Redesigning the Appalachian Central Yard

Discussion in 'Track Planning' started by Agatheron, Feb 3, 2004.

  1. Agatheron

    Agatheron Member

    Well... my collection of equipment continues to grow, preceeding the inevitable building of my first layout. However, I find myself migrating back towards doing some track planning for it. I've been trying to keep things reasonably simple for a first time layout build, and yet still be able to keep things interesting for operation.

    To date, the most interesting track plan design I've found relative to the space I have available is Lionel Strang's "Appalachian Central" detailed in "Project Railroads You Can Build." An N-Scale L-Shaped layout that fits into a 7'x5'7" space. It has both potential for basic operation, all the elements of model railroading that I need to learn, as well as some introduction to more advanced techniques. It may be a good way to cut my teeth on this wonderful hobby.

    Yet, there are some elements of the overall plan that I am not entirely happy with. One of the components is a yard on the long edge of the layout that fits into a space of about 1'x6'. However it doesn't strike me as being well suited to smooth operation. I happen to have John Armstrong's "Track Planning for Realistic Operation" which has been quite informative.

    My intention is to take the basic track plan and modify to something that would better suit what I am looking for. For those of you who have access to this plan, are there any suggestions that you might want to make. I am not currently at my own computer, but as soon as I am, I will crack open RTS and give you an illustration of the original yard and then hopefully get some suggestions on good alternatives.

    Thanks in advance...
  2. Agatheron

    Agatheron Member

    Okay... Now that I am back at my computer, here's an approximation of the Yard done in Atlas' RTS. It is not fully accurate, as the actual plan uses Peco turnouts and flextrack. However, I am hoping that this gives enough of an idea of what is present, and what I could change.

    The curves coming into the yard from the left hand side of the picture are 11" radius. I could certainly expand that, keeping the mainline to the outside and then have the rest of the yard towards the lower portion. Due to other space restrictions, it should stay within about 12" of the edge of the board.


    Attached Files:

  3. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    I think the cement plant spur comes off the wrong end of the siding. What if you move the switch down to the end where it says "Passenger Station" and run the spur behind the station? (I can cite 2 prototype examples where a siding runs through the parking lot.) This would depnd on how much space your station takes.
  4. Agatheron

    Agatheron Member

    I think for my end of things I'm looking for a complete redesign... I'm looking for a more functional yard in the same amount of space. If it means eliminating the cement plant and relocating the passenger station, that'd be fine by me...

    I kinda wish I had 3rd Planit or some sort of software that included the Peco turnouts so I could do some experimenting...

    Thanks for the input... others?
  5. Late reply

    Well, not much has happened in this thread

    I'll ask a few questions:

    Do you want to keep a through yard, or do you want a stub yard?

    Do you want this to be just a car storage lot, or should it serve industries?

    do you want this just as storage or as an 'operating' yard that can run independent of trains running the rest of the circuit?
  6. Agatheron

    Agatheron Member

    Given my space considerations, I'm leaning towards a stub yard that may have a mirror at one end. However, if a through yard is possible, I may try it out. Scenery wise, I am thinking that I may do a city setting with perhaps an interchange track, and a team track just off of the yard. Again, it is dependent upon room.

    I will want this to be an operating yard that can run independently of the rest of the layout, so an arrival/departure track will be absolutely essential.

    I've been fooling around with the demo version of 3rd PlanIt, which while it does not let me get a chance to save stuff, I can actually look to see what different variations will actually look like. It may well be worth the expense to get it, especially since I am still waiting on "real estate" to be freed up for a layout in my home...
  7. Lightbender

    Lightbender Member

    Hello Agatheron,

    Of course buying the software if you like it is the way to go but meantime if you have a layout designed that you want to save as a picture there is always the 'print screen' key.

    If you have a Windoze computer the screen will be saved in your clipboard and you just have to open up a graphics proggy and press 'Ctrl and V' together and a picture of your screen will show up. Just crop and save as a .bmp or .jpg or whatever.

    Obviously this isn't much use as far as the 3d planit details are concerned but it does let you keep a picture of your efforts.
  8. A possible yard

    This is either 6x1 or 6x2, depending. You can eliminate the turntable and engine house and its a 6x1 instead.

