Logical Yard Design

Discussion in 'Track Planning' started by railohio, Jan 28, 2003.

  1. railohio

    railohio Active Member

    A recent thread about another layou got me to thinking about the design and usage of the yard on my small layout. I thought I'd share my design and operations with you here.

    There seems to be two extremes to yard design: those people who think you can toss five parallel tracks together and have a working yard, and those poeple who agonize over having a track dedicated for every concievable function. There is, thankfully, a middle ground available. I've always thought that a yard design can't be finalized (Not that anything on our layouts is ever final... :D :D :D ) until one has an idea of how the layout is going to be operated. Once one at least has a rudimentary idea of what layout ops are going to be like, then yard design can procede. And of course, a yard doesn't have to be a giant tangle of tracks and turnouts. Just so long as one has an idea of what track will be used for, and how many cars need to fit on it, the design can be worked out.

    My yard, imagineered to be located in Ironton, Ohio, is designed to serve the most basic of tasks. The yard classifies both inbound and outbound cars, services run-through trains, and provides a place for the storage of equipment on the layout. Easy enough, eh?

    Operations start in the morning, when cars left on the interchanges overnight are retrieved by the yard switcher and placed on Track 2 for classification. After these cars are classified, road jobs on the Ironton Terminal (to Ironton) and Ironton Northern (to Gallipolis) are dispatched to set out new cars and gather cars ready for interchange. The Ironton switcher classifies these new arrivals in the yard while the two daily Amtrak trains and the run-through coal train to the Grand Valley run. After this, a second round of road trains will take care of the switching in Ironton and Gallipolis. Upon their return to the yard, the switch crew will classify these new cars and make a run to the interchange tracks.


    Now, I'll give a little more detail view of the yard operations. The yard switcher leaves the engine service track and pulls the cars from the DT&I and N&W interchanges onto Track 2 in the Arrival/Departure Yard. These cars are sorted in the Classification yard, with cars bound for Ironton going on Track 3 and cars bound for Gallipolis on Tracks 4 & 5. The yard job will pull the cars bound for Gallipolis to Track 2 where the Ironton Northern road power will tie on for the rest of the trip. After that, the yard engine will make pickups and setouts in Ironton itself. The yard job will then classify its own inbound cars, as well as those brought back by the Ironton Northern's road job, using the same tracks as previously mentioned. Amtrak's southbound passenger train will unload in Ironton, on Track 1, before continuing over the Ironton Terminal trackage into Kentucky. It will make a return trip northbound after a few hours, repeating its station stop in Ironton. While all this is going on, a northbound coal train will come off the Ironton Terminal, run around its train in the Arrival/Departure Yard, and go up the DT&I connection, bound for powerplants located on the Grand Valley Railroad in Michigan. Once the Ironton Terminal switcher is done with its classification work, the crew will spot the cars on Track 2, for pickup by the Ironton Northern road job. After this, the crew's final task is to set cars out on the DT&I and N&W interchanges before tying down for the night in the engine service area.


    Any thoughts on this? I'll post photos of the layout soon, so you can see how it works out in real life (Or at least in N scale... :p ).

    Attached Files:

  2. Tyson Rayles

    Tyson Rayles Active Member

    Brian I agree you should keep the yard trackage as simple as possible (so long as it doesn't impeed operation). Looking forward to seeing some pics!
  3. MCL_RDG

    MCL_RDG Member

    I disagree and agree- whole heartedly!

    I disagree that there are two extremes regarding yard design in model railroading. I disagree that there is a middle ground in yard design regarding model railroading.

    I do agree that-

    Let me be succinct. It is a tried and true notion.

    Form follows function!

    The answer is defined by the question. There is no extreme. Options are considered on their merit.

    You have imagineered limitations (in your mind) unto others while having proffered imagineered limitations to answer your own devices. Hardly a stance to take.

