I'm planning to build an n-scale layout. It is to be Santa Fe transition era set in New Mexico or Arizona. I primarily have passenger trains with cars up to 85 feet, and would like to operate long trains, probably two at a time with continuous loops.
The table will be made out of hollow-core doors. The overall dimensions will be 12' 8" x 6' 8" with a 6' 8" x 3' 8" rectangle missing from one of the long sides. In other words, there will be a
36" door to the left, a 30" in the middle going the other direction, and a 36" one on the right oriented the same as the first.
I would like to keep radii large (>=14") and grades small (
Wow Greg, that is going to be a good layout ;what a great size! I have only one comment, which I will not try to draw, and that is will both the track lines in the centre actually be that straight? I was thinking of a prototypical obstruction that made the lines at least swerve (so no need for grades). Like across a river, maybe dried up, or around some badlands or a rock outcrop. Not a big move but one that does need thinking about at this stage so that a mental image begins to build up. Does not have to affect the lines both ways, perhaps just at the rear; sort of depends where the main station will be.
OK, I took a look, and your basic scheme is just fine. The devil, as always, is in the details.
a) If you can access the two wings on either end from both sides, you will find both construction and maintenance much easier. This is so important that I would even redesign the layout of baseboards to make this possible.
b) If the wings are accessible from both sides, then a view block on each one will enhance the illusion that the main line is going somewhere, and would also provide opportunity for additional scenes (see point d) below.)
c) You'll need staging tracks: hidden but accessible tracks on which to store trains between appearances on the visible part of the layout. One obvious place is along the back of the layout. You could build low enough hills in front of the staging tracks so that they aren't visible from normal viewing angles, but can be easily reached if needed. Or else build a lower level (it will have to be at least 8" below the benchwork, so that you can reach in for rerailing, etc.)
d) This layout will stand or fall on its scenic treatment. You have room for a fair-sized town, with associated passing tracks, a small yard, and so on. But I get the impression that you want a train watcher's layout. So I'd think about scenes, even to the extent of separating them from each other by curved back drops that come to front of the benchwork. One could be that town, another could be a section of a city, a third could be a spectacular gorge spanned by high bridges, and so on. Each scene would be about 3-4ft wide, which from normal viewing distance will give a nice effect.
Have fun. But beware: once you get into layout design, it may become the focus of your hobby... :-)
Wow! I'm envious. An early N scale layout I had planned to build was to have been 20 feet x 4 feet with narrow sections in the center. Dual track as is yours. 19" radius curves. I can still envision the long trains that I had planned to run. Alas, we decided to sell the house and I never again had enough space to construct anything as elaborate as that "dream."
I'm sure you'll enjoy your railroad, Greg.
Bill Bill's Railroad Empire N Scale Model Railroad:
Actually, there can be some grades. The 1.25% grade is enough for the track to pass over each itself near the middle. I was planning to make the rear of the loop higher, to provide some scenic separation. And, making the tracks less parallel is a great suggestion.