TWO Posts in ONE! Photos and Critique this Trackplan!

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mtrpls

Ignorance is Patriotic
My friend Eric (Zephyr) and I have embarked on a significant project for the model railroad club we both belong to: we are going to construct a 16'x2.5' HO module inspired by a prototype location here in Denver.

The area we are copying is a major warehouse district, what I call "Warehouse Row". For those familiar with Denver, the location is on the south side of Interstate 70 between Peoria and Havana streets. It's always good for seeing a few spotted boxcars as you drive down the highway.

Yesterday we performed a site survey and took pictures and measurements; the very same night I had a track plan drawn up, which I will submit for your comments at the end of this thread. First, the prototype pictures!

Here is a satellite image of the location. The industry lead and rail spurs are shown in red:



Now, the pictures!













































Sadly, True Value doesn't use their rail spur anymore. Notice the trailers parked on or close to the track, and the pure rust on the surface of the rail:









Think anyone uses this rail spur anymore? :D

 

mtrpls

Ignorance is Patriotic
Now the trackplan for our module. First, let's recall the prototype:



Without further ado, here is what I came up with:



The two mainline tracks are at the bottom, with the industry lead having two connections to the mainline. Following the late John Armstrong's advice, all of my spurs face in the same direction save for one industry, the lumber yard. The warehouses' car capacity is contained in the parentheses.

My biggest concern is that local trains will be too long as they occupy the industry lead, and they will inevitably block the mainline as they pick up or set out freight cars on the spurs. Is this an acceptable practice on most model railroads? What about in the real world?

Additionally, the sharp "S" curve to the left of the image is consisted of: 22" radius curve, 9" straight, 22" radius curve. Will this be too tight for our trains, considering they will likely be no longer than 5 or 6 cars as they work the industries? All turnouts in the plan are #6, so we can at least achieve the smooth appearance of the prototype.

Anyone have any comments or advice? I used Atlas' rather crude trackplanning software, so I have this file saved and can make any modifcations you may suggest.
 
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HaggisKennedy

Coal Shoveler
My initial thought is that in the real world, they try not to block the main if at all possible. But, sometimes you can't avoid it, so they have to make do.

It's also based on how busy the main line is; if it's busy, they'll frown on it even more. But, since you have a double main there, the dispatcher could route the through trains around the local using the other track, and take care of the problem that way.

Still, you could have a maximum of 28 cars to juggle (if you total up all the cars that fit in the industries and figure a one-to-one replacement on a job). That's a lot of cars in what appears to be in a 12-13" space.

Kennedy
 

jbaakko

Diesel Detail Freak
Well, being a club layout it would see like it'd be a huge issue blocking the main at anytime.
 

dgwinup

Member
If I understand correctly, since there is no way to bring a train onto this plan, it must be a switching area of a larger layout area. It will make for some interesting switching.

My comment: without being able to 'see' the rest of the layout to either end, I can't tell if the two mainlines have any crossovers close by. If not, I would consider a double crossover in the middle of the layout area shown.

What locos would be used to switch the industries? An SD-sized road engine might have trouble negotiating the "S" curve coming off the upper mainline. Any GP-sized diesel would be a good choice for switch moves.

I might consider re-arranging the track to eliminate the 's' curve, perhaps by extending the spur parallel to the mainlines, crossing over the highway and entering the siding where the track curves just below Aspen Dist. That would also remove one of the turnouts on the highway bridge track leading to the lumber yard. Unfortunately, the effective makes most of the turnouts on the sidings facing-point turnouts instead of trailing-point turnouts. That would justify having the double crossover between the mainlines to be used as a run-around. Yes, you would be fouling BOTH mains, but only long enough to run around the inbound cars.

Gee, I guess I had more than one comment! Hope they were helpful.

