Elana-chan

Layout: Planning multi-level, multi-theme setup.

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Hey there. I'm working on the planning stages of a layout I plan to start construction on sometime in the next year or so, and I'm currently making the initial designs in BlueBrick. I have most of the main level finished, but I'm having trouble coming up with good methods to provide support for the different levels, as well as making room for some of the things I still want to add for detailing such as track side accessories. Another part of the puzzle I am having trouble finding an answer for is what the situation is for switches and weather or not setting the switches against a siding will disrupt the power flow to a 9V train sitting in said siding.

 

Here is the first draft of the design. The lower level will contain a space area on the lower left, and aquazone in the lower right, with the possibility for top center and right being a staging area for additional trains. Top left will be a helix for going between levels.

On the main area there is also a line going near the airport. This will be going uphill to a snowy/mountainous area. In the original concept, there was going to be a transition between the snow and space area via the iceplanet theme, but due to space constraints that won't be happening, but I would still like to put the ice planet stuff in with the snow area. For this reason I am also looking to figure out a way to make a ramp so non-rail vehicles can traverse between the space and snow themes. The snow area will be ontop of a mountain that overlooks the city level, and depending on how it's made, I might leave the underside of it atleast partially open, making an overhang of sorts covering the bottom level.

Edit: the break between the space and aquazone area is ment to represent a visual barrier that will likely also provide support.

design%20pt%201_zps5oheavvl.png

Edited by Elana-chan

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Thanks, as part of the project I will be doing a mirror-build of the police pier, so that the boats dock on the side facing the bottom of the setup.

Edit: I'm curious what you guys think of how the rail system is going to end up being two end-to-end lines that meet on the main level instead of having a loop of some kind. The rail portion of it is designed with operations in mind, not just letting the trains run.

Edit 2: One of the large additions that I will be adding to this somewhere on the layout will be technic set 42055. Because it's more or less minifig scale I plan on putting it in as the centerpiece of a quarry, even if it doesn't have much room to manuver, I will atleast be giving enough clearance for the boom to rotate to some degree. One thought was to have the line up to the mountain be able to dump scoopable material which could then be sent via truck to the scale area to be loaded onto another train, or be taken by truck to the harbor after loaded into one of the modular hoppers from 4565. Given the nature of the cargo loads that came with that set, I decided to focus on using similar load types that use the 4x8 footprint and have something ontop that can be secured by a hook for being moved around by crane.

I originally thought about making 6542 and 4555 part of the layout, but after finding 6543 and thinking the area could use a place for private watercraft, there was nolonger room for both cargo ship docks. In addition to the space restrictions in the harbor, there was also having to choose the facility that came with 4565 or use 4555 instead, as there isn't room for both on the main level, besides, using the base from 4565 gave me a place to send the material that 42055 digs up! So it was down to choosing which type of 4x8 cargo to use, the type with a flat top similar to real-world shipping containers, or make things uniform with the type that gets carried around by cranes via hook, which allows for more versatile loads.

The only way I can think of to still include 4555 would be to somehow fit it in with one of the other themes on a different level, if I did that, one of those container forklifts would be needed on the main level sense there isn't enough room to put a stationary crane with the proper attachment there. And even then, there's no room for the dock that would handle that type of load. And last of all, I intend on using a smaller loading gauge for the trains, based primarily around 4559's clearances, so running any form of doublestack isn't really being considered anyway.

Edited by Elana-chan

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Here's a list of sets containing cargo that could be used with the chosen intermodal system with little to no modification, and is from a time period that matches the rest of the sets aesthetically:

1525: LEGO Container Lorry

6361: Mobile Crane

4030: Cargo Carrier

4563: Load 'N Haul Railroad

6352: Cargomaster Crane

6668: Recycle Truck

6539: Victory Cup Racers

4552: Cargo Crane

4557: Freight Loading Station

4995: Cargo Copter

As a side note, the truck from 4564 appears to be of the same design as the 6668 recycling truck, just with different loads to use with it. This could provide a limited addition to what can be swapped between sets.

I've also made the decision that due to the restricted size of the sidings at the main station, which is also the template for the rest of the layout my original idea of having two 4559 sets back to back in a formation similar to various high speed trains will be truncated so that there is still an engine at each end to facilitate not having to turn the whole set around, but the train will end up being shortened to only having two cars. The up side to this is that I can swap out the pods for daytime and night time use and have the entire train be sleepers or open seating.

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Design update; I've defined a potential arrangement that would allow 42055 to be placed on the top level. The tracks ment to go to separate levels are now represented by having supports underneath. A pier ramp has also been added near the wind turbine to represent the loading ramp for swaping out the pods for 4559, the footprint is similar to eachother, the pier ramp is simply taller.

design%20pt%201.2_zpsfspsyunk.png

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Update:

So I finally got my first set of 9v switches in today and I tested the conductivity in closed sidings, the switches do in fact sever the circuit connection when all applicable turnouts are turned against a train in the siding. This means I will only require one, maybe two transformers for the entire layout and enough power pickups to prevent voltage drop! What I may end up doing is putting the upper and lower line onto separate circuits. This will help spread the power more evenly, and it will allow me to shuffle trains on the bottom level staging yard while the upper line is being used for a normal run. With this idea, the only place where the two circuits will have any overlap will be on the city level where they meet just before the crossing to the train station.

I am still curious what everyone's thoughts are that this setup is designed to be multiple connecting end-to-end lines instead of the more typical looped layout.

Edited by Elana-chan

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Here's an updated version of the plans, the futron monorail is subsituting for the unitron set:

design_pt_1.3.png

 

Alternate staging yard arrangement:

design_pt_1.3.1.png

Edited by Elana-chan

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Another update on the design, this is just the bottom level, showing more potential support cutouts. To help with the ease of setup and takedown, I intend on using duplos for the support structure:

design%20pt%201.4.1_zpsoludxkfz.png

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