Trackplanning help required.

Discussion in 'Track Planning' started by Evan, Jul 10, 2006.

  1. Evan

    Evan Member


    Calling all trackplanners...... I need some help. I've hit a brick wall in trying to come up with a trackplan. I've done the Duthers questions (listed below) and have also attached a picture of the space I'm going to have avaliable. Anyone with an idea, please either give me a weblink, or a picture, or a napkin sketch, or something. :)

    Railroad Name: Cosynook Railway
    Scale: N scale, Std gauge

    Era: sometime. I like UP, not a specific time period.
    Region: North America.
    Railroad: Union Pacific

    Space: 3m x 3m room, with insulation on walls. This is approximately 116" x 116". Door opens inwards (std 3ft door). There is a double window in the wall with the door. Space is totally open. Nothing else in there at all. Lighting is 2 x double tube florescent lights (4ft length tubes). Bench work will be built to accomodate the layout. I will do it with a double layer of foam on top, for scenic possibilties.

    Would like single or double main line, with continous running, as well as shunting possibilities. Around the room or U-shaped (walk in) ideas. I would also like a space for a desk to work on, for doing building's etc. Doesn't have to be too big. No double deck layouts. I'm 6ft 4", so about 3" depth is maximum.

    desired minimum radius: 12"
    absolute minimum radius: 10"
    desired normal train length: 10 to 15 cars
    minimum normal train length: 8 cars
    maximum acceptable mainline grade: 3%
    maximum acceptable grade: 3%
    primary track system? flex
    couplers/uncoupling system: couplers are a mix of rapdio's and microtrains. Slowly converting everything over to microtrains, as finances allow.
    DCC or DC? DCC
    Willingness to pay extra for walk-around control? Yes, already in the christmas wish-list.
    Willingness to build liftout, hinged bridge or gate? No duck unders, but a swing bridge will be made for around the room.

    my favorite aspects of model railroading are (list your top up-to 3 in order; 1, 2, 3)
    operation of a scenicked layout
    building structures
    building benchwork and laying track

    Attached Files:

  2. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

    Looks like you have a great space to do a layout. You have answered most of the questions too, but I would encourage you to try and narrow your focus a bit more. The UP has been in existance since the 1860s (give or take) and now spans the US. So you need to try and be more precise with your era (within a few decades) and also pick a location (or several) to incorporate into the layout.

    This will help you to pick the industries for switching, and also the terrain you will want to model.

    Also, you have noted that you need to fit your desk and storage/shelves in the room. Will you be operating with anyone - i.e. how many people have to fit in the room at once?

  3. Triplex

    Triplex Active Member

    Need to think in feet and inches... that's 9'8" x 9'8".
    Without a time period, I don't know if those are 36' wood boxcars, 89' autoracks, or anything in between.
    That suggests you're not modelling one of their major lines in the late steam, transition, or intermediate-diesel time periods. Those curves are too small for Challengers, U50s, and other typically-huge UP power.
  4. Evan

    Evan Member

    Triplex: sorry, I had a brain-blank when trying to remember how many inches in a foot. I knew in my mind it was somewhere between 10 and 16, but shoot, I couldn't narrow it down. :)

    No major UP line is going to be modelled. I don't know enough about the UP lines to actually model any specific place. Will have to do more research on places, once trackplan decided upon. Very freelanced.

    MasonJar: It's going to be hard to pick a time period closer than 1940's to 1990's. The reasons are many, some of which include: my wife LOVES to see steamers going round. (2-8-0's etc). I like to see the medium to large diesels - GP40's, SD60M's etc. I also like 40' icereefers. I can't really list the industries I want to model, as like I said above, not enough know about them. What I can list is what I don't want: no logging, no intermodal, no docks.

    The most that will ever be in the room is 2, and even then only me operating (wife might sit at the desk with laptop and read e-mails).
  5. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

    Well, 1940s to 1990s is better than 1860 to 2006...! ;)

    One solution to your problem might be to choose something like 1950 to 1970, which would allow for the transition era, and also avoid intermodal. Most logging roads are gone by then as well. If you avoid the west coast/Mississippi River/Gulf coast, then docks will not be a problem.

    The 1950s would still have had some ice reefers (I think) full of California produce racing east across the country. If you move up into the 1980s, they'd have gone to trucks and/or mechanical reefers. In the 1980s you could run steam as excursion...

