G.E.C's layout pictures

Discussion in 'HO Scale Model Trains' started by green_elite_cab, Oct 14, 2006.

  1. MilesWestern

    MilesWestern Active Member

    I'm still puzzled why you want to, in the limited space you have, try to run the LARGEST pieces of freight and passenger equipment in a layout that would require sharp (less than 30" radius) curves!? You may like these pieces of equipment, but it probably won't satisfy you seeing them looking cartoony taking #6 switches and less than 26" radius curves.

    That is one reason why I decided to model the early 1950's. I'm about the same age as you, and I never saw that decade, but the variety of interesting rolling stock, their dimunitive size, and interesting and appealing visual design has kept me hooked.

    I have considered modeling the modern era, but I can't stomach watching my modern locomotives screeching around 24" curves. The only way I could plausibly model the modern era is if I used 4 axle power and 50' freightcars. I'd imagine that you can agree with that.
  2. green_elite_cab

    green_elite_cab Keep It Moving!

    Its different in that The addition will hopefully get everything in that my current layout doesn't have. While the outside oval can fit just about anything, the inner oval of track on my 4x8 is 18" radius. thats fine for most of the GPs and U-Bs i have. However, some of my larger Conrail equipment seems out of place on those tight curves. The tight space has completely denied any chance of having an oil industry on my layout, something i wanted to model since the very beginning (they don't call it the chemical coast for nothing!). The tight spaces have also forced me into tight areas to squeeze in and out of when switching my industries (thats why i'm stuck with a 44 tonner in my industrial park interchanging with Conrail. Even SWs can't fit in there as effectively).

    So i'm just trying to find a way to get more room for more of my locomotives to run, and finally model those bits and pieces i wasn't able to model before, and do it in a way where i can get a GP to comfortably be able to switch the layout.

    Basically, I think i've outgrown my beginner layout but i don't want to tear it down, so i want something better.

    I have a

    -North Island Refinery
    -Tall oil Storage tank
    -Two oil loading racks attached to eachother (they can service 4 cars right now, but i think i'll buy more in the future so that i can get atleast 8 cars in there, if not more)
    -Tank Truck Loading dock
    -George Roberts Printing
    -Autorack Loading ramps/security gate/yard office
    -Butterfly station platforms (I don't know if i want to run commuter trains though)

    I think that about covers it. I want to try and get most of these in the layout. The Oil Refinery is still the major goal. I want to model it a little more completely then just a pair of stubs alongside a loading rack. Usually refinieries have a bit of a longer loading track area, as well as a storage yard for the tank cars. This storage yard doesn't have to be too big. I've seen one plant where it was three or four short stub tracks that could fit probably 4-5 23,000 tank cars to a track, which isn't much bigger than the yard on my layout right now.

    The George Roberts printing i've always liked, and i think i'll just throw that in wherever it seems to fit.

    I'm still thinking the autorack stuff is going to be to big to really justify modeling, but i figure its worth a shot. The general problem is that you can't just park two autoracks on a siding and be done with it. You need at least a few to get the right look, and the stub itself isn't all that seriously long. The problem comes in with the lead tracks.

    On my old layout, until i put that passing track in, you fouled the main everytime you had to switch something. I want to try and avoid that. I could just add a passing track around the area, but i still would rather it have its own lead track. I'm almost considering making a small yard that can fit a couple autoracks into an arrival/departure track, and then two stubs next to those tracks where i can have a track mobile move the auto racks two or three at a time to get loaded/set out for pick up. I figure that might help save some space.

    I still wish i could run my commuter electrics ( i just got some EMUs to...) but i don't think i can get away with both.
  3. green_elite_cab

    green_elite_cab Keep It Moving!

    Yeah, well the hard part is that an airplane require so much glue and precise fitting. It usually ends up ruining the paint job. With a drab A-10, you can get away with it. With a B47 with that shiny Natural Aluminum finish, forget it. I think next time i should build the plane (save the cockpit glass) and then paint it.

    I know! but it looks like i'll be stuck with the 22"r oval i have. I might still run passenger trains just for the heck of it on the addition if i can, but another issue that pops up is not only do you need to make track arrangments for the commuter trains, but because almost all of my commuter stuff is electric (needing overhead), it really hurts the airspace over the tracks. True, i do have a bunch of NJ transit Diesels, and i suppose they could use an excuse to be run. I'd like to have atleast a double stack intermodal train, and that WON'T fit under the wire. I've seen them do it, but i know the railroads cringe at the short sections on SEPTA where they had to (in fact, i think they took down the wires and shifted the commuter track over just so that the double stacks could get through in places)

    I think i could fit autoracks in there, but i'm not sure. I have plenty of pictures of PRR/PC/CR GG1s and E44s pulling open style autoracks from the former GM and Ford plants on the Northeast corridor (trains i'd really like to model if i ever get the chance), but i haven't seen any modern enclosed type on the NEC (i'm sure this is because once they closed electric freight, they shifted everything to other lines where possible.

