Liberty Village Line Plan 2.0 Details and Thoughts

Back in April I posted about our impending move, and the moving on to a new iteration of the track plan for Liberty Village, by virtue of having a whole bedroom to work with, the same industrial neighbourhood can be modeled more faithfully and without some of the compromises that Version 1 which was designed to fit into our apartment had.  I semi-presented the new trackplan in April, but now I’m ready to give some details.

So, without further ado, the new trackplan for my layout:

Apr 10 18 - Liberty Layout - West.anyLiberty Village Version 2.0 as of May 21, 2018, larger PDF Here

So big changes!! The massive compromise of flipping the industries that are now on the peninsula on Version 1 so they were north of the tracks is gone, I have the room for a more or less U-shaped layout on two walls of the room and into the full width walk in closet, with a peninsula.  In the bottom left of the room you can see the future home of my new workbench.  I apologize for my drawings being all crazy colours, It’s how I draw things so I can tell things apart. The important ones are grey benchwork and light gray track.  Hopefully it makes some sense regardless of the colours.

Oct 31 17 - Liberty Layout Concept 1-FastTracks 3.anyLiberty Village V1.5 as of November 2017, lots of compromise and forcing things into the space.

One of the biggest changes have a dedicated room, is the staging.  Instead of two removable staging cassettes, I now have two fixed transfer table/sector plates with four tracks on each. They will also provide some extra tracks for storing infrequently used rolling stock, and escape tracks to allow for running around trains, or re-positioning a locomotive from a pull of cars to a push of cars.  The drawings attached to this post still need to be updated to show the benchwork and all these tail tracks, but they will be there!

I’ve been discussing construction techniques with a friend, and am very much leaning towards the KISS model, “Keep it Simple Stupid”.  Fortunately, the townhouse we have bought was built with wood framing, this means it will be easy to mount supports for the benchwork to the walls.  At present, as there is no topography on the layout, the plan is to use shelf brackets (the parts along the walls range between 12″ and 14″) to support a plywood surface (leaning to 5/8″).  A 3-4″ fascia panel will be screwed onto the front edge to provide screening for wiring and undermount switch machines (still don’t know what type I’m going to use).  On top of the plywood, will be a layer of foam sheet.  As there isn’t much topography, this layer is to help with making it easier to plant trees/structures to than straight plywood.  The entire surface area and bases for the traversers can be cut out of two 4’x8′ sheets of plywood by being smart and economical with the materials.  Given I am relying on the kindness of others for access to table saws and the like for this, anything that can be done to simplify and reduce the amount of time I have to take at someone elses before bringing the benchwork home and installing it in the layout room.

May21_18-LayoutConstructionScematicSchematic Drawing of planned construction. Hope it makes sense, I’m not a graphic artist, so it’s the best I could muddle up. Clearly not to scale!

No, it’s not “traditional” L-girder, or box-girder benchwork, but it’s simple to construct, simple to install, and will meet my needs.  There isn’t structure being built for the sake of having it with this technique, and it provides open access beneath for installing switch machines, wiring for track power, wiring for building lighting, etc.  I expect some to question this decision, but after a lengthy chat with a friend whose current layout has been in place for 8 years with effectively this design, I think it will work for me.  It also has the advantage of being quick to build and get in place.  The most complicated construction will be the two traversers, and making sure that they to be mounted to the walls with the top surface properly height adjusted to the rest of the layout.

The peninsula will be designed to mount into the shelf fascia using dowels, and have legs for support at the end at least. I need to discuss whether it needs 4 legs, or if it will have enough support from the shelf to just have two at the end of the peninsula.

One thing that people may think I’m crazy for, is my intended layout height.  The surface of the foam will be between 60″-62″ above the floor.  The reason for this is the need to clear several bookcases that will be in the room that are 55″ to the top.  Based on this, the layout will be set so it is above them.  I actually like bringing the trains and buildings closer to eye level.  It means that the buildings (something I really enjoy constructing) are more visible.  I know it means for some it will be potentially too high to reach in for uncoupling depending on where buildings are located.  It just means I will have to think through the building locations/heights/operating positions as i go.  the height does however, in my mind at least, minimize to an extent the importance of the backdrop, as you aren’t looking from an angle where the horizon is as dominant, the background is just going to be there between buildings, hopefully with a neutral colour and a bit of trickery it will look like the buildings/streets extend.  The one spot the backdrop will have some work to do is the Mercer Reformatory (the Toronto Women’s prison) where the building is set back from the street, so the backdrop will be an outline or image of the building in the distance, as the area closest to Liberty Street was the exercise yards and gardens for growing food based on the images I have of the prison. It’s a building that as it’s long gone, is on my list of “need to research more” buildings.

tspa_0113814f.jpgRear of the Mercer Reformatory (looking north from Liberty Street), 1948 – Toronto Star via Toronto Public Library

So, with that, back to the packing in preparation for our move in June and the designing and preparing for layout building come the summer.  After the move, the next steps are to do a detailed measurement of the room, and locate the studs in the wall so I can cross reference the track plan and make sure no switches are located where the benchwork will need to be supported from. Then, once any design adjustments are made, onwards to construction!!

2 thoughts on “Liberty Village Line Plan 2.0 Details and Thoughts

  1. Speaking as someone who built his layout at 60” for similarly good reasons, may I say that I wish I had cheated just a little to get down to 58” or even 57”. Even at 6’2”, I find I have to step on a stool to work on the layout for any length of time, and I have many visitors for whom 60” is above eye height.

    • Yes, the height is a compromise. I’m hoping that with careful installation, once I know where the studs are in the room (don’t move in till mid June) and can see how things work, that I will be at max 60”. Depending on the depth of fascia I wind up choosing, an inch or two lower may be doable.

      I’m already considering that at least one building at the corner of Mowat and Liberty on the aisle side will need to be removable for ops sessions given the amount of track at the intersection.

      Good times, the planning process has me really excited with the hobby again and the prospect of having a layout.


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