Noobie with big ideas

Discussion in 'Track Planning' started by Dansco, Feb 27, 2007.

  1. Dansco

    Dansco Member

    This is my first post on the gauge, Iv been lurking a while and getting great advice via proxy. Now its time for me to take the plunge!.

    Short version: Please look for glaring mistakes in my layout plan, I’m a noobie.

    Long version:
    Here is the plan for my second layout. My first was a 4 X 7 oval with an outside yard, and a couple of inside sidings, two throttles/locos (DCC). It was/is my primary learning/experimenting project. It has lots of switching action for such a small layout and is still providing me and the kids with fun operations, and craft opportunities.

    My goal with the new layout is to provide several semi independent operational tasks.
    1) Mainline passenger service from “city” to “town” with stopovers at “Ocean Front Village” and “Light House Point”
    2) Mainline freight service between the “city” yard and the “town” interchange
    3) Resource extraction from “mine/logging” delivered to “town” interchange for eventual delivery to “city” industrial area via mainline freight service
    4) “City” yard work
    5) “Town” interchange work

    I would like to have three “areas” of operation to allow at lest three people to “play”, eh’ hem, I mean “operate” at the same time. Typical scenario is one kid works the mainline passenger train going in a loop round and round.. not much operation, perfect fro the “NASCAR” mind set of my 5 year old! One of the older kids (includes me) will be dedicated to working the city yard, another will be dedicated to the Mine / town interchange. We could expand this by having yet another child run the freight service on the mainline along with the passenger service. We currently do this on our little layout, and find it really fun. (man, what did people do before DCC?)

    As you may have guessed, I’m just starting out, and am hoping for someone to point out the silly first timer mistakes.

    Known issues with my design:
    All mainline turnouts are #4, I will use larger radii turnouts where the throughway is on the turn out leg, but will likely keep the #4 where the turnout leg is NOT on the throughway. Any problems with that? I believe I can still have longer trains, they will need to go slow though.. correct?

    Clearance in the city yard, I’m running two #4 turnouts connected leg to leg, with NO straight section between them, this is working on my currently layout, any reason this is bad?


    Attached Files:

  2. steamhead

    steamhead Active Member


    Welcome to the-Gauge. You'll find a bunch of very knowledgeable people here (myself not among those, I'm afraid...) eager to help you along on your adventure.

    It's a very ambitious/busy track plan. Should be fun to operate, but will need people to be on their toes to make sure all turnouts are thrown the right way. Also, any attempt at continuous operation will require the main line to take several diverging routes through the turnouts, which'll mean slowing down to prevent unwanted flights off the tracks. Lastly, do you have access to the back and right side of the layout or is it against the walls?? If against the walls, you're not going to be able to reach several areas of the layout without crawling over it...

    In any event, have a lot of fun, and keep us posted...!!!:thumb:
  3. BigJim

    BigJim Member

    The biggedt problems I see is the reach to the upper right if you can't get behind the "top" of the layout * one-way reversing loop. Every thing ends up going clockwise unless you back through the loop.
  4. Dansco

    Dansco Member


    The only walls are on the back side and that little jog on the left, I have access to the right side all the way to the back wall. (thats where the main house electrical pannel is!)

    Regarding the mainline turnouts, should I NEVER plan on highspeed through turnouts? There are only two that I see where the through way is not the straight portion of the turnout? Can I use higher end/bigger turnouts there and reduce my problems?

  5. Dansco

    Dansco Member

    regarding the one-way reversing loop, the only reverse I see is in the middle of the
    pea-nut shaped section. I was thinking that only ocasionaly would trainse come up there (3% grade to that section) to turn around.. may be I should have something on the mainline.. anyone see space for a "wye" or othewasys to get turned around? I see a potatial for another one-way loop between "Ocean Side Village" and the upper right just before the turnout to the staging area... any comments?
    Thanks so much for the input...
  6. Dansco

    Dansco Member

    Im making the mainline have all turnouts be NOT thrown for continuous running.

    If i shave off the upper right corner, within a couple inches of the track (this part could be tunnel anyway) would I be able to reach the last little bit?

    Perhaps doing away with the little 2ft square "city" area will allow me to reach the furthest bit of the top left corner?

  7. Dansco

    Dansco Member

    BTW: If its not obvious, getting up to the mine/log area requires a switch bak regardless of mainline direction. You either back through the mainline turnout, or you back up the hill. This switch back takes you accross the mainline (x-over) to connect to the 3% grade, so there is potential to "foul" the mainline. Which is its own kind-a fun!
  8. Dansco

    Dansco Member

    Minor changes:
    No turnouts required for continuous mainline running.
    improved reach required
    New location for mainline crew

    Attached Files:

  9. steamhead

    steamhead Active Member

    Hi, Looking good...I didn't mention earlier that I fail to see the usefullness of that little arc of track joining two spurs in the industrial area. I would do away with it (the geometry is also wrong, it just kind of "punches" its way into the spurs) and take a couple of leads into the Ocean Front Village area instead.
    Keep plugging away, you'll come up with something that's interesting to operate without excessive complications.
  10. Squidbait

    Squidbait Recovering ALCO-holic

    Looking better. I think that since you can't access the back of the layout, you might be better moving your yard on the top left so that it comes off the main on the lower side - closer to the aisle. That way you're not reaching so far to throw turnouts, uncouple cars, re-rail stuff etc.

    I'm not sure what that arc of track's supposed to do either. Really all it's doing is shortening the useable space on the two tracks it's connected to by planting a turnout in the middle of each.

