My attempts at a track plan.

Discussion in 'HO Scale Model Trains' started by tetters, Jan 8, 2007.

  1. tetters

    tetters Rail Spiking Fool!

    Here we go again.

    This is a product of several revisions since the last time I posted up regarding my insecurities about setting up a track plan for a future layout.


    So I'll try to describe it and see if any of it makes any sense at all or some one can tell me if I am waaaaay out into left field.

    For switchers I'll be using a two locos. A CP GP7 (already bought :D ) and a GP9 (which is on its way Yipee!). Rolling stock would be mostly 50' in length with some shorter tank cars as well. (It seems to move well in the XTrk simulations). Moving the cars requires some planning so there is a bit of a challenge to it. Which I don't mind. It would get boring really quick I'd imagine if it were easy. The grey retangles if you can see them are where I would position my uncouplers. There is about a dozen of them with about half of them in the yard. I tried to keep them in staight sections too, as I've read on this awesome board that there could be conflicts trying to uncouple in curved sections. I aslo factored them in right away as it would keep me honest as to where I could actually put things and leave them on the tracks without blocking everything. Thus aiding me, if you will, in my design process.

    Industries like I said before would mostly include a grain or flour mill which I would use to desguise the box in the bottom left corner of the layout. ( Old gas pipes, can't cut them out! Eeeeep! ) Another industry that receives corn and produces corn oil which would then get shipped out. I've pretty much convinced myself I'll stick a brewery that receives it's grain from the railway in there too. "Cause I love my beer. Now if I can just find some Guiness or Kilkenny box cars I'd be all set! sign1

    The outer track would be perhaps my Main or Interchange Track coming off of a Main. So far I've been able to build up and break down seven or eight car consists without too much fuss. The scenarios I've set up is a switcher will bring a train onto the inner track from either end and the second one will help break it down and place the goods either in the industry spurs or into the yard. Respectively the switcher can take cars parked in the yard and build up an outgoing train to be taken "off" the layout.

    I need some honest opinions gents. Let me know what you think. If it sucks just say so. :cry: :D

    Thanks for all the help.

    Crap I just realized I posted this in the worng forum. Feel free to move to the Track Planning one.
  2. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    It looks like a fun switching layout to me. The only change that I would make is to put a locomotive escape track in the yard so that a locomotive could pull a train in, uncouple, and get out on an adjacent track. If you get a pair of curved turnouts to put between the 2 main lines in the curve, that would give you a second runaround to make the switching job easier for the industries on the left side of the layout. I can't see the grey rectangles marking the uncoupling ramps very well, but it looks like some may be quite a ways back in the yard. You can get by with one at the head of each yard track, and just use the kaddee "delayed action" feature to shove the cars farther into the yard.
  3. jetrock

    jetrock Member

    I'd concur with the need for an escape track in the yard. Other than that, it looks like a nice plan: my layout is fairly similar, albeit smaller. Is that a three-way turnout in the upper left-hand corner?

    If you have a larger space or gain air rights you could feasibly expand that layout in both directions. That's what I'm doing right now: my 12'x3' shelf layout will soon become a 24x11 foot L-shaped shelf layout, and eventually a 24x11 around the room layout. Given more expansion space you could extend the mainline to serve more industries, or build an "other half" onto the yard to make it double-ended.
  4. tetters

    tetters Rail Spiking Fool!

    Scratch that second-to-last one I put up. This is much better IMHO. I can make the longer section better by adding on an additional four feet. Which solve the escape problem as I can just add another yard ladder and "finish" the yard.

    This plan also gets rid of the three way turn outs and room to add a couple more customers for the railroad. I figure the setting will be urban seeing as to how want to cram as much as I can into the style of the layout to keep it interesting.

  5. tetters

    tetters Rail Spiking Fool!


    I revised the track plan again and added four feet to the long section. I edited my last post, however it didn't bump it up to the top of the page. :D
  6. bigsteel

    bigsteel Call me Mr.Tinkertrain

    that looks like a great plan so far cant wait too see it finished.if it were me i would probaby make the yard a little longer. or do like my father did and make a hidden staging track underneath and run trains up through the helix to give the illusion of freight traffic omming in everywhere.but so far it ooks great.:thumb:
  7. cnw1961

    cnw1961 Member

    Looks good to me :thumb: . As I can see, you got rid of the three-way turnouts. I haven’t used them so far, but I think they look a bit tricky, so it might be a good idea not to use them. BTW where did you find those additonal four feet. I would be very glad to have four feet somewhere that I could add to my layout :D .
  8. tetters

    tetters Rail Spiking Fool!

