Please Help sith Layout Design

Discussion in 'Track Planning' started by popeye, Apr 4, 2006.

  1. popeye

    popeye New Member

    Thanks pgandw,

    You made some really good points that I hadn't thought of. I know that my father in law would hate a duck under, and I agree with you about wanting to be able to walk around with the trains as they move. I would still like to build at least half of the layout now, and then add to it later. Could you show me the modifications that you suggested? Thanks again!

  2. popeye

    popeye New Member

    I just checked with the wife. It is ok if I want to make the entire right side of the layout space 9 feet wide rather than just 7 feet wide. So what my total space ends up looking like is two square areas that are each 9 feet wide and 10 feet long, but are offset by 2 feet in the middle. The right side of the layout will "stick out" 2 feet more than the left side will.

  3. pgandw

    pgandw Active Member

    For new Phase I, build the benchwork Andrew suggested in the drawing except for the peninsula that goes towards the middle in the front from the right side. On that benchwork, build a "dogbone" oval with the turnback curves in the square blobs. Use 22" radius curves on the turnbacks (and elsewhere, too). Use Atlas #4 Custom Line turnouts or Walters #5. If you are using flex track put a little easement at the beginning of the curves. You still have to figure out where your yard and mine are going to go. The mine might fit nicely in the middle of one of the turnback squares. The yard would probably best be located in the yet to be built peninsula. If you are going to have a turntable the right turnback square would be best, near the yard. This puts the mine in the left square.

    In Phase 2, you would elevate the rear track of the oval and build 2 reversing loops in the turnback square at right, one above the other. Connect the 2 reversing loops to the 2 parallel tracks of the oval. You now have a loop-to-loop operation instead of an oval.

    Phase 3, you would build the peninusla and yard (or make it a combination small yard and port facility).

    Obviously, I have left out a lot of details for you to fill in.

    Another thought, you might want to put in and paint a backdrop before you even complete your benchwork. Lighting, too. If the floor is concrete it needs to be at the least painted and sealed, preferably a softer floor to stand on.

    Keep dreaming, planning, building, and having fun!
  4. popeye

    popeye New Member

    Thanks for the ideas. I really like the idea of being able to walk around rather than a duck under. This might seem stupid, but what do you mean when you say to elevate the track and put it above the other? I am sorry, but I am a visual person, and need to "see it" to completely understand. Thanks again for the great ideas!

  5. popeye

    popeye New Member

    Any more ideas out there? I could sure use more advice, and/or suggestions.


  6. pgandw

    pgandw Active Member

    Tape together 2 pieces of graph paper (use 1/4" sqare rule) side by side so squares match-up at the joint. Use 3/4" to the foot scale, so each square on graph paper represents 4". Use a compass and ruler for your drawing aids. Draw the benchwork Andrew drew to scale to fit your space.

    The 2006 Model Railroader Planning annual (on sale at hobby shops) had a separate section on how to draw scale track plans. I strongly suggest you buy and read it. It has instructions on how to make accurate turnout templates.

    Next rough in the main line. I recommend using 22" radius, not 18" radius curves and Atlas #4 (really #4.5) turnouts.

    If you prefer, you can download the free Xtrak track planning software for your computer. Or, Atlas has the free RTS planning software for download, but RTS is limited to Atlas track libraries only.

    Then, when you have your first stab at a track plan done, present it on the forum here and we'll help you improve it. This is, after all, your model railroad designed by you to fit your tastes and space. We don't really have enough information to provide you with a design that will suit you. I'm not sure you really know yourself what you want - and that's OK. It's all the more reason for starting small, and then expanding as your desires are refined bv actual construction and operation. Your comments about a figure 8 with 2 duck under hatches, and about a point-to-point being OK lead in 2 very different directions. Are you really excited about doing the switching to break down and turn a train after a fairly short run - every run? There are some people that are, and that's great. There are others who need to just watch the trains roll around a loop, no matter how boring that may seem to others. How about the other operators - do they share your views on operation? Desired train length remains undefined. And you still haven't answered about passenger cars and large steam locomotives. If you intend to have either, 18" radius is too small, and even 22" is questionable. 28" radius would be about right for the passenger cars and large locomotives to look and operate reasonably well. But without passenger cars, and using smaller steam locomotives and strictly 1950 era cars and diesels, 18" is an acceptable radius.

