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Beltigan

Questions - small layout possibility

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Hey all,

I'm Beltigan, a 34'ish swiss married man who will soon upgrade to the ''dad'' status. Mostly a lurker in these forums, for 1-2 years. And today I seek your expertise.

I've never been into train, I don't know why but it wasn't my favorite when I was a kid. As a grown up I'm more in space/science theme and a bit of SW for display. I'm just dicovering the train theme these days and I kinda like it.
I've got not lego train and no track for now.

but I see, like a lot of other people I think, the downside in the train theme is the space we should have.
I've got a wife, who's not against lego but not really the kind to accept it in the dining room. I've got a cat, who's not against lego because he's a cat but who likes to bite and scatter pieces, because he's a cat. And I will soon have a kid who will not be against lego (I hope) but will start by eating them and that's not good !

I found a perfect spot for a lego display, and I really want to make a Christmas theme decoration. I looked at some diorama here and there and I found some train loops and all.

So, the idea is :
Why not a little loop, with a motorised winter train ?

The problem :
I got a space of 48/133cm, something like 60 by 166 studs. That's small (tiny for y'all trains people I believe).
With this space, I cannot do a 180° with normal train tracks, I'm clearly too short in width if I'm well informed (ouch !)

Possible solution :
1) Use narrow track, that can (if i'm well informed) do a 180° in 48 studs. And buy at 4DBrix some straight narrow track that don't exist in guenine lego.  (https://www.4dbrix.com/shop/index.php?route=product/product&path=18_62&product_id=68)

  • For this I would have to adapt the carts of the winter train
  • Does a motorised cart for narrow track exist or is possible to build ?

2) Use guenine lego straight 8 studs tracks with some 24R curved track from Trixbrix (https://www.trixbrix.eu/en_US/p/Curved-Track-R24/32)

  • If I believe what's said in the product description, the 24R curved track should only be used with the shortest/less rigid type of cart. That would mean adapt the winter train, but less than solution 1.
  • Does anybody here tried this kind of track ?

3) Use flexible guenine lego track

  • Found nowhere the number of studs to make a 180° with those ones

4) Be crazy and build a hand made track, like those monorail's gods

  • Well, is it even possible ? Does it turn enought ? Isn't it just a dream ?


Conclusion / asking for expertise
I'm not gonna buy or start anything with so much questions in my head. That's why I'm coming to the experts in the matter !
Is it just an impossible project, because of the space ?
Did I miss other possibles solutions ?
Do you have any advice, even if it change a little the project ?
Etc ?

Be understanding with my english from Switzerland (sorry !) and Thank you in advance for your support.

 

Edited by Beltigan

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Welcome to the forum! 

Here's some info:
The absolute minimum space for a 180° turn on standard track pieces is 72cm outside-to-outside for the track. Then you need an additional 1-3cm of space between the track and say a wall, for trains that come around the corner to safely clear the wall, because they overhang quite a bit in some cases. 

If you want to use narrow track, you have to do extremely heavy modifications on the winter holiday train to allow this. I highly doubt, that you could still make the tree-mechanism function on narrow track.

Most Lego trains will not turn in radii smaller than the standard turn radius (R44 if I'm not mistaking). This is because the bogies' turning is limited by the very fact that they are essentially inside the actual base plate. You would need to raise the base plate above the bogie fully to allow a smaller turning radius to work. Again, this means modifying the train. The cars on the winter village train are short so you might not have to modify those. The bogie on the engine needs modifications for sure though.

Flexible track has the same radius as standard track, afaik.

If you make your own track you're still left with the same issue that you need to modify the engine for the bogie to make the turn.

In my opinion it would be a LOT easier to just make a single track, no turns, and run the train back and forth. If you're a tad into making stuff, you just need to set up two IR LEDs, two light sensors and I can give you a little bit of code I wrote for an Arduino to go along. Combine those and you have a fully automated winter train running from one end to the other and then back. It's really simple. That's what I would do.

Edited by McWaffel
clarification

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@Beltigan, in many ways you and I are in similar places in life, however, I do not have a cat. I am also planning a Christmas train display, but I will have a bit more space as I am planning to lay my track on the floor of the living room under the Christmas tree. I will have few buildings since I have more trains and wagons and track. I don't know if your wife would be open to having the train under the Christmas tree for the holidays but the good thing is that when guests come, it is easy to remove the track to keep it out of the way. However, this thought does not take your furry friend into consideration. Just a thought to consider.

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You could also make a point to point system (not points like switches, but more like 4 standard curved tracks) with e.g. an Arduino to control it and let the train move back and forth.

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10 minutes ago, JopieK said:

You could also make a point to point system (not points like switches, but more like 4 standard curved tracks) with e.g. an Arduino to control it and let the train move back and forth.

Or get a 4.5v train and the do the same without any modification :grin:

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Very true ;) (although you could hide the tiny Arduino the Christmas tree so you don't really need to modify LEGO, but the PF remote is a little impractical for continuous operations. 

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1 hour ago, JopieK said:

You could also make a point to point system (not points like switches, but more like 4 standard curved tracks) with e.g. an Arduino to control it and let the train move back and forth.

Which is exactly what I suggested :laugh:

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Hi Beltigan,

on a length of 133cm I would probably try to use regular track, build a small cosy winterly terminal train stop (perhaps with a xmas fair) and a short track running into some kind of hideout (tunnel, deep forest, avalanche gallery, ....), so that the train can come from the hidden place, stop at the terminal and go back again. As suggested before, you could use some electronics (LEGO Mindstorms, Arduino or similar) to let the train commute automatically.

Regards

Christian

Edited by Xris

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It would be nice to have a running train, but since your space is limited, I'd ditch the idea of having a loop/oval for your train. Instead, try - like has been mentioned - to let the train go back and forth. You could even make your own train which looks good in either direction it's going, like a trolley. I'm sure there are instructions to be found somewhere. That way, you could use a small station or just a platform and the new winter station at either end of your track. You could even add a switch for some playbility and include a static goods wagon that is unloading some Xmassy stuff like chocolate, presents, santa's sled, reindeers or whatever you fancy.

 

Btw, I'm in the same boat as you. No cat, but two big dogs in my case. I'm using the dining room dressing which is 3 baseplates wide and 12 plates long as a layout. No loop, just shunting and messing around... Well, that's the plan. For now, it's just a big pile of bricks and some half finished buildings and rolling stock.

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I also have limited space for my layout, but managed to make a small loop, maybe you can find a little inspiration from what I have done. :classic: 

Even if you do not have room for a loop.

Link

Flickr

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All these informations are very useful for me. And very kind of you.

Thank you a lot for your advices and ideas !

The idea to make a single guenine track, with no loop, and a side like a tunnel is great. Much more simple, it even leaves more space to put things around !

I will discuss this choice with my other half :)

Thank you one more time !

Have a great weekend

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