This page last updated: December 21, 2012 as of Feb 2014
HO layout construction
- Photos of my HO layout: the poster child of layout errors. curves too small, slope too large, too wide to work on the middle, no vertical or curvature easements, no mainline, yard so insane no cars can traverse the switches, and on and on. Five trains can run independently at the same time on a 7'x10' layout. 29 powered switches controlled from a detachable train control panel, 2 unpowered in 1 yard, 7 unpowered in the other yard. Working turntable. It is also fun to play tag.
- My ideas on layout construction, lessons learned, and knowledge gleaned from the internet all mixed together: My HO layout ideas .pdf
As of August 2013 : Gave up on Walls... Hope to have a Loop at one end of a meandering 2 level layout with a helix at the other end. Now i just gotta get a gazillion dollars to buy a house with a large basement.
Lower level Wall: and thus subterranean River. The lower level is 3' wide and top is 2' wide. Barges Must be on lower level so they can be moved alongside the layout.
Rock Barge conveyor unloader about same height as dumper loader : the River is at a lower elevation - but Not a different level (all the ships are on carts). Cement plant / rock quarry mine.
Grain Barge just simulates unloading into Grain silos, never gets filled with anything
Automobile Barge loads at one dock and unloads at another - back and forth. Current idea is a small river ferry, just a few cars or 1 semi-trailer. A Resin river that has a barge that actually crosses it...
Train car Barge , quite a bit larger like the Alaskan barges but not like double decker car ferries. They will transport between the Wall and the Island, Both being at 30".. NO duckunders.
Upper level Wall: (slightly higher than island ships - water level)
Ethanol plant, Steel recycling center (‘crusher', unloading crane, forklift loader), Nuclear plant and nuclear recycling, steampunk rock and coal
The Steel Mill and Paper plant will seem to fill in the whole width of the layout : the backside will be almost at the mainline on the other side.. (Top and Bottom) if the buildings are spaced correctly it might be possible to have the 'backside' be a different type of processing ...required... for the Steel mill / Ore mine.
The paper plant can receive wood chips in front , other type cars, and ship out the product from factory at back : so both side have a 'front' - main type of action.
The front will be on opposite sides : top-bottom to allow for the material to drop into the lower level loader - with minimum disruption to the scene. The wood chip has problems as it has to be loaded from the bottom of its area (will be an additional conveyor the WIDTH of the layout - bummer) [Or just simulate that movement and have the wood chips drop straight into a hopper that loads the train cars:) The chips can drop into the hopper, the imitation conveyor from the Chipper can feed UP to it, and the train loader conveyor can feed OUT from it. It being a hopper to catch and distribute the wood chips.], the coal loader will simply convey the coal on downward into hopper and conveyor into the cars.
Wood chip Dumper at Paper plant into lower level Wood chip mill conveyor loader (Empty from plant down to mill, travel Full from chip mill UP to the paper plant)
Coal Dumper at Steel mill into lower level Mine conveyor flood loader (Cars travel Empty from the steel mill Down to the mine loader; travel Full from Mine UP to the steel mill)
Ore cars filled at ship unloader, travel through Steel mill / out the Ore mine to the Ore dumper at Ship loader; then Empty cars travel from there to the ship unloader to be filled.
Possible change is to have the Mine deliver coal to the ship loader, that transports to the ship unloader, the train delivers coal to the Steel mill, the dumped coal comes out of the mine. Thus Train delivers full loads to the ship and returns empty to the mine, Train is loaded from ship, delivers to the Steel mill and returns empties to the ship. ... Need for Ore is just kinda ignored...
Rock cars filled at Barge conveyor unloader travel to Cement plant ?out? the hillside mine to the Rock dumper Barge loader, Travel Empty from there to be filled at the Barge conveyor unloader.
The trains on the other side are going in the opposite direction... problems in passing cars to the other side
4 Rotary dumper locations : Rock dumper, Ore Ship loader, Wood chip Paper plant, Coal steel mill. Rock dumper cars will be decoupled at dumper. Ore Ship loader dumper might have 2 dumpers inline, covered by a shed that slides over one of the dumpers. This will allow a DCC driver to position the cars in the first dumper, OR the cars to travel through the first dumper and be Auto-positioned-dumped by the second dumper. There might be 2 Wood chip dumpers : 62' and 72' length cars. There might be 2 dumpers inline at the steel mill also...
