OK All you track planning experts, I need some help!

Discussion in 'Track Planning' started by trainsteve2435, Sep 24, 2006.

  1. Hello everyone, i really need some help here. I have been stareing at the same loop of track around my benchwork now for about 3 months, yes i know, its boreing. I just dont have any idea of how to design an operational layout, so i thought i would ask for some help here!:oops: I am includeing some pictures of my benchwork design as well as some photos of my actual benchwork. I am wanting to model the mid west AT&SF from around the 1960's to the mid 80's. I will also include my givens and druthers in a seperate post. Im not looking for some top notch track plan, just a good starting point. This makes about the 4th year i have tried to come up with a workable track plan and still i have a loop of track. Also, i dont want something real busy because i want to do a lot of scenery like some rolling hills and some cuts and stuff. Im considering useing a double sided back drop on the one side, but im open for suggestions. Anyways, any help is appreciated. Thanks!:thumb:

    Attached Files:

  2. Heres the benchwork diagram.
  3. OK, lets try again.:oops:

    Attached Files:

  4. JAyers

    JAyers Member

    Two books:

    Tony Koester's "Realistic Model Railroad Operations"
    John Armstrong's "Track Planning for Realistic Operation"

    Actually, I think you're ready to go! What are you waiting for? Here's what you need to hear: Your layout looks fine, you can operate the heck out of that I should think. Start tacking down track and running it. Put some industries along the sidings and spurs, and one or two on the main, get some box cars, hoppers, tankers and flats on the rails, and start USING your investment, instead of looking at it. I just WISH I was as far along and had as much space as you do.

    You have a fine setup and a lot of canvas to work from...That's probably you're problem; you're thinking too big. Start with one loop and just build it up, like the Design Elements that Koester talks about.

    Keeps us posted!
  5. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

    Try the "Givens & Druthers" (as you suggested - link in my signature), and also think/research the industries that you want to serve. By understanding the requirements for trackage at the various industries, a plan will start to come together.

  6. fsm1000

    fsm1000 Member

    You can also try making small models of your layout and give several ideas a shot. This way you don't commit to something you haven't tried and save a lot of time and money as well. The given and ruthers idea works very well.
    Also don't be discouraged. Even after 40 years in this it still took me months to come up with my current idea. Take your time and remember to have fun :D
    I have a modeling method on my site if you wish to try it out :)
  7. ocalicreek

    ocalicreek Member

    Wow, what a great space for trains!

    Obviously, you've done some research as your benchwork looks pretty good...box grid with ply and homasote, right?

    Check out anything in print on David Barrow and his Cat Mountain & Santa Fe, if you aren't already familiar with it. His domino concept is great for operations, and, like what you've already got going there, his layout is basically flat except for a few rolling hills and minimal scenery. Personally not my cup of tea, but many others seem to enjoy it.

    And consider this as an operating scheme...put up a center divider down the middle of the layout from turnback loop around the U to the other turnback loop. You can leave one loop 'exposed', so the full curve is in the scene, while the other should be closed, hiding the fact that it's a loop. Now if you put a terminal/yard at one end of the closed loop and an interchange track at the other, you've got a really long point to point layout with trains traveling around the inside of the U, around the turnback loop, then around the outside of the U on the other side of the backdrop.

    This takes full advantage of the all-side access it seems you have, and makes a much longer mainline run due to the viewblock concealment effect. You'd need walkaround or wireless control, but I'm not sure what sort of control you're already using.

    Does this make sense/help?

  8. Triplex

    Triplex Active Member

    Not my style, either. I tend to go for

    Anyway, back on topic...
    I hadn't been paying attention to that, and for some reason thought of this as an around-the-walls layout.
  9. Rusty Spike

    Rusty Spike Member

    Thanks for posting this as everyone' comments are so helpful. More than anything, I must agree with tacking down the track, mocking up the industries and testing the operations - how do the turnouts fit? I planned for three cars but could only fit two because of clearance on the next door track. Using ground throws? Will your hands fit? How do the cars push and pull in and out? You've all taught me to avoid s-curves and too abrupt elevation changes but I still seem to push it in the design and testing typically makes obvious where I've made my errors. I love the "puzzle/problem solving" aspect of modeling as much as anything else.

    Finally, I give a lot of weight to viewing angles as I like to stare down the corridor between two sets of buildings and look at the cars and scene details, etc. My goal is to spend more time staring after it is done but the before side usually wins. :)

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