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Lacathedrale

Back to the beginning - home based room-layout in 2mm

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Hello again chaps,

 

I really do like to layout plan, it gives me something to do on the computer between video conferences and sometimes during them. To that end, I've been chatting to a friend about home layouts, and moving away from the cameo 'tank driver viewing slot' approach I took as a given for my last few designs. If you've looked at Hennock (2FS layout in signature) you'll notice very early on in the project I mused that it would be a perfectly fine layout if there was about a foot extra spliced in between each set of turnouts - just to give the trains somewhere to run!

 

I have an office room, which is approx 10'6" x 7' with a door in one corner and a window in the opposite, no furniture other than my desk, guitars/amplifiers and a lamp - and so very much a greenfield site.

 

It was while sitting at this desk, I realised that I could put together a design which would effectively be a FY to terminus plan, but I could add about nine feet of running line by leveraging a lift-out section to put the FY on the opposite side of the room, instead of adjacent. With some smart planning, this FY could also be joined directly to the main layout in the event that I need to give up the room (children, moving house) or want to exhibit the layout.

 

Here is a very rough plan - please note that the track plan is representational and just sketched in, and doesn't really reflect anything other than a desire to get a feel for how things might look:

 

image.png.d56e71dfd3b4f45803e3c41622e13993.png

 

Layout height at home will be quite high, probably over 5' - so no worries bout intruding onto the desk space. The door arc is sketched in over-sized to ensure adequate clearance. The window is rebated an additional 6" beyond the extent of the layout plan above, but the room is already quite dark due to its facing, so while I can add supports for a lift-out section either side, I cannot afford to make it any darker with a permanent crossing.

 

The line of A would likely represent the exit from the scenic section. A-B's primary purpose is to route the track, and it will be backlit by the window whatever happens! All train movements and operation should be achievable on board A - the limit of shunt is definitely at A!

B-C and C-D need to be as low profile as possible. I was originally envisaging a neutral grey-green painted surface supported by aluminium or steel, but  I guess it could be modelled as an embankment or equivalent.

 

The actual station layout can be any combination of Holborn Viaduct (as previously discussed) Caterham (pre or post 1899 doubling, as previously discussed) or some variant of Buckingham! Very pointedly I have left space on the left of the boards to show off 'station road' and the environs, which I think adds alot to a layout. The station track plan above is as mentioned just a sketch, but includes nothing but nice long turnouts - C8's, B7's, etc.

 

Any thoughts or opinions gladly heard.

 

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My only thought is that I did something similar in a small study c20 years ago, and dismantled it fairly swiftly, because I found that having the layout above me and around me when sitting at the desk was annoying ......... it made me feel as if I was working it a pit. The room was smaller than yours, but otherwise the layout almost identical.

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Posted (edited)

As a design, I like it.  A lot.  8’ x 2’ for a small terminus would seem generous in 4mm scale, so in 2mm it could look fantastic, especially as the trains are being kept reasonably short to add to the illusion of space.

 

As a general point, I think a U-shape is a great compromise: gives a lot more (I’d suggest) when there isn’t space for a full continuous run or system layout than a straight Terminus / Fiddle Yard arrangement that has no running line.  It’s an easier build than a big layout, and for sole operator use, the Fiddle Yard is both behind you (out of sight when operating the station) and at the same time in easy reach.  It’s also a walk-in design, which can often sell well with others at home where that applies.

 

I take @Nearholmer’s point - but can the desk be pulled away from the wall a bit?  Not sure what the grey box is in the corner or how tall it is,  (is it the guitar amp !?!).  If it’s a cupboard / filing cabinet, would it fit under corner AB instead where the layout above is on a tighter curve?

 

The only negative is perhaps the fact that the Fiddle Yard is the first thing people see when they come in the room, so I’d suggest making it look quite neat, maybe even sceniced?  I’m afraid I don’t know the min. radii for 2mm FS to know if that constraint has flexibility, but I’d look at this scheme and think: “Why not?”  Certainly worth refining the station area to show more of what you want

 

 

Edited by Keith Addenbrooke

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Is that door Arc right?  180 degrees?   Most are 90 degrees.

What is the grey box?   A track through it would make life easier.

 

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Posted (edited)

If the section in front of the window is removable, then why not make it fully scenic?

When you want daylight you remove it. When you want to run the layout you install it - and probably the majority of running time will be after sunset anyway.
Would that also then allow your limit of shunt to be further out? If so that would be good because it seems a bit restricting as you’ve described it.

