Logging Locos, Logging Track Plan, Logging Mill, Mainline Pick-up

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Well-Known Member
I like your ideas there Russ.

Most logging track, especially that track going into the forest where the trees were harvested was pretty rough. Max speed would be somewhere around 10mph, or less.
Make your run longer by running the tracks between the saw mill and the forest in tightly twisting "S" curves providing your locomotives can handle the tight curves.

I had in mind making the tracks of very small code rail, and maybe eliminating every other tie.

And tightly twisted track plan works as well. Perhaps I could run two such tracks, with centerline view block, out to the tip as though they were headed to 2 different remote locations??

I think what I would try for modeling purposes is to make log loads removable as one piece. It might be 3-5 logs stacked into a triangle and chained together. Run a piece of clear fish line from the center log on the bottom up through the load, & tie a small loop in the end. Bring you log load down to the saw mill, remove the loads with small hook on a stick, & carry them back to the end of the peninsula for loading the next train.

Perhaps I will have to experiment with 'removable log loads' ?
I just always thought they might be too difficult.


Well-Known Member
I'd still recommend having one set of loaded cars and one set of empty cars. Spot the empty cars at the mill and the loaded cars at the end of the spur, and have your logging train swap them, then move the cars back after the operating session. That way you don't have to figure out a way to load or unload the cars.

I was rethinking this situation this morning, and I tending to agree with you about not figuring a way to load and unload the tree logging cars. Perhaps just have two in-the-woods logging trains, one loaded and one empties, and have them run back and forth between the woods and the mill, regardless of their 'loaded/unloaded condition'.

No messing around with hidden tracks, unloading cars, etc.


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Mock-up Ideas

I laid down some of that brown paper I used to make some of the full-scale plans earlier. Rather then onto my carport table, I put it on the lower level deck in that area since the overall shape is somewhat similar. This 'blank piece of paper' would allow me to move things around to get some ideas of ; 1)what I might fit in there, and 2) where and what orientation the structures and track might assume?? So here are my initial ideas.

Space cleared out ready for overlapping paper

I keep the mainline(s) loop and access into the helix very much as I had originally sketched them,...and the 'alternative' curved track that would allow the trains to simply circle the room rather than enter the helix.

Peninsula tracks. This has been a challenge (and still is) to decide on. I have abandoned the idea of a turntable at the outer tip. And I have basically abandoned the idea of hidden tracks masking some of the moving of unloaded vs loaded log trains up-down the peninsula. Instead I will have 2 logging trains making the trips between the tip and base of the peninsula. One will be 'empties', and one will be loaded with logs. They will basically just go back and forth between the pond at the sawmill and the woods at the tip of the peninsula.

Since there are 2 trains, I will have 2 tracks for them to operate on, and likely those 2 tracks will be located on either side of a 'view-block' down the center such that a fair amount of woodsy scenery can be built on either side,...considering the shortness, smallness of my overall area. I would hope to have a wavy, curvy track on both sides,...

Questionable crossover? As you can see I place a double slip switch in there about half way up the peninsula. My thought was that this would allow either of the 2 trains to be able to switch sides at times. I'm imagining that this double slip switch would be camouflaged by a whole bunch of trees, or something to hide its existence?? Its basically located such that either one of the 2 logging trains pulling as many as 6 full length log cars could sit on either outer leg.

These 2 logging trains can back down to the pond unloading area (pond not shown yet, but a few logs in there) onto 2 closely spaced, parallel tracks (orientation and straightness not determined yet).

BTW the ramp that pulls the logs from the pond will be centered on that end of the Walthers sawmill rather then off to one side (will require some kit-bashing of that sawmill).

That large piece white/multi colored paper represents the sawmill footprint. You can see the log pick-up ramp coming out the center of structure there.

That little black blob exiting the covered ramp side of the sawmill is actually that little steam switcher engine that will be transporting the cut lumber over to a milling/finishing/storage-stacking area that will likely be painted as a backdrop on the rear wall (since there is no way I have room for such a structure).

The travel crane shown there in the background was just thrown in for effect. Perhaps that logging company was successful enough to need a 'modified travel crane to load the centerbeam cars lined up down that/those siding tracks in front of the milling and storage area painted on the backdrop??

