Discussion in 'N / Z Scale Model Trains' started by FatalPuls3, Feb 1, 2006.

  1. FatalPuls3

    FatalPuls3 New Member

    Im trying to add a small switching portion to my layout. Please see attached image, the black is the current layed and nailed portion of my layout. the read circle is where i want to be able to delivere cards and stuff to business in there.

    ideas please help.

    Attached Files:

  2. pgandw

    pgandw Active Member

    Without knowing some dimensions, and specifics of what you are trying to achieve, it's difficult to be much help.

    The inner portion of small ovals is notoriusly difficult to use well. How far of a reach from the side is the red area? What is its size? Are you willing to take up some of your existing trackage to end up with a better layout? Quite often, switching operations are better done closer to the benchwork edge - it saves reaching across main line trackage, running trains, and scenery.

    What era and prototype (if any) are you modeling? How long are your typical trains on this layout? More importantly, what size (length) are the locomotives and the cars you will be using for switching? What is your minimum radius in the switching area? Do you prefer a yard, or an industrial area? What industries do you fancy?

    Will you have trains running on the loops while you are switching in the red area? If so, do you have controls for 3 locomotives? Are you using DC or DCC? How do you plan to uncouple your cars - with uncoupling magnets? using delayed uncoupling features? with bamboo skewers? reaching in and lifting your cars apart? If you are using uncoupling magnets and/or delayed action, have you ever tried it to see if it will work with your cars reliably?

    Good layout planning means having to think through these issues because what each of us likes in a model railroad can be so incredibly different. You have a vision of what you want your layout to be. For us to help you build YOUR vision, we have to understand YOUR vision, not our own. By adding what we have found to work and not work, we can help you not to make the same mistakes, and create something that will work well and bring you enjoyment for a long time.

    Looking forward to some of your answers to the questions.

    yours in planning
  3. FatalPuls3

    FatalPuls3 New Member

    I have no era preference no prototype nothing that deep. that layout is 4x6 and yes i might rip up some other track that inner portion is probabaly about 3ft by 1 and half feet
  4. pgandw

    pgandw Active Member

    OK, I still need at a very minimum the dimensions of the passing siding on the branch leading to the industrial area, and the length of the 2 spurs at the end of the branch. The best would be a reasonable scale drawing or a decent photograph from above with some cars in place on the track.

    What types of industries appeal to you? Logging, mining, rural town, saw mill, giant steel foundry, city industrial area? If you only answer one question, it would be, "Are there particular structures you have in mind for that area?"

    What radius curves did you use on the outer 2 loops? Is it sectional track or flex track? What brand? What engines and cars do you already have?

    Do you want a switching puzzle, a yard, or an industry scene? How many more turnouts do you want to use?

    What kind of scenery do you have or are planning for outside the red area?

    I'm asking these questions because I don't have enough sense of scale or what you are envisioning for the red area. The 4x6 overall helps, but since I normally use HO, I need more help from you to get a sense of scale, and what might fit. And since you don't give any idea of your vision, I can spend a lot of time proposing literally dozens of different designs for that area - and all would meet your criteria! Or you can provide more information about your desires - or at least what you have already done - so that I can quickly narrow down to the 2 or 3 possibilities most likely to satisfy you.

    If I start with the virtually totally blank sheet (a 1x3 area in the center of a 4x6 table)I've been given, I design what appeals to me instead of what is likely to appeal to you.

    Personally I prefer HO shortline and HOn3 common carrier, rural and mountainous scenery, set in Oregon about 1900. My engines are steam, 2-8-0 and smaller, with some geared locomotives. I use short passenger cars (50ft or less); I enjoy switching but would like to have a continuous run in both standard and narrow gauge if possible. I do not want much dual gauge track. Minimum radius is 18 inch for standard gauge (can consider 15 if operation improves enough), and 15 inch for narrow gauge (18 in minimum preferred here too). I do not want a Timesaver puzzle, but would enjoy milder switching challenges. I would run 2 trains at most simultaneously - one unattended on a loop, while the other does some switching.

    I have or would like to build the following structures: Woodland Scenics tie and plank mill, single stall engine house and turntable (9.5 inches in standard gauge), a stockyard and loading pens, a very small ice storage house and reefer loading, a log loading scene, and a mine head and ore loading. I'd like a 2 car length platform to transfer freight from narrow gauge to standard gauge, with a crane of some type to assist. Engines are coal burning and will be loaded by shovel from a parked gondola. Small towns, dirt roads, team tracks, and horse-drawn vehicles are the order of the day. I would also like a harbor and wharf area where sailing schooners carry lumber out and bring general merchandise in. The wharf area would also contain a fish cannery and a marine supply and repair facility.

    Do you see how the above pretty much defines my layout design for me? While I may not be able to get it all in in the space I have, I know I needn't bother with designs for city industrial areas, oil refineries, steel mills, or other large single industry complexes. But what suits me doesn't necessarily suit you. And what I am trying to do would take lots of scratch building to accomplish in N scale.

    Another way to help get a feel for what you would like is to look at pictures of other people's layouts (or visit them in person). What particular scenes appeal to you most? What scenes didn't you care about at all?

    yours in planning
  5. FatalPuls3

    FatalPuls3 New Member

    The inside branch off is about 2 feet long and those tails on teh right are only 1 straight standard peice of atlas long. im looking for a deliverey/business much more than a puzzle. like paper, wood, lumber, metal, stuff like that. some trees little hills maybe not to crazy. but like that
  6. pgandw

    pgandw Active Member

    My suggestion would be to add some spurs into the red area feeding off the branch just below it. Use either the Atlas RTS track planning software (which works very well with the sectional track you appear to be using and is a free download) or mess around with actual pieces of track on the table set out temporarily until you get something you like.

    Leave some room for structures - Walters catalog often has dimensions of strcuctures and the RTS software has some also.

    If you use switchback spurs - the kind where you have to reverse locomotive direction and throw a turnout to get into - make sure the switchback tails are at least long enough to hold your switching engine plus one car. If the tails don't hold at least one engine and a car, the spur will be unusable.

    For switching interest, have spurs facing both directions.

    These suggestions are quite vague for a reason. I don't know where the rest of your layout design came from. I don't know whether you chose it deliberately to run two longer trains simultaneously, or whether it is an outgrowth of a toy train setup. If the latter answer is correct, there are many, many HO 4x8 to 6x10 ft published designs that could fit into your space in N, and will provide different types of operational interest. There are also many N designs published that will also fit your space, and again, most support some types of operation better than others.

    Experiment on your own with the software and/or track pieces on table and have fun with the hobby!

    yours in planning

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