Need some input on track plan

Discussion in 'Track Planning' started by DOUBLEJK, Jan 17, 2007.


    DOUBLEJK Member

    Well after more than a year the new house is finished and I can move ahead with a train room.:)
    I have been playing with a setup on plywood and True-Track that let me try out the various possibilities of DCC. I'm hooked...

    Givens and Druthers

    (Railroad Name)Undecided

    Era:1980's to present
    Region:Thunder Basin,Wyo. on the north Denver, CO. on the south
    Railroad:BNSF with interchanges to Rio Grande and UP

    Space: see drawing
    Governing Rolling Stock:SD70's at the large end and GP38-2's at the small end

    Relative Emphasis:


    Scenic realism
    Mainline Running


    Operation Priorities:
    1. Running coal loads to the power plant and emptys back to the mine. I like the traffic problems of the dispatcher working out to get the north bound and south bound traffic thru.
    2. Local Grain and Oil for some switching and Thru Freight and Amtrak to add more traffic to deal with.
    Typical operating Crew: __1-2____


    I have almost no design abilities as everything I draw is just big and bigger loops.
    This drawing represents the most bench work I have been able to fit in.
    From the smaller layouts I've been rearranging and figuring out DCC I find I do alot more railfanning than actual switching so my preference would be for a long double main with passing siding's for those unit coal trains which are 2 SD70's leading 13 coal cars followed by a dummy SD70 DP in the rear...

    While playing Train Player I found a layout that gave me an idea...sign1
    It would allow a double mainline around the entire bench...which would give a very long run in this space...:)
    The picture below shows it at one has a reversing section on each loop.
    The right loop would be at a higher elevation than the left loop allowing me to place the mines flood loader here..


  2. Triplex

    Triplex Active Member

    An arrangement like this implies a working flood loader. That in turn implies a working unloader at the other end. Otherwise, your loaded trains will either build up at one end or come back loaded.

    If each square is 1', you've got some 6' wide spaces that'll be difficult to access.

    Hey, wait a minute... loop-to-loop/continuous with working loader and unloader... 6' wide benchwork... weren't you the one planning on a temporary 6x12 island-style layout a while back?

    DOUBLEJK Member

    Yep....I'm that one...:wave:
    I have that plywood prairie now. I'm looking to expand it to these larger around the walls for more room...
    The 6' wide is working out O.K. as there is very little track in the middle only a few 9" straights crossing the bench and my bench work is at 42" high so reaching the odd 3' to get to a car is doable..
    I've found that in the room available certain concession's must be made and authenticity is one of I'm willing to put the dumper in the middle of the route so to speak...
    As you can see I'm very layout designing challenged.


    I've connected the loops around which gives a very long run but needs passing sidings to work and space available seems too little...:cry:
    Also there is no yard or industries for the other trains to come and go from.

    DOUBLEJK Member

    Got a bit more redrawn.
    The Green Track would be an elevated portion higher than the black track.
    Also put in some passing sidings but everything is still basic straight and flat as my 3D
    thinkin' ain't very 3D.....:cry:


  5. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

    Given what I have read in your "Givens and Druthers", I would ditch the double mainline folded dogbone, and go for a single main that loops around. The track against the wall can be hidden with scenic elements like buildings, backdrops, or landforms, and will also serve as staging.

    While you have put switching as a higher priority than running, the coal industry will provide only a "there and back" if you want to run big coal drags... Which is fine. The two can co-exist... ;) But with the folded double main, you leave little room for switching.

    With both sides of both "end penninsulas" accessible, it would be possible to add some industrial switching to at least one end, rather than occupying it with multiple return loops.

    Putting the coal mine area and the powerplant customer back to back in the middle of the layout would give you the chance to run a "loads in/empties out" scheme that would not require live loads and working loaders/unloaders.

    I have tinkered with your diagram a bit - let me explain...

    A & B - areas with switching. While the green line represents a scenic divider, it may take the form of high buildings in a city industrial district. One area could be urban, the other rural. You can use a variety of devices for dividers or not bother at all.

    C & E afford an opportunity to watch the coal drags (or other trains) run through some scenery. I would make the track wander a little, rather than running it parallel to the front edge. Setting it back a few inches will also let you get some structures or scenery in front of the tracks for added realism.

    Also at C&E, but behind the divider/backdrop is staging with two or three long double ended "yard" tracks to hold trains and allow passing.

    D is the location for the back-to-back coal producer and power plant. This allows a loads in - empties out scheme as mentioned above. I would keep the hidden track here to one line only to allow the most depth for the scene. Alternatively, you could keep multiple staging tracks, and have the scene extend over them.

