Layout Design Help Needed

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modelbob

Administrator
I'm working on a design for an HO scale layout in my garage.

Currently it consists of an old 30" x 8' module connected with benchwork around the walls of the room. The original plan was for a traditional (read BORING) around the wall oval. With about 50 feet of mainline running it would work, but I have to wonder if there aren't better options out there.

So, before I start designing and laying permanent track, I'm interested in what the rest of you would suggest.

I've attached a image of the space available. The green sqaures are where the current benchwork is. Brown is what I had planned on making staging and storage tracks as well as a duckunder.

The crosshatched area isn't available for use, the rest of the space shown is, though I do need reasonable access to the shelving.

So... Given those guidelines, what would YOU build?
 

modelbob

Administrator
Here's another version of the space available, this one without the existing benchwork. The part shown has to stay, other than there really isn't any requirement to use what's there now...
 

grumpybob

Lake Shore Lines
Well Bob,

Since i am big into switching and back country, New England running, i probably would set up two main cities where the Large green areas are and have Yards set up for staging in each. since most of what I run is Single lines, I would establish smaller town areas throughout the layout with passing sidings for local work while a passenger or long haul freight can still run thru without too much trouble.

I believe the drop in section, would probably be a pass through for Passenger and long distance freight. Terain would be mountainous and tree lined.

But then again that is what i might do to it. :D
 

CBCNSfan

Registered Member
Staff member
Gee really have to think about this one. One thing I'm not in favour of is the caboose chase. I guess what I like is a loop to loop configureation. Have to do some doodling by the squares to see if it could fit. You wouldn't need a duckunder if thee is enough room.
Question: Is the layout modules going to be accessable from the forbidden area?
Cheers Willis
 

modelbob

Administrator
> Is the layout modules going to be accessable from the forbidden area?

Yes, that's a walkway and in fact will be the main viewing area.
 

CBCNSfan

Registered Member
Staff member
Yes, that's a walkway and in fact will be the main viewing area.
So in fact a gate or duckunder is really a must to keep viewers from the operating area.
What will be the planned minimum radius?
Cheers Willis
 

modelbob

Administrator
> So in fact a gate or duckunder is really a must
> to keep viewers from the operating area.

No, that's not a problem. This is home layout, there really won't be many "viewers" to speak of. But when somebody does visit, it's likely they'll view the layout from that area.

> What will be the planned minimum radius?

20 inches on the mainline, 18 on any branchlines I might create. The 20 inches allows for a 20 and 22 inch curve on double track and a loop will still (barely) fit in a 4 foot square.
 

CBCNSfan

Registered Member
Staff member
The 20 inches allows for a 20 and 22 inch curve on double track and a loop will still (barely) fit in a 4 foot square.
Right, but if its a return loop you need another 4 feet to close the loop, ie. 4' X 8' for one end thats a fair piece of real estate. The work bench, can that be below railroad territory? What I'm thinking of is loops to loops with spurs and lots of switching, it might be possible.
Failing that, a point to point with a connector track or tracks across the gate for circle running
Cheers Willis
 

modelbob

Administrator
> The work bench, can that be below railroad territory?

At this point in time, anything is up for discussion, including "paving over" the whole thing for use as part of the railroad. Granted, that's not likely to happen, but it's at least open for consideration.

Meanwhile, I've come up with a few ideas of my own, including one fairly radical one that may just work. :) (I'm not going to say anything yet, since I don't want to influence your design.)

As for the loop to loop design, be aware that the new showpiece of the railroad is a PRR GG1, and the bigger the curves the happier it will be... (I'm a PRR fan and this is a gift from my son, so while I'm occasionally tempted to build an On30 logging line instead, that's not going to happen...)
 

CBCNSfan

Registered Member
Staff member
Just an idea with return loops. The loops in fact are staging areas for traffic to the visable areas of the RR. Trackage across brown area is main line if you have room for a couple of tracks for set out and pick up it would be a good place to put them. from the left and right sides of the brown areas there would be tracks to the lower levels and to the towns or whateveron the upper level. The loops on the right will require a little more carefull fitting.
Don't know what you use the shelves for , but if it was me I'd do my best to make the whole thing layout territory :D
Recap three types of layouts
1 Switching 2 Point to Point 3 Loop to Loop with the above you can have all three in one layout, and with a track across the gate you can play chase the caboose :D

Cheers Willis
 
Last edited by a moderator:

modelbob

Administrator
I'll have to play around with your plan a bit more.

Meanwhile, here's what I've come up with so far...

The centerpiece of the layout is a large station, with loading tracks that are close to 8 feet long. Since an HO scale 80' passenger car is close to 1 foot long, this allows for 6 cars and a loco. That's a nice looking passenger train, much shorter and they won't look good.
 

modelbob

Administrator
So, here's my impressions so far... Willis' idea is definitely interesting. The layout would have some interesting possibilities.

