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Going large - building large layouts - Layout Design, Trackwork & Operation. - Getting You Started. - Your Model Railway Club
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 Posted: Wed Feb 5th, 2020 10:09 pm
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BCDR
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Hi Barry,

I raise it because it happened to my next door neighbor when his next door neighbor had a large garage built. Which got torn down. I've never lived anywhere in the UK long enough to accumulate light years.

Our current property was bid on, money moved around, title searches done, contracts drawn up, notarized, and we moved in less than a month. Could have been sooner except we weren't ready. And that was an estate sale. Last but one hose we sold in the UK had a chain of 15 and had me telephoning the solicitors,  buyers and sellers to get things moving along. Even spoke to a Chief Constable who was supposed to be supplying a letter of reference for one of his bobbies to get a mortgage.

Nigel





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 Posted: Wed Feb 5th, 2020 11:28 pm
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Barry Miltenburg
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BCDR wrote:

Our current property was bid on, money moved around, title searches done, contracts drawn up, notarized, and we moved in less than a month.



Wow, if you could bottle that and sell it in the UK you would be rich man!!

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 Posted: Thu Feb 6th, 2020 02:47 am
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BCDR
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It's called "not a solicitor in site"

Nigel



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 Posted: Sat Feb 8th, 2020 03:58 pm
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Barry Miltenburg
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A useful if not entirely successful day today.

We drove the 80 miles or so to the showground where I hoped to be able to see a shed, similar to the one I am having but alas, they did not have such a beast on show (despite the keenness of their invite to show me their sheds :sad:).

However, it was useful to chat to the chief shed builder who was able to give me lots of info a trusses, frame sizes and other shed-geeky stuff that will come in useful when I talk to the Buildings Control Inspector.

I have just spent a bit of time at the local railway club where their test track is 28ft x 12ft to do some "visual" testing - I read somewhere that trains should occupy 1/3 of the visible length of a layout in order to give an aesthetic balance.  As someone who takes a keen interest in all design stuff (if nothing else to prove it either good or twaddle), I have been setting out my intended freight trains on the test track and Hey!, there is some merit in this one.  15 wagon freights look a bit lost whilst 35 wagons looks really long.  As I intend to run 20-28 wagon trains, I am now happy that this "1/3rd" theory is a good one.

Barry

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 Posted: Sat Feb 8th, 2020 04:11 pm
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Petermac
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That's interesting - 1/3rd of the length...………..

Does that mean your trains should be 1/3rd of the available length long or that only 1/3rd of the length should be populated by trains - regardless of individual train length ?




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 Posted: Sat Feb 8th, 2020 04:45 pm
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Barry Miltenburg
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Peter

The theory is that a train should, ideally, be 1/3rd of the length of the visible section so in my case, where the visible section through Yarslow station is about 30ft, trains should be no longer than about 10ft.

On the old Yarslow layout where the visible section was only about 14ft, 6-coach trains (6ft 6ins long) looked a bit big but the 4-coach locals (about 4ft 3 ins long) looked much better.  It was this that triggered my interest in the "visual testing". 

Incidentally, it also led me to create a number of videos of freight trains containing 18, 20, 22 and 24 wagons.  Watching them back persuaded me that 40 or 50 wagon trains were pointless on that layout - I could apply some compression and run a 22-24 wagon train that looked very long and produce the same visual effect as a 45-wagon train. 

That principle has been applied to the new layout.  A 10ft freight train comes in at about 30 wagons so this is my "optimum" length.  Loaded coal and ore trains are shorter (because they are heavier) at 24 wagons whilst the fitted (Class E) and empties (Class J) have 30 wagons.  The really small milk working (6 tanks + BG) is somehwat lost but this is a good thing - it shows up the light loadings of these types of trains.

Clearly this Rule should be applied with caution - a small shunting plank, where high density trackwork and a crowded feel are sought, would be ruined if every train was 2 wagons long (and the loco became a high proportion of the train length).

Barry

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 Posted: Mon Feb 10th, 2020 05:13 pm
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BCDR
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Hi Barry,


Interesting comments about the % of scenic board occupied by a train. Out of interest I looked up the prototype I'm modeling. This had van and wagon limits depending on the engine, gradients and siding space available. For a 517 class this was 7 coal wagons,10 vans or 14 empties for up workings. Layout (long plank) is ~140', a maximum of 14 empties + the locomotive is ~40%, for 10 vans is ~29% for 7 wagons ~21%. Less for down workings as there was a gradient to deal with. A figure of 30% seems at first glance to be a useful average to consider when running trains. More by chance than any forward planning my sector table has a usable track length of 31.5". Using 3.5" for a wagon/van and allowing 5" for the 517 that will fit 5 wagons, a brake brake, and the locomotive. Just. Definitely a " Well I Never" moment occurred after I measured it. Lots of "Horlicks!" and the like. Good job my wife is out. Live and learn. Interesting lesson here perhaps regarding storage yards, traversers and sector plate sizes versus the length of trains on a layout.

