Any suggestions on a new design?

Discussion in 'Track Planning' started by sds888, Aug 1, 2005.

  1. sds888

    sds888 Member

    Firt of all I hope you can see the design. I have a new layout to build in a room that is 19 X 11 feet. it will be HO scale. It will not be following any paticular railroad. The middle will be cut out for contral and the will have to be some kind of cut out in the town area to raech the back of it. The layout has two helixes just because i would like to try my hand at them and it has a bridge between them because I like looking elevated trains going over a long bridge. it has a loggin operation on one side and a sawmill operation one the other because my great great great granfather owned a railroad and logging opertion in Fechtig, SC. I also have one track that stops I am hopping many years down the road to build a hidden yard under the layout. Please give me any suggestions that you might have. Please also tell me if this will just not work at all. I am open to anything thanks

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  2. sds888

    sds888 Member

    also I had a little problem with the program because computers and i dont get along the bridge will not be crossng over the big helix it will just gradually come out of the mountain. Also both helixes will be 27" tall. thanks

  3. stuart_canada

    stuart_canada Member

    i would skip the 18 radius and go at least 22" just incase you want to run bigger cars or locomotives in the future.
    your helix should be closer in height, or you will a steep incline , too short of a space i think to make the climb across the bridge. anyways keep up the design work.
  4. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

    Hi Stephen,

    Welcome to The Gauge!

    You plan looks interesting, and I think it will be fun to operate both "ends" of an industry - from logging camp to mill (and beyond... furniture factory? retail lumber yard? etc...).

    I have a few comments and questions:

    1) Why does the bigger helix have the note that every fifth level will have a 22" radius, while the others (within the same helix?) are only 18"?

    2) I think that 18" at 2% will restrict you to very short trains, or require more power to move a given train. Try to increase it, or...

    3) Eliminate the helixes and use a swing gate, liftout, or "roll under" (duck-under negotiated by rolling under on a wheeled office chair)

    4) What purpose does the inner loop in the town serve? Once the train goes in, it will have to back out, and there is only one cross-over to that loop...

    5) Access to the town portion is unclear. If you do not have access in the centre of the loop, it will be a very long reach from the "Port" to the back (I am assuming the right edge of your plan is against a wall. If not, please ignore this comment).

    6) Because the logging operation is a trailing point, and the sawmill a facing point (for clockwise running), you may need a runaround track at or near the sawmill too.

    I hope that helps. Looks like it could be a good layout with some spectacular scenery...

  5. sds888

    sds888 Member

    On the bigger helix I was hopping to make the train come out of the mountian and then go back into it again. I was thinking that if I made all of the big helix at 18" then the train couldnt come out of the moutain because all of the track would be on top of each other. I am not sure that I have enough room for two 22' helixes so I may have to elimate them all together. I liked the helixes because I thought it would be a good area for the trains to disappear for a while a just reappear here and there giving it more running time before it got back a place to load or unload cargo. the inner loop in the town is for a short passenger train around the town but I did forget to put away to get out of the loop. that is why posted it thanks. I also might get rid of the loop because if I keep it I will have to have a cut out to reach the back wall. well it is the basic design I wil make some changes and post again. Thanks for all of the help.
  6. sds888

    sds888 Member

    ok here are a few changes. the only thing I am worried about is the town and the reach so I might cut it out all together. My room is 11feet x 19 feet on the long side and 11 feetx 15 feet on the short side. I am thinking about packing away all the ho stuff and doing a n scale layout. but who knows this is just the planning stage. wont be able to probably begin construction until the winter. Please give any advise you can or please show me another plan that might work in this area I have. thanks

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  7. Pitchwife

    Pitchwife Dreamer

    Why not spread your town out along the right side (short) wall, and your industries and yard on the other two or some combination of such. Then you could keep the reach down to 2' on all sides. Either that or go to a dual level layout.
    Another thing would be to move the entire right side out 2' or so, just enough to get back there and move about, and leave an access all along that wall. Then you could have your 4' wide town, industrial or whatever area and still keep your reach down to 2'.
  8. Will_annand

    Will_annand Active Member

    Stephen, had you thought about putting your Logging and saw Mill on the upper level and have your town on a lower level?

    That way you would only need one Helix.

