Would Love Comments on This Design

Discussion in 'HO Scale Model Trains' started by bearman, Feb 12, 2007.

  1. pgandw

    pgandw Active Member

    Island layouts are difficult to design well. This is especially true where the space is almost square. Real railroad scenes tend to be very long and narrow.

    I have found that island layouts work much better if you have a main island with an extension of some kind.

    In your case, I would recommend a 4x8 with the back 4ft end placed up against the wall.

    Then a 1ft x 8ft shelf or extension that runs parallel to the 8ft side of the 4x8. This shelf, because of its limited depth, can be placed against the wall, too. Leave a 24-30" aisle between the 4x8 and the 1x8 shelf.

    At the back, against the wall, put in an 18" deep shelf across the end of the aisle to link the 2 sections. The result is a U shape, with one leg 4ft wide for continuous running, and the other much narrower leg has industries or a small yard.

    Depending on space available, the 4x8 can be made into a 5x8 (or any reasonable length), and the width of the 1x8 shelf could be increased easily to 2x8. The important thing is to leave a 24" (30" preferred) aisle on both 8ft sides of the 4x8 or 5x8.

    Tonight, I'll draw a sketch of what I am saying.

    Operationally, the 4x8 with extension offers a lot better options than a single 7x8. The 4x8 contains a loop for continuous running. With a small yard or terminal on both the 4x8 and the 1x8, you also have the option for point to point operations, or a branch line run, or staging.

    My final suggestion is to ditch the True Track. You can actually separate the True Track from the roadbed and use it as Snap Track. The combinations and geometry of the True Track are very limited, and it forces parallel tracks and passing tracks to be awkward in use and spacing.

    Flexible track with Custom-Line and/or Snap turnouts offers a lot more flexibility in track planning, but is a little bit more difficult to lay for bullet-proof operation. Snap Track is not as limited as True Track in possible combinations, and with Custom-Line and/or Snap turnouts, offers a reasonable middle ground. If you are willing to substitute flex track for the straight Snap Track and small fitter pieces, and cut back the ends of your turnouts when it will make your track plan better, you will be able to fit a much better plan in your limited space.

    just my thoughts, your choices
  2. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    I think your problem is wanting more railroad than you have space for. Before you draw a track plan, think about what you are going to do with it and what each piece of track will accomplish. The track plan you have drawn has a lot of switches, which will add to the cost considerably, but most of the sidings are one car long with no room in between for any sort of industry. If you build that layout, I think you will create access problems if you need to rerail something in the middle; and it won't be very satisfying to look at or operate.
  3. 91rioja

    91rioja Member

    Ditto to what Russ said. You should have seen my original thoughts of what I wanted in my railroad. Too much stuff and no room for it. It took me over a year to get that concept through my thick skull; once I did, it only took a weekend of track planning to come up with a plan.

    Try to narrow it down to one or two choice items to model and see what room you have left over to add the other items. Since it is all on just paper now, you have time to plan and fiddle with configurations before building something that may or may not work for you.

    My thoughts.
  4. bearman

    bearman Member

    I've been doing some more fiddling and think that Fred may be onto something in terms of ditching the isalnd concept and I think it may work in my available space. I do know that I want a yard, and the minimum ability to have a continuous run with one train while switching another. Having typed all this, I am definitely trying to avoid the mistakes that I made the first time around which was limited runaround capability and lack of a yard. "Less is more" appears to be the credo of the day.
  5. 91rioja

    91rioja Member

    Bearman, can you provide us with a drawing of the available space for your layout? Having a drawing that notes room size and location of all obstacles in your way (doors, windows, pipes, wife's collection of non-train items) could be of benefit to us in helping you on your quest.
  6. shortliner

    shortliner Member

    Bearman - a couple of places that may be worth a look for ideas - both a little bigger than your space but possibly adaptable - the Heart of Georgia (HOG RR ) has a Yahoo support group too


  7. bearman

    bearman Member

    This is not a quest, it is turning into a saga. Here is the maximum available room. The bottom of the window on the west wall is 3' from the floor. In acse the dimensions cannot be easily read, the north wall is 12' long, the west/window wall is 10'6" long, and the south wall is 9' long ending at the door. There are no other obstructions. The room is bigger, but this is the space which I have recently been able to expand to although negotiation of the expansion has come at some cost. I am sure that you can read between the lines.

