Layout Design Project - Garage Layout Stage 1

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modelbob

Administrator
This is the `first attempt at a forum layout design project. The rules are simple. A modeler provides a diagram of the available space, and some design parameters.

Folks participating can use whatever design program they prefer, anything from AutoCAD to a #2 pencil. Use something you enjoy working with.

This is not a contest, just a fun experiment. There won't be a winner, or any prizes.
 

modelbob

Administrator
OK, here's the first stage. I'll describe the space and some "givens and druthers". I'd like to start with some basic design suggestions.

The space currently has an "around the walls" design, with track on the perimeter of the available space. However, I realized it doesn't have to be that way, and that may not be the best use of the available space. I have to admit I may be reluctant to do anything too drastic, but I'd like to at least take a look at options.

The space is basically 10 x 17. At the top of the space you'll see a brown strip. That area is a 2 foot wide shelf. It was designed with the layout in mind, and I intend to have track there. It can be staging, through tracks or a combination of both.

I have a small extension in the lower right corner, available for whatever use you see fit. It could be as wide as 3 feet or so, if needed.

There's a light yellow area that I may use as part of the layout. If I do, I'd like to place my passenger station there. It's a logical place for it, a long narrow space, and close the front of the layout for easy viewing.

Here's a sketch of the available space:
 

modelbob

Administrator
OK, givens and druthers...

The layout area is as shown above. The layout will probably run around the permiter of the available space, to make the best use of the area and also allow acces. A peninsula or similiar feature is also a possibility though.

Duck-unders are not an issue, and in fact I fully expect one.

Layout will most likely be single level due to storage areas under the layout. The track is already 54" high, adding lower level staging, which would still have to be at 54", will make the main layout too high above the floor.

I may consider building an upper level on a portion of the layout for a mine or other scene. I don't have the time to build a complex mushroom style multi level layout though.

Givens:

HO scale
Steam/Diesel transition area
PRR theme
rolling hills/eastern mountains
passenger station
turntable and roundhouse, with 120' turntable. (already on hand, must be incorporated somewhere...)
primarily designed for continous run, preferably with at least some alternate routes.
double track for at least a portion of the run, both to allow simple multi train operation and to give a PRR style feel.

The track on the brown area is limited to the corridor shown (Shelf supports obstruct the white areas) It is permissible to have restricted access to that track, it can be blocked by benchwork in front of it for example.

Good access to all areas is nice, but not required. For example some of the corner areas may be hard to get to, that's OK.

Druthers:

#6 turnouts main tracks, #8 in crossovers and wherever possible. #4 in yards are OK.
2 percent grades preferable, 3 percent max if possible.
20 inch min radius on main tracks, 18 inch yards, sidings, curves.
Easements where possible

Bridges and tunnels if possible.

City scenery in station area, but only enough to suggest large town.
Wooded hillside in at least one location
small town/mill town feel, possibly blending to station city.

I'd like a small switching yard (3 to 5 tracks or so)
At least a few industries would be nice, in keeping with the PRR theme coal mines are a likely choice.
A mill scene would be great but space may preclude it.
 
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modelbob

Administrator
Oh. Well, I guess we'll go with yours! :)
If this works, I'll be happy to let everyone submit their own area and see what folks come up with.

Edit - When I checked my e-mail and found your reply, I see you'd already worked out a pretty good descripition of the space, which is actually pretty similiar to mine (but you got 6 feet more length, you lucky dog :)...)

I'd suggest drawing it up, even if just a pencil sketch, to make it easier to visualize. Once you've done that, let's start a new topic for your layout too. Since they're pretty close, I think we can run both at once.
 
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modelbob

Administrator
Is continuous running a druther?
No, that's under "givens"... The layout must have continous running.

Switching and operation isn't a big priority for me. If I want to do some "realistic" operations, I'll mark up at the local shortline.

I'd like a small yard to do some car sorting, and maybe a couple industries. If I put in the large passenger station I may also do some switching there, adding and removing head end mail and express cars etc. I'd like to create a coach yard to make up passenger trains from, but I doubt I've got room for both a big station and a coach yard, at least not while leaving room for much of anything else.

But mainly I'd like a lot of staging and the ability to run various trains in a continous loop. If it has the option of more than one route, and/or a reverse loop, that's even better. My current plan is basically a giant oval.
 
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jbaakko

Diesel Detail Freak
Double deck is ok for you Bob? If so I bet you can drop a 20" helix right in the middle of the room, in the end of an island ;) . I'll see what I can come up with, but I'll do that tomorrow, I'm getting tired, all the work on my trains wore me out.
 

SpaceMouse

Fun Lover
Two questions.

Where is the door and which way does it open?

