HO Scale Track Plan. HELP!!!

Discussion in 'Track Planning' started by TruckLover, May 20, 2006.

  1. TruckLover

    TruckLover Mack CH613 & 53' Trailer

    I want to design a new HO SCALE layout but I am stuck on the track plan. It will be on a 10' x 10' Layout with a 2' x 3' hole in the center to stand in.

    Two of the sides will be 10' long x 4' wide and the other two will be 10' long by 3' wide.
    I want a mainline or two and I am going to try and put the staging yard below the table so it does not take up room.
    I am not modeling an city or route. I just want it to be industrial like. All factories, warehouses, Lumber and Concrete facilities, and so on...
    I also want to have terrain. Maybe hills or a mountain or even throught a the desert.
    I am not going to have any passager trains so I don't want and stations.
    I also want to have lots of roads since I have tons of trucks and cars.
    It is going to be present day era.

    Any one have any ideas??

    Any info would be appreciated.:)
  2. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    I have a couple of questions. Will you have access from the outside of the layout? You need to keep in mind that you really can't reach more than 30 inches or so from whatever edge your at. On a 48 inch wide table, the last 18 inches will be out of reach. Also, as you reach over the layout, foreground structures and scenery will be "in harms way." Finally, trains look more realistic at or near eye level, and rule of thumb is the smaller the trains the closer to the eye they should be; but that creates another problem. The higher the railroad benchwork is, the shorter your reach is. At shoulder height, your reach is restricted to the distance from your armpit to your finger tips, and you can't do much if you can just barely touch something with your finger tips. I would consider making the benchwork 2 feet to a max of 30 inches wide. If you have room to access the outside of the layout, you might be able to enlarge it to go out to the walls with the narrower benchwork, and get a longer mainline run. You can get a lot of switching on a bench 2 feet wide, and use building flats against the backdrop to represent large industries.

    I remember our discussion in the General forum about dcc. I suspect since you are interested in the Athearn Gp40x that is coming out in October that you will be running fairly modern equipment, at least 1970's or 80's. If you are going to run large modern mainline power like Sd70macs, -8 44cw's, etc. then you probably should plan on a minimum radius of 22-24 inches. If you want to run auto racks or 89 foot flats, you will need to go with a 30 inch radius and #6 or larger switches for the mainline. Your industrial tracks can be tighter radius depending on what cars are to be spotted there. If a long car has talgo style trucks and couplers (coupler is fastened to the truck and pivots with it), they will handle tighter curves; but they tend to derail in any backing moves. It sounds like with your space, you have plenty of room to put in a wide radius. As a rule of thumb, the cars over 80 feet long in prototype will require at least a 28inch radius to switch reliably. Cars between 60' & 80' will work with 22-24 inch radius, cars below 60' long can use 18 inch or smaller radius. Four axle diesels like Gp40x, Gp50 or -4 40b's will work on 18 inch radius. If you need to put in a 15 inch radius for a tight space for an industry, and the engine you want to work it with won't handle the radius, you can put a bunch of 40 or 50 foot cars in front of the ones you want to spot to use as "handles" for the longer locomotive. Cement hoppers, for instance are generally shorty cars because of the weight of cement. Typically they are around 30-35 feet long. You can use tight radius curves around a cement plant.

    I guess I've rambled on enough.
  3. Triplex

    Triplex Active Member

    Note that he said "present day".

    I second most of what Russ said. I just have a couple questions:
    -What is the actual size of your room (not proposed benchwork)?
    -What railroad and region do you want to model? This is relevant, even if you're not modelling a specific city or route.
  4. TruckLover

    TruckLover Mack CH613 & 53' Trailer

    Thanks Russ Bellinis and Triplex.

    Russ - I will have an all around reach. ()from outside of the table and inside of the table. And I made a mistake on the benchwork measurements, the inside hole will be 2' x 3' but the two of the ends are 3.5' wide x 10' long, not 3' long. (the other two are still 4' wide x 10' long) And thanks for all the info on the track radius. I was planning on using small radius and did not even think of that.

