Shelf Switching Layouts

Discussion in 'HO Scale Model Trains' started by 91rioja, Mar 17, 2008.

  1. 91rioja

    91rioja Member

    I have a question. For those of you who have shelf switching layouts, how did you go about planning for turning your train at the end of the line? I've just moved into a new townhouse, and went from a room all my own, to one I have to share with my office. I am planning on a new layout, and it is going to be a shelf switcher. But, I'm having problems trying to figure out how to turn my power at the end of the line. Did you plan for a pocket on either end, or did you just not care as to how the power got turned?

    My first thought is to put a trailing point turn-out on either end, but it kinda defeats the purpose, doesn't it?

    I would love to hear some ideas.

  2. Kevinkrey

    Kevinkrey Member

    Do you have room to fit a wye in anywhere?​
  3. tetters

    tetters Rail Spiking Fool!

    A wye is one option. However, they can take up a lot of space. For me, I'm not really concerned about which way the loco is facing per-se. In the real world if the loco is going from a to b and there is nothing like a wye or a turntable to turn it around then it always "faces" the same direction.

    My HO layout is 16 x 8 ft along the walls shelf style. The locos travel from one end to the other and never turn around. They just go forward or reverse.
  4. nachoman

    nachoman Guest

    Tetters has a point - industrial areas (the focus of most shelf layouts) do not frequently turn locos. They have run around tracks to run the locomotive to the other end of the train, and the loco runs backwards. This is true for both steam engines and diesels.

    European layouts are often small (due to smaller houses) and they often have some kind of "fiddle yard" at the end of their shelves, that frequently has a turntable. Since the fiddle yard is primarily staging, the turntable is simply a better way to turn an engine without having to use your hand.

  5. 91rioja

    91rioja Member

    I don't have room for a wye; it is an 18" shelf. I'm running Geeps, so direction doesn't really matter (long hood forward, short hood forward). More to the point would be the question of:

    I get to the end of my layout and behind the Geeps, I have two cars that I picked up from some industry on my run from point A to point B, or I have cars that need to be dropped off. What to do then? Do you plan for that occurrence and build your trackage to accomodate for the end of the line (put a runaround track at each end) or do you make sure that your switching moves are planed in such a way as to have no cars at the far end of the run? I'm not sure which one I like better.

  6. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    You should have run around tracks where ever they are needed to get the locomotive in the correct position to work any siding on the layout. Other than that, there isn't any reason to turn an entire train. If you are running small steam, you could fit an Atlas turn table at each end of the layout to turn the locomotive on, and a run around track to allow you to put the caboose at the back of the train for the return trip. With geeps, direction doesn't matter. If you have a caboose on the train, put in a run around to allow you to get the caboose on the end and your good to go.
  7. Herc Driver

    Herc Driver Active Member

    I'm in sort of the same situation...I'm planning my new layout on five shelving units, hard-mounted to the wall, that are 14.5 inches wide and just about 16 feet long. I created a simple dog bone shape, then added turnouts where necessary/desired to create a yard, passenger line, and two spurs for industries at each end. I used almost the smallest radius I could at the "loop" ends of the dog bone, but I made sure all the mainline tracks, sidings, turnouts are only on the hard wood shelves and only the curved loop track are on foam extensions that are over the edge of the shelving by about 6 inches. I plan on adding bead board, glued to the foam, to add rigidity and there will be as little weight as possible on those extension. I thought about covering up the loops with mountains/tunnels at each end - and might still do that - so that the tight curves will be hid within the tunnels. But after more thought, I'm wondering if that might not look too great when all is said and done. So for now, I'm trying to emphasize industrial/passenger operations with tight radius turns (large enough for the passenger cars and 6-axle diesels to run) on a dog bone layout. Whew...that probably doesn't give you any ideas, but maybe it does.
  8. tetters

    tetters Rail Spiking Fool!

    One last thing with regards to the run around track(s). Leave enough track after the run around at each edge of the layout to accomodate a loco and at the very least one freight car. That is the advice I was given when I started my planning from a couple of guys at my LHS. At both ends of the layout I've left "spurs" off of each run around which will accomodate my GP's and two 50 foot cars. So there is plenty of room to play with when switching cars. Planning your moves ahead of time helps too. It's what they do in the real world too and I've been told not to be afraid to plug your loco in the middle of your cars when heading out to deliver goods to your industries.
  9. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    Herc, I wouldn't use foam to try to stiffen foam. If you want to add an addition to the edge of a wooden shelf using foam, fasten a piece of luan door skin to the bottom of the shelf, and glue the foam to it. The luan plywood will add strength with very little weight.
  10. Nomad

    Nomad Active Member

    loco in center of train?

    Tetters, funny you should mention that. Lately I have found I need to do the same thing to do some of my switching. I wondered if that was prototype or not.

  11. TruckLover

    TruckLover Mack CH613 & 53' Trailer

    For my 15" around the room shelf layout, i plan to build a "lift out" bridge that crosses the path of the walkway into the room. Im also going to have a below shelf staging yard that a train can enter from one side of the layout and go out and back up on the other side of the layout.
  12. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    It is done quite often by the prototype.
  13. Squidbait

    Squidbait Recovering ALCO-holic

    It depends on the size of the layout, but generally, I don't. Since my shelf layouts have tended to be small-ish (<10' long in HO), I just accept that there's not room to turn the power, so I have some pointing in both directions, if need be. For diesels, this isn't usually a big issue, and it's really only a problem for big steam, since most switcher-class steamers are just as happy working backwards as forwards.

    That said, typically there's not room for more than a couple of engines on a smaller shelf layout, and I'm usually more concerned about room for a runaround track than I am for turning the power.
  14. tetters

    tetters Rail Spiking Fool!

    When it was first suggested to me, I had a kinda of eureka moment as it only seemed to make sense. If you were a yard crew and wanted to deliver your cars as quickly as possible with minimal couple/uncoupling and switching its what you would do to save time and fuel.
  15. 91rioja

    91rioja Member

    Great food for thought. . . The power in the center occurred to me a couple of times, but I thought, "naaah, they wouldn't do something like that". I guess i was wrong.

    Tetters, I just looked at your layout thread. Slap AWESOME! You wouldn't be able to post a couple of overall layout shots, would you?
  16. tetters

    tetters Rail Spiking Fool!

    Thanks bro!

    I'm planning on doing a couple of over all shots when the track work is to speak. It is at shoulder height so when I stand on the step stool to take wide angle shots a lot of it goes out of focus. The yard is huge! At least it is to me...I think I might have over done it a bit.


    This is the closest thing I have to my track plan. I have made some changes along the way to make it more interesting to me.

  17. lester perry

    lester perry Active Member

    tetters I designed that idea into my layout. I have a track I named crooked creek. it has 3 mines an interchange track and logging on it. when you leave the yard going there you must make sure the correct cars are in the right place in the train to do what needs to be done. the yard master usually puts the train together but it is ultimately the conductors final responsibility to check it before they leave the yard. it is a long trip from yard to crooked creek and you pass the switch going there and have to reverse your direction to get there. there is no passing sidings, no wyes and cars being pushed and pulled. a caboose on each end, and 3 crossings that must be flagged. also on return trip some really steep grades which sometimes is difficult with loaded train. empties are no problem. this is the favorite run during operating sessions. It is very challenging

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