Coal unit train point to point?

Discussion in 'Track Planning' started by DOUBLEJK, Jan 26, 2006.


    DOUBLEJK Member

    Hello folk's
    I've been lurkin' around the site for some time pickin' up lotsa idea's n info...and am about ready to set up my 1st HO available for the present is a table 6'x12'...
    As I have been werkin' at dumping coal unit trains for the last 28 yrs. I would like to model our operation in my 1st layout...
    Eventually as time and finances allow it will be expandable to an area of 12'-6" x 14'-8" or maybe a bit more....
    So far I have a DCC equipped Athearn Genisis BNSF SD70Mac in the Heritage 2 scheme and 12 walthers BNSF bethgons....with a Lenz set100 on the way...[​IMG]

    Can't seem to get the track layout ta come up on here....ifin' ya would try this link to it...

    Any n all comments welcome...

  2. the trackplan looks quite nice. However, reaching the center areas of a 6'x12 layout will be problematical. Most people only have a reach of 25-30 inches. Most of the center of your layout will be unreachable to fix derailings or add scenery. This will lead to you looking like this: :curse:

    I'd suggest making a cutout shape (like a U or W) in order to reach locations.
    If you made it more a 'walk-in' space, you'll be able to reach areas much easier.
  3. siderod

    siderod Member

    I get an error when trying to view your comes up with a wonderful 404. Page Not Found.


    DOUBLEJK Member

    violated geocities picture policy posting a link to a forum...:oops:

    Hehe figured a new way ta do it...:)
    I would sure like idea's on expandin' this to use the whole 12'-6" x 14'-8" room is totally open on one of the 14'-8" side's and can go around the entire wall.
    I would like to use this same theme but add the terminal at Alliance Neb. as the largest segment and possibly some freight switching at a couple of grain elevators along the line...Sterling, CO. and Brush, CO.
    The 36" reach is doable for looooong arms...:)
  5. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    Your layout is a loop to loop, but the shortcut making it a big oval adds nothing to it operationally. If that connection on the lower left corner was eliminated so that the mainline was just the loop to loop, and the train is short enough to fit into each loop without hanging over the end, you could then cut out the lower left corner of the bench work which would give you easier access to the middle tracks.

    DOUBLEJK Member

    :) The brown goodie truck arrived in my driveway taday with a load of track and a Lenz 150 to control some switches if I can figure it out...The other night I got the 6x12 starter bench built outa 3/4" plywood..

    It's no way gonna be the permanent bench but with my limited time n skills at this I'm foamin' at the mouth ta get a train runnin'....I'm gonna use it to learn on and then make plans for a more involved setup.:thumb:

    The bench layout cidchase drew me in another thread's more what I would like to evolve to but I don't have the time to get it built before I die a curiosity bout seein' this run....

    If you were just beginin' n knew very little bout this hobby how would you lay out this area? So as to get some quick expereince in settin' up n operatin' a DCC layout?
  7. green_elite_cab

    green_elite_cab Keep It Moving!

    If you are gonna do a point to point, maybe you should look for a different track plan. you can model a "loads in empties out" situation. you can back an empty train under a coal loader, and it will come out by a power plant, mean while a full coal train is parked by the coal loader, but techincialy that was just at the power plant. crafty use of scenery and vision blocks can make your railroad look super realistic like that. you could probably add some "local" traffic along the way to with a little extra planning.

    DOUBLEJK Member

    Yep I will sure consider any layout that fits on the bench....the more variety the better probably....I'm stuck on designing loops.....can't seem to get any thing else drawn.....sept ovals like I had as a kid......but DCC seems like it will do lots more than watch a train run in circles....but thats all I've ever done n it was many many years ago.....
  9. Triplex

    Triplex Active Member

    6'x12' - hard to reach the center. How exactly is it positioned in the 12'6" x 14'8" room? A different benchwork shape may help, to start with. Also, your plan uses what appear to be 22" curves - a little tight for an HO SD70MAC. However, above all these, there is a problem with your idea. Not enough operating interest. You need places to switch. But, as you may have noticed, trying to handle unit-train operation in this space means pretty much no room for anything else. Another problem is, most modellers don't actually try to duplicate actual loading and dumping operations with open-top cars. Building a working rotary dumper isn't a beginner's job - very few ever do it.

    I'll try to come up with some ideas. They may not exactly follow your intentions with that first plan, but see what you think of them.

