Help Me Plan My Layout

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bob

Administrator
Staff member
OK, so after spending some serious time with 3rdPlanit and getting some one on one coaching (Those curved section of benchwork were a bit of a challenge to lay out) I've come up with a very rough interpretation of what I think you've drawn.

031816-2.jpg031816-1.jpg031816-3.jpg

A few comments...

1) That lower right corner gets gnarly when you try and keep your 30" radius curve. I did it but it was tricky.
2) As it stands, this would be a very photogenic, and extremely boring layout. Run trains in circles and switch the yard. That's it.
3) That yard takes up a LOT of space. The left side is #6 turnouts, the right side is #4. I also managed to fit in a small engine/caboose area. You could even fit a small yard office between the tracks in the opening.
4) That long sweeping curve is both gorgeous and problematic. That double track on such a wide radius will look wonderful. Again, great for model photos. But it's an awful lot of space with absolutely nothing in it. What did you have in mind for there? When drawn to scale, it gets pretty long and narrow...
 

bob

Administrator
Staff member
Check out the videos section, I've just posted a 3D rendering of the layout from 3rdPlanit. Looks pretty cool, and there's lots more to do.
 

bob

Administrator
Staff member
Ok, so we now have the basic outline sketched in. It's time to start locating the important features. The largest ones go in first, since they take up a lot of room and typically can only fit in a few places.

One of the items mentioned was a turntable. Turntables and roundhouses are very cool, no doubt about that. They're also very large and take up a lot of space. Looking at the plan, it really seems there is only one option for an area big enough for a roundhouse. It's also trickier than it looks at first glance, as you have to get a switch off of the main track to connect to it. I suppose you could custom build a curved turnout, but I opted to drop a #6 turnout into the straight stretch. You could also have it come in from the right side, but at the moment I have that shown as a bridge, which means it's not a good place for a turnout.

031916-2.jpg031916-1.jpg
 

bob

Administrator
Staff member
I can probably move that around a bit and make it work better.

However, you've reached a point where you really have to set your priorities. How much space you are willing to dedicate to a roundhouse? Is the yard too big or too small? Do you want sweeping vistas, or do you want lots of switching? Your goals will make a big difference here.
 

Iron Horseman

Well-Known Member
OK, so after spending some serious time with 3rdPlanit and getting some one on one coaching
Hehehe, you will have to give me some pointers. I've had 3DPlanit for a very long time and not been able to get anything but the simple oval from the tutorial to work, let alone a turnout.....

I think your comments are right on.
2) As it stands, this would be a very photogenic, and extremely boring layout. Run trains in circles and switch the yard. That's it.
Yes, and add to that that yard switching is the most boring type of switching.

3) That yard takes up a LOT of space. The left side is #6 turnouts, the right side is #4. I also managed to fit in a small engine/caboose area. You could even fit a small yard office between the tracks in the opening.
That would be the main reason I don't like yards on smaller layouts. But I really like what you've come up with. It has options.

4) That long sweeping curve is both gorgeous and problematic. That double track on such a wide radius will look wonderful. Again, great for model photos. But it's an awful lot of space with absolutely nothing in it. What did you have in mind for there? When drawn to scale, it gets pretty long and narrow...
Another issue is that everything is very parallel: the front of the bench work, the wall, the rear track. Very unnatural.
What did you have in mind for there? When drawn to scale, it gets pretty long and narrow
Some of the early thoughts I had for it don't fit the big scheme now. I don't know what Greg's thoughts are. Here is an idea, don't know if this will really fit, but what about crossing over the lower track two more times. That is, make the front double tracks go further back all the way to the wall before they sweep around. Have the "high line" cross over it as it comes out toward the edge. As it then comes back off the wall the high line goes back to its place against the wall.

In general the bulk of the layout space is consumed by the two blobs. A common problem that gets bigger with the max radius, but I see a few spot that is screaming for an industry. This is where the upper track crosses over in the lower right. Run that straight off into the blob. Seems a fairly large space that could be visually isolated for an extra "scene". Then I threw in a couple of extra possibilities too.
boblayout.jpg
 
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Iron Horseman

Well-Known Member
Looks like we are simultaneously posting.
One of the items mentioned was a turntable. ..., it really seems there is only one option for an area big enough for a roundhouse. ... could also have it come in from the right side, but at the moment I have that shown as a bridge, which means it's not a good place for a turnout.
Speaking of bridges. Is there any reason the big bridge and river could not be switched with the round house? Put the round house just off the yard, and move the river to the other island?
 

gjohnston

Slow Learner
OK, so after spending some serious time with 3rdPlanit and getting some one on one coaching (Those curved section of benchwork were a bit of a challenge to lay out) I've come up with a very rough interpretation of what I think you've drawn.

View attachment 56370View attachment 56371View attachment 56372

A few comments...

