Help needed for operational layout design.

Discussion in 'Track Planning' started by KCS, Aug 3, 2005.

  1. KCS

    KCS Member

    Hey guy's. I'm in a bind something fierce. I haven't started building on the bench work yet because I am completely stumped on the track design. I need something for an operational layout rather than a continuous running because of the lack of room. I've tried several track plan's but none worked so they have been scrapped. I'm using the Atlas RTS freeware layout design program. I'm not sure if I want to go with a "layered/multi level" layout and not sure if it can be done because of the small amount of space and not sure if there's enough room to run a train from up to lower levels without sever grades. Any track plan design's will be greatly appreciated and maybe if I can get a few of them to gather I can combine a few idea's from them. This is for HO and I won't be running any 6 axle locomotives and car's no longer than 60' scale feet but I would like to see a 22" curve go in there somewhere if possible. Thanks in advance.

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  2. Will_annand

    Will_annand Active Member

    Could I do a great N Scale layout in that space. :D

    In HO you are very limited. no space to turn around, hence you are stuck with a point to point layout with no continuous running trains. I see no way to incorporate multi levels here, unless each level is a totally separate layout.

    I would divide it into 3 sections and essentially build three dioramas, one on each wall.

    Ask yourself, "What do I want to see?"

    what era do I want? modern, transitional, 1920s, 1890s?

    do you want one big yard? steam servicing, diesel servicing, both.

    do I want a rural industry? Lumber camp, sawmill, mine, cattle pens, grain elevators...

    do I want urban industres? oil refinery, steel mill, manufacturing plant?

    do I want a town/city? Passenger and freight station.

    Once you find out what you really want to do with it, designing it will come easier.
  3. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery


    Please provide more details as per Will's questions.

    When I was designing my modules, I found that researching the prototype industries and towns I am interested in really helped to focus the track plan. Previously I had thought that I didn't really want to be too prototypical, but it did help a lot, even though I have ended up with a fictional town.

    Deciding the industries, landscape, era, and other features will help to define your track plan. Also, depite your closet doors, it may be possible to close the loop with a narrow bridge/shelf across the closet.

  4. shortliner

    shortliner Member

    Charles - this could have been designed to fit that room - you can always have an "add-on" board that extends into the closet for the "fiddle yard/storage tracks"
    You could always have a rising/falling trackboardat the back, to reach the tracks below if you wanted a two-level layout - see "48 topnotch trackplans" page 60(Kalmbach)
    Shortliner(Jack) away up here in the Highlands
  5. Tileguy

    Tileguy Member

    Any way you can do an around the walls layout and use the closet area for hidden staging??(remove the doors and use a backdrop)
    A lift up section could be used at the entry door.

    This would give the ability to run a full loop at leastand a second level could be gained using John Armstrongs technique rather than a helix or nolix.
    Another option for second level operation would be a train elevator hidden in the closet.
  6. KCS

    KCS Member

    I should have mentioned I can't use the closet because it is packed with box's and clothes. I store most of my trains in there been about 50% of it is trains along with a dresser etc, etc. I also should have stated that this will be a sectional free standing bench work because it's in a mobil home. Next would be concerning the layout being to high across the bedroom window. I own an extremely large drum kit and the bass drums stand the highest when everything is tore down and the tom's etc. can be double stacked under the layout because I also have to store these drums here when there are not at the practice room. as for the questions. what era do I want? modern. do you want one big yard? diesel servicing about 2-3 tracks, long enough for about 3-4 locomotives each. Do I want a rural industry? small grain would be nice. A trucking terminal, a concrete plant with a single siding that doubles into two before a dead end. not sure on the rest yet. I guess that'll go as space allows. No passenger service therefore I don't own any passenger trains. I can't go N scale because I'm already involved in HO. Once a track plan is made up I will add in dead end tracks to add on to later in time once I move. I am including a couple pictures of the drums so there's an idea of how much equipment will be stored underneath but also because of my concern with the height. The bass drums from top to bottom stand 2' 1/4" and the window seal is at 2' 3" from the floor. So I'm trying to figure out how I can get the drums under the bench work without modifying it being 1x4 bracing with 3/4" ply wood base so the bench work is at window level so the sliding glass window is not obstructed in anyway and the bench work can't be seen from out side, just land scape. Also back to the closet ordeal. Even if I did clean it out which I can't because I don't have any other place for this stuff the closet is only 2'-2'1/2 feet deep at the most.
  7. KCS