    DOUBLEJK Member

    The table is open to access on all 4 reach issues for me neway...the room is one end of the new basement....its 14'8" x 49' but has a 30degree bend towards the other end from where the layouts goin'...

    The operating rotary dumper is being built by a friend with lots more talent than myself....:thumb:

    this is just for right now.....eventual layout will proceed as time n experience n wants dictate....
  11. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    If you have room to put in that big of a table with access all the way around, you could get a longer mainline run and better operation with a shelf type layout going around the walls and perhaps with a peninsula or two.

    DOUBLEJK Member

    That idea is definately in my long term plan...with something similar to this:
    it is around the walls on the left-top and right....the bottom side is open... no wall for a long ways...
    But for the learning curve I'm gonna do something on the table I built just to figure all this out.... I put the table together with wood screws so I can take it apart easily to confert to a more compex system soon.:wave:
  13. sumpter250

    sumpter250 multiscale modelbuilder

    It really isn't so much about how long your arms are, it's about how much scenery you'll destroy, leaning over to reach.
    I have lots of broken branches at the front of my modules, and they are only 24" deep.
    I like the idea of "empties in, loads out", especially on a point to point operation.
    In any case, best of luck with the construction, and post pics! :D

    P.S. Is your unloading facility going to be a rotary dump? Have you thought about maybe equiping (OK modifying your couplers) your cars with rotating couplers? Not only a "loads in empties out" but seeing the loads become empties!

    DOUBLEJK Member

    Hiya sumpter

    Yes scenery will get in the scenery will be on this temp layout.....just gonna use it to figure out DCC and makin' this werk.:)
    I have seen working rotating couplers....I plan on buying them or modifying my own...
  15. Triplex

    Triplex Active Member

    You should have said how temporary this layout would be! I don't have much idea how to design a just-figuring-it-out layout.

    I started trying to draw a loads-in/empties-out plan on the 6x12, then tried an around-the-walls plan assuming operating loading/dumping. That one won't match your final goals, either, because it doesn't assume rotary couplers. Why is that so big an issue? My design would be unnecessarily inconvenient if you don't have to uncouple each car to dump it.

    DOUBLEJK Member

    Hi triplex
    Thank's fer the effort neway's
    This is all new to me....only model RR's I've had were TYCO sets as a kid...
    After much armchair plannin' I still didn't have a clue so I decided to get my feet wet to find it out....the layout will be all DCC from the start and that's a big uphill climb without hands on....least fer me:cry:
    The final layout is going to be some resemblance of our rotary coal dumper where I work.....actually dumping is a high priority as this is my main theme for the layout so I can spend a lot of time and detail gettin' it like I want it...
  17. Triplex

    Triplex Active Member

    Regarding your final layout...

    Aside from unit coal train operation, what do you want the layout to have? You've got to have a little more interest and variety in a layout.

    DOUBLEJK Member

    Well, Our biggest obstacle to getting trains in and out of the plant is Amtrak so I'll have that included... and the local freights....I'll primarilly do the grain elevators, locally we have 2 of them Cargill a modern big elevator and Roggen an old local elevator that is much older and smaller...and the CO-OP's fertilizer n chemical loads....if I really get all that I want in this space there will also be the terminal at Alliance Neb. as that is where our loco's er serviced n swapped..thinkin' engine house n turntable..LOL..
    They also align the rotary knuckles correcly if were lucky...I figure this will be about all my layout area can support....might even be a bunch too much....

    DOUBLEJK Member

    Hmmmm'.....might work....might not.....
    I've been playin' with layout possibilities and came up with size is 14'8" wide x 12'10" tall...I would need to use 2 lift out sections on the bottom they are incicated by the dashed lines.. I know there is at least one reverse section here in the Alliance section....I just don't got a clue where to isolate it?

  20. pgandw

    pgandw Active Member

    You have 2 reversing loops:

    1) goes through Flood Loader
    2) goes through Rotary Dumper

    Both have the turnouts at the top of the Alliance Terminal area in common. Since you are using DCC, I would isolate that group of turnouts and a few sections of track either side, and connect that to your auto-reverser unit.

    A tip to make your passing sidings longer: insert the turnouts into the end of the big curves as the entry point for your passing sidings. This would be particularly effective on the far left and far right passing sidings. Space your passing siding 2 inches from the main line.

    Another tip: use flex track on your straight trackage, and introduce sweeping curves and avoid complete parallelism. Your track will look less toylike.

    yours in planning

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