WOW, I think I found a spot for my gallows turntable. This logging company has enough logging locos to justify a turntable and small repair area. This also makes it possible to change out on occasion the two logging locos working the woods.

There is a slight variation in the track access to the turntable such as to provide for a continuous route thru the turntable for full length logging trains...second photo.

The 2 tracks in the foreground that are entering that corner are the 2 mainlines coming from the container port. That one against the wall has a siding that might lead off to a gold mine or something in that corner. I have a nice tower mining structure in mind. Otherwise that mainline provides for entering the helix from either this side of the layout, or the other side . If the train enters that helix loop from this right side of the layout, then when it comes back around it can choose to go back down along the wall of the shed (back side of the stacked containers and SF station), OR it can choose to go down the track in front of the stacked containers. That mainline in front of the containers will also have a siding to hold a SF passenger train, and to provide access to the SF diesel engine maintenance building down in corner over the waterfront scene on the lower level.



Well-Known Member
I really like bridges, and I thought how appropriate it might be to have a Howe wooden truss bridge up in the logging area. And in fact I have one of those Campbell kits #305 that a gentleman must have started on and never finished. Its all stained and ready for assembly.

Here is where I thought I might place it,...over the stream that might be feeding logs to the pond from another logging section up-stream of my layout. I've temporarily placed a steel curved cord bridge in there for now.

But I ran into a problem. That section of track is a portion of my mainline track that loops thru the helix, and loops around the upper deck. As such it will be carrying double stacks, etc that are too tall for that Howe truss Bridge. So I guess I'm going to have to chose another type bridge for that scene if I decide to include it.

I am growing fond of that idea that some of the log supply would be floated down to the mill from an upstream location painted onto the backdrop.


Well-Known Member
I also removed that travel crane from the logging operation and placed it back over at the 'far end' of the container yard. As such I would consider this crane as older generation of equipment that is still being used by the container facility, but likely to be retired soon.

BTW, I have 2 of these travel cranes that need serious repair, but I believe I have all the parts. I bought them used long ago.



Well-Known Member
Foam 'Deck' Under Logging Area

Most all of the 'deck structures' of my double deck layout are made of 3/4 plywood. Considering the relatively light weight of the structures and tracks that will compose my logging area, AND the fact that this basically 2 foot wide rectangular area will be supported by 2 steel beams down either side, ...yellow outlined area
DSCF4292, foam deck area.jpg

I first considered cutting this deck piece from a 1/2 inch thick piece of plywood, then adding the various ground/track elevations by gluing on multiply pieces of foam.

A second thought occurred to me, why not make that rectangular piece of deck out of 2" thick foam, then carve out the reliefs I need for the structures and track? I had a few scrapes of 2" foam I placed up on the 2 support beams to investigate the ideas. (NOTE: remember that the track plan down below in these photos is actually the track being planned for that upper deck)


I chose 2" thick form for 2 reasons,...I believe its the minimum for a good solid base, ...and it fit pretty well under my two entry/exit track tunnels to the outdoor helix.


(disregard that long piece foam sitting 'on top' of the ¾ plywood deck in that photo, just didn't have shorter piece of foam at the time)

If I were to chose the 2” thick foam, I might have some problems here in Florida. Our big box stores don't stock this thicker variety, so I might well have to glue two pieces of 1” thick foam together. There have been a number of folks who have experienced some problems with selecting a proper glue for this joining.

Thoughts on which route to take, and if the second one, what glue to use??
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Well-Known Member
Foam Deck Under Logging Scene, Change in Plans

I spent the last few days thinking about this 'deck plan' for my logging scene. I went back and forth with the idea of constructing the deck of foam or plywood, what thicknesses of either, what strength I needed from either material if I cut a hole in it for my logging pond, etc, etc. I was having a little trouble 'visualizing' the combinations of varying elevations of the helix accessing tracks, the pond and sawmill, that steel beam across the room, the possible coal mine over the dbl crossover, etc

I finally decided to cut the 'basic deck piece' out of the 1/2” plywood sheet I already had,..and it was already primed. It had a little bit of warp-age from having set around for long periods of time before I inherited it and primed it. But that would not really present many problems as it was going to be bolted down to two long metal beams, spaced only 2 feet apart, and stretching across the room. Plus what would it matter if it did a little warping as that are of the logging scene would have some uneven terrain.

