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Author Previous Topic: Martin G. Jones Machine Shop Topic Next Topic: The Whiskey Gap & Southern Railroad
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Dan
Section Hand

Posted - 08/09/2017 :  3:40:42 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Over the years, I had become complacent about the scenery streaming past the Pullman windows on the train ride of life. I hardly noticed being switched down the Old Fart Branch until the train slowed for a flag-stop station that had an unusual name. Its sign board read "Superannuate." What really got my attention was when I checked the schedule and the next station stop would be "Elderly" followed by the one at "Geriatric." For all intents and purposes, the latter will be the end of the line.

This prompted me to take a look at where I am now and where I will most likely be in the near future. I am currently living in a house with space for building a layout. However, all too soon, i will be downsized into a modest senior's apartment or, in a worst case scenario, into a care facility.

Therefore, if I am going to build a layout, I had better start now, but I do not want it to be a major project. I think "unpretentious, but fulfilling" would be an apt description. I envision a small, semi-permanent layout, one with graceful curves and prototype operations, that can easily be relocated whenever the need arises.

While dreamers of big layouts yearn for homes with suitable basements, I am hoping for a senior's apartment with a walk-in closet that can accommodate the proposed layout. If that does not work out, the layout is going to occupy prime living space.

To be ready for either situation, it should emulate a piece of furniture. Actually, a real piece of furniture, a suitable "bar height" or "pub height" table, is a layout option. However ADA compliant doorways, which are thirty-two inches wide, can limit the size of a table-top layout.

Layout height and ADA doorways are both mentioned because, as one gets older, debilitating medical conditions can occur at any time. Therefore, to compliment the interior of the new apartment, the layout should also be handicapped accessible, for the lack of a better term.

Ideally, the layout should follow most of the ADA recommendations for wheelchair use. This means that it can be operated, without assistance, from a sitting position using a seat height of nineteen inches. In addition, it should have a clear access path, thirty-six inches wide, to the operating position.

The average wheelchair eye level is forty-seven inches. According to the recommendations of the NMRA, our layouts tend to look better when viewed from near eye level, so an appropriate layout height would be about forty inches. This height also allows a comfortable forward reach from a wheelchair, thereby providing easy access to the front of the layout.

Having been around full sized trains for most of my life, the urge to build a large layout never materialized. My previous attempt to build an On30 layout was four feet wide by two feet deep, with nine inch radius curves. While the layout itself could not be considered a success, it was a learning experience and a test bed for different types of layout construction.

The layout sat on a pedestal made from the bottom three shelves of a plastic storage unit that was approximately thirty-six inches wide by eighteen inches deep. It was fitted with furniture casters for ease of moving it around. The lightweight, but sturdy pedestal proved so successful that current plans are to adapt it to the new layout.

Diminutive Davenport gas-mechanicals, manufactured by Bachmann, were the motive power on the old layout. However, work on the layout ground to a halt, literally, due to the "Great Gear Debacle." Quite frankly, Bachmann's attitude toward the problem and their products put me off the hobby for a while.

Over the years, Bachmann attempted to make amends with a new Whitcomb double truck, diesel-electric locomotive plus re-engineered versions of two of its smaller steamers; the 0-4-2 and the 2-6-0. They are all good runners and, so far, there are no reported signs of mechanical vicissitudes. While under-the-layout sound and pulse-power DC was used before, the decision was made to switch over to DCC and on-board sound for the new layout.

To accommodate the 2-6-0, which requires curves of fifteen inch radius, the size of the layout will be increased to four feet wide by three feet deep. This will require a somewhat larger pedestal, three feet wide by two feet deep. The lower shelves of a steel wire shelf unit, factory equipped with wheels, will provide an acceptable, living space substitute for the previous plastic shelf pedestal.

The heart of the new layout will be a single, two inch thick slab of FOAMULAR XPS rigid foam insulation - aka the pink stuff. An extra thickness will be glued around the edges, forming a socket that will hold the top of the pedestal. As the layout and the pedestal will need to be moved separately, the two will be held together by just the force of gravity.

