The Planning Summit

Discussion in 'Track Planning' started by Fluesheet, Oct 1, 2008.

  1. Fluesheet

    Fluesheet Member

    I've been putzing around with a new layout design for - literally - years. So as a surprise birthday gift, she arranged a layout design storming session to take place in my basement with my brother, father (both in design fields and railfans), pizza and beer. Dad and my brother arrived at the appointed time armed with tracing paper, concept sketches, copies of my latest design and a lot of pens.

    Another general layout configuration session is planned, after which I hope to get some feedback from this community for additional ideas. In the meanwhile, I present the aftermath of the session.... :thumb::cool:

    Attached Files:

  2. railohio

    railohio Active Member

    Can't make out the labels...
  3. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

    It's Mountain Dew...! ;) :D sign1

  4. Fluesheet

    Fluesheet Member

    St. Paulie Girl and Blue Moon (pizza not pictured...) :)
  5. railohio

    railohio Active Member

    Thought I saw Blue Moon. :thumb:
  6. thumsup

    thumsup Member

    Fluesheet, Can't help with the layout plan, but if ya need help with the beer I'm your man.:mrgreen:

  7. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

    So any results? Has the Commission released the Report, or is more research/study indicated? ;) :D

  8. Fluesheet

    Fluesheet Member

    Study is continuing. The commission has agreed upon a track plan in principle, and has delegated their report to various subcommittees for further development:
    The routing and engineering committee (R&EC) is responsible for draft and final track plans (for the main, anyway)

    Concurrent work will be done by the scenic and operational elements committee (S&OC) to plan the feel and the "reason" for the railroad.

    The final design step will be to issue benchwork plans to support the route - this will be handled by the benchwork sub-committee (BC).

    Then we call for bids from the plant construction contractors... :mrgreen::p:mrgreen:

    etc. Truth be told, some other issues put this on the back burner for about 10 days.
    I've attached two plans; the first is a plan of the entire basement, including the general track plan I had been working on prior to the planning session. The second is the layout space with everything but a few steering elements removed and that - greenfield like - the ideas from the session will be drawn upon.

    The general concepts and limitations are:

    • Steam in the late 30's, with some cheating into the 40's (dad has some modern steam).
    • Two decks -
      • One with a heavy duty main line feel (N&W theme), including a classification yard and engine servicing facility.
      • Second with a distinct secondary line feel (probably well kept). B&O feel. This line will interchange with the heavy line. Haven't decided if they are one and the same railroad, or a feeder / trunk line. At least one small town with appropriate yard & engine servicing facility.
      • On-line industries here and there for both. Need local service afterall
    • Probably a loop to loop layout. Possibly loop to loop to loop where the center loop is a shared turnback loop for the heavy an secondary lines.


    • Minimum 30" eased curves for both branch and heavy main lines. Will squeeze somewhat tighter if necessary.
    • - #6 turnouts (we'll see - may have to go to #5's
    • Concrete wall. Real tunnels here, folks!
    I meant to type a couple of sentences, and I seemed to have run on. A weakness of mine. :oops:


    Attached Files:

  9. steamhead

    steamhead Active Member

    I like your plan...and the space you've got to work with....!!! What I don't see is a provision for the Beer & Pizza Committee (B&PC) to meet and supervise the construction...:mrgreen::mrgreen:
  10. Fluesheet

    Fluesheet Member

    First order of bidness: The movement to create a B&P committee has been heard. Popular vote determines if this committee should be created. All in favor? sign1

    First Draft of the lower ("branch" line) level can be found below:
    (larger image - can be found here: - 1099x850)
    (Abusively large here: - 3299x2551)

    Some points of interest:
    - the loop labeled 40" radius will serve as a small - medium sized town with a yard that can accomodate 12 - 18 car trains - maybe shorter. I haven't figured out details yet, other than the engine servicing facility will be in the area to the left (see the roundhouse). This loop also forms one of the reverse loops.

    The big problem here is the reach. Even with an access area in the middle of the loop, the tracks along the wall are going to be a tough reach around the left end of the long bridge.

    I may add a larger river between the end of the yard lead and the turnback "junction". I hope to disguise the latter as a branch to "somewhere else"

    The second turnback loop starts at the junction just prior to the main going through the wall. The main will start up grade here (1%), the "spur" reconnects via a crossover after looping back through another tunnel at the left end of the wall - this line will remain flat.

    After crossing the return loop turnout, the main line's grade will increase from 1 to 1.5%, drop back to 1% after line crosses over itself (+6 inches at this point), and will stay at that grade around the right end of the room and across the long bridge at the top of the image. The line will enter a tunnel / helix shortly after completing the bridge crossing (approx +9"). The grade will increase to 2% through the 30" radius helix.

