I think I have a workable layout plan

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phatpony

Member
Please let me know what you think. The upper level is the working level, lower level is for parking main line trains.

The layout is a freelance area modeling current day Norfolk Southern. The basic idea is to have a yard to do the switching, classification, and set outs. A GP38 or GP40 head out and pickup the mornings full cars from the various industries, and place them into the yard for classification and to make up the out bound set out. Empties will then be run out as needed to whichever industry needs them. Meanwhile, there is a busy mainline. This creates traffic to lookout for while doing the days local stuff. There is also an intermodal yard. The mainline trains are staged on the lower level, and when I want traffic, one is dispatched. The through trains exit the helix and continue in a clockwise fashion around the layout. A loopback track is used to turn the through train around and send it off layout, when I'm ready to get rid of it. I also utilize a wye, thereby creating a second "diverted" mainline to bypass switching operations as necessary. I can run the through train either direction with this setup (turning around on the loopback if that's the case).

I did it like this for a couple of reasons. A) I like BIG diesels B) I like LONG trains C) I love switching. This is able to give me the flexability of running a coal drag, or auto rack, without having a destination on the layout for them. I can dispatch a through train at my whim, let it roll around the layout until I'm tired with it, then send it away. All the while, I can run switching ops, with traffic to lookout for and create solutions for.

Please look over the layout as I have planned it. I drew it on XTrkCad, and have not begun to build, so I have some flexability with changes. All opinions appreciated.

Glenn
 

phatpony

Member
Ken,

Thanks! Yep I'll be using a helix. Lower blob is the helix. The upper level will be at around 52". I plan a 12" drop to the lower level. Being as the lower level is only going to be used for staging, I should have plenty of clearance to reach in for whatever needs to be done (I hope).

I like your layout too, I have been following your progress as you post. Keep it up.

Glenn
 

Cjcrescent

Master Mechanic
Glenn;

The plan looks good. But I can see two bottlenecks. One, there is only one small siding. Two, the main runs into the yard lead. If a train is routed to go around the balloon by the yard, the lead into the yard is now clogged.

I couldn't figure out a way to get the plan as posted imported into xtrkcad, so these drawings, although crude, I hope convey what I suggest in the text on the drawing. I hope you can read it. I suggest adding two passing tracks, one on each side of the layout, and at least bringing the balloon track in just enough to allow a slightly longer lead to the yard, so you still can switch it while the train makes the longer run around the outside of the balloon.

Remember a suggestion is just that. If it fits what YOU are trying to accomplish, then it is worth considering. If it doesn't fit, throw it out.

The new track is drawn in red. I imported it as a bmp and drew changes with microsoft paint. Not very sophisticated but here I think, it worked.
 
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IronBeltKen

Lazy Daydreamer
Cjcrescent said:
Glenn;
The plan looks good. But... ...the main runs into the yard lead. If a train is routed to go around the balloon by the yard, the lead into the yard is now clogged... ...I suggest ... at least bringing the balloon track in just enough to allow a slightly longer lead to the yard, so you still can switch it while the train makes the longer run around the outside of the balloon..
CJ, I agree with your idea about a longer yard lead that is separate from the main. But your sketch makes it appear that an 'S' curve would be created - every 85-footer's arch enemy (see the first attached image). If there is any way to use a right-handed turnout instead of a left-handed, that would reduce the S-curve effect (see 2nd attachment). I used #8 turnouts anywhere auto racks or TOFC flats will be going.
 
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phatpony

Member
Wow fellas, excellent ideas.

Cjcrescent, I like the addition of the industrial siding where the helix is, but...theres always a but, it looks like it may interfere with what I was looking at, basically a mountain to enter the helix in. Not saying it can't work, but elevations may be a challenge. I do like the idea, and I'm going to kick it around and fiddle with it.

Also, I havent exactly figured out what the industries will be. The footprint of the buildings may decide alot on how the final tracks will be layed as far as sidings go.

Thanks a ton,

Glenn
 
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Cjcrescent

Master Mechanic
Glenn;
Thanks for the compliment. The nice thing about "spurs" is at the least they can be one car long and have a small loading platform next to them for loading and\or unloading anything that will go into a car. they can also as a result, be placed almost anywhere.

My thoughts are if you can add a siding of a decent length, do so. You never want to limit yourself to just one or two trains except when you're by yourself. By spiraling into the main, further down the track from the yard, you can still switch that yard while a train eases by. By adding an extra siding or two, you can have friends, family other modelers run one, or two trains on the layout while you still run the "local" switching out industries and the yard, staying out of their way or even slowing them down because of a switching messup/problem/situation.

I finally was able to get to MY computer and draw this. This is what I was basically trying to do in "Paint" in association with the jpeg you showed. This is where the new main comes into the yard lead/industrial area.

As for a mountain, that's ok. Remember you can cut into the mountain for a small coal loader/truck dump as well as a small industry. The track can also "disappear" into a cut before it goes into the helix.
 
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Cjcrescent

Master Mechanic
Glenn;
Looking good ! Take the simulator and run (Try to anyway) two trains on it. See how they work. You go this posted before I got my answer out there. Plan looks real good.
 

phatpony

Member
Carey,

I like the lead into the yard like you drew it. I will rework it again and see what happens. I actually do run the sim on XTrkCad. I'll sit here for hours running trains, making up movements and all. I run a couple of trains with 86' cars around curves to make sure I have clearance. That is really a great program, and the price is excellent. After about 4 weeks of designing, I am pretty profecient <sp> with it too.

Thanks again,

Glenn
 

Cjcrescent

Master Mechanic
I like the program very much as well. As you say the price is REAL GOOD!

At first I couldn't do anything with it, thought it was more trouble than it was worth, then, for lack of better term, I saw the light and now its so easy to use, I have stopped learning how to use 3rdplanit and Cadrail. I just use Xtrkcad.
 




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