Erie & Southern - N Scale

Discussion in 'Track Planning' started by 2-8-2, Mar 3, 2008.

  1. 2-8-2

    2-8-2 Member

    Givens and Druthers

    Erie & Southern Railroad Co.
    Scale: N
    Gauge: Standard

    Prototype: Freelanced. Inspiration includes NKP, B&O.
    Era: 1953. The end of steam (transition era)
    Region: Ohio
    Railroad: Regional. Would be a Class I road during this time period.

    9x6x3. Corner layout, L-shaped. Two 3x6 pieces butted together to form the L shape. The available space is in the shape of a backwards 7, with the longer 9x3 portion along the first wall, and the shorter section at the top.

    Governing Rolling Stock: Varies. I have many types of rolling stock available, but I would like to avoid flatcars and longer boxcars.

    Relative Emphasis:

    Track/Operation ---------------------------------------- Scenic realism
    Mainline Running --------------------------------------------- Switching

    Operation Priorities:
    1. Mainline operation
    2. Local freight
    3. Passenger operations
    4. Interchange traffic
    5. Small yard/switching operations
    Typical operating Crew: 1-2


    Here is a sample trackplan I've been considering. It's not 100% what I want, but the overall design is what I'm looking for.


  2. 2-8-2

    2-8-2 Member

    This has been the biggest frustration for me, designing the trackplan. In the beginning, I had a meager 3x6 space to work with, and finally settled on something I was happy with...the Scenic & Relaxed plan. I even bought everything I needed to build it. But then I was approved for double the space and I find myself back to square one.

    My biggest fear with going with a pre-made layout is not knowing what everything is for. I want to be able to operate my railroad in a realistic way, and I think with the industries I want to model, I need to know where my trains are going and why.
  3. Nomad

    Nomad Active Member

    I agree, trackplanning can be very frustrating.
    I like your trackplan. The only problem I see is your interchange track. If it is in use, I see no way to get in the yard without going head in with the loco.

  4. 2-8-2

    2-8-2 Member

    I agree, Loren.

    This layout is currently in HO scale, though the dimensions would size down nicely to fit in my available space. Also note the notched out sections of the layout, which don't need to be there. I have quite a bit of available space to work with yet.

    Part of the reason this plan needs to be reworked is I have a 2-6-6-2 Mallet to haul my coal. I think in N scale, that engine is going to need 17" curves. This week, I need to sit down and figure out which planning software I'm going to use, as I have both 3rdPlanIt and XTrackCAD. I need to start getting down some hard numbers on what I can fit and use this for inspiration.
  5. Nomad

    Nomad Active Member

    If that plan is ho and your doing n that will really open up some possibilities to enhance that trackplan.
    I noticed you want passenger to. Unless your going to run shorties you will need the broader curves anyhow.
    So I take it the trackplan is not accurate now?

  6. 2-8-2

    2-8-2 Member

    No, this trackplan is a direct scan from The Classic Layout Designs of John Armstrong, and is called "French Broad Valley". It is 18x6x10 feet.
  7. Nomad

    Nomad Active Member

    No wonder those grades don't look right. Any ideas on how your going to make it the way you want?

  8. 2-8-2

    2-8-2 Member

    I have a few ideas. I like the overall flow of things, this being a dogbone arrangement, and I think it has plenty of operations potential without being too cluttered. Some things I would like to change:

    1) A separate yard. This will be located somewhere in the middle, and probably be a division point yard w/ about 6 tracks. There is an excellent plan on page 26 of Track Planning for Realistic Operation for a yard of this type, and it would be great on this size layout.

    2) More operation at the tipple. I want the coal company to have their own switcher, and I want more action available at that location.

    3) I need a way to take cars from the interchange point to a hidden location, coming back "empty". This will probably be a track that simply travels behind the backdrop on the layout.

    My biggest concern at this point is the radius for the curves. The Mallet is a huge engine, and is a must...since I already have it! I don't want it to look goofy negotiating turns, so I hope I haven't severely limited what I can modify to accommodate the engine.
  9. Nomad

    Nomad Active Member

    I have never worked in n scale so I can't say about the curves, but won't a 17" curve take about 3'?
    The big problem curves I see is in the branchline. Could you give that a switcher of it's own too, and make the straight track going into it a interchange for the branch? Then do away with the other connecting track.
    Will you have access to the back of the tables, maybe widen them some?
    And the yard is a great idea for that size layout.
  10. 2-8-2

    2-8-2 Member

    I don't know about the 17" curve for the Mallet. It seems pretty big to me, but I don't think the standard 11" will work. At best, the engine will overhang as will longer passenger cars. Perhaps a custom curve using flextrack will suffice, like 13" or 14". I've asked here on the forums about what radius would work for that engine, but no response.
  11. Nomad

    Nomad Active Member

    I guess nobody knows.
    You seem to be planning the layout around the locomotive, that can be very restrictive. Of course with that engine I don't blame you. So, you might have to get a couple pieces of flex track, lay out some curves and find the one that looks right. And that way you get to run it:thumb:.