    Hope that helps.


    Attached Files:


    DOUBLEJK Member

    You bring up all good points.
    My druthers must be a bit confused as my preference is for scheduling the trains to get down the main...
    ie....lots of main with long enough passing siding's to fit the coal drags...
    Switching will be the limited item but I do want some at oil and grain handling sites and a yard representing BNSF's transfer to other lines so I can have my favorite fallen flag on the layout Denver and Rio Grande on the layout..
    I have the Flood Loader almost built and am trying to model the EagleButte mine we get our coal loads from...

    This is a satelite image of the flood loader and its reversing loop.


    And this is the end I work at and same view of our dumper and reversing loop to send the empties back....

    Thank's for the imput....

    DOUBLEJK Member

    OOp's double did it....
  8. Triplex

    Triplex Active Member

    Correct me if I'm wrong, but I think that's part of his specific interest in this plan.
  9. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery


    Those are some awesome photos....! I understand what you are getting at now... and I withdraw (some of) my suggestions ;)

    Have you built a working flood loader, or a "static" version? Despite doctorwayne's confidence in running live loads, I think that you may be asking for a bit of trouble with smooth operations if this is the route you want. While obviously not impossible, I think that the required maintenance (loading/unloading hoppers at mine and power plant, maintaining rotary couplers and rotary dumper, cleaning up spills, etc) might take away from the enjoyment of running the railroad.

    Again though - if this is all things you have thought about and can live with and/or enjoy doing, then please ignore all these comments...! They are intended only to help you achieve what you want, not to tell you that it can't be done...

    So if I was to update my $0.02 on your plan, I would say that you might think about putting the loader on one pennisula, and the dumper on the other (A&B in my sketch above).

    You could fit in a yard at C or D, and have a bit of switching (grain elevator, fuel dealer, etc) at the other space, or even at E if you lengthen that part by making the aisle "longer".

    Hope that helps. Again, only my $0.02

  10. Triplex

    Triplex Active Member

    Actually, even with working loading and unloading, I might consider putting the ends near each other. Why? On a loop, closer together one way is farther apart the other way. It would maximize the run length between ends.

    Wait a minute... that doesn't sound too useful, does it? Why not use a LI/EO setup in that case? I'm just thinking out loud.

    DOUBLEJK Member

    I took some of your idea's I think.
    I took off the double folded dogbone and figured out a folded loop that gives a very long run between the mine and dumper...added some staging that looks too tight and tried a yard which I have no experience with real or modeling and some of the other industry along the line...
    I see what other very talented folk's here are able to create and am in Awe as I just draw more loops n straights...:cry:
    I believe I will down grade to a unworking floodloader dumper as I'm not that mechanically inclined...of course ifin' I see one for sale I might pick it up...


    If I could draw 3D the mine would set higher than the outer loop which could be hidden and so could other tracks as well if it makes it better...I really want more elevation difference than the plywood prarie look and plan to do this in flex track and cork roadbed I just can't draw it that way....
  12. bigsteel

    bigsteel Call me Mr.Tinkertrain

    it looksa like one of the best trackplans ive ever seen,but what are those tracks in the top middle that arent connected to anything?they look like a yard for a small industry?you might wanna connect that to something or your engine will have a tough time reaching the mainline LOL.

    DOUBLEJK Member

    Thank's Josh....That is suppossed to be a yard but it needs connected to the main somewhere?????
    I'm thinking it and the grain buisness needs connected at both ends as one track.
    So I have trains able tho enter and exit the yard from both sides...just ain't got the right design yet.:cry:

    DOUBLEJK Member

    I'm still thinkin' n doodlin' here is an idea for a yard on the long wall that has an East and West bound main thru the middle of the yard.
    I looked at Denver's 31st street yard and this is about what they have except thier mains are on the out side tracks not the middle of the yard. Also they don't have any leads I could see to work on just the Ladders and yard tracks.
    Is there something I can do better?
    A double Ladder sure makes for short tracks after the 1st couple.


    In this drawing the West yard was drawn with #8 Switches and the East was drawn with #6's..... I expect the #8's would give better service...

    DOUBLEJK Member

    I broke down and bought RR-Track and have been playin' with the layout in it..:)
    Now if I can learn it...
    Here's a sample of what I've come up with so far...


    Not sure what that gray rectangle in the upper left ain't on the plan. And its covering up an industy..

  16. bigsteel

    bigsteel Call me Mr.Tinkertrain

    looks good to me,i cant improve on it!

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