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Premium Member

Posted - 12/01/2020 :  05:29:13 AM  Show Profile  Visit friscomike's Homepage  Reply with Quote

I like your plans and look forward to following the construction. Have fun!


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Premium Member

Posted - 12/01/2020 :  10:35:52 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
A mistake I made on my micro was not building in an option to connect to a larger RR in the future. I was able to cut in one additional switch to go off to a fiddle yard.

Consider spending a little extra now to add switches leading off the RR even if they are not used in the early running of the RR. See the red lines in the drawing.

The lower red line could go to a car ferry to bring rail traffic in from another isolated RR on the river. Or an ore dump into barges. This would give you options for a source of traffic.

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Section Hand

Posted - 12/01/2020 :  1:38:29 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Mike and Lars many thanks for the replies!

Lars I am totally with you on this. But my plan is to simply re-work the track at the two points you mentioned and eliminate the tunnel in order to connect to a future layout. If i add the turnouts the the curve between them will become redundant.

The idea of an ore bin / barge which I got in the last few days after reading about a Canadian themed On30 layout is very very nice and Lars thank you very much for bringing this up!

As is in the current "small" layout, I have in the riverside area to choose from having 2 out of the three options. Merchant, Loco Shed, Ore bin to barge.

For the sake of argument i drafted a possible larger version in the twice around format which might sound like a better idea (that a loop to loop).

Still open to suggestions and advice, and Lars much appreciated advice on both turnouts and barge/ore combination!!!

PS. For connections to other RR's, I am thinking of an interchange track on the north side of the layout. Other connections will be trans-loading of passengers and freight via the riverside Navigation company (warehouse/merchant + passenger service). So I imagine the riverboat bringing passengers that will be either destined to Rocktown or Olympus, to the latter via the RR. Same for freight. Plus interchange to/from the northern interchange track (not depicted in the plan below).

Download Attachment: RocktownOlympusOn30_2.jpg

Edited by - Yannis on 12/01/2020 1:46:05 PM

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Michael Hohn

Posted - 12/01/2020 :  6:44:50 PM  Show Profile  Visit Michael Hohn's Homepage  Reply with Quote
That looks like a very reasonable plan for expansion.

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Engine Wiper

Posted - 12/01/2020 :  10:53:40 PM  Show Profile  Visit thayer's Homepage  Reply with Quote
I think both options are quite viable, though I am personally more drawn to the original loop to loop version.

It feels more like a backwoodsy short line to me, as it is a point to point, with the loops still allowing continuous run. I like that you will be traversing the same track in both directions as you climb and descend the hill, rather than just tracing the large loop. Were you thinking that the upper level siding near the two bridges to the left is the second mine? I like having those two sidings opposed, as you would then switch one on the way up the climb, and the other on the way down. I also like the additional operational options that the turntable and its surrounding area offer for the earlier version.

The operations will certainly be more simple on the recent version, with all turnouts trailing if you only run clockwise. I do like the final module version though, with the shorter passing siding and the loco shed / ore bin option.

Regardless, I'm looking forward to seeing your progress. It looks like a lot of fun.

Edited by - thayer on 12/01/2020 10:54:23 PM

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Section Hand

Posted - 12/02/2020 :  04:19:58 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Michael and Thayer many thanks for your replies and input!

Thayer, I am after nice railfanning properties on this layout (so an interesting route followed by the train, more cinematic/theatrical, than my HO proto layout). I also welcome interesting and not super simplified ops as an option.

With respect to the loop to loop plan posted initially, i have some concerns with respect to the mine north of Rocktown (ie Mine #1). If an ore train starts from the TT area, loads ore at mine #1, and if the ore bin (riverbarge loading) or mill, is after #1, right where Rocktown is, then it would not make much sense to haul a loaded ore car (from mine #1) all the way to the top and then back again in order to unload all three ore cars (from all three mines) at the bin/mill. Right?

Yes the spur to the right of the two bridges is serving mine #2 and is opposed to the spur of mine 3# (2,3 are top level mines).

I also consider having a helix in order to take the lower loop on a lower level for staging only).

On the twice around plan, mine #1 automatically becomes mine #3 in sequence of switching, so problem solved.