What is in the white space in front of the brown space. Is is solid shelf or is it open to access from underneath--like the hand of god coming up through there?
 

modelbob

Administrator
Double deck is ok for you Bob? If so I bet you can drop a 20" helix right in the middle of the room, in the end of an island ;) . I'll see what I can come up with, but I'll do that tomorrow, I'm getting tired, all the work on my trains wore me out.
To be honest, while I'd at least consider a double deck layout, I really doubt I'd actually build it, for a couple reasons.

1) The layout is already 54" high above the floor. This height is fixed, based on storage under the layout for things like camping gear. I use those big plastic tote bins for a lot of the stuff, and two of them, plus shelving, results in the 54" dimension.

2) I don't have time for a complex layout. This place is a real "time sink". In the summer I spend much of my time at the railroad, and often work 7 days a week. In the winter, it's often too chilly to really be inspired to spend time out there.

So, a single level layout is probably the best approach. But I'm open to any and all designs.
 
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modelbob

Administrator
> Where is the door and which way does it open?

Access to the layout area is from the white space at the bottom of the drawing. That's the other half of the two car garage. It's not available for expansion, except for the yellow area shown, but it provides good access.

All of the green area is available, the garage door on the left is blocked, and may be replaced by a wall some day, but in any case ignore it.

> What is in the white space in front of the brown space.
> Is it solid shelf or is it open to access from underneath

Solid shelf, but I may be able to modify it to allow some access, say in turnout areas. It is conceivable to get enough space to at least re-rail a derailed car etc. Even so, access would be difficult at best. On the other hand, I realize some areas, such as that one, will probably be further away from the edge of the benchwork than they should. I'm OK with that.
 
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modelbob

Administrator
So basically you come through the 3' wide green area at the bottom right?
No, the door is actually below the green area, not shown on the drawing. You essentially walk around the 3 foot square, and into the white open area. The entire garage is about 20 feet wide. Access is from the 10 foot wide portion I'm not using for the layout. The open space at the bottom is a lot larger than what's shown.

The dark black lines on 3 sides of the layout are walls. The "bottom" (south side of the room) is bordered by open space, but I can't make use of it unless I find someplace else to put the stuff that's there now, and that's not possible without building a seperate garage. Of course if I did that, I could make it two stories and use the whole top floor for model railroad. The only downside is once I build the garage (at ~$50K) I'd be so broke I couldn't buy a piece of snaptrack.
 
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modelbob

Administrator
30 mins of work, before I go to work. I'll play with it more when I come home.
Not bad... Oddly, it looks a lot like what I have, but the big curve in the center is a nice touch, and I like it.

It's amazing what starting from a "clean slate" will do, I didn't realize I'd have enough room to put a big swooping curve in like that, probably due to the way my "around the walls" benchwork is laid out, which kind of discourages you from considering the middle of the space.

I realized I was getting stuck by not considering what I could do instead of what's there now, so this is exactly the kind of thing I was hoping to see.
 

SpaceMouse

Fun Lover
Not bad... Oddly, it looks a lot like what I have, but the big curve in the center is a nice touch, and I like it.

It's amazing what starting from a "clean slate" will do, I didn't realize I'd have enough room to put a big swooping curve in like that, probably due to the way my "around the walls" benchwork is laid out, which kind of discourages you from considering the middle of the space.

I realized I was getting stuck by not considering what I could do instead of what's there now, so this is exactly the kind of thing I was hoping to see.
What I have in mind looks nothing like that. Just doing it will be the problem.
 

modelbob

Administrator
Swooping curve = Horseshoe Curve????:confused: :D
You know, that's actually the first thing I thought of when I saw the swoop. :)

However, there are a couple of problems.

1) Most of the scenery on Horseshoe Curve is on the outside of the curve. Modeling it would be difficult.

2) Even more importantly, I've been to the real thing, quite a few times. It's way too big to be represented by a 22 inch radius curve, at least in my mind. Also, to me at least, "The Curve" will always be four tracks wide, nothing less.
 

modelbob

Administrator
You want Horeshoe Curve in a 1 car garage? Here you go...

This would be a great layout, make for some really nice virtual railfanning. If I actually built it, I'd probably shrink the curve radius up just a touch and put some very gentle S curves in the approach tracks.

But either way, no matter how you do it, you'd better like watching trains go around that curve, because that's all this one trick pony has to offer!

This is a quick sketch. The 6 tracks at the top are a staging yard. I didn't bother putting the ladder tracks in, you get the idea. The track is highest at that point. As you leave the staging, you're on a descending grade all the way around the curve and the reverse loop is under the staging tracks. Coming back around the curve, you're now going uphill, and the staging tracks continue up while the turnaround loop drops down a steep grade to duck under the staging track lead, or you could do it the opposite way if you prefer. I'd add some more crossovers etc too, for more flexibility.
 
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JeffShultz

Stay off the tracks!
You might make the curve some place where the PRR curved alongside a river... with the river on the outside of the curve and nice steep scenery on the inside (to hide your open access to that yard in back).
 




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