7 Total possible dumpers... Maybe the Ore and Rocks will get dumped too.. depends if it seems too goofy for them to chase the barge... so it becomes 7 of 9 Total possible dumpers... would that make it into an additional race ? Have to wait and see what reality brings to the table.
Coal hoppers are 7" and the wood chip are ~8.4", 20 hoppers is 12 FEET before and after the Rotary dumper (24..30'). 100 cars are 58' plus the locomotives (120')...
The Walthers ore car is based on a DM&IR U29 class. 21'-6" between stiking plate faces, top of car to rail top measurements DM&IR 10'-2" .So the ore cars are less than half the length of a coal hopper... then 2 will fit at once to be dumped.
Make a lot of the 72' wood chip cars and thus have a lot of the mini cars - use as ore cars... 72' woodchip is a rotary dump car cut in half with the inner third of another added in, the outer thirds are glued together to make a mini hopper.
Michigan-Style ? Lake Superior & Ishpeming Set NO overboards
Taconite Ore Car have overboards
there are several other types of ore cars.. ideally make a choice and make the unit trains of that type.
The largest dock of the type in the world exist in Superior, Wisconsin, as part of BNSF's Allouez Taconite Facility. hmmm around the corner is a coal loading dock which is similar i think to what i want to model ...Not a Walthers style dock dumper. That is where they have the rotary dumpers feeding the conveyor to the dock that fills the ships with a conveyor moving alonside the ship.
BNSF all-rail pellet moves between the Minnesota ore range and the steel mill in Granite City. (No ships..All rail)
Ships and Barge scenes will need the Mainline to be 'set back' rather than at the front of the layout : sounds like a doggone Dogbone waterfront, maybe the barges could be forward extensions as they might be short enough to get away with it. Ships have their 'processing' areas: Container...Intermodal yard, Oil...Refinery, taconite...storage pile- conveyor train loader. Could have the dual mains be in front and go through the industries... and the mains in back do the actual outgoing product processing.
Ship yard(s) is Huge wide and Long (12' minimum looks like, more like 30'): taconite, oil and container ships and their unloading-processing areas. And somewhere else is the ship Ore loader that has to be connected to the ore trains from the mines.
Lower level of the shipyard could be where the (Venice,IL) yard is. As a working yard, cars should not be 'stored' there, however while trains are not running it would keep some of the dust off maybe.
taconite Ore goes into steel mill and out the 'mine' .. Lake Freighter unloads taconite into a pile-conveyor train loader... that goes to steel mill. Other side of the steel mill is the taconite mine.. the cars come out Full :) ...Freighter gets loaded by a conveyor fed gravity funnel loading dock.. from a rotary dumper at its ground level.
This becomes another empty train chasing the ship-loader so the train can be filled by ship conveyor for trip to the steel mill...
The most common cargoes on the Great Lakes are taconite (a type of iron ore), limestone, grain, salt, coal, cement, gypsum, sand, slag, and potash.(wikipedia)
Resin Model measures 36" in length and 6" wide, representing a 258' long freighter, 10" extensions are available. The Freighter is also available as a 71" plastic model (71" is still only 515'). (Lakers max at 1000' more common are lake boats in the 600 and 700 foot range. smaller ones are actually barges...?)[1000 and 1013.5 feet (305 and 309 m) long, 105 feet (32 m) wide and of 56 feet (17 m) hull depth.]
Lee A. Tregurtha: Length 826'00" (251.76m)[114" 9.5'], Beam 75'00" (22.86m)[10.3], Depth 39'00" (11.89m)[5.4]
Seagoing MAX (locks) 740 ft (225.6 m) long, 78 ft (23.8 m) wide, and 26.5 ft (8.1 m) deep;
Length: 700' = 96.6" = 8'; Width: 70' = 9.7"; 27'= 3.7" .. 39'=5.4" tall,
Length: 680' =93.8"=7.8', Width:78' =10.76", depth:42' =5.8", 260’ Conveyor= 36"
[0.86], 584.8L, 67'W, 36'H : 80.7=6.666'L, 9.24W, 5"H, Conveyor=31"
Taconite ship conveyor: almost half ship length, counterweight bar to conveyor midpoint - relieves weight stress on moving arm
Conveyor belt could have silicon added to edges, grease the side walls so silicone will not stick to it, and then apply and form silicone edging.
