My trackplan- comments?


Certified CGW expert

I won't bore you with the dinensions:rolleyes:. The main is going to run onto a small section to provide continous running(not shown). Near the right is the engine service facility which will be a walthers diesel house and 2 walthers backshops. (I may end up downsizing it slightly). I know it's a bit overyarded, but I'll most likely add a car shop on the shortest yard track. A caboose track will be added (not shown).

So, whaddya think?:) I wish I could include staging, but for now, I'm lucky I can even affoard this. Maybe someday I can add a staging yard but this will do for now. BTW, it's HO scale and all curves are 22". Turnouts are Atlas snap-switches (remember, I'm on a budget).
I have a heard time being critical with your design because I don't believe what you have drawn will fit in the space. I very strongly suggest you utilize one fo the free software programs. XtraCAD is better, but harder to learn, but Atlas is better thatn a pencil with no templates. If you must draw freehand, you need to buy the HO templates.
Try using a compound ladder in your yard, you'll gain more length in the shorter tracks. I agree with it maybe not fitting the space, get yourself some cardboard sheet and mock it to get a better idea.
Otherwise looks like it would keep you busy!
Trust me, it will fit. The yard ladder will be at more of an angle, tho. since I use Atlas track, sometime I'm going to download The Atlas software but my computer is such a POS...
I'll wait 'til you get the cad drawing to give suggestions on it. I can suggest that the upper platform looking area connect back to the yard at the top too, multi-access/run-around.
dingoix said:
Is my plan really that good that nobody has any more suggestions?
I thought I read somewhere that you knew it was overyarded but were trying to duplicate a real place. Without knowing the real place, it is hard to be critical in a constructive way.

But if no real place is assumed. In general.

1. What are you going to do with that big of a double ended yard? I've seen club layouts that don't have yards that big. Where are all the trains to be made up here going to go? :confused: Just go out and come right back? Looks very boring to me.

2. With All that space and all that track, it looks like at most a two train operation. :p One on the main and another switching the area serviced by the wye. I would really try hard to fit in a second passing siding somewhere (opposite the yard) so two trains could run on the main at the same time. Or better yet go up and over somehow to make enough main line to justify at least half that yard.

3. In the industrial area there is no run around other than the wye, and that has to use the main. :( This section could be much more dense and interesting. So that it could really keep a train busy for a while.

4. The yard ladder is also the lead to the locomotive facilities. :eek: So if a train is being worked from the left hand side the locomotive can't get through. It really needs a ladder bypass track. I can't imagine a real situation like this.

5. I would not not not use snap switches. They might work great now, but I guarantee that you will want to be ripping them out later and replacing them with #4s. That is more expensive in the long run. :mad: Not to mention that the geometry is different enough to make it a major project to re-work the ladder.

6. In the second smaller industrial area, I can't imagine that working without something like a 13" radius curve. :rolleyes: It would be much better to get into that area directly from the other industrial area using a crossing over the main.
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1. I still plan on removing a yard track or 2.
3. I'm going to add a leg of the wye that won't have to use the main.
5. Why is #4 so much better? I bought a #4 and other than the angle, it's the same.
#4 custom lines are smoother, less wavy then a Sanp switch. Snap switches are like, the lego switch of all switches... Not very prototypical in angle...
#4 and Snap-Switches may look like the same angle, but where my Athearn C44-9W didn't mind going through a #4, albeit slowly, it was derail-bait on a Snap-Switch.

I've got a mixture on my first section (I didn't have this good advice when I first laid out the base module of my layout) but from now on out it will be #4's and #6's.
Snap Switches

I've had trouble with snap switches in the past and use the caboose ground throw switches on my rialroad . Like the feel of throwing them by hand and they are very reliable. OLDGETTYSK.
dingoix said:
5. Why is #4 so much better? I bought a #4 and other than the angle, it's the same.
You have answered your own question "...other than the angle, it's the...". The less steep the angle the greater variaty of equipment will be able to use it without problems. Problems could be binding of long truck or wheel base locomotives, or stress on the body mounted couplers of long cars.

Another reason is looks. The snap-switch looks like it belongs on a Lionel type toy-train track. It does not have a prototypical geometry.
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The main problem with snap switches is just as GD says. Its in the angle. If you lay an 18" radius curve over the turnout, you'll find that it matches. You may not be having trouble with them now, but if you use some of the larger newer, 6 axle diesels or large steamers, you'll find the performance of the snap switches leave much to be desired.
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I ordered a copy of Track Planning for Realistic operation and I MAY be willing to COMPLETLEY scrap my plans (and not model a real location) and start over.
also- remember- I model 1968. Steam is out of the question (ok.. I do run a 2-6-0 and 4-6-2) so is large diesel. The biggest engine would be a SD40.
I've decided to use some #4s and #6s. The only place that has to use snap-switches is the yard ladders.
dingoix said:
The only place that has to use snap-switches is the yard ladders.

IMHO, that's one of the worst places to use them (straight crossovers between parallel tracks being the very, very worst). You'd be far better off (again, just my opinion) to accept fewer yard tracks and use at least #4s in the ladder.

Good luck.
dingoix said:
That aint happenin, so lets hear what you got.

At least maybe get some HO templates. I know you guaranteeded it, but I still have trouble believing that what you have drawn fits.
I have to agree with Chip.

If you're not gonna use a CAD program to draw with, at least get a ruler, sharp pencil, compass, and a good protractor. Go to, and go to the trackwork standards under recommended practices and standards, and write down the frog angles and total turnout length for #4, #6, #7 switches. Use the protractor and ruler to draw the turnouts. I started drawing layouts many years ago and these items helped show that most of the turnouts drawn at that time wouldn't fit as drawn. Start with a 1/2" -1' scale, and you'll find it very easy to work with.
Drawing a layout freehand and expecting it to fit as drawn, won't happen. Most folks when drawing freehand makes the angles the turnouts are drawn at, much too sharp and the radii of the curves too sharp.