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Thread: Planning for Oregon Trunk on a HCD 2.0

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    Default Planning for Oregon Trunk on a HCD 2.0

    It's been just about seven years since I started my first and current layout. It is a hollow core door size layout with scenery based on the Oregon Trunk, which runs through the Deschutes River canyon and up onto a high desert plateau. The layout is built in sections, which has helped it survive a handful of long distance moves while packed in large wardrobe boxes. Here's an overview shot of the current layout, with shelf style staging over to the left out of the frame:

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    It's been fun, but I've been thinking for a while about building a new one, with a few improvements:

    -Better construction and wiring
    -Better river (WS "deep pour" rather than gloss mod podge)
    -Better basalt columns, probably carved from stacked foam (still experimenting)
    -Larger turnouts (current ones are 12.5" radius curve, 22.5 degrees)

    The new one would be pretty similar though, because all in all, I'm still pretty happy with my current layout (probably why I've been so slow to actually start a new one). I would like to do a few things better though, so here's the "givens and druthers" for a rebuild:

    Givens:
    -30"x80" hollow core door plus staging on a shelf extension
    -Continuous run (loop)
    -Lightweight, easy to move modules/sections that fit in a large wardrobe box (current ones are 20" wide max, could be an inch or so more)
    -Sections join "T-Track style" using either Unitrack or Atlas True Track (prefer True Track, I think it looks better)
    -Oregon Trunk inspired scenery (canyons with those basalt columns mentioned above and high desert)
    -Mainly single track (fitting with the above theme), not too crowded
    -Include a runaround (at least enough for a five car + caboose local); longer passing siding not necessary
    -At least 11" minimum radius curves
    -Two eras: early 90s BN and early 50s GN and SP&S, vehicles and buildings can be switched out (I already do this on my current layout)
    -Bridges. My current bridge in the front is based on the one seen here, but about 1/2 size: https://www.railpictures.net/photo/714076/
    Or a ME steel viaduct, shortened to look like the one seen here, but not as long: https://www.railpictures.net/photo/594960/ or https://www.railpictures.net/photo/394081/

    Druthers:
    -12.5" minimum radius
    -reuse structures from current layout (or that I'm currently building anyway), three small industries
    -Having the width of the layout a few inches less than the 80" HCD gives a handy little ledge - nice to have, but not essential
    -Field or other agricultural scene
    -Spurs in the industrial area facing the same direction
    -More interested in running than operations, but would prefer the industry tracks to make some kind of sense
    -Tracks crossing modules at slightly different angles actually does work on my current layout, but limit it
    -Avoid buildings that cross the seam between modules (tried that on my current layout...)

    I have three options drawn up below and am hoping for your feedback. I can combine different elements of different options, I just didn't want to draw up every permutation. Each module or section will be connected by a piece of sectional track on each side, though I didn't always bother to draw that. If Atlas ever actually delivers the True Track #5 turnouts that were supposed to be out 3rd quarter 2019, I'd use those and ME code 70 flex (yea, I know, I'm weird). True Track is code 65, I'm using with the ME code 70 on my current layout, and it works for me. I like the tie spacing better than Unitrack. However, I also drew one up using ME code 70 turnouts, and the third option uses Unitrack with a Peco set track curved turnout to get a longer runaround. Brown is hill and canyon, blue is the river, gray is roads, and green is a field. The "parking" next to the warehouse is to make sure I leave enough room to back a tractor-trailer up to it.

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    I'm leaning towards re-using my current bridge (the one in options 1 and 3), though I'll have to modify it for a little more curvature.
    -Even if I cut down the ME steel viaduct to half the height (like the prototype pics), it's still taller, which either makes the canyon way bigger or the slope implausible
    -Easier to construct the sections/modules if the river is only on one of them

    Construction probably won't start until mid to late February, so I have plenty of time to refine ideas, work on those basalt cliffs, and see if those True Track turnouts actually show up.

    Well, now that I've written a short book... comments and suggestions are welcome.
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    Last edited by OTFan; 11th Dec 2019 at 12:27 AM. Reason: fix pictures

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  3. #2
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    I like #3 . I like the fact of the siding size . To me it makes sense for switching out the industries of the 3 examples shown . I realize running is more important, but it feels like it gives a better option . Regardless of track choice , it's my pick

    Steve

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    I like option one. The trackwork is nice and compact leaving more space for scenery. Having said that, you're not far wrong with any of the three.
    Thanks, Tom

    Expect nothing except the opposite of what you expect, and then expect it to be something other than that ! Then that's about what it will be

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    Option #3.

    Like the flow of the spurs. One change would be to slightly reorient the the center spur/bluidings and curve the road such that it is parallel with the far left building...
    ~ Moose (Co-founder of the Mt. Tahoma & Pacific Railroad, located some where in the Pacific Northwest)

    "Beware the Train of Thought that Carries no Freight..."

    "Reading is for morons who can't understand pictures..."

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    Thanks guys.

    Quote Originally Posted by Moose2013 View Post
    Option #3.

    Like the flow of the spurs. One change would be to slightly reorient the the center spur/bluidings and curve the road such that it is parallel with the far left building...
    Is this sorta what you mean?

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    @OTFan

    Yes, that seems much better.
    ~ Moose (Co-founder of the Mt. Tahoma & Pacific Railroad, located some where in the Pacific Northwest)

    "Beware the Train of Thought that Carries no Freight..."

    "Reading is for morons who can't understand pictures..."

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    I agree with Moose. ...

    Looking forward to seeing your columnar basalt rockwork, too!

