N Scale Layout Plan - Vail and Southwestern for review

Discussion in 'Track Planning' started by baldwinjl, Aug 24, 2005.

  1. baldwinjl

    baldwinjl Member

    I've been reading these forums for a while, and posting a bit when I thin kI know something. I've been working on a layout plan that my sons and I hope to construct over then next .... well, 'til it's done?

    The setting is Southeast Arizona, in the transition era (although there may be some anachronistic running at times, as we keep multiple operator/builders happy. Freight and passengers will both be handled.

    Since it is hard to picture the elevations, I'll give a quick outline:
    Starting at the top end of the yard on the lower level, right side, the mainline climbs gradually as it goes around the penninsula. On the upper level, right side the main passes in front of a view block, there is a staging area behind. The main continues to climb along the back wall, and up the left side to the four turn helix at the blob. Then there is gentle slope back down to the yard. There are reversing track in both directions that leave the main on the lower level above and below the yard, and climb up under the staging area to meet on the other side. I'll probably deiguise these as either junctions of industrial tracks.

    I'm pretty happy in general, but I have a question about the yard. Am I going to regret not having a direct path from the mainline to the classification tracks? It is certainly doable, but will shorten things up a bit.

    Any other comments or suggestions are welcome.

    Thanks for your time,

    Oops, there is a tiny bit of track showing on the upper level that's just part of the siding on the lower. Just ignore it!

    Level 1

    Level 2
  2. Triplex

    Triplex Active Member

    A direct line from the main to the classification tracks isn't essential. A direct line from the main to the arrival/departure tracks is essential. Counting from left to right, I guess track 9 is the mainline. Then are 7 and 8 passing tracks or arrival/departure tracks? You need arrival/departure tracks. I'm not sure if track 8 needs to be as long as it is - it's got more than 6' clear length, but most staging tracks are 5'. I guess 10 and 11 are passenger station tracks?

    What function does the track arrangement along the bottom and corner of the lower deck serve? Not that it looks bad or anything. :)

    Could you please repost the plan with elevations labelled? Just so I can make sure all those connections work. (I'm not sure operations-wise what they all do!)
  3. baldwinjl

    baldwinjl Member

    Triplex-Thanks for looking so closely....
    Tracks 7 and 8 are A/D tracks, I guess 6 could bo for the bottom end of the yard. 8 probably is longer than it needs to be, but...

    The bottom most line on the lower deck is the reversing track heading to the upeer deck, so it will actually be above the main at the right side. There is a passing siding at the lower left separated pretty far from the main, this 'simulates' the separated double main that runs through Vail, AZ (The Town Between the Tracks, the sign says), near where I live. The spur between the tracks is a siding that seems to be used for MOW equipment on occasion, that is adjacent to the road that crosses both tracks. I hope to put the feedstore and the church that are about all that are there on the layout.

    I'll try to get the elevations to show up and post back later....got to run now!
  4. Triplex

    Triplex Active Member

    Okay - I follow. Just one thing: the tail track on that switchback spur by the passenger station (?) is too short. It can only hold one engine OR one car.
  5. baldwinjl

    baldwinjl Member

    Good point there, I'll have to fix that up. I hope to get a chance to get elevations on and repost tonight, maybe?

    Thanks again,
  6. seanm

    seanm Member

    I like this a lot!! It looks like you are working about the same area I am and have really come up with a good looking plan. My only worry is that it looks like you have the staging yard right over the main yard...with such thin isles, it will be difficult if you have two operatiors in the same area. I ended up witht he same problem, but my staging is not nearly as extensive as yours and I have a much bigger isle... loosing some track in the progress. (smile)
  7. baldwinjl

    baldwinjl Member

    I should have said more about the space. It is in the corner of the garage, walls on the bottom and left. The top and left are open, though not dedicated to railroad. So the staging is totally in the open, but not visible from the "operating" area of the loayout. I don't really like the narrow aisles, but I expect that the operators will usually be my sons and I, and we've been getting in each others' way for a while!
  8. seanm

    seanm Member

    That makes all the difference.... If you can get to the staging from the right side, it will work out fine. Very nice!

    What sort of industries do plan to have on the layout?
  9. baldwinjl

    baldwinjl Member

    Excellent question....
    I think there will be a power plant, and a cement plant, possibly a copper mine and/or smelter. A stockyard might fit in, but I'm not sure about that. My cart and horse are not altogether in order here. Some box car industries, too, I expect a team track. Maybe an oil distibution point. I need to do some more thinking here....

  10. tillsbury

    tillsbury Member

    How did I miss this? Nice layout -- I'm working on something of a similar size. Stuff that I came across (which of course is not a criticism of your layout, I'm just wondering how you solved them):

    1) I'm planning to build the lower level first and the upper level later -- to avoid overwhelming myself with work and never getting there.
    2) I too fitted a load of industries in, like you have in the lower section, without planning what they were actually going to be. I think I'm now tending towards picking a couple of 'major' industries (I want a reasonable steel mill, and a significant rolling stock repair/manufacturing company, for example). Support industries can come from staging until they are installed, if ever. Also, I want to have some 'running' space (for photography).
    3) I think I might end up installing switches where I believe industry could go, but no track initially. At the odd point along the layout. Again, this will get the layout up and running sooner, and allow for expansion later...
    4) I need to think about 'towns'. These are very hard to fit into an existing plan -- I believe it's easier/better to plan their location first and then fit the track to them. Unless you can do without towns at all...
    5) I think Xtrkcad only allows straight lines and fixed-radius curves with easements, which makes for a very straight-lined plan unless you spend a whole lot of time mixing curves together. On almost all of your layout the mainline and many of the other lines are parallel with the front (and back) of the benchwork. I prefer to introduce gentle curves here and there, or at the very least make the straight line route at a slight angle to the benchwork.

    Not to detract in any way from your plan, of course.
  11. baldwinjl

    baldwinjl Member

    tillsbury - thanks for the comments.

    Some things I have thought about, and some, well, hmmmm

    1. I think the helix will get built first, since everything has to match up there. I'll probably build the upper level around the left and bottom next to avoid having to do a lot above the lower level. It should be pretty quick, since there isn't a lot to it. The then right side upper and lower, then the rest of the lower. All is subject to change as we see what it looks like in the real world.

    2. The industries are pretty conceptual at this point. I think we are looking towards having a lot of fun running, so we may end up erring on the side of too many. Of course, until the track is there, it isn't!

    3. I could see doing that. Some of ours may start that way,

    4. Out here there isn't much in a town. I think a little depot, and maybe a tavern/inn, and a general store would do it. At the main yard lower level I anticipate our biggest city, mostly built into the backdrop and around the conrners.

    5. I thkn that some of the long stretches might get a wave in them as we lay them. A lot of the parallelism was a result of trying to get the widest curves I could without narrowing the already narrow aisles. In the stagin area that certainly won't be an issue, and I think it will be ok in the main yard. On the upper level, there just isn't much room to work with. I might look at that a bit, it is more parallel than I thought, on further review.

    Thanks again for all your comments.


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