Kent's RR plan

Discussion in 'Track Planning' started by KentBy, Feb 26, 2008.

  1. KentBy

    KentBy GN, NP, SP&S

    Well I have progressed to the point that I am ready to start putting out ideas and getting back feedback and better ideas. So here goes. This will be a HO layout. With mixed passenger and freight. I would like to have an area for logging operations. Set in the mid 50s so that I can run both steam and diesel engines.
    I now have rights to the end of the family room for construction. The end wall is 16ft 9 inches across and I can protrude out from that wall up to 14 ft in the middle, but will need to leave access to two doors. The windows can be blocked off.

    room left.jpg
    room right.jpg

    The space plan is as follows:
    space plan.jpg

    I would like to put in two levels the first level would look something like this:
    level plan.jpg

    This is not a complete plan, but the start so that I can ask question to make sure I am starting out right.
    Each line could be single track, double track, or have a passing siding. I am using 3/4 inch per foot scale, but don't think that will help in looking at the pictures. I am using 26 inch min radius curves for the main line.

    This may be a little hard to follow, but the plan starts at 'A' on the right side then goes to B, C, D (hard to see because two pieces of paper are taped together there). Then on to F, G, and then H. I am assuming 2% grade with the lowest point at 'A'. Maybe that will be 40 inches above floor level, but lets refer to it as 0 elevation.

    The following are estimated measurements:

    A to B is 80 inches , 1.6 inch rise, total rise 1.6
    B to C is 80 inches, 1.6 inch rise, total rise 3.2
    C to D is 144 inches, 2.88 inch rise, total rise 6.08
    D to E is 180 inches, 3.6 inches rise, total rise 9.68
    E to F is 148 inches, 2.96 inches rise, total rise 12.64
    F to G is 224 inches, 4.48 inches rise, total rise 17.12
    G to H is 176 inches, 3.52 inches rise, total rise 20.64

    If I start A at 40 inches then built a bridge from H to somewhere above E I would be crossing my layout access area at just about 5 feet, so the duck under would not be to bad.

    So am I doing my math correctly? Is a 2% grade reasonable.

    Any ideas are appreciated. I am not far enough along to completely start over.

  2. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    If I remember math classes correctly, you arrive at the % of a grade by dividing the length of the run into the total difference in elevation. Using that formula I arrived at the following grades:
    A to B is 2%
    B to C is 2%
    C to D is 2%
    D to E is 2%
    E to F is 2%
    F to G is 2%
    G to H is 2%

    Unless you are miscalculating the length of each run, your grade is maintaining 2%. Just remember that if you put any sidings in where you want to drop cars for operation purposes, they must be level. If a switch is located on the grade, do not try to let the siding level out until after it is past the switch. Any attempt to level the diverging route on the switch while the main route is on grade will cause derail problems. If you use plywood as a subroadbed, you can support the plywood directly under switches, and then bend it past the switch to get the siding level, and the plywood will bend into a nice transition to avoid a vertical "kink" that will cause operational problems.

    Do you have a hobby shop that either has a well staffed train dept., or one which speciallises in trains nearby? A 26 inch min radius is a good compromise, especially if you transition into the curves, but you may want to see how any long equipment operates on 26 inch radius before you commit to buy it. Full length passenger cars will operate on 26 inch radius, but may need "talgo" (couplers fastened to trucks as opposed to body mounted) trucks to operate reliably. There is no problem with talgo trucks if you don't need to back up. If the train needs to be backed up, the dynamics of truck mounted couplers is that the cars will frequently derail when trying to back around a curve or through a diverging switch.

    I think if it were my railroad, and I had a choice between full length passenger cars runnning talgo trucks or 72 foot "shorty" passenger cars running body mounted couplers, I would opt for the shorty cars for better operation. Properly detailed, the shorty cars do not look bad if not mixed with full length cars.

    26 inch radius will not be a problem for "6 coupled" steam engines like Hudsons, or 2-6-2 prairie models. 2-8-0 consolidations and 2-8-2 Mikados should work well since they have smaller drivers for more tractive effort, which results in a slightly shorter wheel base. 4-8-4 Northern models will probably work on a 26 inch radius; but for them or anything bigger than that, you would want to arrainge to have the hobby shop permit you to bring the model back if it doesn't work on that radius. One compromise you can make to get big power on the 26 inch radiu curves, if the bigger power doesn't like them is to get some of the 2-6-6-2 Mantua logging mallets with tender. Those engines are very similar to engines used by the Northern Pacific around 1910 and by the Sierra Railroad in the early to mid fifties.