Although XPS is not rated as structural, the six inches of foamboard overhanging the pedestal on each side should not pose a problem. What may be a problem is, while most foamboard glues will attach fascia boards and backdrop supports to the laminated edges of the layout, these decorative attachments will be subjected to mechanical stress when moving the layout. Therefore, a more secure mounting method needs to be devised.

The scenery will also need to be secured so the separated layout can be turned vertically to avoid running afoul of ADA doorways. With track, scenery and attachments, the layout itself will weigh about twenty-five pounds; light enough to be easily handled by an old codger and a codgette.

To facilitate moving, the layout wiring should be easily disconnected from the DCC supply mounted on the pedestal. The wiring should also be suitably modified to facilitate operating from a wheelchair. For example, a rare but annoying problem is when a locomotive enters the frog end of a turnout with the points set against it, thereby causing a short circuit that brings operations to a halt.

If the turnout motor is DCC controlled and powered from the DCC track supply, the loco must be physically moved beyond the turnout to clear the short, something that cannot always be done from a wheelchair. However, by putting the track power and the turnout controller power on separate feeds and providing a convenient means for disconnecting the track, the power can be restored to the turnout controller and the points reset. As the tracks will be electrically isolated from the DCC supply, a DC power supply can be connected and used to run the trains.

An unintended bonus for senior citizens is a part of the layout construction. If an episode of unsteadiness (you know the type - "I've fallen and I can't get up!") occurs in the presence of the layout, it may result in some serious scenery damage. However, the forgiving nature of the foam insulation and its loose mounting to a movable pedestal should minimize the damage to the senior citizen.

Speaking of unsteadiness, an unintentional quirk is also a part of the layout construction. When using the pedestal, the Rock of Gibraltar stability of a traditional layout will be replaced with the equivalent of San Andreas quaking. While initially disconcerting, the lack of rigidity will not affect layout operations.

If running trains is desired in a care facility, one must keep one's options open. Speaking from experience, a layout without a working locomotive is a diorama and a boring one at that. However, a locomotive without a layout can provide both sound and motion stimulation to an active imagination.

Perhaps a test stand thing-a-ma-jig, with roller assemblies for under the drivers, complete with scenery and a bit of backdrop, would make a minimalist layout for the above situation. One that is about fourteen inches wide and four inches deep will accommodate the 2-6-0 and its tender. In anticipating future needs, the scenic thing-a-ma-jig can be built concurrent with the layout. In the interim, it can serve as a picturesque programming track.


Country: | Posts: 63

BigLars
Engineer

Premium Member


Posted - 08/09/2017 :  5:20:45 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Dan, Good luck and welcome to the crew.


Country: USA | Posts: 11058 Go to Top of Page

David Clark
Crew Chief



Posted - 08/09/2017 :  5:35:08 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Hi Dan,
You didn't ask for input but I will throw in my 2 cents worth anyhow. I think you can have a lot of fun with a small layout. I have seen some wonderful micro-layouts with a ton of detail incorporated. The extruded foam is very strong and can put up with a lot of abuse. I have built wargaming tables using that stuff, along with all kinds of moveable scenery. If you glue on some baseboard, it will be indestructible (well, almost). "No More Nails" is a great adhesive for that. Rob Chant is a member on the forum and he loves planning layouts. I am sure he could give you a hand or, at least, some ideas.
Best of luck,
Dave



Country: Canada | Posts: 910 Go to Top of Page

southpier
Engine Wiper

Posted - 08/09/2017 :  6:56:44 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
what was the question?

