17×17 train layout – Gary’s

Gary’s been back in touch with his 17×17 train layout (well it’s not exactly square as you’ll read…)

“Hi Al

It’s been over a year since we last spoke.

Moved to the new house in December 2020 unfortunately was not able to start on the Layout till April of 2021, due to some health issues.

Been working on it now for eight months. Finally was able to run a train around the room, last week.

Right now it’s just a Plywood Pacific. But I’d like to share with you some photos of the future CSX Monon Division Railroad.

To give you a little history of what I’m doing. This is a Prototypical freelance Railroad. Not modeled after any specific place just kind of a general area.

I am modeling modern times. The train layout sits in a 24 x 20 detached building. The actual layout is built in a trapezoidal shape. 17 1/2 feet across the bottom, 17 feet up the right side 12 feet up the left side. In 19 feet across the diagonal.

I’m using code 100 atlas flex track. Most of my switches are Peco and Shinahara. Merry With a few Atlas mixed in.

I am running Digitrax DCC system. Plan on setting up so I can have occupancy detectors in the lower staging yards. I’ve already to these tracks individually to be able to do this down the road when I’m ready.

Unfortunately with no place else to store all my trains, buildings and scenery the room is a little crowded and stays messy I apologize for the disarray. But I wanted to share a few photos with you.

I will check back in periodically and let you know how the progress is coming.

My Layout is being featured on our division eight NMRA zoom meeting next Saturday, so I’m trying to get as much done before then as possible.

lumber model railroad bench

The beginning with no room to work!

17x17 train layout sidings

Laying out the lower staging yard.

model railroad bench 17x17 train layout

To the left goes down to the lower staging yard.

17x17 train layout sidings model railroad

Layout starting to take shape. Working on the swing gate to get into the center peninsula.



model railroad bench

Was able to complete the swing gate with the help of a very good friend a retired Air Force Colonel Bruce Sanders. He has been instrumental in helping me design and create this layout.

model railroad swing gate

By using brass tubing and nails with a spring he was able to make connectors for me to transfer power from the main Layout over to the swing gate without any wires hanging down. I simply solder a wire on the backside of these. And then there’s another nail on the swing gate that is stationary that I solder the wire onto there.

model railroad sidings

Laying out the main yard. You can see the swing gate at the bottom of the picture.

HO scale road bed

Laying out the town above the upper staging yard.

model railroad buildings

I hope to have more updates for you soon.

Thanks again for all you do for the hobby I always enjoy looking at your post. And Marvel at the workmanship of all the Modelers that you share.

Gary
Sellersburg Indiana.”





Now on to Wayne.

He’s living proof that where there is a will, there’s a way:

“I came up with a very tight hole that I needed to work from.

Due to my Parkinson I don’t have the strength to lift myself up in that small hole. My work back there came to a holt.

About the same time I broke my elbow. This put me in the hospital for a week.

This gave me time to think of a way to get up in that small hole.

I bought a 1/4 ton elect. cable hoist. I got it mounted it to the ceiling on rollers with unstrut channel.

All I need to do is push a button and up I go far enough to stand. Now I can get back to work.

Something to think about for us old guys and the cost was less than $200.

Thanks Al”

hoist for model railroad access

(You can see Wayne’s last post here.)

That’s all for today folks. Let us know your thoughts below.

A big thanks to Wayne and Gary.

Please do keep ’em coming.

And if today is the day you get started, the model train Beginner’s Guide is here.

Best

Al

PS Latest ebay cheat sheet is here.

17 Responses to 17×17 train layout – Gary’s

  1. Nice one gary

  2. Mike says:

    Hi Gary,
    Interested in seeing the detail on how you built the electrical connection for your swing gate with brass tubing, nails, and springs to avoid dangling wires beneath the gate. Any pictures? I would like to install this on my layout as well.
    Thanks,
    Mike in Voluntown, CT. USA

  3. MICHAEL H says:

    thank you for some good ideas i run 5 sets of o trains every christmas in my gorage every year i start in mid oct as it takes a long time as it takes all the room up it is a two car gorage it is a site to see i will post all pictures from this christmas as my wife complains she has no room to do wash i use a pole to move things around i was going to cut a hole in the middle but i am to old to craw under and it would not look good

  4. Jim Landing says:

    Nice layout!

