My Third try

Discussion in 'Track Planning' started by UPJunkie, Jan 10, 2006.

  1. UPJunkie

    UPJunkie Member

    I came up with this. It is mostly Switching, I think it will be fun and not get board with it. This layout will be in and out of Mountains, Forest

    Let me know what you think ( sorry about the drawing but you get the idea)

  2. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

    That is a nice point-to-point. I think it is much more workable. Please remind me of the scale??

  3. pgandw

    pgandw Active Member


    You probably don't want to hear from me again.

    But I'm still confused as to what you are trying to achieve. All your track plans are very nice for older era short line, point-to-point operation with good scenic and switching possibilities. Yet, your "handle" and the fact that you have what appears to be a big time turntable and roundhouse drawn in the lower left, leads me to believe you really would rather run big time steam power such as the UP Challenger and Big Boy. Also, I see 3 "operators" in the plan. Are you going to normally operate with 3 people? I assume we're still talking HO.

    The easiest way to get at your true feelings is to find out what locomotives you own or contemplate buying in the near future. Also, do you own any passenger cars (or planning on buying any in the near future)? If yes, what type (streamline, heavyweight, 19th century, Overtons)?

    The layout you designed this time cries out (to me, but I have my prejudices) to be a geared steam logging and/or mining operation. A Bachmann Climax or two (or smaller geared steam or diesel switcher) would be perfect. Are you going to be happy with that kind of layout - a geared engine pulling a 6-8 car train plus engine and caboose? You can really only run two trains at once on this layout. And both will have to be attended due to the short run and the need to break down and recreate a train at the other end.

    But I suspect you'd rather being running 18 car trains with big steam on a continuous loop. If that is the direction you really want go, then a donut type arrangement is going to maximize your space.

    If the illustrated concept is still what you want, then the following comments apply. It is a good starting point.

    1) Access problems. In several places, your benchwork is over 3 ft wide. The top right corner (your mine) is 4.5 feet from the aisle. Depending on the height you build the layout at, your maximum reach for construction and maintenance is between 30 inches and 36 inches. You have to especially watch the corners - two 3ft deep shelves end up with a 4.5 ft reach on the diagonal to the back corner. So your layout sections should generally never be more than 30 inches deep if placed against a wall.

    2) Passing siding length. This determines and/or is sized by the maximum length train. Coyote Siding is about 4ft long or less. Each car in HO is about 6 inches long - old time, log, or mine cars tend to be 1/2 or 1 inch less.

    3) Switching complications. Both terminals have one end of the runaround track using the turntable. One of the "rules" in small layout design is never to waste precious space on doing the same feature twice if it can be avoided. I would recommend incorporating an Inglenook switching puzzle (see at one terminal, and let the other terminal have a proper runaround. Build the Inglenook first and see if you like switching before building a layout around it.

    4. Turntable size. As sketched, the engine storage tracks and roundhouse are way too small for the turntable. You need to know what engines are going to be used. Geared steam needs 8-9 inches at most for a 3 truck monster. A Big Boy needs an 18 inch turntable. Engine house tracks should be twice as long as the turntable for good looks, but could be compressed to 1.5 times the turntable length.

    The two good ways I know of to not try to draw more than will fit is

    1) use the Atlas RTS software. It's free, and because it's limited to Atlas sectional track, you can be sure what you generate in the program can be built. I use it as a sanity check all the time to avoid overcrowding my plans. Even though I can hand lay my track to much tighter clearances, the Atlas software forces me to cut back and leave room for some scenery.

    2) tape off the benchwork outline on the floor. Use actual track pieces and lay it out on te floor.

    Drawing freehand sketches, and even scale sketches tempt me to overcrowd.

    Good work, the Coyote Creek is coming along. Don't stop now.
  4. UPJunkie

    UPJunkie Member

    This will be in Ho Scale
  5. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    Fred, I give up. I'd like to help him, but so far he keeps posting track plans, but NEVER answers any questions. I don't think any of us can help him at all.
  6. Greg Elems

    Greg Elems Member

    It looks like a workable plan and the turntables don't bother me per say. The Sierra Railroad had a good sized roundhouse in Jamestown CA. The Yosemite Valley RR had a turntable and roundhouse in Merced and a turntable at El Portal. So just because the turntable's are on each end doesn't make it a large railroad operation. I think another yard track needs to be added to the terminal with the roundhouse. I'd do the turntable different at the other end of the line too, but that's just me. Since you are planning a coal yard an interchange track at the main yard or along the way will give you an off layout destination for the coal. Empties in and loads out. It will give you a way to send your finished lumber from the saw mill out to the world too.