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    I also vote for #3. Especially with the changes suggested by @Moose2013

    Just a heads up, that Peco Setrack curved switch has a minimum radius of 10-3/8" (#2 radius in Peco-speak). I only point (no pun intended) this out as your 'givens' is 11". But I doubt this will be an issue.

    Your current layout is pretty cool too BTW.
    The Northern Alberta Railways, once the 3rd largest railway in Canada.

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    Garfield where's OT wooops wrong character hehehe

    Seriously OT if any one of those plans turns out like your first iteration it should be a winner.

    Looking forward to OT-2.0 Ewwwwwe what's that smell :fart:

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    Quote Originally Posted by Paul Schmidt View Post
    Looking forward to seeing your columnar basalt rockwork, too!
    Me too... If you google Oregon Joint Line you'll see some great columnar basalt in N scale... I need more practice, my first attempts at carving from foam haven't turned out as well as I'd like. But that's what practice is for.

    Quote Originally Posted by Riderfan View Post
    Just a heads up, that Peco Setrack curved switch has a minimum radius of 10-3/8" (#2 radius in Peco-speak). I only point (no pun intended) this out as your 'givens' is 11". But I doubt this will be an issue.
    Great point, thank you. I'll see if I can re-work that with a curved turnout from their regular line.

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    Quote Originally Posted by OTFan View Post
    Great point, thank you. I'll see if I can re-work that with a curved turnout from their regular line.
    You could also consider a Tomix curved turnout. Pretty sure they're 11"/12.xxx". @ChicagoNW could confirm this. And might work better with the Kato stuff you're planning.

    Just a thought
    The Northern Alberta Railways, once the 3rd largest railway in Canada.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Riderfan View Post
    You could also consider a Tomix curved turnout. Pretty sure they're 11"/12.xxx".
    A word of warning about Tomix track. The actual rail is quite a bit thicker than most and needs filing thinner to make a nice joint. Also, If you are planning on using point motors, theirs need a different switch set up.
    Thanks, Tom

    Expect nothing except the opposite of what you expect, and then expect it to be something other than that ! Then that's about what it will be

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    Quote Originally Posted by Riderfan View Post
    You could also consider a Tomix curved turnout. Pretty sure they're 11"/12.xxx".
    I think you're right, and their curved turnout would fit. The longer Peco (or Atlas, for that matter) curved turnouts don't. It's worth considering...

    Quote Originally Posted by tomcook View Post
    A word of warning about Tomix track. The actual rail is quite a bit thicker than most and needs filing thinner to make a nice joint. Also, If you are planning on using point motors, theirs need a different switch set up.
    Interesting point about the rail, I didn't know that. I'd rather just use the manual switch/lever/doohicky/thing as long as it's reliable and as long as it actually has that like Unitrack, True Track, etc does. (edit to add: just watched Mike Fifer's review and looks like it does) I'm also not sure I like the height of the built in road bed - seems too low for a main line, but too high for yard or industrial track. All that said, I'll probably find a couple pieces of the stuff just to check it out.

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    Here's the plan with a Tomix curved turnout:

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    I just ordered the Tomix curved turnout, and it should be here in January. $36 and change including shipping from Japan. If I don't like then hopefully I'll be able to resell it and recoup some of that... but I like this version enough that it's worth checking out.
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    The curved turnout looks as though it will work well.
    Cheers Tony

    "Knowing what to do is one thing ... being able to do it is another"
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    Looking good! Hopefully the Tomix switch plays nicely with the other track you're using.
    The Northern Alberta Railways, once the 3rd largest railway in Canada.

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    Well, now I've gone and given myself a dilemma... Unitrack lines up nicely with Peco code 80 on 1/8" roadbed, and I should be able to shim the Tomix curved turnout to height. I was making up my list of Unitrack pieces to order when on a whim I checked some ME code 70 I had with the Tomix turnout:

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    It matched height darn near perfectly. I thought the Tomix was code 80, but the rail heights line up great just using the Tomix joiner. Of course the tie spacing would be different. So I drew the plan up with all Tomix turnouts, and I kind of like it:

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    It reduces the spacing between tracks, and saves enough room that I could move the fertilizer dealer back over to the right and put some space between it and the oil dealer. If I did this, I'd use Tomix for all the connections between sections to keep things easier. The connections look less robust than Unitrack, but I wouldn't be disconnecting them very often once construction is mostly finished.

    Anybody have any thoughts on using the Tomix track more widely?
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    And construction begins

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    I ended up going with Tomix for the turnouts and ME code 70 flex track. That doesn't sound like that would work, but surprisingly if you use the Tomix rail joiners the tops of the track line up quite well. If you use regular rail joiners, the results are what you'd expect - the code 70 ME flex track sits below the code 80 Tomix track.
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    That's what mine looks like at this time!

    ___________Just do it in Vinyl!__________


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    Making some progress this weekend. I have three of the four sections built, and track glued down along the back side of them:

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    For wiring, all the joints across each section are soldered, with a feeder on each section. Generally the feeders drop straight down, though the outside track on the back is over the top of the supporting foam underneath around the edge, so that wire goes over the back (should be easy to hide later). I'll wire all that to a bus later. Once the wiring is set I'll use a low-temp hot glue gun to tack the wiring in place instead of the masking tape, though tape works just fine for now and is easier to re-arrange if necessary. Here's a "front and back" of the one section I have wired so far:

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    To help with the track laying, I bought "sweep sticks" from fast tracks, both a pair of straight and a pair of 12.5" radius pieces. I like them a lot. For those not familiar, they fit in between the rails to help keep things nice and smooth. You can see the curved pieces in the bottom left of this photo, between the rails.

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