Granite Gorge & Northern in Unitrack

Discussion in 'Track Planning' started by csxnscale, Apr 8, 2006.

  1. csxnscale

    csxnscale Member

    This plan is based on the GG&N, and it is a 9' by 4' 2"" layout.
    Switching only happens in the yard, which is designed not to fool the main.
    I think for a single operator this layout is O.K.
    Any positive critics ?

  2. csxnscale

    csxnscale Member

    Sorry the 1.5" level should be 1", it must be the good beer we drink on saturday nights in Belgium :cry:
  3. csxnscale

    csxnscale Member

    try again

    Try again to post a picture of the plan

  4. pgandw

    pgandw Active Member

    Still cannot bring up your plan, so my comments are base on the Atlas version. I have studied and seen the Atlas version built. Whether it is a good plan for you depends on how you want to operate. The GG&N is best suited for the MR who likes to see 2 trains operating continuously through dramatic mountain scenery in a minimal amount of space. Because of the double track figure 8 over and under or twice around oval configuration, fairly long trains (for the size of table) can be run without looking like they are chasing their tails. But it really isn't very good for any other kind of operation.

    For switching

    - The yard is in the interior and lower than the higher tracks and mountains on every side. It would be very difficult to switch the yard because of the lack of a good view of uncoupling ramps and turnout positions. The solution to the yard view is to build the layout low, which would detract significantly from the view of the trains going over the bridges and through the mountains (ideally should be viewed near eye level).

    - There are no connections to the outside world, and very, very few industries to switch. There is no staging to simulate any of this. There is no apparent or plausible reason for the GG&N "to be".

    To summarize - one of the best "spectator" layouts for the space. A great learning layout for the next step beyond the 4x8 plywood central in construction and operation. Not much fun for the "engineer" or "dispatcher" to operate.

    my thoughts, your choices
  5. Triplex

    Triplex Active Member

    Strange, considering that John Armstrong designed it. He usually planned layouts to give engineers and dispatchers something to do.

    If, as your name suggests, you're building it in N, you're in luck. 4'2" x 9' is almost as big as the original 5' x 9' HO plan. Lots of room for scenery.

    I still can't see your plan.
  6. Evan

    Evan Member

    Track planning for Realistic Operations


    I can't recall the exact page number, but in John Armstrong's book Train Planning for Realistic Operations, he changes this plan slightly by add a siding or 2, and also connecting the lines on the left. I'll try dig it out and let you know.

  7. pgandw

    pgandw Active Member

    True, John Armstrong designed the GG&N. But remember what Atlas was commissioning him to do - design relatively simple- and inexpensive-to-build layouts that put Atlas products in their best setting. These layouts were designed in the late '50s and early '60s, when massive amounts of RTR locomotives and rolling stock were not available. Outfitting your entire fleet with couplers that both coupled and uncoupled consistently was beyond the reach and ability of most beginning modelers. DC block control wiring and reversing loops were difficult for many MRs to understand. And unless they belonged to a club, magazines and books were the only source material for learning how to do things. There was also no computer software to use as a check for clearances, errors in fitting, etc. That's why Atlas had most of these layouts at least partially built - to check for these errors.

    To keep things simple, the GG&N was specifically designed not to have reversing loops. Although it looks like it does, there aren't any as drawn. The modifications suggested by Evan in Armstrong's Track Planning for Realistic Operations do add reversing loops. The GG&N was also required to feature Atlas bridges, Atlas track, and Atlas wiring products. When the layout was designed, wiring products such as Atlas were the norm, as were central control panels. Atlas Controllers, Selectors, Connectors, and switch controllers do NOT support walk-around control, nor are they very useful with large numbers of blocks or turnouts. The reason for the latter is the gang mounting so that you have to memorize which electrical switch controls which block or turnout, or at the very least refer to numbers and letters on a track diagram. All of these factors make switching operations relatively difficult, and favor "spectator" type track plans. I know from having built 2 Atlas layout designs in HO - Simplicity and Great Plains, and an expanded Grand Trunk Western - as a teenager with my Dad.

    Furthermore, most MRs in the '50s and '60s came from tinplate - Lionel and American Flyer - backgrounds. Tinplate is designed for spectator operation. Slow speed operation and switching does not come naturally in the tinplate world, and is usually quite frustrating unless equipment modifications are made.

    To make switching fun, you really need local control of train and turnouts, combined with decent sight lines for coupling and uncoupling. You also need reliable couplers that permit pushing without derailing, and a reliable uncoupling system. And finally, you need locomotives that perform well at switching speeds. Putting all these considerations together was rare before the late '60s, and so many (but certainly not all) layout designs from before then tend to minimize switching.

    That said, I have modified many plans from that era that I do like to make them more operationally satisfying from an "engineer" perspective. I personally don't care for operating "dispatcher" style - I have to do too much teamwork on the job. I prefer my MRing solo or with 1 good friend.

    In fact, my ultimate plan puts together modifications of the Portage Hill yard from the PH&C of MR 1962-1963, the Sierra Pintada from MR 1966, the Gum Stump & Snowshoe (MR Sept '63 and Apr '66), and the Tidewater Central from MR Dec '56.

    my thoughts, your choices
  8. csxnscale

    csxnscale Member

    Thanks for reply gang, first this is a modified version of the gg&n.
    All turnouts are #6, smallest radius is 315 mm = 12.4" and most curves are eased with 19".Track is Unitrack, scale is N.
    Switching is only possible in the yard, but that is enough for me, the only withdrown for myself is that the grades are 3%, but doubleheaded power with 12 pieces of rolling stock should do the trick.
    Try again to post the plan.(tirth try, hope this one is no ooooops)


  9. pgandw

    pgandw Active Member

    Right now, it looks like a pretty good rendition of the GG&N.

    You could add a spur and team track (and possibly freight station) to the Small Town Passenger Station - it would fit in very nicely there. Also, a turntable or industrial area branching off to the right of the yard would fit.

    The other change I would make would be to rotate the layout slightly counter-clockwise. This would makes the sides less parallel to the edge of the table and improve appearance. The effect and the rotation could be magnified if you could add about 4" more width.

    Last - do you plan to use DC or DCC? In either case, I would think you would want portable, hand-held, or wireless throttles so you could see your trains from different vantage points, and both sides of the table.

    My suggestions, your choices
  10. csxnscale

    csxnscale Member


    Thanks for the tips about team track and freight station and industrial spur at the yard.
    But no room for 4" more to rotate the plan, I have to live with that, but I think scenicing will aprove the appearance and break the view on the straight track.


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