    KCS Member

    Opp's. I forgot the pictures. I'm still pretty groggy from the medication the doc perscribed me. I had a nice long day nap :thumb:

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  8. ajroland

    ajroland Member

    Will, I have a space almost identical to this one. 115"x91" with a 28"door in the corner just like his drawing. I am planning an n scale layout around the room. I too am having a very hard time with a track plan. I am planning to model modern day Norfolk Southern trains. I want both around the room long run and lots of switching. I have a lot of prototype maps, but, I can't seem to get over the hump. I checked out your web site and your plan looks great. Do you have a knack for doing track plans? If so, let me know.
  9. Will_annand

    Will_annand Active Member

    Ajroland, no knack, sorry.

    In my case I detailed out the prototype. I drew out what the trackwork would be from old diagrams and maps. Then decided what would be the best bench layout that would get the most footage. My space is not a complete room but an alcove, so I had three walls to work with. I came up with the "M" shape as it provided the most landscape. Then I attempted to bend and shorten the prototype to fit the bench.

    I wanted continuous running as well as operation, thus the reurn down each end and along the back. The central WYE simulates the line from Cataract (on the center penninsula) to Elora (off bench). It also provided for turning trains so they could appear from the north or south. The end returns both drop from 2" out front to 1/2" along the back.

    There are no tunnels in the area I model so none were included on the layout. When complete, the ends and back will be semi hidden by the foreground scenery.
  10. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery


    You are on the right track (sorry for the pun... ;) ). While I am not a huge fan of Tony Koester's Layout Design Elements (from MR), there is something to be said for looking at the prototype.

    Take a look again at your maps, and think about the specific industries that you want. How much room do they take? What sort of configuration? Start to lay them out on paper to get a feel about how they might work as a model railroad (e.g. your model yard will not be as big as the real thing... an industry might have four tracks in the real world, but only two on your model).

    Once you have done that, stringing the industries together and providing a loop for continuous running may come easier.

  11. ajroland

    ajroland Member

    Thanks, for the help guys. I just hope that putting in a turnout after you have laid the mainline is not really hard. I have a feeling that things will change as I go.

    I am tired of sitting around sketching plans. I am ready to see a train run. I think I am going to go ahead and start laying the main track.
  12. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

    Adding and/or changing tracks is not too big a deal. Just make sure you get it right (i.e. you are satisfied) before you ballast. Removing ballast makes changes much more difficult.

    If you have a scanner, why don't you put up some of your sketches for comment?

  13. KCS

    KCS Member

    Well, I've talked with the parents and tried to negotiate with them for trackage rights in my room only as I don't need it to go out the door and across the washer and dryer. All failed. It turned out so bad with my Mom that I felt like I was in court battling it out with Union Pacific over a misused logo. Step dad didn't seem to mind even though he doesn't have an interest for trains. So building a layout has been over ruled, a project thrown out, a foreman out of work, and no train movement. This really sucks. I would build a building out on the back of the one acre lot but it's in contract that anything has to be built or moved onto the property within one year of purchase which means if I move a building on it now then that will void out the contract. I work on trains 200 some-on days out of the year and only get to run about 3-4 weekends out of the year. I wonder if there is something else I can do to build a layout that can be stacked when not in use to conserve space but not permanent to the house.
  14. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    Is there a modular club in ho scale near you? A 4' long module is easy to store and transport. You'll be able to run your trains on a much bigger layout than you could ever build at home, and you will find fellowship and help from more experienced modelers in the club. If you don't know of any clubs, if there is a hobby shop that handles trains in town, they may know of local clubs.
  15. shortliner