Pros: The ability to have more than one level of track and a nice sweeping S curve in the upper right corner. That would look really nice.

Cons: Lots of fairly sharp curves. 22 inch radius max, while the other design allows wider radius, up to 24 or 26 even, along with easements. Scenery on this one would be a bit more difficult, as in most places you'd have four parallel tracks spaced fairly close together. (I only show one track, but it would be double track.)

I'm definitely going to give this one some more consideration...
 

CBCNSfan

Registered Member
Staff member
Hmm at the time I was thinking about something like the drwg. below (sorry I'm not much of an artist with a mouse and I butchered your nice drwg.) but now we have some other points to re consider

Point 1 "the new showpiece of the railroad is a PRR GG1,"
Point 2 " The centerpiece of the layout is a large station,"

If the GG1 was kept to the upper level, point to point and switching it might work but how would you fit the centerpiece in. The first attempt drwg. appears to be continous folded loop with max 22R curves, and you should be able to join the centerpiece to it. What I'm wondering is how the GG1 and foot long passenger cars are going to look on those curves. Not to mention the duckunders :D ( I'm 70 and got a thing about duckunders :) )
Cheers Willis
 

abcraghead

Mmmm, turbos
modelbob said:
I'll have to play around with your plan a bit more.

Meanwhile, here's what I've come up with so far...

The centerpiece of the layout is a large station, with loading tracks that are close to 8 feet long. Since an HO scale 80' passenger car is close to 1 foot long, this allows for 6 cars and a loco. That's a nice looking passenger train, much shorter and they won't look good.
Flip the station and the yard. Putting the station against the wall allows you to lengthen the tracks further.

Or, run the station peninsula diagonal more. More length, breaks monotony.

Convert the yard area into a coachyard.

Convert the switching area at the bottom into a freight terminal yard. (40' boxcars negotiate #4 ladders easily.)

Add a few bits of industrial tracks here and there where possible. Now you can just turn it on and watch the trains circulate, *or*...

You can operate it prototypically. Have big passenger trains come off the mainline, which can act as a "continuous loop staging" track for multiple passneger trains. Require them to stop and drop sleepers, pick up sleepers, await connections with other trains, and/or combined sections/split sections. Have as many changes to the train consist as possible, thus keeping the coachyard switcher quite busy. And don't forget mail trains and express cars.

You can also have transfers which appear from "staging" (just flip a switch and run them into the yard area) which have to be broken up to be delivered to industries along the terminal railroad, many of which may occupy street running. And don't forget the LCL train of boxcars which has to be made and broken up in the frieghthouse yard. All told you could easily have three or four jobs operating at once if required.
 

modelbob

Administrator
> Flip the station and the yard. Putting the station against
> the wall allows you to lengthen the tracks further.

I'll give that a try, but I will probably stay with what I have for a few reasons.
First of all, the "yard" is actually intended to be mostly staging, and will be partially hidden. The yard/staging area is also on a shelf, with limited height (8 inches or so) which would really crowd the station I'm planning to use. As far as length goes, 8 feet long should be plenty. If my passenger trains are much longer than that, it will really be a dog chasing its tail.

> Convert the yard area into a coachyard.

Yes, I'm considering that... On the other hand, I also want it for staging, so I'm not sure what I'll do.

> Convert the switching area at the bottom into a freight terminal yard.

Possible...

> a few bits of industrial tracks here and there where possible.

Yes, definitely, once I get the mainline location/design firmed up.

You can operate it prototypically. Have big passenger trains come off the mainline, which can act as a "continuous loop staging" track for multiple passneger trains. Require them to stop and drop sleepers, pick up sleepers, await connections with other trains, and/or combined sections/split sections. Have as many changes to the train consist as possible, thus keeping the coachyard switcher quite busy. And don't forget mail trains and express cars.
That's kind what I'm considering.

You can also have transfers which appear from "staging" (just flip a switch and run them into the yard area) which have to be broken up to be delivered to industries along the terminal railroad, many of which may occupy street running.
Good concept, but I'm not sure if I'll try it. I have another option when I want to do some industry switching and street running. I simply call and mark up for a run on the Ballard Terminal RR. The layout isn't DCC, all the switches are hand thrown and he doesn't have any Kadee couplers. But he does use a radio control system ("Ahead 2 cars 211"), prototypical switch lists, and the super-detailing is excellent. :)

> And don't forget the LCL train of boxcars which has to be made
> and broken up in the frieghthouse yard. All told you could easily
> have three or four jobs operating at once if required.

Or, if left as is, a local that has to serve the industries there.

