What to shoot for in a layout design?

Discussion in 'Track Planning' started by ddavidv, Oct 27, 2003.

  1. ddavidv

    ddavidv Member

    Ok, got the photos posted. Since the images are kinda big I'll just direct you to the site where all 3 are:
    My hopeless attempts at trackplans
    #1 is where I am now.
    #2 is one I took from a magazine for an HO 4x8. It looks like a mirror image, but it's not. It would work well with a division panel but without the spurs are crowding the center too much (methinks).
    #3 is the folded dog bone I tried. I don't like it right at the edges of the table, nor do I like how the scenery would probably look. And, there isn't much useful room in the center for structures, IMHO.
    Critique away! :wave:
  2. pennsysdaddy

    pennsysdaddy New Member

    Hey bud, I kind of like version #2. It's simple, workable, and room to change your mind later...and believe me, you will.
    Some years back, I had built a simple 4 X 8 on a 1/2" piece of ply, just as a test layout. I needed a place to check engines, coupler functions, etc. The thing has about 18 turnouts on it, a dozen Kadee magnets, and about 9 blocks. It's actually a complete layout, every switching move conceivable can be done on it. It was alot of fun to mess around on. It even hosted a few structures too, including a coal ramp. There was no scenery on it at all. It was built using left over brass track and and switches. I didn't buy a thing to build it. So, have fun with it. Come over and see my groups page all featuring layouts, using good photos. It's open membership too. It's at; http://groups.yahoo.com/group/modelrailroadsofna

    See you there, Pennsysdaddy:wave:
  3. re: Dogbone

    personally, I like the dogbone better. a lot of train running in there, and there is more room for scenery than you think. a whole DPM town could be on either side
    the 'bowl' look could be avoided by making that side a mountain, similar to my setup
  4. ddavidv

    ddavidv Member

    I ran some trains on #1 last night. There are 4 sidings right now (I could probably have one or two more but I'm out of turnouts), and my current roster of rolling stock will fill them nicely, still leaving the bypass track in the foreground to stage another train. The mock-up is not to grade or anything, but the siding in the back inside will likely be a coal/gravel dump. It will hold 3 full size hoppers. I can't extend it due to the bridge, and I'm loathe to move the bridge as it will screw up my gradient.
    The foreground sidings are intended for industry, still to be decided. I'm thinking a machine shop/light manufacturing. Maybe a food distributor (an excuse to buy neato reefers) and possibly a scrap yard. Under the bridges would probably be a paved road, or a creek, or both. I'd like to get some terrain change without resorting to huge mountains or tunnels.
    Part of the problem is deciding what to put in the open space. I'm having a tough time envisioning the size of N scale buildings since I haven't bought any yet. Some of them have sizes in the Walthers catalog so I'm cutting paper templates to get a feel for it.
    I don't want a city scene, and still feel #3 is too much. My biggest problem with #3 is the closest end, it's too close to the edge of the table and the bank required for the higher level would be ridiculously vertical. Perhaps if I converted the outside track to running in a tunnel? #3 also doesn't offer much in a place to stage a second train.
    #2 could still work, but I prefer the siding design in #1 better.
  5. Agatheron

    Agatheron Member

    ddavidv, is your layout going to be up against a wall, or will it have two sides to it? I've been struggling with the same with my layout in terms of space and the like, and I'm actually kind of taken with doing the door with the scenic divider up the middle. While doing so doesn't really give "staging tracks" per se, it is at least feasable to leave one train "dormant" on the portion of the layout that is on the far side while working one side, and then vice versa when moving to the other side.
  6. ddavidv

    ddavidv Member

    Reality dictates that it will be against the wall. The room it's going to be in isn't very big, and with the other furnishings in there pulling it out will be difficult and consume a lot of space.
    If I can get this one finished to a high standard and the spouse digs it, I'm hoping to replace or add to it later with a linear type layout around 2/3 of the room. ;)
  7. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    If you're planning to use it as an example for your wife, I think number 2 is best. I feel the digbone puts too much track into the area you have.
    John Allen used to have fun trying to put reasonable scenery onto track plans where there was too much track too close together on too many levels. Of course, on his own layout the most spectacular section was an eight foot high cliff with 5 or 6 parallel tracks, each crossing a river on a different type of bridge.
  8. Bama Red

