Seeking track plan advice

Discussion in 'Freelance' started by Bruce Adams, Mar 18, 2016.

  1. gstout

    gstout Member Supporter

    18" radius is going to pretty well limit you to 40' cars and four-axle diesels or short (say 2-8-0) steam power. The biggest improvement in your version 2 is that you appear to have eliminated reverse loops, which are not as tricky to wire as the used to be, but still a bit of a hassle. Good luck with this.

  2. trainchaser007

    trainchaser007 Passed away September 22, 2017

    I have to agree with GS. Curve radius is a major concern if you plan on using long equipment. You already have the room for 22" radius everywhere except at the left end... but you already know that. Even with larger benchwork, I can't figure out how to eliminate "reach" issues and still make the necessary turns with 22" radius track unless you acquire another "land grant" and come out into the middle of the floor with a G-shaped benchwork. I get that you may be having to plan your layout around your furniture. However, if the Supt. will allow it, I think you would be happier if you could plan your layout, then plan your furniture around your layout. That may not be possible at all. Luckily my Supt. banished my layout space to a storage room that she cares nothing about. In other words, I can do whatever I want out there. I call it my train room. She calls it my "man cave." If you can't plan your furniture around your layout, don't sweat it. 18" radius curves won't kill your layout as long as you don't want to run 6-axle diesels and 4-8-2 steamers.
    If I was going to use the dog bone without acquiring more "land," I would use 18" radius curves. While that limits what you can run, it certainly helps with "reach issues." To further maximize the amount of loop track, I moved the loop along the wall to the top side of the yard. I took out one yard track to leave the necessary space for turnout switches. In the 2nd tweak below, I have a few thoughts:
    1. The green line is the edge of your benchwork in post #5. Right away, the dog bone (18"r) requires more surface area on the left end of the loop.
    2. The red polygons are "lots" for industries or anything else you want to do.
    3. The blue polygons are areas where I think reach will be an issue for you. I prefer a reach of 2 feet (comfortable arms length) and I'm 6'0".
    4. If you could eliminate the benchwork in the yellow polygons, I think most of your reach issues would be resolved. You would only lose one industrial site and part of another one.
    By having your yard in the foreground, you could do all the switching you want while allowing a train on the loop to do it's thing in the background. I gave you as much lead track beyond the yard as possible for switchers to operate on both ends of the yard without blocking the main. However, with the main up against the wall, the upper-right industrial spur would have to be serviced from the main... that is, unless you shorten the main to move the right end of the dog bone over to the left enough to wrap that lead track all the way around the end of the dog bone to reach that far right site. I also included industrial spurs off of each end of the last yard track for small, narrow industrial sites. If you wanted to, you could easily put turnouts in the main to have spurs branch out into the industrial sites inside each end of the dog bone. Personally, I think fewer turnouts in the loop adds to smoothness of loop operation. Before you build a dog bone, you many want to ask others if they think your trains will "string-line." If my trains are too long, they "string-line." I intend to try a DPU to see if that helps.
    Layout 02.GIF
  3. TAG1014

    TAG1014 Supporter Supporter

    This would be a real nice plan for N scale! Curve radii are a more believable fit for longer cars and probably large steam engines.

    Tom G.
  4. trainchaser007

    trainchaser007 Passed away September 22, 2017

    I have an idea that would allow you to recycle your existing benchwork AND use 22" radius curves with #6 turnouts, but I need to know where your door is and which way it swings.
  5. Joe Lovett

    Joe Lovett Member

    Bruce, I emailed the layout drawings that I did for you today, please let me know what you would like to change and the industries you would like to be represented so I can make those a reality. I've added more track to the layout drawing since I emailed them to you. I will email you the results after you provide more information.

