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titus
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I've been building a layout in my basement for the past, well, almost 5 months by now. I haven't yet posted about it here because I was still figuring a lot out. However now that I've got a lot of things nailed down (like the scale) I figured I'd post what I've been working on thus far.

Before I do however, I wanted to mention a huge thanks to all of those of you who have built a layout and posted pictures of it. I've realized if there was no sharing of each other's work, model railroading wouldn't be near as interesting. It's seeing all of the amazing things people create every day that's inspired me to take on such a project of my own.

My layout uses traditional L-girder benchwork. It's sectional, with sections ranging from 4 feet to 8 feet (I really shouldn't have made them that long). The backdrop is 1/8" masonite supported by a minimal 1x2 frame. Subroadbed will be a combination of spline roadbed on risers and 1/2" plywood in areas where a lot will be happening (like a town). The scale is HOn3 and the theme is Colorado narrow gauge. The layout occupies a footprint around 16 ft. by 11 ft.

I'm not retired and have a full time day job so my progress is much slower than those who have all day to work on their layout. :mex: Even still, looking back over the last several months I can tell I'm making progress.

All that said, I'd like to introduce the Rio✰Chama Central...



August 2011 (L-girders built)


October 2011 (Lights installed)


November 2011 (Backdrop built & painted)




December 2011 (Benchwork refined and subroadbed begun)


Last edited on Fri Dec 30th, 2011 06:06 am by titus

Paladin
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Titus:-

That is looks like you are off to a good start.

There will be no stopping you now.


Don

danpickard
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I've been watching the progress of this one vis your blog. Its shaping up nicely with a well built and clean looking finish so far. I have liked the idea of rolling out the mainline, and then adding on as needed, much like the real world. It should feel far less restrictive as the build progress's by not having a strict plan to adhere to.

Cheers,
Dan Pickard

Herb Kephart
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Titus-

Nice woodwork!

So often, time spent planning smaller details is wasted, because in the end, things get changed.

Keep us up to date with photos, please!

Herb 

wclm
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Titus
   Really great looking so far:thumb:! Got to hand it to you on the six P's. Proper planning prevents p#@$ poor performance. Keep sending out the pics as you get them.
                                                                        Clif K

chasv
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very nice work:moose::moose::moose: much too clean and organized but very nice:2t::2t::2t:

Lucas Gargoloff
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Seems this thread will be great and fun!!! Keep up posting!!

titus
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I've been working on a turntable for the northern terminus town of Tincup (where incidentally there is an interchange with the San Juan Central). The turntable is a kitbash combination of Walthers N-scale 120' turntable and a Micro Engineering HO girder bridge kit. 120 feet in N-scale just happens to be around 65 feet in HO scale of which the largest D&RGW turntable happened to be 65 feet. Tada!

After a few evenings of work, the turntable bridge currently looks like this. I'm planning to add some stained wood decking on the very top.



I spent some time this morning actually installing it into the layout. It's not fully there but I can start to see it taking shape.



I plan to bring up the sides of the pit with some thin styrene, then paint the whole thing an aged cement color.

Here's the track laid out for Tincup. The right-most deviating track will be the interchange with the SJC.

Lucas Gargoloff
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Hey Titus, any progress in the layout??

titus
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Lucas,

Rio✰Chama Central is a pretty big layout, but I wasn't liking how things were going. The traditional L-girder construction method was starting to get in my way and some other things about the layout I didn't like. It was actually a post here on Freerails that inspired me to change, after I wrote to someone, "If I was to do this again, I would..." It made me think -- I'm not that far in, why not just do it the way I want?

So I started a little experiment project using a completely different approach.

Instead of building the benchwork first, I started with an actual track plan, then purchased 1/4" foamcore and drew the entire track plan out life sized.



Then, instead of going with a thick heavy wood for everything, I bought a 4x8 sheet of 1/4" plywood, and ripped it down into 3" strips.



I used the life-size track plan as a measuring tool and build the benchwork right on top of it. This is the method advocated by Iain Rice in his book "Shelf Layouts for Model Railroads".



Though 1/4" plywood isn't that impressive by itself, when build up into a web of half-lap joints it makes a strong but lightweight piece of benchwork. With some planning ahead, various changes in elevation can be built right into the wood working. Sure, this method takes a lot longer than chopping up some dimensional lumber for L-girder, or slicing up pink foam, but I really liked the end result a lot better.



Fast forward to last week, and I've now got about 1/3 to 1/2 of the layout wired and operational. I've been having fun driving my C-19 around on it and hopefully this week I'll get the rest of the track and wiring in.








The Rio✰Chama Central isn't dead. Actually, it probably has a better chance of living now than before. There's a lot I've learned with this new techniques, and my plan is actually to hopefully do a re-start on the RCC this winter using all of the things I've learned from this side project. The first time around I think I fell into the trap of, "I just want to see the trains running!" and didn't think everything through about the layout.

Now that I've learned that approach won't always work, I think when the RCC construction starts up again, what I'll probably do is build only 1 or 2 sections at a time, and each year build up a new section. That way I won't be over-committing and if I end up not liking how 1 section is turning out, it will be a lot cheaper and easier to try that section again.

Herb Kephart
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Doing a section at a time certainly saves a lot of work (and material costs) if you don't like the way things are developing.

I always thought L girder was a mistake because it is wasteful of vertical space. Not something that is considered sometimes, but with a multi-level layout, or even if the under the layout is only used for storage (or in my case, for workbenches) the extra inches can be better used. Many of the ex editor of MR's ideas were over-hyped in the magazine.

Herb 

chasv
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another idea is to get open cases of laminate flooring cheap some is about 3" some is wider i got a box of 11" for $5. habitat for humanity has this sometimes for cheap

titus
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chasv -- what is this about laminate? Are you saying you used laminate in place of the 1/4" plywood? How does it compare on weight and durability?

chasv
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i was reading somewhere to use it it is stable thin and you can get it in just about the right with or put several togather easily. i saw some guys building a bar out of it it looked sharp i don't have much use for a bar but it gave me some ideas for other projects if you can find it cheap

Dwayne
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Herb Kephart wrote: Doing a section at a time certainly saves a lot of work (and material costs) if you don't like the way things are developing.

I always thought L girder was a mistake because it is wasteful of vertical space. Not something that is considered sometimes, but with a multi-level layout, or even if the under the layout is only used for storage (or in my case, for workbenches) the extra inches can be better used. Many of the ex editor of MR's ideas were over-hyped in the magazine.

Herb 

No doubt. L- girder benchwork never made sense to me. And with the advent of foamboard, makes even less sense. If I were to construct an indoor layout I'd go entirely with foam board as it allows the freedom to remove and add material where it's wanted or not wanted... similar to the real dirt that I play in.


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