Layout plan: criticism & suggestions welcome!

Discussion in 'Track Planning' started by Topo, Oct 9, 2003.

  1. Topo

    Topo Member

    Finally, the things are starting to move here, at the Rio Negro & San Luis Valley RR offices!! :D :D

    La Jara Junction is my «baptism of fire» in layout building, and I'm trying to maintain all things simple. I intend to build a DCC-ed switching layout that I can use in the future as the fundation for something bigger (the scale is H0).

    The era is circa 1966, and this imaginary spot could be somewhere in Colorado or Utah. The buildings are Walther's Cornerstone, and I will add some Chrysler Power Wagon '48 and Ford '51 stakebed, and maybe some '50 Chevy pick-up. The track can be Roco Line with ballast (it makes easy to hide the switches motors under the ballast), but this is not definitive yet. The motive power will be one or two P2K Alco S1 in Western Pacific colors (loaned! :D ) and maybe a P2K SW8 in demonstrator scheme. They will switch strings of 2-3 cars (covered hoppers, boxcars and stock cars).

    The trains will be small, but I will add another 230mm track segment to each side, for having more room. That will let me to put a wooden water tower at right, near the depot (maybe I will drop too an small oil tank at left, past the shop). :p

    I will be grateful if you let me know your suggestions and criticism. I still have too much to learn, so please, feel free to be "cruel" if you find something wrong!! :rolleyes: :p :D

    Well, I have fixed the bitmap some... (the grid squares are 10cm x 10cm)

    Attached Files:

  2. shamus

    shamus Registered Member

    Hi Topo,
    Thats a very nice switching layout. plenty of fun with that layout.
  3. Minor suggestion

    at the top of the layout, I'd extend the track 1 segment on the left, and one on the right (by shortening the runaround) and add one more segment to the track at the feed mill.
  4. Topo

    Topo Member

    Hello, shamus & screwysquirrel.

    Thanks for the comments, friends. I plan to extend the lead yard (upper left track) two segments. This way, I will be able to switch car strings of lenght similar to the a/d track.

    SS, your suggestion for gain space at the elevator branch by shortening the runaround is a wise one. I will adopt it. ;)
    The track segment at left of mill (23cm) seem very short, but it was only intended for storing cabooses (one or two, at most), and I try to maintain the mill 40cm/50cm apart from the elevator.

    I will post a "revised" version ot the plan tomorrow. I'm fiddling with the design software, and I will add some scenary (trees & roads, maybe an small creek) too. :p

    Thanks for the feedback, and keep coming your suggestions! :D :D

    (I really love these old trucks)

    Attached Files:

  5. Ralph

    Ralph's for fun!


    Your plan, along with the suggestions provided by others above, sounds good to me. Do you have room to add a meter long extension that could fold down if necessary as a "fiddle track" (staging track) that your 3 car trains and loco could come from "off layout" to work your industries? That might enhance your operation a bit.
  6. Topo

    Topo Member

    Well, that's something like a project! :D :eek: :p

    In the upper plan here, I have applied your suggestions: First I have added an upper yard that can double as runaround. In the future, I can convert it in a spur for conecting other modules. I had the choice of use 4 "normal" switches or 2 "three-branch" switches. I decided to use the latter because it saves some space.

    I have also extended the lead yard two segments to the left, and I have give more room to the elevator branch by displacing the switch to the left.

    Attached Files:

  7. Topo

    Topo Member

    2nd. version

    This second plan shows some minor improvements, as "bending" upwards the lead yard. This way, I add some perspective and break the general "straight effect" (and gain some centimeters, too). ;)

    Scenary side, I have added an oil tank next to the shop service tracks, and a wooden water tower (ah, the steam years!) and a freight house face to the depot. Better I stop browsing the Walthers Catalog, or I will end crowding this thing... :rolleyes:

    Attached Files:

  8. Topo

    Topo Member

    This is a versión with some vegetation & paths added. Lots of weeds at the shop backyard and near the elevator. Visible patches in other areas. A tiny creek runs under the mill yard tracks, passing thru culverts. The path coming from the elevator crosses the creek over an small wooden bridge. The trees help to close the perspective around the depot/water tower, the elevator and the lead yard. :p

    Thanks for the feedback, friends! :D :D

    Attached Files:

  9. Tyson Rayles

    Tyson Rayles Active Member

    Javier the siding that runs from the Feed Mill to the left really doesn't serve any purpose being it crosses on a diamond and not a switch so there is no way to get a car on it, I would leave it out and that would give you more room for scenery which will make things look better. Everthing else looks great to me!
  10. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    are there 2 or 3 tracks in the yard above the feedmill? 3 looks crowded.
    On the top spur into the shops, the curve looks a little tight and angular. Check the alignment with some real track.
    Like the lengthened ends on the upper yard -- the original would have held one car or one loco and made switching a lengthy process.
  11. Topo

    Topo Member

    No problem, Tyson!


    Tachaan!! --> Switch-X :D

    Very «popular» in the european layouts (I suspect that is due to space constraints that you, fortunate americans, don't suffer) :rolleyes: :D

    Hummm. Maybe it's not prototypical to U.S.-railroads, it is? :confused:

    Attached Files:

  12. Topo

    Topo Member

    Hi, 60103

    Yes, there are three tracks over the feedmill. By now, the upper track doubles as staging yard and second runaround, but -maybe- in the future expansions, it could be used as spur for connect another section (blue lines).

