Track Plan Dilema - Help Wanted!

Discussion in 'Track Planning' started by Arlaghan, Oct 29, 2003.

  1. Arlaghan

    Arlaghan Member

    As you may (or may not) be aware, Val (spitfire) is planning an NTRAK BBQ for the summer of 2004. Visitors will be bringing a module of their own - myself included.

    Ok, my idea for the module is a passenger station. I was thinking of building a freelance station, but something along the lines of Union Station in Washington D.C. The building is quite intricate and would make for a neat model, one where I would like to concentrate on detailing the interior. Now for the problem:

    NTRAK standards have the 3 line main and branch tracks pretty much right up front on the module - meaning to showcase the running trains. However, this would mean I would have to put the station behind the tracks, and facing AWAY towards the backdrop. :(

    Val has suggested having the tracks for the passenger trains come into the module so that I can place the building facing the audience, but I am unable to come up with a track plan that (1) I'm happy with (2) looks prototypical and (3) leaves ample room for the structure.

    Here's where your help comes in! Can anyone out there suggest something? NTRAK is pretty strict about certain things - the most limiting being no less than 24" radius curves on the main and 18" radius curves elsewhere (except the mountain area, but I don't plan to have one) Also, as I will be flying to Toronto, I would like my module to be small. 2' x 2' was my original idea, but I was thinking I could make 2 of those and just put them together at the event for a 2' x 4' module. (The structure I will make separate.) Wow, sounds like a challenge!!! Anyone up for it? :D

    Here's a picture of Union Station at DC, so you can get an idea of what I would like to base my station on:

    Attached Files:

  2. rich maiorano

    rich maiorano Member

    They Arl run the trains under it,The amtrak trains here in philly go under the station....Just a idea:D :eek: :D Rich
  3. Bill Pontin

    Bill Pontin Member

    Arl, if this is not an NTrak sanctioned event, bend the rules to fit your module. Yes radii are important but there is no reason you cannot extend the front of the module from the skyboard. On the other hand, if you are not running a mountain division, decrease the width to a more convieniet transportation consideration. The spacing on the rails centerlines and height from the floor are all that is critical. We have several modules in our club where they extended the front an additional six inches. They did this to scenic both sides of the rail lines. Miter or angle the front corners to provide a transition to your extension and prevent exposing the viewing public to sharp corners.
  4. Matthyro

    Matthyro Will always be re-membered

    Ntrak rules allow a module to run the tracks at the back which will give room to build that magnificent station Arlaghan.
    The only thing is we will then need two transitional modules. One to move the track to the back then the other, to move the track back to the front.

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  5. Sir_Prize

    Sir_Prize Member

    Also, I saw somewhere that the front can be extended 6 inches
    out from the 2 foot edge. The biggest thing is that if the track is
    an oval you have the same length on the opposing side. What I
    mean there is that the width is playable, just as long as the tracks
    at you areas end match the next guys.

    Just think/typing out loud.:rolleyes:
  6. Arlaghan

    Arlaghan Member

    Ok, whaddaya think?

    Ok, folks. Here's what I came up with:

    Judging by Robin's post, it looks like I can make a module like one of the ones on the far right: Being a module with the tracks towards the rear, and the space for building towards the audience. I'm not sure if there is a backdrop there on the audience side?

    At any rate, assuming this adheres to the standards, and is Ok with all parties present, here is my proposal. It kind of takes into account all of your suggestions: Part of the tracks inside the building/structure, and re-allocating the given space.

    The top branch could serve as a place to load freight - perhaps put an industry up there, half-way into the backdrop, or maybe an empty area to park unused passenger cars until they are needed? This branch is optional... opinions welcome!

    The bottom branch is where the station would be. The bottom two track enter the structure and would be completely covered by the building, while the third track would be accessible from a loading area which is the smaller blue rectangle. Possible a stairway/ramp going over the other two tracks (or from an upper floor) and leading down to this loading area where passengers/crew workers could get to the other two tracks without having to cross any rails.

    Please, tell me what you think? As I know very little about prototype operations! Thanks! :D

    EDIT: The turnouts on the mains are shown as #6, because that is all the RTS software has, but I left space there for the #8 Peco switches which I have already purchased - the short straight pieces inserted in between would be removed to make room for them.

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  7. Bill Pontin

    Bill Pontin Member

    Arl, why are you adding turnouts to the blue and yellow lines? I see your plan for the red line and the turnouts for the station but I do not understand why you would want the cross over capability. I think you would also be inviting a wiring nightmare to your module when you throw a turnout or switch to another line. Think I would just add the turnout into your station and siding and then add a kill switch to those tracks to isolate it from the entire module. This way you could park an engine and leave the red line open. If you are going DCC, in that case, disreguard my comments?
  8. Matthyro

    Matthyro Will always be re-membered

    I see your point Bill about crossovers between the blue and yellow lines but there are a number of module plans that show crossovers between them. The two lines would be electrically separated by gaps in the crossover but there could be very different voltages on each of the tracks making a loco doing some funny things as it tries to cross over. Any experienced Ntrakers out there that can talk to this?
  9. Arlaghan

    Arlaghan Member

    Blocks? Cab control?