    Again, it's your railroad! Have fun with it!

    my thoughts, your choices
  7. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

    Well, if you decide that you can handle a duckunder or liftgate entry to a central operating pit, then you might consider something like this... If you make the benchwork high enough, your father-in-law may be be able to "roll under" on an office chair.

    The yard would be one the part running across the room. The coal mine and power plant (or other consumer of coal) would be back to back in the "midlle corner". This would allow a loads-in/empties-out operating scheme. You could also have continuous running without space eating turnbacks. It also allows you to create a bit of a large mining complex by building scenery up into that corner which is otherwise a) a bit of a reach, and b) more or less otherwise unusable. The mountain would also provide a good scenic divider between the mine tracks and the power plant.

    A town and/or other industries might be located on the shorter walls.


    Attached Files:

  8. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

    One other feature of the above plan, is that the part running across the room can be operated from either side. You could make it wider and run some sort of scenic divider down the middle (buildings, backdrop, landscape/mountains). This would also allow a longer run between the mine and the coal customer - assuming that they are opposite ends of a point-to-point type operation scheme.

    In the sketch below, you would start at the mine (orange dot). Proceed counter-clockwise (to the left) with a full load of coal. Go over the crossing to the town/scenery on the "outside" of the part that runs across the room. Upon leaving this town, you are then continue to hidden trackage that bypasses the mine/coal customer (to the rear - at the every top of the picture) and exit at left, again over the crossing. At this point though, you go into the yard side of the layout. From there it is a short hop to the coal customer. Run it in reverse for empties that return to the mine.

    This is aboslutely not to scale! ;) With proper planning, you should work in your minimum radii, turnouts, etc. You will be able to judge if you can fit in more industries along the way, more yard tracks, hidden staging, etc, etc.

    Just food for thought.


    Attached Files:

  9. Triplex

    Triplex Active Member

    I would not suggest a scenic divider. If you don't have it, you need a duck-under to enter the layout, but not while operating. With it, you'll have to be using the duck-under much more.
  10. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

    Triplex has a point - if your train has stops on both sides of the divider, then you'd be ducking back and forth to get the job done.

    However, there are a few possible solutions - choice is up to you...

    1) Go back to the original "walk-in" design.
    2) Duck under to get to the "operations pit" and run the entire session from inside.
    3) Design a job/trackplan that can be run from the outside of the layout only.

    Depending on how high you make the layout, you might be able to "nod-under" or "roll-under" on an office chair. Placing the benchwork this high though will necessitate a step stool for anyone shorter (kids included).

    So Ty, what are your latest thoughts on this?

  11. that sounds like a great idea for a LEGO or Lionel train set! (a Cola Mine!)

    sign1 sign1
  12. YakkoWarner

    YakkoWarner Member

    I just can't believe we got to the 3rd page without a Jedi joke.jawdrop
  13. popeye

    popeye New Member

    Masonjar, I like the idea. Sorry I have been gone so long. Had some computer trouble! I am pretty sure that I will build the benchwork as shown by your last drawing, although it may change slightly. I am just unsure if I want the entire middle to be open like that, or have some type of connector somewhere in the middle, which would have the layout look like a number eight.
  14. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

    Good to see you back - sorry about the computer...!

    I would really hesitate to build a layout with two operating pits... Constantly ducking under to follow your train will get old fast. Ducking under once to get inside is fine, but back and forth underneath is going to be painful.

    If your father-in-law's current (and your future) mobility is a concern, I would go back to the original walk-in concept with the return loops. If you think you can find some way of running trains so that one operator can be outside the pit, then go for the oval. But avoid the figure-8 if at all possible.

  15. Agatheron

    Agatheron Member

    These aren't the droids you're looking for ;)
  16. sumpter250

    sumpter250 multiscale modelbuilder

    Oh! You're a Jedi blacksmith?................May the forge be with you! fence1

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