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OO Gauge Modern Image Layout With "Swiss Feel"

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Hi all.  I'm now semi retired and have all the stock for a new UK based modern image layout.  It is being built in my garage which is attached to the house and which is fully insulated.  I have 16 feet by 7 feet 9 inches to use (diagram below).


All my stock is modern image mostly electric and some diesels, DCC with sound.


My aim is to have a lowest level main station and sidings on one side of the garage (nearest bottom of diagram below) and a higher station on the other (upper) side.  Trains would run around the layout connecting the two.  My favourite deisgn so far has been to have a semi open spiral at each end of the layout, with trains leaving the lowest station, siralling up the left hand spiral to the highest level, crossing from left to right and then coming down one level to the higher station immediately in front of the highest level before crossing underneath of and in front of that station either once or three times then sprialing once or twice down the right hand spiral back to the lowest station.  Underneath that level would be hidden storage sidings, effectively forming an additional set of running tracks around on the lowest level.  The basic idea can be seen on this diagram:




The section across the exit into the utility room (marked "door") would be a slot in section.  The rest of the baseboards are bolted together with upright 12 mm ply scenary separators on each end.


I would like the railway to cross some typically swiss bridges and viaducts (but not the Bietschtal bridge - more the type you get on the Gotthard), with the higher side being at about 20 inches above the lowest station, with the highest station about 6 inches lower (14 inches).  I want to give it a mountainous feel, with gorges, pastures and waterfalls, more Swiss than British, although the two stations will have British buildings and equipment.


Whilst a very visually appealing set up it would be very cramped, with only 5 or 6 feet of clear space in the middle, although I would make it possible to get up inside of the spirals for access purposes.


Another alternative I have considered is this:




Before I get too committed to building this layout I would like to explore any suggestions from other forum members of any other ways in which I can retain the basic idea I have (lower/upper stations, trains getting up to an height of 20 inches using a partly open spiral and then returning by spiraliing or passing around the garage back to the bottom (or using another method), but keeping the layout a bit more accessible.


I have made 2 previous false starts and have so far completed the 3 x 8 feet by 33 inch baseboards.  I'm really iching to get going, but want to see if anyone can come up with anything I haven't though of.  My max train length is about 8 feet and the longest coaches being those of a Virgin Pendolino or Voyager.  I have tried to keep a 4 to 5 feet diameter as the minimum.


All suggestions would be gratefully received.  It would be far to say I am getting pretty desparate to find some way of keeping the right hand side of the garage less cluttered but not having a lot of success coming up with any better ideas!



Edited by Dixie Dean
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Hi Dixie,


I'll post a couple of links on your site of camcorder footage that I took whilst on a Great Railway journey in Switzerland. The Bernina route to Italy actually has a spiral.




This clip includes the Bernina route to Poschiavo, the St Moritz to Chur line, the Rigi mountain railway and the Glacier express from Chur to Brig. I've included the more curvy and steeply graded parts as they seem more in tune with your plan. 


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brusio_spiral_viaduct   is from the Wikipaedia site.






Edited by Torr Giffard LSWR 1951-71
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Thanks Dave, that was much appreciated.  Sorry for the late reply, but I have been away. 


I seemed to have stumped everyone in terms of how best to design an interesting layout within the space and contraints I have.  The main problem for me has been that I will be running coaching stock like Pendolinos and I don't want these to look like they are going around toy train curves when they are ascending or descending the spirals.  I did look at having a two track main line which went up from the lower level to the upper level, and back down again, but to do that you need to have a loop at both ends and fitting that it is just as space consuming as a spiral and you have to have one at both the bottom and the top.


Perhaps I should have done a Rhb layout instead.  Bit late now, though, I have so much UK stock!

Edited by Dixie Dean
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  • 2 years later...

Hi again everybody.  I have significantly changed what I plan to do, having seen the latest version of that great layout Hillside on You tube.  That was developed using three shelves around a garage with an incline connecting each, so that trains could run around and up and down.  I have decided to follow this idea, but have a reverse loop at the top and bottom so that trains can go up and down with reversing.  


I have pretty much finalised the upper layer of my layout, but will still welcome comments and suggestions for improvement.  I have posted the track plan in my gallery.


I don't know whether I can improve the station area.  That is the upper (North) part of the diagram.  I propose to build an island platform between the tracks and a platform with station building on the south side of the tracks.  Could I utilise any of the spaces around the layout for small sidings, e.g. a van depot, wood loading.  The space between the station platform and the two tracks going down onto the next level (see below) is for a townscape of some sort, e.g. station building, bus terminus, car park, a couple of shops etc. and a road off in one or more directions.


The 4 through tracks on the lower) (South) side of the diagram are for storing freight trains (up to 11 bogie wagons + locomotive).  The sidings to the North of these are the carriage sidings.


The two inner tracks are those that will drop around the garage walls to the lower level in due course.  Having a complete loop at the top will allow me to operate trains around the upper level whilst the top to bottom tracks and the bottom level are built.


