Shelf Layout question

Discussion in 'Getting Started' started by coachC, Feb 6, 2008.

  1. coachC

    coachC Member

    I realize I ask a lot of questions and change my mind a lot but I always recieve a lot of good advice. I'm a continuous run kind of guy, but it seems every HO layout I really like is a shelf or around the wall type layout. I would have room for a good shelf layout on two, and part of a third wall if I chose to go this route. My question is what does a continuous run guy do with a shelf layout?
  2. Nomad

    Nomad Active Member

    Coach, to me a shelf layout is built for operations or static display. Operations can be a fun part of the hobby if the layout is designed for that purpose. You then get into a whole new world of carcards and waybills ( or computer generated switchlist ) ( which I use ) which really gives purpose and meaning to the layout.

  3. nolatron

    nolatron Member

    I wanted a continuous run layout, but cause of the restraints of a 3 wall shelf layout like you I got stuck with a point to point. I did however make it a 2 level shelf layout to expand my mainline length to at least get a little more "running room".

    I eventually grew on to the idea of having the point-to-point and the chance to learn about how operations work.

    Union Pacific’s Elmwood Subdivison » About
  4. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

    I think you have to decide if you truly want continuous run and all that it entails... a different design, more space, turnback loops or whatever.

    What are your reasons for wanting continuous run? Not interested in operations? More of a "railfan" who wants to watch trains? Too much work (real or perceived) in another type of layout?

    If you like the round the walls type, is it possible to go with even a 4" wide shelf for some of the way (wider at corners) in order to expand the "2 wall shelf" into a continuous run?

  5. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    There are a couple of options for continuous running on a shelf type layout. As Andrew mentioned, you can fit in a couple of wider shelves at each end to allow turn back curves or balloon tracks as they are called on the prototype. The other possibility is to have liftout or draw or swing bridges to go across doorways to allow the train to go all the way around the room. A third method if you have 3 walls to build shelves on, would be to build modular sections to bridge between the ends of the layout to allow continuous running, but that can be taken down or rolled out of the way when you are not operating the railroad.
  6. coachC

    coachC Member

    I am not interested in operations. I'm interesting in realistic details, sound, lighting and the like. However, my favorite HO layouts are both shelf layouts.

    Lance Midheim's "East Rail Layout"

    Lance Mindheim Dot Com

    and Mike Confalone's "Hardwick and Woodbury Division" in Model Railroad Planning 2008

    Model Railroader Magazine - Model Railroading, Trains, Track Plans - Slow speed operations on the Hardwick & Woodbury Division

    So I'll have to think about what I want. Is there anything in DCC that would make a short train go to one point and then reverse?
  7. railohio

    railohio Active Member

    Operate it, like a real railroad. I've not seen many prototype railroads with ovals and those that I have I can't imagine would be fun to operate.

  8. riverotter

    riverotter Midwest Alliance Rail Sys

    I guess I'm lucky in that I'm building the best of both worlds. I have an around-3-walls 24" wide shelf plus several hollow-core-door "dominoes" so I can configure my layout for either point-to-point for pure operations (which seems to be all the rage now to the point of being the only 'politically correct' way of building a layout these days), or I can reposition one domino and have a very long (over 3 scale miles) continuous run for when I have guests who want to see trains go around ... or when I want to see trains go around. :mrgreen:
  9. Squidbait

    Squidbait Recovering ALCO-holic

    He does one of three things:

    He does this:

    ... or this:

    ... or he switches to N-scale! :p sign1
  10. jetrock

    jetrock Member

    The dog-bone approach sounds like it would be the best option: have a balloon track at each end so you can have your loop and shelf it too.

    The other option is to go traction: model a trolley line and you can have 6" mainline curves in HO.

    There are automatic-reversing kits out there, check the electronics section of the Walthers catalog. I can see that getting boring, but then, I'm an operating shelf-layout/point-to-point guy. Watching the trains go round doesn't do much for me.

    Finally, take a look at TRACK PLANNING FOR REALISTIC OPERATION or other planning guide, preferably an older one when a loop was still considered de rigeur. Having a loop doesn't mean not having operations, it's not like you have to choose one or the other. Build your loop and the potential for future operation, in case the bug bites you later.

    Perhaps the other piece of advice is to ask yourself what you like about these point-to-point plans, and focus on the things you want to duplicate, rather than the things you don't care about (like operations)?
  11. steamhead

    steamhead Active Member

    I designed my around the walls (4) layout so I could operate it as PTP. Trains can depart from a central location in two different directions (E & W) to different locations, working some sidings along the way. From the destinations they can make the trip back working other sidings.
    And when I just want to see trains doing their thing..I let them loose to rack up the miles..!!
  12. Triplex

    Triplex Active Member

    Then maybe you should ask yourself: What is it about the shelf layouts that you like?
  13. Harold Cole

    Harold Cole Member

    I've got an around the room shelf layout that runs right over top of the doors and windows,room is 16'x16'.Also suspended an iner run that is about 10'x10',have to use a step ladder from time to time.
  14. trainman786

    trainman786 New Member

    Used to be exclusively an N-scaler myself. Problem with a lot of us is, the older you get the less detail you can seesign1

  15. Pitchwife

    Pitchwife Dreamer

    I am attempting to have the best of both worlds. This is my proposed layout and the reasoning behind it. All of it is fictional.