    One more thing to be careful about if you are going to run big articulated steam power is the amount of overhang on the smoke box in a curve. A USRA 2-8-8-2 or big boy or challenger may make it around 26 inch radius curves easily, but the smoke box may hang so far to the outside of the curve that it could render passing sidings useless or hit scenery elements that are too close to the tracks.

    One last suggestion for your duck under bridge. You want the distance between the bottom of the bridge and the track to be as close as possible to give the maximum clearance for your head as you duck under. I would get 2 pieces of aluminum angle from youre local home improvement store, and connect the pieces together with masonite pop riveted to the aluminum on either side with the angle going up rather than down. The masonite will insulate your track and elecrtrics from the aluminum, and allow maximum head clearance. You may want to build a bracket above your head height on either side of the bridge with some cords hanging down to make a warning to duck as you go under the duck under.

    I hope these are some helpful ideas for you.
  3. KentBy

    KentBy GN, NP, SP&S

    Thanks Russ.

    Some very good information. I am going to go get my pencil and start working on more detail in the plan. I had not thought about needing to level the sidings before.

  4. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    If it is a passing siding, you don't need to level it as long as you use it as a passing siding and don't try to leave a cut of cars without an engine on it. Any siding where you want to leave one or more cars has to be level to keep the cars from rolling away. If you use the "cookie cutter" method of making your subroadbed, you can cut the sidings with the main, and then cut between the siding and the main up to the switch. If you put a support under the end of the switch so it can't bend, then you can bend the siding down to level, and the plywood wil give you a very nice transition from grade to level whether you are going from up to level or down to level.
  5. MCL_RDG

    MCL_RDG Member

    G to F and A to B?

    Hey, it looks like it's going somewhere. All that room- aye c'rumba, este es un largo. Que bueno.

  6. KentBy

    KentBy GN, NP, SP&S

    Well I don't have a picture of it yet, but...

    I have been adding sidings and engine track-age. With the little plastic templates that I am using and the fat pencil I don't think that anyone would be able to tell a #4 from a #8 turnout.

    With a mainline of 26" min curve, I thought that #6 turnout should be used on the mainline.

    Can someone enlighten me as to a rule for choosing the turnout number for different places in the layout?
    What size for passenger terminal track?
    What size for freight yards?
    What size for siding (50 ft box max freight car)?

    Any other guidance for turnout planning?

    And slightly off topic. I think that I need to learn how to create custom track work. I would love to take a hands-on class if there is such a thing, or at least make friends with someone who could teach me how to do it. I think that trying to learn this from a book would take a long time.

    Any resources in the Portland, Oregon area?

  7. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

    For the main, you want to fit in the largest turnouts you can. That will allow you to negoiate them at high(er) speed. So if your there's a divergence you want to take without slowing too much (e.g. main to branch line), use #8.

    For the initial turnout off the main to an industry, choose a #6 if it fits. For turnouts within the industry (or yard) use a small number to save space (e.g. #5, #4) as long as it still operates reliably.

    In general, the longer the car, the bigger the turnout #, not only for looks, but for operational reliability.

    As for resources in Portland - I don't know - I'm on the other side of the continent...! ;) But try NMRA - National Model Railroad Association to start and look for a local chapter.

  8. I had to get my 2 cents worth in, THANKS

    Russ, I had to thank you as well, this is just what I was hoping to find, I have been out of school for over 50 years, and some of the stuff get's a little fuzzy, or should I say everything is getting a little fuzzy!!
  9. Great Planning Kent

  10. Triplex

    Triplex Active Member

    And there you have the difference between a passing siding and a runaround track.
  11. KentBy

    KentBy GN, NP, SP&S

    Well I have been doing some more plan work.

    My eraser is starting to heat up. I did some prototyping on my duck-under bridge from H to E. I move a piece of plywood to partially block off a door to 24 inches and then clamped a 1x2 across the doorway at different heights. I looks like somewhere between 54 and 58 inches would be comfortable.:thumb:

    This is assuming that I don't get any older.:eek:

  12. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

    :D :D

    The first step in any project should be to build the time machine. After that, everything else is guaranteed to be on time...! sign1

    At 58", you can always "roll-under" on an office chair as your back becomes less flexible.

    Looking back at your diagram, I want to confirm that the track from G to H is above the loop (?) marked A? One interpretation is that the track connects, but I do not think this is right...? That would be a heck of a grade from G to A otherwise...! :eek:

  13. KentBy

    KentBy GN, NP, SP&S

    You are right it is above.

    The track from B to A and then back to B in a loop. The track G to H should be about 18 inches higher and don't connect.

    I think that I may need to put some distance between the back side of the B loop and the G - H track as a 18" clift streight up might not look right.:twisted:


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