    It will still look weird to pull away only one autorack. I was thinking of using the mirrors for the car lot though. There are huge parking lots where they keep all those imported cars that closed down the aforementioned GM and Ford automobile plants in NJ. a Mirror would probably help there. Good suggestion!

    because i'm MAD! *cues thunder and lightning*. In all honesty, I really don't run the largest frieght. The only locomotives regularly parked on my layout for actual running is probably my 44 tonner, my U23B, GP38, GP40-2, and when i finish them, my GP15-1s. I've got a U28B and a couple SWs that could use decoders, but other than that, i do run the small stuff. I only keep the big stuff on the outer oval, and even then, i'm feeling the burn. My older Walthers SEPTA cars can't handle 22" curves (the more recent NJ transit cars have no trouble though).

    I haven't run my autorack in years, except for around the christmas tree, and maybe once for a photo on the layout. I have a bunch of six axle power that is collecting dust, and if its not conrail, its in an even sadder state. I have a beautiful BNSF SD75M that gets pretty much no action, and i like that locomotive. This is part of the reason i want an addition, because i think i can get away with a 30" curve. Its really bad to call it an addition. THink of it more like a totally new layout conjoined with the old one.

    Personally though, 26" curves and #6 switches don't look all that cartoony to me. For the most part, i'm sure they'll be fine, especially for george roberts printing and the oil refinery, because industrial trackage like that typically has tight curves. You'll never really get rid of that cartoony look, because in real life, a tight curve for a mainline is 13 feet for an HO scale radius. As long as i can say "good enough" i'm fine.

    I was considering this as well, but then i realized that i could never satisfy myself with 1950s equipment. because I love the electrics, the only thing that would really be available to me would be GG1s, and maybe some MP54 EMUs. Everything else, like the P5s and FF2 boxcabs and all those juice jacks are only available in brass. While nothing is cooler than a triple headed GG1 freight thundering down the corridor, that would be just about all i could model. Besides, GG1s aren't that small (they are still bigger than the modern diesels for the most part), so size goes out the window.

    Yeah, thats pretty much what i limit myself to (some of my hoppers are alittle longer, but its not so bad that i can't run them). Like i said, i have the bigger stuff, but it collects dust, and nothing that cost me that much should ever collect dust!

    However, i think i can get away with those curves. I mean, i'll go for the biggest i can get on the mainline, but like i said, i'm not to concerned about sidings.

    I have an idea sketched out that i think i can do to fit in the bigger curves so you don't have to cringe to hard!
  4. CNWman

    CNWman CNW Fan

    The only way I can see that plan working is if you can put the cockpit glass in after you paint that area. Otherwise, just painting over the problem areas with a close match to the base paint, in this case probably Testor's aluminum pait, should fix the problem. On my A-10, the only color on the base model was the plastic molding's color (Neutral Gray I think), everything else either needed stickers or was left bland. Now, even with some color in certain areas like the negine fans, the model looks way better than the $5 peice of garbage it was at the start.

    For your double stacks clashing with your electrics, all I can sugest is that you keep the intermodials going on routes far away from the electrics as possible so you don't have that problem.

    Maybe you could take a few liberties in that case and freelance electrics hauling close autocarriers?

    Oh, you meant autoracks, I thought you meant tank car racks with you talking about the oil industry and all that, oops. Oh well, at least I was able to give you another better idea in the process:mrgreen: One thing you need to do if you're gonna try and make large parking lots loaded with cars: most of the cars should be sideways when reflected in the mirror. That way, it will seem like there are two cars side by side instead of two identical cars facing each other, the latter not really realisitc I think:p. A car turned to face the mirror here and there and some distance away might be okay, too.

    I throw relatively realistic running out the window right now, as I have to settle with only 18' radius curves. In your case, if you like it, do it! No one else is building your railroad. As for your engines gathering dust, maybe you could put in a little machine shop to "fix 'em up" as an excuse of having them on the layout? You had some car that wouldn't run right and were going to do that for it sometime back I think, and your PC Brass engine is still a poor runner, right?
  5. Triplex

    Triplex Active Member

    Exactly. It's a myth that modern railroading requires larger curves. Passenger cars haven't got much longer. And many railroads had very large steam. The PRR wasn't known for it... except west of Crestline.
  6. green_elite_cab

    green_elite_cab Keep It Moving!

