Railroad Line Forums
Railroad Line Forums
Home | Profile | Register | Active Topics | Members | Search | FAQ
Username:
Password:
Save Password
Forgot your Password?

 All Forums
 Model Railroad Forums
 Model Railroad Construction
 New Layout-Penn Central Era
 New Topic  Reply to Topic
 Printer Friendly
Next Page
Author Previous Topic Topic Next Topic
Page: of 16

pcmatt
Engine Wiper

USA
186 Posts

Posted - 07/04/2009 :  01:25:18 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Finally got the courage up to start a topic and post some pics of the beginning stages of my 1st layout. Being a true novice, I believe this will be a great place to get tips/advice/best practices and the "what in the world are you doing/thinking?" reply. I really enjoy looking at the work everyone has posted and over time can only hope to get to the level of expertise that many of you exhibit. I have been "permitted" to use half of my basement to build a layout after years of collecting and being an arm-chair modeler. My wife is very supportive of my hobby but she finally has laid down an ultimatum to "use it or lose it" with regards to the space.

The layout room is 10'x30'(hope to get the rights to the remaining 16'x24' in about 15 years after all the kids are grown up!!!). When we remodeled our basement, the walls and ceiling were insulated and sheetrocked, outlets are spaced out every 6' and a subpanel was installed in the basement. The plans are for the layout to have 3 levels: lower level at 28" for staging, middle level at 42" and the top level at 60". The layout will be around the walls at varying widths. I'll be using Code 100 Atlas flextrack with Peco/Atlas turnouts, Digitrax SuperChief DCC, Tortoises on the mainline and Caboose Industries ground throws in the yards and branches. We (with the help of Bruce aka SteamNut) have started building a helix that is partially tucked underneath the steps. It's octagonal in design and has a post in the middle of it-yes that's right there's a post in the middle of the helix-pictures to follow on a separate post.

The plans are to model the Penn Central, 1969-74. Why the Penn Central??? I'm constantly getting ribbed about that decision. I was born and raised in Conway PA but after the demise of the PRR. I originally set out to model the PRR but have come to appreciate the PC. My interest lies in the Panhandle Division, specifically Mingo Jct/Weirton W.Va area. I will attempt to accurately capture the feel of the area. While following the towns geographically, I don't have the room to model everything. I will attempt to accurately capture the feel of the area with a focus on operations. I have always had an interest in modeling the heavy industries of Southwestern PA/Ohio/WVa. I was growing weary of that choice but Steam was encouraging and I was lucky to get invited to operate on Harsco. Wanna talk about a layout-holy smokes!!! Not to mention the timeline. If I can capture a tenth of what Rick has done, I'll consider it a success. So here's some pics of the layout room with the staging level set. Thanks for taking the time to review my post. (And thanks Mark for the tips on posting pics-much appreciated)

This is the layout room looking to the left:


This is the layout room looking to the right (towards the helix):


A quick shot of the twice rebuilt staging yard:

http://www.railroad-line.com/forum/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=26375

hunter48820
Fireman

USA
6101 Posts

Posted - 07/04/2009 :  07:25:16 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Hi Matt,
Since this is your first post (and quite a first post![:-eyebrows]), welcome! Glad that you have started a thread on your layout for us to follow. Looks like you have a great start to a very nice one. You also have some great friends and fellow model railroaders to help you! Can you give us a little more info and overview of what you are modeling (I'm not very familiar with that area) and how you will be operating?

Looking forward to photo updates!!

Look out for #1, but don't step in #2!

Andy Keeney
Dewitt, MI
Go to Top of Page

Harsco
Fireman

USA
1200 Posts

Posted - 07/04/2009 :  07:33:29 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Matt, you sly dog, you've been holding out! Nice work....and thanks for posting; I'm bookmarking the page. As for the steel aspect, you know that you have an open invitation for whatever assistance or resources you need..just ask. I have TONS of pictures and can help figure out an arrangement to suit your operational needs. Keep the pics and posts coming...
Go to Top of Page

hunter48820
Fireman

USA
6101 Posts

Posted - 07/04/2009 :  08:05:33 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Hi Matt,
At first I wasn't going to bring this up but since you are just starting, I thought I'ld mention it!

