Proposed Large Shelf Layout

Discussion in 'Track Planning' started by Gary S., Dec 8, 2005.

  1. Gary S.

    Gary S. Senior Member

    Hello all...

    Am hoping to get some of your thoughts on a proposed shelf type layout. Here are the things I am thinking about:

    My interest is in train operations and long point-to-point single-track mainline runs. I also enjoy building industrial structures.

    Locomotives would be 2 axle per truck diesels in the GP series, so relatively short. Rolling stock would be 40 foot varietes. Train length would be 10 to 12 cars. Minimum radius would be 20 inches.

    Have attached a crude layout pic with the space available. I haven't dimensioned everything, but the space is about 26 feet wide and 20 feet deep. The drawing is roughly to scale, so other dimensions can be roughly guessed at. I will only be using the space along the walls.

    I realize that the 6" difference between the levels is not much, but I do not want to use a helix. And to get more seperation will require a stiff grade on the transition trackage.

    have considered just doing a one level layout in this space, but would like some long mainline runs as I mentioned which is why I am considering the second level.

    Please give me some thoughts, pros and cons of what I am proposing. I am relatively new to the hobby, and I know I should be starting small, but I know I would not be satisfied with a 4x8 layout. I am a construction electrician, so am handy with tools and such.

    Attached Files:

  2. baldwinjl

    baldwinjl Member

    I'd think about starting the climb a bit earlier at both ends to get more spacing across the wide area. But in general I think I like the basic idea, especially if you are happy with the point to point scheme.
  3. Drew1125

    Drew1125 Active Member

    I really like the plan, Gary! It has tons of potential...with that amount of space, you'll be in operations heaven! :thumb:

    I would like to make a couple of points, though...

    *First, I'd agree with Baldwinjl, that with the length of run that you have available, there's no reason to make the grade so short...

    *Second, with the benchwork under the return loop only 44" wide, your 20" minimum radius is going to gring your train periously close to the edge of the layout...I would recommend either widening the benchwork to 48", or going with an 18" radius curve...

    Good luck, & keep us posted! :)
  4. Gary S.

    Gary S. Senior Member

    thanks for the quick replies!

    The 44" width was just something I threw out there. It could be wider, say 48". Or, the curves could be 18" which I assume would work fine with my 40 foot cars and short diesels.

    My concern here is that I will have to reach across the full 48" for access in some spots.... there will be walking space at the end of the layout where the curve is (at the very left hand bottom of the drawing) but there may be a few feet along the wall in that area where access would be tough. Any thoughts there?

    I really would like to cut that grade down to 2% which I could probably get by lengthenng the transition track. And that would get some more space as was mentioned by baldwinjl.

    Before I get started on this, I want to make absolutely sure that I won't run into any major SNAFUs with this type of layout. It would be terrible to put in a bunch of work only to find out that my plan had some major operational flaw in it.

    So please, anyone else with thoughts and critiques, let me have them!

    Also, if we get the overall layout settled, I will be asking for some advice in laying out the industrial areas and yard and such. I've got some ideas on the industries I want and will run my ideas past yall soon.

  5. baldwinjl

    baldwinjl Member

    To add a little detail, I think I'd start climbing right where the green area narrows, and keep going until you got back to about the same spot. The industry area on the lower left would be on an intermediate level, I think, and would hide part of the climbing track, reducing the look of the train doubling back on itself.

  6. yellowlynn

    yellowlynn Member

    :confused: You kind of lost me on that diagram. :confused: If you have a radius turn to the opposite direction in the lower left, and nothing like it at the other end, it seems to me that the train will run forward from right to left to right. Then, to make the run again it has to back up right to left to right. Can you put a turnaround at the other end? That would also give you the option of continuous running.

  7. Triplex

    Triplex Active Member

    See what he said originally...
    With only 4-axle engines, 18" is fine; you also don't have to restrict yourself to 40' cars.
  8. cidchase

    cidchase Active Member

    Hi Gary, I think you're right to worry about reach, the conventional
    wisdom says 30" is about max for good access. Here's just an idea to
    let you get to both sides of that loop, and have plenty of room for track
    radius. :) :)

    You could lengthen and hook it around even more for more elevation. :thumb:

    Attached Files:

  9. Gary S.

    Gary S. Senior Member

    I definitely like the idea of starting the grade earlier as mentioned by baldwinjl. And I love the idea from cidchase, adding more layout area which eases the grade and solves the access problem in the same stroke. Hmmm.... will have to check with the wife to see if I can acquire the extra area. This idea also adds a lot more room for industries!

    Keep the thoughts coming guys! I am about ready to start putting up the shelf brackets and benchwork.... anybody else see any major hidden flaws with this? I want to make darned sure I am off to a good start.