    Trplex - I am going to have this one in my garage so there is enough room. And I am note sure about the regon and railroad. I want to have CSX, Union Pacific, BNSF/SF, and a few others. I also wnat it to be heavy industrial like I had mentioned at the top of this page.
  5. pgandw

    pgandw Active Member

    An operating pit 2ft by 3ft is very tight - barely enough room for a thin person to turn around in. It is certainly not enough room for 2 operators. You stated you had access to the outside of the layout as well. How wide are these access aisles? Do you plan to operate from the outside aisles or the inside pit? This will make a difference in your track plan.

    Also you might consider making one end very narrow, and making it a lift bridge or swing gate for access to your central pit. This will also have the beneficial result of making the inside pit bigger, and will result in less bumps to the layout and yourself when you come up from the duckunder too soon.

    The larger the layout, generally the more planning is required up front to get a workable result that will satisfy over the years it will take you to build it.

    my thoughts, your choices
  6. TruckLover

    TruckLover Mack CH613 & 53' Trailer

    I plan to operate from the outside, not the tiny pit. The pit is for me to access tough to reach areas only. There will also only be one operater, Me. As for making a lifting side, I am only 16 years old and fairly thin so going under the table to get in the pit is not a problem. I layed out the area of the pit on the floor and I was able stand comfortably in it.

    And yes, I will have to be carful and not stand up to quick coming out of the pit. But I am sure it is going to happen once or twice. :curse: :curse: It will probably create a 7.0 magnitude earthquake on the layoutsign1 sign1 sign1 but hopfully no damage will be done since most everything will be glued down.
  7. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    If you are going to model present day, you don't need to model an area where all of the railroads that you want run. If you pick the railroad you like best, or the area you want to model, the rest of the locomotives you like can be run on yor trains as pool power. Virtually all of the modern class one railroads participate in power pools where they trade power units around as needed.
  8. TruckLover

    TruckLover Mack CH613 & 53' Trailer

    Ya I was thinking of doing that. Thanks Russ :)

    As for the track layout, I was trying to create a custom one using Atlas Freeware Track Program but they don't have the 26" to 30" radius that I need for the engines and 85' cars.
    I guess I will just have to lay track out on the table and try to come up with something that works.
  9. Triplex

    Triplex Active Member

    My point is, do you have the whole garage area available? Or is there some reason some of the walls have to be kept clear? I ask because building along the walls may actually allow you to use more of the available square footage for layout instead of aisles. So, what are the dimensions of the garage? Can you put a layout against walls? Where's the entrance?
  10. TruckLover

    TruckLover Mack CH613 & 53' Trailer

    The garage walls have shelfs racks on them so I need to leave about 4' on each side for access to them.

    The garage door is obviously in the front. If you are standing in front of the garage door (while it is up of coarse) the door to go in the house is on the left and there is also a door to the side yard on the left. As for the dimentions of the garage, I am don't remember but I will double check to make sure it will all fit. I'll post the dimentions when I get back in town on Tuesday.

    I am also going to put the layout on wheels that lock/unlock in place so I can move it around if I should need more space to access a shelf.
    Is there any problems with putting a layout on wheels??
  11. green_elite_cab

    green_elite_cab Keep It Moving!

    if you click special, then shape flex track, you can put in the dimenisons for the curves you want.

    in any event, you certainly don't need 26-30" curves for that sort of thing. I made a layout with 22"s and 24"s that should work. I wasn't aware that you wanted to run autoracks though so there is no yard for that ( speaking of which, an auotrack yard is almost to big for anyone to model anyway, considering the size) , but the big diesels will be fine on this layout.

    all of it is atlas code 83. Each track is color coded if its important (it also makes it easier to see). Its a point to point run, with no continuous running.