    I only have so much space though, so i'm going to stick to just diesel operations. Besides, conrail is a bit late for electric operations. They only lasted into 1981, and i like to model a little more recently. (though Early conrail is still the rainbow railroad, lol)

    Probably. Its likely i'll just buy both the old open and closed types and run whatever i want when i feel like it, lol.

    If you look with google earth at one of these places, they all look like identical cars. I think i might park them diagnolly facing the mirror. I'll have to play with a mirror, because my brain hurts trying imagine it right now, lol.

    Once again, space is a worry. And yeah, i ran that thing the first time i got it, then never again, lol. I have it out for photos now and then, but i know someone who repairs brass, and so i'm going to send it to him for work.

    Well, there was always that old Great Northern Boxcab they used until the E44s showed, and of course the S1 ran out here a few times right?
  7. green_elite_cab

    green_elite_cab Keep It Moving!

    Well, i just picked up a dvd on the part of the NEC south of where i want to model, going from metropark to trenton. I think i might try and model the 4 tracks there just so that atleast i have somewhere to run my amtrak trains. I also picked up one of those CTT track planning templates, and its letting me have a little more freedom to play with different track ideas.

    I've also got a brand new Genesis Conrail Quality SD60M, so i'm going to have to put a decoder in that soon. I'm just concerned about the headlights, will i need to add resistors, or will they work if i plug it right into the circuit board?
  8. green_elite_cab

    green_elite_cab Keep It Moving!

    Well, i've been sketching away at a new track plan idea. I'm feeling better about leaning back towards frieght for now rather than the NEC. I figured out a way to fit a reasonable automobile transfer facility onto the addition. I worked it out so that there are two stubs capable of holding 4 autoracks for loading, and a three track yard. the inner and outer tracks will have capacity for another 4 or 5, and the middle track should allow my locomotives to escape, since its single ended yard. I have enough of a lead to fit two SD80MACs in there with the train, and i could probably cut it shorter considering i don't have to many large locomotives like that. I used #6s to save space, and a few #8s because it worked out better that way.

    I don't have the sketch scanned yet, but i used that CTT track planning template, so i'm hoping its works reasonably well. It doesn't even take up more that maybe a tenth of my space, so i still have more than enough room for my Oil refinery scene i want to model, as well as space for some other industries.

    I connected this addition with a wye to my old layout, so i can move trains between the two.

    so right now, there are only two big issues i haven't worked out yet. My first concern is whether or not i should double or single track the addition. It looks like it is mostly single track on the line i want to base it off of, but then again there are lots of long passing tracks in this area that might as well be double track when translated into a layout. double track also lets me run more trains. because of all the big industries, i'm starting to guess it won't matter because i'll need the side tracks two switch them without fouling the main anyway.

    The other problem is should i have a staging yard? I mean, I guess in the end, yes, is the answer. no good midsized layout doesn't have one. the problem is, i haven't quite worked out how to put one in. I'm convinced that i'm going to have to go under the layout with a staging yard, but I'm not sure how i'd do that within reason, while still maintaining the continuous running capability.

    Do i want to let the mainline run in an oval for continuous running, and have a branch off into staging? or do i want to let the mainline run down into staging and pop up again? How much space will it take? what kind of grades am i looking at? So far, i've managed to keep my curves broad (over 32), so i'd like to stick to that if possible. I think in the end, it matters how far down does the second level need to go to have reasonable space for me to reach into it to get a car or locomotive. Considering i want to run some tall equipment, it can't be to low.

    I'd also like to operate the layout like a point to point, so i need to find a way to hide the continuos running part of it.

    The third big problem is if i build a staging yard, the old yard on the old layout becomes pretty much pointless. its already to small for what i need to get done, and it takes up lots of space. I'm debating whether or not to remove it if i get a staging yard, and replace it with an industry or something.

    I guess i'll have to keep working it all out, but i'd love ideas!

  9. pgandw

    pgandw Active Member


    Why are you convinced you need a staging yard? Do you have an operational need for staging? Or is it because the model railroad press, media, and forums all insist staging is a good thing?

    IMHO, every bit of track on a layout should support your desired operations and operating style. If it doesn't, why is it there?

