Layout Design Considerations

Discussion in 'Model Rail Operations' started by jon-monon, Feb 7, 2004.

  1. jon-monon

    jon-monon Active Member

    Tad made a nice list of Considerations for operations. What do you think is important to consider in designing a layout intended for operations?

    Here are a few maybe more "generic" ones to start with:

    How big is the room?

    How big do you want the layout to be?

    What industries do you like (and what fits your era)?

    How will you tie them together? What will they supply/consume?

    What industires will be "off layout" or implied?

    Will there be passengers?

    Will there be postal/RPO services?

    Will there be engine services?
  2. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    How many operators -- normal and maximum/minimum.
    Easy or challenging?
    Switching puzzles or prototype?
    Staging/fiddle yards or fully scenicked yards?
  3. grlakeslogger

    grlakeslogger Member

    A couple that were important to me in designing my layout expansion presently under construction:

    1. Which era on which railroad? (Determines motive power and other equipment, so impacts substantially on minimum and desired visible radii) Even a free-lanced line like mine is usually patterned after SOME real railroad.

    2. Which prototype railroads will your line interchange with? How and where will this be achieved and with what types of cars?

  4. TR-Flyer

    TR-Flyer Member

    Hi All:

    Tied in with the decision on "layout size" is the selection of scale in which to model. If you really want to model the entire route from Chicago to St. Louis with stops in Peoria & Springfield you're gonna need a 25'x 100' building in "O" or a 12' x 25' building in "N".

  5. brakie

    brakie Active Member

    Food for thought.
    1.If space permits use a track design that allows a train to past through a scene only once.

    2.Avoid the "spaghetti bowl" track design.To much track can destroy the look of the layout ..

    3.Avoid unrealistic grades unless your layout is a logging road.

    4.Interchange tracks-Be sure to plan for interchanging of cars.

    5.One does not need to "tie in" industries.Most railroads send traffic off line.As a example,The coal mines located on the Clinchfield would ship coal to steel plants located say in Gary Ind or the Great Lake ports.Some coal would be exported to other countries.The Clinchfield would interchange these cars with say the C&O.

    6.The type of industries should reflect the type of cars you own.Of course line haul cars can account for the cars you owned but don't have industries for.That is to say railroad A interchanges cars with your railroad bound for railroad C and you simply line haul those cars to railroad C.

    You should take the above into consideration while planing your layout.
  6. YakkoWarner

    YakkoWarner Member

    The most important consideration I had was:

    "How much area can I use without pissing off my wife?"
  7. papasmurf37

    papasmurf37 Member

    What type of layout design would work best to achieve good , satisfying Operation during an O/S, by mimicing the 1:1 more closely?
    I have only ONE preference and would use it in a HEARTBEAT, IF I owned a home with a useable, dry, clean basement, garage or spare room [ own SMALL, old farmhouse, small rooms, dirt floor cellar, no garage, wife and yours truly raised 8 children in it, NO $ and too old to worry about it now, LOL! ]:

    Single-track [with passing siding(s) where required], narrow shelf, around-the-room, point-to-point layout [with continuous running provision via reverse loops, to appease pals, who like this] with whatever size narrow peninsula(s) could be fit in the plan and each operator would also be turn crew switchman as all turnouts would be manually operated [unless impossible to do so in some special case]! This creates LONG right-of-way, gives operator the 'feel' of operating a real railroad as train negotiates the main [use of scenic dividers at peninsulas helps to separate view on layout so one cannot view it except as a train crew would]. Would span a doorway, if necessary to do so, with drop-in section [with necessary track power cut-off safeguards, of course]. Shallow depth puts every area within easy reach [including UNDERNEATH, for wiring, etc.] and makes aisles wider for crew maneuvering during an O/S, saves a lot on scenicing supply cost over wider layout depth, makes one be very creative in planning the topography [vertical scenery, tunnel, cut, fill, track paralleling a river, etc.], industries [with Operation ALWAYS in mind], towns, etc., along r-o-w and entails use of building flats where they would work successfully [Walthers has angled 2-wall ones with end, overhead car doors, allowing a car to be spotted in interior. NEAT!]
    And not only that, but my entire layout would be built using luan hollow core door construction [personal favorite after trying it!] with AT LEAST 2" of foam on top, as am a FIRM believer in UNDER-TRACK scenic possibilities [ fill, ravine, river, bridge, trestle, culvert, underpass, below-grade industry [a coal dealer's trestle could go in dead flat so cars would never roll out to foul main], village, farmland, pond, wetland, even lake or seaside, drive-in movie, trailer park, school w/playground and ALL sorts of other scenic details, YEEHAA.] Have just seen TOO MUCH of dead flat layout r-o-w's over the years and am just trying to give newbies a picture of the TONS of alternative possibilities out there, BOTH for Operation AND trackside aesthetics!
    P.S. Please read my HO post on NE freelance to find out what pal Gary and I are up to at present!
  8. jon-monon

    jon-monon Active Member

    YW: There is always a governing body with which you must negotiate you right of way :D :D :D

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