A Model Railroader Here to Fulfill a Childhood Dream

Discussion in 'New Member Introductions' started by Jabbahey, Jul 20, 2022.

  1. Iantha_Branch

    Iantha_Branch Member

    I can attest that a separate building is the way to go. I'm currently in an 18x24 outbuilding, and plan to move up to a 60x40 next year.

    I would highly recommend getting track planning software and start working on plans now, so you can have an idea of what to build once you have your outbuilding. I like the AnyRail program. Best $60 I've ever spent. https://www.anyrail.com/en
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  2. Jabbahey

    Jabbahey Member

    I already have AnyRail, but have started on 11"x17" paper for now. Just trying to get the basic layout plan. Glad to hear you like the separate building. It feels like a good, clean, fresh starting point.

    I can't imagine a 60' x 40' building for a layout. That is massive.
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  3. skyraider

    skyraider Member

    40' X 30' should do the trick!! 36" radius curves would be great. Ask tons of questions on the forum and any other forum you are a member of. There are lots of people who have tried just about everything and know what works and what doesn't.

    If you can design it so it can be built in a modular fashion (not modules, but build a section at a time), you will be motivated because you can see progress; you won't be so overwhelmed by a huge project; it will allow for modifications as you learn what works for you and what doesn't. The biggest thing is to just have fun with it.

    If you really like running trains, get something up and running soon so you will stay motivated. Personally, I like scratch building and creating scenes, so my layout will go two months between times I actually run a train. If you are really into detail, you might think twice about how much of the building the layout will take. A well detailed layout will take quite a bit if time. The cool thing about a big building is that you can do so much with it. You can have a great area for building models and painting in addition to the layout. You can have space near the layout where people can sit and talk about railroading, both prototype and modeling.

    Whoever said this in an earlier post is correct: the time spent getting the building finished will allow for lots of think, planning and designing time before you start building.

    It was probably mentioned in an earlier post, but I missed it. Are you going DCC or traditional DC? They both work--it just depends on what trips your trigger. Most folks nowadays go with DCC. Tom Holley (huge layout) and I both have old school DC and it works great for us.

    Anyway, it's exciting seeing someone else get a big layout going. Can't wait to see what you come up with as far as a track plan.

    Paul Moore
  4. Jabbahey

    Jabbahey Member

    I went with DCC a few years ago. I will have a lot to learn using DCC on a large layout, but there are so many people available to help, I hope I can avoid mistakes made by others. I staked out a 24'x24' garage and a 30'x40' in my yard this past weekend. The 24'x24' garage is really just half the size of my basement. Plus a the modeling area, "crew area" and "time to get out of the house to watch football area" takes up a lot of space. I'm more convinced that a 30'x40' building is the way too go.

    Thanks for the help. I really do appreciate the positive and helpful reactions on this forum. Believe me, I'm not rich by any means. This building is a huge investment for me. I'm really hesitant to spend the money, but I also know that model railroading keeps you mentally, physically and socially active. Healthier than sitting on the couch and doing nothing.
  5. gjslsffan

    gjslsffan Staff Member Staff Member

    My 30x50 is great for me, like Paul said I am a DC guy with just under a 1000ft of double main track,and who knows how much 1000,ft of yard trackage. 300+ locos. It might cost a small fortune to do. We need 9 cabs, 5 of which need to be able to power as many a 8-10 locos for the steeper grades. I was told it would cost some real cash. It would have been easier to start over for me.
  6. klrwhizkid

    klrwhizkid Administrator Staff Member Administrator Frisco.org Supporter

    Trent, having the space at ground level has so many advantages, but the greatest is not having to descend or climb stairs all the time.
  7. Jabbahey

    Jabbahey Member

    That may be the best reason anyone has given me yet.
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  8. Coonskin

    Coonskin Member


    If willing to learn how to install/program so you can do it yourself, and assuming an average of $120 per engine (decoder + speaker), for 300 engines that would only be a paltry $36,000.

    (I couldn't believe the figures, so I checked and double checked... but that's what the calculator shows!)
  9. Coonskin

    Coonskin Member

    Climbing/descending stairs:

    Which gets harder and harder to do in our later years.

    One of my best friends (model railroad or otherwise) is 90 years old (91 in October), and seeing that his layout is up a very steep set of pull down stairs, he hasn't even seen his layout in several years.
  10. Iantha_Branch

    Iantha_Branch Member

    +1. That's the main reason I'm building a separate building instead of a basement. I left me knees behind in high school, so I don't see a reason to build stairs if I can help it. I would also consider building your layout at setting height instead of the normal standing height. My current layout is a setting height, and it's easily the best decision I've made since I can't stand for long periods of time.

    As for collection, as others have said it's best to accumulate over time. 2 years after moving in to my current space, I finally accumulated enough equipment to fill it, but I have continued to buy equipment a bit at a time so that I might have enough for the next layout by the time I start building it.
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  11. skyraider

    skyraider Member

    Stairs and duck-unders keep you young:D
  12. skyraider

    skyraider Member

    The DC / DCC thing is obviously a preference issue--not a right or wrong. If a person wants to run multiple trains and has the budget it's a good way to go. Most of my locomotives are old--late 1960's through 1980 or so. Many are old Japanese brass steam locomotives that don't lend themselves easily to DCC installation.

