Track Plan and Sub-Roadbed

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Duration: 5:52

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Rick Rideout is able to accomodate his large L&N layout room, wide isles, and over 500 feet of main line in the basement of his home. Luckily for Rideout, it was easy for him to make room for his layout because he was able to build his entire house from scratch. Rideout worked with his wife Vicky to first draw a layout before designing the rest of the house. The location of the basement’s furnace, water heater, water pipes, and more were all determined by the placement of the railroad. The layout room includes a lounge area with the railroad’s operating computer. Rideout paid special attention to the cosmetics of his layout room so that when others came to view the railroad he could feel proud of his life’s work.

All the work that Rideout has put into his layout over the years can start to weigh down on him. To get over the hump, Rideout tried to average 50 hours a week on the layout in his first year so that he could push through the tedious work and enjoy operation. All the track was laid before the scenery. Laying track is very repetitive and requires doing the same motion over and over again. Rideout tried to get into a rhythm so that he could push through and finish it up to avoid the struggle of starting up again later.

Rideout used flex track on his layout because he knew from previous experience how time-consuming it could be to hand-lay and flex track can be just as good as hand-laid. To create his subroadbed Rideout cut ⅜ sheets of plywood with a table saw into 2 ½ inch wide pieces. He then stacked them on their side and with an arm saw cut six to seven pieces at a time at 2 inch intervals ¾ of the way through the material. These made a flexible roadbed capable of bending at a 60 degree curve. Rideout then laid the plywood on the cross pieces and used finishing nails on either side of the subroadbed to keep its desired curve. Using Elmer’s yellow glue to adhere the pieces of plywood together, he placed them to offset the notches and clamped the pieces together. After dried, the curved subroadbed was nailed to the risers.