Shunting/Switching Layouts?

Discussion in 'HO Scale Model Trains' started by RobertInOntario, May 26, 2008.

  1. logicman

    logicman Greybeard

    Rob, you may want to check out Shaygetz's blog - in his sig, above.

    If you follow all of the links -
    we'll see you again about Christmas time.:mrgreen:
  2. Genetk44

    Genetk44 New Member

  3. RobertInOntario

    RobertInOntario Active Member

    Thanks! I checked the first one (so far) and it looks good. Rob
  4. RobertInOntario

    RobertInOntario Active Member


    I tentatively laid out some track (on a small table top) of a possible Inglenook variation.

    Does this look like a "workable" layout, i.e. can anyone foresee any problems that I can't see? I've added one extra siding -- maybe I should eliminate one of those to make it simpler?

    The length is 48" and just a tiny bit of the track is cropped out of this picture.


  5. Genetk44

    Genetk44 New Member

    Rob...this link brings you to the layout page in another forum, I don't think you have to register to be able to open the individual posts....the 4th or 5th ones down are small ingelnooks being built right now.....I urge to look at all of them though...thet are all small portable layouts..very informative
    Model Trains Interactive :: View Forum - Layout Tours
  6. logicman

    logicman Greybeard

  7. Genetk44

    Genetk44 New Member

    Rob...yes I'm very familiar with it.
  8. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery


    I think that the DOn Valley Brickworks has the potential to be an interesting switching layout, depending on the track layout of the prototype (assuming that you'd want the layout to at least partly resemble the real world).

    Are you familiar with the Massey-Harris articles in RMC a few years ago? Ben V. (author) is a member of my local modular club ( and he turned the plans of the M-H plant into some decent modules - 2x8 feet total, plus a bolt on to give a bit of width for one end. Very nicely done, and a popular "job" at our meets.

    I think the same could be done with the DVB if a bit of prototype info is available.

    Perhaps you need to think a bit more before deciding on the trackplan. Is your goal to have a switching puzzle as described above, an "operational diorama" that performs like a piece of the real world, or something else? Some of the reading at Carl Arendt's website (link somewhere in a post above) might help you decide.

    As always, just my $0.02

  9. RobertInOntario

    RobertInOntario Active Member

    Thanks! I'm checking this site right now and will look at the new Inglenooks being built. Cheers, Rob
  10. RobertInOntario

    RobertInOntario Active Member

    Thanks -- yes, that is a good site. Hmm, it might be wise to go with the classic track plan, especially if it's obviously been tried and tested over the years. Rob
  11. brakie

    brakie Active Member

    Rob,Its time to be honest with yourself..The real question is: How much do you like switching out industries? That is the key question that leads to enjoying a ISL.

    Sadly the majority of the so called "switching layouts" found in books and on line leaves a lot to be desired and some amounts to a glorified switching puzzle which can and will lead to tons of frustration.

    Take a look at one of my past ISLs.


    As you can see it was well plan for hours of enjoyable operation and without the pitfalls of a "time saver".
    I was able to clear 2 50 cars and locomotive at each end of the run around track and that alone save countless moves.

    So,as you can see a ISL MUST BE well design for smooth operation and the time saver should be avoided since it was designed for a switching puzzle for a switching contest at a NMRA meet..

    Also a ISL needs buildings,roads,mini scenes ect to bring it to "life".
  12. foulrift

    foulrift Bob

    I agree with Larry.I found out the hard way that unless you do some careful planning all will be for naught.That's what happened with my first switching layout.It suffered in many ways-lack of thought,inadequate size.Basically it failed to do what I wanted it to do.My current plan took over a month to develop.I had help with it but now it looks like I have something that works.My real concern is the size you are planning on working with.I wouls either try to increase the size or possibly switch to "N" scale.Bob
  13. RobertInOntario

    RobertInOntario Active Member

    Wow, thanks for your feedback, Brakie!

    I was thinking of a classic Inglenook mainly b/c books and websites rave about them and I'm simply looking for a simple side-project.

    At this point, I would not have the time to work on something more complicated. I like to run passenger trains but occasionally enjoy switching freights and thought I'd try this as a neat, small project to tinker with.

    I was going to add scenery and detail gradually as time allowed. As I did with my other layout, I'd simply set this one up with its track and minimal scenery, operate it for awhile, & then gradually add the scenic details.

    However, if there are several problems in the Inglenook design, then I probably should scrap it. But if I simply set it up (almost as a glamorized test track) what do I have to lose, especially since it's not costing me too much?

    Thanks again -- I'm open to both "pro" & "con" feedback, especially before I go too far with this!
  14. Genetk44

    Genetk44 New Member

    I think we all have to understand that the original concept of the inglenook is first and foremost a shunting puzzle, meant for simple relaxing pleasure, the fact that there are actual real-life inglenooks is a fortunate "accident" that allows us to have a real justification for a sceniced layout. The other thing is that the inglenook layout was concieved by a Brit and hence is more popuar and well known over there than in the US, for various reasons.

    A dedicated shunting/switching layout is a different kettle of fish than an Inglenook......and The Timesaver is totally different concept to either anInglenook or a true shunting/switching layout.

    Just my 2 cents worth:mrgreen:

  15. RobertInOntario

    RobertInOntario Active Member

    Thanks, Gene. This is interesting b/c (as per my avatar), my main interest IS British railways, so an Inglenook might be a good fit.

    Thanks also for the clarification re The Timesaver vs. the Inglenook as well as a true shunting layout -- I was beginning to get all of these confused. All of this is making more sense now! :)

    Also, much of my British rolling stock -- especially freight cars and tank engines -- are quite small, so they could work well on an Inglenook.

    Thanks again, Rob
  16. lester perry

    lester perry Active Member

    I have a large layout with hidden yards a large classification yard and a town with about 8 businesses to service. Most people who have run on my layout and myself prefer operating in the yard switching or running the local which drops and picks up cars at the businesses. Hope this helps as fare as enjoyment goes.
  17. RobertInOntario

    RobertInOntario Active Member

    Thanks, Les. I've actually just put together a small Inglenook layout and am testing it out. So far, of course, it's just track nailed onto foam roadbed and a foamboard -- no scenery -- but it seems to be working OK. Now I just have to experiment with operating it! :mrgreen: From what you say, it sounds like this type of layout should be fun to run. Rob
  18. brakie

    brakie Active Member

    Rob,Some times simple is better.

    Here's another design that I used on a N Scale ISL.


    As you can see it rather simple and straight forward but,still gave me hours of operating enjoyment.

    Now as far as the Inglenook design..I find its lacking but,the design will suffice for a evening of operation and detailed scenery.

    Another thing to remember there are many types of switching layouts from steel mills to passenger terminal operation.One of my favorites is a friend's switching layout that's based on saw mill operations where he switches out boxcars at the veneer plant and the finishing mill..His power is a SW9 and the layout measures 1x8 foot ..Oddly he built this layout 9 years ago and it hasn't change all that much.

    As a side note..90% of my layouts has been ISLs because 1)The lack of space for a larger layout and 2) I perfer to switch cars then watch trains run endless loops.
  19. Genetk44

    Genetk44 New Member do realize that the left hand end of this plan is an inglenook:mrgreen:
  20. RobertInOntario

    RobertInOntario Active Member

    Thanks, that looks like a good layout. I'm just wondering if I could gradually make mine more complicated or interesting. Right now, I've set it up as an Inglenook but could easily tweak it since it has not been ballasted yet or had any scenery added. Rob

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