Does the door really open that way? Normally the hinged side would be nearest the corner.

 

Edited by Harlequin

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1 hour ago, DavidCBroad said:

Is that door Arc right?  180 degrees?   Most are 90 degrees.

What is the grey box?   A track through it would make life easier.

 


Maybe it’s a revolving door? :jester:

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, Harlequin said:

Does the door really open that way? Normally the hinged side would be nearest the corner.

 

Depends where the light switch is ;) Doors should be hinged on the side furthest from the light switch, as not to obstruct it when opened. All three of the bedrooms in my house have the switch near the corner, so the doors all open away from the corner. 

Edited by Titanius Anglesmith
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I would be tempted to flip it - instead of having the temp track go past the window have it go past the door.  Have the layout take a small portion of the window, leaving it mostly clear.  Added benefit that the fiddle yard is the only thing above the desk, reducing the amount of desk covered by layout.

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13 hours ago, DavidCBroad said:

Is that door Arc right?  180 degrees?   Most are 90 degrees.

What is the grey box?   A track through it would make life easier.

 

 

12 hours ago, chuffinghell said:


Maybe it’s a revolving door? :jester:

 

11 hours ago, Titanius Anglesmith said:

 

Depends where the light switch is ;) Doors should be hinged on the side furthest from the light switch, as not to obstruct it when opened. All three of the bedrooms in my house have the switch near the corner, so the doors all open away from the corner. 

 

Indeed, the door is hinged away from the light switch, which is nestled into that corner. There is also a radiator underneath where the fiddle yard is notionally located.

 

14 hours ago, Keith Addenbrooke said:

I take @Nearholmer’s point - but can the desk be pulled away from the wall a bit?  Not sure what the grey box is in the corner or how tall it is,  (is it the guitar amp !?!).  If it’s a cupboard / filing cabinet, would it fit under corner AB instead where the layout above is on a tighter curve?

 

The only negative is perhaps the fact that the Fiddle Yard is the first thing people see when they come in the room, so I’d suggest making it look quite neat, maybe even sceniced?  I’m afraid I don’t know the min. radii for 2mm FS to know if that constraint has flexibility, but I’d look at this scheme and think: “Why not?”  Certainly worth refining the station area to show more of what you want

 

The grey box in the corner is as far as I know, solid brick. In the room below (the kitchen) it is also extant.

 

My thoughts around the 'non layout' section of the railway was to paint it the same colour as the walls, with as little around it as possible by way of extraneous wood, supports, etc. so it would hopefully blend in. That said, @Nearholmer's point about a layout-under-a-desk being a bit of a pit - he could be right. I definitely found a 14" shelf with a desk underneath, despite clearance, felt oppressive. A spindly track support maybe less, so but as @mdvle has suggested - by flipping it the other way it would mean the permanent fixture of the FY would essentially just be a shelf, approx 6-10" wide, rather than cutting across the desk diagonally.

 

Here's some photos of the room:

 

30DwLll.png

From the door towards the window

 

5aX0HXK.png

From the window to the door.

 

The layout could be inverted, but would have to taper fairly dramatically towards the end, like so:

 

image.png.3bb467e69d4c1f0ddf05642c0c2474d3.png

 

Essentially, I like everything about it apart from the actual layout boards - the requirement for a 24" minimum radius is a bit of a pain!

 

By  extending the sceniced part of the layout through to 'B', there are really nice wide curves and the potential for both operational and scenic development:

 

image.png.a9ecccfbbe2c812b63bf1651b5b627f0.png

 

This makes the layout significantly more of a 'home layout-style' affair but I don't think it's neccesarily a bad thing?

 

14 hours ago, Harlequin said:

If the section in front of the window is removable, then why not make it fully scenic?

When you want daylight you remove it. When you want to run the layout you install it - and probably the majority of running time will be after sunset anyway.
Would that also then allow your limit of shunt to be further out? If so that would be good because it seems a bit restricting as you’ve described it.

Does the door really open that way? Normally the hinged side would be nearest the corner.

 

 

I was thinking (as above) to make the non-main-layout sections as innocuous as possible- but you may be right - in the case of the inverted plan,  storing B-C on a shelf undernear A-B would mean that it could be sceniced. Limit of shunt is no problem in the adjusted plan! A happy by-product of this design is that the length of visible run from terminus platforms to the FY is approximately half a scale mile. That's about two minutes for the average unfitted freight to arrive, beyond waiting at any signals. - much better than the 10 seconds it took for my little Pannier tank to exit from my cameo layout!

