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#1 TheBrickster

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Posted 16 February 2010 - 06:16 AM

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Today on Train Tech, I'd like to bring up the topic of LEGO Train Tunnels.  Why has LEGO never offered a stand-alone train tunnel set?  Is a train tunnel too layout specific requiring extensive building and customization?  Would a small train tunnel set similar to that of the Duplo tunnel be ideal for one wanting a tunnel on their tabletop layout?  or is a good train tunnel just too large for LEGO?  

Have you tried building a train tunnel? If so, share your thoughts and building tips.

#2 peterab

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Posted 16 February 2010 - 11:00 AM

View PostTheBrickster, on Feb 16 2010, 05:16 PM, said:

Why has LEGO never offered a stand-alone train tunnel set?  Is a train tunnel too layout specific requiring extensive building and customization?  Would a small train tunnel set similar to that of the Duplo tunnel be ideal for one wanting a tunnel on their tabletop layout?  or is a good train tunnel just too large for LEGO?  

Have you tried building a train tunnel? If so, share your thoughts and building tips.

I think tunnels just take up a lot of bricks, and since train specific sets don't sell well compared to other themes, there's little chance of seeing one from TLG.

My LTC has a couple of guys who are building mountains, and between them they very effectively drain the local Bricklink stores of all cheap green, brown and grey bricks, and they've been at it for a couple of years. Granted Australia doesn't have a large number of Bricklink stores, but this sort of scenery chews up bricks at an alarming rate even if you use duplo for the internal supports.

#3 Rick

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Posted 16 February 2010 - 11:58 AM

I also think piece-intensiveness is the main reason these aren't released yet. Plus standalone they don't look very realistic, which may be less of an issue on a Duplo layout, where the biggest fun is watching the train emerge from the tunnel. Come to think of it... this may be a lot of fun on a Lego layout as well.  :grin:

#4 Sinner

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Posted 16 February 2010 - 12:15 PM

Well....

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...(yeah yeah yeah, I know, I'm posting that picture again) when I made this I learnt a lot about making tunnels. Mostly how big they need to be! It was my plan to make a working double tunnel layout, but it just needed too much parts... and time. Thus while there is a tunnel (which was OK) all I ended up was a thin entrance so a photo would have seen how nothing it was inside.

So would I like a pre-fab tunnel? Yes, something that was 4 deep and train height would make it a lot easier... but I can't see it happening. I do plan to give it another go soon... and looking at the bottom-middle one gives me ideas. (Who made that?  :wub: )





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#5 simonwillems

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Posted 16 February 2010 - 12:23 PM

Interesting topic...

I don't think Lego will ever release anything tunnel like. The reason being the sheer amount of bricks needed to make a decent tunnel. I experimented with it on several occasions and found out that a tunnel should be at least 13 bricks high to accomodate most trains, and even that looks kind of cramped, example here
A tunnel does give you the opportunity to hide things, like cables for streetlevel lighting, speed regulators and their track attachment-pieces, points for sidetracks and of course the entire train when not in use (protected from dust as well)

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I know it looks a mess, but only from behind the layout...  :sweet:

Tunnelmaking is great fun, it adds some difference in height to your layout, and which trainfanatic does not like to rest his head upon the track facing the light of the uncoming train through the tunnel, like this?  :grin:

#6 Dan-147

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Posted 16 February 2010 - 03:04 PM

The only way I could see it happening (tunnel kit) is if LEGO comes up with a few giant BURPs (big ugly rock pieces).  Personnally, I'm still upset about that giant wing piece that the newer airplanes use.  Big pieces tend to be anti-creative so I'm not exactly rooting for more of them.  So in my mind, a LEGO tunnel kit would be a mixed blessing.

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#7 SavaTheAggie

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Posted 16 February 2010 - 05:07 PM

I think one of the reasons why LEGO hasn't released a tunnel set, even if it was some stand alone set of arches, is because LEGO tends to like to have sets that are idiot proof.  Unfortunately, trains tend to take up more room in curves, and there's no telling a kid "don't put the tunnel on a curve", cause they won't listen.  So you'd have to make either a very wide tunnel (using more parts) which wouldn't look as dramatic or nice, or lash it down to a baseplate (which would require more parts than stand alone arches).  

