Small yards

Discussion in 'Track Planning' started by 691175002, Jun 2, 2006.

  1. 691175002

    691175002 New Member

    Hi, I am thinking about making a smallish (2x5 up to 3x8) N scale layout that will probbably have the long side against a wall. I have never made a layout before but have made the woodland scenics subterrain diorama so I am confident that I can build a layout. I have read quite a bit about layout planning but my main difficulty is making a yard small enough to fit in the space that still works well.

    I am planning to hand build all my turnouts with a fast track fixture for cost reasons and they will either be #4's or #6's (probbably #6).

    I am mainly looking for a classification yard with space to store engines that perferably doesn't rely on using the main line. I want to avoid slip switches if possible due to cost. A plan would be nice but tips on making it smaller or a simple sketch to get me going would work as well.

    On a different topic, does anyone know if the n scale #6 crossover fixture can make turnouts as well? It says it can in the description however by looking at the pictures it seems to me that the track sections that lead off the curve end prematurely to make space for the crossover. If I can use the crossover fixture to make turnouts it would be nice because that would add a crossing and a double crossover to the list of ok to use track.

  2. jetrock

    jetrock Member

    If that username/student ID is also your social security number, CHANGE YOUR USERNAME RIGHT NOW RIGHT NOW RIGHT NOW!!!! It is NOT safe to put that information out in the public domain.
  3. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

    I second JetRock's suggestion for your user name - contact any of the moderators to help you...

    As for your questions - if you want to save space in the yard, use #4 turnouts. #6 turnouts in the same configuration take up more room.

    I would suggest that you have a double ended (passing siding) come off the main, and then the yard off of that. You can then use the passing siding as the lead for the yard, and not foul the main as you switch. If you do not use a completely double-ended yard, you should consider at least an escape for engines that pull headfirst into the yard.

    If you can post more info about your plans, and maybe a drawing of the layout, then I am sure you will get some more good feedback.

    Welcome to The Gauge!

  4. 691175002

    691175002 New Member

    My Student Id has no relation to my SS number.

    I only want to buy one assembly fixture to make turnouts with which means that all the turnouts will be one size. I was first going to get #4's but the crossover fixture only comes in #6 and #8. If the crossover fixture can also make turnouts then all the turnouts will be #6 and I may fit in a couple crossovers. Otherwise I may choose #4 or #5 turnouts.

    I dont have much in the way of plans yet. All I have finalised is that I want to have two mainlines that are each complete loops. This way I can leave two trains running at the same time in circles to watch or for friends to watch without any interaction.
    Each mainline will hopefully have several industrial spurs either facing point or the opposite for interesting operations.

    In short, I want to have two loops of track with lots of spurs and operating possibilities and a fun to operate classification yard.

    I am not concerned about prototypical accuracy or whatnot, I just want it to look cool and be fun to operate/play with. For that reason I am hoping to put it in a mountanous region with lots of tunnels, bridges and grades (all 4% so I can have the trains go over eachother occasionally). I am probbably going to model it as some form of logging operation with lots of small sawmills and possibly a small mine (all of which will be totally un-prototypical).

    From what I have read in books about model railroading, this pretty much violates every rule of making a good layout but who cares? It's mine.

    So far the most appealing (to me) yard plan I have come up with so far is this:

    I have never used a layout before but in my mind it looks pretty fun. My only concern is that it takes up a rather large space for a 2x5-3x8 layout.

    Any suggestions or comments are welcome.
    EDIT: Mason Jar is correct. It was a typo. The trains move from left to right not right to left. I will change the picture.
    EDIT: Picture changed.
  5. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

    The only problem I see with the yard as described is in the first line- "Trains move from right to left". That seems to go against the rest of the description, which only makes sense if trains go from left to right (e.g. the road engine cannot go to the engine storage form the left end of the A/D track, as the rest of the train is sitting in the way...).

    That is a lot of stuff to cram into a layout that may be as small as 2x5 (even in Nscale!). I know that you say you are not concerned with prototypical accuracy, but some concession to it may be needed - and yo have already started down that road with your yard description - caboose track and all!

    As for "violating" rules of what makes a god layout - well, they are not rules, and it is your layout, but some of these "principles" have been around a while and for good reason. They do help make the layout more enjoyable. Take a look at the thread called "Givens and Druthers" in this forum (Planning) for some questions that might help you refine what you'd like to do with the layout, and what you might be able to include.

    Hope that helps - keep the dialog going!

  6. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    I would expect that you could build standard turnouts on it just bu continuing the rails through; same for your single crossovers.
    Yards take a lot of space. You might be able to get better utilization by moving one half of it to the other side of the main line and running the mainline diagonally through the area.
  7. 691175002

    691175002 New Member

    Thank you for spotting that error Mason Jar. The trains are suppost to go from left to right.
    I am not trying to avoid being prototypical, just trying to fit as much as possible inside a tiny layout in the middle of a mountenous reigion (which is not very prototypical...) . It will end up looking moderatly spagetti bowlish however I will admit that long runs of single or double track looks nice. I will probbably have each mainline a folded-dogbone (or folded and twisted dogbone) because I like the shape. Assuming that the layout ends up at the maximum 3x8 size, that should provide some nice diagonal straight/slightly curvish track and I will probbably take every oppertunity to add spurs along the way.

    60103- I think I want to have my entire yard in one spot as it looks more impressive and it's easier if more than one person is using the layout at the same time (unlikely considering the size of the layout but you never know...)

    My yard plan is still up for discussion and I may start working on the track plan. Some new questions:
    I am planning to use the woodland scenics system of layout building with 4-8" risers (most of which I will cut myself) for lots of bridges and hopefully fake water. I have never used fake water before so any recommendations or tips will be appreciated.