    Staging is a means of providing a flow of already made-up trains to run on the layout. This assumes that your "on-stage" layout can handle the number and frequency of trains that the staging will provide. How many operators do you normally have? How many trains can run simultaneously on the layout? Is your primary operating interest that of watching a parade of trains? Is it in weaving a local through oncoming traffic? Is it timetable operations? Staging made-up trains is almost essential for those type of operations because trains traverse our too-short main lines much faster than trains can be broken down and made up in model yards.

    Staging can also be used as "off-stage" points or interchanges for your railroad. In this case you may want to have the staging set up for some hand fiddling of rolling stock, since you want the cars leaving the modeled layout not to return for a while, and certainly not all in the same train. If this is the case, remember the staging must be sufficiently accessible for the 0-5-0 fiddling.

    OTOH, if you are operating solo, and are interested in the totality of a train's operation from make up at one point to break up at another (or a local returning to point of origin), staging isn't all that useful. The space is better devoted to modeled features.

    You speak of assuming continuous running, but in the next breath say you really want point-to-point, with the continuous run link hidden or disguised. If that is truly your desire, why do you want continuous run at all?

    Once you have a better idea of what you truly want, you will see what you need to do.

    my thoughts, your choices
  10. green_elite_cab

    green_elite_cab Keep It Moving!

    The flow of trains is exactly the goal. Where i plan to model has lots of industries and things to switch, which is my favorite part of the hobby because you're actually doing something. At the same time, this area also features lots of big trains deaded up by six axle power that just pass through. The line in real life is fairly congested

    I also own many of these models, and on my current layout i don't run them as much as i should because i realized i couldn't squeeze them on my layout.

    My theory is that having hidden staging and continuous running allows me to easily send different large thru trains out at will without having to take time to turn them around as i would with a purely point-to-point layout (i also don't have enough space for a practical layout of that type that could include these large trains). Maybe the same SD60I headed double stack train might pop up again, but it might only show up again after 4 other trains roll through from staging.

    I also know that one of the main features i want, autorack trains, require a large yard that i don't think i can realistically fit as a visible yard. The only way i figure i can fit this is with under-table staging so that i have a greater area for the trains.

    finally, some days i just don't feel like doing anything but relax and watch the trains roll, without having to throw switches or having to try to turn the train around. thats probably the biggest reason i want continuous running. I just don't like to see them show up every 10 seconds on que chasing their tails. Its good to let it dissappear for a minute and extend it's run.

    I wanted to keep the point to point aspect of operations for my local switching crews. On my current layout, the track work just doesn't work for the realistic kind of point-to-point operation of these locals. the runaround at that end of the layout is a joke, and the unless i pretend each half of the layout is it's own scene, the train litterally ends up a couple feet behind it's own tail on the other side when pulling out strings of cars. The hope is that my addition will have just enough length, and the right trackwork, to at least have the local return from the direction it came, even though it might heading out into staging. I'm willing to sacrafice a visible originating yard if it gives me more space to accomplish my other modeling goals.

    As you noted, staging is a good place to have another train ready to roll, so even though my GP15-1 pair might bring back a train of tank cars from my refinery, all they need to do is run back around and pick up another set of "empty" tanks cars to be loaded at the refinery.

    Basically, i would hope this would allow me to simulate the congestion on a small stretch of the line i want to model, while still letting me operate in a much more realistic but simpler manner.

    You can see in this photo why i want a larger layout as an addition, and why i'm unsatisfied with my yard and such. In fact, i've added a huge passing track along where the interchange is (to the left, heading off the layout), that contiunes all the way back to behind the plastic pellet transfer siloes. Even then, it only barely allows me to run some of the larger trains without getting in the way.

  11. Triplex

    Triplex Active Member

    Staging is really useful for exactly this purpose: simulating congestion on layouts that are less than huge. When trains cover the visible mainline in a short time and the yard isn't big enough to make up new trains fast enough, staging is needed.
  12. wpyr

    wpyr Member

    cool layout i like the pink bus and the rail yard.
  13. green_elite_cab

    green_elite_cab Keep It Moving!

    THats what i was thinking. Now i just need to figure out how to include it.

    yeah, the pink bus is actually a bermuda bus. If you have ever gone there, the whole island has these pink and blue buses that take you all over. They are like, characteristic of bermuda. I figured that would be a good souveneir for the layout!
  14. wpyr

    wpyr Member

  15. green_elite_cab

    green_elite_cab Keep It Moving!