So I hand sketched out some semi-circular cut outs that would form the ends of the 2 aisles, and moved the piece out to my carport work table.

Took it back inside and put it up on those metal beams that would support it

Now I need to fill in the two rectangular pieces to either side of the 4x8 sheet. AMAZINGLY I am able to salvage those two pieces out of the semi-circular pieces I had cut out for the aisle reliefs. It couldn't have worked out better if I had carefully measured for such an outcome,...which I had not.

Now I have laid my temp paper pattern for my trackplan down onto the deck piece, and will proceed with some rough mocking up on track elevations/turnout fittings, etc.

The elevations and ground terrain will be built of foam.

The sawmill will likely be raised up some, so I may not have to 'dig a pit' (cut out some plywood) for the pond, but rather just build the logging pond on the plywood surface itself??


Well-Known Member
Per my previous posting, I have now laid my temp paper pattern for my trackplan down onto that upper deck plywood, and will proceed with some rough mocking-up of track elevations/fitting turnouts, etc.

There is a fair amount of elevated track in this area, and I am imagining that it will be riding over variable ground terrain,...NOT up on visible risers of any sort. But, for purposes of sorting out the grades, etc I am placing the track up on these cheap plastic risers for this planning exercise..

Of course I was concerned about the bridges proximity to the wall opening and its own grade, and the fitting of that spur line leading back down the left side.

I actually became quite concerned about the possible steepness of some of my incline grades when I first looked at the heights of those helix openings combined with the needs to get back down to 'ground levels' fairly quickly. After playing around with it today, I'm not so concerned now.

At first I just laid out some long alum tubes I had to see what sort of grades I was dealing with. BTW the bottoms of those square tubes represent the track levels. I then did some height measurements at the ends of those tubes, and the approx lengths of those inclines, then calculated the grades.

BTW the bottoms of those square tubes represent the track levels

My biggest grade was only 2.7%, over on the far left as it comes down the left side from that Y-turnout at the end of that bridge over the stream/pond area.

I think my saw mill and those log dumping tacks are going to have to be raised up about ¾ to 1 inch off the plywood deck. That will provide for a pond without cutting any of the plywood deck

There are no longer any holding tracks, nor finishing mill on the back wall. Rather this has been moved over to that far right corner/wall


Well-Known Member
There is a fair amount of elevated track in this logging area, and I am imagining that it will be riding over variable ground terrain,...NOT up on visible risers of any sort. But, for purposes of sorting out the grades, etc I am placing the track up on these cheap plastic risers for this planning exercise.​

So how to I build in these elevations and grades. My first thoughts were the use of Woodland Scenics foam riser sets, but I discovered some problems with that idea.

I am now thinking that the use of foamcore/foamboard roadbed spanning the short distances between risers made of foam would be my best bet. I can then obtain the 'custom grades' that my compact track plan forced upon me, and I generate the easements in grade at the two terminal ends of the grade.

I'm thinking I can just lay out the track plan onto the foamcore/cork ballast while lying on level ground, ....then come back and add the risers underneath to the heights I desire,...then eventually attach the terrain shape to the edges of the foamcore roadbed.


Well-Known Member
Bridge in Logging Area

I need to plan on providing enough space for a Central Valley Bridge to be placed into that same spot I am initially going to place that Roco Curved Cord bridge. After all it is a leg on my mainline that is crossing that logging pond, and the CV bridge is a mainline style bridge,....and I have several of these very nice kits.

In here,...


Well-Known Member
Metal Tubes for Grading Mock-ups, Measurements

Why did I use these metal tubes?

I needed something stiff to stretch between those temp risers. I had these squarish tubes on hand, regrettable not all of the same dimensions. So I figured I would just have to imagine that their bottom surfaces was the surface my track ties would be mounting to. In one case I didn't have enough of those long tubes so I had to substitute an alum level,...again just imagining its bottom surface-face as the track tie surface.

