Don't laugh too hard...It's my first attempt!

Discussion in 'Track Planning' started by Nazgul, Jan 31, 2006.

  1. Nazgul

    Nazgul Active Member

    David and G E C thanks for the recommendations. I will be starting the small amount of demolition in a corner of the basement and I hopefully the bench work this weekend. I do have to work so the progress will be sloooooooow.
  2. ocalicreek

    ocalicreek Member

    Givens n Druthers


    I just sat down to sketch out a plan for your space (for my own fun and for ideas for you). But before I start I wonder if you could give a few more ideas about what you'd like to see.

    Already, without having sketched anything out, I can say this much. Try putting the yard at an angle across one of the blobs, with the turntable in the opposite blob. If you keep these elements inside the loop (assuming a dogbone that parallels the shape of the blobs then runs across the back) then that might work.

    A word on yards - what are they for? Will it be just a place to move cars back and forth? That's perfectly acceptable, no matter what the prototype police may say. It has its own merit and fun, just changing the consist of the trains and putting on a different engine.

    OR, will it be a division point? In your space you could set up a small division point yard, where trains arrive from one division and are prepped for the next. Locos are serviced, maybe even swapped (there's your roundhouse & turntable) if going from a mountain division to a flatland division. Consists are broken down, local cars set out for a switch crew to shift, reefers iced, etc. Just depends on what you'd like to model.

    Anyway, give us more and I'll work on a sketch or two.

  3. Nazgul

    Nazgul Active Member

    Galen, I've been busy on the benchwork tonight so I didn't see your post until late. To answer your questions about what I'd want to see... I'm just beginning see some of the possibilities and options available. I'm reading everything I can get my hands on and it's a little overwhelming. What I originally wanted was a yard to do a little switching but mostly to swap the cars out and "park" unused ones. Now, however, I would like to set them up for some real function later on as I learn. The last thing I want to do is find myself a year from now wishing I hadn't "settled" on the first thing I thought of. About all I can say is; I'm open to any thing as long as it can be fun for my boys and will be satisfying over time as I learn more about how a railroad really works and try to model it,(within reason). I hope that helps. I really appreciate all your help. Thank you
  4. ocalicreek

    ocalicreek Member

    Okay here you go, plan 1

    There's a loop for running a passenger train and freights. The roundhouse is figured prominantly as a place to showcase locomotives. The turntable is the good ole Atlas 9", but you could fit a larger one in. HOWEVER, the minimum curve radius here is 18" so larger locos wouldn't look at home anyway. They may make it around, but may not look all that great.

    The station labled 'E' is the main passenger depot. You could park a nice passenger train on the main just to the left of the depot. I'm thinking that nice 4 car set from Walthers/Rivarossi of 60' cars along with an USRA light Pacific or an F unit.

    Boxes A&B are industries. You decide, but you've got room to make them larger, maybe the Walthers cornerstone series. Possibly a cement facility...I think they just came out with something like that. This would tie in well with an idea for the branch line...

    Take the siding to the left of the roundhouse and you head up the branch line. I'd use the Woodland Scenics risers to get a steady, dependable grade, maybe a 2%, I didn't do the math to see what you'd need to cross over the main. Anything more and you'd want to use geared power, perhaps. Slower engines can make a layout seem larger.

    At the end of the branch is a little town. 'D' is a passenger depot and 'E' might work well as an aggregate industry, maybe limestone or some kind of quarry. This could tie into the industry in the town down below. Make it pulpwood and put a paper mill in the town. Make it coal and put a power plant down below, you get the idea. This way cars can move from one place to another on the layout in a dedicated way.

    That leads to a potential drawback. There really is no staging. You could hide a train in the tunnel, like the passenger train or a freight, while running a local up the branch. Another drawback, I'm not sure how well the turnouts would work in the yard, how closely spaced they could be. I tried to not use any curved turnouts.

    Scenically, I put a creek or small stream running between the climbing branch line and the yard. This serves to add a little distance there and put a break between the busier trackwork in front and the simpler, more scenic trackwork in the back. I'd have a major mountain or significant outcrop at letter 'F'. This serves to hide the main line as it disappears behind the branch. Whenever trains disappear for even a few seconds it lengthens the run and in our heads makes it seem like they've gone somewhere other than just around a loop.

    There's plenty of room for more structures in the town below around the roundhouse, like engine servicing facilities. Also a few other spurs in the town at the end of the branch. Operationally, through freights set out/pick up blocks of cars destined for the local industries and destinations up the branch. A nice little yard goat, like the USRA 0-6-0 or BLI's latest SW something or other with sound could work the yard, blocking cars for the freights and shifting the local industries.