My passenger train limit would be 3.5. feet - 2 carriages and one engine, or 1 carriage, 2 vans and one engine. Does that work with 2 carriages and 2 vans or 3 carriages where 1 is a short matchstick trailer? Probably....there is around 36" between the run around points. The sector plate really needs to have at least 3.75 feet of track. Aargh! Size matters! Salutary lesson here. Back to the drawing board. Definitely a day at the woodworking shop.

Came across this in the March 2020 Model Railroader. 60 x 30 feet. 1800 square feet/167 square meters. The lower level staging track length is around 15 feet, enough for 30 HO freight cars. ~9%.
The main line run is around 160 feet, 30% is around 48 feet or around 90 freight cars. Hmm. I think the 30% may have practical issues with medium and large sized layouts.

I was at a show Saturday where a 15 car passenger train was running on a very big layout. So that should go on a layout with a 50 feet scenic length. The layout was a roundy-roundy around 50 feet long and 15 feet wide - 130 feet of scenic board. Looked fine. 39 passenger cars would just look silly. As would the stations. That said, running 3-4 passenger cars on a mainline express looks out of place. 10 plus the locomotive is more like it. So applying the 30% suggestion that is around 37 feet of scenic board. Basically a 12 x 8 foot room.

Nigel











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 Posted: Mon Feb 10th, 2020 07:36 pm
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Barry Miltenburg
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Hi NIgel

I can't remember where I read the original comment and with everything in store, I am not sure that I could find it again!!

The 30% thing is not going to be an exact science but its strange how the layouts I like (visually) come somewhere close to this ratio.

I am not sure that I would take a saw to your layout just to fit this theory - if you are happy with what you have, that is surely the most important thing.

Barry

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 Posted: Mon Feb 10th, 2020 11:34 pm
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BCDR
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Hi Barry, 

I rather like the sector layout, so no, it will stay. What I am contemplating is reworking one end to get a few more inches, say 3"-6") and or building a 4 x 1.25 foot cassette board and 4 cassettes as a replacement for when I run longer freight trains. Passenger running is not actually a problem, as the ruling factor is the run around space. Around 3 feet is enough for  two 4- and 6-wheel passenger carriages as they are only 5.5" long, as are the SIPHONS. A 59 foot passenger trailer is around 10" , so even there I can have 2 carriages (one short, one long) plus a SIPHON or 2.

What your comment brought home was that train length needs to correspond to storage track length. And that 30% is actually quite a good number for a small to medium layout.

Nigel



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 Posted: Fri Feb 14th, 2020 05:33 pm
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Barry Miltenburg
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Hi guys

Big update today as I have cleared out Hattons, Rails of Sheffield and TrackShack of their Code 75 pointwork stocks.  I have ordered 76 units (10 on a pre-order) to ensure that I can get everything I want.  There is loads of plain track about but Peco are, apparently, behind on production with the pointwork - especially the short radius stuff which I guess is popular.

There is no suggestion from Peco (according to Hattons) that the Code 75 production will stop, its just that they are behind, perhaps with a combination of Bullhead production and the reluctance of traffic coming out of China virus-free.

:cry: :cry:

I will have to add up my requirements for plain track, joiners, pins etc and get that stuff ordered to so that I can be ready to go when the time comes, whenever that is.................... [image of tumbleweed blowing through scene!!]

Barry

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 Posted: Sat Feb 15th, 2020 01:34 am
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76 units!

I bet you get a Xmas card from your bank :lol:

Cheers
Evan

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 Posted: Sat Feb 15th, 2020 12:16 pm
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Barry Miltenburg
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Evan

Now that I'm on a roll I ordered the remaining 10 points that Hattons didn't have from TrackShack along with a bundle of rail joiners, IRJs and track pins.  I still need about 12 boxes of track and 70 point motors but will tackle that when I know the exact quantites.

One of the advantages of planning a project like this from a long way out is the ability to build up a pile of pennies.  Its gives me a good kick to look at the shopping list and think "I've got the wherewithall to buy all that!!"

The overall budget for the project was about £15,000 from the point of moving to this new location - that is on top of the equipment I already have.  Because this layout is an continuation of previous layouts, I have already acquired 50-odd locomotives and about 450 pieces of rolling stock, a couple dozen points and about 70 yards of track.  There are also boxes of trees, buildings, lineside bits, etc etc.  It would have been a big mistake to have jumped straight into this size of project without having built up a stock of both bits and experience.  I strongly believe that I have made all the schoolboy errors during the previous 4 or 5 layouts!!

The shed will cost £7,000.

I also have a very clear plan of what I want.  By being focussed in this way, my collection of locomotives and rolling stock does not contain anything that doesn't fit into this layout.  Much as I like the ex-MR open cab 0-6-0T or the SDJR 0-4-4T I have resisted buying them.  Any old stuff that lingered from earlier projects has been sold and the pennies added to the pile. 

