Would have, should have...

If you had the chance to start your current layout all over again, what would
you do differently?
This isn't so much a question about your choice of scale, prototype or era;
rather it's more about the mechanics of building the layout.
What would you have done differently?
- Backdrop or scenic dividers?
- More thought to layout lighting?
- Broader curves and less aisle width?
- Sharper curves and more aisle width?
- Steeper grades? Gentler grades?
- Staging tracks?
- Simpler track work? More complex track work?
- Turnout size?
- Table top construction? L-girder construction?
- Access holes?
Reply to
Mark Mathu
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As it happens, I'm right in this process. I was going to do a loop to loop with staging at each end, but after running on the Utah, Colorado & Western last year, I have had to rethink my plan.
I will now be building a double deck with dual helixes and a hidden staging yard on the top deck.
All else will remain pretty much as I originally planned: 36" minimum mainline radius, code 83, DCC, L-girder, single track.
Reply to
Brian Paul Ehni
I'm not starting over, but it's close...
Masonite backdrop painted with oil colors, based on the old Bob Ross painting series, you can order the TV series from their website.
Either 3000K or 5000K fluorescent, double tube.
Basically 27" radius mainline at 2% or less.
6 track staging yard under main shelf.
I'm trying a new method of benchwork that was recently described in MR, HD shelf uprights and brackets are being used to support the benchwork, NO LEGS !!, 48" upright has enough room on it for layout shelf, staging yard shelf and two storage shelf.
Around the room with workbench in the middle, the workbench also serves as a view block.
Reply to
Alan Gilchrist
Yes, I'm thinking of reworking part of my layout. I thought it might be good to hear from other modelers what they would have done different, to see what sort of things I should consider as I work out a new plan.
Is that two separate helixes, or a single helix that incorporates two different tracks?
Reply to
Mark Mathu
I too am in the process of tearing down the old to build new.
That I'll do the way I did the first time - acrylics on sheetrock after the base sky coat. Bob Ross' techniques work every bit as well with acrylics. Too, unless you use 2-3 coats of sealer, the Masonite has oils in it which will seep through. I have coved corners made of Masonite, and had a devil of a time sealing them before painting the sky color on them.
30" minimum mainline R as before, but wider aisles. Max 2.1% grade in the helix, otherwise minimal grades. The only hidden track other than the helix (which I may leave open on one side...) would be in short tunnels. NO hidden staging (been there, done that, no thank you!)
Around the walls shelf, double deck.
Matt
Reply to
Matt Furze