    I'm not sure what those two terms are... but isn't there a method where a layout that has two independent loops with two separate power packs... then to run a train from one side to the other, you would set the power pack on the other loop to the same setting as the one it's currently on, until the train completely crosses over?

    But Bill. I see your point too! My reasoning was to supply our group with a means of switching from track to track using left hand switches, in the hopes that some other module would do the same with right hand switches... it hadn't occurred to me that one track could have reverse polarity and cause a short-circuit!

    I second Robin's request... any professional NTrakkers here who could step in?
  10. Catt

    Catt Guest

    The only real concern with the crossovers is to be sure that the track power is going in the same direction on both tracks.

    By the way if your planning it so that you can cross from the outer most track to the inner most track in one shot DON'T!! What you have created is one very nasty S curve that will cause nothing but trouble.

    My suggestion would be to put the crossover from #1 to #2 at one end of the module and the crossover from #2 to #3 at the other end of the module.Be sure that you use insulated rail joiners between the turnouts where they connect.
  11. Arlaghan

    Arlaghan Member

    Which do you think is better?

    Thanks Catt! Your comments are well heeded!

    Now my question is: Which is preferable:

    This one:

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  12. Arlaghan

    Arlaghan Member

    - OR -

    Or this one?

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  13. Catt

    Catt Guest

    Personally I would prefer the first one as to me it doesn't look so cluttered and busy.

    The first one aslo allows the train to switch from track one all the way to track three.

    Hopefully you will get some input fgrom other members of the Gauge on this.
  14. Bikerdad

    Bikerdad Member

    With the following caveat: I don't know the layout of the prototype, nor how closely you want to follow it; I have the following suggestion:

    Make the line that accesses your "outside platform" a siding that connects back into the through lines, rather than a stub. Doing so will increase both the functionality and viewability from the public standpoint. Not a lot of Americans today take trains for long distance travel, most passenger train travel is commuter, and most commuters are using "through" sidings, not stubs.

    As for the wiring challenges you're facing, "dammit Jim, I'm a doctor, not a magician!"

    Grace and peace, BD
  15. Arlaghan

    Arlaghan Member

    Bikerdad, I like your idea... see it incorporated below. This gives me an excuse to get those double decker tri-rail commuter cars that Athearn put out a while back. :D

    Catt, I like the first one too. I did some research on the #8 switches that will be used in that area, and found that between cross overs, I will only have a 6" section of straight track. I was told that this would be fine. What are your thoughts?

    You can see the data I found concerning the #8 cross overs here.

    Here is my updated track plan. Please keep the comments coming! I think it's nearing finalization, a couple of thumbs up and I can move on to construction. Thanks again, everyone!

    Attached Files:

  16. 6" between crossovers

    Arl: the 6" is plenty of room, the longest N-scale cars are ~90 scale ft. which is 6-3/4 inches. Generally 4.9" is adequate to avoid derailments
  17. Catt

    Catt Guest

    Arl,is that six inches between crossovers or between the #8 turnouts making the crossovers?

    Either way should actually work just fine.One thing to concider though is your going to have a lot of trackwork in 48".I know we discussed making the module a two parter to make it easier to carry on the plane but I have another idea for you to concider.

    How about doing it as a 6'module but in three pieces.You would need some way to key the sections so that they would sort of at least align themselves automatically.

    If your interested let me know and I will build a 2' module to balance out the other side.(or maybe build two 3' modules for the other side.

    I would also suggest that you contact the intended airline about their carry-on rules.

    WOW! I wasn't planning on writing a book.:D
  18. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    Wiring the crossovers

    To do a proper job of the crossover wiring, you need to make what is called an "X" section. You can make a simple version of this by putting a 3 throw rotary in and wiring the middle bit of the crossover through it -- the bit from the centre of one crossover to the centre of the other and including the whole of the turnouts. You will normally leave the rotary switch in the middle and the turnouts straight. When you move from theouter track to the middle, turn the rotary so the crossover section is powered from the outer section, run the locos onto the X section, then change the rotary back to the middle track. Similarly for crossing from outer to inner or middle to inner. The idea is to match the X section to the track you're leaving, then to match the track you're entering.
    (This has gotten a bit long-winded, but it may need it.) You can have a problem moving between power packs if you have, say, pickup on the loco for one side and the tender for the other.
    If you're going to turn the modules so the tracks are at the rear, you will want to reverse the wiring from NTrak standard.
    You don't need a frontdrop; you may want extra backdrop to cover the end of the neighbouring modules.
    A 3 throw rotary is a rotary with only 3 sections wired.

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