Conveyor inside ship would NOT have the edging as the ore needs to be able to move onto the belt the whole distance of the ship conveyor - to empty the hold. It will need the overhead ceiling with spaces in the side walls for the ore to get onto the belt. AND have multiple 'hoppers' that have a servo controlled gate that is opened to empty the ship and only closed before filling (that would MAYBE allow edges and remove any pressure from the load along the way). (will need some way to clean out the conveyor, remove the debris that edges underneath it.) (Sandwich Belt High Angle Conveyors 2007 . Progress to Date
Joseph A. Dos Santos) conveyor belt could be tried, seems complicated in HO scale.
Sylvan Waterline Oil Tanker is 56" long, looks to still need piping and valves, hard to tell. If so, just put stuff from refinery kits on it, the important ship thing would be the valves to pump in/out the liquid. The refinery is adjacent to the ship dock. Oil tanker unloader is tubes: Base, -Pivot up, -pivot down, multi-pivots to valves. Deans RC model is about 36" and has a gazillion pipes and thingys.
Container ship could be made from the laker : unifeeder is about 7 40' containers long: 280'. Do not recall where it was from... here is a good site: Ship Photo Albums From Dennis Shum and Tylon Leung.
or from a RC aircraft carrier model (L 30" X W 6" X H 8" , or a 45x15" racing boat or the ships detailed in Container ship... also has selections for a tanker and car ferry.
Container conveyor has a single arm going out..Heljan has two arms - easier to make track movement i would think
Container flatcars are about a foot each, that would be only 3 alongside a 3 foot ship... Many sub-sidings for parallel parking and some for restacking work too... Truck lanes for transhipment. Ocean containers come in 20 feet and 40 feet in length. Domestic containers come in 45 feet, 48 feet and 53 feet in length.
Maybe all the ships are on carts.. or not - the off loading area still is there and does not move - BUT having the ships on carts makes the area ACCESSIBLE, more room for trains, no need to make a resin river. The barges could be on carts too ! that makes for a delivery system and simplifies? things.
- Info from an image with my notes:
171 loads, 0 empties, weighed in at 10,242 tons and was 10,172 feet in length.
The power was set up 3x2 DPU ?=5or6? 5 loco: <500'
10,172 feet = 1403 HO" = 117 foot HO train
171 cars ... ~34 cars per locomotive, average 57'cars @ 58tons each
- Internet links .. Google HO layout construction and other topics
- Video links
- Making Trees and landscaping :
twigs, Hydrangea, sedum, twisted wire, polyester fiberfill, cotton balls, furnace filter, green pads,
paint soaked sawdust, Oregano, Parsley, Sage, Rosemary, and Thyme, ...
EXPANDED polystyrene is chunky, EXTRUDED Polystyrene is smaller-denser. It is often called “styrofoam” although “Styrofoam” is actually a trade name of DOW extruded polystyrene. Depron, which can be considered a stronger, denser and more flexible form of Styrofoam.
- Plastic objects :
- Soft: SUGRU Formable silicon like
- Thermo Plastic :
- Friendly Plastic: Amazon Friendly Plastic
- Oven bake Super Sculpey: sculpey Super Sculpey
- Oven bake shrinkydinks: shrinkydinks paint-then-shrink flat shapes
- Organizations :
- Trains: NMRA National Model Railroad Association "The National Model Railroad Association (NMRA), an organization of model railroaders, advances the worldwide scale model railroading community through education and standards as well as advocacy and fellowship."
- Planes: AMA Academy of Model Aeronautics What is the AMA?, AMA Vision,
AMA Mission "The Academy of Model Aeronautics is a world-class association of modelers organized for the purpose of promotion, development, education, advancement, and safeguarding of modeling activities.
The Academy provides leadership, organization, competition, communication, protection, representation, recognition, education, and scientific/technical development to modelers."
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