Darrell, quiet...for now
 
mtrpls said:
The area we are copying is a major warehouse district, what I call "Warehouse Row". For those familiar with Denver, the location is on the south side of Interstate 70 between Peoria and Havana streets. It's always good for seeing a few spotted boxcars as you drive down the highway.
Yes, and a few years back it is where they were building the Marlborough Country Train (as in cigarette advertising) there were some really cool passenger cars hanging around there at that time. "Train Master" hobbies used to be right there to the south off Havana street too.
 
mtrpls said:
My biggest concern is that local trains will be too long as they occupy the industry lead, and they will inevitably block the mainline as they pick up or set out freight cars on the spurs.
Well, for starters couldn't you just make the local trains shorter and run two of them?
Is this an acceptable practice on most model railroads?
That depends. This looks like a normal modular that clubs set up at train shows. Usually these clubs run such one person get the inside or outside loop for their train for a certain time period. So if the local had that "loop" it wouldn't matter. I actually have this situation on a modular unit that I have. I made conversion modules for either end such that a train running on the same "loop" as the local can cross over to the other track, by pass the local which is blocking the main, and then cross back over after it gets past.

What about in the real world?
Depending on the time period and traffic patterns this could be very common or rare. The IC had a branch line beside the mains in some places just to keep the locals out of the way. In another place I know of in Kansas they park the local train on the main not only for switching but for the night.

the sharp "S" curve to the left of the image is consisted of: 22" radius curve, 9" straight, 22" radius curve. Will this be too tight for our trains,
No, with the 9" straight it almost isn't an "S" anymore.

Anyone have any comments or advice?
1. I thought the most intersting part of the prototype was the two curved tracks at the end of the set. In the model it seems this element was sold short in favor of the ladder looking straight tracks. I realize the extreme limitations of dealing with narrow modular units though.
2. If a train can go around a 22" curve, it can do an Atlas #4 turnout no problem (they are actually closer to #5s). I wouldn't hessitate to use an Atlas #4 if it would help everything fit better.
3. If you make the two main lines 5" and 7" from the front of the board you can hook this onto my modular layout :) Actually, this is a reall comment. I presume this is drawn to some club standard. Is there any way you could make the modular deeper (like 36") to give a bit more depth. That would give some room for all those truck trailers to sit around in....
 
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Brakie

Member
Guys,Speaking as a former brakeman and not a modeler allow me to tell you how this area would be switch.First
Myth-they try not to block the main if at all possible.That's pure MR layout planing hoopla.
Real.
Heres what would happen.The DS would use the first(bottom) main as a passing track..Its as simple as that.However there would be "short "runaround" crossovers that would allow the crew to run around cars for the facing point switches.
Guys,"S" curves are not evil if they are plan right..A short straight section will work after all this isn't a high speed main line.Also recall industrial areas *may* have locomotive restrictions such as no 6 axles units may operate on (name of the industrial park)trackage.Look again at those curves in the photos..Not exactly high speed curves are they?
All I am saying closer attention to the prototype will answer thousands of layout design questions in such areas as industrial parks and warehouse areas that will separate fact from fiction.


mtrpls,I like your design and its prototypical..I highly suggest adding the 2 crossovers for a short run around.
 

RexHea

RAIL BENDER
Gandy/Brakie: I sure am glad to see you speak-up about "S" curves. You are so correct in that not all are "EVIL". Gads, I have them all over the place, but they are not any tight curves involved. And, yes the 9" staight track negates any bad effects the S would have in his plan. (Heck, he could probably get by without even that.)
 
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MLW

Active Member
Looks great! Great layout idea:)





But I must admit I really, really, really like this picture:




:D :D :D :D
 

mtrpls

Ignorance is Patriotic
OK, above is a revised plan. As you can see, I added 2' to the module, making it 18' long in total. Some of the biggest changes from the previous version:

1. The "S" curve has been stretched, making it nice and broad.

2. The track in green has been added; this track will serve two purposes. First, it will be a storage track for when the warehouses are switched. Incoming local train will drop of inbound loaded cars at this track, then retrieve empty cars from the sidings. Empty cars will then go on the storage track, and the switcher will spot the loads at the warehouses. What's more, the orange lead track directly below Aspen Distributing and International Paper can be a continuation of this "yard" track, since only one industry - infrequently switched - is east of there.

Second, when BlueLynx lumber yard is switched, it will allow for a runaround move. (I have decided to switch BlueLynx separately with its own dedicated train. It's such a large customer, and 4 or 5 centerbeams and a boxcar is good to justify a dedicated local train.)

