Layout Critique/Questions

Discussion in 'Track Planning' started by Nemo22, Jan 20, 2005.

  1. Nemo22

    Nemo22 New Member

    Hi all,

    After reading these forums for a while getting ideas and such, finally decided to signup to ask some questions and get some feedback on a layout.

    Just some background criteria I've been trying to maintain. First, I'd like to be able to run at least 2 trains (either 2 main line, or main line with a yard switching train), have a mountain area w/tunnels and a river, era is probably 1970-1980 (unsure on this one), control will most likely be DCC (digitrax zephyr). As far as industries, I'm kind of unsure about that. Size isn't much of an issue, but i'd like to keep it within 8' x 8' (the one i posted is 8' x 9' which is ok)

    The jpg attached to this post is what i've come up with so far. The section on the right where its empty, haven't been able to figure out what to put there, the 2 lines coming out of the tunnel come out at a 2" elevation, and decline down to 0" (2.5 or 3 degree grade), the inner line stays at ground level there after into the tunnel and around till it reaches past the first set of bridges, then inclines back to 2", the outer line starts to incline back to a canyon stays that way till after the turnout, then goes back to ground level at a 1.5 degree grade (or 2 degree) Hopefully that's enough description to see whats going on in the layout.

    One other thing i'm unsure about for this layout, is what kind of industry to services. I'm thinking coal or quarry, but i'm not sure what to tie in on the right (a city?) also, where would i be able to put a yard of sorts (doesn't have to be big)?

    Thanks for any feedback, its greatly appreciated.

    Attached Files:

  2. Doc Holliday

    Doc Holliday Member

    Hi Nemo, welcome to the Gauge. You'll find lots of helpful people here. I like your layout. The overall layout is very similar to mine. A couple of comments though. Do you have access to all sides? If not, that's quite a reach to get to the upper left corner. (Mine is even bigger). What's going on top of the tunnels in the upper left area? Like me, you've got a lot of open space scenery over your tracks. You might want to extend a spur (crossing over the other tracks) to serve some industry in this area. You might also vary the track alignments a little so they aren't parallel with the edges of the benchwork.
    That's my $0.02 worth. (the invoice is in the mail)
  3. Nemo22

    Nemo22 New Member

    Thanks for the reply DocHoliday.

    The upper left area is mostly just going to be mountains, with a river running through it, then a mountain on the other side, so the bridges at the top section will run across at a 2" height (roughly), whlie the rest of the bridges at ground level. Guess the sceneray for that mountain would be a forrest, with maybe a cabin or something. Could add a track that just goes no where for added effect I suppose.

    I plan on using flex track for pretty much all the straights/curves, so I shall keep that in mind about the track alignments along the edge when i test fit it together. For the drawing, it was easier to just make straight lines :D

    As far as access back there, I was thinking of leaving access, then when its complete, pushing it into a back corner. Of course i'll have access from below to take care of de-railed trains. Unless leaving room on the other side (even a foot) looks ok, then i may do that.

    On another note, finally came up with something to put on the right side, a small town with an industry or two. The elevation of the city is 2", so the inner track will start a decline later then the outer track, and the left side of the "city" area where it crosses the inner track, will be a bridge going across a canyon so to speak. (New plan is attached)

    The bottom left area is still bugging me tho, can't decide if that should change or not.

    So hard to explain most of this stuff, have most of it visualized, just can't get it on paper good, or explain it too well, but hope its decipherable somewhat.

    Attached Files:

  4. Doc Holliday

    Doc Holliday Member

    Forgot to ask, how did you draw your track plan? I did mine the old-fashioned way and am looking to create an electronic version. I want something a little better quality than just scanning my pencil mess.
  5. Nemo22

    Nemo22 New Member

    XTrkCad, pretty easy to use.
  6. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

    Hi Nemo,

    Welcome to The Gauge! I have a couple of comments on your track plan...

    If there is a wall on the left and top of your plan, you will find that 3+ feet to reach across is maybe too far (it's over 4 into the corner). If you have the whole 8x9 room, why not go around all the walls no greater than 2 feet deep? Your solution of maybe leaving it out from the walls would work too, and it will have the added bonus of makig the layout look larger, because the scenery will not butt up against the wall.

    You noted a few scenic features that you would like to have (river, forest, mountains), and posibly a coal mine. You could then create a destination for the coal in the "urban" area. Depending on the era, you might have coal dealer(s) selling coal for heating right up to a big modern power plant consuming entire unit trains of coal.

    There are a few things you might want to consider. 1 - the passing tracks on the left are very short (about 1 foot from your plan). This is not long enough for more than a loco, or maybe a couple of 40' cars. You might want to extend them right down the left side.

    2 - The right-hand track that goes into the tunnel on the "middle-left" of your diagram. The track that goes over the other tracks looks like it will not have enough room to climb over the others that are already in the tunnel(s).

    3 - You should think about flipping the switching area in the upper right so that the complicated trackwork is closest to the edge where you will be standing, for ease of operation.

    4 - Adding some staging (could be hidden via one of those dead-end tunnels) will help make running trains easier. Even if you do not want to have "interchange" and so on, there is currently no where for your "extra" trains to go.

    I hope that helps...!

  7. Nemo22

    Nemo22 New Member

    Hi mason,

    thanks for the welcome and the feedback..

    The room this is going in, is really 15' x 14', but I would only like to take up a single corner, as there's other stuff put in storage here.