    It is located in northeastern Oregon (where I happen to live :mrgreen: ) thus the name EPN&S (Eastern Pacific Northwest & Southern, era 1990's. Originally it was self-owned and served the northwest from Spokane WA to Reno NV with an interchange to a branch of the UP at John Day (again, where I happen to live) which runs from Salt Lake City to Portland. It was bought by the BN in 1970 and is now operated as a subsidiary of the BNSF.

    In 1990 John Day was chosen as the site of the headquarters and main plant of the Northwest United Recyclers, who are the primary customers of the EPN&S. Trash is collected primarily from points north and south and brought to the central plant where they are processed into usable materials and shipped out to industries, mostly located on the coast and other industrial centers east.

    There is a wide demand for cars of all types, from flat cars and gondolas for scrap metal to box cars for paper and other materials and tankers for liquids of all types.

    Other businesses located in the eastern northwest are also served, thus bringing almost all types of rail cars through the area.

    The upper layout looks like this:


    With lower staging:


    I've devised a timetable and schedule of rail traffic:

    7:05am Eastbound Express Freight
    7:20am Southbound Local Passenger 1
    7:35am Northbound Local Passenger 1
    8:25am Southbound Local Freight 1
    9:05am Northbound Local Freight 1
    9:55am Eastbound Passenger Express
    10:15am Eastbound Local Passenger
    10:35am Eastbound Local Freight
    2:15pm Northbound Local Freight 2
    3:25pm Westbound Local Freight
    3:45pm Westbound Local Passenger
    4:45pm Southbound Local Freight 2
    5:30pm Northbound Local Passenger 2
    5:45pm Southbound Local Passenger 2
    6:55pm Westbound Express Freight
    7:15pm Westbound Passenger Express

    Locals stop to drop off and pick up cars and passengers while the expresses go through and are just obstacles that the yardmaster has to juggle. Local passenger service is primarily commuter trains for plant workers, however there are quite a few travelers who catch the locals and transfer after stopovers. The yard has a switcher to sort and set out cars for the interchange as well as a dedicated local for the NUR plant.

    Since all traffic uses a short common section of track the yard master must juggle all of the schedules plus servicing the plant which has a high volume of traffic.

    The lower staging represents cities in off-layout locations. The multiple tracks will hold the ready-made trains which pass through the layout.

    Lots of switching or if I want, just let the trains run. :mrgreen: :mrgreen:
  16. steamhead

    steamhead Active Member

    Clark....with that kind of timetable....I presume you do trains 24/7....I can spend a couple of hours just working my yards, never mind actually sending trains off to their destinations..!!!
  17. nkp174

    nkp174 Active Member

    I view a continuous run option as essential. I also have a very strong preference for shelf layouts. I think a dog bone layout with double deck separation is a wonderful compromise. My future DSP&P will be a point to point layout...with a continuous connection. I am a Model Railroad with an emphasis on modeling railroads...not a modeler of railroad operations. Operations are something to plan for, but I prefer to watch my models run through sculpture of the environment the real ones ran through 98 years before I was born.
  18. riverotter

    riverotter Midwest Alliance Rail Sys

    I, too, like to watch my trains run, especially now that with a bigger room a complete circuit at 'prototypical' scale speeds takes over five minutes. I'm building in a lot of switching, interchange, and yard operations -- for when I'm in the mood to do that. And by removing one "domino", the layout can be turned into a true point-to-point railroad model when I want to operate it that way.

    If I ever build another layout, I will narrow the shelves and dominoes from 24" to 12" - 18" and double-deck the whole thing to give my trains an even longer run, whether the layout is operated as p-to-p or continuous run.
  19. Pitchwife

    Pitchwife Dreamer

    Gus, I'm afraid that if I did it 24/7 it would seem like a job. But with a fast clock it seemed like the most logical thing. If you're gonna switch cars they should come from somewhere and go somewhere. I suppose that it's my version of the timesaver, gotta get those cars set out before the 9:05 gets here and these others have to clear the track going over to the plant before the 9:55 Express comes through. :mrgreen: :mrgreen: There are only three problems with it, 1) it needs at least three operators to do it right. One to run the yard, one to run the local, and one to run the mainline. 2) there isn't enough room to fit three operators in the room, :cry: :rolleyes: and 3) it isn't even built yet! :cry: :cry: :cry:

    I'll probably have to settle for something a bit more modest, but if I just knock out that one wall.....:twisted: :mrgreen: :mrgreen:

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