We spent about an hour at a TexLUG event studying my Polar Express because several members were thinking about making a tunnel on a curve.  Long story short is we decided curved tunnels stink.  :)

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#8 Staszek

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Posted 16 February 2010 - 06:10 PM

I have very fresh experience with a tunnel in the curve. I am building a mountain with a tunnel in the corner of my layout, maybe with eye catching castle of church on top. I need to go back to Bricklink for another order of slopes in grey....

Since it is back-corner, I plan to keep it open in the back, in case of derail....

#9 Brickstarrunner

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Posted 16 February 2010 - 11:57 PM

Very, VERY interesting topic TheBrickster.

For me, I just LOVE tunnels. Let me give you a little back story;

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I was born in Seattle Washington. I grew up in a small house in a small neighborhood in the mountains a few miles from Seattle. I loved trains, and i also loved the northern scenery. As I grew up, I learned more and more about trains, especially in the Rockies. One thing I learned is that they used alot of tunnels because riding around the mountain was either "too dangerous, not ecenomic, or would take too long to travel past, so they just blasted their way through the mountain."

So now I get back to talking about tunnels. I think that TLC will not make a tunnel for these reasons;

1. Bricks
- Producing LEGO bricks is very exspensive (and thats why large sets cost a truckload of cash/euro). Molds cost even more, especially if they are not the regular "square" type of brick

2. Size
Thats going to be a problem. TLC cannot estimate how long/tall a train can be. I have seen many trains here in Eurobricks. Some go by the classic 6 stud wide rule, while others go by the 8 wide, and some I see got 7, 9, or even 10! Plus there is a height issue. Does your train have a high boiler? Low boiler? Or no boiler at all? Is the smokestack tall or short? Will the train be running on overhead wires? How will those wires fir into the tunnel? How tall will the cab be? Etc, etc, etc... You see, TLC cannot estimate how big the tunnel will be. If they release the wrong type, they spent alot of money making and packaging them and it would be a waste.

3. The mountain itself
You have a tunnel. Why do you have a tunnel? To have a hole through a mountain. What do you need to make a tunnel? A mountain! (I will not go into subway tunnels or just arches that lead into buildings, but real tunnels leading into the mountains). Most kids I know do not have enough bricks to create a mountain, not even the correct color! (Have you ever seen a blue, red, yellow, green, gray, black, and tan mountain in real life? I don't think so) and for those expert builders, making a mountain is exspensive!

EDIT: I will edit this post. I have an appointment in 2 minutes at the library. This was done on a Library computer

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#10 Sinner

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Posted 17 February 2010 - 12:52 AM

View PostSavaTheAggie, on Feb 17 2010, 03:07 AM, said:

I think one of the reasons why LEGO hasn't released a tunnel set, even if it was some stand alone set of arches, is because LEGO tends to like to have sets that are idiot proof.
Yeah, you're probably right. TLG do go to great lengths at time to preempt idiots.

View PostSavaTheAggie, on Feb 17 2010, 03:07 AM, said:

Long story short is we decided curved tunnels stink.  :)
:tongue:





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#11 roamingstop

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Posted 17 February 2010 - 07:28 AM

A mini miners tunnel for specific sets like Indiana Jones, or Woody in Toy Story could be an interesting development. But in these cases it is for a specific set, and actually childrens hands (for push along trains) cannot get into tunnels easily. Most kids probably happy using a cardboard cutout.

Now a set where there is a cardboard cutouts (a la Pirates Money Bank) could be a way forwards - the 'entrance arches' are brick built with technic supports for at rear. It could probably be printed cheaply and look right (the correct 'grass / rock colours' etc) but would not be a true 'lego tunnel'. Hands could easily get inside to move things - and expert builders would then reuse the tan bricks (of the classic Bath Stone Entrance way) in a new MOC Emporium....

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#12 patje

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Posted 17 February 2010 - 02:23 PM

Tunnels

Some under you have already seen probably my tunnel
My first tunnel left in the layout,it has been made in an angle,
for double tracks.

here you see the  different the phases of advancement
my left tunnel and montain

Now I am building more larger tunnels on the right side of the layout
these must be finished with green (trees and plants)

trees and plants

examines the phases of the new tunnel in contruction.
see updates 2 and 3
new tunnel contruction

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#13 Sir E Fullner

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Posted 17 February 2010 - 09:37 PM

I, myself, have a tunnel on my LEGO railway. Only it is papier mache, not brick. :hmpf_bad:

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#14 TheBrickster

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Posted 19 February 2010 - 03:23 PM

I'm glad you guys like this topic.  Great thought on the subject. :thumbup:

View PostSiegfried, on Feb 16 2010, 04:15 AM, said:

I'm posting that picture again)
I do the same thing.  It's actually neat to see.  Lots of diversity in that picture, but the construction bridge stands out for me.