    In N scale, you can get alot in 24" to 30" wide and you can use 19" radius turns for the larger rolling stock.
  9. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery


    11x19 (approx.) is really a huge space... I agree with you though that the town - at least the inner loop - should go. I don't really see what purpose it has. In your new drawing, you will still have the reach/access issues.

    Another question - how much of the room do you want to use for other things? If this is a dedicated train room, do you need to fit in a desk for modelling, or a spray booth for painting, storage, anything like that?

    Here is a link to a great layout you may have seen in Great Model Railroads 2004 or Model Railroad Planning 2001. It is the Boston & Maine by Mike Hamer. I have operated this layout several times, and while it looks relatively small, it operates like a giant! It is also somewhat smaller than your room, so it could be adapted to your space. Hamer/Hamer.htm

  10. Tileguy

    Tileguy Member

    I couldnt agree more.

    There are alot of things that can be done in an area this size but having your givens and druthers would help to give better advice.

    Do you want to operate this prototypically? is this to be freelanced,Prototype or Protolanced??
    Will you be running passenger trains?
    Do you have the time and the budget to build this size RR?

    Do you have the experience to uild this size RR (have you ever built a Model R before??)

    What do you consider more important, Modeling , or railroad operating?
    What do you consider your strengths and your weaknesses?

    All these things will help the guys to better advise you and help you in planning the model RR that is right for you and your individual needs and situation.

    Its not just about a trackplan, its about the right track plan for you!!

    A contractor wouldnt build a home for someone without knowing thier needs and desires let alone thier budget.
    Planning a model rr is not that dis-similar :)
  11. sds888

    sds888 Member

    Thanks for all of the questions and advice. I am working on another plan that will elminate the town area. Let me try to answer all of yalls questions. the first question was about levels. I can not have two levels unless the lower one is hidden and really not for use. The ceilings of the room are 4 feet high at the left and right wall and go up to an apex. This why I was going to put the yard on the lower level just for storage of tranis. Not really to run a yard out of. I have 196 frieght cars I have to put somewhere. The next question yes this is a dedicated train room. I have a nice work shop downstairs. I have somhow convinced my wife that 11X 19 is really a too small of a place for a train and that I would be scarficing a lot by just taking up that one room. even though its not. Please forgive me lord. Yes I want this free lanced. Nothing is to be really protype on it. Because I have some many differnt trains and different ideas I dont want limit my self to one era or railroad. I know this might be out of the ordinary. but I would like to let my imagination run wild. Yes I have the time it gets me out of building so many birdhouses. My Wife and I like our time together but we also like our time a part. I have a pretty easy going job so it gives me time to other things like building birdhouses. The money part well I am hoping to get the bench work and track laid then I hoping the scenry will take a few years so a little at a time. I like the modeling part of it better I quess. I like to see the trains run around the track but I dont want to have to spend all night switching. I would rather the train disappear and show up again somewhere else like it has gone a done all of its switching on someone elses model railroad. Strengths and weaknesses. Well my strenght is probably woodwork. My weaknesses is everything else esp wirring. I get lost in wirring everytime I try to read a book about it. I also am not very patient working on tedious things but I want to build tedious things on the railroad to work on my patience. I know I cant afford to keep throwing model buildings across the room. I also would like to improve my knowledge on wirring. I am hoping the railroad will do both for me. As if this is my first railroad yes and I hope that it will be years of projects. I use to work on the model railroad years ago with my father but he did most of the stuff. He is now gone. I could really pick his brain if he was around. I have just obtain all of his railroad things so i am hoping i can use someof them on my layout. Thank you again for all of the help I have obtain here. I will try to post a new plan in a couple of days. I would appricate any other suggestions or plans for this space.
    P.S. I would like to have loggin operation and sawmill as my great great great grandfather use to own a train and logging operation and I would like a port to shipp the logs or the lumber thanks
  12. sds888

    sds888 Member

    I have one more question sorry I forgot to ask. how much space is need in the aisles? thanks
  13. Tileguy

    Tileguy Member

    3' is an absolute minimumfor aisle width.4' is better and will provide room for a viewer or another operator.

