Is There a Contest for World's Worst Track Plan?

Discussion in 'Track Planning' started by Quinn222, Dec 17, 2006.

  1. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

    I think I recall that the 2' wide bench along the wall is "built in". May I suggest that you get another door or two to put on top so that it can be removed along with the rest of the tructure in case of (1) hurricane, or (2) electrical work?

    Also, what height is the existing benchwork? Will your dad be able to sit at it as well? If it's "stand-up" height, you will have a heck of a grade to get down the other part of the layout if it is to be operated from a chair.

    I think that Russ' ideas are great, and will afford the opportunity for a lot of operations, but if your emphasis is a showcase for structure models, you may want to keep it simple as per your original plan.

    My $0.02 ;)

  2. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    I thought the entire bench was available for the railroad. What you could do which would not add too much height to the layout at all along the line of Andrew's suggestion is to cut a piece of luan door skin material to fit the existing bench. Now cut off however much you need to remove to make space for electrical panel access. That becomes a removeable section that would connect to the permanent part via joiner tracks and some sort of small electrical plug in for track power. In the event someone needs access to the electrical panel, just unplug that section, and remove it. You might put a small shelf under the bench as a place to store that portable section when it is taken out so that it isn't damaged. Maybe even better than a shelf would be uprights spaced to mount 2 cleats so that the section could just be slid in place like a drawer. That way you don't have a shelf to store things on when it needs to be open for that layout section. The rest of the luan can be laminated to the top of the bench, or if you want it removeable for some unseen future reason, a drywall screw in each corner would fasten it down and be easily covered with a bit of plaster and scenicked. If you need to remove the screws, break out the plaster over them, and unscrew, the top then comes off for a move or whatever. If you centered the screw holes one inch in from the corner in each direction at each corner, a ruler would make easy location of the screws after scenery materials were hiding the screw heads. By the way, I would reccommend using an inch or so of foam laminated to the luan if it is to be removeable, a long piece of unreinforced luan will flex enough to put cracks in plaster type scenery materials.

    Now to locat the wye. The wye would be centered just about where you wrote "36 inch door" on your drawing. You show a left hand turnout at the end of your oval. I would reccomend a #6 turnout with the curve being part of the curve in the oval and the straight would be one corner of the wye. Your plan show a right turnout leading into a second left turnout facing the other way for your branch line (red line). In my plan, that turnout would be the start of a branch line gradually climbing a hill that goeas around the central backdrop going to your logging camp and coal tipple. By the way, if the plan is getting too busy at that point, the logging camp could be made into a sawmill in a high plateau, and eliminate the log cars completely. Show a dirt road in the background with trucks bringing in logs, and the train hauls out lumber. Now off this "rabbit trail" and back to the subject. The crossing is eliminated; and in it's place you install a "Y" switch. That is a turn out where both directions lead into a curve there is no straight. The right side of the "Y" switch will be a part of the oval mainline, and the left side will be the second coirner of the wye. You will need to use broad radius curves to have reliable backing of full length passenger cars, so making a curve of appropriate radius, you put in the third turnout for the wye where the track from the end of the oval and the track from the wye switch meet. By the way, "Y" switches are very compact, but if I remember correctly the radius through them is broad so backing full length passenger cars through one should not be a problem.
  3. Quinn222

    Quinn222 Member

    It is available but since people will be reaching over the railroad in that spot I want to keep it simple, a yard or something like that with not many structures.

    I'm going to have to draw out your plan, it sounds great but I'm having a hard time picturing where everything goes!
  4. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    In looking at your benchwork drawing again, there is a medium brown section @ 3' by 1 1/2' at the end of the 36 inch door. If that section could be enlarged slightly to 3' by 2.5', I think you would have room there for your fishing village scene, maybe a small town depot along the mainline to let off passengers at the picturesque little fishing village.

    Then your permanent bench could have the main passenger terminal at the back of the bench (so no one needs to reach over the top of the structure & details), and a yard in front of the passenger terminal. Put switches sbout 12"-18" from the ends of the yard tracks to allow crossing over between all of the yard tracks to allow your locomotives to clear the switches, change tracks, and escape. I would make the yard tracks all end about 12" from the end of the bench. In the center of the end of the bench I would install a turntable to turn the engines around on (I'm still presuming steam, since diesel engines would probably run in 2 unit sets with a cab at each end so wouldn't need turning.)
  5. Quinn222

    Quinn222 Member

    I was thinking about this some more today and part of the problem is that there isn't a lot of room to turn trains around for continuous running. It occured to me that while I could not expand the banchwork to the right at all I could encroach to the left into the aisle, but not by much. Just one foot though would turn the entire right side into a 4x8 and simplify my benchwork while at the same time giving me a little more room to work with.


    radius is quite limited there but it does help open up a few more options.
  6. Quinn222

    Quinn222 Member

    Now, working with this bench and since I can't seem to come up with much I tried this:


    You may recognise part of it. I took the plan that Galen drew for Nazgul and flipped it, then stretched it slightly and used it as a starting point. Still needs work though but I think it's getting at least a bit closer. I'm not thrilled with having track cross the 'forbidden zone' but it's not much and it's not totally unreachable, especially if I'm willing to cut into the door.
  7. railohio

    railohio Active Member

    Is there a wall on the right side of your plan ?If there is I think you'll have a difficult time reaching the back of that 4x8 section. If not, carry on, lads. :D
  8. Quinn222

    Quinn222 Member

    There is no wall on the right, the only wall is at the top behind the long bench. The right side faces the garage door. The long bench continues right up to the door but part of it has to be saved for storage etc.
  9. Quinn222

    Quinn222 Member

    Yet another version. This one gets the track out of the middle but I have a clearance problem where the track that is rising in elevation (red arrows) meets the return track coming down (in green). I'm also concerned this doesn't leave anough room for scenery but since the track is not drawn to scale I'm not sure. I haven't got any spurs or sidings drawn in or the yard on the bench.

