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new to g scale

cvcanada

cvcanada

Registered
1 Jul 2019
17
5
62
Santa Fe, New Mexico
I've been lurking around the forums for a while collecting information and getting ideas so I thought that I'd introduce myself.

Although I have a few years of HO scale railroad modeling indoors, I'm new to G scale railroads outdoors.

I live in the high desert outside Santa Fe, New Mexico and am considering modeling anything from the 1880s to 1940s, the time period that the D&RGW overlapped with the AT&ST in Santa Fe, but I'll probably violate that in time. I'm not thinking about having many structures or anything other than native grasses and plants. I've attached a picture of the general area that I'm planning on using.

I've gone to a few HO scale operating sessions and enjoyed them. But I'm not planning for that in my G scale railroad. I'm thinking of a continuous layout where I can have a few trains doing their things while I sit back with a glass of wine and watch.

So far I've collected a couple of new Piko steam locomotives and some rolling stock. One loco came with DCC, digital sound and steam. I had to install DCC, digital sound and steam in the other. I was happy to have good instructions/videos from Piko and to have a loco substantially larger than I was used to with HO scale. Following that I converted both locos to battery power and Revolution DCC wireless control. I wanted large capacity batteries and one of the locos was a small Saddle Tank with no tender so I installed the batteries and Revolution DCC receivers in a trailing car. That went well so I extended the DCC bus from the trailing cars through a number of other cars for lights and animations.

I've been so happy with the Revolution DCC products that I'm considering adding another battery and Revolution receiver on the ground someplace just to control turnouts and accessories. That's not certain yet.

It's getting warmer outdoors so I'm getting ready to finalize track plans and lay track. I have a 130 foot by 65 foot space reserved in our yard between our house and a floating deck at the end of a crusher fine path. It has a gradual 1 to 3 percent grade along the 130 foot dimension and largely level across the 65 foot dimension. I've testing the range of the Revolution DCC transmitter/receiver and gotten good connection from one end of this area to the other. I've attached a satellite view of the area with my plans so far.

After seeing it in Portland last year I've chosen TrainLi brass code 332 track and intent to use their flex track and an EasyBend DuoTrack for everything except for TrainLi R4 (in a storage yard) and R7 turnouts. Since I am going with all battery power I don't really care about electrical connectivity and won't put power on the tracks. I do care about how it looks and how sturdy it is.

The plan starts with a folded figure eight of about 70 feet of track on a very level area near the house. It seems the easiest/best place to start. The curves have a 8 foot or greater diameter which is sufficient for the locos and rolling stock I have now. That part of the plan is in orange.

The next part of the plan, shown in magenta, is a pair of reversing loops or dog bone with only one connecting track in the middle. I had started with the more standard double track in the middle, but then it would be just one loop instead of allowing for every alternate cycle the train to go the opposite direction around the loops. I just need to use non-derailing turnouts or wire them to automatically switch as such. Piko's turnouts all claim to be no-derailing and would work, but I don't know how long the springs will last and if they'd just be too troublesome. That drives me to think about track magnets to control the turnouts. It also might drive me to JMRI, but I spent a career with computers and don't want to carry much of that experience into my hobby. Maybe a few Arduino's, but not too many. I haven't thought this though enough yet. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. ... The tightest curve/turnout would be 14 feet or greater in diameter. I may want to buy larger locos someday and want a portion of the track to permit that.

Following that I'd probably tackle the turquoise part of the plan next. It a basic oddly shaped loop with one opportunity to reverse directions at the left of the attached image. The tightest curve/turnout would be 14 feet or greater in diameter.

Next I'd do the green part of the plan. I have no idea what to call the pattern, but it allows a over and under crossing with a trestle that might be showy.

The last part of the plan, in yellow, is a storage yard with an adobe brick 'shed' to store rolling stock in. I'll probably build the 'shed' to hold 8 track each about 10 feet long and top it with a lean too roof that hinges up to open. That's way more space than I think I'll need and not too hard to build.

Anyway ... That's where I am with my plan so far. My biggest questions right now are concerning how to automatically control the turnouts between the reversing loops/dog bone track.
Train Area.png

The Plan.png
 
Rhinochugger

Rhinochugger

Retired Oik
27 Oct 2009
27,143
1,338
North West Norfolk
OK, what are you going to do next week, then :p:p
 
korm kormsen

korm kormsen

Registered
24 Oct 2009
2,533
72
forget the wine.
whei (if?) you finish your ambitious plan, maintenance will raise it's ugly head...
 