    Okay, there you go. If I get any more ideas I'll sketch them out, or if you get inspired, let me know. Good luck with the demo/benchwork.


    Attached Files:

  5. ocalicreek

    ocalicreek Member

    branch line grade

    For a 9' run and a 3-4" rise you get a grade between 2-1/2% and 4%. Trains can't be all that long since there's not much room at the destination town, so short trains and rod engines would work, but I'd opt for geared locos. A 'mine run' up to the quarry might take a shay, et al. while the daily mixed could be handled by a 4-6-0 or mogul (or GP-9 or RS-1)

  6. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

    If the track between the left side and "F" went a little further "south", and you extended the tunnel, you could put at least one more track, maybe two inside the tunnel to act as staging. Two additional tracks would give you one "eastbound" and one "westbound" without blocking the main.

  7. pgandw

    pgandw Active Member


    A really nice plan, and one that can be built a stage at a time. I like Andrew's suggestion of adding staging behind the branch line - will be unseen behind the rising branch - but would limit it to one track. I don't think there's room to put in a total of 3 tracks, and keep the layout looking as nice.

    Other issue is access to the upper left corner. Unless the left end is free access, an access hatch is going to be needed between the branch and the roundhouse. Not a lot of room, but a minimal 18in x 18in hatch will fit.

    Galen - if I had the space, I'd probably be building this. Fits very nice with my 1900 era short line theme. I'm impressed.

    My 2 cents
  8. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

    Just to clarify, I mean three tracks in total... the main that is there, and then one for eastbound, and one for westbound. I agree that it might be a squeeze though... ;) I do think that it will be worth it though for operational interest.

  9. ocalicreek

    ocalicreek Member

    added staging

    Agreed, another track or two behind the mountain could work, especially with an access hatch in the mountain itself, or even on the long stretch behind the rise without having to put a turnout in the tunnel.

    Another thought - interchange. I've never been a big fan of the spur leading to the edge of the layout as if it continued to another railroad. It just serves to define the edge and destroy the focus of what's on the railroad, not what's off it and must be imagined before it works as an operational device. Anyway, it is a useful device for getting additional cars on and off the railway.

    E.g., the quarry up the branch could haul balast for another class one (as well as the occasional car for that local work train) and its cars could hauled from an interchange to the quarry and back. Likewise, an interchange at the branch could feed an industry (A or B) down in the town, another reason for an interchange. Maybe horses destined for glue factory A or pigs for sausage factory B, with outbound loads for the other interchange.

    Without good staging at either 'end' the layout couldn't really serve well as a bridge route, handling whole unit trains or blocks of cars, but a car or two at each interchange would be more workable. I'd designate one of the tracks toward the back of the branchline town as an interchange and have it disappear behind a hill or trees or building. The other could be placed just past the spur of the branch, headed toward the wall, if the creek was moved further toward the roundhouse.

    As for access there, why not a glass-bottom lake? Keep in mind, however, this plan is 6"=1 square. Feet are designated by the tick marks around the edge, mostly. So I'm not convinced access is needed there. Depends on the layout height.

  10. Nazgul

    Nazgul Active Member

    Galen...WOW! Your layout has it all. It is everything we could want and then some. I couldn't add anything if I tried. I appreciate you taking the time to do this for me. What an education I'm getting! Anyway, I also agree with ANDREW'S suggestion of an etra track or two. And FRED, I have full access all the way around. Again thanks guys. Oh by the way, I've got a good start on the bench and will be posting pictures soon.
  11. engineshop

    engineshop Member

    About the grade:
    You should have no problem if you drop the outside track right after the switch a little bit. The track to the industry C and D would not have to climb that much to clear the track going over the bridge. The lower track could climb after the undercross a little bit around the river, level out around the yard and climb the rest around the roundhouse. This could also give your layout a few more dimensions without to worry about grades.
  12. Nazgul

    Nazgul Active Member

    Thanks for the input ROLAND. Here are some pictures of the benchwork so far. I will try to post pictures here and there as The layout progresses.

    BENCH 1.jpg

    BENCH 2.jpg

    BENCH 3.jpg

    BENCH 4.jpg
  13. cidchase

    cidchase Active Member

    Steve, that benchwork looks totally professional!! I have two suggestions:

    1. The 1x4 horizontal stiffeners on the lower frames are going to kill you when
    wiring under the layout. I would totally lose 'em.

    2. Use diagonal bracing on the back from end to end and on the two sides.
    Using only a 1x2 brace inside the legs will make it much stiffer. Attach to
    each leg where it crosses. Leave the front open for appearance and access.
    I love the casters!

