Should I start over? Should I try a new track system?
It’s that time of the year. No, not autumn…the time when you wonder whether to start all over again. It seems like a common plague (or blessing?); Jerry and his amazing Quinntopia layout is having after thoughts as well.
As for me, well, I am light-years away from a finished layout, but I still am not satisfied. My “hidden” underground level is just a gigantic mess, prone to derailments. On the other hand, I am satisfied with my visible train station on the upper level, and my last module on the left with my helix.
Reminder, here is the visible (upper level part):
Upper level (L1) of my N-scale layout
And the present lower level (mostly invisible, except for the straight lines in front of the user (here at the bottom of the image):
Lower level (L0) of my N-scale layout
Modules 1, 2 and 3 are not nice. I can’t store many trains, the Fleischmann points are not bad but still provoke accidents.
So I browsed a lot, and I discovered something: Kato tracks are damned cheap ! Some stores here offer an full electric point (700mm radios, electrofrog) for less than €20! The same for a Fleischmann point is around €37!
I never really considered Kato. I know I don’t care about the appearance (all of this would be hidden, I am happy with Peco on the visible part). I didn’t want to bother with adapters and such (the Kato track is much higher with its integrated ballast)…but for this price, maybe!
So I got back to the drawing board, using Kato points with a large radius. Here is how my new improved invisible station (“shadow station” as the German says):
The idea behind it, is that most of my modern trains will use the left fiddle yard. They can run in reverse, and drive away without going through the loop on the left. For other trains, such as freight trains, or some passenger trains without driving cab at the end, they need to go through the loop. To unpark, they drive in reverse (in the invisible part), and then can leave in the correct direction.
Remember my space is limited, and this uses 90% of it. Also, no need for another helix: everything is at the same level, on a simple plank of wood. I would need to betray my own “modular” concept though. But since those 3 modules belong together anyway (central station on level above), maybe that’s not so bad. What do you think? Do you confirm Kato track points (with 700mm+ radius) are derailment safe?
I am using Kato Unitrack for everything. Before I was using Fleischmann but never was satisfied. With the Kato tracks you can run even the oldest trains without any problems (provided the tracks are clean).
So far I had no derailments on any radius (but my smallest one is 249mm – I do not recommend using less).
Thanks for the comment Mark. I am surprised I never thought about Kato before, my trains are running perfectly, and I have spent half the price of a Fleischmann point. They are really perfect for hidden stations. Although I must admit, I still prefer the Peco points for the visible parts. They are a huge hassle to install, but still look better than the Kato IMHO.
Pierre, you’re design is brilliant! I have been toying around with yard designs for a while but haven’t come up with something as imaginative as yours!
I believe I will now base my final yard design on yours 🙂
Can you talk about the reversing sections and where you gapped your sections / districts, as I am having trouble narrowing that down.
Thanks Big Moose, thanks!
I haven’t posted in the blog for a while, but my fiddle yard is already working great!
I am attaching a picture to this comment to show how I did it (although there might be better ways). In a nutshell:
– The pink arrows show the normal (“main line”) train directions.
– The “brown” section is the “loop” section. It is equipped with an automated DCC loop module (with in/out detectors in dark brown) to handle polarity changes automatically (see my recent post: http://www.digitrainworld.com/2014/02/reversing-loops-dcc/ )
– All track sections have different color shades.
– As you can see, I use a 10cm (3in) section at the end of each track, so trains stop exactly at the end of the track. A PC software is handling the traffic for me, and all my trains and cars are equipped with power wheels for detection.
– The sections with points are also equipped with detectors, meaning a “lost car” would be detected, and my computer would stop the traffic.
Your needs may vary!
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