P

phils2um

Phil S
11 Sep 2015
541
320
Ann Arbor, Michigan
What is a non-derailing turnout? That's as new one on me and I've been around a while.
 
dunnyrail

dunnyrail

DOGS, Garden Railways, Steam Trains, Jive Dancing,
25 Oct 2009
16,952
1,584
72
St.Neots Cambridgeshire UK
Any thoughts on how to keep maintenance to a minimum?
Certainly low maintenance gardening should be on your agenda. Battery Control is another, you already talk about Revolution DCC so that is a good start and can be used for locomotives. But you may find a limitation on length if run (though I can get 4-6 hours with a Piko 2-10-2), just depends if you want a train to run all day while supping the sauce. Not sure of your capacity in this respect! Other maintenance can be reduced by having track on concrete foundations, takes more build but less maint long run than having track on the ground with loose ballast. Just a few thoughts for you.
 
korm kormsen

korm kormsen

Registered
24 Oct 2009
2,533
72
Any thoughts on how to keep maintenance to a minimum?
not really.
but being in a desert, weeding at least should be not too much.
make sure, to protect the area against animals with hooves. (i lost some track to cows, when i was still outdoors)
choose track for UV resistance, there seem to be significant differences. and/or spray regularily with UV-protection.
got termites in your area? where ever possible, use plastic or concrete instead of wood.
and don't be hasty. a running small layout beats big plans every day. (i'm 68, and "work" on a layout-build for over ten years now)
 
P

Paul M

Registered
25 Oct 2016
4,619
756
57
Royston
Start small, learn by your mistakes, take your time to enjoy your endeavours, this is a (sort of) relaxing hobby, so there's no real rush
 
idlemarvel

idlemarvel

Neither idle nor a marvel
13 Jul 2015
2,108
281
Ascot
Welcome (name?). You've done a lot of research and planning which is a good start. As others have mentioned start small and get something running to learn from the experience. Think big by all means but don't forget the wine!
Ref weather I think you get heavy rains from time to time, and snow in winter?
 
PhilP

PhilP

G Scale, 7/8th's, Electronics
5 Jun 2013
25,567
1,329
Tamworth, Staffs.
Welcome!

It is good you have broken the project down.. - Get 'something' running. if you can get a continuous run, so you can have a train running for company, whilst you do more, then so-much the better! :)
Do be aware.. Once you have something to play with, the work-output slows a little! :giggle:

Although you have a 'grand plan' already.. Do not be afraid to change this.
Keep gradients to a minimum. Avoid reverse curves. Go for the largest radius you can, then go up a step if possible?? - For US outline, I would suggest LGB R3 (or equivalent) as an absolute minimum.
If you use plastics for a track-bed: Use it as narrow pieces ACROSS the width of your formation. - Thermal expansion can be a major problem. This can be mitigated, by using track-clamps to join rail sections, and leaving the majority of the track floating on/in the ballast. - Just like a real railway!

But, most of all.... Have fun, and post pictures! :):)
 
korm kormsen

korm kormsen

Registered
24 Oct 2009
2,533
72
... Do be aware.. Once you have something to play with, the work-output slows a little! :giggle:
a little?

going on 70 (or having left it behind already) we got a time management problem.
of our daytime we need about
20% for cleaning ourselves and eating (meals and a snack or two in between)
25% for daydreaming
15% for a siesta or nap now and then
30% for "Darling do"s
10% for seeking lost things
5% or more for bitching about politics
and so on....

the good news is, the rest of the day you are completely free for layout building, playing and wine


 
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Madman

Madman

Registered
25 Oct 2009
13,544
489
Pennsylvania, USA
Welcome aboard CVCANADA. As you can see, you will find good advice here along with some well meaning ribbing.
 
Madman

Madman

Registered
25 Oct 2009
13,544
489
Pennsylvania, USA
a little?

going on 70 (or having left it behind already) we got a time management problem.
of our daytime we need about
20% for cleaning ourselves and eating (meals and a snack or two in between)
25% for daydreaming
15% for a siesta or nap now and then
30% for "Darling do"s
10% for seeking lost things
5% or more for bitching about politics
and so on....

the good news is, the rest of the day you are completely free for layout building, playing and wine



How true ! Although for me, the last topic consumes much more than 5% of my waking hours.....:swear:.....And my siesta time, somewhere between 3 and 5 PM is an absolute must.
 
cvcanada

cvcanada

Registered
1 Jul 2019
17
5
62
Santa Fe, New Mexico
What is a non-derailing turnout? That's as new one on me and I've been around a while.
Piko calls them spring-loaded switches. They have built in spring mechanisms that hold the rails where they are set, but allows trains to pass through against the points without derailing. If a train approaches from the 'wrong' direction, its lead wheels just nudge the points and the spring snaps them in place to permit the train to pass. I'm worried that not all loco wheels will do the right thing and worried about reversing direction of the train to point a caboose (or whatever car) over the switch first. I've read that some people have to weight that car a bit. One advantage in my track pattern would be that the train would go in the opposite direction on each pass around the loops without any manual intervention.