    The mainline run arounds use #8s, the other 3 mainline switches are a #6 into the main industrial park, a # 4 to a team track, and i think another #8 into the cement complex. Towards the left, the mainline is hidden by containers ( or silos, I'll get to that later) so that you cannot see the tracks dip below the table to staging. the green tracks should start going down, hidden by the scenery, and by the blue tracks, it should be under the table and heading into a 24" helix. I didn't make a staging level, but it should really be a bunch of long tracks, and a reverse loop so the trains can turn around. Also on the mainline is a long run around track, and there should be enough room. that is higlighted in light blue. It is common practice on railroads (CSAO does this on the track near my house) to run to locomotives facing in different directions, so that one is always facing forward, and the crew can switch from one locomotive to the other, so you won't have to worry about pulling your trains long hood forward all the time ( unless you like NS to...)

    the Orange tracks are part of the cement complex. it has a #4 switch, one going Walthers Medusa cement, and the other to a loading dock for boxcars, as appears common when i look at suck facilites on google earth.

    the Dark Grey track is a team track, which takes generic freight from the surrounding area for businesses not right next to the tracks.

    Next is the whole Industrial park. The Purple track is the Industrial lead, which allows your trains to acess the Yellow and light Grey tracks.

    The yellow tracks could be a container facility for intermodal trains, or you can make it a grain elevator with lots of extra silos for grain trains. both should hide the tracks behind it and are interesting.

    the light grey tracks are supposed to be a junk yard, where you can bring in gondolas to take out the scrap metal.

    on the other side, you have 2 red tracks, and a tan track. the 2 red ones can be a generic industry ( like a ware house or something like Walther's Magic Pan modern bakery), while the tan one is a lumber yard. the lumber yard has a freight platform to recieve and deliver other shipments at the end of the track, while the res it devoted to centerbeam or end bulkhead flats loaded with lumber.

    There should be enough switiching here to to keep you busy for a while. the scenry is more or less based on Various places i've seen through out northern NJ ( where CSX, NS, CSAO aka Conrail, UP, CN, and occaisonaly BNSF trains can be seen). All in all, there should be enough room to run a pair of 6 axle diesels just fine, although they usually use smaller locomotives to do industrial switching.

    there is also about a 4' by 3' area in the middle to stand in. as long as the right side is open ( so you can reach that side of the layout) you shouldn't have any problems reachin anything.

    what do you think?

  12. sumpter250

    sumpter250 multiscale modelbuilder

    On the other hand, if your garage floor is level and smooth (possible, not highly probable)
    you can reduce that to maybe a 4.8 magnitude. :D :D :D
    The cross bracing of the benchwork would have to be well thought out, if you intend regular movement of the whole layout, on its wheels. I'd make sure everything on the layout was well secured, and that all your locos were safely stored before the move.

    -"Nothing is impossible, it's all a matter of probability"
  13. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    You will need joiner tracks for all connections between benches. I would not try to use any of the "brake systems" normally found on mechanic's rollaway cabinents, they aren't very effective for braking. I would use 1 of 2 systems. Snap -On uses a brake that actually lifts the cabinent slightly off the wheels to lock their largest cabinents. If you use that system, you will have to install your joiner tracks after the layout is "jacked" and remove the joiners before you lower it back to the wheels. A simpler method I would use is to get some 1"-1 1/2" angle iron, and cut pieces about 2" longer than the width of your wheels. Then drill the angle for bolts, put the angle against the wheels on both sides to chock them and run long bolts through the holes with nuts on the other side to lock the chocks in place. You will need a bolt and nut on each side of each wheel, to secure the wheel so it can't get away from the chock. Dipping the angle iron in some of the stuff they make for putting a plastic coating on mechanic's pliers would give you a somewhat nonskid surface.
    If you are going to put it on wheels, don't skimp on the wheels you buy. Get wheels at least 4"-6" in diameter. Garage floors always accumulate bits of junk, and since people don't normally do a lot of cleaning on the garage floor, you are going to find stuff on the floor trying to lock up the wheels when you try to move the benches. You want wheels that are big enough to roll over the junk.

Share This Page