Just became a new member
Hello all, I have been a big fan trains all my life and have been planning on doing an outside layout since I built my house 20 years ago. At the time of excavating the foundation and yard, we built a raised area off to one side of the walkout basement. The area is approximately 40íx50í and will be accessed by the trains by a 20í curved double trestle from the basement. I already have a layout inside with three spurs. My goal is to run all analog track power with each train making a trip outside, returning inside to its spur, then automatically switching to the next spur and its train. I currently already have all electronics and track in place so Iím ready to start outside. I have collected approximately 1100í of track and switches with over 600í being Aristo SS track and 6 switches. I would like to have two to four station stops, one for the mainline trains, then two will be for a logging train that will stop between the mill and logging areas. I will also have a freight train on the main line that will leave the main line before the passenger station via a side mounted magnet and reed switch and then stop at the saw mill, then continue back to the main line.
I am running track power and magnet/reed switches so the layout will run unassisted in most cases. I have modeled extensively in RC scale aircraft so making things up in scale I already do. I have a few ideas as you can see and my theme will incorporate the places Iíve worked i my life including my familyís butchering business, a ice plant in the local harbor, and other places of interest from my neighborhood.
I currently have a crest 10 amp power supply with a TE control. I will be looking for a source of station stop controls and while Iíve read some posts here, none contain a link for where they can be purchased. I will be running as much SS track as possible and do have a rail bender for custom work. There will be a water scene, a mountain with tunnels, along with flat and graded track.
So here are a few questions I have before I start this coming spring. My current area is mostly flat and can easily be made to be that way to start. I am here in southern New England so while our weather get below freezing, being close to the water means we never seem to get a deep freeze. The raised area is well drained and has a base of coarse sand.
#1. Is floating track still the best way to go ballasted on fines?
#2 need a good recommendation for those station stops
#3 what is the normal distance for track feeder wires? Run in conduit with junction boxes?
#4 I have a tig welder and thinking of tagging the rail ends together for better connections, thoughts?
#5 are there any businesses in MA that help with layout plans or how can I plan my layout better?
#6 any help and suggestions other than my questions are also welcomed
Thanks in advance, Ted