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Offline 5HorizonsRR  
#1 Posted : 09 January 2020 21:50:34(UTC)

United States   
Joined: 05/12/2004(UTC)
Posts: 2,886
Location: NY, NY
Hi layout experts! (and interested non-experts, who I encourage opinion from!)

I am preparing to help my father replace his 20+ year old layout. The old layout is a long story, but it used the old and brittle C track which is now troublesome, and has a lot of design elements he doesn't like and I don't want to repeat.

So for the new layout, designing has begun. I have found a track plan that I really like as a basis for modification, and I wanted some opinions as I feel it has some shortcomings. The layout is attached here, ironically enough coming from a Marklin magazine plan. (I don't have the actual magazines) Don't forget to click on the 3D overview cad, which doesn't seem to load automatically)

At a glance this fits many requirements, but a few thoughts below. I'd appreciate any insights, and any improvement ideas I might be missing:

1- Needs a reversing loop (or two)
2- The right side exit to the bottom level shadow station I don't like. It has "S" curves on tight radius. If feasible I feel like somehow implementing curved turnouts would both eliminate the S curves and lengthen the sidings. (both of which are desired. The longest train length planned is an extra ~8" or so)
3- A personal addition for my father would be an analogue loop or two going around the outside of everything just so he can run his classics, but this doesn't really effect the plan shown at all.
4- Total lack of shunting. Neither he nor I are big on that, but a little bit would be nice to have. If anything to have some visible freight cars on sidings. This may just be a reality of the plan, although for length reasons I'll mention at the end of the post I have an idea where I can add more.
5- (this is the big ask) The designer did a lovely job of designing for wide curves in visible areas. And showing only the "sweet side" of the trains in those curves. The problem is the hidden areas are still heavily dependent on R1, and there is no option to do a lap of the layout without travelling over R1. If there was a way to bump this to R2, it would the ability to run some non-marklin rolling stock which really needs curves a wider than 360mm. Do you guys think this is possible without adding much width?

6- what am I missing?

So, what are your thoughts for improvement? The space will not allow much (if any) more overall width, but if need be the layout can go longer. My current thought was to sort the existing plan if it can be fixed for the issues above, and then easily lengthen it from there.

mid level.PNGvisible areas.PNGbottom level.PNG 3Dcad.PNG (1,156kb) downloaded 10 time(s).
FS + SBB Era 2-5 and Vintage Marklin
Offline DaleSchultz  
#2 Posted : 09 January 2020 21:58:49(UTC)

Joined: 10/02/2006(UTC)
Posts: 3,249
I used to think that reversing loops were important, but I have found they are not so important after all. To do reversing you do need two of them, and that adds a lot of demands on a small layout.

If he is not into shunting, no need for a shunting area.

Intellibox + own software, K-Track
My current layout: https://cabin-layout.mixmox.com
Arrival and Departure signs: https://remotesign.mixmox.com
Offline hvc  
#3 Posted : 10 January 2020 01:46:31(UTC)

Joined: 03/06/2013(UTC)
Posts: 199
Location: Melbourne, VIC, Australia
Could you give us an idea of the space you have available? Preferably with room dimensions, because access is always an important consideration. And yes with reversing loop, you need to have 0 or 2 - not much point having 1 :-)

- Herman
- Herman
Offline DV  
#4 Posted : 10 January 2020 02:45:06(UTC)

Joined: 29/11/2009(UTC)
Posts: 848
Location: Mount Barker, South Australia
A member of our Märklin club built this layout following as closely as possible the instructions from the Märklin Magazine.

He had in operation for approximately six months before he took it apart. He felt that there wasn't much room for improvement. I would say that all the points you brought up were the main reason he decided to take it apart.

His main complaint was the levels and grades suggested by the design did not leave much room between the three levels. So much so, that when I tried to run my camera car on a standard four wheel Märklin flat car, it got stuck. Had to use a Märklin low loading flat car.

His other complaint was that there was too much running in the tunnels. For a layout this size (3m x 1.5m) you don't see many trains.

There are three videos of this layout you can have a look at. The member is not that much into scenery, it is very basic.

Two videos will show cab ride going either way and the third video shows the completed layout.

He did add a 'schattenbahnhof' that wasn't 'schatten', but it served his purpose and allowed him to put on/take off trains without affecting the running of the layout.

He is a member of this forum, just can't remember his forum name.

This my usual 'camera car'

He now has a new layout, more to his liking, that he used the layout from a Märklin catalogue that was on many levels and see through (can't remember the edition year ) as a basis.

Couple of videos of that layout.

All our members using phones/tablets to run our trains.

Hope this has been of help to you.
Dusan V
'I find your lack of faith (in Märklin) disturbing'
thanks 2 users liked this useful post by DV
Offline mrmarklin  
#5 Posted : 10 January 2020 18:17:19(UTC)

United States   
Joined: 27/10/2004(UTC)
Posts: 806
Location: Burney, CA
Hi John,

A few ETE magazines ago I wrote an article about my reasons for having a simple layout. In my experience, having hidden tracks, too many curves (esp.R1 and elevations just add to operating headaches.
There are actually some good layouts in the Marklin layout book that comes with basic C-Track. I don't have that in front of me right now, but simplification will lead to less operating problems.
From the People's Republik of Kalifornia
Offline 5HorizonsRR  
#6 Posted : 10 January 2020 18:25:54(UTC)

United States   
Joined: 05/12/2004(UTC)
Posts: 2,886
Location: NY, NY
Thanks everyone! Some great feedback. My thoughts

- Reverse loop: 2 of course is ideal, but I can live with one just to turn trains around. Even if it means reversing back through it. It does highlight my other complaint on the layout which is one continuous main line, whereas I prefer at least 2 so the trains can run different directions, kids can each run "their" own trains, etc...

- Dusan: I wasn't expecting videos! A huge help on perspective. I'd give a different scenic treatment, but this opened my eyes a bit to the 3D of it all and makes me think how much I like it.

- The existing layout is actually 4x15 feet(120cm/450cm). However future designs need to dramatically improve room access. ~5x10 (150x300) is the target, with walls on the back side and the right side if you face the front of the layout. If it went longer than 300cm, any length beyond the 300am cannot be more than 110cm max. For starting anew the guide is really a 150x300, the length being flexible since the room is much longer.

I have to say I might scrap this plan, or at least keep searching. In retrospect it checked a few major requirements: not being boring and predictable routing/trains in a circle, plus multiple levels. But the routing itself leaves a lot to be desired, including a base curve of R2.

More thinking to follow, but for now I appreciate the inputs!
FS + SBB Era 2-5 and Vintage Marklin
Offline DaleSchultz  
#7 Posted : 10 January 2020 19:45:03(UTC)

Joined: 10/02/2006(UTC)
Posts: 3,249
I would (and have) favor a double manline before any reversing loops. You get the trains running in both directions.
Intellibox + own software, K-Track
My current layout: https://cabin-layout.mixmox.com
Arrival and Departure signs: https://remotesign.mixmox.com
thanks 2 users liked this useful post by DaleSchultz
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