need help on staging yard plan

Discussion in 'HO Scale Model Trains' started by TruckLover, Apr 6, 2008.

  1. TruckLover

    TruckLover Mack CH613 & 53' Trailer

    Someone wanna help me design a track plan for my staging yard for my shelf layout?

    Staging is under layout with a 3% grade dropping 12" in 36'.
    • Staging yard should be stub ended
    • Staging yard is 18" wide and 10' long
    • On the right side of the staging yard there should be 2 tracks coming from down grade from the layout entering the yard.
    • Using #6 Atlas Code 83 switches in the yard
    • Yard will be used to store trains and also to stage them to do switching operations on the layout
    if someone could please help me come up with a rough sketch of a yard for my layout it would help me out alot :mrgreen:

    I would like to get as many tracks running parallel as possible, tracks can run right up next to the edge of the benchwork, im going to be putting a masonite border along the front of the yard to prevent certain derailments from spilling over the side of the yard :eek: :rolleyes: :thumb:
  2. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    Josh, I have a few questions for you to help with the design. You really don't need a lot of design work, when you lay out your yard throat (the switches leading to the ladder tracks) the space taken up by the switches will determine how many tracks you can have in your space, and how long each track can be.

    #1 The NMRA standard for track separation is 2" centerlines on adjacent tracks, is-2" from center to center of the tracks. The distance centerline to centerline is increased to either 2 1/4" or 2 1/5" on curves, I think it is 2 1/4".
    There is one potential problem with that spacing. If you have trains on all of your staging yard tracks, the space between trains will be a tight fit for hands. If you need to re-rail a train, you may find you are knocking the train off the tracks that is next to the one you are re-railing. It also means that you need to set the first track centerline 2 inches back from the front of the staging yard, but again, you may not have room to get your fingers between the cars and the barrier or fence you erect to keep trains from falling off the staging yard.

    #2 Are you going to have trains coming off the staging yard in both directions? Prototype railroads run either East-West, or North-South. I'm most familiar with the Santa Fe, so I will use them as an example. Santa Fe's mainline ran from Chicago to Los Angeles. Even though there were places where the trains would be running North or South, Santa Fe trains were always going either East or West by timetable. If you are going to have trains running in both directions on your layout, how will you turn them from the staging yard? One method would be to back the trains up from staging if you want a train to run in the opposite direction, but backing a train up a grade around curves may cause derailments. For those trains that need to back down grade to go into the staging yard, that is not so much of a problem. Gravity will take a lot of side load off the cars backing down grade. One trick you could use is to make a passing siding long enough to hold your longest train where the track to hidden staging comes to the mainline. You would then pull your train up from staging, and use the passing siding for the locomotives to make a run around move to go off in the correct direction.

    #3. If you make run around moves at the mainline before going to the track down to staging so that all trains back down to staging, you will not need engine escape tracks in the staging yard. If you don't, you will need to have some engine escape tracks at the end of your staging yard to allow the engines to escape after pulling the train down to staging.

    #4. I would suggest taking a couple of pieces of flex track and stick them temporarily in parallel to one of your shelves with double sided tape. Set the spacing at 2" and try to re-rail cars with another train on the adjacent track to see if it allows enough room to work.

    I think going through all of these steps will result in your staging yard designing itself in that you lay out your switches for you ladder at the track spacing that works for you, and the space taken by the ladder subtracted from the total length of your staging yard will determine how long each track will be and how many tracks you will have room for in staging. If your space for the staging yard is determined by the amount of space you will have on the wall after you get down your 12 inches, it doesn't make any difference how much staging you want. The space you have available will determine the size of the staging yard.
  3. TruckLover

    TruckLover Mack CH613 & 53' Trailer

    Make a good point, sufficient space between tracks is a must and i hadnt thought of not being able to put the tracks right up next to the edge even if there was a barrier

    Im thinking that this is going to require some serious thinking but i might have an idea which i will explain in my next post along with a couple pics to show what im thinking

    another great idea to think about. Im not sure if I would need it however with my new idea for the staging

    Will deffinetly be doing this, I really want to have as much trackage as i can in there as possible tho so i might stick with the 2" centerlines and just deal with it lol
  4. TruckLover

    TruckLover Mack CH613 & 53' Trailer

    So here's my idea im thinking about for staging

    Staging will still be 12" below layout. But instead of stagging alonng this wall:


    Have it along this wall:


    A train coming down the double mainline grade to staging would run all the way down a track along the wall in the first pic (this is already at staging level coming off the grade 12" below layout). after the train enters the full 10' stretch of track it could then back up thru a switch that leads to the wall in the second pic. Staging yard would be along the wall in the second pic now instead of the first pic like originally planned. This would allow for a wider staging yard and 2 more feet of track for each track in the yard.

    There would be a run-around track along the wall in the first pic for a train to come out of staging and pull around to the back of a train to travel up grade forwards. lol kinda confussing but it makes sence right?
  5. TruckLover

    TruckLover Mack CH613 & 53' Trailer

    i would draw what im descibing to tell it better but i dont have anything to draw it in, lemme draw it on a piece of paper and ill take a pic and post it
  6. TruckLover

    TruckLover Mack CH613 & 53' Trailer

    heres a drawling i did to try and explain my thinking lol

    Not to scale BTW

  7. lester perry

    lester perry Active Member

    Josh if you will need to see your cars you will need to raise th rear tracks like stairs so you can see them over the one in front of it also you can save space on the length by using two ladders wait I need to draw this to explain it.
  8. lester perry

    lester perry Active Member

    I'm back. here is a bad drawing of what I meant in the previous comment.
    I hope this helps some. As I was making the drawings which took hours I thought of something. I don't know how long your Locomotives are but you could put an atlas turn table on end of the yard to make it easier to turn Loco. they are relatively inexpensive and can be powered. I hope this helps some.
  9. TruckLover

    TruckLover Mack CH613 & 53' Trailer

    Thanks Les :mrgreen:

    The steps in the tracks would be nice, however i think it would cut down on the length of the tracks for staging.