    Bama Red New Member

    ddavidv -
    I am in pretty much the same predicament (N-scale and a 78" X 30" extension to my existing layout) and have pretty much wound up at the same place as you. I started with a track plan from Mike Fischer also:
    and Dave Salamon on the Atlas forum modified it for me:
    Now I'm test-fitting track and I will try to run some trains on it over the Holidays:
  9. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    You might consider a lesson from George Selios' Franklin & South Manchester. He uses skyscrapers in a big city to block views the way other modelers use mountains. If you are concerned about access to the staging tracks with the layout against the wall, put the layout on casters, so you can roll it out from the wall to gain access as needed. I would also put some masonite along the back to keep a derailed train from going to the floor when moving the layout.
  10. ddavidv

    ddavidv Member

    Update: I think I may finally have a trackplan I can live with. :thumb: Also got a digital camera for the holiday which I hope will make photo uploads simpler than using my job equipment. But, the computer must also go down temporarily for some upgrades. Will hope to post a picture by the end of the weekend. :cool:

  12. ddavidv

    ddavidv Member

    At long last!
    How to make an oval not look like an oval. :p
    The piers are temporary and are just to show the probable rise I'll build from foam. Yes, it's too steep and will have to be longer. Didn't have enough piers. :rolleyes:
    The line at the upper left that crosses under will be the connection to the rest of the world. I think it will be a tunnel going under the mainline and stay covered, except at the back for access (which will face the wall). This can be a connection to another layout later. :thumb:
    The branch at the 'forward' part of the table to your viewing right I haven't decided on...may be another route off the table, or could go to an engine shed, or ?? Suggestions welcomed.
    The line that goes through the center is shown with a siding. I've since ditched that idea and will probably put a spur off to the left (where the siding is now). Could even be 2 sidings or a small rail yard in front of the mountain that will support the mainline.
    Kind of hard to tell from the dark image, but there are two bridges that will likely go over a road, maybe with a small creek alongside.
    Critiques welcomed. Some of the track is close to the edge, I know. Will have some kind of preventative measure along the edge as it progresses. Hey, it's a carpeted room anyway. :D
  13. ddavidv

    ddavidv Member

  14. Looks like a couple of S-curves in there. One in the closest spur, the other as your mainline goes through a curve near two turnouts.

    Also, how does that branch line connect with everything else? it looks fully disconnected
  15. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    The one at the closest spur probably won't be a problem if speeds into the spur ar kept low. If you realign the two turnouts so that you can put a short section of straight track between them, you will eliminate that potential "S" curve.
  16. Tileguy

    Tileguy Member

    After reading through this completely,i think your choice is good for a first layout.
    One thing i would consider for sure is on the close radius in the picture.Use a piece of flextrack and a curved turnout to the left keeping the outside radius smooth.using a turnout on that curve in the manner sugested in the picture is tantamount to disaster. You may be able to do the same thing on the far radius and ease that S curve some.Solder your turnout to your flextrack before laying it.
    Have fun!!:)
  17. ddavidv

    ddavidv Member

    Thanks for the critiques so far. :)
    The S curve I know is a technical no-no, but in testing it has not been a problem with the longest train I can put together, so :confused: . I really like the visual look of the non-parallel lines through that side and want to stick some structures in the middle.
    Tileguy, are you talking about the turnout closest to the camera position? This particular turnout (physical, not location) is the one dud of the group that derails everything no matter where it is and needs some work. I may try replacing it to see if that is a problem. I can't come 'down' the incline and go either direction with that turnout as it always derails everything, but I can go the opposite direction.
    SS, not sure which branch line you are referring to :confused: .
  18. Branch

    its this section
    (see attached image)

    It semi-parallels the main,. but looks like 2 unconnected bits of track.

    what is it?
  19. forgot image

    heres the closeup

    Attached Files:

  20. ddavidv

    ddavidv Member

    Oh, that.
    That's a mockup because I didn't have any more turnouts. :rolleyes: The siding with the 2 missing turnouts has been scrapped. I'll instead put a siding in that goes to another industry. The missing turnout across from that siding goes to another industry.

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