    I think in your island, you've got 2 tracks too close together in a couple of places. Even if there's a grade separation there, it's still too tight.
  11. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    The two tracks that are too close together are in the bottom center where the outside main runs too close to the inside track. I think the problem is caused by the switchback track system coming off of the mainline where you have the word "town" in the drawing. I don't see what purpose those tracks serve. They are long sidings, but the stub ends are too short to use as a switchback, and I don't see what the purpose would be. I think if you modify that section of the layout, you can then give yourself the necessary separation between the two tracks.

    I would also recomend that you decide whether to model a mine or a logging operation. You really don't have enough space to do both justice where you have put mine/logging. I would suggest a mine up there because a mine can be mostly underground with a small coal tipple or some such to load cars whereas a logging operation will take a lot more space than you have available. If you do a coal tipple, put those two spurs parrallel to each other.

    Staging is nice, but the two tracks you have alloowed for it are probably not adequate. I think with this layout, I would not bother with staging. You could put some shelves under the layout to store extra rolling stock and interchange them via the old 5 finger switcher. With the staging eliminated, and the switch back set at the bottom eloiminated, you might be able to shift the layout enough so that someone could squeze behind the layout in the upper left corner if needed to rerail trains.

    The final question is what is the room size. I'm presuming that each square in the drawing =1 foot. If there is a wall at the edges of what you have drawn all the way around the layout space, you won't be able to access all sides unless you have a door way on each side of the layout corner at the very bottom of the drawing.
  12. Dansco

    Dansco Member

    Hey all, thanks for the feedback!

    Re: The "arc" of track. The arc is a run around on my yard lead, it allows for me to pull cars into the yard, uncouple and run back around to the other end. From there I can do clasification, etc. The left side turnout for the yard lead run around should be one section CLOSER to the far left end. I got the idea from the "10 commandments of yard design" Commandment 6: Thou Shalt Provide A Run-around
  13. Dansco

    Dansco Member

    Re: The Mine / Logging
    This was an "or", not an "and". I told the kids they could pick which they wanted, so it will be EITHER a mine or a logging area sorry for the confusion...
  14. Dansco

    Dansco Member

    Re: "The two tracks that are too close together are in the bottom center where the outside main runs too close to the inside track"

    The clearance is verticle. The most inside track should be about 4" above the next inside one. Im fond of "cliff" action, so this is where I will have my cliff with two different levels of trains...
  15. Squidbait

    Squidbait Recovering ALCO-holic

    But you already have a runaround - it's the passing siding on your main. In a limited space like you have there, what you have done is a) not going to be helpful, and b) redundant. Looking more closely, it seems you don't have enough separation between your passing siding and the first yard track - it appears to be half that of the other tracks. You really want 2" minimum.

    It doesn't matter. Unless you're planning an undercut cliff for the upper level you need to leave room for overhang on cars going around the curves, wide cars, etc, otherwise you're going to have scrape marks on your cliffs, and plaster on your rolling stock.
  16. Dansco

    Dansco Member

    Re: Room size:

    I have a large unfinshed basement, the only walls within 10 feet of the layout is the "back" running along the top of the layout drawing.. and the left side, which is has a double door that opens "in".. the layout left side drawaing above allready accounts for the door, though off map.. in my orginal drawing you can see the little "leg" in the top left that sugests how this is... Ill try and get real accurate measurements this weeked, but realy, the "15 x 11" space is mine all mine! mwhahahaha (ok, the wife might notice this.. but if I finsh the tac room in the barn, I can move out the horse stuff into the barn and take over even more of the basement...) Its all part of my plan for COMPLETE BASEMENT DOMINATION!!!
  17. Dansco

    Dansco Member

    Thanks, I see your point, however please consider that I want to avoid having the switcher on the main line, Commandment No. 1. Thou shall NOT foul the main!" but I do see how it would be a simplification to do so. This does leave one problem scenario: Consider what happens when a west bound train enters the passing siding (in this case an Arrivals / Departures track) and BACKS his train onto the east spur? (which extends off the "right" end of the "A/D" track) This will likely leave the turnout blocked from that direction, so running around on the main will not work, at least in that one scenario. In my biz we call this an "edge case" (any guesses on my line of work?) So I wont let it cloud my vision, or stall the process.

    Yeah that is too tight, in my initial post I did note this as a "Know issue" but I will get it fixed by the next plan revision

    Undercut is the type of thing I'm after perhaps the upper level track will be hanging over the lower line on a rickety bridge, or some other "drama"
  18. Dansco

    Dansco Member

    Thanks everyone, Iv had a great time here so far.
    As with all things, Iv decided to make some "changes"

    Since my last post, and interesting external requrest for storage solutions in the basement has shown me a new posibility.

    Basicaly, I have what I think is a large open space. This space is mostly dedicated to storage, but very inefeciently. After looking at the situation, I realized I need to go VERTICLE! The ceelings in my basement are over 10 feet high. What I intend to do is create some large shelves that provide "on the ground strorage" and "overhead storage." The middle will be "work surface" we have a lot of crafts/hoppies/ so this appeals to the wife as much as it does to me.

    The net effect for my layout will be that I will have an "E" and a half for my layout. The long part of the E will be along the back wall, and be 3 ft deep. The Legs of the E will be 4ft deep and extend from the back wall at least 12 ft. Ilse will be 4 ft wide. My "E" will have 4 legs... (E and a half) I am very exicited about the improvement to storage as well as the layout posibilites.

    Does anyone have recomendataions on deck hight and clearance to the next shelf?

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