 

C-D is in theory totally optional, but I think it would make sense to include it (Even as plain track) so that the FY shelf can run the full length of the back of the room and give more running time to the locos at the cost of only a few pounds of easitrac components, wood and shelf brackets.  I could imagine C-D being a 'bitsa' through station leading into the FY, bisected by a road bridge/overpass or whatever at 'D'. I imagine B-C will have to be made of something fairly rigid - I would happily add a small fold-up bracket to the back of the door to support it in the middle, though.

 

The 'biggest' challenge of this arrangement is that the station formation shifts left, with a strange quadrilateral space in the back corner - something like Mallaig's goods yard beyond the station?

 

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Posted (edited)

I feel that the removable section across the window is more comfortable because you can enter and leave the room at will without having to dismantle anything.

 

If you use the high level railway "shelf" also as a light fitting then the room could in fact feel significantly brighter. I.e. run a high-brightness LED tape discretely under the boards in a purpose designed channel with diffuser.

 

It should be easy to span the door (or the window) with a lightweight self supporting baseboard made of ply. I have one that is 1440mm long that is rock solid. (P.S. In fact your old OO H class has traversed it multiple times... :smile_mini:)

 

Edited by Harlequin
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8 minutes ago, Harlequin said:

I feel that the removable section across the window is more comfortable because you can enter and leave the room at will without having to dismantle anything

That's definitely true, but if the computer desk remains where it is (can it be moved?) The layout going past the door looks like a preferable model railway.

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7 minutes ago, Zomboid said:

That's definitely true, but if the computer desk remains where it is (can it be moved?) The layout going past the door looks like a preferable model railway.

 

The desk can definitely be moved - but it does need to stay in the room, as does the printer, instruments, etc.

 

18 minutes ago, Harlequin said:

I feel that the removable section across the window is more comfortable because you can enter and leave the room at will without having to dismantle anything.

 

Yeah, I thought it was a great idea but after some reflection, not being able to nip to the loo or refill the cup of tea while the layout is being operated (not least ventilation) I think you may be right.

 

I've tried to make sane the original idea and I feel like by straightening out the removable section. By standardising the shelf above the desk (I do need some shelves anyway) means the drop-in section can be a more regular shape, and wide enough for scenicking a long sweeping curve from B-C. 

 

My monitor is approx 9" from the wall so I don't think it would be pit-like.

 

Straight:

image.png.07b3a85ff5962bb08417b3475bf5359a.png

 

Long curves:

image.png.062fde19384f12b5b9f72ff871d60be0.png

The section B-C may see fairly chunky - but could be stored wholly under the main layout boards.

 

Fiddleyard at D has some notional extra tracks to illustrate maximum extent.

 

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10 minutes ago, Lacathedrale said:

Yeah, I thought it was a great idea but after some reflection, not being able to nip to the loo or refill the cup of tea while the layout is being operated (not least ventilation) I think you may be right.

 

It depends on the door - if the door will open all the way so it goes close to flat against the wall you could design the removable section so that it could be put in place with the door open - and with the layout at 5' it shouldn't be to bad ducking under it while you are operating it.

 

If the door won't open all the way then there is a set of compromises do be decided - the pictures (while possibly misleading) do show what you say about the room being dark-ish and hence the want to not block the window, but possibly indicate having a largish section of layout above the desk make things even darker - though perhaps remedied by putting lighting on the bottom of the layout?

 

 

 

 

 

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I just lost my typed reponse :( @mdvle the door opens but not a full 180 degrees, leaving approx 10-12" that would need to be factored in - or double hinges fitted?

 

I've taken a photo of the desk in-situ

 

image.png.15a7464c554049364e00849873085d59.png

 

The monitor is 10" away from the wall, so less than the depth of the permanent part of the layout shelf, and its top edge is approximately 9" below the notional layout height. I agree it could cast shadow, and that it would benefit from some ambient downlighters - but this would be the case with any arrnagement that is a U or roundy-roundy shape in this room, no?

 

 

 

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3 hours ago, Harlequin said:

I feel that the removable section across the window is more comfortable because you can enter and leave the room at will without having to dismantle anything.

 

If you use the high level railway "shelf" also as a light fitting then the room could in fact feel significantly brighter. I.e. run a high-brightness LED tape discretely under the boards in a purpose designed channel with diffuser.