1) That lower right corner gets gnarly when you try and keep your 30" radius curve. I did it but it was tricky.
2) As it stands, this would be a very photogenic, and extremely boring layout. Run trains in circles and switch the yard. That's it.
3) That yard takes up a LOT of space. The left side is #6 turnouts, the right side is #4. I also managed to fit in a small engine/caboose area. You could even fit a small yard office between the tracks in the opening.
4) That long sweeping curve is both gorgeous and problematic. That double track on such a wide radius will look wonderful. Again, great for model photos. But it's an awful lot of space with absolutely nothing in it. What did you have in mind for there? When drawn to scale, it gets pretty long and narrow...

I really haven't drawn any of this. I came up with a few basic concepts and members here took the ball and ran with it, tootnkumin drew the sketch you are working from now, Iron Horseman drew up a number of sketches, with different options. And other members have added their thoughts. I must say you are all way ahead of me.

I appreciate your time and effort. The result is so much more than I could have done on my own, and it isn't even built yet!!!!

What would you do to make the layout less boring? I do like the long wide curves, I want to get some big steam locos they will look great on this layout.

The yard does take up a lot of space, but I like it.

I could dress up the long curve with some trestles, they would be fun to build.

Again you guys are way ahead of me, you are doing such a fine job, I am happy to have you get creative and add the features that will work and that you think would make the layout enjoyable to run trains on.
 
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bob

Administrator
Staff member
Roundhouse version 2.0

The more I looked at the first version, the less I like it. If you're going to use that much of the layout for a roundhouse scene, the roundhouse should be front and center, with the classic view looking into the building easily accessible, not hidden in a corner. So I've rotated the turntable (which is scaled to the Walthers 130' table) and roundhouse tracks. I've also added a couple of tracks in front, for service and ready tracks, these would have coal and water towers etc, and be used for quick service stops. The two tracks in the back are intended as either a back shop for heavy repairs or a car shop, your choice, or any industry for that matter, but I was going for the railroad terminal look. (Ignore the funky scenery in the back, I haven't figured out how to blend the two meshes yet, so I didn't adjust. If you go with the roundhouse, you're probably going to have cut there and a short tunnel rather than a big mountain.)


0319-3.jpg0319-4.jpg
 
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bob

Administrator
Staff member
Looks like we are simultaneously posting.
Speaking of bridges. Is there any reason the big bridge and river could not be switched with the round house? Put the round house just off the yard, and move the river to the other island?

That's an option. You'll still need some kind of bridge, as the track has to cross over. But it could be a trestle for the most part.

The only thing I don't like is that if I move the river to the lower right corner, then I have two bridges criss-crossing as they go over the river. That's not as realistic looking. Yes, it happens, especially in places like cities, but it's not as "natural" looking. The river also gave the yard a reason to curve, following the river and the hillside.

0319-5.jpg
 

bob

Administrator
Staff member
Hehehe, you will have to give me some pointers. I've had 3DPlanit for a very long time and not been able to get anything but the simple oval from the tutorial to work, let alone a turnout.....

I used it before a long time ago. I still was very frustrated with it for a while, pestered the heck out of the designer Randy and eventually signed up for some live instruction from him to figure out why it wasn't doing what I wanted to do.


Another issue is that everything is very parallel: the front of the bench work, the wall, the rear track. Very unnatural.

That's because it's early. I'm still roughing things in. The yard would stay as it is, but maybe not the other stuff. Then again, I kind of like the idea of making the benchwork on the right look like a river bank and having that broad sweeping curve.

Have the "high line" cross over it as it comes out toward the edge.


You're going to find it is tricky to do and maintain that 30" radius. Also the design you show needs two bridges. What's the justification for that? A designer wouldn't do that unless he had to, say for a vertical cliff or something.

I was actually thinking of hiding the upper track inside the scenery at that point. Make it a steep bluff, and just have the double track. (And move it back from the edge a ways too, again this is version 0.1)

And yes, you're right, it needs industries. Right now, were just fine tuning the main. As you suggest, we end up with two blobs due to the 30" radius. It's basically a twisted dogbone.
 

bob

Administrator
Staff member
So this is a great example of why 3rdPlanit is useful and why it's worth the effort to draw up a plan that way.

As I mentioned, I was thinking maybe it would be good to hide the "high line" inside the mountains along the curving section. I agree, it doesn't look good to have two tracks being parallel on a big sweeping curve like that, especially with 4 inches of vertical separation.

So, I did two things. I move the track away from the edge of the benchwork a bit, to allow for a more natural edge. I also hid the upper track in he mounts.

The problem? It's only 2 feet wide. Add in a couple inches from the edge, 6 inches for the double track, a couple inches for the upper track, and you have a nearly vertical cliff trying to create enough cover to hide the upper track.

