AN 1880's LAYOUT

Discussion in 'Track Planning' started by Bill Stone, Oct 15, 2002.

  1. Bill Stone

    Bill Stone Member

    I've long felt that a track plan in Kalmbach's "101 Track Plans" would just about suit my operation interests --- emphasis on a modrately large terminal in which to make up and break up trains. I can't find the book just now, and don't recall the plan number, but it was called "Frisco". The track plan below is my version of it, changed, not only to fit my space, but to add staging tracks, and to suit 1880's rolling stock --- small locos, small cars, short trains, relatively sharp curves, and #4 turnouts.
    It wound up being essentially 2 circles of track on which 2 trains could be in constant run mode, although I'll seldom if ever do that. I'll make up freight trains in the yard and run them either east- or west-bound around to the "junction" at the top, and from there onto the outer track. After a few laps around the track, if I feel like train watching, the train will be parked on the appropriate staging track --- to possibly later reappear as an inbound freight. Passenger trains will be through. That is they'll come out of staging and stop at the larger station, where they may pick up or drop off cars before proceeding back to staging. The staging will hold 3 trains in each direction, leaving the thru track open.
    Minimum radius = 22" plus transitions. Drawn for Atlas #4 (code 83) turnouts.
    The upper station represents a "junction" with the right-hand track from/to staging. The left-hand track to staging will be visually disguised as an industry lead.
    Yes there's a duckunder, but it's over 5 feet high, so isn't bad. I'll also show you the substucture of the layout, and a sectional view to explain all that.
    This layout won't be started for a while yet, but unless I get brighter ideas in the mean time, this is probably close to what I'll build. I welcome all critiques. Now's the time to hear them. Before I start.

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  2. Bill Stone

    Bill Stone Member


    Here's the "underworld". The book shelf and bench structures will be the "legs" supporting the layout. All this is necessary due to my model rail magazine collection, and also the shortsge of enough book space in other rooms of the house. No modifications will be done to the room except for boarding up the fireplace and rehanging the upper-right door to seing out. The freezer is a non-rail compromise, but there wasn't much choice.
    For those of you into CAD, I should mention that these drawings were done with VersaCAD, probably the best (except for its 3D which I never use anyway) PC-based CAD ever produced --- although they were bought up by a large company, and shut down, 10 years ago. The curves with their transitions, and the turnouts are symbols.
    I have no way to get VersaCAD drawings directly to the net, so these images were output to a pen plotter, and then scanned.

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  3. Bill Stone

    Bill Stone Member


    Hopefully this sectional view will make the "underworld" more clear. Note the decidedly low-tech way I'll be able to monitor the staging tracks. And "low tech" means, of course, that it will actually work! This, plus access, plus clearance over the work bench is why I didn't tuck the staging tracks under the main yard or scenery.

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  4. NYCentral

    NYCentral Member


    It looks like a great plan, I to have my layout at about the same elevation for the same reasons. I have a TV under one section, a computer under another, etc.. The only thing I didn't do was the raised floor, but mine is mainly an around the wall type layout where you don't have to reach far.

    Nice drawings too.
  5. Tyson Rayles

    Tyson Rayles Active Member

    Nice drawings! Since you will be running a all steam fleet of loco's I wouldn't use anything smaller than a #6 turnout myself. :)
  6. shamus

    shamus Registered Member

    Hi Bill,
    Thats some plan you have drawn out, I love the Roundhouse area and yards, lot of playtime in that plan. ;)

  7. Bill Stone

    Bill Stone Member

    Thanks Phil, Tyson, and Shamus.....

    Tyson, I've found that the 4-4-0's and even small 4-6-0's that will be on this layout have absolutely no problem with #4 turnouts. (So long as the 4-6-0's have blind center drivers.) That's one of the advantages of the old time stuff. I originally tried to design this layout with #6, then #5 turnouts (for the sake of appearance) but couldn't get enough in --- particularly in the yard ladder area. So I've decided to bite the bullet and use # 4's.

    Bill S
  8. KDoggMU

    KDoggMU New Member

    Great Idea

    Good way to make use of previously-unavailable space... not to mention an awesome layout plan!

    Oh, I remember VersaCAD - I started my drafting experience on that stuff (after learning the manual techniques first, of course!) Not sure what version I was using, but once I finished it I "graduated" to AutoCAD release 10... would love to get ahold of some of those old programs now!

  9. Bill Stone

    Bill Stone Member

    Thanks, KDogg..... and welcome to The Gauge.

    Yup. VersaCAD was the first CAD software for PCs. It was originally written for CPM (does anyone remember CPM?) and when the IBM PC started getting popular, around 1984 or so, VCAD was rewritten for DOS, and was the first with 3D. It was created by engineering types who knew drafting, as opposed to the programmers and marketing types who created AutoCAD. And it showed. (Of course it showed in sales too, as AutoCAD eventually started outselling VersaCAD --- engineers never were any good at marketing, and the non-drafters who made the purchasing decisions couldn't tell the difference.)

    I used it from about 1985 'til about '96. By that time, VCAD had been bought and shut down by the idiots at Prime Computer aka Computervision, and fewer and fewer companies were using VCAD. I had used AutoCAD occasionally, but finally had to make the switch if I was going to be commercially viable.

    But for my own personal stuff, like model railroading, I continued to use VCAD (even tho' I also owned AutoCAD software) and when I retired I reverted completely to VersaCAD. AutoCAD and all other PC-based CAD never got as good as VCAD --- at least for 2D drafting --- even tho' VCAD development ended 10 or 12 years ago.

    I run version 8.0. I don't remember if they had any later than that.


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