Help me achieve the dream: your input

 
  8619 Station Staff

I have a dream...that after 22 years and 2 previous failed attempts, I'll at last complete a layout start to finish.

I have a dream...that despite its' relatively small 6x4 size, the layout in its' finished form will have such a level of detail that (hypothetically) were I to take it to an exhibition amongst much larger layouts, it would still be popular with viewers

I have a dream...to create a layout based on a fictional suburb along the old inner-west goods line. IF the line ran electrified passenger services in addition to freight services.

I've flicked through enough magazines, watched enough online videos and attended enough exhibits over the years. But I'm still very much a novice modeller compared to others who post here. Hence why I'm open to feedback and welcome any suggestions for how I can make the 6x4 layout plan below, look as close to the real thing as possible:




I have the table, most of the track, the ground covering, the ballast and the paint so far. But here's what my plan is:

- To have a 2 platform station, extending from A2 to A5. The station would have a more old fashioned look to it (Petersham, Croydon or Homebush as it looked in the '80s)

- The three track siding will serve as a storage yard for mixed traffic locomotives, with B3-B4 being a railway maintenance depot (I already have a Hornby structure suitable and plan to paint it SRA green)

- The two track siding I plan to use as a rail spur for oil container wagons (I have a mini oil-depot kit to build)

- I want to source overhead wire support beams for the electric trains (suburban sets, 46 and 86 class locos), in addition to running the support beams to the 3 track loco siding

- To break up the "carousel effect" of the layout, I plan to scratch build an overhead road bridge that runs across the layout from A1 to D3. This bridge will contain a bus bay and access to the station.

Mostly, the trains I plan to run on this layout are freight (as per real life) in addition to suburban sets circa 1990 and the occasional long-distance train to imitate a stock transfer or a detour if the Redfern- Strathfield section were closed.


I want the layout to have a gritty, light-industrial feel to it as was the norm in the inner west before it became completely gentrified. This layout is based upon memories of riding in the car through the inner west in the late 80's/ early 90's and seeing the freight line/ yard at Lilyfield and wondering why there wasn't a connecting passenger service. I want to create this hypothetical, in a (yet to be named) fictional suburb.

So I'm completely open to suggestions. Help me turn the dream into reality. And of course, I'll post photos of progress...

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  patsstuffnow Junior Train Controller

To get a 6 x 4 layout to an exhibition  is not a simple logistical exercise.
The track plan does not lend itself to realistic operation.
The curves are too tight for some of the rollingstock you want to run.

My suggestion is to build a modular layout. 6 to eight modules 750 mm x 1500 mm would allow a much more effective station layout. Larger radius curves, more ability to add scenery around the tracks to make the trains look like they are in a place rather than the only thing.
At the rear of the layout you could hold trains, interchange movements instead of tail chasing the same consist over and over.

This type of layout can be stored better than a 6 x 4 and can allow gradual changes or even expansion if you team up with another person ( or more)

Variety of trains help put on a show for the punters. And modules fit better in a car.

But remember it is your layout so do what you enjoy most. But have a mission statement to helpsend you on a journey instead of just ad hoc pieces.
  SA_trains Deputy Commissioner

Location: ACT
So first up.... Its your model railway dream and you can do what you would like to do.

That said, I will echo the previous statement and recommend what is called a modular layout or a "shelf" layout. There are a LOT of advantages to building a modular layout.

1) You can build it in small chunks. For example, your 6x4 layout could easily be converted into two 6x2 modules or three 6'x16" modules. There is also a lot of advantage and quite a strong move for narrow boards. My shelf layout uses 4'x16" modules. These shelves will also store a lot easier than the 6x4. For example you you can stack them vertically. The other aspect is that you can make a module very strong and very light. I made each of my 4'x16" modules from a sheet of 6mm plywood. (i.e. one module, one sheet of ply)

2) If you want to exhibit a layout, moving a module will be a LOT simpler than a 6x4 table. Remember, the layout will have scenery and putting your layout in the back of a 6x4 box trailer then hooting down the road at 80kph will likely result in a trail of scenery behind you! Modules could conceivably fit in a station wagon. This is not to infer that moving a layout is a trivial exercise. The point is, a couple of small modules will likely easily fit into a hatch back.

