Yard Switching?

Discussion in 'HO Scale Model Trains' started by 13Mtrainer, Dec 2, 2005.

  1. 13Mtrainer

    13Mtrainer Member

    hello to everyone hope you all had a nice Thanksgiving.:) ,

    sorry i have not been on for a while i have been pretty busy and have been out of town. Well heres my question for those who are brave enough to answer. I am building my new yard now and was wondering how you can make it into a highly technical switching part of the layout :confused: so i can max out my layout since it is kinda small. i have no idea what i am doing :confused: there so i will leave it to the pro's.:D thanks everyone!:wave:
  2. brakie

    brakie Active Member

    It would help to know what size of layout you have..A track plan would help if possible..
  3. 13Mtrainer

    13Mtrainer Member

    sorry forgot that ok i am in HO scale I have a 8' x 8' layout and the yard is on the left side that is 2' wide. sorry but i have no track plans or pictures i could show but could i see how any of you use switching on your yard?
  4. Yard Goat

    Yard Goat New Member

    Yard design rules

    One of the best available online resources for track planning is the Layout Design Primer by the NMRA's Layout Design SIG. The section on yard design has some good general rules.


    I'd say rules number 1, 2 and 3 are the most important for a small yard.

    Consider this example:


    With a separate switching lead as long as your longest yard track, you can keep a switcher working in the yard, making up or breaking up trains, while another train keeps rolling on the mainline uninterrupted. Having the first yard track double-ended means you don't have to back a train into the yard, but on a small layout like yours, I'd leave the other yard tracks single-ended for maximum capacity.


    Attached Files:

  5. brakie

    brakie Active Member

    Here is what I would do on a 8x8 foot layout.You be the judge if this works for you or not.
    I design a yard at least 6.5 foot with yard lead,7 yard tracks and one inbound/outbound track.Also included would be a engine service area with engine house,out bound ready and holding track.
  6. Yard Goat

    Yard Goat New Member

    Too much track?

    That seems like an awful lot of track for a relatively small space, Brakie. A 6.5 foot yard in an 8x8 layout would have to have a curved ladder since there's only 18" left to accommodate curves otherwise. And why 7 yard tracks + 1 arrival/departure? With the length of the ladder that would require, the last couple of tracks would be awfully short. Also, if the original poster only has a few locomotives, having a separate engine ready track may also be overkill.

    I'd say keep the arrival/departure track, which may also double as a passing siding, and have no more than three additional single-ended tracks for sorting and storing cars. Maybe one short single-ended caboose track if cabooses are used, one engine service/storage track and one car repair track. Even that much track is going to eat up a lot of space.

    This conversation should probably move over to the Track Planning forum.

  7. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    13M: Do you want a yard that's easy to operate or a time consumer/time waster challenge? (Like golf: do you want mini-putt, par-3 or the Augusta national?) How much trackwork do you feel like building or do you want commercial?
    In 8 feet, you probably should look at a compound ladder (track splits in two, then each of those splits then split again) which would take 27" to 36" of space just for turnouts! A ladder for 8 tracks would take probably 63" (7 times 9"), leaving room for one caboose on the last track.
    Think about having a switch or two going the other way for locos or cabooses.
  8. Yard Goat

    Yard Goat New Member

    I'd suggest a pinwheel ladder, actually. And we still don't know enough about the original poster's layout. Is it a shelf layout going around the walls or an Island (8x8 feet is a pretty huge island). What minimum radius do his locomotives and cars require? What era is he modelling, and thus, how long are his locomotives and cars and how many of each does he have.

    I've said it before and I'll say it again: too many people start drawing up track plans before they've answered all the important pre-design questions.

    And this thread still belongs over in the track planning forum.

  9. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery


    You started this thread, so I will move it to the Track Planning forum if you wish - it is your decision.

  10. brakie

    brakie Active Member

    Andrew,Not really..A 7 track yard would be the very least I would even consider on a layout of that size.A 8x8 foot layout is not a small layout..Here is the Jackson yard on my a building Jackson industrial district.


    My layout Will be a foot wide and around the walls.This yard was a tad to small for what I need but,still at the bare minimum.. :eek:

    As far as engine service area..Every modeler adds engines!!! :D
  11. green_elite_cab

    green_elite_cab Keep It Moving!

    yards are a big deal in model railroading. i've printed this out about a year ago, and i find it nearly impossible to fit a yard that meets those specifications and has any real capacity in a 4x8. our freind here has a 8x8, but yards still take up loads of space. then again, there isn't anything you can really do about it, so you can't really complain.
  12. brakie

    brakie Active Member

    IF this is a layout made by joining 2 4x8s then we are talking about 64 square feet and that is a lot of railroad space IF its use wisely.
    Every yard must be plan wisely and have enough capacity for cars.IMHO a small yard is more of a hindrance if one is into operation.The biggest PROBLEM is getting modelers to THINK OUTSIDE OF THE BOX of track planing while designing their layouts after all when our layouts are finish and its time for operation it becomes something we must live with. :D

    Guys,Please note how this yard fits this layout by being well planned and note its a 4 track yard....

  13. wjstix

    wjstix Member

    You might want to pick up the Kalmbach book on Yards, it's a good primer of all things yard-wise.
  14. Ralph

    Ralph Remember...it's for fun!

    That's the reason I recently started turning a small yard on my layout into a loco servicing area. It wasn't working well operationally with strings of freight cars.

    Brakie, that's a nice photo example of a workable yard on a small layout.

  15. brakie

    brakie Active Member

    Ralph,What I like about that yard it seems to "float" into the scheme of the layout and compliments the layouts overall appearance... :thumb:
  16. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

    Gateway NMRA does have the 4x8 design down to a science. I much prefer their plans to Thor's or Atlas'.

    In the picture that brakie linked, would that make the curve in the foreground 18" radius or less? That might be too tight for some... but such are the limits of the 4x8.

  17. brakie

    brakie Active Member

    Andrew..Don't bet the farm on those 4x8's..You will lose..Those are 4x6s or 4x7s. :eek: :D I think the one I posted a pix of is a 4x8.
    Those are 18" curves..By rearranging the track work one could use 22" which should handle most 6 axle unit except maybe the SD90MACs.

    Just because a layout is 4x8 isn't any sign that one is force to use 18" curves..You see a 22" curve will work as well and will allow you to use those 6 axle units.The thing to remember while designing a small 4x6 or 4x8 layout is to UNDERSTAND what can be done..This comes from thinking outside of the box of (if I may) the Lionel mentality of 4x6 and 4x8 layout design as well as using the space wisely instead of the unneeded mountains,unrealistic grades and copying some layout seen in magazines or books...Once one climbs above those self imposed obstacles then one can plan a great 4x6 or 4x8 layout and have room for those 22" curves that I mention...Also a 18" curve isn't evil..What makes them evil is trying to run long wheel base engines and cars on curves that they was never intended to run on..
  18. green_elite_cab

    green_elite_cab Keep It Moving!

    or when the overhang is to far, which is the main problem with 18" curves. I have an Spectrum E-33, and it yanks off longer cars. ironicly somehow it will coupler with a 40' boxcar i have and stay on track. it works out in the end because i have tank cars in the front of the train anyway, and in real life they use extra cars as a sheild against dangerous cars.
  19. 13Mtrainer

    13Mtrainer Member

    sorry for not posting not enough time on my hands right now but i dont know what would be better if i put this thread in the track planning or keep it here?
  20. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery


    It is your decision. I think that you are getting some good information here, so I wouldn't move it unless you think the response in Track Planning would be better...

    My $0.02


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