    This is built using all Atlas #4 turnouts

    Attached Files:

  9. brakie

    brakie Active Member

    SS,Has come up with a good idea on the redesign of the yard.However,I would not use a space eating turntable unless I was using steam locomotives.I would use that space for additional yard tracks.I would place the rip track closer to the engine service area and leave the engine house where it is on the plan you have Agatheron..It makes better sense and its in a very nice location.As for the cement plant I would leave it where it is and just straighten the track.

    As a foot note:I would add a yard lead so I would be able to let a train run while I am switching cars in the yard.
    Now for my taste I would use a Grain Elevator instead of the cement plant.The reason being I could add silos to help hid the curve..:D
  10. Agatheron

    Agatheron Member

    Thanks... I'm appreciating the feedback a great deal. Since mine is a more modern-era layout, the presence of a turntable isn't necessary... I'll need a place to potentially turn locomotives, but it doesn't necessarily have to be here...

    I am getting closer to actually buying some sort of track planning software that will include the Peco curved turnouts in it... I may also try to "fudge" it a bit with RTS...
  11. 2nd try

    this one eliminates the turntable.
    All turnouts are still Atlas #4. Peco Medium radius are roughly equivelent.

    You have a 3-stall Engine facility (or, alternately a 2 Car barn and a ready track). the main travels in at the bottom.
    The reverse spur track at the top left can be either caboose storage or a diesel and sand facility.

    There is still a 4-track through yard, the last track is very short, so should store your caboose while you build a train.

    there is a 4 track stub yard for storing extra cars, RIP track, and possibly caboose storage.

    Attached Files:

  12. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    Re: 2nd try

    Instead of that short through track, you could eliminate one switch and make that track longer. You then store more than one caboose on that track and bring them out one at a time as you build trains, or use it for other car storage.
  13. Agatheron

    Agatheron Member

    SS: I'm liking this second design as a distinct possibility. I'm still wondering about a yard lead... Also, a legitimate newbie question on the caboose track: is one necessary on layouts modelling modern era? I realize that many yards would still have them as a holdover from an earlier era. The local London (Ontario) yard does have a caboose track with an old, tired caboose resting unused on its rails. Is this the type of thing that might work well on the yard?

    Also, part of me is interested in the possibility of using the Peco curved turnouts for the yard... Would this work as well?
  14. brakie

    brakie Active Member

    Agatheron,Railroads still use cabooses in local or mine runs where there is a lot of backing to do or a lack of a run around track to place the engine on the front of the train for the return trip to the yard,so you may want to keep that in mind.However you don't really need a caboose track for that as they usually park the caboose out of the way on any unused track.Another thing to keep in mine is to keep your engine service track by the engine house.This makes it easier to service the engine and run into the shop for inspection before the next run or to make light running repairs.
  15. Agatheron

    Agatheron Member

    Thanks Brakie, and thanks SS for the suggested redesigns of the yard. I think what I may do, assuming I can pull together a bit of time this week is use the demo version of 3rd PlanIt to create some alternate configurations of the yard, and use screenshots to actually post some pics of it here. It will mean, however, that once I shut down the program all the work that I will have done will be lost, but at least I will have some pictures to work with. :)

    One of the other factors is that the original Appalachian Central uses 9 3/4" curves in other parts of the layout. I want to broaden these out to 11" curves, and broaden the single 11" curve that enters the yard on the left hand side. However, in broadening out the smaller curves to 11" will actually have an adverse effect to the size of the left end of the yard. I will try to represent this when I draw up the approximations with the 3rd PlanIt demo...

    I really should get around to buying the full version of that... :D
  16. rsn48

    rsn48 Member

    Here's a link to a chap in France who built the same layout but with some modifications. You'll see he has done an excellent job. By the way, some people I know including myself think the App Central is one of the finest smaller designed N scale layouts around.

    I haven't checked to see if the link I am going to provide takes you directly to his layout, but if it doesn't and takes you to the home page, tab on "layouts" and go to the Devil's Creek RR.

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