  7. UPJunkie

    UPJunkie Member

    The turntables will be at least 9 inches long.

    the engines i will be using will be Climax,Shay, and some smaller steam engines. Thats all i want to do on the layout is Logging and coal. I have tryed demos of the track programs and it does something to my computer. My computer does not like them. I see what you guys are trying to help me on, but i wish i could help you guys more. In the layout i want the trains go through

    Clif sides

    I know i am limited to space i just wish i had a full size basement :cry:

    I am not good at this kind of stuff like designing a layout. I can draw them , but when it comes to do it in a room or something, it comes out diffrent

    Other then what i put, Thats all i want in a layout. I hope this helps out alittel better then what i said before
  8. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    I think this new layout will work for what you want to do. This is the first time you've told us what type of equipment you wanted to run or type of railroad you want to do. With a user name of "U.P. Junkie" we expected you to want to run Challengers, Big Boys, and other big steam or large diesels, none of which would work on any of your track plans. This new plan is an excellent plan for logging, mining, or short line railroading.
  9. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery


    I would next try a scale drawing of what you have planned. If you cannot get RTS or XTrkCAD to work (I find the latter hard to use, and besides, none of it is compatible with my Mac) use your graph paper, and use a compass for curves, etc. Getting some "butcher paper" and drawing full size on the floor is not a bad idea either, or even laying out some flex/sectional track.

    I have a couple of suggestions, based on your latest drawing.

    Lower-left - flip the "yard" tracks and the roundhouse, so the roundhouse is nearer the wall. This will make the yard easier to reach, which is where you will be doning coupling/uncoupling.

    "South" of Coyote Creek - move the siding away from the wall. See above for reasoning.

    If there is any way to make the Coyote Creek siding longer - do it! It is good as it is, but longer is better if you can work it in somehow.

    Camp Coyote Creek - looks good. I don't know what the siding to the north is for, but it is really short...

    I would not have a track running from the turntable to the coal industry (mine?).

    Remember that in HO (for your era) you can ballpark cars at ~6" long, and engines at ~12". So a 4' long runaround or siding will hold ~7-8 cars at most, or an engine plus 5-6 cars.

    Hope that helps with your planning.

  10. SAZ

    SAZ New Member

    I agree with MasonJar's comments, he (and most everyone else) have been doing this much longer than I - so listen to them. Since I'm also in the planning stage (for about the same size of area) I can add that whenever I try to sketch up something without a scale - I end up with more than can reasonably fit. I allow for turnouts to be 1 foot long and what seem to be huge sweeping curves and still get too much - I probably have too much even with a scale. :)

    Check the radius of curves against the longest equipment you may ever want to run someday - then add some. Too small radius is the hardest part of design compromise. Allow for a little margin of error so you can compress things when you actually build... you know your going need it unless you've got a very accurate full size drawing. Check the turnouts you plan on using and make sure they will fit where you plan to put them. On your existing diagram I see several turnouts on curves that might be a problem. Turnouts and the resulting curves take lots of room.

    Quite a bit can be achieved in your area... don't settle for a point to point logging line - unless that is what you really want for the long haul. Make sure you make the compromises that will suite you in the long run. Plenty of room for a really great logging line in that space! But also enough room for continuous running and/or a main line scene too. Many modelers like to have some form of staging to make the layout seem to extend to the larger world (you might consider that also). I have been reading "small, smart & practical track plans" by Ian Rice, and I find it valuable.

    I understand the problem your having... I also am trying to decide what compromises I really want to make. Don't give up! I plan to take 2 or 3 months to design my layout. Then longer to finalize the design with various mock ups. Keep at the planning until you're really happy with it! I'm sure the folks here that really know what they are doing (unlike myself) will give you great advise and you'll end up with a great layout! :)
  11. sumpter250

    sumpter250 multiscale modelbuilder

    I clicked on your "coyote creek railroad" link, so I have an Idea what you're trying to come up with.
    I guess I'll ask the tough question.....Have you visualized what your layout will look like? I like the brief description of the railroad, and its reason for being, but have you tried to "see" what your plan will look like with trains on it, can you "see" where your trains will go, and what they will do?
    I have never built a layout from a "plan", or drawing. I, like you, have conceived the "story" of the railroad, and then pictured the setting, and then started "growing" the layout to fit the space I had to work with. The trick was, I could see the finished scene, as I was building it.
    Before I start, I know what the line will do, where and how it will do it, and what it will use to do it with. You have chosen geared, and some small rod engines, and lumber appears to be part of the revenue. You already described an overview of the geography (towns, woods, cliffs, mountains), so all that is left to do, is to "see" the finished layout, and make it happen.
    Oh, expect changes to be made as you progress, sometimes, reality of space and size will argue with vision, and the "story" evolves, and requires changes, it's part of the fun.
    Good luck,...................oh, pictures. :D
  12. sumpter250

    sumpter250 multiscale modelbuilder

    You might find something of interest in the "logging line" forum, or, some of Shamus's work. (go to member list, find shamus, and click on the name, then go to "posts" for a list (lots of...) of his posts). He did a lot of lumber type railroads, and might just be the inspiration you could use.
  13. UPJunkie

    UPJunkie Member

    Ok kewl i forgot about shamus. ( how i couldn't tell ya :eek: hamr ) I will go to his site and look up his post and replys

    I will try to make the siding longer and see what it looks like and mess with it more

    Thanks for the help guys

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