 

It should be easy to span the door (or the window) with a lightweight self supporting baseboard made of ply. I have one that is 1440mm long that is rock solid. (P.S. In fact your old OO H class has traversed it multiple times... :smile_mini:)

 


The idea of having lighting for the desk on the underside of the layout shelf could be the key to unlocking something here: when those lights are on the room is in work mode and the focus is on the desk.  Turn those lights off and the focus can move up.

 

Could the printer go behind the door?  I see in the photos there are sockets there, but depends if it’s wired to the computer or wireless.  If that’s possible it gives space to pull out the desk a bit.  Even with BC removable (stored under A) it might help as the shelf above the desk that remains in situ would be partly behind the desk?
 

Could a small scenic section be added behind the door (in this suggestion above the printer?).  It may not be possible to move the guitar stand to make way for the printer - are there radiators in the lattice boxes? (If so, not good for musical instruments).

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I think the baseboards are far too wide for 5ft above the floor.  My bedroom Layout had an upper level 62" above floor and reaching over more than about 1 ft meant standing on a step ladder and I'm almost 6ft tall.   Mine had a duck under  across the door which lifted out when the wife wanted to access the airing cupboard, but despite being very light it was impractical to have to remove every time.  I would either re hang the door to open outwards or make a hinged drop down section. Yes drop down, A lifting section upside down  Iit can easily be 4ft 6" long, longer than most lifting sections.

Drop down or lifting sections with station platforms on or modelled as bridges work well.

High level baseboards need to be panelled in underneath to hide the electrics and sharp corners look horrible, swoopy edges faced with hardboard look a lot better but keep the edging low, about 1" above track max or short *****s wont be able to see the trains.   Incorporating lights into the bottom panelling is a good idea if you want to work under the baseboard.

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Posted (edited)

@Keith Addenbrooke there are radiators behind the lattice boxes, that's why the instruments are in the opposite corner and are both just a hair above 'off' :)

 

The printer is only located there temporarily, it could happily shift underneath the layout at whever location - it is indeed wireless. My assumption is that the shelf will be significantly above the 'usable' volume taken up by the desk. In theory it could run lower down, but I think that might introduce more problems than it solves (i.e. would enforce a door-side U, monitor/laptop would block the FY tracks, etc.)

 

14 hours ago, DavidCBroad said:

I think the baseboards are far too wide for 5ft above the floor.

 

You may be right, I'm roughly equating this to a previous home layout which had 14" baseboards at about 4'6" off the ground. The actual layout dimensions themselves (apart from the critical arrangements around crossing from the north to south walls on one or the other sides) are entirely notional.  Can you rephrase the section about the dropdown? I'm not sure I understand - the idea being that a drop-down section is easier to manage than a lift-out section? I'm not sure that would work in my case unless the drop-down section was limited to the throw of the door? I have a sold up steppping stool that I keep in the room (visible adjacent the door in a previous shot) so derailments on rear tracks would be handled, but you are right that I'd have to be careful about putting 'operation-focused' tracks towards the back of the board.

 

Slimming the baseboards down, moving the desk and potentially making the layout with an obtuse L shape while 'exhibited' (should that ever occur!):

 

image.png.486b3ad9602b745539cff7a34c39bce9.png

 

Tandridge* V3

 

The main change on this, other than more regularly shaped baseboards (I agree with you @DavidCBroad that the front edge of the layout should be gently curved with a fascia - but just to represent the structural footprint, in this case) - is the provision of a right angle joint at A1 - this means it can be joined directly to D as an obtuse L'shape for 'exhibition' use. If the layout needed to be re-homed, it could have a corner piece depicted in the middle of the diagram inserted, or cut at A2.

 

A1 is therefore the shunt limit, and A2 represents a point that beyond which any 'layout' trackage should be prepared to exit the scene (i.e. headshunts, carriage sidings, goods yards, etc.)

 

A1 to C would presumably remain as a scenicked drop-in section made of aluminium angle and extruded polystyrene (or similar lightweight material) - most likely a cutting, embankment or viaduct

C to could be the start of a bitsa station

C-D and D would be entirely functional track for a FY/traverser/etc.

 

It would be possible to extend the layout around behind the door, but then the issue of reach and depth show up again, combined with a minimum radius of 22-24" means it's not actually all that functional!