    No room for a helix or hidden staging area. It is what it is. Adding four feet to the long end brings it right over to the hot water heater tank in the basement. Which is pushing it in terms of space. I can deal though. That is as far as it goes. The only other thing that I may change which bothers me is the middle curved track to the left. I can use it as a run around, but....hmmm...aesthetically speaking I don't like it.
  9. tetters

    tetters Rail Spiking Fool!

    Yeah. The shelf when built will span across two basment windows. I was trying to avoid spanning both to leave one easily accessible, ya know, for ventilation. :D I should add that the shelf hieght when done will be level with the windows too. Not as to interfere with them, just to sort of blend it into everything. Plus I imagine the natural light will make for some interesting photos in the mornings once the scenery is done up as the wall faces south. It's going to be slow going at first. Right now. I'm in the planning stages and cleaning house at the same time. So it will be months before I start any bench work. I am buying things here and there now, just to keep me motivated. Plus I can keep tabs on all the great work done here to keep me going until then as well.

    When I start y'all be the first to know. :thumb:
  10. NYNH&H

    NYNH&H Member

    As for a "staging yard", try a car float that is removable. Heck, you could have it go from that to a lower level that is either staging or another town, as a form of across the harbor interchange. Lots of cool possibilites. You could even have it on an elevator from underneath, so it would travel at the push of a button! Or, you could have a flip-up section if there is any room for that. Watch to make sure you don't have any S-curves, which would be even worse with tight industry trackage and #4 turnouts.

    EDIT: typo
  11. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    I think the second yard throat may shorten the yard tracks up too much. It might be better to have one or two tracks that allow the locomotive to escape and the rest as stub end tracks for extra car storage availability. Your curve to the left side has three tracks going to an industrial section from the yard with another track inter connecting it. It will work, but it looks a bit too complicated and awkward. I think if you used 1 track from the yard to the industries with a run around to allow you to reposition the locomotive when working the industries, it would simplify the layout and also make it more interesting to operate. On a switching layout, I wouldn't worry about staging. Store your extra rolling stock in boxes or on shelves, and put them on/take them off the layout via the 0-5-0 method.
  12. tetters

    tetters Rail Spiking Fool!

    If it is not too much to ask. Can you show me what you mean? It sounds good. I'm just more of a visual kinda of guy. I like your last comment. The ole' 0-5-0 method. I get it.sign1
  13. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    I can draw it perfectly on my desk with paper and pencil, but I am computer ignorant. I just don't know how to modify a drawing on a post or how to put one up myself. I'll try to write up instructions. You have 3 tracks acting as leads going around the corner from the yard into the industrial area. If you count them as #1, #2, & #3 from the front of the benchwork back, you also have a 4th track crossing between #2 & #3. I would eliminate #1 & #2 coompletely. Remove the right handed switch that comes out of the yard to track #1. Now your lead to the industrial section will be the #3 track and what was the crossover. If you want, you would have room to the inside of the corner to put in a run around track, but the industries are close enough to the yard that you could just set the train up to switch in the yard and go out with the locomotive in the middle of a train to switch those sidings. The set of switches between the siding closest to the edge and the second siding in that left side industrial section, should be turned around so that you don't have to make an extra backing move to push a cut of cars into that siding.

    A couple of more changes to consider. If you eliminate the access to the switch back set of sidings in back behind the yard from the yard and instead make them accessed from the track leading to the industry in the lower left corner, you force your trains to run a little farther to switch out those industries. You could even build a small hill behind the yard and put that industry on top forcing the tran to go "round about" to climb the hill to drop off cars.

    Finally with all of the real estate cleaned out in the left front corner of the yard (right front if you are standing inside the curve of the bench) you could move the switch going from the front track to the second track back a bit to get a longer yard track and fill in the empty diamond space near the front between the 7' & 8' mark. ie move the switch that is at the 8' mark on your layout over to the 7' mark and the second track picks up 12 inches of extra distance. I hope this description helps.
  14. tetters

    tetters Rail Spiking Fool!

    Oh God ....not really. :oops: Crap back to the drawing board. :cry:
  15. tetters

    tetters Rail Spiking Fool!

    O.K. Round Three.

    Never try to design a track plan after polishing off a bottle of wine. After reading Russ' post I got discouraged and tried to re-design the whole thing and only ended up scrapping the entire layout. Good thing I didn't lose the work I'd already done. Went at it with a fresh head this morning. I think I get what you were trying to explain Russ. At least some of it. The XtrkCAD program will only let me do so much. So I moved some stuff around. The yard doesn't look too different. Your ideas do clean it up a bit.

