West Bay Model Railroad Association Network

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To rebuild, or not to rebuild: the new club layout

The club is giving serious consideration to removing the existing layout and rebuilding anew in one or two scales (HO and O), or building modules in both scales as a way to explore ideas before committing to something more substantial. Discussion is ongoing at each business meeting and feedback is always encouraged.

We are also actively soliciting input from individuals outside the club who may be interested in layout design, and who may wish to share ideas with the club about how best to use our space. With that in mind, the following is a copy of the club's "Givens & Druthers," as well as a sketch of the club's building floorplan. The digits preceding items indicate the number of votes each received from members who were in attendance at the meeting wherein the list was approved. Note that this list is not "set in stone" and layout ideas which don't incorporate everything below are still encouraged.

Both Scales (O and HO):

9 Walkaround control/operation
9 Continuous running for shows
9 Passenger and freight operations
9 Staging yard(s) with member setup tracks
8 Single track main line with passing sidings
8 Way freight switching
8 Realistic train operation
7 Maximum reach of 30" to the farthest track
7 Switching operations w. the road engine (e.g., no yard)
6 Train operations can be done without any ducking under
6 Switching operations w. a local switcher (e.g., there is a yard)
5 Way freight interest areas in front of crowd while operators can
- Be separated. E.g., in a lobe design, the way freight areas may
- Be at the tips of the lobes and the operators would be located
- Between the lobes where the public would not be allowed
4 Preserve the backdrop
4 Maximum reach of 24" to the farthest track
4 Terminal passenger station with train assembly/dis-assembly facilities
3 Lumber mill
2 Port (of Redwood City)
1 Oil refinery

O Scale:

6 minimum turnout #6
5 60" minimum radius

HO Scale:

General for HO, regardless of single or double level:
9 Ability for trains of 25 50' cars and 2 6-axle diesels to pass
9 Minimum size turnouts on the HO: #8 main, #6 yards, #4 elsewhere if needed
7 40" minimum HO radius on the main line
6 Loco servicing area steam and diesel with a turntable
5 Double track main line, operable as a single track main line
3 Gauntlet track [on a bridge]
6 Two level layout for HO:
10 Option to stay/run on either level w/o having to enter the helix
- 8 Upper and lower level switching areas would be offset
- 6 Upper level rail height of 60",
- 6 Lower level rail height not less that 42"
- 5 Grade-free running on each level (helix excepted)
4 Single level layout for HO.


Building Floor Plan (click the image to zoom in):

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Joe Freese kindly sent the following summary of a discussion he and Rod Smith had about the club's mission statement and about layout possibilities:

On Saturday, 13 November 2010, Rod Miller and Joe Freese met and the following came from that meeting:

"Mission Statement/Purpose: To provide an environment where club members can practice model railroading; building things, running trains, train operation. To promote model railroading through open houses. To add new members.”

We invite any and all suggestions, comments, or changes that the members may have.

It was suggested that the Mission Statement could have an expiration date, say 2020(?).

In our discussions we talked about forming a small group to develop what should be the core of the members' requirements of the layout.

There are some club members who do not want to make any changes to the existing layout. They would like to see it remain as it is forever. There are other members who wish to tear out everything and clear the room down to the studs in the walls. It has been suggested that we "repair" the existing layout, but that it has too many problems to make that a worthwhile endeavor.

A new suggestion that is similar but different is that we keep the existing benchwork and leave the O Scale as it is. There has been considerable work done on the track and it is reported to be relatively reliable. Then, the HO and S Scale trackwork be removed completely, down to the benchwork, and do a completely new HO layout. Any repairs that the benchwork might need could be done at this time. The area that formerly had the S Scale could be given over to HO Scale yards and industries.

It was further suggested that there be an HO DC mainline around the layout, and an HO DCC mainline connecting with the yards and industries, where club members could do switching to their hearts content! Like it or not, there are some model railroaders who just like to see trains running around.

We are a model railroad club of individuals, each with their own likes and dislikes. It probably will not be possible to completely please everyone. As it has been pointed out, a large part of our club experience is the socializing among the members.

These ideas are some alternatives that the membership might want to consider.

Just adding to this discussion, though I have a strong opinion about this issue (ie, HO only, DCC only, NMRA standards and code 83), I could see a potential for a dual scale layout, HO and O, with the layout plan dictated by the O scale, but still have an HO that could be interesting from the standpoint of operation (more like a branch and/or heavy industrial location).


Not much different from the Mission Statement. But, I would prefer the HO below the O scale. The reason is that I would still see a double-deck layout, and if the O scale is below, then it could not be run from the upper floor.


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