  12. 2-8-2

    2-8-2 Member

    I have confirmed through NMRA standards that a locomotive of that size should use 17" - 21 1/2" radius curves. Basically, the bigger the better. 14" is not prohibited, but is not recommended either. In a nutshell, I should play it safe and go with 17" or larger. Which presents a problem.

    No, I'm not planning this layout around the Mallet. However, I do want to run coal, and this is a good motive power choice for my era. I love steam and early diesel, which is why I picked 1953 to model...I can have both. Obviously, I can't have the entire layout feature 17" curves, or it will be very boring. I must be use careful planning on where the coal runs, and just make sure I have the proper radius in those areas.
  13. Nomad

    Nomad Active Member

    Sounds like your putting a lot of thought into this. Looking forward to seeing the results.

  14. 2-8-2

    2-8-2 Member


    You have no idea. I've been in the planning stages for nearly 3 years now. This ordeal has evolved from a simple shortline to a Class I competitor, and been renamed 3 times. I've gone from a 3x6 layout to double that size, and not a single track laid. Yeah, I'm making sure all my ducks are in a row.
  15. railohio

    railohio Active Member

    I'd say you're simply trying to cram too much stuff in for the space. If you remove about half the elements in the plan it'll be much easier to work on. Focus on just two towns on the route and model the branch only as staging. Ian Rice has some great designs for simpler layouts in his books and they are definitely worth looking at before you start construction.

  16. nkp174

    nkp174 Active Member

    I wouldn't worry too much about the NMRA standards. I'd just get some track and test the 2-6-6-2. I used to be able to get my ancient 4-8-4 to take 9" radius curves. Considering that the 2-6-6-2 is an articulated N-scale locomotive...I have a very hard time believing that it needs 17" curves...Spectrum's HO 2-6-6-2s require 22" radius curves.

    The key is what looks right to you...not what looks right to others. I use 27" curves on my On3 layout...that's 15" tighter than the NMRA standard...and I don't have a problem with it. If the 2-6-6-2 looks fine to you on 12" track...then I wouldn't worry about it...I'd probably use 15" if I was you (maybe 12" for the branch).

    Yes, wider curves do look better...but balance is a more important rule. Sure a 48" radius N-scale curve looks great...but it leads to a pretty boring N-scale layout if you only have an 8x12 space.

    Keep in mind...2-6-6-2s were frequently branchline engines...with 2-8-8-2s, 2-8-4s, and such working the mainlines.

    I found on the Bachmann board that the 2-6-6-2s can handle 9 3/4" curves.
  17. IandOFan71

    IandOFan71 Member

    I like the trackplan overall, especially the branch line. I read that you wanted to put some kind of yard in the plan. I agree with that but how about making it a hidden staging yard. Eliminate the siding against the wall by using the track closest to the wall as your staging lead which could go down to a hidden staging yard under the layout. This would give you the ability to have the trains go to and come from somewhere rather than just running around the layout. Just something to consider.
    It sounds like you have put a lot of thought into the layout. My advice to you would be to get to a certain point that you are happy with and start laying track. If you plan forever you'll have nothing but a piece of paper and boxes of track and rolling stock. I've found that the trackplan will evolve as you build it and you will find solutions to your operational problems when you can see it in front of you. Good luck to you and I can't wait to see some pics. Take care.

  18. 2-8-2

    2-8-2 Member

    Thank you for researching that! I have looked everywhere for information about the turn radius of that engine, but my searches have turned up nothing. I pieced together some 11" curves, and I think the Mallet looks fine running on it. That sure goes a long way to solving some problems on the layout. Still, I will attempt to play it safe, and if I need to, I know I can go down to 9 3/4".

    A note on that track plan: I like the overall design of it. The next couple weeks I will be revisiting all the notes I've made about what I want in my layout and get some concrete decisions made. I've also been fiddling with XtrkCAD, so hopefully I can get started designing in that soon as well.

    Thanks for the input, guys. Always appreciated.
  19. 2-8-2

    2-8-2 Member

    Okay, it's now official. I emailed Bachmann, and here was their response:

    I checked with our Vice President of Product Development, Mr. H. Lee Riley. He recommends minimum 11” radius for this locomotive.

    Good. I was wanting to run 11" radii on most turns anyway, so this opens up more possibilities for the layout. Even that huge engine won't be restricted.
  20. Nomad

    Nomad Active Member



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