Feedback for New Layout -CN & CBCNS

Discussion in 'Track Planning' started by Agatheron, Apr 25, 2006.

  1. Agatheron

    Agatheron Member

    I know I have posted a couple layout design possibilities here before, but since I now know my benchwork, I decided to call in a bit of help. Siderod did this design for two reasons... 1. He's more experienced at this sort of thing that I am, but secondly he happens to live in the area that I want to model.

    Born and raised in Western Canada, my roots are in the Maritimes (Atlantic Canada). I have been collecting Canadian National Locomotives for a little while, but I was also struck by the paint scheme of the Cape Breton and Central Nova Scotia Railway. It seemed then a blend of the two seemed appropriate, so the best place to model this would be the Truro area of Nova Scotia, which serves as the junction between the mainline and shortline.

    Here's a pic of what Andrew did for me:

    The faint parts are the lower-deck staging areas...

    Anyway, here's Andrew's description of how this might be operated:
    Anyway, I wouldn't mind some feedback on this... After all, it is based on a prototype... the layout itself is roughly 5'x12'

  2. GeorgeHO

    GeorgeHO Member

    Is the hidden staging area reachable, or is it used just to hold trains that disappear for a whilte then reappear the next day coming from a different direction? How much room is there between levels?
  3. Agatheron

    Agatheron Member

    I'm looking at possibly doing some lift-out sections to access the staging area... or having it accessible via the back by pulling the layout away from the wall in case of a major underground derailment. There's not a great deal of clearance between the A-Yard in truro (on the left hand side) and the track below it. There's at least one (short) 4% grade on the left hand side coming out of the staging yard at the back... My hope is to lower the staging yard base and to have the upper deck mounted on some fairly thin MDF board. It should give a full interior clearance of about 2-3 inches.

    The track will be Kato Unitrack as well, which as I hope means that the track itself back there will be pretty bulletproof...
  4. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

    A few thoughts...

    - What is the separation between the upper and lower decks? I don't think that a liftout will help you access the staging, as a liftout of (part of) the yard would be impractical, and it is a bit of a reach to the other end over the lake. You probably are better to ensure you can get at the staging directly.

    - Do you have any more room available? Could you pull the layout forward, and put the staging behind a scenic divider? It would be harder to reach perhaps, but then you could eliminate or minimize the grade.

    - Despite what the prototype does with its 2% grade and twisty track, it does not begin to approach what the modeller must compromise on. Even tight prototype curves scale out to 10+ foot radii...! That particular combination of 4% grade plus what looks like an 18" radius will severely limit what your model locos can do.

    - I would extend the A-yard tracks by moving the initial turnout on the "south side" further towards the bottom left. The shortest tracks look like they have only a 1-2 car capacity.

    Overall it looks good. I like the basis in reality, and the combination of industries sounds like it will be great to operate.

  5. Triplex

    Triplex Active Member

    Those curves are a lot less than 18", maybe 11"? This appears to be an N scale plan.
  6. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

    My assumption was HO... :oops:

    John - can you set the record straight one way or the other?

  7. Agatheron

    Agatheron Member

    Sorry, I should have said... this is an N-Scale plan... 5'x12' I'm primarily using Kato Unitrack :)

    Does that make a difference?
  8. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

    Well, 4% is 4% regardless of scale, but the separation needed may be reduced (but you still have to get your hand in there in case of derailment). The slope/curve combination will still be difficult for your locos. Is there any way to eliminate it (either as I have suggested, or some other way)?

    My comment about the yard being longer could still apply, but obviously the capacity is more than I stated (when I was assuming HO).

  9. siderod

    siderod Member

    Okay, Hands many here have been to Truro? How many remember the exact trackplan?

    I'm the one that designed the layout for John, so i figured i'd step in and field some of the questions. John is using prebuilt shelving, and even getting this much space took some convincing with the wife, so i doubt any extra space would be doable.

    On another note, the prototype doesn't have any 2% grades on either of the subdivisions modeled. Some grades come close (As mentioned earlier), but neither of those grades are represented on the layout. The only reason the layout is graded at all is because that was the only way i could get CN and CBCNS on without compromising more then i already did.

    Truro has some realllyyy sharp curves. Sure, in N-scale, they'd be dozens of feet radius, but honestly, how many of us have room for them? One thing that bugs me is when someone says "Well, that curve is way sharper then the prototype...". Of course it is...every curve on every layout is sharper then the prototype. CN has sharp curves in the Truro area, so i used "sharp" (11" with 12" easements) model curves to represent it. If the mainline had a HUGE curve, i would have used larger curves.