Having said that, I am not saying I favor one or the other, i consider both but I am trying to figure out which of the two will tick the right boxes for me. And I do all that in order to take some final decisions on the initial module which will act as the current smaller layout.

"Thinking out loud mode": For example I also considered not having a spur serving the mine in the smaller layout, and instead having a non-connected spur at a higher level, (ie have all three mines at the top level), and just leave the connection for the future, and focus on switching only the Rocktown area. Then again, i am eliminating one side of the layout for ops...

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Engine Wiper

Posted - 12/02/2020 :  4:00:24 PM  Show Profile  Visit thayer's Homepage  Reply with Quote
I didn't really notice Mine #1, as it is hard to read the notes on your images. I agree, it does not make sense to pull a load from Mine #1 up the hill and back down, but you don't need to.

It could be split into two operations though, and with a friend, two operators. Train #1 could leave the TT/yard, pick up empties either at the mill or dock, swap them for fulls at Mine #1, and then progress back past the yard to the mill, or head into town to the wharf. Meanwhile, Train #2 heads out of the yard and does the same to pick up empties, and then heads up the hill, to service Mines #2 & 3.

The two trains would have to do a bit of a dance to share the mainline, but I think that would be part of the fun.

A third operator could make things really crowded/interesting, with a mixed train pulling a few passengers/workers/tourists, and a box car or two of goods to stock the mills up the hill.

You could do essentially the same think on the looping version, though with all trains going in the same direction it wouldn't be so much of a dance.

I do like the idea of some sort of hidden staging. You could even save the trouble of building a helix, and just have a long loop coming off the near the TT as indicated here with blue. It could branch off at A and dive into a tunnel under your higher scenery, arc around and be accessible under the front edge. You could also have it continue back across and be accessible from the far side as well. The one controlling factor would be the grade from A to where it has to cross under the lower loop at B. My rough sketch suggests you have 100-115 inches available, and possibly more with what I have drawn in blue, There is also 65-70 inches available along the front of that reversing loop from the cross over back to its switch. If the loop has a slight rise in it, and the staging access starts down at A, it looks like you could have 4 inches of clearance at B with a 2.25% grade.

It looks like you are planning for roughly 5x22 feet when done, is that right? Also, will it be against a wall, or can you access both of the long sides?

Both versions suggest a lot of fun is in your future.


Edited by - thayer on 12/02/2020 4:01:18 PM

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kyle creel
Engine Wiper

Posted - 12/02/2020 :  4:46:46 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Hey Yannis, I just got 'round to your topic; better late than never, so welcome to the party. I think I may be on the other side of the fence. I have realized after building a bunch of loop layouts; that no matter how long and indirect or convoluted the route, over time I became 'bored' with running the trains because they were still just "going 'round 'n 'round" in a circle. I for one much prefer the loop to loop plan you had originally. The last layout I built was a little over 100 feet long, went out and back via a 1/2 loop helix in a corner hidden by a tunnel and to the starting peninsula on a lower tier that was completely open with lots of mountain scenery to distract from the LOOP design. This meant it went around the room twice, and arrived back at the same depot going the same direction as when it left. It took about 2 years till I noticed that I wasn't even watching the trains go "round" anymore. At that point I added a reversing cut-off and all of the sudden the trains were "going some where and coming back". I already had a turntable on the layout near the old starting point or terminus, so I could actually "run the railroad" This doesn't mean I'm an 'operations man' cause I find that too much like having a JOB; but I have found it more interesting. I have over the last year now completed all the trackwork and most of the basic scenery to a new layout and from the beginning it was built to be loop to loop using auto reversing units, and KATO automatic spring loaded turnouts in each loop. The layout also has a branch line that is the main terminus and yard. This way trains can leave the terminus and travel out to the main section and go back and forth through the whole layout as many times as the heart desires; and still appear to be going somewhere because of the direction change. All this could be done with your original expanded layout design by adding 2 auto reverse units and 2 KATO turnouts. I hope I haven't over stayed my welcome or "muddied" the waters of thought; but re-positioning the mine in question, in lieu of changing your overall design (always go w/your first instinct-it's usually correct) would not only solve the problem; but also allow all those semi-hidden thoughts/ideas about scenery and overall visual impact. You can also enjoy a more (to me) enjoyable railfanning aspect because of the direction change and continuous running aspect that the auto reversing / spring loaded turnouts give you. But that's what makes this hobby so great: the only 'right way' to do it is whatever way YOU choose; it's your railroad. Once again welcome to the forum, it's a great place to make friends and enjoy the hobby. You should check out all the On30 layouts, each one is as special and cool as its' builder. HAVE FUN it's the best thing to have.

