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New N Gauge Layout 6ft by 2ft 6

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Not modelled for over 20 years, and even then in OO. So starting again with N gauge on a 6 ft by 2 ft 6 board. In the attached photo I am trying to have 3 inner loops and a branch at a higher level. On the left of the board would be a 2 platform station where the famished box is. The outer left line will be dead end.


The track is second hand so a complete mix, seems to be mainly peco set track. I only have tablet, so can not get any of track planners to work.


My question is, can I improve the point and track layout, as I am not completely happy - but it fits?


Any thoughts, or help most welcome.





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A couple of observations (spoken from experience) some of your track is very close to the edge of your base board so ensure you design in some sort of barrier to prevent trains from being knocked onto the floor. Even a slight bump to the layout can do this. A strip of clear Perspex attached to the edge of the base board works well as does a thin strip of wood, it needn’t be too high.


Using second hand track can have its pitfalls, I’m using some of my own previously used track on a new N layout and have found the need to carefully check that all rail joiners are clean, undamaged and fit tightly, if not they need replacing with new ones. Points need careful checking too, make sure the springs work well and the blades make good contact with the rails.


I won’t comment on your layout design as my track planning skills are severely lacking but I’m sure someone else will be able to help.

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My advice would be....


1) Forget the third inner loop.


I don't think you have the space to do it well and I can't think of many places that have three tracks for very long.


2) Think about where your trains will go.


It's very important in the real world because not enough points and track is a problem, but too many is expensive to maintain and replace. In model terms, you could increase or decrease operational potential (and possibly enjoyment) with even the most minor changes.


3) Think about gradient.


You mention a raised branch line, it looks like it is linked to your other loops, so what kind of gradient are you going to use? Too steep and your trains won't get up it, too shallow and it might impede your design choices and operational potential. 1 in 30 is usually the steepest anyone would recommend (1 inch up for every 30 inches along), but you might be able to get away with something steeper depending on what you plan to run over it.


4) Station length.


You haven't mentioned it, but station length is important. They are generally built as small as they need to be, about as long as the longest train that will stop, but build it too small and your trains could be blocking junctions or just look very strange. That's not to say you can't have long trains stopping at small stations necessarily, that's not unheard of, but it is the exception rather than the rule.


5) History


It might sound stupid, but the railway is shaped by history. Every line had a reason for being where it is, every change was for a purpose. Does your railway have a history or purpose? Some people find this helps them decide what 'fits' on their layout. If you think about it, history and operation go hand in hand.


6) Keep your trains away from the edge of the board.


Accidents happen, so keep your trains and tracks away from board edges and big drops as much as possible.


7) It's your railway.


Whatever advice is given here, remember that you have to be happy with your railway otherwise you will tire of it and it will end up discarded.

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You've got a good stock of points and track there with which to start a decent layout. As someone in a similar boat to yourself i would recommend the following...


1. Plan things out using a layout program, i use xtrackcad but there are many programs out there which fulfil a similar purpose. The planning phase itself can be quite enjoyable and investing some time in this stage can prevent the frustration of mistakes which can lead to stagnation and eventual abandonment of project.


2. Introducing some flexi track could help the track work become transitions more sweeping which will look better and help with smioth running.


3. You've got plenty of room for a gradient to an upper level branch, i achieved a rise of 55mm in 1800 which equates to very slightly over 3%. In a smaller space. I don't run prototypical length trains but my locos can lug 5 coaches or 10 haa hoppers up the gradient which is good enough for my purposes. If you want to tow longer trains you could run into problems though.


Good luck!

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Thanks all. Yes will redesign with just 2 loops, that way it will move away from the edge of the board. Will have another ago, and post updates.

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I am assuming that those curved points are Peco Setrack curves.


Experience has shown me you need to consider two things-


Turning out (or in) on a sharp curve is a hotspot for derailment and


You need to bond the frogs to the adjacent rails with a wire in order for some locos to manange to negotiate them. Farish steamers being the worst culprits as the sharpness of the curve seems to cause pickups to leave their wheels and to cause the springs between loco and tender to lose contact. This then makes worse a problem with Farish Co-Co diesels (ie the Deltic) with the longer wheelbase bogies - mine regularly bashes the back of the frog that is switched out, causing intermittent short circuits.

Edited by Les1952

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