Thanks for the help - more needed

Discussion in 'Track Planning' started by BigJim, Dec 6, 2006.

  1. BigJim

    BigJim Member

    Wow, did I get some great advice on my layout plans from The Gauge..

    Although many said "start small" that is difficult with my passenger train - so..

    Based in the input and my needs my current plan is to start large but simple. Full size layout with two hidden reversing loops but just the two main tracks with a couple of crossovers and plenty of room for expansion of operations. Compared to turnouts and turnout motors track is cheap and I will be able to run trains sooner.

    I expect the expansion to start right after I finish the main tracks but by then I should have a better idea of the balance I want between "towns, turnouts & tracks" for the expansion areas.

    I plan on decreasing the radius of the curves as I enter and increase as I exit. In addition to a slight entry easement the radius will decrease from about 32.5" at the start of the curve to 28" at the middle of a 180 degree loop. 90 degree curves will be 32.5">30.25">32.5. (1" change in radius for each 20 degrees of turn) I will post pictures of the layout method and results if it works well. I will quietly change it and say nothing if it sucks :)

    Here is the starter layout with the expansion areas noted. Please provide some ideas on how the expansion areas should be filled. It is a walk-in "G". Outside benchwork will follow the track with about 3" to 4" of space from the outside track centerline. There is a wall to the top and left of the drawing. It is open at the bottom and right. Entire layout will be on casters and can be pulled out from the walls. The hidden room is made with a divider wall with a large opening so the layout will slide through it. The narrow point between the two loops to the right is about 2'8" (track to track) so I should be able to get a 2' wide walkway.

    Reversing loops will have sensors to automatically throw the turnouts on exit.

    The overall track is about 11' x 23.5' with about 11' x 18' visible. Even using the decreasing radius trick the loops will still be about 60" wide so future expansion will most likely just have buildings in the center. The space between the split in the outside main at the top will be a large passenger terminal platform with a small building in the middle.

  2. Thoroughbreed

    Thoroughbreed Member

    Looks great! Must post pics of construction of this!!!:thumb:
    If you elevate the backside runs by the wall, bottom and top, you can further push the internal legs over towards the wall and decrease the "reach over".
  3. Chessie6459

    Chessie6459 Gauge Oldtimer

    Everyone tries to help out as much as they can. The plan looks good.:thumb: :thumb: :thumb:
  4. BigJim

    BigJim Member

    The only operational area of real concern for me is the turnout in the upper left side of the visible area. I thought I might try using the Tortoise DPDT switch to power a small section of track next to each switched leg. Only the leg coresponding to the switch direction would have power. This will eliminate running the wrong way into the turnout. I assume this is the major cause of derailing if the track is laid correctly.

    The Tortoise switch says it is good for at least 1 Amp which should be more than OK for a single train. I did buy some 12v DPDT relays if I have a problem with the speed or current capacity of the Tortoise DPDT.

    I tend to over engineer and overbuild. When asked why I wear a belt and suspenders I reply "Couldn't think of a third way to hold my pants up :)

  5. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    I think I would use a relay powered by the switch on the tortoise. A typical ho locomotive will draw about 1/2 amp with a can motor. An Athearn with an open frame motor will draw 3/4 amp if it's armature is clean. If you put 2 locomotives on a train, you are close to or exceeding the load the Tortoise switch was engineered to handle. Also, the numbers I quoted are for the electric motor draw on a locomotive only, if you have lighting packages on your locomotive, they will draw more.
  6. BigJim

    BigJim Member


    The track plan has changed - changing the file on the web changed it in the original post to this thread so look up to see it.

    The turnouts for the loops have been moved to the visible part of the layout and a passing track on the inner loop has been added. With the crossover "crossed" I get a little over 5 scale miles of running before the train ends up on the same track in the same direction:)

    The construction on the loops went well. The best way to descrive then is a 3" x 5/8" circular spline ( four 5/32" x 3" boards) for each 60" wide loop with about a 3" wide flat ring set into the middle of the outside of the spline. They are very strong and light. I will post pictures.