  6. Bruce Adams

    Bruce Adams Member

    Hi, Brandon.
    If you look at my image posted above on Friday at 6:11 p.m., you can see the open area on the lower-left that is the entry to the space.
    I hope that makes sense!
    Joe Lovett likes this.
  7. trainchaser007

    trainchaser007 Passed away September 22, 2017

    This is the only way I could think of for you to recycle your modules and use 22" radius curves for longer equipment. As much as I would love to see your layout extend around the right wall to take an upside-down U-shape, I am sticking with the space and recycled modules you described unless you figure out something else to make more room. If you could take three 4x8 panels (3/4" plywood?) and cut them as I have shown, you could position your modules (black) as shown, and screw down the panel pieces (red) to the top of the modules to give you enough surface area to use 22" radius curves. You would probably want to bracket the overhangs together underneath for vertical alignment. In this plan, all curves are 22" radius and all turnouts are #6. I think you could reach any spot on the layout but it might be a stretch between where I have the numbers 1 & 2 and again behind the number 5. My main concern are the S-curves at 2 and between 4 & 6. I think long (heavy) trains (12+ cars) could tip over toward the insides of the curves. DPU's might help with that but I haven't tried (yet). This plan would leave you an extra 36" x 18" module and an extra 24" x 12" piece of plywood. You could use them to take that upper right yard on toward the corner if you can move your filing cabinets. There may even be enough room for an 8 ft.-long run-around track between the numbers 3 & 4 near the edge of the layout. If you can't do this or don't want to do this, my advice is a dog bone with 18" radius curves running shorter equipment. A lot of people do switching only and don't have a running track, but I could never be happy without a running track of some kind... and the longer the better. If you get another "land grant" from the Superintendent and want me to draw up something else, let me know.

    Layout 04.GIF
    Last edited: Mar 23, 2016
  8. William Jackson

    William Jackson Bill Jackson

    125 scale feet between spirals, is what the railroad uses
  9. trainchaser007

    trainchaser007 Passed away September 22, 2017

    If that means railroads put a minimum of 125 feet of straight track in between the curves in an S-curve, that's 17.24" of HO track... basically two 9" straights.
    I tweaked the plan again, this time with two 9" straights in the middle of S-curves. Hopefully that will eliminate some problems. I highlighted the industrial sites in green, and the light blue is an area where I thought a small stream under 9" bridges could go. There is enough lead track beyond the yard on both ends for switchers to operate without blocking the main. There was also room for a run-around track on the inside edge of the layout. There are a couple of industrial spurs off of the yard near the "3" and the "6." If you didn't want a turntable and roundhouse, that site could serve another industry. Every curve is still 22" radius and every turnout is a #6.
    Layout 05.GIF Also, I included a turntable and tracks for a round house.
    Last edited: Mar 24, 2016
  10. William Jackson

    William Jackson Bill Jackson

    Nice job, some of it will be used in my new pike. The 125 feet is so the longer cars can straighten out before it enters another curve. It could be shortened a little if you only wanted to run 40 foot cars.
    trainchaser007 likes this.
  11. Bruce Adams

    Bruce Adams Member

    Great stuff! I plan to "tape out" these ideas on the basement floor this weekend and see how things fit. If I can steal some additional square footage, I'll be sure to let the thread hear about it. Thanks, Brandon!

    I would love to have a turntable and roundhouse - they're just a cool accessory and scene. I was looking on eBay and *almost* bid on the Walthers 90', but then I read lots of criticisms of how they work. Does anyone on the thread currently have a turntable? What brand, and how's the functionality?
    Joe Lovett likes this.
  12. trainchaser007

    trainchaser007 Passed away September 22, 2017

    I just thought of another way to cut the panels for the #6 & #7 pieces. I outlined them in blue. I like this better. This particular tweak would be easier for me to cut with a circular saw. Some big box stores will rip the plywood for you if you don't have access to a panel saw. (I usually rip mine myself with my circular saw and a chalk line.) Get two panels ripped long ways and the other ripped in half from side to side. You could do the rest with a circular saw or even a jig saw. Cut and screw scrap pieces under the overhang along the seams to make sure the panel pieces align vertically at the seams. Layout 05.GIF
  13. William Jackson

    William Jackson Bill Jackson

    I had a good friend in Florida you might email, he had a turntable that worked great, It would move back and forth until it centered and stop. It was DCC though. See if you can find Hal Greenlee, he was a electrical engineer at NASA. He is a NMRA member and will help you on email. He is on the Soundtrax site also.
  14. Bruce Adams

    Bruce Adams Member

    Several days and many revisions later, here's where things are at the moment!

