Layout Woes

Discussion in 'Track Planning' started by 2-8-2, Jan 7, 2005.

  1. 2-8-2

    2-8-2 Member

    Layout planning is a pain in the [​IMG].

    Trying to fit everything I want onto a 36"x80" layout is starting to stress me out. There are a few samples I've seen that I somewhat like, but nothing has really stood out and screamed "build me!", so I'm trying to come up with one of my own.

    The biggest setback has been the yard design. I want operations to be a big part of my railroad, and I'm finding that I just can't fit what I want in the amount of space I have. Even after finding a layout I'd love to do, it turns out to be HO scale (I'm doing N) so while I have a layout to go by, I have to convert everything.

    Blah. I'm about to just make an oval and be done with it.
  2. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    Converting ho to n isn't that difficult. It doesn't have to be exact. Figuring the size reduction at 2:1 is probably close enough. Your 36" x 80" is similar to 5'x12' in ho. If you see a 4x8 ho plan you like you can add some extra straight tracks on the ends and sides, or even some "S" curves to extend it to fit your 36" x 80" space.
  3. Yard space

    If you like operations, you might like my old 2.5x4.5 plan. It uses the inglenook sidings as a yard plan, and the fact the yard is so small is part of the operational trouble (the yard holds 11 cars total, usually holds 8 cars to assemble a 5 car train. Fun little operations puzzle.

  4. 2-8-2

    2-8-2 Member

    Thanks for that screwysquirrel!

    I took one glance at your layout and thought, "That looks a lot like the one I've been working on, except mine's a lot more...complicated."

    That pretty much sums it up. Complicated. I've spent so much time doing research on design and yard operations, that I felt like I *had* to have certain elements or the layout wouldn't work right. What I have in the end is too much track and a lot of frustration.
  5. Hmm. Ok. Lets start at the top

    First off, a few needed Givens and Druthers:

    Your space is already set: 30x80 Door.

    I know you want a yard, but Most model railroad yards I've seen are, frankly, too big. They have a yard that can hold 50-60 cars, and only 6 or 7 industries, none of which take huge volumes. Unless you're doing unit Coal or Orange Juice trains, you don't NEED that big a yard space. So, what all do you want:

    1) continuous running (sometime syou just wanna watch the trains) -- and do you want a lot of twists and turns, or climbing hills and mountain scenery? Or something more urban? Or perhaps you just want Kansas (Flat & Barren!)
    2) How many Industries, what sorts?
    3) What all do you want to do with the trackplan?
    4) What minimum radius do you want to work with?
    5) What type of track will you use?

    Your earlier idea based on Unhinged and Horizontal wasn't bad, as a start.
  6. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    May I suggest that small local yards are very prototypical. When the U.P. bought the S.P., Uncle Pete thought the S.P. was crazy having a patchwork of small yards all over the Los Angeles area. They immediately closed all of S.P.'s small yards for a short time. Then they discovered that they didn't have enough track to hold all of the cars destined for L.A. either coming or going. They reopened all of the small yards! For a layout the size you are building, you really can't afford the space that a major yard like Roseville on the S.P. or Barstow on the S.F. would take up. That Inglenook design would be nice on a small layout. If you need a bit more capacity, you could run the yard in a curve around the end of the layout.
  7. Ralph

    Ralph's for fun!

    Hey 2-8-2, I'll bet most of us can relate to the frustration of wanting to put more in our available space. I know I can! It tends to come down to compromise and a selection of priority wants and needs. Are you really into yard operations so that compromise there is a deal breaker? If so, maybe you could model as much of the yard ops as you want and minimze the rest. I know some layouts that are all yard and engines facilties with just a track leading off to hidden storage to simulate "the rest of the world".
    Is continuous running important? If not, then you can devote extra space to the yard and then maybe divide your layout with a scenic backdrop in the middle so track curves around from yard to another scene with an industrial area or interchange or car float or ? :) Would you be willing to post your current plan and say more about what you hope to achieve?
    best wishes,
  8. 2-8-2

    2-8-2 Member

    I want the layout to have some continuous running yes, along with some switching action. It doesn't have to be over twisty, but I don't really want a simple oval either. As for scenery, I was wanting something more urban and industrial. I would like to add a few elevation changes like hills and such, but no mountains.

    3 or 4 industries. I hadn't really thought about what type yet. I would also like to include 2 passenger stations. This is why I figure I'll need more yard space, since there will be both freight and passenger cars.

    I want the feeling of running a railroad. I was hoping to make up operation manuals and even use some sort of waybill system so that my kids can get involved.

    All the layouts I've scrapped so far have used 11" minimum radius. I will be using steam on this layout, and I don't want to limit myself on what types of locos I can use.

    Probably sectional track, maybe some flex track for straight portions. I haven't decided on which coding to go with. Any ideas?
  9. A few trackplan Ideas

    This is the door Layout I created. Its a long run (almost 2 scale miles of track)

    It doesn't have a yard, but one could be added. The main run is a double-folded dogbone. a mountain on the left and a city on the right make for a very appalachian scene.


    This is 'Monza Loop' a double track plan that turns with the throw of 4 switches into a twice around. The yard is small, but can be expanded. It's name comes from the resemblance to a formula one racetrack.