    The grade is going to be a pain, and ideally, i would have liked to avoid it, but it seems like the only way to get what John wanted in the plan and still maintain at least partial runability. Since all trains through Truro are goin realllyyy slowly, a slow hard pull up that hill wouldn't be that bad.

    As for the comment on the A-Yard, it's laid out that way in the real yard, and moving the turnout would have eliminated the switching lead, which is a mile or more in the real A-Yard. Since there are few other industries on the layout, a switching lead was something i felt was a must.

  10. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    John: It'll be interesting to see how you get that on the shelving.
  11. Agatheron

    Agatheron Member

    Here's a diagram of how the shelving should come together:


    I am planning to use Ikea's GORM shelving units, which screw and bolt together, as opposed to the IVAR units which are primarily held together by gravity: The larger Green blocks are shelving units that are 51cm (20") deep by 77cm (30.3") wide. The overall height of the benchwork will be a 110cm (43") tall base. The corner unit covers a 77x77cm footprint... the red coloured shelves are 31cm(12.2")x77cm(30.3"). As you can see, the blue areas are where I "cut" the corners a bit.

    As always, any plan can change once it starts being implemented. Andrew is right in that the trains through Truro are kept at very low speeds, so I'm not moving things too quickly through the layout. However, I will be doing a fair bit of test fitting once I get the benchwork built up and ready to go. :) I'll be sure to post progress shots, but I may not get to that stage until late may/early June. I should also note, the 4% grade that's on this layout is situated at the back of the layout, and will be hidden by a cut in the terrain. I'm not so worried about appearances...
  12. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

    John, Andrew,

    My comment about the grade/curve combination was not about whether it was the scale equivalent to Truro (a comparison invited by John's comments about how twisty/steep the prototype is/was) but rather what your MODEL locomotives can handle.

    I am just pointing out that if you expect to haul more than a few cars out of staging (as implied by the length of the tracks) up that 4% grade, you might be disappointed. If you are happy running double headers, helpers, or only moving a few cars at a time, then please ignore my comments(s).

    As Fred (pgandw) says... My thoughts, your choices.

  13. grumbeast

    grumbeast Member

    John, Andrew (siderod)

    I work in Truro and the main runs behind my workplace (as does the line to the little industrial park). If you need any specific info I can try and help. I have quite a few photo's taken around the Truro area on my website (

    As for some of the curves / grades, there is some pretty messed up track here (esp in the industrial park) train 501 (I think) switches a few industries there (the Co-op feedmill, intertape polmer and a propane facility to name a few) generally a short job (2 - 8 cars + caboose .. perfect for a model) and some of the grades a scarey, but it would just be for a few cars.

    Hope this helps, any questions please ask, hell I should model Truro myself, its a great size for a medium sized layout

  14. Agatheron

    Agatheron Member

    Masonjar... I appreciate your comments, and your caution will certainly come into play. Fortunately, since this is my first layout, I am building it with Kato Unitrack, so I can set up and take down different combinations before committing myself to something I have to glue or nail down before I can run trains over it...

    My plan is to build up the benchwork and start laying things down... however, there is a small possibility that I might be able to add a series of shelves across the back, which would give me a 31cm deep (about 12") staging yard that would be behind a backdrop. It would take care of the grade issue quite easily... I guess it's trying to arrange the use of real-estate with something I am comfortable with AND my wife is okay with... 12" can be very little, it could also be a lot :) The challenge is that I have a very odd-shaped townhouse with odd curves and no 90 degree angle walls where I can put stuff...

    Grumbeast... got a camera on hand? I wouldn't mind seeing a few of those pics... The best I've been able to do is find some maps and such, but none of them are as potentially detailed as a satellite picture... 'cept Google Earth doesn't have a high-res picture of Truro :(
  15. engineshop

    engineshop Member

    I would change the A yard a little bit. Use left and right switches and you get more track out of it.
    .......... \_________

    (Disregard the little dots. I could not make it work without them)

    Have you thought about the possibility to bring the hidden stagging yard to the front?
    Same layout but after the West entrance to the hidden part you loop around to the front, and do the same thing on the right. It will also give you more distance to cover enought elevation.
  16. siderod

    siderod Member

    I would, but that wouldn't be realistic or prototypical. Some of what i've done on this layout isn't prototypical, but it represents the area well enough that anyone who even sees the layout and knows the Truro area could make the connection.

    Thanks for the comments though!

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