Oh, and I've got one job you forgot, since you didn't know it was an option... The mine run. More on that next message.
 

modelbob

Administrator
OK, here's a few more ideas/features I've added.

The green track is the mine branch. I'm still learning 3rd Planit, so it appears it's below the main track, but that's not the case. It would start in the upper left corner, probably off the mainline just before the yard tracks.

It passes under the station building (which is above grade, similiar to this design: http://www.cmrtrain.com/station.html)

It's on a 3 percent grade the whole way. Near the station it starts on a PRR style stone wall fill, then uses a trestle as it gets taller. It crosses the mainline near the station wye, curls around and crosses again, this time on a large through truss bridge.

It then runs near the top of the ridge in the valley at the bottom of the layout (picture scenery sloping up from the mainline) and crosses the area near the duckunder on a large curving trestle. (stone or steel, probably steel).

Once it reachs the right side, it will be visually seperate from the yard due to elevation. Not sure how much heigth difference I'll have yet. If there's enough I'll do a second level. If not, then the yard may be hidden under a mountain. In either case the mine will be up at the top right corner, along with a small yard and run-around track so you can drop off cars and pick up the loads.

Another feature is visible in this picture. There is an engine house (and possible turntable, if it will fit) at the lower right. You pick up your engine there, and go to the yard to pick up your train. If it's a passenger train, then you back into the station and work there. Most freights will be run throughs (read do a few laps and then back to staging) but there will be a local to switch various industries.
 

CBCNSfan

Registered Member
Staff member
the mine will be up at the top right corner, along with a small yard and run-around track so you can drop off cars and pick up the loads.
Bob how many cars do you plan to be using at the mine? Believe me this is a very important consideration as a run around and a train load under the tipple will take up quite a bit of room. photo is a shot of the crossover and the mine not to mention the runaround that will hold 10 hoppers
There is an engine house (and possible turntable, if it will fit)
What is the longest engine you plan to turn on the turntable?
maybe you'll have better luck with the drawings than I did with mine. when it was time for track alignment, things had to be changed and some drastically :eek:
 

modelbob

Administrator
> How many cars do you plan to be using at the mine?

It will be a small one, two or three tracks, holding about 4 cars each. The one you show would fit no problem. Don't forget, while this thing looks like a 4 x 8 or 5 x 9 layout due to the circular nature of the mainline, it's actually 10 x 17.

The area I plan for the mine, above the yard, would be 8 feet long. Put in a run-around that's 4 feet long (holds 6 cars or so) and you can bring up a train, swap things around and head out. Yes you may not get around a 10 car train, that would be part of the challenge. Or maybe the branch has to be worked where you shove in, caboose first.

> What is the longest engine you plan to turn on the turntable?

I'm looking at this one http://www.walthers.com/exec/productinfo/933-2829 (and choking on the price) as being the largest one I'd use. I might even go smaller. The bridge is 20 inches, that section is 30 inches wide. It will fit, but obviously it's going to be tight. The enginehouse would be right off the end of the turntable, and as shown, it will use up all the space. I won't have room for service facilities unless I make some changes someplace. I may have to "imply" them rather than actually model them.

> maybe you'll have better luck with the drawings than I did with mine.
> when it was time for track alignment, things had to be changed and
> some drastically...

That's why I'm learning and using 3rd planit. My drawing is to scale. I tested the program by drawing what I'd already built (one track of the mainline is in place pretty much as shown). It worked perfectly, duplicating what I had found.

I also verified it by proving that a real life, full size design we had in mind wasn't possible. I took it to the project designer who looked it over and said "Sure, it will fit, no problem, should be easy. (same initial response I had had...)" I replied "Uh, I can't get it to work, you give it a try". He fired up his drafting program, some small inexpensive one called Autocad, and got the same result.

It's already had some real surprises for me. Look at the station tracks, where the switches connect to the station platform. I spent hours re-working that area. Six feet of approach tracks!?! No way... Yep, that's what it's going to take, no matter how I slice it, if I want to use decent size turnouts.

The looping turn from the station crossing the mainline? That was going to go from the station to the INSIDE of the mainline curve. 3rd Planit said "yeah, right, sure Bob. No problem, long as you don't mind a 15 inch radius curve." Since I'm planning on backing coaches around it, things had to change.

The same thing applies to the branchline. I visualized it as much more twisting, and it probably will be, but again 3rd Planit proved I couldn't do what I had initially thought I could.

So I'm having lots of design issues, only in the computer rather than on the layout.
 

abcraghead

Mmmm, turbos
I'm concerned with the branch, which is higher, being on the *inside* of the main, which means that you won't be able to see the mainline from inside as easily.

I also suggest installing a pair of scissors between the two mains. Then, instead of running two mainlines, you could run a single line twice around by setting both scissors to crossover alignment.
 




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