Anyone up for a challenge?

Discussion in 'Track Planning' started by iis612, Aug 6, 2008.

  1. iis612

    iis612 Member

    I need some assistance. My permanent layout plans are on hold. My wife and I are looking at a move in the near future and I don't want to get too tied up in my permanent layout.
    I was wondering if someone could bang out a waterfront switching plan for a 4'x13' space. It is already built.

    Givens and Druthers

    (Mid Michigan Ry)
    Scale: HO
    Gauge: (Std

    Prototype: (Loosely, C&O, PM)
    Era: Late 40's / early 50's
    Region: Saginaw Bay, Michigan

    Space: 4'x13'
    Describe Space e.g. basement. Provide diagram showing Overhead clearances and any obstructions or limitations. It is simply a 4' wide table that spans 13'

    Governing Rolling Stock: (Biggest planned) 50'6" gondola

    Relative Emphasis: (move the V)

    Track/Operation .................................................. ..Scenic realism
    Mainline Running .................................................. ........ Switching
    Operation Priorities: (rearrange as required)

    1. Local Freight Operations
    2. Engine Terminal Movements
    3. Local Freight Operations
    Typical operating Crew: ___1/2___
    Eye Level (Owner) __50_In.

    DCC with walk around throttle

    It needs to provisions for expansion after the move.

    Grades: Michigan is fairly flat ground but the waterfront line should be lower than the industrial portion. I will trust the judgement of whomever will take this challenge and run with it as to how to deal with the grades.

    Minimum radius 22"
    Minimum turnout #4

    I would like provisions for a turntable and a 2/3 stall engine house. It does not have to be a roundhouse.
    I will be using a mix of motive power between medium and small steam as well as a few diesel switchers.

    I greatly appreciate any help.
  2. iis612

    iis612 Member

    I should have also mentioned that a backdrop can be placed at 30" dividing the space, for an area for scenicked rail fanning, staging or both.
    There is another section that is attached that can contain a large staging area. That section is 30"x11'.
  3. Thor's Trains ( ) had a number of well done waterfront layouts (He's doing Hoboken/Jersey Shore, but the idea should be the same
  4. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    Are you still looking for this 4' x 13' layout, or are you going to redesign your original layout to be sectional and easily transportable?
  5. iis612

    iis612 Member

    A little bit of both. I do need help with the design, but it is going to be built to be transportable.

  6. pgandw

    pgandw Active Member

    With the 22" radius limitation and a 4' width, there just aren't that many options, even with the length.

    1) You can have an outside oval, with all the switching inside. Boring and awkward to operate and plan any scenery. Harbor has to be on inside of oval with possibly a bridge to the "outside".

    2) You can have a "squeezed" oval, but that will be more complex to build because any passing sidings are going to have to be parallel through the curves that create teh "squeeze". Harbor area on the outside of the oval is shorter and smaller, but at least it's on the outside. One side of oval could have your engine terminal and small yard, with harbor scene on the other. A scenic divider would help things a lot.

    3) You can squeeze the oval, then twist to create a figure 8. This would be a level crossing since the region modeled is flat. The crossing could serve as a junction and interchange, but mainline routing would be awkward. Scenically, a figure 8 is difficult. But a figure 8 is easier to watch a train chase its tail on than an oval.

    If you want more flexibility in track planning, minimum radius has to go to 18" or layout width grow to 60". No matter which way you go, the difference is being able to run a branch curve inside one of the turnback loops, or being able to orient the layout so the straight track is no longer parallel to the sides.

    just my thoughts
  7. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    Do you need to have continuous running for the waterfront? I'm thinking a waterfront switching district that would be connected to the mainline on a new basement sized layout after your move would be the most practical. A loop on a bench 4 feet wide is just not going to be that interesting either for operations or scenery, in my opinion.

    On the other hand, you could do a really nice switching layout on a bench 2 x 13 that would be included in a larger layout after you move.
  8. iis612

    iis612 Member

    It does not have to loop. I am not going to split the 4' section though. I will place the backdrop at either 24" or 30" and use the remaining space for a staging yard.

    I am going to construct it in a modular design so it can be packed and moved when the time comes.
    My only stipulation is that it has to be expandable at both ends and have access to the staging area behind the backdrop.

  9. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    I think this answers the questions raised by Fred. I think I would make the switching layout 24 inches wide rather than 30 inches. That gives you a full 24 inches behind the backdrop for staging rather than 18 inches. You just need to have something to hide where the trains pass through the backdrop to the staging yard. I think I would put the pass through in the backdrop near the center. That will give you plenty of room for a train to go into staging, get clear of the ladder, and then back into the selected track. In the 1940's or 1950's I think the most plausible way to hide the track through the backdrop would be a large warehouse that the train would either pass through or go behind to pass through the backdrop.
  10. iis612

    iis612 Member

    I couldn't see trying to place the pass to staging at the ends. It would be nearly impossible to hide and would require an unreliable radius. I like the idea of hiding the pass behind a structure. My previous design had the pass hidden by an overpass and some trees.

  11. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    One thing you might consider is that factories often have two or more buildings with a pedestrian walkway on the second floor to get across streets or railroad tracks. A pair of factory/warehouse buildings with tracks going between and a pedestrian overpass between them might hide a pass through nicely. The other thing to consider is that the old S.P. mainline in Los Angeles used to run between factory buildings and warehouses in what in effect was an alley. Some nice big, tall buildings would hide the train completely as it passed through the backdrop

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