View PostSiegfried, on Feb 16 2010, 04:15 AM, said:

and looking at the bottom-middle one gives me ideas. (Who made that?  :wub: )
That one comes from Tater-Tots on FlickR.  It's part of his Holiday Mountain.  It is a nice one! :wub:

View Postroamingstudio, on Feb 16 2010, 11:28 PM, said:

A mini miners tunnel for specific sets like Indiana Jones, or Woody in Toy Story could be an interesting development.
Love the idea of a smaller miners tunnel.  Maybe something with hinges that opens up.  I've seen an old Thomas toy like this - pretty neat.

View Postroamingstudio, on Feb 16 2010, 11:28 PM, said:

Always remember - think of the children.
They have Duplo though - and Duplo makes a Train Tunnel.  Now the AFOL need one. :wink:

View Postefullner, on Feb 17 2010, 01:37 PM, said:

Only it is papier mache, not brick.
There's nothing wrong with that.  Please share a picture.  It's always interesting to see LEGO blended with "life-like" landscaping, especially in LEGO Train displays.

I started building a very small tunnel for my Train Town a few night ago.  It's nothing fancy; in fact it looks like the small Duplo Tunnel, but it's a tunnel, and it's partially on a curve.  I'll share a picture soon.

#15 Fugazi

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Posted 19 February 2010 - 03:48 PM

I certainly don't want to hijack this thread, but all this tunnel talk made me realize that a short bridge would probably work much better as a standalone set than a tunnel. It would require less parts (depending on style), it could be modular (many short-length sets could be put together to create a longer bridge), and could be made in different styles (truss, girder, etc). It could even be sold without track, so that it could be used either as a road or railway bridge! This would especially make sense in the new City line, where trains have been integrated instead of being a separate theme.

Anyway, sorry for the OT!  :grin:
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#16 Ashi Valkoinen

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Posted 20 February 2010 - 10:23 AM

I'm not interested in tunnels so much but browsing MOCpages toad I found something perhaps interesting for you:
http://www.mocpages.com/moc.php/117210

And a great mountain:
http://www.mocpages.com/moc.php/72542

Edited by Ashi Valkoinen, 20 February 2010 - 10:27 AM.

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#17 Matn

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Posted 20 February 2010 - 04:54 PM

This talking about train tunnels and mountains inspires me to build one myself (that Holiday Mountain looks beautiful). On a part of the right side of my tabletown there's room for me to take decent pictures, but I'll put it away and extend the train track to the right corner. When that's done I'll build a mountain over the track so I'll also could put some houses on top of the mountain if it works out right. I'll add some pictures if it works out like I want it to be.  :classic:

#18 tatertots

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Posted 20 February 2010 - 08:05 PM

One of the fun challenges with the Holiday Mtn project is that there's a lot of freedom to keep changing things up. For example, I took skiers off and recently added a snow ball coming off the top:
http://www.flickr.co...N07/4308076718/

I've really struggled with the backside. Instead of a wall of bricks, the backside is going to turn into an underground toy shop for Santa with an elevator going to the surface. More coming. Here's the top of the mtn at this point whiere the elevator will come up:
http://www.flickr.co...N07/4252278833/
http://www.flickr.co...N07/4266063917/

The size of the tunnel entrances has been more challenging than I originally planned and should definitly be thought out. The turn radius of engines really ranges as you plan how deep you want the tunnel mouth to go. For example the back of the engine often kicks out when it turns into the tunnel and the front of the engine kicks out wide as it goes into the exit. I had to adjust both the width and the height to accommodate trains for my club (NELUG) as the tunnel mouth went back 10 studs.

Some links to some of my favorites when I started this project (sorry if there are any duplicates to earlier posts):

http://www.flickr.co...766408/sizes/o/

http://www.flickr.co...in/photostream/

http://www.brickshel...y.cgi?i=3907959

A great one - slow to load...

http://www.mocpages.com/moc.php/131822
Thanks for the feedback! It's great to share with others and I LOVE ideas

Edited by tatertots, 20 February 2010 - 08:29 PM.