    I like the idea of the WYE and it would make it easier to get more tracks from the ladder.

    Im going to draw something up for a plan of the staging yard to see what you guys think, i still am going to use the idea from the last drawling i posted, this drawling will show my thinking for the staging yard itself
  10. TruckLover

    TruckLover Mack CH613 & 53' Trailer

    Heres the drawling:


    Could this work?

    Where should i put the switches in the yard? I dont want to many of them in there but i do want a few, where would you guys suggest i put them in?
  11. lester perry

    lester perry Active Member

    Iam not sure of what you desire operation wise in your yard but if you can't see the cars you cant do much switching. also your turn to reverse direction could be a problem. what is the radius, how many cars in your longest train and what is grade you will have? I have two hidden yards below my layout. I use them for stotage/stagging. when a train leaves the yard on the Layout, they ultimatly end up in hidden yard except for the locals they will return to yard on the layout. I don't touch the train in the hidden yard until it returns to the layout. At that time I put a loco where the caboose used to be , put caboose where loco used to be and bring it back onto layout.
  12. TruckLover

    TruckLover Mack CH613 & 53' Trailer

    The yard is going to be used mostly for storage of the trains, i dont plan to do any switching in the yard itself, that will all be done on the shelf layout.

    The radius for the turns in and around staging level would be a minimum of 22" curves, most likely 24's. The turn-around coming down grade will be a 26" curve

    the grade is 3% down from staging which is 36' long and travels down 12"

    again the drawlings are not to scale lol
  13. lester perry

    lester perry Active Member

    I am a little confused here. are you going to have 2 or 3 levels? The 26 inch radius loop will significantly limit your train size. I don't know how deep your shelves are going to be but it appears your turn around will be much deeper than your shelving. if your 26" curve goes down hill it will go up uphill at a very steer grade when returning. When train goes around the turn to reverse direction it will tend to pull itself off of the track.
  14. RonP

    RonP Member of the WMRC

    I think i am understanding this and a series of available run arounds would save you some space.
  15. TruckLover

    TruckLover Mack CH613 & 53' Trailer

    theres 2 levels

    my room is 10x12'. The grade down to staging is 3% and it starts on the left wall in the drawling at the bottom left corner in the drawling. it goes down grade makeing its first turn while continuing down grade at the same time in the top left corner and runs along the wall still going down grade at the 3% into the top right corner in the drawling where it turns around on its-self in a 26" radius still going down grade. Tracks continue back down the top wall in the drawling and turns one last time again in the top left corner where the 3% grade ends 12" below the shelf layout above.

    The actual layout its-self will have shelfs of 18" wide. The staging yard will be 16" wide. Shelfs coming down grade from layout to staging will be 5" or so just wide enough for 2 tracks running side-by-side coming down grade.

    In the drawling on the left wall you see 3 tracks. A train comes down grade and pulls all the way into the left track and then reverses thru into the yard. Stagging yard is stub ended. When a train is leaving the yard it pulls all the way out and down the tracks into the bottom left corner of the drawling where the engines un-couple from the train and use the run-around track to come around to the back of the train where they re-couple and head up grade to the layout. Hope this makes sence lol

    heres a better drawling of the tracks coming down grade and the staging yard and the other tracks on the staging level:

  16. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    If the run around track is longer than any train you are running, it will work. If the train is longer than the run around track, uncoupling the engines and putting them on the run around track just traps them with no place to go.

    One other thing to add to all of your staging yard tracks is a bunch of Atlas rerailing sections. I would put one on every track as the first piece out of every route of every switch. We have them on all of the tracks in the staging yard of our modular club, and they work great at railing cars or rerailing cars that didn't get railed correctly in the first place. If a particular track is difficult to reach (like the one all the way to the back) it might even be worthwhile to put in a rerailer, a 9 inch section and another rerailer.

    By the way, I think your are "gaining on it." The farther this thread goes the more ideas you are getting, and it looks like the ideas are being worked out before you start building, which is a lot less expensive than getting it built and then deciding to change everything completely.
  17. TruckLover

    TruckLover Mack CH613 & 53' Trailer

    Thank Russ :mrgreen:

    The run around track will be almost 10' long i figure. if i want longer trains then i will just have to connect 2 trains on the main layout level after the train has reached it, not a big deal really.

    Im not sure how many cars are in a 10' train but i plan to run alot of intermodal double stack and 62' tank cars. Ill have about 30 62' tank cars and 58 intermodal double stacks (5-unit, 3-unit, and single units with 53' and 48' wells), of coarse i wont be able to run all 30 tanks or all 58 double stacks in one train as my layout will be nowhere near big enough but.......

    About the re-railers, I think that is an AWESOME idea and i will make sure all the tracks have at least one if not more like you said on the back track(s).
  18. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    By the way, when installing the rerailing tracks, put one out front on a track in the staging yard where you would normally put cars on the tracks. They make it a lot easier to put trains on tracks, I have found that just sliding a diesel engine over the top of a rerailing track will often get all of the wheels on track without all of the usual fiddling.

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