3) Australian outline (and others) usually state that they can go around 18" curves but the reality is that they don't cope with curves under 24" very well. Body mounted Kadee couplers don't really like the radius curves that are likely with a 6x4. With your proposed double track, the inside track will be verrrrrry tight.

4) Modules allow you to put a LOT of effort and detail into a small area. Something that is usually a lot more achievable than on a large "table".

5) A shelf layout is a different form that is aimed at shunting as opposed to trains orbiting around. However, in the UK this is what many exhibitors display and they are very successful.

As an aside, I get a lot of pleasure from my small shelf layout.

I highly recommend that you consider the modular approach. Either way, good luck and have fun!

Dan
  roy66 Junior Train Controller

If you have the room, I think you would find something like the HOG to be much more satisfying to operate than a 6x4, and not much of a burden to build if you built a couple of modules at time.

http://hogrr.blogspot.com.au/?m=1


Cheers.
  SA_trains Deputy Commissioner

Location: ACT
If you have the room, I think you would find something like the HOG to be much more satisfying to operate than a 6x4, and not much of a burden to build if you built a couple of modules at time.

http://hogrr.blogspot.com.au/?m=1


Cheers.
roy66

I agree Roy, the HOG is a brilliant beginners layout. Quite simple construction of the modules and a great track plan with lots of operational choices.
  ARodH Chief Train Controller

Location: East Oakleigh, Vic
I've looked at the HOG and couldn't work out how to localise it.
When it comes to sectional track I've found that most of my Australian stock needs a minimum  Peco/Hornsby R2 curve to be happy and that setrack points configured as a crossover makes anything longer than a VR PL carriage into derailment city.
  David Peters Dr Beeching

Location: "With Hey Boy".
One needs to remember a simple thing about curves though, sure a model will go round a 18 inch curve no problems but there is a stipulation that needs to be heeded, they do not state coupled to anything just that it will go round that curve which it will if placed on the track and pushed around or driven around the curve by it self.

Now couple some wagons to it and watch the derailments start, as has been said body mounted couplers do not have the amount of movement a coupler mounted on a bogie does. Body mounted couplers are the standard today only toys have bogie mounted couplers now. So the curve your model will go round happily could be a lot bigger than 18 inch radius. As a figure out of the air I would not go below 24 inch radius and even that is tight.

The couplers and the length of the models are the determining feature for what size curves to get or lay. You can make a bogie car go round practically any sized curve if you want to. But the longer the car the greater the radius of the curves needs to be.

Lets just you are running all 40 ft long models like a NSW BDX or something similar, these will go round a sharp curve coupled to another same size or shorter car no problems, but then you decide in your wisdom to buy a longer TNT type container car with body mounted couplers this where the problems start as once coupled into a train it will derail the cars either side of it because the couplers move way off centre of the track and it forces the other cars outward and so they derail. In that case you have to relay all the curves to a greater radius, or if you are smart you lay all the curves on your layout as big as possible in the first place, it is called planning ahead.  Better to use as large as possible radius first up though just in case you decide later on to get something a bit longer. The shorter stuff will still go around the curves though and longer stuff also looks better on larger curves as well, there is less sideways overhang on them.
  8619 Station Staff

That HOG layout is well thought-out, and I'd rather a modular layout- even something wider/ longer than 6x4 so I could accommodate wider radius curves.

However in this instance my options were limited, and I wanted a layout that enabled multi-track continuous running which is how I chose the Hornby prototype.

So far, the only set that derails is my 4-car U-Boat set, but I'm thinking some longer shank couplings will fix this.

The inner-track curves is Peco set-track ST226, I'm not sure how much that varies (to scale) from the tighter radius bends on the Sydney network?
  dthead Site Admin

Location: Melbourne, Australia
That HOG layout is well thought-out, and I'd rather a modular layout- even something wider/ longer than 6x4 so I could accommodate wider radius curves.

However in this instance my options were limited, and I wanted a layout that enabled multi-track continuous running which is how I chose the Hornby prototype.

So far, the only set that derails is my 4-car U-Boat set, but I'm thinking some longer shank couplings will fix this.