    Industries are all along the branch lines


    And finally, "The Peanut" a modification of N-11. I removed the loopback (which can be put back if you want) I put in a number of sidings. This version has 2 track paths (in green) The yellow tracks are your yard. The Orange tracks can store more engines, passenger equipment, MOW stuff, be interchanges, whatever you want.


    The Peanut shape gives the theme of the track: You have a grain elevator of peanuts, a Peanut Butter factory, and a Reeses Chocolate factory, and finally the warehouse in town.
  10. shortliner

    shortliner Member

    2-8-2 ---These might possibly help, or give you a couple of ideas
    The first is a redraw of a layout I found on the internet (and have lost the address for - shame, there were some nice pictures of the completed layout) and the second is a redraw I did of someone else's track-plan, in which I thought there was too much space wasted in the middle, so some more trackage/industry was added - the hidden yard is good though. Flexisol is a plastic bag manufacturing plant, but could be any major industrial site.
    Shortliner(Jack) away up here in the Highlands:thumb:

    Attached Files:

  11. 2-8-2

    2-8-2 Member

    Thanks for all the help and suggestions guys! [​IMG]

    I guess I made a classic rookie mistake. I thought I'd just do some research, look at a few track plans, and be able to put something together like an old pro. I was wrong...big time. Having taken a little over a week off from doing anything model railroading related, I'm ready to hit it again. I'm just glad I didn't have a bunch of cash burning a hole in my pocket, or I'd probably be sitting here with a pile of track that I'll never end up using. Here's where I am in the process:

    1) Yard research. I feel like I've exhausted all my resources on this subject, short of visiting an actual yard in person. I have a nice stack of info, and I'm confident that I can design a yard that will be both functional and appealing.

    2) Industries. Thanks again to screwysquirrel for bringing this to my attention. I hadn't really considered how important this was to my layout, especially when one of my goals is to create a realistic operations scheme. Plunking down a few cool looking buildings just isn't going to cut it. I need to do some major research here.

    3) Layout. This kind of ties into the industries in that I want there to be some sort of flow to everything. I like the peanut idea presented by screwysquirrel because I don't remember seeing it before. I even had ideas of having a peanut farm, with little tractors and such. The flow would go something like farm > elevator > factory > retailer.
  12. shortliner

    shortliner Member

    2-8-2 - take a look here - it might help with formulating your ideas - there is some good advice in there, as there is in SS's posts! Pick something that you think is what you want, build it, run it, and then go for version 2! 94% of first layouts are abandoned/changed/scrapped/re-built within 12 -18 months (so are a lot of other versions - I build layouts with monotonous regularity - about 3 a year as something else takes my fancy!)
    Also - dont try to cram too much in - the more complicated you make the first one, the more dis-heartened you may become.

    Shortliner(Jack) away up here in the Highlands
  13. 2-8-2

    2-8-2 Member

    Thanks for that link shortliner! With all this info, I'd be a real newb if I couldn't finally come up with something workable that incorporates everything I want in my layout.

    Am I too bent on making something myself, or would I be better off using someone else's design? I dunno...I guess I just have this "thing" with doing it myself.
  14. 2-8-2

    2-8-2 Member


    I really like the track plan found in the tutorial posted by shortliner. View it here. There are a few things about it that I plan on changing (like replacing the Timesaver) but all in all, I think it has a lot of potential.

    My research into the peanut industry has yielded a lot of good results. Peanut farming is mostly a southern US crop (Georgia being the biggest) and the whole process could be modeled nicely. I could do something like farm > shelling/elevator > peanut industry 1 & 2 > peanut byproduct industry and so on.
  15. jasbourre

    jasbourre Member

    Thanks for the link shortliner, it has a lot of good info.

  16. My only problem with the use-the-door-to-the-fullest trackplan is its TOO MUCH TRACK. there is almost no room left over for scenery and buildings.

    I do like the Compact trackplan, which fits in 2x4 and manages a lot better to handle scenery: [​IMG]
  17. 2-8-2

    2-8-2 Member

    I agree completely. There are some elements of the track plan that I like a lot, but there is way too much track. I'm attempting to simplify it, eliminate the Timesaver, yet keep the things I like. I've made 3 variations so far, none of which ended up looking like the original.

    This process is a lot harder than I thought it would be.
  18. this 32x64 varient might be something to work with.

    Take out the short straight in the curve sections and adding two or three straights in the straight section should make it work for a 30x80 door

  19. shortliner

    shortliner Member

    I seem to have a vague memory (TRUE!TRUE!) of a layout that might help 2-8-2.
    I think it was the ORIGINAL Armadillo & Western RR. Try Http:// The original layout isn't on the site any more, but there is a link for emails, and you may be able to get help that way. As I remember it was a layout that was similar to the one on the Ntutorial site, with a scenic divider down the middle. Of course - it might just be a senile(senior! senior!) moment (mumble, mumble!)
    Shortliner(Jack) away up here in the Highlands
  20. shortliner

    shortliner Member

    Another set of possibilities can be found here <> for those that haven't seen them. They are a series of layouts built by the club as demonstrations for shows. There are some nice designs there that can be reduced for N from HO if needed. Reduce to about 5/8 baseboard size to go from HO to N. Although N is 1/2 the size of HO, the switches are not reduced proportionally, which is the reason for the 5/8th reduction
    Shortliner(Jack) away up here in the Highlands

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