    I have no interest in running multiple trains at one time. I am only able to watch one train at a time. The Kato track I used (because I had tons of it that I found dirt cheap at a swap meet) has power routing switches that work terrifically well. My layout is a 20' X 20' around the wall 32" wide shelf layout with a 6' X 12' peninsula. The mainline turns are 31" radius--not great but adequate.

    Finally, I strongly dislike sound systems. After 15 seconds I am ready to turn the sound off. To me, you can't create realistic sounds from equipment that weighs hundreds of tons in 1.25" speakers.

    But that's just me, and I completely understand that DCC has a legitimate place in the hobby. It just doesn't work for me.

    Whatever you choose to use, just plan ahead for it. If you are buying locomotives now, they will most likely have DCC or be DCC ready, so you won't have to hassle with installing it.
  13. patrick flory

    patrick flory Member

    The best what-if layout I saw was present-day but as if steam never went away. Stack trains pulled by 4-8-4’s!
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  14. Coonskin

    Coonskin Member

    Whereas exercise and staying as healthy as possible will indeed help prolong your active years (which I intend to continue doing), as we all full well know, we simply cannot stop the aging process. At best we can hold it off as long as possible with good diet, and an active lifestyle.

    IMHO, in addition to the above, and with an eye toward aging, "life planning" should be implemented well before the degenerative years hit. Examples:

    * Our home is intentionally all single level. We have zero steps to navigate in order to go from the garage to the house or go anywhere within the house.

    * We had pinch points in the main bathroom removed and the entire bathroom was reworked so it could be accessible via wheel chair and/or walker.

    * I do have three steps to navigate to get into the train building, but that can remedied if needed with a ramp as the time nears. However, IMHO, by that time, the room will be devoid of equipment and layout, and the building will be ready for the next home owner to do what they will with it.

    * My KC&G "Riverfront District" that's to be in this computer room is more than just a wild hair, and its use may grow to become the railroad that will get the most attention as my years (hopefully!) advance.

    Now, having said all the above, one of my very best friends, and the one I've known the longest (53 years and counting), David McDonald, will be 91 years of age come October. He still gets out in the yard and accomplishes work (albeit at a much reduced pace), but the fact that he's still able to drive himself about town, accomplish some work, and navigate the few stairs he must deal with, is encouraging.

    BTW: David has no vices. He's not a drinker, he's not been a lifetime smoker, or any such health impacting habits/etc. He's also kept his weight in check. I have been doing likewise over my life time, and about 6 years ago lost 35-40 lbs and have kept them off. All of these elements (along with being ACTIVE) goes a long ways to helping the body.

    One thing is certain: We're all in the same boat with this aging thing!

    :LOL: :LOL:
  15. skyraider

    skyraider Member

    Sorry about the thread drift...The "stairs and duckunders" was sort of tongue in cheek, but not completely. Until a couple of years ago I not only hiked and worked australian shepherds daily but also bicycled about 6500 miles a year. Our two Australian Shepherd friends are now gone (one made it to 15 years and 8 months and the other 17 1/2). When the new-to-us 5 year old Australian Shepherd came to us last summer because her owner died of cancer, the bicycling has slowed to a steady drip. But we walk the dog 3 or more miles each day at dawn, work on the property a couple of hours or more each day, remodel the house ourselves, do all of the yard work on three acres and bicycle a couple of times a week. Thus, not much modeling time!!!! Last Saturday we did three hours of chainsaw work in the orchard trimming Pecan trees.

    Anyway...thinking somewhat long term is a good idea on the layout. Actually, the only real issue that I've experienced with aging is the old arms-aren't-long-enough eyesight thing. If space were available, I'd model O scale. You can see it, it makes cool sounds when the heavy steel wheels clunk over track joints, the monkey motion on steam locomotives is really pronounced and looks great, etc. Plus, it's expensive enough that you aren't tempted to buy everything that comes along.

    Send us some track plans, Jabbahey, when you get some!!! It's always fun throwing out ideas for other people because it's not my money being spent!!!!!
    Last edited: Aug 5, 2022
  16. Jabbahey

    Jabbahey Member

    I'll keep updating as I go. I just got in a couple of Athearn DCC Frisco MP15-1 locomotives. Did I need them yet? No, but they were on sale and I thought they would make good yard switchers paired together eventually. I thought about posting some pictures, but I'm sure everyone has already viewed pictures from the manufacture or owns them.
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  17. patrick flory

    patrick flory Member

    I model the 1930’s-early 1940’s and I bought everything I wanted before I needed it. Everything appropriate that I liked was one-time limited-run and I knew if I didn’t get it then I wouldn’t be getting it. And it wouldn’t be coming back. That is especially true with Walthers proto. Most of the period rolling stock is gone forever along with their one-run steam engines. Most of Bachmann’s spectrum steam engines are gone for good.

    The reason for all of this is that older modelers like me already have most everything period that they want, and younger modelers aren’t interested.

    Other than a few eBay odds and ends, I haven’t bought anything in years.
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