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Hi lads! I have recently gotten the bug for railway modelling and I am keen to get started on a layout. I have always had an interest but never a layout or even as much as a Hornby train set. The main problem I have is space! I have a room that I could build a shelf layout 9’ x 1.5’ or at a push I could add 3’/4’ to one side to give an “L” shaped layout. My other option is to convert the attic and build a room 15’ x 15’ which would take time and money. I would first have to install a folding attic stairs, floor it, build the walls and insulate before I tackle the layout. My attic is insulated fairly well thanks to an aul grant from the gov, so I’m not sure should I lift this from under the proposed floor and reinstate it in the cavity of the proposed walls? I am worried about the dampness and cold getting at the layout and the rolling stock up in the attic as the insulation has stopped the heat from getting up there. So if any of you have any advise on this I would appreciate it.


As my wife and I are expecting my funds will be limited for these works and I would expect it to take to the end of the summer before I would have the floor and walls done. My wife wants me to build a shed in the back garden this summer so between 1 thing and another I should be fairly busy.


The only modelling(as such) I have attempted is what you see in the photo below so I am thinking maybe the shelf layout for now and branch out into the attic at a later stage. I have a small amount of Irish locos and coaches with a few other bits of British railways and even a Belgian loco (ye know how it is when you go to another country and see a model shop, ye have to buy!)




I have built a couple of Metcalfe and Alphagraphics Card kits and I enjoyed that and would like to get into scratch building. I have looked through some threads and it has opened my mind to what can be done with a computer and printer and a bit of ingenuity. I have not been through all threads as I’ve only joined up but some of the works Glenderg & Scahalane have built from scratch have been truly inspiring.


I am thinking I should probably go for a DCC layout but as I have no experience and the locos I have are all DC so I’m not sure. I have 2nr Lima 201 DC locos and I’m not sure is it better to flog them for a MM201 or is it better to convert these to DCC? Think if I was to buy a MM loco it would have to be an 071 and with that I would have to invest in some freight stock.


This is where I am currently at and I would appreciate any nuggets of knowledge & advice you have to share. I read also on here that the abuse is free!! Guess I’ll have to take the good with the bad:)


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Welcome aboard sir! Putting on me architects hat for a moment, you should leave the floor insulation as is in the attic. Otherwise you'll end up heating the attic unnecessarily when you're not there. From a cost perspective you could insulate the attic for very little money. If it's a relatively new roof, sheets of 8 x 4 75mm rigid foil faced insulation is about €32 a sheet, and cut with a handsaw can be wedged into the gaps in the rafters. Leave a small cavity between the roof felt and the insulation, and you'll have a space that is quickly heated, but will be balanced in the winter and cool in the summer. If you want to sheet it out later, bevel edged plasterboard which can be taped and jointed will save a few bucks too. No need to plaster when finished, just fill the joints with jointing compound, and a bit of sanding when dry, couple of coats of paint, job done!


Avoid the B&Q's if you can. You'll get better value from a builder's yard.


You'll be able to get a roof access ladder from donedeal or buy and sell. You won't have much change from € 500 for a new one though.


Right, back to the modelling! If I had the options you have i would design the attic layout first, and use the shelf layout to create a part of the scene, so you could do a freight terminal, station building or a large scenic element like a bridge. Then connect it into the main layout when complete. It might work over the access hatch to the attic as the roof ladder is nearly always put beside a gable wall to suit the landing below.


I hope that's of some help and keep up the tidy modelling. Treat it like gardening - little and often!


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Hi Karl


With a computer and printer you can keep the costs down. I have just set up my own layout and had the same questions. I went for DCC as I believe you can have more realistic movments on the layout. You can convert your current locos to dcc quite easily and cheaply. The guys on this site will keep you right and advise and encourage. Love the pics.:tumbsup:

Great to see you on board


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Welcome onboard Karl!

As Glenderg says about the attic - leave the stuff in the floor as it is, just put boards down over it, and then insulate inbetween the roof joists. This is the road I'm going down with my attic. I got a secondhand Styra (as seen on the Late Late Show!) from Donedeal for €150, and I have started putting chipboard flooring down, sitting on 4" joists. I'll insulate inbetween the roof joists when the flooring is done, as it can be rightly chilly in the attic at the moment!

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Anthony & Kirley, The shed I am building could never be used as a layout, it would have bikes, the golf clubs, a lawnmower and god knows what else thrown in there after 6mts. I think the attic is eventually the way to go.


Thanks for all the advise so far from everyone and for those with layouts in the attic does the cold or dampness affect the layouts or locos? Or in the summer does the heat?

Skinner75 & Glenderg Ill take your advice on the ridged insulation between the rafters and plasterboard over. I might need to knock a hole in the gable wall and install a vent for the hot summer evenings.


But first things first, I got some 15mm plywood today Buck-shee pre cut in 500mm x 1350mm strips and all I need now is a bit of 2” x 2” or 2” x 3” to construct a frame. Once construction commences Ill post some photos.

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for those with layouts in the attic does the cold or dampness affect the layouts or locos? Or in the summer does the heat?


I built a layout for a friend in a concrete garage, unheated, and then extended out under a boarded-in car-port - virtually outside, except from being sheltered from the rain. For the winter months, there could be problems with bad connection from the track, especially if it wasn't run for a few days. The bit under the car-port suffered with the rails contracting in the cold at the same time as the wood expanded with the damp and vice versa in the summer - the bit in the garage didn't suffer as badly, though the runs were shorter in there. Stock-wise, there was little problem. Conditions in an attic are unlikely to be more extreme, this one was almost 'outside'...


Another friend has a large layout in a (very) well-insulated attic and all is fine.

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hi there everyone, my name is tom from blacksod co mayo. I'm not great on computers just learning,i'm the guy who is looking for the anykey to start. I started collecting irish stock last year.At the moment i have 4x baby gm's, 2x 201 mm's, 1x 201 lima,4x mk3 coaches, 8x mk2's , 5 x craven's and 6x lima mk2 galway livery coaches and to finish off a load of oods and ends of freight stock from hornby.I have bought a good few mk3 and mk2 br stock to paint into ie colours.In my work history i was a panelbeater for years so i will be handy with masking and spraying them ,looking forward to doing that. In general i have always liked irish rail between the years of the late 60's to the late 90's, there's somthing about it,maybe it's rough and ready and no microchips just good old fashioned mechanics and plenty of track.If anybody is intrested they were going to build a railway station here in blacksod before ww 1 from ballina,if you go into http://www.ionaddeirbhile.ie then click onto blog and scroll down you will see the railway terminus they were going to build and the history.Anyway i have read alot of stuff on this web site which has given me alot of idea's to set up my layout which i will start soon.I did not realize how specialized this hobby is and how much yoyo's you need to do it but don't tell the wife we only live once and the goverment should'nt take the rest either.when i get started i will post photos on here for people to comment and hopefully send on idea's , so as they say{ i'm not there yet but i'm getting there}...........thanks very much and keep up the good work everybody..........cheers

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Welcome Tom, and thanks for the info about Blacksod Bay. No doubt if built, it may have changed the whole easterly focus of Ireland, at least for a period of time anyway. I thought I had heard of all the oddball schemes with Irish Railways, and I have to say that that one makes a lot of sense. Could you imagine that today? Getting a DMU out to the bay, to see the old concrete railway station?? Keep us posted on the layout progress, you'll notice there's been a healthy shift lately to the late 50's around here, and that's not the age group:cheers:Richie

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