I utilized those plastic risers to adjust the grades, by sliding the risers along the tubes to get the heights I wanted at the ends on the tubes. The problem with this method is when the temp riser was NOT at the very end of the tube (almost always), then a little adjustment in one end necessitated a change in the other end,...back and forth I went adjusting then readjusting. This got quite confusing as I worked on those 2 tracks that were exiting/entering the helix on either side of the shed, then joining together via a couple of curved turnouts. I was seeking not only a common height of these 2 tracks at the joining level, but also as flat of a surface as I could get for the two turnouts acting together.

I have now gone along the lengths of these elevated tracks and at every I foot distance marked down the heights needed. Today I hope to build the pvc roadbed for these tracks, and their risers. Then set these aside until I need them at a later date.


Well-Known Member
Constructing those Elevated Tracks

I started out using those cheap plastic pier sets and long square alum tubes to try and get my various elevated tracks to the best grades possible, while intersecting with one another, and the existing helix tunnels I had already installed. It was a CHALLENGE, as each time I would adjust one end of a tube, the other end changed in height and that would mean readjusting that end, that in turn would mean readjusting the other end AGAIN. Then I was trying to bring several of them together so I have a nice smooth surface for the 'Y' turnout at that one location, and the twin double curve turnouts at the other end, and the bridge location,...and the tight left hand turnout I had planned to pick up the saw mill's cut lumber and move it over to a milling and rr car packing area,.. got confusing especially as I tried to include the heights of the cork (maybe, maybe not) as well.

I finally decided I was going to build the subroadbed and the risers all out of that expanded PVC foam board material,...the roadbed itself out of ¼'' stuff, and the risers out of ½” stuff. I was lucky enough to have a nice chop saw with a fine tooth blade, that made cutting nice square, straight edges very easy. Did the cutting on my 'outdoor work table' and that kept the numerous plastic shavings out of the layout room.

So here are some photos,..

Looking towards the other corner,..

I decided that all that fancy measuring I had been doing with the previous mock-ups was just unsustainable. I determined my exact heights of my roadbeds at their two end points and cut my 1/2” risers accordingly. Then I laid my 1/4” pvc roadbed across them, then my long square alum tube across the top of PVC roadbed. That meant when I brought the sagging PVC roadbed up to the bottom of the metal tube I had the exact height and grade of my elevated track. I just went along every 6” or so and measured the height of the riser I would need to push the roadbed up to meet the bottom of the alum tube. To fix things in place I simply put a small amount to old time plastic model glue on the upper edge of the riser and moved it into place for a firm fit. I will likely flip these 'grade structures' upside down and put some hot melt glue in the seams between the risers and the roadbed.


Well-Known Member
Modifications to Saw Mill Scene

Invariably one change leads to another. It started out at the 'Y' turnout. I had to twist it around a bit more to get a good smooth 27” radius track to feed into the helix tunnel opening. That meant the track going down the grade to the other side of the layout needed be angled back towards the rear wall a bit more,...and that meant I might have trouble fitting in the very sharp turnout I was thinking of to service the saw mill with a small switcher to move cut lumber over to the planning mill area.

Original idea,..

...and to tell the truth I was not real excited about have that small Peco 'set track' turnout along that mainline, nor making an abrupt change in height to reach down to the saw mill.
I decided to eliminate that turnout off the mainline up there, and rather have it join in with the other track I had coming into the saw mill location from a lower point,..

Here the track comes into the sawmill area on a track that splits to serve the turntable, then two other tracks. One of those will be a flat car loading track to carry cut lumber stacked up outside the saw mill over to the planing mill in the far corner. The other track will be the chip loader (white paper flat) that can handle at least 2 cars at a time.

The reason for that servicing track to be located as it is with respect to the turntable is so that a connected logging consist (loco and cars) could be pulled directly across the turntable, into, or out of the timber servicing area.

This sawmill service track will connect back into the mainline with a double curve Peco turnout, just barely visible at the bottom in this photo,..

BTW: I have become quite enamored with these Peco curved (I term them double curved) turnouts. There are 3 right in this area, and I believe I have a total of something like 8 so far.


Well-Known Member
Congested Interchange & Logging Track Plan

I've been tackling a combination problem with my track plan. It primarily involves the 'intersection' of 2 mainlines with the container yard and the logging area. Originally it was a bit simpler,... involving a crossover between the 2 mainlines at the base of a reversing loop of track that extends out into the helix. Thus a train could go either way around that loop, and when it came back to this crossover it could take either of 2 routes back thru the container area. It utilized a pair of Peco double curve turnouts.

