N Train Layout

Overview

This is an overview of the progress designing and constructing my N-scale train layout in my apartment. Due to space constraints, it has a footprint of 3ft x 6ft and is raised enough to have storage below. To get the maximum distance for running trains, it's got 2 levels with significant "looping" back and forth to feel like the trains are going farther.


Design & Planning

November 22, 2014


Design concept for my layout...2-level N-Scale with 4-inch separation between the layers connected by a "no-lix" ramp Update: This got turned "upside down" and the yard moved to the "other end" so keep that in mind as you browse the pictures if you get confused.


Adding Base for Scenery

November 22, 2014


Laying out top and part of the ramp all on the upper piece of plywood to trace out...


November 22, 2014


Top traced and planned!


November 22, 2014


Bottom layed out and traced, getting the ramp portion taped so I can translate it onto a scrap to trace the ramp itself.


November 22, 2014


Ramp traced out on scrap!


November 22, 2014


Cut out a slice for the start of the ramp from the upper level and test-assembled it. Apparently I have JUST BARELY enough bridge supports and BARELY enough curves. Actually, I had to revise my track-plan because I was 2 curves short. Some time I will redo this with flex-track (I want my Unitrack for around the tree) but it's a start.


November 22, 2014


Another view of the incomplete ramp...it needs supports and has to be tweaked to get the proper grade. Aiming for just shy of 4% which, from what I've seen, is comparable to the Kato viaduct set. It's steep but should be good enough.


November 23, 2014


Bottom ramp done...maybe...


November 23, 2014



November 23, 2014


Supports for the upper level - 1 inch dowel with a 1.5 inch screw in the end, head cut off to thread into the bottom board. with screw in dowel before cut, Installed into base, Screw "before" and Screw with head cut off.


November 23, 2014


Most of the supports done!


November 23, 2014


Upper level in place...


November 23, 2014


Up on its support frame for the night. Not bad...


November 27, 2014


In place with a temporary shelf to hold the power packs...also got the first couple angle-braces on the legs for stability.


Main Roadbed & Track Construction

December 28, 2014


Got real train layout supplies for Christmas...flextrack, roadbed, switches, DCC control boards for the switches -- now to rebuild my layout better and permanent! Part 1 - a portion of the roadbed is down.


December 28, 2014


All of the roadbed down for the lower level...


December 28, 2014


The first segment of track! Actually, 2 flex-tracks soldered into one long one.


December 28, 2014


The first circle is complete!


December 28, 2014


Now more track down, the loopbacks and part of the ramp.


December 28, 2014


Track glued in place.


December 28, 2014


Last thing for the night, tacking down a leg for the storage yard that will come in the future.


December 29, 2014


Lower track all wired up!


December 29, 2014


Foam base down on the top level


December 29, 2014


Long track segments soldered together, and pinned in place for the upper level. That's all for today...unfortunately I don't think this will be back up and running in time for New Year's... :(


December 31, 2014


Joint between levels done


December 31, 2014


Tracks pinned ready to glue


December 31, 2014


Track glued down...unfortuniately I have to take it apart and fix 3 spots that are causing derailments that worked yesterday. :(


January 2, 2015


I think this explains my derailments but what the heck happened to this track?!


January 3, 2015


3D printed curved piece for where this tunnel will be


January 3, 2015


Test-fit track to get an idea of how it should curve


January 5, 2015


Wiring is mostly-completed. Looks like a mess but it's actually quite orderly. Lots of separate connections for future block-detection, programming, switch control...plus the 6-pin DCC connection in case I decide to put a panel somewhere inside the layout. For now in the other 25 pin connector all but 2 wires are tied together but this way I can upgrade to block detection by simply making a new 25-pin connection rather than rewiring the whole layout.


January 8, 2015


Just finished building a curved bridge support...from Lowe's. May add another support in the middle out the long side but not sure yet.


January 12, 2015


Got a support added to the bridge! It's much more stable now.


January 12, 2015


Foam roadbed test-fitted in place...


January 12, 2015


Painting the bridge...it looks black but it's actually silver undercoating with flat black over the silver. Provides some interesting effects if the black doesn't fully cover anywhere.


January 13, 2015


Painted bridge in place


January 13, 2015


Roadbed test-fitted again


January 13, 2015


Paper and masking-tape to cover the gaps between the slats on the bridge...this will prevent glue from getting where it shouldn't when I glue the roadbed in place.


January 13, 2015


Roadbed glued down and track pinned in place!


January 13, 2015


Track glued down...that's it for this day, wiring that part in will come later.


January 14, 2015


Until I can get materials to construct a bridge, I put the Kato Unitrack bridge back in place...I'll redo that part when I figure out how.


Prototype & Initial Construction

November 25, 2015


Finally got to play trains a bit again! Mountains are starting to take shape...this end is going to end up very mountainous to provide the illusion the track isn't going "way down" to the next level.


November 25, 2015


Initial mountain stuff from another angle. The square hole is to access the screw for future use, in case I ever need to take the top off for maintenance. I don't look forward to wiring the to-be-designed perminant viaduct but that's a ways off yet.


November 25, 2015


Mountains built up higher...starting to run out of construction adhesive and realized Lowe's is closed until Black Friday. Oh well.


November 25, 2015


Tossing some scraps here and there...not the full effect but I'm starting to see it take shape. I think I'm going to like it when it's finally done, but it's got a lot more cutting to go.


November 28, 2015


Preparing a template to build the inner part of the hill


November 28, 2015


Foam cut and glued for hill


November 28, 2015


Laying some scrap pieces and paper out to get an idea what it will look like


November 29, 2015


Trying thinner foam, gives a better effect and tunnel height.


November 29, 2015


Hill partly built up and foam shaved down to a better contour


Constructing Bridge Track

Placeholder for future work...