    Here is the track plan so far. Only the upper regions seem definite. The lower left side is totally up for grabs, I figure its about where the lower curve is that i want to start trying to get down to a staging yard.

    any thoughts on how to do this?

  16. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    I've been following this thread, but I don't remember the size of your layout. 4 x 8 comes to mind, but I can't remember for sure. If it is 4 x 8, you will need to come off to the inside of your main and make your entire layout one big helix to get down to a reasonable level for staging with reasonable grades and curves.
  17. green_elite_cab

    green_elite_cab Keep It Moving!

    My original layout is 4x8. the total area of that picture is actually 8' by 14' (which is convenient because my track template was scalled 1"=1'. Anything you see there is open for a model railroad to be build on. You can see the corner of my original layout up at the top left.

    This layout is generally going to allow there to be 4-5" at the edges between the rails and the end of the table, and the curves i've maintained in the 32"-36" radius so far.

    This trackplan is decieving, because i don't intend to model a oval like that. Instead, i think the "left" leg of the Wye and the mainline there will go more or less straight to staging. the trains will travel out of staging from the the left side of the layout, and go to either my old layout, of continue "westbound" out onto the right side of the layout, which would be facing out where people could see easily.

    Rather than connect the oval, as the the mainline heads west, i'll have it pass under a highway bridge or something, and it will head into staging. In effect, the mainline is really a twice around, except one round will be below in staging. This might slow bigger trains down enough so that i would realistically have time to switch the industries with my local trains.

    This is assuming i can get the track to descend enough to fit the staging yard under it.
  18. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    How big is the oval?
  19. green_elite_cab

    green_elite_cab Keep It Moving!

    I think its about 11 feet long, using 36" curves on the outside, 34" on the inside. The actual table is longer under the autorack yard, so there is more space going that way, so i might be able to get a helix or something down there, atleast for the blue track.

    Here is an example of what i'm envisioning, using MS paint to kinda sketch in the basic plan. I hope to have the visible mainline wrap around the front, with a center pit so that i can reach places if i have to. the red and blue tracks are the tracks i'd expect to lead to staging. The green is about where i'd expect the scenery to end and have some sort of veiw block. Hopefully i can fit atleast one or two smaller industries in. I'm toying with the idea of Walthers magic pan bakery, or lakeville shipping (or their respective background building kits) to fit on one of the other sides. I already have Walthers George Roberts Printing, so that needs to go on somewhere.

  20. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    With it big enough for 34 & 36 inch radius curves and 4-5 inches on the outside of the 36 inch radius curves would give you plenty of room to put a double track helix at the end of the layout opposite from the staging yard. You could have one track going up with on going down, or use them in either direction with one going up to the North and the other going up to the South, and vice versa. With a helix, you don't need to put any roadbed under the tracks which buys you an extra 1/4 inch of clearance. A masonite retaining wall around the helix on both sides @ 1/2 inch tall will keep the trains from taking big drop to the floor. Leave the inside and the outside of the helix open except for the retaining walls, and you can crawl under and come up inside the helix if necessary to rerail a train. You would have room to open up the radius to 38 -40 inches depending on the width of your table at that end which should get you down as many turns as needed to get to your staging yard without having too great a grade. Using the formula pi times the diameter to get the circumference, 36 times 2 times 3.14 equals 226.08 inches. You need 3-4 inches of clearance between each level of a helix for the trains to clear. Dropping 3 inches in a 100 inch linear run equals a 3% grade. If my calculations are right, you can get a 4 inch drop in one turn at slightly less than a 2% grade. 1 & 1/2 turns down should get you 5 inches, or 2 1/2 turns would get you 9 inches of clearance for the staging yard. If you shift the entire helix as far to the end as possible with an 11 foot overall length and @ a 6 foot diameter, that leaves a 5 foot long staging yard. If the yard ladder is bent to curve across the layout diagonally, you pick up a few more feet. A train that is much more than 4 feet long will probably come close to chasing it's tail around the layout.

    The other method of making a helix to run under the full length of the bench work with the staging yard in the center of the helix would yield an oval shaped helix with a run of 346.44 inches for one turn which would allow you to drop 7 inches at 2% in one turn, 2 turns would yield 14 inches of clearance. Again putting an inside and an outside retaining wall 1/2 inch high to protect the trains from falling off the helix and then leaving it open would allow you to put your staging yard in the center of the layout. If my calculations are correct, you would have room to run 2 or 3 tracks in a "U" shape with a total length of @ 17 feet per track +/- 2-3 feet.

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