Starting over before I really started...

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Dougget

Member
Okay, 5x8 bench work done, 2" foam glued down, track plan designed and redesigned many times, track mocked up and t-pined down. Then... due to feedback from this forum and my own personal experience I realized that the 30" reach to the center of the layout was going to be a challenge. It's not so bad when there is nothing on the table, but as soon as there are buildings, trees, a mountain, etc reaching the center is still possible, but reaching with both hands to focus on detailing is next to impossible.

Some of the key feedback that influenced my decision was that fact that an "island" layout (4x8, 5x8, 4x10 whatever) really requires 2 feet of wall clearance. In my case, my 5x8 layout needed a 7x10 area. So how could I use 70 square feet... A "donut" layout! With plans to operate from the donut hole :)

Here is Doug's Layout v2.0. Let me know what you think.
Doug

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Beachbum

Member
What are you trying to accomplish with this plan? Running trains, realistic operations, switching industries, all of that, none of that?

You could potentially model two railroads here - one on the inner loop, one on the outer loop with an interchange.

Are the two loops at the same elevation?

Why is the spur on the left side so long? Are you going to hide it behind a backdrop for an interchange track?

The double x-over at the yard might not be the best way to go, not sure.

There's a 3-ft reach at the bottom from the pit. Is the bottom accessible from the outside? There are even longer reaches to the lower left and right corners.

There's a crossing at the top. And that's ok, but what is its purpose?

There are no escape tracks or runarounds in the yard.

I like donutrs and there's a lot of potential with this plan but not knowing your "givens and druthers" it's hard to make more than general comments.
 
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Dougget

Member
Great questions...

What are you trying to accomplish with this plan? Running trains, realistic operations, switching industries, all of that, none of that?
Running trains and basic switching.

You could potentially model two railroads here - one on the inner loop, one on the outer loop with an interchange.
Yes, two main loops with a double x-over to create a long main line for some low effort train watching.

Are the two loops at the same elevation?
Yes, same elevation.

Why is the spur on the left side so long? Are you going to hide it behind a backdrop for an interchange track?
Don't know. I do have an abandoned factory that might go in the lower left corner. In that case, I would shorten the spur and model an abandoned spur to the factory. I do like the idea of having a section of abandoned track on my layout.

The double x-over at the yard might not be the best way to go, not sure.
I rode on the Washington DC metro and saw a double crossover in person. It looked really cool and I want one on my layout. One goal is to be able to run the inside and outside loops independently AND be able to engage the double crossover for an extra long main run.

There's a 3-ft reach at the bottom from the pit. Is the bottom accessible from the outside? There are even longer reaches to the lower left and right corners.
The walls of the room are on the top and left sides of my diagram. So the longest reach would be in the upper left corner. Every thing else is 18" or less.

There's a crossing at the top. And that's ok, but what is its purpose?
Neat element and an additional spur for a small chemical plant.

There are no escape tracks or runarounds in the yard.
I realized that after I drew it. That will probably change.

Thanks for the questions. I hope my answers help with some additional feedback. I'm really excited about the new plan.
Doug
 

Beachbum

Member
There's a crossing at the top. And that's ok, but what is its purpose?
Neat element and an additional spur for a small chemical plant.

Okey dokey. Let me play Mr Hard Guy here for a moment. Real railroads do not go for pretty things. They go for efficient, cheap things (or the least expensive thing possible).

If both loops are one railroad and tracks are at the same elevation, there is no reason why a RR would put that spur there that I can think of. Of course there are always oddities...

Now if you did use the two loops as two different RRs, then a spur crossing could make sense if the industry was served by the "outside" RR.

But it's YOUR layout so do whatever floats your boat...rolls your boxcar? :p
 

cajon

Active Member
Most real RRs wouldn't go to the expense & maintenance problems w/ a double Xover. You should try to plan for two single Xovers there & save yourself alot of money also!
 

Dougget

Member
Design changed up a bit and marked up with some roads, buildings, a tunnel and a couple of bridges.

Still a design in progress, but feeling much better about the donut vs the 5x8 approach.

Also... a great find at Home Depot. They have a clearance rack of miscellaneous cut 2x4, 2x6, 1x6 etc. I was able to pick up eight 2x4x4' and two 2x4x5' sticks for $5. I plan to take apart my 5x8 table and use that lumber plus the new stuff to build my new donut. I'll post a few pics as I make some progress.

Doug

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macjet

Member
You are going to spend a ton of money building that bottom yard and it will provide very little if any capability. You've got switches running to tracks that will only store two or three cars. That seems like an awful waste of money.

There is potential for a donut but to me it appears that you're just laying track for the sake of laying track. I don't see any purpose or real reason for the tracks existence.

Every railroad needs a purpose. What is this one's?

Edit:

What is the purpose of the inside loop? Is appears to run from one side of the yard into the other. I don't see any reason for that track to exist.

How are you going to escape power out of the turntable if the container track has cars spotted?
 

Selector

Well-Known Member
The inside loop has no purpose that I can see except to rob you of greater realism and operational value. If you want a double-track main, then it needs to be much closer to the outer one. But, for me, a decent layout should have some yard capacity, and a yard does need capacity...and utility. Yours has neither. The ladder tracks are much too short to store more than three or four cars. There are no runarounds or escape tracks....everything has to be shoved into those ladders. Without any staging capacity, you will soon have all of those ladders stuffed with items you don't want elsewhere, and you won't have anything but a storage yard. Yards can be for storage, but they need to be able to switch as well. If you load them up, where will you switch? If you use even one for staging, where will you switch?