  10. Quinn222

    Quinn222 Member

    I'm getting closer to something I can use:

  11. Ralph

    Ralph's for fun!

    You are getting there! You know, for a guy who crammed a lot into his own layout I'm beginning to see the value of simplifying things. I wonder if your elevated lopp will be a source of frustration for you if you try to get it to reconnect for continuous running like you have. Is that blue line that grosses the gre above the wye a crossing or a bridge over the track? I don't think you'll have enough room to cross over that track and reconnect to the green main just left of the wye without an outrageous grade. Would you consider making the elevated portion a branch that ends at an industry? Trains could back hopper cars up the branch to a mine or you could have a turnaround siding at the end of the branch for locos to move around cars left at whatever company is up there.

    That long two foot wide section at the top is ideal for a yard and waterfront scene. If you cut out that blue loop you could reposition the wye to allow the main to curve into the long section more to the right so you'd have a longer lead that would let you have longer yard tracks. I think you may be a little optimistic about how squeezing a four track lader into seven feet as you hav now...but I'll go downstairs and measure my own yard! :)

    Keep pondering! Believe it or not some of us actually enjoy this planning part of the hobby! :)
  12. Ralph

    Ralph's for fun!

    Well OK, I have a three track yard in a seven foot space. The shortest of the three tracks is five feet which can accomodate about nine of my 40 ft HO cars.
  13. Quinn222

    Quinn222 Member

    That should be ok then, the fourth track isn't really going to get any use, it only has to hold a locomotive. I was planning on using it as my programming track for DCC.

    The blue crosses the green at grade. The real problem with the whole thing at this point is where the various tracks cross, either at grade on with elevations. The red crosses itself and I don't think I'm going to have clearance and then it crosses the green at the base of the wye and I'm sure I will not have clearance there.

    I could cut out the blue loop but my dad (who is in this with me) really wants a lot of continuous running so I hate to lose that. I may have to though. In addition to the crossing issue as I have it drawn now (which isn't quite to scale) I've got a whole bunch of stuff all coming together at a turnout that crosses a seam in the benchwork, something to be avoided as in the event of a cat3 or higher hurricaine this thing is going to come apart at the seams (literally) for storage.

    I'm going to go back and have a look at the Magnolia Route (which has a very simple track plan) and also the new Peninsula on the Pennsy Middle Division that Dave Frary and Scott Mason added recently. That also looks like a simple plan on a similar (though longer) bench.
  14. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    I have an idea you might consider. I would leave the wye where it is and leave the yard on the permanent bench as drawn.

    My idea is to use a folded figure 8 for your mainline on the two doors with the center divider. If I counted squares correctly, that would give you a 5.5' x 13' area to use. It could also be like a big oval helix only with one line inside the other. The tracks would come out of the wye and start a gradual climb around the benchwork. You have plenty of room to run a 28" radius and overlap a second loop above the first on a 28" radius but offset. By the time you get back to the wye the track should have gained enough elevation to cross over the first track on a bridge. Where you cross can be adjusted slightly to make hurricane storage easier. After the mainline crosses over itself, it would begin a gradual drop back down to join the other tail of the wye again at bench level. Model a mountain in the middle adjacent to either side of the center divider. At some place near your upper elevation install a switch leading onto a high bridge or trestle, kind of like the Keddie Wye on the Western Pacific, only you would be modeling Applachia. Your branch line would run over the trestle or bridge to the mountain where it would go to both the coal tipple and the saw mill. I'm presuming that you would run your shorter freight cars and smaller engines on the branch, so an 18-22" radius would work. If you want to turn your engines make a small engine terminal with a 2 stall backwoods engine house and small turntable at the sawmill which would be at the end of the branch. Put in extra tracks under the tipple and at the sawmill so that you can bring empties up the branch and haul lumber loads and coal loads back down. In the case of the sawmill, you wouldn't have to use flats to haul the lumber. In the 1940's & 1950's lumber was often hauled in boxcars. Of course, you would also have the opportunity to haul in a flat loaded with a Woodland Scenics cat or road grader to the saw mill for use on up the mountain for making roads for the logging trucks to use bringing the logs down to the sawmill, and boxcars loaded with explosives for the coal mine as well as flats loaded with rail for use in the underground mine. You could also make 2 branch lines, one coming off the mainline to the center divider on one side for say the coal tipple, and the second branch coming off the mainline on the other side of the layout going to the other side of the divider for the sawmill. I'm still not sure where to put your fishing vliiage/small harbor scene. I'm thinking maybe a portable section of the layout that could be temporarily joined to the lower right corner of the railroad directly below the wye. I think you could do something on a 2' x 4' module. In fact any sidings could be kept on the main benchwork, if it is too tight, add a 6-8 inch shelf to hold a siding and then model just structures and scenery on the module. It could even be on wheels and be rolled up to add scenic interest when operating and rolled away, perhaps into the middle of the aisle between the permanent bench and the main layout in between operating sessions.

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