I've also seen people call them auto-derailing as they always cause derailments. :confused:

So I'm thinking that I'll install normal turnout drives (preferably with DCC) and a few track magnets to control the turnouts. I just have to figure out how to wire it. The guides often talk about AC power instead of DC. I'd rather not have to put AC power out there.
 
cvcanada

cvcanada

Registered
1 Jul 2019
17
5
62
Santa Fe, New Mexico
Certainly low maintenance gardening should be on your agenda. Battery Control is another, you already talk about Revolution DCC so that is a good start and can be used for locomotives. But you may find a limitation on length if run (though I can get 4-6 hours with a Piko 2-10-2), just depends if you want a train to run all day while supping the sauce. Not sure of your capacity in this respect! Other maintenance can be reduced by having track on concrete foundations, takes more build but less maint long run than having track on the ground with loose ballast. Just a few thoughts for you.
Thanks, DunnyRail. I've installed 18.5 V 6 Ah batteries from G Scale Installations and am planning on having extras on-hand to swap in if needed. The roofs of the trailing cars pop off for easy access. But if I can get 4-6 hours like you, I'd be happy. :)

I'm trying not to use concrete everywhere, but there are a few spots where a natural wash flows right over/under where the rails will be. I'm pretty sure that something beside just packed crusher fines will be required there. Or I'll be redoing that after any heavy rain. ... Luckily, we don't get many heavy rains here.

Curt
 
idlemarvel

idlemarvel

Neither idle nor a marvel
13 Jul 2015
2,108
281
Ascot
a little?

going on 70 (or having left it behind already) we got a time management problem.
of our daytime we need about
20% for cleaning ourselves and eating (meals and a snack or two in between)
25% for daydreaming
15% for a siesta or nap now and then
30% for "Darling do"s
10% for seeking lost things
5% or more for bitching about politics
and so on....

the good news is, the rest of the day you are completely free for layout building, playing and wine
It's okay, I can multi-task, I can play trains and daydream at the same time.
 
idlemarvel

idlemarvel

Neither idle nor a marvel
13 Jul 2015
2,108
281
Ascot
Piko calls them spring-loaded switches. They have built in spring mechanisms that hold the rails where they are set, but allows trains to pass through against the points without derailing. If a train approaches from the 'wrong' direction, its lead wheels just nudge the points and the spring snaps them in place to permit the train to pass. I'm worried that not all loco wheels will do the right thing and worried about reversing direction of the train to point a caboose (or whatever car) over the switch first. I've read that some people have to weight that car a bit. One advantage in my track pattern would be that the train would go in the opposite direction on each pass around the loops without any manual intervention.

I've also seen people call them auto-derailing as they always cause derailments. :confused:

So I'm thinking that I'll install normal turnout drives (preferably with DCC) and a few track magnets to control the turnouts. I just have to figure out how to wire it. The guides often talk about AC power instead of DC. I'd rather not have to put AC power out there.
Sprung points/switches are an excellent idea, as long as you make sure each car is heavy enough not to be derailed by the spring. Metal wheels help.
 
cvcanada

cvcanada

Registered
1 Jul 2019
17
5
62
Santa Fe, New Mexico
not really.
but being in a desert, weeding at least should be not too much.
make sure, to protect the area against animals with hooves. (i lost some track to cows, when i was still outdoors)
choose track for UV resistance, there seem to be significant differences. and/or spray regularily with UV-protection.
got termites in your area? where ever possible, use plastic or concrete instead of wood.
and don't be hasty. a running small layout beats big plans every day. (i'm 68, and "work" on a layout-build for over ten years now)
We have a lot of critters in the yard, but we've never seen any with hooves yet. The critters keep me away from planning tunnels though. They like to build homes in anything they find.

UV-protection may be a big deal for me. We're at 7000 feet above sea level and have lots of sun. Most things suffer quickly. I've been getting recommendations from members of a local club and looking at how their track has lasted over the years.

Curt
 
PhilP

PhilP

G Scale, 7/8th's, Electronics
5 Jun 2013
25,567
1,329
Tamworth, Staffs.
So I'm thinking that I'll install normal turnout drives (preferably with DCC) and a few track magnets to control the turnouts. I just have to figure out how to wire it. The guides often talk about AC power instead of DC. I'd rather not have to put AC power out there.
LOW voltage AC, NOT mains! ;):devil:

It is not actually AC to the point-motor.. You feed AC to the switch-panel (control-panel) and use a couple of diodes to give half-wave DC to operate the points:

DSC02183.JPG