    For point 2, the track that goes over top of the track in the tunnel is already at 2" or more by this point, that outside section is level @ 2 or 2.5" from the 3' mark to the curve at the 6' mark where it starts its decent, on the other side, at the 6" / 0' mark in the bottom left, is where the incline for that starts.

    For point 3, the inner track comes out of the tunnel at 2" and stays level till around the 7' x 8' mark, and the outer track starts its decent almost right after it comes out of the tunnel, is level for a while, then starts its incline back up. So that city section is really elevated 2", with 2 bridges on the far curve to cross the inner main line.

    For hidden staging off one of the dead end tunnels, i guess i could have that decline to a lower point under the bench where all that would be situated?

    I'll try to draw up a new plan that shows some elevations/etc, to make it easier to understand (i hope)

    I'll get back to fiddling around with the plan keeping in mind what you've mentioned tho, hopefully i can get this done soon so the building can begin :D

    -- edit

    I attached the layout with ground elevations and slopes marked, hope that makes the plan a bit more clear as far as inclines/declines go.

    Attached Files:

  8. SAL Comet

    SAL Comet Member

    Ha Nemo, welcome to the gauge, I notice the center loop of the lower side has only one way in and out, once a train enters, it will have to back out. Also, I'd try and make better use of a 15' x 14' room, remember all the space under the layout can be storage once the wiring is done.
  9. Nemo22

    Nemo22 New Member

    Ya, i added a switch on the right side of the left loop so a train didn't need to be backed out, just forgot to update the graphic.

    Well, some of the stuff thats stored in the room wouldn't fit under the table, like old oak coffee tables stacked, old desk w/ hutch, suits/coats wrapped and hanging from ceiling... I'm happy with the 8' x 9' L shape, don't want to be too overwhelmed with doing this hehe

    Oh and slight correction on last image, "4" above ground, tunnels are 0" that should be tunnels are 2" above.
  10. Will_annand

    Will_annand Active Member

    Andrew, reaching those corners on your layout is not a problem if you know how to do it.

    Attached Files:

  11. emt49

    emt49 Member

    yup i had that problem,but i was thinking a harness and pully system so i can hover over the old layout :D

    but i changed my mind and rebult the bench work :thumb:
  12. babydot94513

    babydot94513 Member in training

    Where did you get this software?

  13. Nemo22

    Nemo22 New Member and be sure to visit the registering XtrkCad link, its free now. So makes it even better.
  14. Nemo22

    Nemo22 New Member

    After fiddling around with this plan for a few days, decided to scrap it for now.. Came to the conclusion that that size of a layout maybe just a bit too much for a first project. So I'm scaling down the size to a single 3' x 6' or a door size (28/30 x 80") layout.

    I dunno how some of you guys make track planning look so easy, seems more confusing :confused: then anything. Picked up "N Scale Model Railroading: Getting Started in the Hobby" yesterday, been reading it over, has some nice tips/etc, even shows a door size layout step by step that looks kind of interesting.

    There's one layout I found in this forum, see attached pic, it looks like an interesting layout, but I'm not to sure on opertaion capabilities for it. (like how many trains could be run, switchers/main trains/etc.) Or any changes to it to add a yard/engine servicing facility...

    Any thoughts/opinions? Or any leads to a decent layout with both operations potential and just around in circles running (or both at the same time! heh)

    Attached Files:

  15. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

    For me, the trick to planning my layout/modules was to stop looking at track plans, and think about the era, industries and so on that interest me (some people plan around running their favourite type of cars).

    Then I thought about what I wanted out of the modelling part. I like building stuff, so I want to be able to show it off when I am done.

    Then I thought that I would like to run my trains more or less prototypically, so that lead to a track plan based on real places, and real industries.

    I ended up with a long narrow (much like the railways ;) ) track plan, with a few sidings and a run around. And it is (or will be) built on 2x4 foot modules. I hope to have a drawing for you all soon.

    So there you have it. I hope this helps you.

  16. Will_annand

    Will_annand Active Member

    That is exactly what I did Andrew.

    I wanted to do the Credit Valley Line, so I started out thinking about how the entire thing would look. I checked out the actual prototypical "track plan", what industries were where. I started out with each station planned on a module, then decided which ones were more interesting, and then decided to model Cheltenham to Orangeville.

    I found in my given space I could not do too much in HO, so I switched to N Scale, and am I glad I did. N Scale offers more chance for operations as well as scenery.
  17. What I do:

    I set up a list of things I want.
    For example: I wanted a loop for constant running, but not a simple, boring oval. I wanted a small yard and industries to run switching, and I wanted 'replay' value, so that the same buildings didn't always get the same cars.

    I built my 2.5x4.5 with 5 industries and an Interchange, and used the British 'inglenook sidings' puzzle as my yard.
  18. Nemo22

    Nemo22 New Member

    Well, after a long internal debate, I think I've finally got my first track plan. Picked up March's issue of MRR Magazine, was leafing through that, and came across the layout on pg. 82, kept looking it over and the more I did, the more it appealed to me as a starter layout (to get my feet wet in all aspects so to speak). Its got what I'm after for now, able to run 2+ trains, some switching ops, and constant run.

    Transfered the plan to XTrkCad to get an idea of operations on it, and I think I understand it, plan is attached, any feedback would be greatly appreciated, thanks!

    Oh, went to a LHS last night, was checking out DCC systems, and am deciding to go with the Digitrax Zephyr, the owner demo'd it for me with an HO engine equipped with a soundtraxx module; instantly fell in love with the realism of it. This can be a dangerous hobby lol..

    And now, I'm off to order the track shortly. And buy some wood to make an open grid bench.

    Attached Files:

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