    I am going to reccomend that as you work on your new plan, work on it as a Modular Plan.
    My reasoning is this. Building this RR one module at a time will give you a little experiance in everything, it will give you the experience you need t be able to complete a RR the size which you are contemplating.
    If you feel the need to run some trains,throw a temporary loop on a piece of plywood and let it run while you work on one module.
    By the time you complete several modules you will see that the experience you are gaining is paying off and you may even want to go back and redo the first module.
    Buying all the lumber you need to build the benchwork now is fine. It will give it not only a chance to acclimate but also dry out over time making it more stable. Either that or you could make all your dimension lumber out of 3/4" plywood rather then 1x3's as by its very nature it is more stable(less suseptible to climate changes etc.)

    Try to focus on your mainline first. Getting the mainline right is all important.Passing tracks,Industrial Sidings etc can then be fit in afterwards.
    Think Hidden staging!!!
    With this your RR can become like theatre and trains can run the circuit,dissapear and another take its place.(perhaps even heading in the other direction)

    Designing a plausible freelance RR is the most difficult thing to pull off but it sounds as if you are looking less towards realism and more towards fantasy so this becomes less of a problem.

    While you are after a loop, try to think of the railroad as a point to point going from perhaps 1 division point to another(both being off layout-hidden staging)
    Take a look at your favorite area of the country, look at where the railroad goes and how it operates.Change the name of the RR and the towns but use the reall RR to help you design.It will make life much easier.

    I hope you find this little treatise helpful :)
  14. sds888

    sds888 Member

    Well I think I have come up with a better one not perfect yet but improving I think. The coners look on this like still to far to reach but i didnt know how to put curves in the bench work. I would like to build the port first then move to the logging operation and the saw mill. Then a couple of years down the road maybe do the helixes that will hide the trains for a while. I dont know where I will put the hidden yard to hold the box cars. I might have to figure that out along the way but open to any suggestions. Thanks for any suggestions on this new design.

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  15. Tileguy

    Tileguy Member

    Your helix can go up and down. Once below the benchwork you can have a huge storage area. When wiring try to keep buss lines towards the fron for ease of access. also, leave enough room to work on the feeders etc if you have to.
  16. sds888

    sds888 Member

    great idea about the helixes going down I will have to try and remember that when I get to that part. Started cleaning out the upstairs room last night. Maybe one more day in there and then I can start ripping up carpet and start putting a parquet floor down, Then its building time. Thanks for the suggestions and all of the advice I have read on this site and will read on this site.
  17. sds888

    sds888 Member

    ok I have tried to take the advice from every one and put some of my orginal plan into it all. The big problems i am having is with the program I cant get things to work right like the track comming out of the little helix or the curves in the bench work for less room.:confused: So I am now drawing it on paper and it looks better but I am using the program to post here. well any more suggestions would be helpful. Is it getting worse or better? thanks again

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  18. Pitchwife

    Pitchwife Dreamer

    If you are using RTS I can help a little. On the helixes, determine where you want the track to enter it. Then measure the angle between that and where you would like it to exit the helix. Enter that into the helix formula under "special." You may have to play with it a little. Make sure that the direction of the helix is correct. The second helix is going in the direction indicated ny the arrow. You cannot exit it in the direction you have indicated. Either the helix has to go the other direction or you have to exit it on the other side.

    You can't draw curved lines with RTS. Just use short segments to show the curve in the benchwork. When you transfer it to the actual building of the benchwork you can easily convert it to a smooth curve.

    Also your isles are only 18" wide. If you squeeze into them you will probably trash some of your scenery.

    If there is anything else I can help with just holler. :D :D :wave:

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  19. Pitchwife

    Pitchwife Dreamer

    On your second helix you are trying to exit it in the opposite direction that the helix is going. If you enter it at the top from your walkunder bridge it is going in a CW direction. However your exit is coming from a CCW direction. Unless you have discovered a new form of physics that will let you do that (and if you have I'm sure that there are others besides MRR's who would be dieing to talk to you :D ) you will have to change either one entrance/exit or the other.

    OOPS! :oops: Just noticed I double posted. Mr. Moderator, if you would be so kind as to delete this post.
    Thanks and sorry about that.
  20. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery


    I think that you are perhaps making life difficult for yourself with the two helices. Is it possible to raise the layout to (for example) 48"+ (even up to 60") and use grades and/or a slight duckunder for access to the room?

    If you still are set on using the helix approach, I have redrawn the plan slightly.

    - I have increased the aisles by reducing the width of the layout at the logging site, and the sawmill.

    - I have realigned the tracks so the helices operate properly. The red is the approach track to the large helix, and the green indicates how the trestle crosses the entrace to the room.


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