  5. Hi Gary, your layout looks good so far. You have done alot in a short time. I’ll bet seeing your train is so gratifying. It’s your reward for all the hard work you put in to get to that point. Looking forward to seeing more in the future. Have fun. It’s such a great hobby. I’m working on my layout in my garage too.

    Chuck

  6. Erick says:

    Looks pretty kool.!!!!! Keep up the good work. I hope mine turns out good.

  7. Allan J Jelinek says:

    I always get Great ideas from all the great minds on this site. I’d like to get back in the hobby again. I sold all my “O” gauge equipment after I retired and moved to a townhouse. Now I’m thinking HO or N for the limited space I have. Can anyone help guide me to Hobby stores by me, and train shows near me? I only know of the DuPage train show once a month. I live in Naperville IL. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks to all.

  8. Al..I was rereading some of the older posts….One thing that stood out to me was
    some guy that called himself The Critic. Please allow me to expand on that thought…… You have noticed how one person can end a good club meeting.
    It brings to my mind what my Mom said, ” If you can’t say anything nice, keep
    your mouth shut” ….My Dad added to that when he told me (at age 15) he didn’t
    care what I did as long as I was a good one. My point is that you can contribute
    or you can ruin. There is no grey. ..I may be considered uppity by some…Thank
    you Al for setting the standards for trains….period……RJ

  9. jack masarie says:

    Nice Clouds.
    Shlack in NC

  10. Charles Eyster says:

    First, Wayne kudos for the positive attitude that drives you! You are to be commended for your efforts.

    Second, Gary, saw that little graffiti plug go by with your name on it 🥴 I love the below platform storage yard. Never really see anyone doing this? I am in the never ending planning stage and want to do just this for about ten complete trains. The difference is that I want to be able to “bring up” a train without reversing it out. I will be working on a 13’ by 9’ layout (with a small cutout corner of 2’ by 1’ roughly). I want a very minimal grade, and so will be using some of it on a curve. Again, just at the paper and pencil planning stage.
    Are you planning on using any sort of camera to see what’s happening down there? I’m going to show my age and will be using DC wiring like in the dark ages!
    I very much look forward to seeing more updates about this aspect of your layout.
    Thanks always to Al for bringing us all together in this forum.
    Lastly, about the perceived negativity of some posts. The world is made up of a lot of uniquely different persons. When you encounter one that you don’t agree with or that rubs you in the wrong manner, just let it ounce off and not evoke a reaction from you.
    Trust me when I say that there are far more important things in life than reacting to what should be meaningless things that are beyond our control and concern.

  11. Calvin says:

    Nice start on your layout. I would like to see the swing gate in action. I am designing my layout and could possibly use the swing gate concept. Thank you for sharing. Al – your site is a pleasure to behold.

  12. Doug says:

    Hi Gary,
    Great use of space and I commend you for tackling this size project in a such a short time frame.
    I would love to see your track plan as I have a similar sized room which is a blank canvas.

    Regards
    Doug

  13. Ken of Lakewood Shores says:

    Very interesting….so far so good

  14. ScenicsRme says:

    The layout is coming along great! My only concern is with the swinging gate, actually the electrical connections for the swing gate. It’s a good solution except for the materials used. Steel (nails) are not a very good conductor of electricity, and oxidize easier than even our track, so I thing they are going to be an issue, especially if you are planning to use DCC control. DCC is very sensitive to weak and intermittent connections since the current is always flowing and there is digitally encoded command being sent over the track. Just a slightly dirty track or pickup wheels can play heck, I believe those connectors are going to be the cause of much grief . Making the connectors with copper nails would have helped, but in the end I think you will end up using a more electrically positive
    (pun unintended) connection, First thing I thought of was a gang of modified knife switches split and the blades mounted on the moving side and the receiving portion mounted on the fixed side of the gate, so the blades engaged the receiver when the gate is closed. If this doesn’t make sense message me and I’ll do a sketch of what I mean. Knife switches are used since a long time ago because they are positive and self cleaning. I’ve tried similar commercially available bullet and plate connectors in the door jam of hot rods to eliminate the unsightly wire bundle dangling in the door frame providing power to power windows locks and latches as well as speaker in the door, but they too caused electrical problems within a short order.

  15. Gary says:

    Looking good

  16. ted perotka says:

    big train show collinsville il every thankgiving weekend

  17. To Allen Jelineck. Lombard Hobby in Lombard is a great HO and N scale store with prices that match or better what is found online.

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