    It isn't final, but it's come a long way. I've gained square footage in two areas, and lost some in another.

    Thanks for all the suggestions so far - please, keep them coming! - Thanks especially to Joe and Brandon for their drawings and the back-and-forth.

    I'm posting several "views" of the plan, each highlighting a different aspect. The two biggest concerns I have are 1) functionality of the yard ... especially in light of engine run-around and pull/drill tracks for classifying cars; and 2) have I created a ridiculous wiring mess with that reversing loop that runs so far and has so many switches?

    Other concerns, though not as big are 1) are sidings and stubs in smart places; 2) do I have any "dangerous" S-curves; 3) though the software is set to not go below 18" curves, I really want to stay at 22" or greater; 3) is there just "too darned much track," leaving no room for industries, structures, and even a bit of town?

    v10 continuous main line.png v10 sidings.png v10 sidings.png v10 track capacity.png v10 reversing.png

    Last edited: Mar 27, 2016
    Joe Lovett likes this.
  15. William Jackson

    William Jackson Bill Jackson

    Just a thought, if you have a area under or from another room or closet. You could climb and enter the layout through a tunnel. That would let you switch the train in the yard and build a train to return to your staging yard. You could have power on both ends and Run them. I am giving consideration to a staging area on my layout. I had a great tunnel, but it didn't go nowhere it was just scenic. Just a thought.
  16. Bruce Adams

    Bruce Adams Member

    Bill, thanks for your thoughts. I would like to have a tunnel, but probably just a short one and decorative at that.
    My idea (today) is to have it on the front edges, on the far-right-hand loop of the dogbone. (LOL Autocorrect keeps making it "doggone.") Anyway, that would give me space to have a "town" on a "plateau." Also, I'd like to have a trestle or two. My first layout had one, but there was never a good place for a water feature on layout 2.
  17. yardmaster

    yardmaster Administrator Staff Member Administrator Supporter

    Bruce, if I can again point to a prototype locale as inspiration, the Frisco's River Division lines always seemed to have a small trestle here or there that would cross one of the narrow but numerous drainage ditches across the Missouri Bootheel. A nice advantage of these is that they were usually small, so in modeling terms, they'd neither require significant space, nor would they take long to scratchbuild.

    The nature of the topography also makes it so that one doesn't have to spend much time constructing hillsides covered with trees. Grain elevators, cotton gins and old-style municipal water towers were the closest things to vertical geologic features.
    Alas, no tunnels.

    Best Regards,
  18. Bruce Adams

    Bruce Adams Member

    Chris, I think that's a good suggestion. Using a picture of a real location will automatically add authenticity, and give the best sort of pattern and look to follow.
  19. Bruce Adams

    Bruce Adams Member

    Okay, here's a cleaner (?), saner (?) plan.
    • No more reversing loop.
    • Fewer turnout off the mainline. Long passing siding (18 50' cars) along the back wall.
    • More space and sidings (or possible additions) for industries.
    • Space for scenery!
    • Pretty good leads / drill tracks for the yard. Double-ended yard, though the tracks get shorter quickly. (The short ones can be caboose tracks or switcher pockets?).
    • I still like the idea of a turntable and roundhouse. But have cut off access to the engine terminal from the yard? (Is it good or prototypical to access the roundhouse from the main?)
    • Longest yard track could also be used as a passing track.
    • 19-degree diamond crossing allows stub tracks in the empty spaces created by the shorter yard tracks.
    • Screen Shot 2016-03-28 at 10.31.54 PM.png
    William Jackson and Joe Lovett like this.

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