Have you given thought to using code 83 rather than code 100 track for you layout? Of course, if you already have all your track, then it is a mute point but if not it may be worth thinking about. I use code 100 in areas that are hidden such as staging and the helix but 83 in all exposed areas.

Look out for #1, but don't step in #2!

Andy Keeney
Dewitt, MI

Edited by - hunter48820 on 07/04/2009 08:39:14 AM
Go to Top of Page

akimmons
Fireman

USA
1368 Posts

Posted - 07/04/2009 :  08:31:39 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Another Jersey layout!![:-jump2]

Arnold Kimmons
General Manager
Royal & Edisto Railroad
http://www.railroad-line.com/forum/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=19182
Go to Top of Page

George D
Moderator

USA
11219 Posts

Posted - 07/04/2009 :  08:43:50 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Matt, welcome to the RR-Line. You have an ambitious project ahead of you and it looks like youíre off to a good start. Thatís an impressive staging yard.

I agree with Andy about code 83. If itís not too late, you may want to reconsider using code 100.

Iím looking forward to watching your progress.

George
Go to Top of Page

dnhman
Fireman

USA
1056 Posts

Posted - 07/04/2009 :  09:10:48 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Hey, Matt glad you found the forum,, Looks like your off to good start. Have you looked into hooking up with the PC historical groups? Not sure if you know Jim who operates at John R's? He is long standing member there.
Keep at it,, joe

Cheers!, Joe
Go to Top of Page

LVN
Fireman

Canada
5210 Posts

Posted - 07/04/2009 :  11:23:41 AM  Show Profile  Visit LVN's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Welcome Matt. Quite the project you have there. Looking forward to following your thread.

Chris Lyon
http://www.lyonvalleynorthern.blogspot.com
Go to Top of Page

MarkF
Engineer

USA
10370 Posts

Posted - 07/04/2009 :  12:05:33 PM  Show Profile  Visit MarkF's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Matt, WOW! SteamNut had told me of your layout and we've discussed your helix on many occassions, but seeing the pictures, well, WOW! What a nice room you have and the size is impressive as well. Our layouts will be very similar. I'm really looking foward to exchanging ideas with you and watching your layout progress. I hope to someday make down to your place and see it in person.

Mark

See my homepage at http://home.comcast.net/~prrndiv/
Go to Top of Page

Frederic Testard
Engineer

France
17604 Posts

Posted - 07/04/2009 :  4:57:29 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Welcome aboard, Matt. The layout will be something!

Frederic Testard
Go to Top of Page

nhguy
Fireman

USA
4240 Posts

Posted - 07/05/2009 :  02:01:16 AM  Show Profile  Visit nhguy's Homepage  Send nhguy a Yahoo! Message  Reply with Quote
Matt, Welcome. And a very good start I must say.

I have built an octagon helix and there are plenty of photos on my Web Shots page on the link below. If you need assistance or have questions about it let me know.

I think the code of the rail question is more for what's 'going to show' rather than what is in the staging and helix. I used code 83 for all of my rail including staging, but mixing the codes (rail height) is common practice.

Hand throws are good for about 3 feet on the lower level, about 2 feet on the second level and about a foot and a half on the top. I use a lot of Tortoise machines on my track as some of it is 65 inches off the floor. They come in handy for those hard to reach spots.

It's off to a great start!