    Some scenic points of interest for me are some good bridging - such as at the junction to turnback loop #2, and the loooong bridge at the top. The latter is inspired by a unusually long ex-B&O viaduct in the Central Ohio area in Orient, OH. The real one is about 1100' long crossing over the Big Darby Creek. (,0.008283&t=h&z=17&iwloc=addr)

    The flat "spur" that forms one side of turnback loop #2 has an undetermined finish. It could be staging after the turnback crossover that could loops back through the wall at the right end (in which case it could also fill the roll as the end of the turnback loop), an industrial area with some good switching potential or ? At the very least, there will be one track heading back this way, even if it's stub ended, to service the modeling / reloading table (lower right corner). Perhaps I can call it the car shop...

    Now I need to present this to the rest of the committee. Any ideas on any one's part is welcome. Look at one of the larger linked images if possible, there are some "topo" lines that suggest what the terrain will look like that may not show up in the attached image.

    Incidentally, as I was drawing this I got curious what the grades were on my current layout. Armed with a laser level and a ruler, the steepest continuous grade I was able to measure was about 2.8% - considerably steeper than the attached design. Cool beans :cool:

    Again, sorry for the length!


    Attached Files:

  11. Nomad

    Nomad Active Member

    Man, that is going to be a nice layout. Really like the track plan.

  12. Fluesheet

    Fluesheet Member

    Thanks Loren - I'm excited about it as well. At this phase, it appears I've mitigated some of my concerns and also have a good idea what the railroad will "do".

    The Routing and Engineering committee (me) has continued putzing around with it and I have decided that the yard as located (see attached) isn't going to work. The widest curve is 38" radius, and best practice in one of my design books state that a yard, if curved, should be 48" or larger to allow for reliable coupling. This makes sense as I've had occasional coupling glitches on a very mild curve on my current layout.

    I think I'll have enough room on the straight that leads to the turnback loop - it's about 10' long, which should accommodate 12 - 18 car trains.


    Attached Files:

  13. Nomad

    Nomad Active Member

    Curved yards look nice but they can be a pain. The one I operated on long ago had 36" curves and we had to nudge the couplers over a little bit to get them lined up.
    It's good your finding this now before it's to late.
  14. nkp174

    nkp174 Active Member

    How about performing a min radius test?

    loosely spike down some flex track at varying radii, and then test to see which radius is the optimal compromise of reliability and strength.

    I discovered midway through building my railroad that my 27" curves were the absolute min radius for my Grandt Line steel underframe cars. One of my curves approached 26.5", and it derails them every time.
  15. TrainNut

    TrainNut Ditat Deus

    Ditto that.
  16. Fluesheet

    Fluesheet Member

    Excellent idea - I admit that I've been making some assumptions here. The minimum reliable coupling radius may be smaller than expected.

    Well first of all, I forgot to consider that once you start building the ladder with #6 turnouts, that 10' shrinks quickly! :oops:

    Here's what I found:

    • Arrival departure track just under 6' - about 11 40' cars
    • First classification track just under 4' - 7 cars
    • Second classification track just over 2' - 4 cars
    Out of curiosity, I tried putting the #6 switch ladder on a #5 angle (new trick for me - this increases the ladder angle from 9.5 to 11.5 degrees) and found the following:

    • Arrival departure track just over 6' - gained 1 car length
    • First classification track ~ 4.5' - gained 2 cars
    • Second classification track ~ 3.5' gain of 2 cars. Because there is no additional switch to foul further up the ladder, this will more likely be a gain of 3 cars.
    Still not enough - but a good exercise!


    Attached Files:

  17. Fluesheet

    Fluesheet Member

    I finally had a chance to try this this past week. I set up three curves - 26", 30" and 35". The first picture was simply to see the relative "look" of the same locomotive side by side on the three radii.

    The second two are taken on the 35" and it's clear that I would have a very low success rate when a locomotive / car with a long "overhang" (leading truck / driver to coupler face) attempts to couple to a car with a short overhang. Cars / locomotives with similar overhangs are much more reliable, even at the smallest radius I tested ( 26" ).

    Attached Files:

  18. thumsup

    thumsup Member


    Any progress going on here?

  19. KentBy

    KentBy GN, NP, SP&S

    Can someone explain this to me?

    I would like to use this trick, but don't understand it.

  20. nkp174

    nkp174 Active Member

    In the past, I've shortened turnouts by trimming off the excessive length immediately beyond the points and beyond the frog. I did this with Atlas Custom Line #4s and it worked marvelously. I suppose you lose some of the advantages to that with #6 turnouts.

    I suppose your trick is that you put a small curve in at the start, and have small curves at every siding to make the yard wider but with greater capacity on each track, right?

Share This Page