I know its ruthless and many on this forum like to buy what they like but if this layout is to come in on budget, I have to stay focussed.  I also have to keep a detailed Rolling Stock Register so that I know what I've got and a precise idea of train formations (especially passenger trains) so that I only buy the exact coaches and wagons I need.  I have been collecting to get the right number of fish vans, tanks, bolsters and other specialist wagons and just need to build up the numbers of general wagons to populate the various fitted and unfitted freights - I need another 250 wagons and 40-odd coaches.

A lot of what I buy comes from eBay - much derided by many but if you are careful about what you buy and ask questions in cases of uncertainty, there are many bargains to be had.  I do not have an issue with the better wagons from the earlier Bachmann, Hornby and Dapol catalogues and the Hornby Railroad range contains some nice pieces - especially wagons.  Most of my trains will run in fixed formations but where shunting is required, I only use new wagons with small "hook and bar" couplings.  The larger versions used previously by Hornby, Dapol etc are confined to the fixed formations.  Any one train will only contain wagons sharing the same coupling type.

I have just taken delivery (in the middle of typing this) of a couple of the Dapol undecorated vans - they are decent models and at £5 each, worth the effort.  The budget for the layout assumes wagons will cost £20 each and coaches will cost £45 each.  These figures are very rarely reached so I have a fair amount of leeway for the odd lapse (like a Heljan Clayton that I really don't need but like) - even my determined focus gets a bit blurred BUT it still fits into the overall scheme!!!

Barry

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 Posted: Sat Feb 15th, 2020 12:57 pm
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Barry Miltenburg
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Perhaps I ought to put a bit of context into the conversation - we are about to spend £90,000 repairing and improving the new house to get exactly what we want in addition to the Railway budget.

Am I high-rolling, Ferrarri driving Wolf of Wall Street type? 

No (I drive a FIAT Panda!!).

We sold our 3-bed house in West London and have bought a 4-bed Victorian villa in Merseyside with enough change to carry out improvements, build an enormous railway AND live happily ever after - such is the North-South divide oft discussed.

Barry

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 Posted: Sat Feb 15th, 2020 01:15 pm
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And me

Stephen



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 Posted: Sat Feb 15th, 2020 01:27 pm
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Petermac
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I'm in awe at your shopping list Barry - if I sold my Ferrari, I could probably match you.  As it is, like you, I'm very focussed and currently saving hard for the Ferrari ………………. :lol: :lol:

From your budgeted prices, you may well pick up some wagons but I fear, such is the latest hike in prices,  new coaches may well be beyond you ………………..

Who would have thought, a couple of years ago,  that having a budget of £45 for a coach would be pushing your luck !!!

It's all beginning to look very exciting - can't wait to see the size of your "work in progress" pile !!



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 Posted: Sat Feb 15th, 2020 01:58 pm
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Hi Barry,

Nothing like a plan, lots of focus, a list and a register. Plus a bit of leeway for the odd piece that strikes your fancy. Doesn't matter what the budget is either. Apart from kits and "bits" 100% of what rolling stock I have is from shows or eebuygum. Surprisingly (well, not actually) a lot of GWR stock is coming up over here at shows and on the auction sites. Usually in excellent condition. 

Nigel




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 Posted: Sat Feb 15th, 2020 02:44 pm
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Barry Miltenburg
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Hi all

Luckily, there is still a lot to do that does not involve parting with cash.

Last night I produced a drawing of the baseboards with all of the cross-bracing positioned to avoid the point motors that will be mounted under the baseboards.  From this I was able to determine the number of plywood sheets that I am using for baseboard tops.  I have always used 9mm well braced with 2x1 inch (nominal) timber - unbraced areas should not exceed about 18 inches square.  I may use an open topped design for the branch but both Yarslow and Trinity Square will need solid tops.

I also spend quiet evenings trawling the internet for ideas - I found this one last night;



Its a painting, I know, but this could be the way that the tracks appear on-scene at Roe Halt - the factory could be where the houses stand and the halt would be beyond the signal box.  The garages on the left act as a view-blocker and the gasholders are replaced by warehousing either low-relief or on the backscene (TownScenes do something similar).  If I could capture even half of the atmosphere of Rob Rowlands work I shall be very pleased. (From the colours I'm guessing this is Welsh valleys or outskirts of town - my version would have a NER flavour).

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 Posted: Sat Feb 15th, 2020 09:19 pm
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Barry Miltenburg wrote:
.....The overall budget for the project was about £15,000 from the point of moving to this new location - that is on top of the equipment I already have.  Because this layout is an continuation of previous layouts, I have already acquired 50-odd locomotives and about 450 pieces of rolling stock, a couple dozen points and about 70 yards of track. ....

The shed will cost £7,000.

Barry

Now that's some Budget, is the Shed on top of or part of the £15K? 

Colin




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 Posted: Sat Feb 15th, 2020 10:40 pm
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Barry Miltenburg
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Hi Colin

The shed is included in the budget total - not even I could spend £15000 on just track and stock!!!
Barry

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 Posted: Sun Feb 16th, 2020 03:26 am
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Colin W
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Just checking! Mind you £8,000 is not a bad effort given the current rolling stock/ track already accounted for!



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