains and the occasional way freight. It's double so that your son can run two TGV's or whatever at the same time. The inner folded dogbone (gold) provides your wild west themed trackage. There's a mine area and a lumber camp, plus a sawmill on the high-speed loop and a place near the city to put an ore mill, if you want to.

I didn't spend much time worrying about grades or where to place tunnels, etc., so you'd still have some work to do on that, but it should be enough to point your way. One thing is that you'll need to build or buy a bunch of trestles and bridges. They make for great scenery and aren't that hard to build, but will give you and your son hours of involvement. All the while, you can have the high-speed line (blue) running trains as you work on the wild west setup. In the city there's an interchange point with the wild west, so that you can use it as a part of the more modern time period. Or, run it as a tourist railroad, leaving the apparent time period as the old west.
« Last Edit: January 24, 2011, 04:41:47 pm by Jeff »

Offline RhB_HJ

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Re: First Train Layout - Feedback Welcomed/Wanted (Kato Unitrack)
« Reply #5 on: February 26, 2011, 08:21:47 pm »


What would I like from this posting?  some advice to make it more interesting, fun and something that may actually work. The plan is currently in Kato and doesn't quite fit together but I think it would in reality.  I am not sure that I will use Kato in the end due to cost and may wind up using Atlas code 80.  My thought right now is if I get something to fit together in unitrack then I can switch the plan to Atlas and build it that way.  If we go Atlas I know that I will have to fit most of the track together.

Thanks for your help.

The Wild West, eh!?! Since I live in Canada's Wild West here aresome suggestions (more about the track subject than the theme). Slight changes to the industrial area and a passing siding (loop?) to access it and free up the mainline from switching moves. This will give me the chance to get my feet wet while trying and modifying your track plan. Can I save it when I'm done (I'm using the trial version), well there's always the screen shot alternative.

I guess I also have to get used to the different railway terms i.e. switch = points, sleepers = ties etc. etc.  :)

Cheers

HJ

Offline RhB_HJ

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Re: First Train Layout - Feedback Welcomed/Wanted (Kato Unitrack)
« Reply #6 on: February 26, 2011, 09:58:38 pm »
OK, I had to rob Peter to pay Paul, but it works to a certain degree. In clear text if there are more than 50 elements in the drawing you'll need to steal the existing ones (at least with the Trial Version).

I removed the reverse loop connection of the Green track that runs parallel to the Blue track in the lower LH section. Reverse loops and Wye set-ups to turn equipment are a bit of a pain to wire and operate. Unless you use DCC and have the reversing modules or for AC automate the circuit using auxiliary switches on the points.

Added the passing siding (loop) that accesses the industrial section. Rather than have a run-around track in the industrial trackage one can use the siding and the main for run-arounds. The track extending from the passing siding serves as drill (pull) track, using that one can switch Indi1-3; however Indi1 is also the drilltrack for Indi4-6. In short you have a switching puzzle that will take a bit of thinking to lift and drop the cars in the different tracks.
While you and your son sweat the details you can let the trains roll an the main line.

Offline RhB_HJ

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Re: First Train Layout - Feedback Welcomed/Wanted (Kato Unitrack)
« Reply #7 on: February 26, 2011, 11:06:29 pm »
Robbed some more to modify the mining portion.

As a rule - in both logging and mining operations - the engines are supposed to be on the downside when coming down hill with loads. This gets interesting with switch backs. In this case the empty mine train comes up hill to the switch back, then the engine pushes the empties up to the mine, sets them in the free track. Then picks up the loads from the other track and proceeds to the switchback. Runs around the train and proceeds the rest of the way to town i.e. the industrial area. Indi2 and 3 could be designated as the mill tracks.

That leaves switching the lower mine tracks (mine area 1), in which case the train comes from town to the switch back, runs around the train and starts down the hill, then backs up into mine area 1 to set out empties and pick-up loads.