    I will be starting on the benchwork very soon. 4" x 1.5" "I" beam construction. The 1.5" x 0.5" tops and bottoms of the "I" will run full length in the long direction with the 3" x 0.5" web or verticle part full length the other way. Should work but I will let you know.

    I have settled on using 1/2 ply cookie cutter construction. I know that foam is the latest craze but I think I can get better grade transistions this way as it is my first try. The lowest level will be about 2 or 3 inches above the frame to make sure I have access everywhere.

    I am thinking about using a product call Floor Muffler to cover all of the plywood. This material is 0.08 thick and does an amazing job of sound deadening under laminate floor. It is very light weight with a texture about like corse paper. Color is a light pale green. The only problem it might have is glueing stuff to it. I will be using left over but I have seen it on e-bay for about $40 for a 100sq' roll including shipping. Has anybody used anything like this?

    Hard to see on the drawing but the visible loops (right and center front) spiral in and out with about 34" radius going in and out and 28" in the center.

  7. BigJim

    BigJim Member

    Loop Pictures

    The construction part of the loops is done.

    The cross section of the loops looks like this:

    Now on to the benchwork:)

  8. YmeBP

    YmeBP Member

    Wow! :eek:jawdrop
  9. ocalicreek

    ocalicreek Member

    Jim that looks fantastic! Your plan seems to offer much in the way of running time, as you mentioned above. The plan kinda reminds me of a layout built by a guy named Sellios...that's a compliment, btw.

    Nice carpentry work as well. You mentioned you had we can enjoy seeing the result! Keep us posted.

    I'm guessing then that you don't need any more help planning the track arrangement?

  10. BigJim

    BigJim Member


    I looked up some info on G.S. and your coment goes beyond a compliment:thumb: .

    After your comment I am not sure if I should even consider posting the latest change in the layout. (But I will:) )

    I wanted to separate the entrance & exit from the loops and add a ridge and tunnel on the right. I think this will also improve accwss & viewing from "outside" of the layout. There is lots of room to the bottom and right. Mountain & waterfall on the left with four tunnels.

    I will be using the "loops" I made but will have to add two more transition points. This layout also lets me have a higher trestle and more vertical separation between the loops (6.5"). By pushing the loops up a bit it gives me a little more useable space in the 5'6" wide "hidden" room on the left.

    All of the curves are "spiral" with 1" of reduction or increase of the radius per 15 degrees of turn. For example the radius of the outside loop starts at about 36" on the ends with 29" radius at the midpoint. (A 7 5/8" drum wil be used for the radius string) I think this will help both the operation and appearance of my 85' coach cars.

    Much of the switching and passing tracks will have to wait for a while as I am not quite ready to purchase 15 turnouts and 5 crossovers and all of the tortoises (Tortoi ?) but I did want to plan for their placement and make sure I place my track so it is easy to cut them in in the future.

    Track length is similar to previous version but I think this one gives more options for industry areas.

  11. Illus

    Illus Member

    Now that is one serious trackplan! Very nice!
  12. Triplex

    Triplex Active Member

    Those loops are so mathematically precise they're fantastic.

    You've seen the advantage of wrapping yard tracks around a curve.
  13. ocalicreek

    ocalicreek Member

    Yards on a curve...keep in mind where cars will be coupled and uncoupled as well as access points to reach in and align the knuckles if necessary. If using Kadees some cars may not line up properly to couple on the tighter radii.

    You're also dead-on right that the easments will make your passenger cars look better. There's no substitute for broad curves but easements really ease the eyes so that the swinging ends of the cars don't jar us into noticing them. Operationally it helps reduce derailments too.

    Also, watch out for turnouts on grades, particularly if the train is supposed to stop and switch a siding, for instance. Just stopping the whole train or diverting it from one line to the other is okay, but try to keep the grade consistent through the turnout and for a few feet before and after the frog/points area.

  14. BigJim

    BigJim Member

    Hi Galen,

    Nothing negative so I guess the new layout is OK?