    shortliner Member

    Charles - if you want a "stand-it-up-in-the-corner" layout, come over and have a look at
    poke through the files and see if something takes your fancy. On the home page, you'll find addresses for our two sister groups, which hold the files for all the plans we couldn't fit on the main group. Hope it helps
    Shortliner(Jack)away up here in the Highlands
  16. shortliner

    shortliner Member

  17. KCS

    KCS Member

    Russ Bellinis- "Is there a modular club in ho scale near you?"-- To answer this question yes there are. There are a couple. One is a privately owned not really a club but the guy has regular operating sessions, an N scale club, and the club I'm in and have been in for 14 years now. --"A 4' long module is easy to store and transport." Our modules are 6' long and are stacked on homemade steel racks that holds 3 modules stacked on top of each other. We are well known for our animated scenery --"you will find fellowship and help from more experienced modelers in the club."

    Fellowship has been there for many years as most of the guy's have known me sense I was in dippers. I have more experience than a 10 year old lab rat lol. Na I've yet to find anyone near my age to know as much as I do. (not to brag) I've always been the one with questions thrown at me from people around my age or younger. I've built a 4x8 layout once but that was nothing. However this design was a bit more complex and I had never tried it. "if there is a hobby shop that handles trains in town, they may know of local clubs."

    We no longer have a train shop anymore because the owner passed away this last spring who was also a club member of ours. Point being is that I wanted to build something in my house so I could play trains whenever I got the notion to without having to battle getting out in traffic to go use the club layout which is in a 80' dinning car completely on the other side of town having to drive threw Stonewall, Shreveport, Bossier City, and Haughton to get there which is about an hour drive and the layout isn't even completed yet. As for the privately owned, that guy is something else.

    You can't bring your own trains unless they are DCC and everything meet's his specifications which would take you the whole operation session to get right. That guy is ridiculous with it. So just had it in mind to build a little somethin' somethin' of my own but it fell threw so I'll just have to wait until I can get out of here.
  18. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery


    Don't give up just yet. If you enjoy the model building aspect of MR, then put the trains on hold (I know it is hard) and take a look at TomPM's work here at The Gauge. He has created some amazing dioramas that will all eventually find their way into a layout... While he can't strictly run trains on them, they do keep him busy!

    Try a search for any posts by TomPM...

  19. TrainClown

    TrainClown Member

    If you are cramped for space, you may decide to get an old box trailer. I have one that is 6.5' wide and 14' long. A trailer could be parked on the property and moved when ever you like.

    just an idea.

    TrainClown ;) :wave:
  20. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    I would build a shortline railroad in that space. If you want to make it a part of a bigger layout in the future, you could start with a "U" shaped mainline on the outside edges. A 36" radius with easments will actually fit in a 4'x4' space, so you have plenty of room in the two corners to run your 22" radius or even go a bit bigger if you want to. At a 3' height, reaching the back of the benchwork would not be too difficult. You would probably want some places to use a hand for support as you lean over the layout to rerail rolling stock in the back. Some parking lots, or other large "asphalt" areas could be strategically located and properly reinforced to support your upper body weight. If the "U" shaped mainline is to the back, put in spurs to the front with some passing sidings for run around tracks. I see space for what looks like 6'+ on the right side, 9'3" across the back, and 3'+ on the left side. That give you a lot of space for industries that could provide a lot of switching interest. In the ho forum there is a post about a timesaver layout in which someone linked On that site under the Small Layout Scrapbook section he has one titled "Gump Stumping." That section shows a module from the Orange County Module Railroaders that is estimated to be 8 feet long, but is actually 10 feet long. I've operated on that module set many times and found that it can take a couple of hours to spot a cut of cars on the lower run aroudnd tracks, and then deliver the cars to various sidings on that set. I don't know how to draw a layout design and post it to this site, but I may have thrown out some ideas that some of the other "layout gurus" on this site can run with for you.

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