BTW all the switches (points) on the mining section could (should) be the small radius type, saves space. All in all this should keep two people busy for quite some time while two trains cruise on the blue track of the original plan.

As always just suggestions what could be done. ;) ;)

Offline RhB_HJ

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Re: First Train Layout - Feedback Welcomed/Wanted (Kato Unitrack)
« Reply #8 on: March 01, 2011, 09:24:37 am »
Oh such fun!
There was a rumour that snap tracks may not fit and/or align ... true enough. BUT even the fixed elements of the KATO track can be made to fit. Between the section of equalizer track (20050) and judicious disconnecting of a few joints, followed by a slight rotation - no more than 0.5ยบ at any given joint - things will line up and connect. Actually that isn't any different than the standard practice when using snap track. :o :o

I haven't established all the elevations for the different parts, yet, but I found out in a hurry that using the double tracks as provided can be a real pain. For some strange reason the elevation values and the grades would change. Tackle that problem tomorrow.

Attached is the modified plan, the passenger station has now a long passing siding, all the mining and industry trackage has been revamped, there are crossovers between the blue loop and the green loop just in case the mill actually ships some product instead of carrying it back to the mines.  :o ;D

Cheers

HJ

Offline Jeff

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Re: First Train Layout - Feedback Welcomed/Wanted (Kato Unitrack)
« Reply #9 on: March 01, 2011, 01:44:38 pm »
"For some strange reason the elevation values and the grades would change."

Don't ignore the 'Lock height' function! :)

Offline RhB_HJ

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Re: First Train Layout - Feedback Welcomed/Wanted (Kato Unitrack)
« Reply #10 on: March 01, 2011, 05:29:54 pm »
Hi Jeff,

That's what I did just before deciding that it was time to get some sleep. Getting some "interesting" values on the double track (leading to the twin bridges across the Lake) had me go ??? ???.

I'll try a simple 8 loop to find out the "WHY?". Other than that, everything works as expected/intended.

Time to start adding some scenic features.

Cheers

HJ

Offline Jeff

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Re: First Train Layout - Feedback Welcomed/Wanted (Kato Unitrack)
« Reply #11 on: March 02, 2011, 12:45:03 pm »
Something doesn't seem to be working right, but maybe I missed something myself. I think David should be involved in this one. I'm going to email him.

Offline David

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Re: First Train Layout - Feedback Welcomed/Wanted (Kato Unitrack)
« Reply #12 on: March 02, 2011, 01:09:31 pm »
For the double plated track elements, the 'Smooth slope' function doesn't work yet. This might yield some weird results in some cases.

David.

Offline Pthrift

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Re: First Train Layout - Feedback Welcomed/Wanted (Kato Unitrack)
« Reply #13 on: November 29, 2018, 11:31:11 pm »
Digging this one out of the graveyard.

I like the look of this plan, but am having a hard time figuring out where/how to make the grade climbs. 

Can anyone offer insight or suggestions?

Offline mrsax2000

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Re: First Train Layout - Feedback Welcomed/Wanted (Kato Unitrack)
« Reply #14 on: December 06, 2018, 02:30:28 am »
To help you visualize, go to settings, turn on the grid and set to 12. That will make each square 1 foot.  I think that helps you see how things line up.

Where you have the overpass, have the low track drop in height.  OK to go -1 inch or so on the plan. If the bottom track drops a little, the top doesn't have to go up as high.  This will make the grades/inclines less, and easier for the trains to get up/down.

It's a good 1st plan. I would go back and start where you have 2 tracks close. Use a double track piece to begin spacing. This will help line up the curves better.  Then replace the double with 2 singles (unless you want concrete ties in old west).

Railroads use easement curves to transition from straight to curves.  You can use Kato to do same.  Start with a 20-150, then 160, then 140 or 130.  Go from broad to sharper, and back to broad on the other end of the curve.  The trains will look better going through the curves than hitting a sharp curve from the beginning.  This will take some planning and fiddling.  But it's all good fun anyway.