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I got my first bit of track laid on the GLRR (Grampa's Little Railroad) when I began to realize I had no real plan on what I wanted the final product to look like so I decided I would ask for a little help from any and all that have an idea. My goal is to have 3 or 4 continues runs (Trolley or Inner Urban, and 2 mainlines, and a small mining train). My area is roughly 35 X 12 and my minimum radius all lines is 4' but I plan on using mostly 8' on the mainlines. I am not prototypical nor do I need a large yard though all lines will be run on to a side rail that leads to my basement for storage. OK folks, how about some ideas.

Thanks
 

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First make a list of "must haves", then a second list of "like to haves", then a list of "can affords"(including the "already haves")... You (usually) can't have everything, so prioritize the items on the lists.

From the answers on your 3 lists a common "theme" will usually start to appear. Remember, there is no real "wrong" way. Some have a garden with trains in it, some have a miniature railway that happens to be outside. And everyplace in between.
 
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My area is roughly 35 X 12 and my minimum radius all lines is 4' but I plan on using mostly 8' on the mainlines.


ehem.... two times 8 is 16. how do you want to fit a 16' loop in a 12' space?
 

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My plans and proprities are simple, it is a garden with trains running through it, with the occessional bridge, tunnle, old west style building, a load track that will lead from the tracks to my basement for storage. The only things that is planned for sure id my wife wants a small pond and a small waterfall, the nicest thing is that money is not an issue for this, if it takes a few years, no problem.
 

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I would proably do something like this. 10' dia. and 8' dia. double main around the outside and set your water fall and pond back far enough to run a smaller dai. around it. 12' width of your layout is pretty restrictive of to much railroad in it if you want some scenery also. My saying is also" keep it simple"

My layout is about 20' X 30' with 11 1/2' diam and 10' dia. curves on the double main. going around the outside and 8'dia and smaller on the small loop around the pond. This lets me run 3 trains at once. Set back and watch them run is what I like.
 

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Bill,

I think I would lay out and install the mainline around the periphery of your space first, possibly a two track mainline that would allow you to run one train in each direction for interest. Then you could see how much space is left for the other features you want and install them as you can at your leisure. In the meantime you'll be able to run trains quickly. As long as you aren't planning on any heavy equipment use in the RR's center there shouldn't be any problem with the track already installed. Too, if needed on temporary basis to provide access for building a pond, etc., you could remove a section of the maineline(s) for a bit.

For basic design Leon's railroad pictured above looks like it would fit your needs admirably. Very neatly done with good access and good view of the trains.
 

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Here is a simple plan I did. You can make it larger and keep the basic shape and also add a turnout or two. Then you can run something on the outside of it. It worked out really well for me and it allowed me to really do a lot with it. I will try and post a more updated picture of what it looks like with mtns and tunnels.




 
 

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Since I don't know how old or limber you are (or likely to remain) I will toss out the suggestion that if you are getting on, or have bad knees, that you might want to consider raising the whole lot off the ground. Either with a retaining wall and fill, or just an elevated ladder roadbed. Added expense at the outset, but possible added years of enjoyment later on.
 

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Good point by Mik. I'm still a relative newbie to outdoor trains, but I seen numerous comments about being able to get down and work on the ground if you have any knee/back issues. My first two attempts at laying loops of track are on the ground. I live in a forest of oak trees, and the lives literally bury the tracks up to a foot in the fall. I have to sweep the track every time I want to run a train. The last two loops I have built have been mostly raised on treated lumber. I have backfilled some sections with mulch to create a terrace effect.

My actual layouts seem to be driven by how much track I have acquired by the time I get around to building something. That and the location of the trees. Buying a box every month or so is much easier to slip by the family budget manager than trying to get a thousand dollars worth of track authorized in one purchase.

Paul
 

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Even if you have good knees and back, you still might want to consider raising the layout. It's a question of point of view. When the layout is, say, 2 1/2 feet up from ground level, then when you are sitting down, the trains are about eye level. When they are on the ground, then you have the "eye of god" veiwpoint. Both valid, but very different. My layout is on the ground, but has a long up grade, so that part of it is at eye level. I find the raised part to be much more satisfying than the lower part.

Also, do you think you might take photos of your trains? Much easier if up higher. 99% of the pix I take are on the raised part.

In regards to the other comments on your layout, the 12 foot dimension is really going to limit what you can run. You said you aren't worried about being prototypical, so I will not say anything about the appearance of long equipment on tight curves, but there is the very real problem of overhang. The tracks have to be farther apart on curves to avoid crashes. Trolleys are good, as are SHORT mining cars. Interurbans may or may not work, depending on exactly what you have in mind.
 

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Posted By VillageRail on 04/29/2008 8:42 AM
My actual layouts seem to be driven by how much track I have acquired by the time I get around to building something. That and the location of the trees. Buying a box every month or so is much easier to slip by the family budget manager than trying to get a thousand dollars worth of track authorized in one purchase.
Paul




Which is exactly what I was doing until a tube of 12 rails of stainless from Aristo went from a little over $125 to well over $450!/DesktopModules/NTForums/themes/mls/emoticons/crazy.gif There is no possible way I can slip "that" into a monthly budget. My car payment(s) isn't that much!/DesktopModules/NTForums/themes/mls/emoticons/pinch.gif

Chas
 

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Doh! I feel your pain Chas. I feel guilty going into my local train shop and buying one or two feet of track. But the only time I buy from him is when I need an extra piece. I hate that because I really enjoy hanging out and just talking trains with him. You should see the stack of sorry looking used track I have bought lately. As soon as I got wind of copper prices going up, I started stockpiling boxes with no real plans to build at that time. I still have around 200 feet to work with. At one point Aristo had old stock aluminum on their site for around $80 a box of 48. I called the same week they announced the increase in brass track prices to order, and was told the price had gone up about $50. I asked why, and was told not so politely there was a sudden demand for the aluminum track they could not sell before. Can't argue the simple economics, but I ever so politely declined. ;-)

Paul
 

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To be fair, I checked and Aristo still has the aluminum at $136 for 48 feet, which was the list before the brass increases. The lower price was a sale price that ended as soon as there was some demand.

As for layout plans, I'm no longer looking at one really big loop. I'll probably add some separate inner loops with 4 and 5 foot radius to visually make it appear more is going on.

Paul
 
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