* Working title

Edited by Lacathedrale
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Hi   A drop down section is like a lifting section, but for a high level baseboard where the track is fairly close to the ceiling.   Our lifting section clears the 6 ft 6" ceiling by about 2 " being over 3ft long and 3 ft 6" from the floor when down.   If track level is 5ft then yo need an 8ft ceiling for a 3ft long lifting section and few rooms have ceilings that high.  If it hinges down like like a lifting section but hinges down not up it can be up to 5ft long before it hits the floor. Obviously it needs a substantial catch to stop it falling at an inopportune moment, but it makes sense for a high level layout.  

Drop down.JPG

Drop down B.JPG

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Is it worth worrying about exhibition mode? There are many ways to display a layout from home, as we have recently seen. If you set that idea aside, it would make the design simpler and give you more flexibility for the layout in it's permanent home. (E.g. Longer fiddle yard, longer shunt limit less need to cross joints perpendicularly.)

 

How high is the top of the window? It looks quite low, so could the layout run above it?  That would allow that part of the run to be left in place more often and you'd get more light in the room, although I think all your high-level boards still need to be removable to be able to work on them comfortably (and then depth is less of a problem, of course).

 

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Hi @Harlequin, I think you might be right that making too many sacrifices for 'layout mode' is not sensible when a) I've never exhibited, b) the future of exhibitions as a concept is certainly in question and c) even if it was, 99% of the time the layout will be at home.

 

After some experimentation I think an orthogonal supporting structure consisting primarily of 90 degree corners makes sense - easier to build, ensure proper connectivity, etc. to subdivide and re-home:

image.png.f43b3f9ead35abf7ae686f4663e6e3b9.png

 

The application of organic surfaces and fascias make things look a little more 'home-y':

 

image.png.e5e003d68a7787b116f17f72cb4edc48.png

 

It would mean that the key areas are fully supported, and the superfluous 'scenery only' areas could in theory be removed or amended. In this diagram A1 to C is still fully removable for stowage under the layout as a 'lift out' lightweight section consisting primarily of kingspan/celotex and aluminium.

 

@DavidCBroad I understand what you mean now - makes alot of sense. I was thinking of a 'lift out' rather than 'lift up' section, but a drop down section might work - a layout height of about 5' with a drop-down section would span the gap well in a 'orthogonal' arrangement like that depicted above, rather than with the extended sweeping perimeters.

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Looking at the basic ‘orthogonal’ version (before the facias), I think there’s a real benefit in the way you’ve got a 1’ gap to the left of the desk (when seated) and the A1-C layout section (ie: between the 8’ and 9’ grid lines along the bottom wall).  I think that could really help when working at the desk not to feel ‘cramped’ because of the layout.  It gives a bit of visual space, and keeps the layout further out of your peripheral vision when working.
 

Maybe it’s a function of my getting older, but these days I’m as interested in the gaps between things as I am in the things between the gaps: I’d now say wider aisles and walk-ins add to layout enjoyment.  Looking good.

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You could of course have a lift up/ drop down section across the window just as easily as you could have one across the door. If you hadn't thought of that already. If you want a roundy then you could do both.

 

I don't think the swoopy fascias really help much as shown. Just having tidy, square boards will be just as good looking and wouldn't take up so much space or need so much scenery to be built.

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How about a hybrid? The 'layout' is swoopy, the drop down and FY sections are orthogonal:

 

image.png.e475b8bc19b72153dc0b9c62765b3ab6.png

 

This gives a visible run of approx 15', and total run of approx 23' - the only 'mandate' comes from the (realistic) maximum of 8'6ish length of the main layout shelf which hopefully would be sufficient for a stylised secondary mainline terminus in 1/152... - something like this, anyway?

 

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I like the idea of curved station boards and straight boards elsewhere - helps maintain something of a work / hobby divide visually while allowing the layout into the work side of the room. 
 

If I’ve done the maths right I think the run of 15’ is a little over 0.4 miles in 1:152, and 23’ approx 2/3rds of a mile* which doesn’t sound too bad at all for this kind of scheme.   The station throat baseboard section may need to be sceniced first if that’s the one in the background for video conferencing calls?

_____________

* If I’m following it correctly, you then deduct train length for the distance travelled by any one passenger on a train making a complete run.

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Swoopy edged baseboards are a very Ricean feature and Rice is the expert on shelf layouts, of course.

 

I liked the all-swoopy version with only the FY straight-edged but the swoops might be a bit over generous because at that eye-level you have to look across them rather then down onto them. It depends what form the scenery takes and that again leads to Rice...

 

Iain Rice always says design the layout first then work out the support structure (and swoopy edges) to suit the layout.

 

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