    My plan is for pretty simple and straightforward track layout, single line main with a passing siding or two, and then the three different industrial areas with some type of small simple yard in the big area at the top.

    Any comments on the rather smallish 6" difference between the levels? This is one thing that concerns me. Of course, by lengthening the area with the incline, maybe I could get more elevation difference?

    Would a 3% grade be a hardship for the GP diesels pulling 12 40-foot cars (NMRA weighted)? Other comments and the grade? Does 3% "look" too steep to the eye?
  10. Ralph

    Ralph's for fun!

    Hi Gary,
    Neat plan! I have some hidden track under a shelf that supports a higher level track that is separated by not much more than 6 inches. It seems like enough clearance for track cleaning and other maintainence so far.

    As for the return loop, I like cid's extension but if you can't find room to do that how about a pop out section in the middle of the loop that can be removed for access?
  11. Gary S.

    Gary S. Senior Member

    Hi Lynn,

    I have thought about putting a loop at the other end, but my space situation requires the layout to be a max of 18" wide on that side of the room. To make a loop there would require a removable modular type of thing that would be stored out of the way except when I was running trains. I did consider it long and hard, and decided that it wasn't worth the trouble, especially when I kind of feel more aesthetically comfortable with a point to point operation.

    Any other thoughts on the plan?
  12. Gary S.

    Gary S. Senior Member

    Hey Ralph,

    A pop out could be the answer. My fear is that it would be right in the middle of the area I want to use for an industrial area... still, I am sure a pop-out could be used even if it had buildings on it.

    My other thought is this: Perhaps I can get away with the 48" reach because I am 6 feet 4 inches tall and have a wingspan of about 6 feet 8 inches!
  13. Ralph

    Ralph's for fun!

    That's a pretty long wingspan alright but you may find it awkward to do things like clean track or replace a railjoiner etc. The pop up might create some limitations on your industrial trackage but careful planning could make it work. Having a removeable building on top of the pop up is an easy way to create that access.
  14. Gary S.

    Gary S. Senior Member

    My concern is the scenery... with only 6" difference between the upper and lower levels, the buildings on the front lower level may block the view of the train on the higher level. Another fear of mine is that the two levels are supposed to represent sections of track that are miles apart, as in point-to-point, but here the train is going right back past the same area... only seperated by 6" of height. I think 12 inches would do the trick and let me put in a decent backdrop for the lower level, but I just don't see that much elevation difference without a helix which I want to avoid.... KISS principle!

    And since my focus is on operations anyway, I have to compromise a little on the aesthetics of the scenes I suppose.
  15. Will_annand

    Will_annand Active Member

    My thoughts would be to go with a 2% grade, much easier on your locomotives.

    Also, with only 6" of height between the two levels, how thick is your benchwork?
  16. Gary S.

    Gary S. Senior Member

    Attached is a cross section of the benchwork I am thinking about. I saw something similar in one of the magazines a couple months ago, was an O-scale shelf layout in Model Railroader I believe, the Claremont and something or other.

    There is nowhere on the layout where the upper level actually crosses over the lower area, so vrtical clearance isn't an issue.

    For the wider area down on the lower left of the layout diagram, will have to do something different = standard benchwork with legs down to the floor.

    Any thoughts on my proposed shelf benchwork? If something is amiss, definitely let me know before I jump into this!

    Attached Files:

  17. Gary S.

    Gary S. Senior Member

    Again, one of my concerns is this:

    The upper level shown in the pic above is supposed to represent a totally isolated area than the lower level below it. With only 6 inches of difference in elevation, I wonder if I can achieve the effect of them being different areas, or will it just look like one area with the upper track on a hill behind the lower elevation. If I could get more elevation difference, then I think I could achieve the idea that they are totally seperate scenes. But more elevation puts more difficulties into the track grades.

    Any thoughts?

    Of course, since my primary interest is the operation of the trains anyway, perhaps the compromise in the scenes is acceptable?

  18. baldwinjl

    baldwinjl Member

    I thought I posted this last night, but I must have been dreaming. I'd start climbing as soon as yoy leave the wider area, and continue until you get to about the same place on the upper level. I'd put the industry at the lower left at an intermediate level, and use it to hid the track climbing up behind it, so that it wasn't quite so obviously just turning around.

  19. Gary S.

    Gary S. Senior Member

    You weren't dreaming! And here was my response! :)

    and as you mention, the industrial area would help hide the fact that the train is making a 180 degree turnaround which would help with the feeling that the trains were actually "going somewhere"
  20. baldwinjl

    baldwinjl Member

    I knew I'd put in the first one, but then I added in the bit about putting the industry at the intermediate level to hide the loop, which you mentioned a bit later as a concern. I think that this scheme has a lot of potential to be really neat. Especially if you can get the space to bring the looop back in to the middle of the space (which I think will also increase the length of the climb).


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