    IMO :D

    And finish that drywall 'fore you put down the carpet! :D :D :D
    (do I sound like yer wife yet?)
  14. Nazgul

    Nazgul Active Member

    CID, thank you very much for both your praise and suggestions, both are appreciated. Cross bracing is a must and I will be adding it. The horizontal stiffeners are for the plywood I'm adding to the lower frame for "light" storage (that feature was part of the protracted negotiations with the real boss).
  15. ocalicreek

    ocalicreek Member


    Really great and totally inspiring! Now there's the look of great potential...I bet the kids are excited.

  16. Nazgul

    Nazgul Active Member

    They are, GALEN, almost as excited as me! Tonight I cut the plywood and fitted it. Working late tomorrow so I'll see how much I can get done on the weekend. I'm assuming that with the stream feature I'll be needing 2" of foam on top of the plywood.
  17. ocalicreek

    ocalicreek Member

    stream feature

    Well, that's one way to do it, probably the most straightforward (and the most in vogue right now in MR). I'm sure others can chime in as to their favorite methods.

    My first thought was this; I'd say if you were going to go cookie cutter with the lower roadbed then the stream bottom would just be the lowest level on top of the benchwork. But looking back at the plan there's so much area that will work naturally on a tabletop with only minor depressions for roadbed shoulders, culverts, pipes, etc.

    SO, how 'bout a layer of 2" under the whole area with the creek cut out, with a sheet of homasote used cookie cutter fashion under the track and sheets of 3/4" beaded foam beneath major trackside structures. This gives a nice elevation for track to be above scenic features like roads & streets, other non-railroad structures, etc. so you don't have to go gouging out large areas of foam.

    When I was living in OH I remember finding packs of the beaded white foam in sheets about 1' wide and 3 or 4' long, made for craft projects in Home Depot. Didn't look for homasote but I do remember seeing the big sheets of pink foam.

    (Don't be deterred by what others say about the white foam. Use a fine tooth serrated knife or sharp paring knife and quick, short sawing motions to cut it. Beading will be minimal. And you don't have to paint homasote to seal it, either. Check out the homasote website for proof. However, it is a good idea to paint it gray just until you balast, to give the illusion of balast. Just draw your center line once the paint has dried and go from there.)

    Looking forward to more pictures.

  18. Nazgul

    Nazgul Active Member

    Galen, you won't believe this, but this morning at the Home Depot I bought the white styro foam in a pack just like you described. Later tonight I tread your post and I had to laugh (great minds think alike)! Let me float this by you...I was thinking of putting 2" blue foam on the far right of the layout at C and D. that way the branch line wont have to descend so rapidly. do you think I could use 1" or 3/4" foam over the rest of the layout? How deep does the stream need to be to give it the illusion of depth? If this is feasible, then I could make the branch line grade with woodland scenics inclines. I think that would be easiest for me. The main thing is that whatever I do, It needs to work. Thanks for everything.
  19. ocalicreek

    ocalicreek Member



    Yes, great minds do think alike. So what does that have to do with us? ;)

    Well, I'd stay away from using the white foam as roadbed or subroadbed (for a main line). The pink extruded foam is more stable. However, for scenery the white stuff is great.

    As for the illusion of depth, depends on how you intend to make the water. A meandering muddy creek can be painted on a smooth surface to give the illusion of depth with color and shading then glossed over. But if you're going for a rocky mountain stream with clear flowing water and cascades around boulders, then allow for more depth. Especially considering the amount of distance the stream covers, and how far it will fall from one end to the other in height.

    For the branch line to cross the main there must be enough clearance to clear at least your highest piece of rolling stock. Don't forget to plan in room for the roadbed and track, and the depth beneath the rail of whatever bridge you use. I like what someone else has mentioned about allowing the main to drop downgrade at that point so the branch grade doesn't have to be that steep.

    If your LHS has the WS risers and grade pieces on hand I'd go look at them close up and personal to get an idea of what each grade looks like. Hope this helps.

  20. Nazgul

    Nazgul Active Member

    Thanks Galen, It does help. I'll think it through and see what materials are available. I Xeroxed some track components and began laying the track plan on the plywood to get an idea of how the plan would fit in real life. I've attatched the track plan and highlighted two possible trouble spots. the amount of tunouts used in these areas make it hard to fit them in the alloted space. It seems that using a curved turnout or two would help, but from what I've read, most people try to avoid using them.

    Now another question, I'm keeping all radii at least 18" it acceptible to have tighter radii in a yard or heading to a turntable? Pictures I've seen seem to support this notion and it would simplify these areas. Thank You in advance from the not so great mind that is named...

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