I see two options here.
1) Do a quick mockup and see how bad it actually looks. Just a short section, scrap wood or cardboard, to see if it would work.
2) Hide the upper track behind a backdrop. For example, an outline of distant mountains that you put behind the trees on your now less steep hillside. Personally, I think that may be the best option.

0319-6.jpg
 

gjohnston

Slow Learner
So this is a great example of why 3rdPlanit is useful and why it's worth the effort to draw up a plan that way.

As I mentioned, I was thinking maybe it would be good to hide the "high line" inside the mountains along the curving section. I agree, it doesn't look good to have two tracks being parallel on a big sweeping curve like that, especially with 4 inches of vertical separation.

So, I did two things. I move the track away from the edge of the benchwork a bit, to allow for a more natural edge. I also hid the upper track in he mounts.

The problem? It's only 2 feet wide. Add in a couple inches from the edge, 6 inches for the double track, a couple inches for the upper track, and you have a nearly vertical cliff trying to create enough cover to hide the upper track.

I see two options here.
1) Do a quick mockup and see how bad it actually looks. Just a short section, scrap wood or cardboard, to see if it would work.
2) Hide the upper track behind a backdrop. For example, an outline of distant mountains that you put behind the trees on your now less steep hillside. Personally, I think that may be the best option.

View attachment 56383

I don't think the steep mountain side is bad at all. It is like the going to the sun road in Glacier N.P. I'm sure there are trains that disappear into mountains with steep sides. It would be cool to have a spot on that hidden track where the train emerges from the mountain and goes over a trestle.
 

bob

Administrator
Staff member
I don't think the steep mountain side is bad at all. It is like the going to the sun road in Glacier N.P. I'm sure there are trains that disappear into mountains with steep sides. It would be cool to have a spot on that hidden track where the train emerges from the mountain and goes over a trestle.


I still like the idea of a steep mountain, I just don't think it should be too steep.

As for emerging from the mountain and crossing a trestle, that's exactly what I was thinking for the highline track, as you can see in the foreground.

Bob
 

bob

Administrator
Staff member
Let's go crazy - Level 1

OK, we seem to have a lot of goals and ideas, not all of which are compatible with one another. It's not possible to yards and roundhouse and industries and towns while also doing wide sweeping curves, mountains and big vistas. Well, at least not on a layout this size and on one level. So.... I decided to pretty much start over, and go with a two level plan.

Now, before you think I'm totally nuts, consider this. The bottom level, while large, is actually quite simple. It's just a big folded dogbone. When completed, the tracks would connect to the upper levels, but for the first phase, you could temporarily connect the two highlines and have a layout that you could run trains on. Not a very interesting one from an operational point of view, but a great place to learn the basics as well as a place for some amazing scenery.
0319-10.jpg
Overview, lots of scenery and big curves.

0319-7.jpg
Left side of the layout. Kept the river and bridge, got rid of the yard. The two tracks in the center would be a coal mine. The short stub would be a team track and the wireframe is a station. With a section of double track, you could have meets and also allow freights to pass while a passenger train was stopped in the station.


0319-8.jpg0319-9.jpg

Right side. Huge mountain scenes and big trestles, inspired by the likes of John Allen. A large trestle right behind the engine, and then a second large bridge over the valley to the left. If desired, that could be a canyon as well, and the lower track would also have a bridge.

This level would be for running trains and photography. Maybe timetable operations with a passenger and freight, but to be realistic, there's not a whole lot of operational challenge here.
 
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gjohnston

Slow Learner
Let's go crazy. I'm all in. So when you say level 1 is this the top level or the bottom? I'm thinking the top, but not sure.
 

Iron Horseman

Well-Known Member
What's the justification for that? A designer wouldn't do that unless he had to, say for a vertical cliff or something.
Or two railroads sharing river banks.. Like the CMStP&P and the NP did in the Cascades in a couple of places.

I was actually thinking of hiding the upper track inside the scenery at that point.
A way long time ago (one of my first thoughts), was to put the rear track as the lower track. That way it could be hidden with a simple back drop. But now that would mess up the yard lead bridge crossing on the left side.

Greg, we are having fun with this, and just tossing around ideas. Don't think we are pressuring you to do anything specific and definitely not sooner than you want.
 

bob

Administrator
Staff member
Let's go crazy - Level 2

Here's the second level. At the moment I'm re-thinking which level is on top. I suspect it would be this one, but that could change.

This is done quickly, but it gives you some idea.

0319-11.jpg

There is one potential issue. The big S curve on the left is the track coming up from the bottom level. Where it crosses under the roundhouse lead you need vertical clearance. Then it has to climb up to reach the yard. Yard should be level, or even bowl shaped, but it's really not good to have the ends drop, especially on model railroads where you can't set the brakes on the cars. So that point need to be level. It's going to take some creativity in that area.
 




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