The inner-track curves is Peco set-track ST226, I'm not sure how much that varies (to scale) from the tighter radius bends on the Sydney network?
8619
In real life the trains could not get around the radius we use.  The tightest radius on the Sydney network is far bigger than any of your curves by a good margin.

You might be able to do modifications to couplers, bogie clearances. That will take some careful modelling to get done, and probally viod warrenty and resale value.

I still say it's your railway. At least you haven't ignored the advice and know the facts, that is good.

Regards,
David Head
  73LJWhiteSL Deputy Commissioner

Location: South East Melbourne Surburbs
As others have said its your railway and your decisions at the end of the day.

If the sharp corners are unavoidable, then you may need to look at running shorter rolling stock as per suggested by David above.

Instead of current day 75 foot SCT carriages and NRs/SCT etc. maybe look at an industrial theme or roll back towards the 1970s and 1960s.

That era there was still plenty of four wheels around and shorter locos.

As David said, the shorter rolling stock looks ok on sharper corners and will be more reliable to couple.

Myself I don't have a layout currently but am considering a very small shelf switching layout based on Victorian industrial area, serviced by a F class diesel and mainly 4 wheelers or short bogie stock.
  dthead Site Admin

Location: Melbourne, Australia
Well we have talked a lot about the size of the layout, be it table based or on the wall. Layout footprint is a major factor for table based layouts as you need to get around the table. Pushing the table against a wall is never great of it is tricky to reach the rear.

Have a look at these pictures to see more. The last is a imaginary around the wall layout. I does not have to be attached to the wall. It's size is whatever the  dimensions of the room is.

One construct is folded away to save space when not in use.This would mean the trains are stored on the wall side.


Something to ponder. the 4x6 has the tightest curves, the last one would allow decent curves.

Regards,
David Head








  8619 Station Staff

What's the tightest radius section available that (to scale) matches the tighter radius turns on the NSW network?
  dthead Site Admin

Location: Melbourne, Australia
No idea but it would still be a radius 3 times the ones you  have originally shown us, perhaps 4 times.  As many say the 18 inch is the stuff for small locos. 24 handles more. 30 inch handles mos aussie locos.

When someone tells us I won't be surprised, we run our train aroung very tight radiuses.

Regards,
David Head
  patsstuffnow Junior Train Controller

No idea of NSW
dthead


but in SA the minimum I am aware of was 10 chain radius.
That is 220 yards so divided by 87 we are looking at nearly 3 yard in modelling terms.
In rough maths you are looking at 100 inch. So no available curved track is that large a radius.

To be true to prototype you would need four 6 x 4's to complete a 90 degree turn.
  SA_trains Deputy Commissioner

Location: ACT
No idea of NSW


but in SA the minimum I am aware of was 10 chain radius.
That is 220 yards so divided by 87 we are looking at nearly 3 yard in modelling terms.
In rough maths you are looking at 100 inch. So no available curved track is that large a radius.

To be true to prototype you would need four 6 x 4's to complete a 90 degree turn.
patsstuffnow

By my math, it is more like 108 inches radius! Very Happy  (mind you, I've been metricated for some decades... how many metres is that???? Laughing )

However, that is not the point, the point is, that set track is massively unrealistic and as a generalisation, most model trains use radii that even pioneer logging lines don't use!

The other aspect though is that we as modelers need to make compromises to fit our layouts within the landscapes we are able to use.... a bed room, or a garage, or a rumpus room or even a purpose built building. My personal preference is that 24" radius is the tightest curve allowable. Larger is better.

I would strongly recommend that you have a (another?) look at the HOG layout. I'd also like you to think about how much landscape that you need for a 6x4 foot layout. Taking the 6x4 as an example, you really need 10x8 to have a two foot margin around the layout to enable getting to things. You could potentially get away with a little less, but the point is that if you invert the 6x4 into a 10x8 and have the layout go around you instead, then you are able to realise much larger radius curves, not to mention the easement into a curve that also enhances operational reliability.

My thoughts, but I truly believe that you will have a more successful layout as your starter if you have a go at the HOG.

Good luck,

Dan

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