foam adhesive PL 300 is good; spread it to about 1/8" and use T-pins to avoid creeping until it's set. Uhu Por is good for small, high strength applications but a bit spendy. http://www.loctiteproducts.com/p/pl_ca_300_voc/technical-data/Loctite-PL-300-VOC-Foamboard-Adhesive.htm http://www.uhu.com/en/products/model-building-adhesives/detail/uhu-por-1.html?cHash=df9d0f59ba6b774262b24587be8d9bcd

don't be bashful about laminating the foam boards to a substrate of 1/8" pvc foam sheet such as palight project sheet (they'll send you a free sample) or komatex http://www.palramamericas.com/Products/Flat-Sheets/PALIGHT-Family/projectpvc/ http://www.kommerlingusa.com/komatex/pvc-color.cfml they will add an immeasurable amount of strength, reduce deflection, and can be used as-is for fascia panels (wide variety of colors). gatorfoam is also your friend. http://gatorfoamboard.com/

other than that, I got nothin'

ps: nice use a paragraphs & spacing! so many replies jamb everything into one sentence and it doesn't even make sense.




Edited by - southpier on 08/09/2017 6:58:27 PM

Country: | Posts: 285 Go to Top of Page

robchant
Fireman

Premium Member


Posted - 08/09/2017 :  7:24:50 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Hi Dan,

While I do believe something can be done in 36" x 48" in On30 with 15" radius curves, I am wondering what you see as the final form of the track plan. A simple loop of track? Point to point? Or depicting a single station? Do you want an added cassette for staging, or must it all be contained in 36" x 48"?

Take care,
Rob.



Country: Canada | Posts: 1045 Go to Top of Page

robchant
Fireman

Premium Member


Posted - 08/09/2017 :  9:38:58 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Hi Dan,

I had a look thru some of my micro layout designs to see what I had that would fit in a 36" x 48" space, but I couldn't find much. I did find this design which is very loosely based on the Pentewan Railway in England. (Of course, you can locate it anywhere you like.)

In brief, this 9-mile long, 30" gauge railway hauled china clay from a warehouse in St. Austell, to Pentewan Harbour. The clay was hauled from the pit to the warehouse by horses where it was stored until a schooner was available for loading. Passengers were also carried by a small coach, and lumber was imported at the harbour and sent to a lumber yard at St. Austell. There were also a few other industries online, but due to space restrictions couldn't be added.

I am not sure what you have in mind for your space, but I wanted to show you that a layout with some operating and scenic potential is possible.

Here's the design:



Take care,
Rob.



Country: Canada | Posts: 1045 Go to Top of Page

Dan
Section Hand

Posted - 08/09/2017 :  10:30:10 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Hi Guys,

Thanks for all of the replies. Comments and advice are always welcome.

I will be using LOKTITE PL300 for the adhesive. I have experimented with it and, if you let it cure completely, it is good stuff! I will probably use Masonite sheet for the fascia boards and backdrop supports, but I haven't decided yet.

Prototypical operations is what I like, which means that I an not a detailed scenery person. As there is insufficient room for vertical scenery development, the layout will be flat. Woodland Scenics grass mat, glued to the foamboard, will jump start the layout scenery. A dark brown tempera paint applied to the grass mat will indicate dirt ballast under the track. It actually looks better than it sounds.

Atlas code 83 sectional track will be used to ensure perfect curves and it will float on the surface of the grass mat covered foamboard (no cork or foam ballast and no glue). It will be held in place using one inch long straight pins through the track nail holes. Experiments have shown that this works quite well.

Operationally, I prefer some sort of loads in and empties out going in one direction and the opposite in the other direction. As only two sets of cars are used, there is no need for cassettes or hidden staging yards. It is all right in front of you... well not quite!

Basically, the layout will be an oval of track around the perimeter with a single turnout at the rear of the layout which leads into a spur. About a third of the oval and all of the spur will be hidden behind an industrial building. By stacking short cuts of cars in the hidden spur, it can take the place of two yard tracks with the hidden part of the "main" track emulating a third.

An uncoupling magnet is at the front of the layout, directly opposite the turnout, and delayed action uncoupling is used to spot cars on the spur or on the hidden part of the main track. This provides a long shift, from the turnout to the uncoupler and then back again and a short shift, where the train reverses right at the turnout.

To an operations person, the above "gimmicks" make the layout seem much larger than it is.