    Attached Files:

  8. 91rioja

    91rioja Member

    Bearman, I hope you have gotten your "land manager" a killer Valentines Day gift this year:D . Trust me, I know what the cost of negotiation is; I lost half of the garage when I gained rights to the junk room. . .
  9. bearman

    bearman Member

    Chris, a killer Valentine's Day gift would have been a BIG win, for me, in my opinion. Part of my professional life involves negotiation, and when the other side has intimate knowledge of your needs and wants, then you are in BIG trouble.
  10. pgandw

    pgandw Active Member


    If you build right to the 12ft line on the east side, will you have access from the east via the door?

    In other words, does the 12ft space have to include your east side aisle, or can you encroach further to the east for an aisle to access a portion of the layout up against the 12ft line? I assume in either case the north/south aisle along the east end is gotten into from the door on the south wall.

    I'll be posting some ideas in the morning. Obviously, not having to use part of the 12ft for an east side aisle would make things more spacious, but as you said in other words, "A man has got to know his limitations."
  11. bearman

    bearman Member

    Fred, you are correct, access to any aisle along the east side has to be via the door If I understand the rest of your question, any east side aisle would have to be within the 12 ft limit. The easement to this piece of land is rather unforgiving with respect to ANY encroachment that can be considered RR-related, and surveyors will be employed if necessary to enforcement the easement's terms and conditions.
  12. pgandw

    pgandw Active Member


    Here's my suggestion. After thinking it through, i realized that if the narrow section is placed to the east, not having outside access through the imaginary (and impenetrable) wall is not an issue.

    The advantages of this type of layout are that the extension adds a lot of operation to the main rectangle, it's reasonably movable, it will fit in other rooms of similar but not quite the same size with little rebuilding, it preserves access to doorways and windows, and there are no duckunders. This type of layout lends itself well to a continuous run on the main rectangle, with a branch or small point-to-point from the main rectangle to the extension. Finally, a phased approach of buiding the main rectangle first, and adding the other sections later is quite practical.

    The disadvantages compared to an around-the-walls scheme are smaller minimum radius and train length, and less efficient use of the space.

    View attachment 35080

    You might want to round the protruding 90 degree corners on the south end off slightly. They can be a nasty poke in the side.

    The track plan is simply one of my ideas, based on my home layout plan. Uses 22" radius curves, and the west side is supposed to be a harbor scene. I scaled a 4x6 plan up to 5x8. You can easily substitute your own track plan. The point of the sketch is to show you how might use the space.

    my thoughts, your choices

    Attached Files:

  13. bearman

    bearman Member

    Thanks very much, Fred. I am considering using it and adding an additional spur on the east extension. What I really like about it is that it lends itself to desert/high country scenery, notwithstanding your harbor scene, w/low land desert on the west transitioning to a high land plateau on the east, not unlike Arizona.
  14. Squidbait

    Squidbait Recovering ALCO-holic


    You said that a curved turnout wasn't possible with "the type of track I'm using".

    What track are you using? Please tell me you're not planning on doing all this with EZ track or something?
  15. Squidbait

    Squidbait Recovering ALCO-holic


    I'm still confused. This is the space you're allowed, but I get the impression the room is much larger. Where are the "hard" boundaries (walls), and where does your space fit into it? Walking around the layout wouldn't be considered "encroachment" into non-negotiated territory, would it?
  16. bearman

    bearman Member

    Squidbait, the room is larger and there might as well be a wall on the east.

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