need help with layout

Discussion in 'Track Planning' started by jimlar47, Feb 3, 2007.

  1. jimlar47

    jimlar47 New Member

    Hi all this is a layout that I have been working on for a few days, I want to get your opions on it and also how it would function as a real railroad, I really don’t know how a real railroad would function, need advice this is H O, one level, the size is 8 X16 with 3ft shelf in a circle with two areas to crawl under I plan to hold the outside track about 6 to 8 in away from the wall for scenery that would give me a 30 in reach the top portion is the yard with a main line and two sidings one siding leading into the yard ,the sidings at the top right would be engine and rolling stock repair, the rest of the sidings would be industry ,tank farm, rock quarry, maybe a small steel mill ect, my original thought was to have at least one main line to run long hauls on and also a decent size yard for switching, when I originally thought about this I was thinking of a
    Steel mill operation blast furnace, oponhearth, rolling mill coke plant coalmine, and shipping. I don’t know if I have enough room for this, I used to live in a steel mill town and I thought that I would be nice to do a steel mill operation. I could expand this latter on as it is in the basement but I kind of wanted to build this in stages I don’t want to become overwhelmed I plan on using atlas code 100 track and also atlas turn outs are the atlas turn outs good to use I have heard some negative remarks about atlas turnouts or can they be made to work ok( trying to save money ) I want to try and stick with # 6 and 8 for the turnouts #5 in the yard if I have to thanks I need all the help I can get.


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  2. radar

    radar Member

    I use atlas turnouts no problems for the price I think every brand of turnout needs some work to work reliably. you might think about using #4s in the yard to save space. maybe put the steel mill on a separate module or peninsula expansion
  3. jimlar47

    jimlar47 New Member

    I was going to try and use #6 in the yard if i could but i think i will probably end up with #4
    that is what i thought about turnouts that they all would need some work and the price difference between atlas and peco is pretty good, this layout will need about 30 turnouts so just do the math and the savings is quite a lot , that said peco makes a good turnouts
    radar thanks for the info

  4. Triplex

    Triplex Active Member

    You've drawn the turnouts unrealistically sharp. At the least, that yard ladder won't work as drawn.

    I see two lines going all the way around, separated. Is that what you want?

    What operational function are the wye and return loop across the middle going to serve?
  5. jimlar47

    jimlar47 New Member

    i know that the turnouts are not exact, its kind of a general idea of what i want, until i get some track and put it on the bench work to see what it will really look like. and yes i wanted two lines if i could do it, a main line. And a second main/staging when not in use .
    the center will serve industry and a kind of back up turn around, as i said i do not know much about the true operation of a real railroad, if you want to change this plan to be more realistic and efficient go ahead i welcome all the advice i can get , i would rather make changes here than after i have everything nailed down

  6. MadHatter

    MadHatter Charging at full tilt.

    Hi jimlar47,

    Great layout plan, but perhaps some of those stubs can be changed to passing sidings, it will be easier to shunt your trains.

    As with real life railways, you will want to make maneuvers easier by making more passing sidings and less stubs.
  7. jimlar47

    jimlar47 New Member


    i have been reading up on some real life opps and am working on some revised plans
    with some A\D sidings and a yard line, i would like this to be as real life as possible, i agree with you about the sidings and thanks for the response

  8. Squidbait

    Squidbait Recovering ALCO-holic


    I hate to tell you, but unless this is N scale, that plan just isn't going to work in your space... Here's your space (8x16), I've used 24" radius curves in the corners, and the yard is all #6's. They eat up a lot of space.

    And I think you might want to reconsider 2 things. First, 3' deep is a long (!!!) reach, especially since you have the main running at the back. If you need to uncouple or re-rail anything, whatever is on the tracks between you and it is going to be in peril.


    Second - how limber are you? That's a lot of duckunder. You might be better off with a walk-in that has a little less track, and a lot more accessability.

    As far as realistic operation, you can operate any model railroad realistically. If you want a "realistic" track plan, it's easier if you have a specific prototype in mind (in my experience, anyways). That way, when you're laying out the track plan, you have an idea in your mind where the train is coming from/going to, what industries are on line, and how they would be arranged geographically.

    I'd really recommend you read John Armstrong's "Track Planning for Realistic Operation", and "Creative Layout Design". They're very good for getting your head around how to plan a layout for operation, and for functionality.