3. The track in orange is the industry lead. Notice as it leads to the left, there are two possible routes. The route at the top (the dead end spur) will be the preferred lead so as to avoid tying up the mainline. In rare instances where a train is too long for that lead, the orange lead that connects with the mainline can be used.

I'm thinking of adding a crossover between the two mainline tracks so that a mainline train can route around a local train in rare instances when the local is tying up the main.

OK, what do you think?
 
mtrpls said:
2. The track in green has been added; this track will serve two purposes. First, it will be a storage track for when the warehouses are switched. Incoming local train will drop of inbound loaded cars at this track, then retrieve empty cars from the sidings. Empty cars will then go on the storage track, and the switcher will spot the loads at the warehouses. What's more, the orange lead track directly below Aspen Distributing and International Paper can be a continuation of this "yard" track, since only one industry - infrequently switched - is east of there.
While this is a good reason to add the section. I liked the way it looked it better without it. It congests the scene, and distracts from what I thought was the main focus - the actual industries. It gives it a very eastern look. Of course being an NYC modeler you might want this. But it is not Coloradoish at all.
 

mtrpls

Ignorance is Patriotic
^true, true, but all the disgruntled old geezers at the club get pissed when I block the main! ;)
 

Brakie

Member
mtrpls,No railroad would use a dedicated turn for that warehouse complex..The cars would be switch by a normal local..Why? Simple..The customers would not receive the same amount of cars every day nor would every car be empty the next day..This is where modelers go astray in local operation due to three things lack of observing prototype switching operations,understanding how industries handle inbound freight and above all misinformation gleem from books,forums and magazines..
And by the way..You still need that short run around for ease of switching the industries.:D

mtrpls,I don't know what else I can say..Of course its your call but,I sure enough like your first plan better because it was prototypical and almost match your pictures..Perhaps I was mistaken when I thought that was your goal.:confused:
 

emt49

internets worst speller
I like the old track plan just add a run around switch going from the inside main to the outside alittle down the main befor the switch for the industral park on both ends. they will act as a runaround for main line trains as the local dose its work and your only slowing down the main for as long as it takes you to run around your train . now you can run real opps and have a dispatcher to get and give train orders and tell main line trains that thay will be clear for the run thrue or they will need to take the run around.
 
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mtrpls

Ignorance is Patriotic
emt49 said:
now you can run real opps and have a dispatcher to get and give train orders and tell main line trains that thay will be clear for the run thrue or they will need to take the run around.
You need to understand the guys at our club: they like to sit around and talk to each other while their train runs unattended. Introducing dispatcher control and operations where they actually have to pay attention to their train would be a nightmare and a train wreck (no pun intended).

They simply come to the club to run a mainline train around the loop a few times, with no switching or in-depth operations such as serving industries, pickup up empties, etc. Instead, they just socialize and complain about how all the younger members, such as myself, run trains that are too long and block the main when we actually do switching operations.

The mainline crossovers are a great idea; in fact, I will be adding them, but I fear they will be too complicated for the older members of our club and they will be extremely frustrated when they actually have to use them. After all, it would interupt their seamless and boring continuous run on the mainline. Most of them aren't even watching their trains anyway!
 
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Adelie

I know nothing
Geez, youse guys sound like that other board. Change it, we don't like it. Wait, why did you change it, I like the old one better! :rolleyes:

Seriously, it should be fun either way. I think I like the old one, too. It is simpler. I tend to favor cleaner designs. Brakie can correct me, but my guess is that railroads prefer simpler, too, all other things being about equal.
 

IronBeltKen

Lazy Daydreamer
I'm casting my vote in favor of the original design also.
Do the club members have to vote on a plan to approve it? Maybe just save the second one as a 'Plan B', if too many people squawk when you propose the first one...
 
Adelie said:
Geez, youse guys sound like that other board. Change it, we don't like it. Wait, why did you change it, I like the old one better!
That is a pretty silly comment. Anytime there are multiple people talking about the same thing with different ideas there are going to be 'wait a minute' and 'restarts'. Also something might sound really good in words but when it hits the draftsman's table its true colors come out.

That does bring up something I've never understood about these discusssions is when a person tries to follow everyone's advice (even when it is conflicting) instead of just considering the advice as another option.
 




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