    The entire lower loop area where most of the turnouts are is the same height so that should be OK. I also have flat spots planned at the other turnouts but will see if I can widen these to include more approach track without increasing any grade past the 2.2% maximum I have now.

    I wasn't planning much coupling in the "passing" tracks in the loop. Thought that might be done more in the "fan" area on the lower right. Might add some more sidings in the flat part near the turntable as well.

    I will post pics of the benchwork as I get it done.
  15. ocalicreek

    ocalicreek Member

    Actually, there's something about the first plan...I think its the level of scene-cerity...that I like more than the second.

    If you go with the second plan, consider revising your stub-end yard/engine facility arrangement to give you longer tracks. Consider the function of the yard. Sure, it may be just storage today, but in the future if you develop an interest in more prototypical operations will it still work as well? Can you design it today with a more general purpose in mind that will be flexible enough for the future or is that even a concern?

    Looking great!

  16. BigJim

    BigJim Member

    Hi Galen,

    Do you mean the tracks off of the turntable? These are 20" long as I thought you just had one loco on each and this would be more than long enough as they are longer than the turntable diameter.

    The shortest "passing" track on the inside of the loop is 10' 8" long so that should handle my eight 85' car passenger train. I will also make sure the dead-end track mid-top is long enough for this train.

    If you mean the area on the lower right there are three tracks longer than 4' and two about 3' plus a couple of short ones. I guess I could rotate the whole area about 10 degrees and fit in longer tracks. How long should they be?
  17. ocalicreek

    ocalicreek Member

    Actually, I was thinking of yard design in general. As relates to function, if its simply to store extra cars and make up or break down trains for variety's sake, then the arrangement of the turnouts can be just for convenience, say, to maintain the machines or points, etc.

    But if it will serve some prototype function, then you might consider designating one track (usually double ended siding) as an A/D (arrival/departure) track, from which the road locos head off for servicing, and to which the goat goes to begin breaking down and classifying the cars then making another train to be sent out, etc.

    Prototypes generally try to avoid excess trackage, going for the simplest arrangement to get the job done with the least amount of maneuvering. On our models, however, we like alot of track, often just to showcase our models. Nothing wrong with that, just like selective compression is a reality we must live with. But asking the question of function before building the yard can aid in the the design concept overall. Most railroads don't like to 'store' cars. Prototype yards are places to sort and order the cars into new trains before moving them out. Does this help?

    btw, Happy New Year!

  18. BigJim

    BigJim Member


    Happy New Year to you as well.

    Could you draw up an idea for the lower left hand corner. The only constraint is the North bound track in the middle has to separate from the last turnout fairly far south as it needs to climb about 2" by the time it gets to the over under track crossing up by the right end of the passenger terminal. I wouldn't mind if the entire yard was off the lower right hand leg of the double crossover turnout and the "over" track left from the upper right hand leg with no turnouts.
  19. BigJim

    BigJim Member

    duh - my other left AKA right.
  20. BigJim

    BigJim Member


    Got thinking about your “level of scene-cerity" comment and reading more books, etc.

    Well… this resulted in a drastic change. (Why is it the layout changes more & more as you get ready to build?)

    Good news is all of my potential layouts have used the stacked & hidden loops so my work on these is not wasted.

    The current plan shifts the front loop enough to the right to allow a yard area on a shelf connected to the partition wall that hides the stacked loops and storage area. The main line climbs up on a ridge that separates the layout into multiple industry areas. Not sure what goes where but their will be at least a lumber mill and perhaps some logging. The stubs in these areas are shown just to indicate access points. More will be added later.

    I plan on having a drape or some other easy access to the track that is hidden underneath in the upper right. With the tracks above about 6” higher access shouldn’t be difficult.

    Not all of the hidden (dashed) track is in a tunnel. Some will have a bridge above but thought this would be the best way to clearly show the over & under points. There are two trestle bridges (one abandoned) on the way to Vernonia on highway 47 that I would like to model.

    Am I heading in the right direction?

    BTW Dixie Mountain is the name of the area where I live. If I was about a mile further south it would have been the Pumpkin Ridge Railroad:)

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