#19 TheBrickster

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Posted 20 February 2010 - 08:57 PM

Welcome TaterTots.  I'm glad you joined the discussion.  I love your snowy mountain, and that tunnel is fantastic. :wub:   Thanks for sharing those additional links.

#20 tatertots

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Posted 21 February 2010 - 03:58 AM

Looking back to the original thread, I think it would be cool if LEGO took on landscaping and put together a couple of sets that could modified for projects such as tunnels, etc. I'm sure AFOL would buy these up.
As for train tunnels, there are a lot of fun. My kids love watching the train disappear and reappear on the other side. There's also TONS of inspriation out there. For example, check out the Glacier Express in Switzerland (and bridges).  http://www.affordabl...and_Picture.jpg

The other challenge for tunnels if you do shows is transporting them. Reverse engineering them is time well spent. After making sure the tunnel entrances are the right size, figure out the curve of the track, and then how you can break it up into plates that can be easily transported. Fun challenge :-) Don't forget to make the guts accessable if you have trains going through. Something will surely go wrong at some point!

Edited by tatertots, 21 February 2010 - 04:01 AM.


#21 Mark Bellis

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Posted 23 February 2010 - 07:05 PM

It is said in model railway circles that some layouts look like the designer deliberately aimed the track at the nearest hill!
I wanted to avoid that on my layout, so a corner tunnel just wasn't enough.
On this corner the track levels split to become one over the other.
This pic shows the clearances of the prototype loco inside the tunnel, though the tunnel mouth was not built yet.
This pic shows a similar effect at the other corner, the tracks taking half a lap of the layout to swap heights.
This pic shows the amount of infrastructure required to run one track under another for a long distance.  It becomes 8 tracks underneath the station, for a fiddle yard with 4 tracks each way.

I haven't yet taken recent pictures of the first corner, now that there is tunnel mouth, but the tunnel mouth is half way round the long curve, mounted at 45 degrees to the baseplate.

The tunnel outh needs to be wide to allow for overhangs of vehicles on both sides of the track.
The ground should also continue to rise above a tunnel mouth - it's not all cut-and-cover!

Great topic idea BTW Brickster!  :thumbup:

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Edited by Mark Bellis, 23 February 2010 - 07:06 PM.

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#22 Cecilie

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Posted 24 August 2010 - 02:33 PM

View PostTheBrickster, on 16 February 2010 - 06:16 AM, said:



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I love the tiling on the entrance of the bottom left one. Who built that? I'd like to do something similar, but I have no idea how to attach the tiles in that way...
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#23 roamingstop

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Posted 24 August 2010 - 03:23 PM

View PostCecilie, on 24 August 2010 - 02:33 PM, said:

I love the tiling on the entrance of the bottom left one. Who built that? I'd like to do something similar, but I have no idea how to attach the tiles in that way...
You can fit plates into the underside of the 4x4x1 half-arches; and get something similar - although im not 100% sure for this technique.

#24 UltimateLegoMan

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Posted 24 August 2010 - 03:44 PM

View PostFugazi, on 19 February 2010 - 03:48 PM, said:

I certainly don't want to hijack this thread, but all this tunnel talk made me realize that a short bridge would probably work much better as a standalone set than a tunnel. It would require less parts (depending on style), it could be modular (many short-length sets could be put together to create a longer bridge), and could be made in different styles (truss, girder, etc). It could even be sold without track, so that it could be used either as a road or railway bridge! This would especially make sense in the new City line, where trains have been integrated instead of being a separate theme.

Anyway, sorry for the OT!  :grin:


Yeah... A bit like the old consruction one, but how would the train get up if it was a raised bridge? You would need sloping tracks  :sceptic:

#25 Cecilie

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Posted 25 August 2010 - 07:22 AM

View Postroamingstudio, on 24 August 2010 - 03:23 PM, said:

You can fit plates into the underside of the 4x4x1 half-arches; and get something similar - although im not 100% sure for this technique.

Not quite sure which half-arch you're referring too, as I can't find any that are 4x4. This one can fit plates underneath, but I still can't figure out how to get that tile-effect. I tried fitting some headlight bricks under and attaching tiles to them, but I couldn't get it spaced right, so it just looked weird. Maybe I'm just doing it wrong...
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