Bill Shanaman
Superintendent, Chief Track Cleaner,
New Haven RR in the 1948 to 1952 era
PMRA President 2014-15, OpSIG Member
NCE User Since 1999
Sugar City, Colorado
Go to Top of Page

mainetrains
Fireman

USA
1373 Posts

Posted - 07/05/2009 :  04:40:40 AM  Show Profile  Visit mainetrains's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Welcome to the forum Matt. Looking forward to watching the progress on your layout. Looks like it will be fantastic. You will find great advice from the folks here...they really know their stuff. I must tell you I'm crazy jealous about how much room you have.
I am a little perplexed about the height of your staging track. I've never built a multi-level layout but it seems a liitle low. I know I would find myself stepping on it to reach the higher areas.
Outside of that your plan sounds great. I use tortoise switch machines and love them. Also have a super chief and have never had any problems.

Keep up the good work and again welcome to the forum...don't be a stranger.

Dave [:-banghead]

"there's something happening here, what it is ain't exactly clear"

Check out the Hard Knox Valley Railroad at -
http://www.mainetrains.webs.com/

Edited by - mainetrains on 07/05/2009 04:42:01 AM
Go to Top of Page

pcmatt
Engine Wiper

USA
186 Posts

Posted - 07/05/2009 :  7:34:30 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Hey Guys,

Thanks for the replies, great to hear from everyone. Looking forward to keeping you up-to-date with the progress. Will also keep me motivated to keep things moving (as if the wife threatening to take the room isn't enough!!!). I will attempt to answer some of the questions/suggestions that have been put forward. Thank-you for offering them up.

Code 83 vs Code 100: The decision was made to go with Code 100 based on the supply of track that I have accumulated over the past 10 years. Several years back I bought part of someone's collection which included about 600' of NS Code 100 flex. I have since added another 450' of Atlas to that stockpile. But I do have some Code 83 Atlas as well which will be used on some sidings/industries. Unfortunately, try explaining to your wife the difference between code 83 & 100!!! LOL. Picking my battles as you can see. Funny how everything our wives buy is always $20 and it was on SALE but the same doesn't work for us.

Octagonal Helix: Bill-where were you a couple of years ago??? Could've really used you. I appreciate the offer and if we run into any problems, I'll be sure to check back. I will be submitting some info and pics on the helix as well as some of the research that went into it. So more to follow very soon.

PCRRHS- Funny you bring that up Joe, just spoke to Jim a couple of weeks ago at John's and joined up that following weekend. It should be very helpful as a resource going forward. You can never have enough. Rick has also directed me to some very good interest groups on the steel industry.

Rick & Mark I'll definitely be picking your brains going forward-thanks again for the offer.

The next submission I'll do is on the helix and then a second one on the layout in a little more detail regarding what I hope to accomplish with the area I'm modeling. Till then-thanks again everyone. Great hearing from everyone.

http://www.railroad-line.com/forum/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=26375
Go to Top of Page

Harsco
Fireman

USA
1200 Posts

Posted - 07/05/2009 :  8:56:37 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Hmmmm....modeling "PC" (pinching nose with fingers), but his handle is "prrmatt"? Holy Keystone, Batman!

Seriously, don't sweat the Code 100, Matt.....if you stay prototypical to your railroad and era, the trains will be derailing left and right no matter WHAT size rail you use! LOL
Go to Top of Page

pcmatt
Engine Wiper

USA
186 Posts

Posted - 07/05/2009 :  10:34:12 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Hey Rick-you got me there!!! You can see where my loyalties are leaning but I wasn't around for the PRR. To best capture the essence of PC's track conditions, I guess I should handlay it. Just throw down a couple of ties down in random fashion, lay the rail down-never mind setting the gauge...LOL If I could get away with switching to 83, I'd do it in a heartbeat.

http://www.railroad-line.com/forum/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=26375
Go to Top of Page

pcmatt
Engine Wiper

USA
186 Posts

Posted - 07/06/2009 :  12:02:06 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
The Octagonal Helix

Here's the update on the progress of the helix. Before I get started, I have to recognize SteamNut for his efforts and dedication to getting this thing built. Without him, I'd still have a stack of wood cut to make a bunch of stop signs. And they say it couldn't be done!!! Yeah try and tell that to Bruce. Not to mention there's a structural post for the house going right through the middle of it.