Then I came along and added some complication,...3 more tracks connecting with the mainlines. Two of those tracks are for container cars to enter and load in the container yard, and the third (if wanted) is a parking track for a pair of Santa Fe diesels dedicated to working the container area. Then at the bottom there is the access turnout/track leading off to the left to the logging saw mill and logging turntable.

With all of this extra congestion and tight grouping of turnouts I had to depend not only in lining up the paper templates, but also on physically getting the actual turnouts out and connected them together to assure that I could make this plan a reality. I was dealing in angled tracks (non-straight) and double curves, and each little twist here was an awkward twist somewhere else. It was a puzzle. I ended up making good use of those Peco dbl-curves. I also discovered one spot that was better off with a std turnout.

Since two of the tracks running thru this congestion are 'mainlines' I wanted to keep the curved tracks as broad as possible. The use of the dbl-curve Pecos and the large radius std Pecos does that, and the connecting tracks are in the range of 26”-29” radius. The container track feeders have some 24” spots in them, but generally that is the smallest radius curve in any of this area.

There are 4 dbl-curve Pecos in this photo,....nice flowing configuration

This next photo shows some of that same 'congestion', plus 2 tracks off to the left. The one with the logging engine siting on it is a holding track for the gallows turntable.

That other track is the entrance track to the logging area. It comes off the mainline with another dbl-curve then makes a 15”r curve around to that 'Y'.

That little switcher engine...

will be servicing the chip loader, and will be picking up rough-sawn lumber and taking it on a zig-zag route over to the milling plant in that corner (flat or a photo on that wall) where it will be packaged and loaded onto mainline lumber cars ….centerbeams, thralls, etc.


Well-Known Member

One thing I see: It looks like you can replace that severe Y turnout with a normal LH turnout and not lose any function. You have the space to the right. It would look more flowing and would remove that nasty S curve you've got brewing.
I'm glad you brought this to my attention, and made me re-evaluate this track plan AGAIN. I think I have arrived at a better solution by removing that short 'Y' turnout, and replacing it with another Peco variation.

At first I thought, how about a Peco 'set-track' small turnout with curving divergent route of approx 17” radius.? But I didn't have a physical one of these on hand to play with.

What I did have at hand was a Peco 'set-track' double-curve turnout. The inside curve of this turnout is similar if not identical to that of the small set track one. I got one out and placed it into that curving track leading from the mainline to the turntable.

I chose its placement such that the outer curve of that dbl-curve would mate up with my rough-wood cut lumber loading track. I found that the section of track between the turnout and the turntable could now be an 18” radius track rather then a 15” track. The track from the mainline connection that feeds that dbl-curve still needs to be 15” r.

I think I have cut down on that 'S' curve flaw, and now it only exist on the chip loading track.

A big benefit of this new arrangement is that both the lumber loading and chip loading tracks are significantly longer.



Well-Known Member
That S curve in the spurs can't normally be eliminated. You could slid the RH turnout to the left and install a bit more straight track in between that turnout and the new curved turnout. Sections of straight track in between two opposing curves tend to eliminate S curve problems. It would shorten the spurs by that much however.
Changing from a right to a left turnout didn't work out so well, so I adopted a concept similar to your latest suggestion. I put a more gradual diverging turnout (Peco med rather than Peco small), plus a short piece of straight track.



Well-Known Member
Latest Mods

That last modification resulted in even longer lumber loading track and chip loading track. In fact the chip loading track can now easily handle 2 cars at one time, plus another flat car being exchanged in the lumber loading track.

I'm now thinking that I can trim the roof edge off of the sawmill structure (brown paper mock-up) that will allow for a longer loading platform for the forklifts to operate on loading the rough cut lumber onto flats to be delivered to the finishing mill over in the corner.

I was playing around with another of those tight double-curve Pecos I have, and I think I have identified a spot that I can use one, along with a Peco 'set track' turnout to provide a link between the two longing pond drop off tracks.



Well-Known Member
I think I am going to have to find some On30 track for the logging area,...tie spacing is much larger, and likely can be made to be a little more non-uniform. And smaller code than 100.

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