Also, for visual pleasure and interest, all those tangents running along all four sides are not what is recommended by those who have built a lot of railroads and who have won awards. I would suggest placing some sweeping curves along at least the longer sides if you can manage it. Tangents running parallel to the bench's main axis in any one spot are not considered to be good looking.

The curvature on the turnout leading into the yard off the inside track is apparently very tight...is that to be a #4? I would curve much sooner, say halfway up that vertical on the right hand side and begin your yard as soon as possible for the sake of length. If you were to eliminate that inside circle of track, as some of us hope you will, you can even come directly off the right hand side main and get even more yard trackage, albeit with maybe a 26" curve along one part of it...no biggie.

Sorry if this seems so draconian at this point, but while we have your interest, we might as well get our hands dirty and deal with real problems. You want this to be something of an achievement, an opportunity to learn, and a source of great satisfaction and fun when you finally throw the switch to power up your first train on the tracks. You want it to be right!

-Crandell
 

Western Star

The Fastest Freighter
Here is Doug's Layout v2.0. Let me know what you think.
I think (guess) you are using Bachmann EZ-track. Am I right? The limited pieces of track greatly limit what you can do with the available space.

Even so is there a reason you are putting the short curves in-line with each turnout exit instead of just putting the turnouts back to back? That actually increases the issues related to s-curves and takes more space both width and length than needed. Once again sucking up valuable layout space for no benefit I can imagine.

The container yard is not very useful as that piece of track must be kept clear to get locomotives in and out of their servicing facility.
 
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Rico

BN Modeller
You might want to look at a curved yard to extend the capacity, seems you have the room for it..
 

Dougget

Member
Sorry if this seems so draconian at this point, but while we have your interest, we might as well get our hands dirty and deal with real problems. You want this to be something of an achievement, an opportunity to learn, and a source of great satisfaction and fun when you finally throw the switch to power up your first train on the tracks. You want it to be right!

-Crandell

I do want it to be right. And I am grateful for the feedback and advice. I did take a huge leap away from my original plan to something that will be a better long term experience (island to donut). Now I need to figure out the best donut layout for me :)

While I do want some functional switching operations, I also want a double loop using the double x-over. I know the double x-over is not necessary and probably avoided in many real life cases, but I consider this a "must have". The rest is up in the air at this point. Someone said it looked like I was laying track for the sake of laying track. They are right. I fired up Xtrakcad and started clicking out a layout. If anything, at least it's a starting point for this conversation.

So, here is my 'must have' starting point. I did make the pit smaller by adding a foot to the right side, that may help support a curved yard. Also, I'm fine with a double main line that runs closer together, and the double x-over should fit on any of the four sides.

I'm ready to see your wisdom in my space. Please mark this up and help me build a solid plan.

Thanks,
Doug

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Dougget

Member
Benchwork

To be honest, the trackplan is still up in the air. I know the track plan is supposed to come first, then you build the benchwork to support it, but in my case (probably in many cases) I wanted to maximize the square footage available, so the bench work came first. I'm still stuck on the double loop with the double crossover, so I started building some mountains with that in mind :)

I'm sure it's not the way some would approach this project, but it's working for me.

Here are a couple of pics. Had to clear the foam prairie so lots of buildings are piled up on my staging areas and work bench for now.

IMG_2119.JPG IMG_2121.JPG IMG_2146.JPG
 

logandsawman

Well-Known Member
Looks to me you have a nice sized space and a car load of advice allready. If you are going to have a yard put that in, otherwise some industry spurs.

I notice you have some buildings so figure how you are going to use them and where the roads are going and try fitting the railroad into that as far as any additional track goes.

Hope this helps!!! lasm
 

Iron Horseman

Well-Known Member
I'm ready to see your wisdom in my space. Please mark this up and help me build a solid plan.
Designing by committee can be a dangerous thing as everyone wishes to pull the design in one way or another that they think is best. But I will still offer a first suggestion. Make the inside main loop larger by making it more parallel down by the double crossover and vary it from being just parallel toward the rear. Real railroads often had double track mainlines that were not strictly parallel tracks. Some places the lines could even be miles apart.

I might also suggest tilting the whole thing 5 degrees or so. Straight tracks along a straight edges of a layout is boring and toy like looking. I say "first" suggestion because in the photos I think I see two spaces adjacent to the layout area. Of which I think one would be a perfect place to put the intermodal (container) yard that was mentioned in a prior post. Is this true? Are there two areas where I've boxed in red?
DougsMainline2.jpgDougsWings.jpg
 
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Dougget

Member
Iron Horseman,
Yes I added those tails (your red rectangles). The early drawings show a dense but short yard on the biggest part of the table. Feedback made sense and I decided to put the extra staging/yard area on and use the larger area as a town.

I like the idea of varying the inner loop like you have drawn.

Switching to me = breaking and making trains.

Thanks,
Doug
 

Iron Horseman

Well-Known Member
The early drawings show a dense but short yard on the biggest part of the table.

Switching to me = breaking and making trains.
My opinion is that there is nothing wrong with a short yard, especiall on a "short" layout, and double especially when switching is one of your desired elements of the layout. To make it the yard tracks longer simply run the tracks angled up from where they come off the main instead of wasting space bending it back to be parallel.
 

Dougget

Member
I've messed around a bit with xtrkcad and recently rediscovered SCARM. So I did a quick 3D view of my layout. Some of the mountains are already build using pink and blue foam visible in earlier posts on this thread. I added some other features as well including roads, some buildings, a water tower, and a track side signal tower. Check it out. Great little tool.
Doug
 

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