Buy the smaller house with the large out building Start sooner.
Paul
Reply to
Paul Newhouse
OK, I would do the following:
o - Finish the room first(did not have the money at the time)
o - Use at least 30" radius curves(HO).
o - Have more that 4 train length staging tracks.
The rest of the layout design is still very good, and operates fine with 4 axle GP's and 10 car trains of 40' freight cars(Milw branchline).
After 17 years, I am thinking of tearing down the railroad and building a new one in the same space(same theme):
o - Room will be completely finished off. Lighting valances will be done this time. Some kink of carpeting(concrete get 'old' on the feet after operating for 2-3 hours.). o - Benchwork used L girders attached to 2X2 framed gussets bolted to the walls(no legs - real nice). I will add a new section(penisula) that sticks out 14' to provide extra mainline on two faces. This will be built on a shelf/drawer base for storage.
o - Fascia - Same 1/8' masonite, but since I am now 100% DCC, the 3 large 'panels' will be replaced by 'counter-sunk' waybill boxes, and cup holders.
o - Track - Code 83 with minimum 30" radius curves, and at least 8-10 through staging tracks.
o - Staging tracks will use 'Tortoise' switch motors(twin coil are a just a maintenace issue).
Jim Bernier
Mark Mathu wrote:
Reply to
Jim Bernier
On Sat, 8 May 2004 17:17:49 -0500, "Mark Mathu" shared this with the world:
1) prep the walls. I am using a spare bedroom in the basement. Unfi\ortunately, the former owner finished the walls with a stipple texture. I really should have taken the time to scrape that off the walls and smooth out my "sky"
2) upgrade the wiring. There are only 2 outlets in the room, and they are (of course) in exactly the wrong place.
Both are the result of being too eager to get some trains running.
Kent
Reply to
Kent Ashton
Thanks for posing such an interesting question. Building a layout must be a lot like buikding a house... you need to do two of them to correct the mistakes you made in the first one!
Let's make one assumption and that is that one would work in the same area, room, basement, garage, whatever. If you had more space available, then these points become meaningless. I think the whole thing boils down to curve radius. That seems to drive everything else. I think I would go with sharper curves. While I realize that some of you would not do this, sharper curves gives one several advantages. You can get more track in a given space. Or, you can have wider aisles. Raising the track height minimizes the "sharpness" of the curves.
Given thess, I'd have a two or even three-track main. This would allow me to run several trains simultaneously in different directions without watching them. I'd increase switching opportunities but not have a huge yard. That part of the hobby doesn't interest me.
I'd use some scenic dividers to minimize the effect of trains going down opposite sides of peninsulas.
I'm currently using trac lighting in the layout room. It is ideal as one can adjust the angle & direction of the fixtures to get the desired results that they want.
I'd have even more staging tracks... perhaps in two different areas.
And I'd eliminate that one location (every layout has one) where you simply can't get to no matter what you do. I have a switch in a corner that is just beyond reach from a one foot wide access area. I have to stand on a platform, sideways, and lean sideways to work on it. Of course, that one is the king of derailments! : (
I'll eventually use DCC but I'm not far enough along yet to do that.
dlm
Reply to
Dan Merkel
of them to correct the mistakes you made in the first one!
Like the Sheryl Crow song, my last layout was "my favorite mistake". Until the next one, that is. :)
...Bill
Reply to
Corelane
Yes, I should have been more clear -- use that assumption.
Dan, what radius curves, aisle widths, and type of equipment do you have? That is exactly one of the things I am thinking about as I rework part of my layout. Right now I have 24 3/8" min. radius (22" on sidings on the inside of curves) and about 2' wide aisles, thanks to the space I have available and my desire to work a center peninsula into the plan. But I am thinking about going to 22" radius to gain a few inches in the aisles. I use 4-axle diesels and 50' maximum freight cars (although a single six-axle 60' business car is not out of the question in the future).
What sort of ceiling height do you have? Have you noticed a problem with heat build-up? Do you use lighting valances?
Yes, that can't be emphasized enough.
Reply to
Mark Mathu
What do you use for lighting on your layout now?
Reply to
Mark Mathu
Coved in two dimensions, or just rounded in the corners? Wjhat did you use to seal it, and what made sealing it so difficult?
Reply to
Mark Mathu
I think most of us have been in that situation.
Reply to
Mark Mathu
Rounded corners, with sheetrock mud smoothed in place between the edge of the masonite and the sheetrock. Been 14 years or so since I did it, so I don't recall the exact product I used to seal the masonite, but it was designed to do just that. Biggest problem was the number of coats it took to really do the job. Like others, I was anxious to keep moving, and ended up having to come back and apply that third coat later. As I recall, the instructions on the can said 1-2 coats, and 2 coats simply wasn't enough.
Matt
Reply to
Matt Furze
I think I might have done N scale rather than HO, but don't feel that strongly about it.
Greg
Reply to
Greg
What and miss the chance to model a snowfall or hail storm ? :-)
The OTHER Mike
Reply to
Bleu Raeder
Mine is designed with 30" curves & no. 6 switches. I fell victim to that, "It will look more realistic" line. But like I said, if one is viewing the layout more from the side than from above, it does tend to make that less noticeable.
I'm running transition era equipment... with some Athearn passenger cars being my biggest equipment.
The ceiling is just under eight feet. No real heat build-up, but the area is well air conditioned. No, I don't use valances partially because I didn't want a lot of repairing to do if I ever decided that the room would make a better family room or something else. The layout is free-standing and there are no backdrops or anything painte on the walls.
Take a look at...
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dlm
Reply to
Dan Merkel
Is the thing driving the change in curve sharpness *primarily* to achieve a more realistic look or is performance a bigger issue? Or in other words you feel that you could have achieved more track in the space or wider aisles and still looked realistic with no depreciation in performance.
Reply to
Lynn Caron
Nice work Dan. ...Bill
Reply to
Corelane

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