    I'm telling my mommy!:eek:


  4. Drew1125

    Drew1125 Active Member

    As a follow-up to what mark said...(I think...? :D)
    The "yard" on my switching layout is simplicity itself, & in that way, serves its purpose, just like a real RR.
    It is where trains of loaded cars are assembled, & then moved down an urban branchline, for delivery to various industries on the layout. Empty cars are assembled on the layout, & returned to the "yard".
    All this "yard" consists of is a piece of plywood, one turnout, & two stub tracks...It is "off the layout", so it represents a terminus that might be miles away from the modeled portion of the layout, instead of just inches.
    The run-around track on the switching layout has room for a 20" train. This dictates the maximum length of the trains,(in N scale, this roughly works out to be one 4-axle diesel, four 40' freight cars, & one 34' caboose) & determine the length that the staging, or "yard" tracks need to be.
  5. Gardenrrguy

    Gardenrrguy Member

    Just my two cents. I have seen so many layouts that are all yard and swtiches and wires and.......... My experience is with the full size railroads just as much as modeling. In most cases, less is better.
    But to each his own. Model railroading is an art. Everyone interprets thier art in diferent ways.
    Lastly, Brian, that diagram looks real and beliveable. Same kind of diagram you may find in many 1inch=1inch railroads.

    Keep up the good work.
  6. spitfire

    spitfire Active Member

    Gee Brian, I wonder what thread that could be?:D :D :D

    I am going to copy your post (if you don't mind) to my reference files since it has a lot of useful information.

    Regarding your theory, it has been my experience that there are always 3 points of view on any issue - those to my right, those to my left and mine. If I turn to the right 45 degrees, I see all new opposing points. IMO it all depends where you're standing at the time, and since we're all standing somewhere unique, then there are actually an infinite number of "2 kinds of people"....hmmm, kinda makes ya think, don't it?

    :D Val
  7. Catt

    Catt Guest

    Me thinks Val has found a bottle of Jon's meds. :D :D
  8. billk

    billk Active Member

    Or she's just proved (or disproved?) the Heisenberg Principle.
  9. railohio

    railohio Active Member

    Guys, I can only speak from personal experience, and from my experience speaking with them about layout planning, there seems to be two types of modelers. (If I know you, and we've never had an in-depth conversation about layout design, then this doesn't apply to you... :p ) One extreme seems to be the people who want to put three stub tracks at the end of a mainline and call it a yard. Will it work? Of course. Will it work well? Depends on what they want to do with it. There are some people who want to make a full working yard with classification tracks, an arrival and departure yard, engine service, and the rest of the package with three turnouts. If you want to be that specialized, it just won't happen. To the opposite extreme, there are modelers who have the yard to dominate the layout. Again, this comes back to what the individual modeler wants. Some people want to design a layout based solely on yard operations. I think this is a wonderful concept personally. But on the other hand, of a modeler wants to model a railroad and not just the yard, then maybe the yard shouldn't dominate the whole scene. Just my two cents...
  10. brakie

    brakie Active Member

    Brian,A yard is one of the most important things on any layout built for prototype operations..Needless to say a railroad needs a yard in order to get the work done..Trains need to be built and torn down for forwarding of the freight.Even the smallest of short lines will need to switch cars to get the cars in delivery order.

    The yard you have fills that need nicely.It is a workable yard..

    As for me,I would not give a hoot for any layout lacking a working yard..I do not consider open stagging a yard,as it is being used to hold trains and not for working...

    A layout needs a engine service area as well.Both the yard and engine terminal goes hand in hand on a layout built for operation.
  11. Ralph

    Ralph Remember...it's for fun!

    This has been a timely thread. Brakie, you're gonna hate this but after reading posts above I've just decided to turn what was becoming an unsatisfactory cramped three track yard with a two track engine house into an industrial park. The engine house will be converted into a factory, providing another customer to switch. Yard operations haven't ever really been a great interest of mine. Running the layout I'll imagine that trains come from and go to a yard or yards off the layout. I'll run through freights and locals that will orginate and terminate off layout. As always, there seem to be as many ways of enjoying model railroading as there are modellers! :)
  12. brakie

    brakie Active Member

    Indeed there is..That is why it's the worlds greastest hobby! :D
  13. TR-Flyer

    TR-Flyer Member

    Badda-bim,...badda- boom!

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