    Armstrong tends to put in more railroad and less scenery than I typically like, but that's a matter of taste.
  9. Squidbait

    Squidbait Recovering ALCO-holic

    You could get away with a folded dogbone in your space... heres a quick sketch of a possible mainline route, there's room for a fair sized yard on the north wall, and you could but a branchline in just about anywhere.

  10. Squidbait

    Squidbait Recovering ALCO-holic

    I'd also suggest you get a track-planning software package. I used XtrkCad to draw these, and it's free. It's got a bit of a learning curve, but once you're handy with it, you'll save a lot of trees during your planning, and you can actually run trains on your layout to see how well it will work.
  11. MadHatter

    MadHatter Charging at full tilt.

    Squidbait is right, the software available today is powerful and you can't go wrong, you can even make an inventory of what you need with some of them, I personally swear by 3rd PlanIt- even though I had to pay for it, you can download a free demo, do the basic track plan and see it in 3D too!
  12. jimlar47

    jimlar47 New Member

    Mad and squin

    I am starting to use atlas rts7 software is that what you are talking about if not then where can i get the outher free software, i can see what you are saying about it not fitting. i am using HO. i think what i would like to do is a switching operation, as big as i can go i dont think i want to sit there and watch trains run in circles, that is why i would like switching, as far as the duckunder i dont like it either i will probably do something else like you sugested in the deawing i am still just in the thinking phase of this and trying to work out the details before i start laying track.:thumb:

    thanks for ihe advice i really need the help

  13. sumpter250

    sumpter250 multiscale modelbuilder

    As the moderator of this forum, I don't usually offer my two pennies worth, for several reasons, mainly because the title "moderator" carries some weight that I don't want to "throw around". In that light, accept that the following is personal opinion, and not, by any means, binding.
    Computer design software has its place. I work with Autocad, and as a design tool it is useful, and for the purpose I use it for, necessary. I still, (being older than dirt, hey, my scenery looks good because I was there when the prototype was built) like the good old pencil, paper, and the use of my remaining brain cells, as a design tool. I have yet to meet a software program, that can see a layout the way my mind can picture it. I have yet to use a piece of software that can lay down on paper, what I see in my mind's eye, as quickly, and as easily as my hand can with pencil.
    I have read just about every word that has been posted here. It's "my job". The impression I'm left with is: a general feeling that computer layout design software is the guru to which all must bow down.
    My opinion is: Computer layout design software is nothing more than a tool. Whether you use it, or a pencil, it is only a way to put your vision on paper, nothing more. Software cannot design a layout for you, and it is certainly not "the last word".
    One of the great things about this hobby is the permission to be creative. Unless you are modeling a specific branch of a specific prototype railroad, everything is left to your imagination, and you are free to imagine. Anyone who has seen Northlandz, can tell you that there are some things there that are all but physically impossible....but they excite the imagination, and in the model world, are perfectly acceptable.
    Whether you choose to go with total whimsy, Stay within "natural limits", or duplicate, in miniature an exact scale copy of a real area, down to the last pebble, it is your own choice.
    Your hobby is what you, and you alone want it to be. The computer may help to make it so, but it is not the computer's hobby.
    OK, someone ring the bell now, the preacher has left the pulpit. Just give it some thought.
  14. Squidbait

    Squidbait Recovering ALCO-holic


    I suspect in the end, we're both on the same page here, but here's my take on it:

    There's certainly nothing wrong with pencil and paper (and erasers, and more paper... :p ), but I've found, especially for quick "proof of concept" planning, that the CAD route is pretty darn handy.

    Before I started using the software, I was a big fan of John Armstrong's "squares" method, and many a rough sketch was doodled on a napkin using it.

    You're right the software is a tool. And just like any tool, it's only as good as the hand that wields it. It's almost as easy to draw the Spaghetti Western RR with CAD as it is with a pencil... :)

    I would argue that regardless of paper or electrons, the planner has to have some grounding in design concepts before they can figure out what will and won't work. And there the difference between paper and CAD comes up - you can draw _anything_ on paper, but you may not be able to translate it into reality. The newcomer doesn't necessarily know what they can or can't do in the real world - that comes with experience. The software, however, will put some limits on what they can and can't do by nature of simulating the physical constraints (turnout size, frog angle, minimum radius).

    So there. :p :D

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