    Let me know what you think.

  16. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    That is what I was trying to describe. I think that track plan will work for you. The only other change that I would make is to remove the connection between the yard and those 2 stub sidings off the switch at the 12foot 6 inch mark and instead tie those 2 sidings into a switch coming off the main part of the run around at about the 9 foot mark. That will give you the challenge of having to plan switching moves to get your locomotive behind the cars for those industries, and make you take a train out of the yard to work those industries as well. If those tracks are going to shops or are rip tracks that are an integral part of your yard operations then disregard my last comment. I don't know about the C.P.; but here in Southern California, the S.P. (now U.P.) has a bunch of little yards like that all over the L.A. metro area in industrial sections where cars are dropped to work the industries surrounding those yards within a 5-10 mile radius. When the U.P. first bought the S.P. one of the many mistakes they made was to conclude that having all of thoses little yards was a waste of resources and they decided to close them down. Fortunately bfore they had a chance to start ripping them out, they found out they didn't have enough car storage capacity to handle the L A area traffic and had to reopen every single yard they had closed.
  17. tetters

    tetters Rail Spiking Fool!

    Thanks Russ. I appreciate the input. Just glad I was finally able to make sense of it. sign1

    I was thinking about using the two stubs at the 12'6" mark as service tracks for my switchers. Some place to park them at the end of a working day so-to-speak. Maybe a maintenance garage and a fueling station. I figure it might also be a good place to put in a senic (sp?) feature I took a picture of in one of the local Go Trains. You can see the picture here in this thread http:// is the third one one down. Just pulling some ideas out of the air. Your idea is as equally intriguing though and had crossed my mind.

    I like the idea of elevating the back area slightly too. I was trying to figure out how I was going to realistically do that some how. Now I can already picture a small rock retaining wall seperating the yard from the industry tracks that in my mind could make an interesting feature to look at.

    Thanks for your input. I greatly appreciate it.

  18. tetters

    tetters Rail Spiking Fool!

    Sorry Gents.

    Last one. So taking Russ' recommendations into consideration here is what I could finally come up with. I like it. So I took it one step further and started to imagine where I could place roads, structures for my industries etc. The yard occupies quite a chunk of the layout fore ground and makes it hard to put roads in and stuff. No so bad. I imagine as the creative juices get flowing what I eventually may end up doing is making an access road that cuts through the yard for rail equipment only.

    To the far east is where I would have the engine garage and fueling area (purple building). The square bluish building would be a yard tower.

    The green building would be my Casco Facility where they make corn oil. So grain hoppers would be loaded in while empty tank cars could be stored in the run around. So the grain hoppers when empty could be pulled out, then the tank cars can be pushed in. Maybe not proto-typical, but that is how I imagine it working.

    The red triangle building in the middle I have decided will be my brewery.
    They crank out a lot of beer and need to ship it by train.sign1

    Empties could be kept in the yard.

    The building next door is an unknown. I haven't decided yet.

    The brown building in the corner is my grain/mill. Lastly the two buildings in the upper corner are also a mystery.

    Obviously, Most of the building will exist off layout and will also act as my background. I finally start to see this thing in my head.

    I hope I've made some sense of it.:)

  19. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    It looks good to me. It is one of the best switching layouts I've ever seen. Have fun with it.
  20. tetters

    tetters Rail Spiking Fool!

    Never content to let an old thread die I'm going to ressurect this one. Again.

    I swear this is the last time I will clog up the board with this topic.

    Final revisions to my shelf switching layout are attached. It's at the point where if I try to change or add more I end up going back to this point. It just looks good and makes sense.

    Most notable was I got rid of the switch-backs and added a couple of cross-overs for my industries instead. I believe that they will give my switchers more freedom of movement with-out going backwards and forewards with a string of cars. Plus I just think they look cool. If this is a bad idea I'm sure Russ will let me know. LOL!!!

    I also tweeked the yard too. Made it more linear and gave it more capacity. I wasn't really happy with the turnouts (towards the front) stuck in the middle of it either. Experiementing with it in XTrkCAD showed that they were pretty useless operationally as well.

    The "yard" to the far right is for engine and car service facilties. It is not cut in stone either and I may go back to a simple two track idea instead. I flipped it also to put more real estate between the yard and the propesed industries at the back. Perhaps another siding for the indsutry(ies) there as well.

    On paper I think it looks great. Now to build it.


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