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I spent some of the day today in the sleet and snow snowshoers trying to figure out a good track layout.  I came up with two but not sure what one to go with.  Here they are:


#1



 


#2


 


What does everyone else like best?  Can anyone else think of other options?  I have 6 sections of 3ft straight track, 20 sections of 6.5 ft curves and 4 sections of 1ft straights.  All track is Aristo brass.  I dont have it now but I plan on getting an aristo X wide switch.  What is the length of the X wide switch?   I know it is not a lot of track to play with but this is all I can afford for now.  I plan on expanding in the future but I just want something small for now, until I can work the kinks out and make sure I have time to maintain my layouts.  Any other ideas would be great. I plan on going more towards logging/mountain RR.  I am not going to run anything large.  More Narrow gauge. Thanks 


Images converted to links - exceed 640 pixel max. width - K
 

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Shawn.. Your images are waaayyyy too big. I believe there is a working limit of 640 x 480 pixels. I took the liberty of reducing them for you here.. 






That being said, I like the second one, the L shaped layout.

Cheers
DF
 

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Personal preference, Option #1.  Some hills could go in the S-curves and the trains will look nice "snaking" through them.
 

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Shawn (and others) Some forums, such as the Garden Railways forum, automatically reprocess photos to display them at a smaller size, and you can click on the photo to see the full-sized version. MLS does not, hence the 640 max. width rule. The photo dialogue box that opens when you add a photo to your posts has settings so you can reformat your photos to 640 pixels wide. The catch is that this does not reduce the file size of the image, just the display size--so dial-up folks still have to wait for your entire file to download regardless of how large it displays. (The same holds true for GR and other sites that reprocess images for display.) That's why we prefer images posted to MLS be natively 640 pixels wide at the widest when they're added.

Back to the topic at hand, I think option 2 gives you more room for gardening and a few towns, industries, and sidings. Todd's point about the S curves in example 1 is certainly valid, and I think I'd be tempted to work one such curve into one of the back straightaways.

Later,

K
 

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Shawn,
The Aristo X-wide switch is 18 9/16" long. I prefer your L shaped layout design also. I think it opens up the middle a little more for expansion and scenery.
 

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Shawn,

No matter how you configure your track think about how you're going to justify the curves with scenery. No railroad has curves in its track without reason. It might curve to parallel a river or an embankment, a boggy area, or even a range of hills. The way in which you visualize your scenery and your ability either to build it or fit it in should weigh mightily on how you lay out the track if you want it to look logical. If there are to be no hills as on a prairie type railroad for example then curves should be few and gentle to appear realistic.

Also think about how you're going to view it or operate it and remember access to the track, etc., for maintenance. Once you assess your desires and abilities design the track to conform.
 

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Be careful with S curves I had a few issues with mine that didnt go away until I added a short straight between each change in direction, as short as 6" worked for me. If you can add straight transitions to the S curves, I would go with #1 also.
 

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I like them both myself.  I agree with Richard too.  Form follows function, so you will have lots of things to think about.  I would think that initially the L-shaped layout would get you going, then later you could adopt your other pattern during an expansion phase.  It would all be good in the end, with trains running and you smiling.
 

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Two things I like about your L shaped idea:

1. You have a senic curvy section.
2. You have a couple long straights where your train can stretch out.
C. Lots of space around it for viewing and expansion.

(I'm dyslexic and can't count.)
 

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Agree with the comments about S-curves with this exception:  my experience is that if you use the very large radius curved sections such as LGB R5 or Aristo's 15 ft, 16.5 ft, or 20 ft diameter track, the problems are minimal if they exist at all.  Plus the more gently-curving track looks a bit more plausible - unless your modeling a mine railway. ;)    I have designed several arrangements using sectional track where the normal endloops use 8, 9 or 10 ft diam curves but along the way there are some 20 ft diam sections used for s-curves.

That said, I also agree with the comments made about #2.  But I can imagine scenery that would enhance and compliment #1.  Either has expansion possibilities. #1 is the basic toy train oval with the s-curve enhancements added for great effect.  Think of the umpteen ways that folks have added to the basic oval since O gauge tinplate days...(passing sidings, branch lines etc.)

The L-shape is probably more the model railroader's choice since it creates two seperate areas for towns/industries etc.

You're off to a good start!
 
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