The hatched tracks are where they enter a tunnel and pass on the next set of baseboards below, emerging from a tunnel adjacent to the garage wall, on a mountainside.  The track is mostly Peco Code 75, however, due to space constraints I will have to use some Roco Code 83 curved points.  I would be grateful for any comments about these and their compatibility with the Peco track.

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  • 4 years later...

Well after a lot of time and mind changing the layout is finally underway.  I have built 2 and finished sections, which amount to the highest part of the layout, and a bit of a mountain pass.  I am now building the next lowest sections which consist of 2 shelves around the garage, at abut eye height.  The 2 sections I have finished are above these in  height with 2 ramps leading up to each end of these 2 modules.  Both modules have catenary which consists of N Brass portals with Peco wires, plus a couple of single masts, one of which is mounted on the adjacent mountain side.


I have also been working on a couple of rolling stock projects.  One of these was re-motoring an APT, using the Heljan 26/7/33 chassis, which only now requires a BWHS pantograph to finish it.  The other which I am only in the very early stages of is making up a 8 or 10 car GNER White Rose Eurostar.  I have bought an additional set of centre coaches and the 2 editions of Model Rail which detailed how to convert them to intermediate coaches.





Module 2 from above.compressed.jpg

Edited by Dixie Dean
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  • 1 year later...

My layout is proceeding apace now.  However I keep having to make sort of "major decisions" which are really quite minor, but tend to hold me up for a day or two each time"


I could do with some assistance to decide how to finish the top of the retaining wall below.   Should I cut the wall to the same angle as the incline, or say 1 or 2 scale feet above and finish it with a single or double handrail, or should it be stepped horizontally up the incline?  Anyone know of any suitable model handrails?   I've found these on eBay - would they be suitable and what would be better, sloping or stepped?  https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/223695225016?chn=ps&norover=1&mkevt=1&mkrid=710-134428-41853-0&mkcid=2&itemid=223695225016&targetid=1000147647540&device=c&mktype=pla&googleloc=9075129&poi=&campaignid=10195651343&mkgroupid=103308028793&rlsatarget=pla-1000147647540&abcId=1145985&merchantid=6995734&gclid=Cj0KCQiA5vb-BRCRARIsAJBKc6LBfY8ovw0i0mZE4qnQuU3CF0hsk16Xouy8wKB0ZYg-1yV_NKv2v7caAiolEALw_wcB


Just to put it all in perspective, in front of it is the track bed for the line which circles the layout.  The track on the incline is the single rack main line climbing around the layout which eventually ends up on the higher boards.  Behind that are the scenery carriers over the hidden loops/sidings which also circle the layout under removable sections of scenery.


Also, what could I do with the scenery here other than the side of a mountain and pine and fir trees etc?



Edited by Dixie Dean
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Hi, Might I suggest you move this over to the continental section and put it under the Swiss heading. Its a fairly active section, I am sure someone will get back to you, there a helpful bunch. Also there is loads a Swiss alpine footage on youtube for insperation.


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Thanks duff man, It is definitely a British layout, but I do like the look of an almost Alpine location!  I must admit I'm not finding it easy to decide which way to do this.  It is quite a gradient, although my locos can handled it with the max length I can go to with 10 bogie wagons.  If I step it it would have quite a few steps.  Unfortunately the uprights on most of the model railings I can find will be quite out of vertical if I just run the top of the wall parallel to the gradient.  I might therefore try a section with steps and see how it goes.

Edited by Dixie Dean
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I would definitely go for stepped. Given it's made of courses of stone, it's more likely they'd be stepped. As you're finding though the fact it's a model with a steeper than prototypical gradient will mean more steps than the real thing would need.


I do struggle a bit with the concept for the layout though - you say it's a UK layout, but it looks and feels really quite Swiss, spirals are not remotely British, may be a bit why you struggle for responses sometimes. It feels more like a Swiss layout where you're running UK stock!  That's not inherently a criticism; it looks great, love the OHLE, but I struggle a bit to give advice on how to make the micro aspects of it realistic, when the macro concept is inherently unrealistic.

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Thanks njee20.  I'll have a bit of an experiment in the morning.  Any thoughts on the railings I should use.  The ones in the eBay link a bright yellow as you often see at the end of platforms.  Would they be appropriate or would a different colour be better?


One thing I should point out is that the layout's plan has changed significantly, and is now a main station and freight area on each side of the bottom level of the layout (either side of my garage) with a single track main line climbing around the walls of the garage up to a higher level at eye height with another station and freight area.  There is also a mountain pass which is the sections you can see in the photos above.  There a couple of passing loops with stations as the line progresses upwards.  I'm afraid I'm not particularly bothered about representing a specific line or place, I just want an interesting layout on which to run my modern image stock.   I do have a detailed Anyrail plan but as it is multi level it's quite difficult to present it on screen.


It's sort of based somewhere in Scotland with high mountains-ish!


Regardless I do hope you find it interesting enough to pop back from time to time as it progresses.

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