    I think that you'd have to do a bit more research to find out when the UP ran the engines you like. You have already narrowed your focus a bit with the liking for reefers - that means ice makers, icing platforms, produce dealers, etc. What other industries might you like? You can (as you've seen) even base it on what cars you like to see run.

  6. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

    Forgot to add this to the previous post...

    Here is an approximation (not to scale) of round-the-walls benchwork. I put your desk under the window, which is crossed by a bridge (or even just a narrow section of benchwork) in order not to block the light.

    A really nice round-the-walls layout that I have visited on several occasions is Mike Hamer's Boston & Maine: Hamer/Hamer.htm

    His room is a little larger than yours, but you get an idea of what can be done. He employs a duckunder instead of a swing/lift gate, but you might get some ideas from his pictures.

    You can put some storage or extra work space under the layout. If you put it at 48" high or higher, you should have plenty of space above the desk.


    Attached Files:

  7. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    Evan: since you list structures as one of your interests, you could consider a convertible layout. Build structures in pairs, one for steam era and one for modern. A lot would be the same structure, but showing more wear and tear or modifications; others you could have an old building and a modern replacement.
    Consider having 2 eras on opposite sides of the room. Then you don't have to worry about obsolete signals and things.
    Of course, this may not bother you at all.
    I would suggest increasing your mainline radius. On the outside of the room, it won't take up much extra space and it gives you more possibilities. UP liked big locos. (What do you get if you cross King Kong and the Goodyear blimp? I don't know, but paint it yellow and UP will buy a dozen.)
    Think about having turnback loops at the door instead of a duckunder. You could also put a loop at the bottom of the right hand wall and run a branch under the windows.
    August Model Railroader has a tip about removable sections.
  8. baldwinjl

    baldwinjl Member

    One place to look for ideas for a space that size is Iain Rice "Midsize and Managable Track Plans". I found that there was more emphasis on HO than N, but then again, a plan for HO can be a plan for N with very little modification, and seem to be a lot bigger (rather than scaling it down). I have a personal bias against liftouts, but the swinging section I might be able to live with. OR think about this:
  9. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    If you can put a window in the door, you could increase space by putting the swing bridge right up against the door. If the swing is 180* so that when the bridge is open it is tight against the benchwork on one side of the door or the other, you would need to opwn the bridge before opening the door. I'm thinking that a window would allow your wife to look in when you are operating, so that she wouldn't get impatient while you had your train clear the bridge before openning the door. If you model early to mid 50's, you could make your newest power sd7's or 9's, and it would handle the tighter radius your plan requires.
  10. Triplex

    Triplex Active Member

    In the early-to-mid 50s, you'll have an about even mix of steam and diesel. UP's number of diesels only exceeded their number of steam engines in 1954. has information on UP's roster over time, so you can learn when the engines you like were in service. The focus is definitely on diesels.
  11. Evan

    Evan Member

    A potential trackplan

    Hi all,

    Did some doodling, and have come up with this option so far.

    Squares are 12" in size.
    Overall view shown.

    Comments / suggestions?

    Attached Files:

  12. Evan

    Evan Member

    Top level

    The top level

    Attached Files:

  13. Evan

    Evan Member

    Bottom level

    Attached Files:

  14. wickman

    wickman Member

    That looks interesting enuff Evan although your robbing yourself of scenery possibilties around the backs unless the rear rails will be in front of hills elevated . Are you thinking of having some tracks elevating like up an incline with bridges across gorges or rivers?I think your making the right decision with around the wall :thumb:
  15. Evan

    Evan Member

    Final plan


    After much scribbling, loads of paper / questions / comments / books being read, I got to a final trackplan. One of the chaps at our club drew it, and I am proud to present it here. :)

    The room preperation starts on Monday (buying supplies this weekend).

    The plan is attached. I haven't decided yet on the placing of rivers / mountains / city etc etc yet. That comes this weekend.

    Any comments / suggestions welcome as always.

    Attached Files:

  16. shortliner

    shortliner Member

    Evan - take a look here - you may be able to adjust to fit Sorry I came to this late
    Shortliner(Jack) away up here in the Highlands
  17. Triplex

    Triplex Active Member

    I like the new plan. It shows something about the effect of a side entry. With turnback curves, a once-around plan goes twice through the scene. With the gate, it takes a twice-around to go twice through the scene. A good double-ended yard, but I have one concern. The total car capacity of the yard exceeds that of all other sidings and spurs on the layout. This is far from ideal for way-freight operation; it suggests that most switching is done at the main yard. If that's what you want, then this plan is good.

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