    You're right about the curve in the shop top spur. It was made of 3 segments of ¼ R2 (358mm radius), and looked something odd. I have changed both shop spurs to a more smooth curve. This way, as additional benefit, I break the effect of having all buildings parallel, and all seems more «real world» to me. Thanks, David! :D

    Attached Files:

  13. interurban

    interurban Active Member

    Hi Javier, Just found the thread,, looks like you got great advice from the lads!!:)
    It is looking realy neat!
    I like your double slip how long is it? I use them all the time and would like shorter version;)
  14. Topo

    Topo Member

    Hello Chris,

    It's good thing to have nice people and experimented modelers around here! You can always find good advice & ideas. :D

    Roco made these double slips in two lenghts:

    -The one in the previous photo is the "small" one, without ballast. Its two branches measure 230mm long each, point to point, and the angle is 15º This is the one I plan to use.

    -In the bigger one, each branch measure 345mm, and the angle is 10º

    You have also it with detachable ballast, with the switch motors hidden under it. This is the "long" one:

    Attached Files:

  15. interurban

    interurban Active Member

    Thanks for the info Javier.
    Post some pics when you start building.
  16. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    Double slips

    I have never seen a doubleslip switch like the small one, with a common track.
    Here is some terminology about DSS:
    Inside slip: like the larger one you show. The curved rails and points are inside the diamond formed by the 4 frogs.
    half-inside: the radius is larger and the curved rails indise the diamond are "back to back". The points lie outside the diamond and there are extra frogs.
    outside double slip: the curves lie completely outside the diamond. This can be made with a diamond and four regular switches.
    (I'm waiting for someone to tighten up my definitions or provide illustrations.)
  17. Topo

    Topo Member

    Hello, David.

    This type of double-slip is a bit "special", yes. It's called "Baeseler" type, and it seems a german/austrian only prototype.

    This is the info that I have found in the net about this slip:

    « far as I know the Baeseler type was named after someone called Baesel. It's rare, there are none in France as far as I know, but a few in Germany and in Switzerland (elsewhere?). The main difference is the radius when not crossing. With the "English type" the two curves overlap, with the Baeseler type, only the outside of each curve touch each other, the radius is therefore wider, although the Beaseler type does not use up more space that the "English" type.
    Roco explained it all when they brought out their model Baeseler switch, much better than I just have, but with the advantage of pictures and drawings...


    ... In German there is a means of clearly refering to both sorts (*) - a "Doppelkreuzungsweiche" that has "innenliegende Zungen" refers to an "English" double slip i.e. all point blades lie *within* the two outer frogs, whereas one with "aussenliegende Zungen" refers to the Baeseler type i.e. point blades positioned outside the frogs. That's the nice thing about German technical nouns - even if you haven't a clue what is being referred to you can usually un-pick the syllables and puzzle it out: compare "Pantograph" (a reference to what it looks like, I think) to corresponding German word "Dachstromabnehmer" (a reference to what it does - "Roof-Current-Collector").

    As to what advantages each type of slip may have, the only one I can think of is that the Baeseler features larger turnout radii compared with the same size of "English" double slip (so perhaps a saving in wear and tear?) but maybe negated by having to use more complicated geometry around the frogs. At least I think so - I haven't got a picture of one of these things in front of me and trying to sketch it out isn't easy!...


    ... the larger radius *is* the advantage. I've seen a few in the pointwork approaching Zürich, can't think where else. Definitely not common...


    ...The point with the Baeseler layout is larger radius, specifically because it allows higher speeds. There's a maximum limit to the radius that i's possble to use with a double slip...»

    According to the Roco Catalog (in french language), this slip needs mandatory to have polarized the "coeurs" ("hearts" - common track?), and it came so from factory. It received the Model of Year 1991 award from the "Eisenbahn" magazine.

    I don't have one of these on hand just now, so I cannot post more detailed pictures (the one I have posted is scanned from the catalog), but if you are interested, when I buy one later this year, I can take some pictures and I will have they posted here.
  18. grlakeslogger

    grlakeslogger Member

    Hello Topo. Your plans make excellent use of a fairly small space. They do look much more interesting from a scenic viewpoint since you made some of the track not parallel to the edges. It's an old fact that that trick makes the eye perceive the layout as being longer.

    I try to build my tail tracks in industrial areas to always hold one loco and at least two cars. On an earlier layout, one tail track had room for only a loco and one car. Shuttling back and forth continually to switch or shunt on that short tail track was always frustrating to me--too toy-like. I'd suggest that before you fasten your tracks down, you might care to move a loco and a couple of cars around on the track centerlines. That will give you a good feeling for what you can do with the layout. It might also suggest a small change or two. Good luck with your layout!
  19. Topo

    Topo Member

    Hi grlakeslogger,
    Thanks for the advice. I will have it in mind when I check the things before "gluing". :)

    This is my first layout, and I have tried to maintain it simple and don't succumb to the initial impulse of keep adding yards and structures and making a mess of it (that wasn't easy!). :rolleyes: :p

    In spite of my efforts, I'm sure that I will do some mistakes, and it would be easier to detect and correct them in an small switching layout that in a big one (well, thanks to the Gauge people help and advice, It wouldn't be so many mistakes!) :D :D :D

    Next month I must go to Andorra (there is the biggest & cheapest train shop in 1000Kms around!!), and I will profit to buy the track, switches and so, to start the "real" building. I will post pics when I get some work accomplished. ;)

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