I always knew I'd need one to get between the levels and contemplated going with the standard "curved" helix. The helix is double tracked at 27 1/2" inner and 30" outer. Wish I could go at least 30" on the inside but due to space constraints I had to go a little tighter. The other restraint that I have is the stringers from the steps that are sitting at 65". So this has a role in me determining the heights of the levels of the layout. Starting top down: 60" top to address any clearance issues with that stringer, 42"(giving 18" clearance from top level) and 28" (14" clearance).

After reading the RMC 12/04 article (I can't remember the author) on the octagonal approach I decided to give it a try. I liked the fact that it minimized the "scrap" wood left over from cutting the forms. This helped reduce the $$$ too. The article didn't really identify in a simple manner how to get your measurements for the helix. About two years ago, I found a link to a site that provided a simple 4 step process using the Windows Calculator in Scientific mode to get the exact measurements. Not to mention that it took less than 3 minutes to run through the calculation.

Here's the link: http://buster2058.netfirms.com/octagon/octagon.htm

If you're thinking of going with an octagonal helix-I highly recommend this site. This thing works down to the 30th decimal place. After using it, I was set to get started.

For my helix, I chose 7-ply plywood (23/32") ripped down to 8" strips. Using the calculator, I determined the outer length for each piece of the octagon to be 25 11/16". I came to this length from the referred website using 62" x 62" as my footprint(or square) for the helix. The plywood strips were then cut down to the desired length at 22 1/2 degrees. The next step was to secure roadbed to the plywood sections. For roadbed, I took 1/16" cork found in any craft store or office supply store. I bought it by the roll and custom cut each piece. The cork was glued to each piece using flooring adhesive bought at the local hardware store. I allowed it to set 2 days with about 50lbs sitting on it. To fasten the pieces of the helix together, I use metal mending plates with short wood screws. I chose the cork and mending plates to minimize any clearance issues. The total height of the section is roughly 13/16". It allows 4" between the top-of-the-rails of both the lower preceeding level and the next level. Keep in mind that each "level" has to be built with at least one removable piece to get it around the post.

I originally planned on using wood supports around the perimeter to support the helix in place. Thank-you Bruce!!! Talk about hitting the lottery. Steam had suggested going with 3/8" threaded rods (2 to each piece in the helix for a total of 16 rods)fastened with washers and nuts on the top and bottom of each. The rods are placed at the middle interior and the outer left corner of each piece. This is the way we proceeded. This thing is solid as a brick wall and doesn't rely on the mending plates for any strength. They merely hold the pieces flush together. Unfortunately, I designed and we initially built the thing going the wrong way. After Steam had run it by a couple of the other guys, he alerted me to this fact and down it came. The next time he came back, we reset the helix to run the "correct" way(counter-clockwise)for operational purposes. I have since rebuilt the helix to the middle level and we're now ready to set the 3 curved turnouts on the helix. So the pictures below show where we sit as of now. Feeders have also been dropped at the 10,2 and 6 o'clock positions on each level. There are 2 additional pictures showing the trackwork coming into the helix. I will have to scan the sketch of the plan and post it so everyone can see the trackplan for the helix. He did one helluva job on it. The only downside is for the middle level, everything has to exit/enter the helix on the outer track. The inner track will run from staging level to the top level only.

Just as a note, all turnouts in the helix are Peco Code 100 large radius(30"/50")curved Insulfrogs. They will be controlled by Tortoises positioned on the inside of the helix.

Thanks again for taking the time to review the post. I look forward to your comments.

Overview to the middle level:

Coming into the helix:

Going into the helix:

http://www.railroad-line.com/forum/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=26375
Go to Top of Page
Page: of 16 Previous Topic Topic Next Topic  
Next Page
 New Topic  Reply to Topic
 Printer Friendly
Jump To:
Railroad Line Forums © 2000-14 Railroad Line Co. Go To Top Of Page
Steam was generated in 0.41 seconds. Snitz Forums 2000