Country: | Posts: 63 Go to Top of Page

robchant
Fireman

Premium Member


Posted - 08/09/2017 :  10:50:23 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Hi Dan,

I am not sure that I follow your in/out plan. How can you do that without a run around? Or are you using 2 locomotives?

Take care,
Rob.




Country: Canada | Posts: 1045 Go to Top of Page

BurleyJim
Fireman

Premium Member


Posted - 08/10/2017 :  11:01:07 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
An interesting perspective of current and future considerations to building a layout. Well thought out and said.

Jim



Country: USA | Posts: 2965 Go to Top of Page

shortliner
Crew Chief



Posted - 08/10/2017 :  12:05:39 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Dan. FWIW, in the new Railway Modeller Sept 2017, there is a Scottish Layout called Ardmore 2' 8" x 2' 6" in N gauge - Circular and in roughly 2/3 scenic with a 1/3 fiddleyard and two turnouts in the fiddle yard at the rear and one turnout/spur in the front. It may be worth trying to get a copy - bear in mind that the trackplan can always be scaled up for HO


Edited by - shortliner on 08/10/2017 12:17:07 PM

Country: United Kingdom | Posts: 513 Go to Top of Page

southpier
Engine Wiper

Posted - 08/10/2017 :  12:45:25 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
forget the "narrow gauge" moniker unless that's your schtick, and give some of these layouts a gander: http://ngrm-online.com/forums/index.php?/forum/13-members-layouts/

the Brits seems to be masterful about putting 10# in a 5# tin.



Country: | Posts: 285 Go to Top of Page

BigLars
Engineer

Premium Member


Posted - 08/10/2017 :  8:39:03 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I thought you might be interested in this post. it is my 20" x 40" layout. It has empty in, load out for ore and mine supply. Locomotive and car service track:


http://www.railroad-line.com/forum/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=42723
Here is an early picture of the layout.



It would be easy to make this 36" x 48" if you add 15" radius curves instead of my 8.5" curves. you can also get some vertical in the space

Track Plan:



Edited by - BigLars on 08/10/2017 8:46:58 PM

Country: USA | Posts: 11058 Go to Top of Page

quartergauger48
Fireman

Premium Member


Posted - 08/10/2017 :  9:36:03 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by southpier

forget the "narrow gauge" moniker unless that's your schtick, and give some of these layouts a gander: http://ngrm-online.com/forums/index.php?/forum/13-members-layouts/

the Brits seems to be masterful about putting 10# in a 5# tin.



What thread on that site are the layouts. Can't seem to find them.




Ted

Country: USA | Posts: 5319 Go to Top of Page

ed k
Fireman

Posted - 08/10/2017 :  11:51:43 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Ted, Layout design/Operation sig forum.
Many of Rob's are the fourth one down. 14 pages.
You will see a beautiful one he did for me.
ed



Country: USA | Posts: 1091 Go to Top of Page

southpier
Engine Wiper

Posted - 08/11/2017 :  04:51:55 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by quartergauger48

quote:
Originally posted by southpier

forget the "narrow gauge" moniker unless that's your schtick, and give some of these layouts a gander: http://ngrm-online.com/forums/index.php?/forum/13-members-layouts/

the Brits seems to be masterful about putting 10# in a 5# tin.



What thread on that site are the layouts. Can't seem to find them.



there are pictures & references throughout, but the concentration is here: http://ngrm-online.com/forums/index.php?/forum/13-members-layouts/

great group of world class modelers and completely different perspective on the hobby.



Country: | Posts: 285 Go to Top of Page

southpier
Engine Wiper

Posted - 08/11/2017 :  04:55:30 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
you may also enjoy: http://forum.gn15.info/index.php

again, toss out whatever doesn't interest you and focus on the rest. it's not as fast-moving as some of the other forums, and some might argue Gn15 has run its course, but just like finding a 1949 MRR magazine, all information is new if you haven't seen it.



Country: | Posts: 285 Go to Top of Page
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