    On the same general topic, I want to use all under table switch machines (excluding the yard). It will be expensive but hopefully hand laying the turnouts will save some of the cost and having a bunch of switches that I can play around with is really appealing to me :D.
    The question is what kind of switch machine can flip a turnout 8" away? Will I have to drop the foam idea and build it with wood? (= bad because I suck with wood)
  8. farmer ron

    farmer ron Member

    numbers...i have the fast tracks template for my layout and it makes things much easier. I have a small layout in HO so I got off e bay they #4 template kit. I also build the #6's using their paper templates, I have 4 on the layout. Go with the ones that you will be building the most. Like the others I would suggest using #4's for the yard, if you can squeeze a few #6's as lead ins. Ron..
  9. 691175002

    691175002 New Member

    Farmer Ron, how much more difficult is it to hand lay track without the fixture. I was planning to use the fixture to learn how to lay track and after a year or a couple dozen turnouts attempt to lay special track myself such as crossings, double crossovers and double slip switches (especially the slip switches). If it is not that big of a step up I may simply get the #4 fixture and try to lay some #6-#12's by hand.
  10. sumpter250

    sumpter250 multiscale modelbuilder

    Initially, much more, after you have used the fixture for a couple of turnouts, and learned the basic skills needed, you can probably go without fixture, and do just as well. The frog, and the point rails are the hardest part of turnout building. One of the tricks I've seen, that I like, is to lay full width ties for the length of the turnout. Once it is built and tested, the ties can be trimmed to length, before ballasting. It will take a few mistakes before you develope your technique, don't get too discouraged.
  11. Triplex

    Triplex Active Member

    I think you're overestimating how large a 3x8 is. I've found from drawing countless plans for small layouts that you can't put a yard in "one spot". A classification yard will usually take up the whole length of one side, or nearly so.
  12. pgandw

    pgandw Active Member

    I would have to say that hand-laying turnouts is not particularly difficult, you have to be willing to take your time. I have never used the Fast-Tracks fixtures because they weren't around when I first hand-laid track, and because I find them to be too confining. Most of my reasons for hand-laying track - HO and HOn3 is because the track "flows" so much better than flex track and prefab turnouts.

    This past weekend at the NorCal HOn3 Symposium, Steve Hatch showed me some new tricks to make better hand-laid turnouts and to make them faster. Like me, he prefers custom turnouts that flow with the situation instead of an arbitrary frog number.

    He starts out laying out flex track through what will be one leg. When the flex track is where you want it, put a piece of paper over it and rub over the rails to get the rail locations. Now, rebend the flex track to the other turnout leg and get the other rail locations. On the paper, you should have a frog point where the two sets of rail cross, and your point location is determined by where the 2 sets of rails merge.

    Tape the paper as a template on your work surface. Bend a piece of rail to exactly match your diagram of one frog rail and the closure rail on the same side of the turnout (should be a broad angle). File away the rail base and a the rail head on the outside of the bend. Bend the rail backwards to form the frog point - it will match nicely like magic.

    Then following your template, bend a wing/closure rail/point to fit one side. File the outside rail base and rail head of the point, and take the corner off the inside rail head of the point. Do the same for the other wing/closure rail/point (all one piece). Solder the 3 pieces together at the frog - Steve used .015" diameter solder to lay down a trace. You now have a one piece frog/wing rail/closure rail/ frog assembly.

    My change is to spike this assembly in place on ties my layout, he mounts to ties on the bench. The stock rails are then laid to gauge from the frog and closure rails. Note because the NMRA gauge sets wheel gauge narrower than track gauge (measure with calipers if you don't believe), gauge in turnouts needs to be set at NMRA minimum for optimum tracking with properly gauged wheels. Last, after frog/wing rails/closure rails are checked and adjusted for smooth tracking, guard rails and throwbars are added.

    All in all, if you have the skills to lay flex track with soldered joints and feeders, and tune turnouts, and a little bit of patience to adjust what wasn't done right the 1st time, you are easily capable of hand-laying your own turnouts.:thumb:

    yours in track laying

  13. a 3x8 is a little larger than the usual 30x80 door plan.

    I have a 2.5 x 4.5 trackplan that uses a very small yard as part of its gameplan, the yard is simply a inglenook sidings puzzle, whos 5 car, 3 car, 3 car yard with 3 car plus switcher yard lead is perfect for a small trackplan, and can fit in the smallest plans.
  14. Triplex

    Triplex Active Member

    I guess it's a case of different standards. 11 cars total capacity isn't what I would call a classification yard (as opposed to a switching puzzle, which I'm not a fan of).

    The real question is, how long of trains do you plan to run?
  15. 691175002

    691175002 New Member

    I want to be able to run trains of minimum 8 cars but preferably closer to 12 for each train. The yard should perferably have the room for around 30 cars and two engines.

    I want the layout to be fun and easy to operate. My 1'x5' yard captures what I want the best (after all, I did design it...) but uses a bit more space than I would like.
  16. True. Inglenook Sidings *is* a switching puzzle, where you sort out a 5-car train from 8 cars in that 11-car capacity.

    I run 5 car trains (plus a caboose) for my own layout, and it works just fine.
  17. brakie

    brakie Active Member

    Actually it could be a small outlaying yard in a smaller City that locals work out of..This yard *could* generate 2 freight trains a day and would see 2 freights arrive on a daily bases..
    The yard should have a inbound/outbound track and space allowing up to 7 or 8 stubbed end tracks..
    I am also not a fan of switching puzzles except in switching contest at model railroad meets since that was what they was design for.:D

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