gen. mngr. BCRR

Edited by - kyle creel on 12/02/2020 11:33:07 PM

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Section Hand

Posted - 12/03/2020 :  11:22:55 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Thayer and Kyle, much appreciated input!

Which after consideration brings me to the following point to point iteration (an evolution of the original plan i posted) with a longer climb to the upper loop for two reasons.
1. create a longer mainline run.
2. provide greater vertical separation between Olympus and Rocktown.

I tackled the mine #1 issue, by reversing the orientation of the turnout and placing the mill on the north side of Olympus. Also notice that the TT is now in a small extension of Rocktown.

Length x Width are approximately 5' x 25' but that is hypothetical (it could end up being an L shaped or something depending on the future house). The point is to streamline and finalize turnout orientation and trackplan for the first module.

The "hidden" loop on the left side, might be in the open with two tracks offering something like open staging (or semi open, covered by scenery and having view-ports).

Download Attachment: RocktownOlympusOn30_3.jpg

Edited by - Yannis on 12/03/2020 11:23:50 AM

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Posted - 12/03/2020 :  11:41:08 AM  Show Profile  Visit Philip's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Nice plan!



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Engine Wiper

Posted - 12/03/2020 :  1:58:04 PM  Show Profile  Visit thayer's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Very nice! This is proof positive there is no right way. I like the idea of peering into the mountain to view the staging.

I wonder about that upper mine to the west of Olympus (Mine #3?). It seems pretty remote from civilization, and I wonder if the local supervisor is petitioning the front office for another siding that branches off to the NW above the mine, so as to provide for his small settlement. Or are both mines close enough to Olympus to be serviced by the same infrastructure?

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Tyson Rayles

Premium Member

Posted - 12/04/2020 :  08:42:45 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I'd be careful about hidden trackage. It has a way of coming back to bite you. I have some on my layout
and if I ever build another layout it will have zero hidden trackage.

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Section Hand

Posted - 12/04/2020 :  12:40:25 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Thayer: The mine on the west side (mine number 2 theoretically) will be connected via a small road to Olympus. Any supplies can be unloaded using the ore car track i guess right? Same thing for the other two mines. Now I could add one extra spur for general supplies for Olympus near the depot. Both mines are close enough to Olympus by the way.

If I have not mentioned it, the layout will be accessible from all sides. Getting back to the present time, this is the currently proposed small layout as it will look like in the middle of my HO scale layout. Heh a chance to see what my HO layout looks like but OT here :) (Maybe I should start an HO thread for it in the middle scale forum)

Tyson I am with you on the hidden tracks. I had them in my previous layout and I did not enjoy having them, so most probably they are going to be either open or semi-open staging.

Download Attachment: HOandON30layouts.jpg
84.6 KB

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Section Hand

Posted - 12/08/2020 :  09:23:56 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Out of curiosity so that i do not start a separate thread on this, (or should I?), for subroadbed, if I plan on installing semi-handlaid tracks (peco code 83 flextrack but with spiked wooden ties from balsa, and then subsequent removal of the plastic "spacer" ties), would 5mm cork + 2" foamboard work?

I find it difficult to drive SL14 track nails into plywood given my experience from my HO layout. Maybe I could use two layers of 5mm cork so that the nails never reach the plywood.

Edited by - Yannis on 12/08/2020 09:24:36 AM

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Michael Hohn

Posted - 12/08/2020 :  10:30:40 AM  Show Profile  Visit Michael Hohn's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Seems to me either option would work and it depends on which materials you prefer to work with. For example, I donít like working with foam board except for scenery.


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