Layout plans

Discussion in 'Freelance' started by Iantha_Branch, May 14, 2018.

  1. Iantha_Branch

    Iantha_Branch Member

    As I posted a couple days ago, I am relocating here soon and I will have the opportunity to build a larger layout. I will be able to reuse the modules I already have, as well as build some new ones. Unfortunately, I will have to pull up all of the existing track. With the way the layout is arranged now, it is a complete miss-match with the room I will have to work with. Its roughly 9.5 x 11.5. I have to leave space open to access a closet though, so that cuts me down to 9.5 x 10. If the room were a full 10x10, I could reuse my existing layout and just add on to it:mad:. Any way, I am struggling to come up with a new track plan to fit the space. The modules I will use a 2x4, one of them will have to be made 1.5x4 to fit in correctly, I'll post a picture of the floor plan below (Bold lines mark ends of modules). I like a good switching layout, with the option to run continuously since it is such a small space. I'm thinking about a lift out bridge to complete a loop if I want it to. I prefer 22" radius curves for main line, and #4 switches to save space. I'll post a couple track plans I have already drawn up, but I have a tendency to create "spaghetti bowls" in an attempt to pack in as much action as possible. If anyone can come up with ideas that would work with the space I have, I am all ears.
    Thanks in advance

    Attached Files:

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  2. gstout

    gstout Member Supporter

    Before you spend a lot of time thinking about a "track plan," perhaps you will want to think about first:

    1. Are you planning for operation, or do you simply want to run trains (either choice is valid).
    2. Do you have a clear idea of what you are trying to represent (a specific chunk of the prototype, say, the Iantha Branch?), or are you trying to fit the most railroad you can into the available space?
    3. For my own information, is the green area a no-man's land of some sort? I am gathering you are not able to use it for your layout.

    Last edited: May 14, 2018
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  3. Coonskin

    Coonskin Member

    That's a great start, there gs.


  4. Iantha_Branch

    Iantha_Branch Member

    Thanks for posting that list, I think it will help me clarify a little.
    1. I lean more toward operating as that is what adds more value to a layout for me. I would still like the option of being able to let a train run the loop via lift out bridge if I so chose to do. I tried some plans to attempt some sort of point to point type operation, but with the size and arrangement, I couldn't come up with any good plans.
    2. There is no prototype here. The Iantha Branch is my fictitious, anything goes operation that I gave a name to. Most of my stuff is late 70's Frisco,, but I have some other pieces for my enjoyment. So, I am just trying to fit in the best amount of action I can.
    3. The green square represents my recliner. I've gotta make this whole room my "man cave" where I can go to so my wife can study and not be disturbed. I plan on mounting a tv above the layout so I can have cable and my xbox available in there.
  5. gna

    gna Member Supporter

    What scale are you in? How long are the trains you want to run--8 car, 6 car? What industries do you want to have?
  6. Iantha_Branch

    Iantha_Branch Member

    I am in HO scale. I'm not set on a certain number of cars. What I have done in the past to run a local is I take as many cars as my industry tracks can hold, and swap them and pull the other set back to the yard. Obviously, I could run with less any time I chose to. My current industries I am trying to work in are a grain elevator, a cement plant, a feed mill and if I can find room a lumber yard. If I could find a way to add more industries I would. The more the merrier.
  7. Jim James

    Jim James Staff Member Staff Member

    I humbly suggest that you make at least one side of the layout a prototypical location. Look online or in books or whatever and find a place that interests you. Possibly an industry that has switching activity. Follow the prototype track plan as close as possible and build the appropriate structures. You’ll have the other 3/4ths of the layout for freelancing.
    Ozarktraveler likes this.
  8. Iantha_Branch

    Iantha_Branch Member

    Jim, I did consider this, and even drew up a few plans. I didn't have any luck getting something to fit though. I even tried laying out Iantha (which is a pretty simple area) and I couldn't make it fit still seem accurate. I may take another crack at it though. I also tried making up one of Lamar, and of Pittsburg KS with how the SKOL operates now.
    Another issue I have realized I will point out is in addition to making spaghetti bowls, I tend to make my industry tracks longer than maybe they should be. Most of the time my industries fit 3-4 cars, when maybe for a layout my size I should hold it back to 1-2. I tried to work with the idea of fixing that in plan 1 posted above.
    Ozarktraveler likes this.
  9. rjthomas909

    rjthomas909 Member Supporter


    Looks like a great project. I looked through a few of my books and have a couple of suggestions for inspiration

    1) Asphodel and Southern by Iain Rice. Appears in the "Compact Layout Design" book by Kalmbach Hobby. This plan's main loop is about 8' X 9' and I am sure you could adapt structures to a late 70s location and leave out the turntable. It has a similar removable section, and is mostly less than 2ft wide around the walls. I can loan you the book if you cannot find the plan online, or I could draw it up in AnyRail.

    2.) Ouachita & Ozark in in "101 Track Plans for Model Railroaders", also a Kalmbach book. This plan has a two-railroad theme and follows a ~1ft shelf around the walls. I think the main loop could be adapted, but the removable section would be wider. Again, I can loan you the book if you like.

    3.) Adapt the Heart of Georgia Track plan to your space, adding the removable segment:

    4.) There is a Frisco-themed plan at:

    That might meet Jim's recommendation. It shows two towns in Kansas, and you might shrink it by about a foot to fit. Might have to remove one industry.

    5.) The 9 X 13 Coloma Line that appeared in Model Railroader might be adapted to your space. You could cut out the WYE and save some length: to/track plan database/2012/07/the coloma line

    6.) Alagoma and Wolff Creek. A nice plan in the MRH forum, but might need to shrink a bit in length.

    Let me know if you would like to borrow any books or would like help drawing something up in AnyRail, as I have a licence and used for the Crawford and Cherokee plans.

    -Bob T.
  10. gna

    gna Member Supporter

    3-4 car spurs sound about right to me. 1-2 car seems a little short, especially for the '70s.

    The Heart of Georgia looks like a very good layout. Is that our own @friscobob on Trainboard?

    Byron Henderson has a website with some freedownloads and ideas. One looks very close to your space, though I would drop the turntable:

    He posts on the MR forums as Cuyama, and often critiques trackplans that people post.
  11. Iantha_Branch

    Iantha_Branch Member

    Thanks for posting those. Maybe a simple picture with your smart phone would be the easiest way to send those first two plans?
  12. rjthomas909

    rjthomas909 Member Supporter

    PM me your cell and I will send a copy.

    -Bob T.
  13. Iantha_Branch

    Iantha_Branch Member

    I will look at these more tomorrow night. I'm also liking that heart of Georgia plan.
  14. klrwhizkid

    klrwhizkid Administrator Staff Member Administrator Supporter

    Ethan, think about the layout height at Rick's; that would allow you to place the TV low, keeping cables out of view, allow you to place a narrow work table under the layout, and you may be able to convince yourself and your wife that access to the closet is still good with the layout height there. Think of more short industry spots with only one possibly larger.
    Take a look at this site: Keith Jordan is a friend and fellow modeler here in KC. His Patch will keep two operators busy for 2 hours. You could incorporate something similar and still have more room for staging switching trains.
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  15. Iantha_Branch

    Iantha_Branch Member

    I will have to keep that in mind Keith. Since I am reusing some modules I've already built, I may keep the height as is though. It works out about right with the TV.
    I worked on a couple ideas and here I what I came up with:
    I tried to recreate Iantha, MO as it was at it's peak minus the siding that ran behind the depot. On the south side of the Ash Grove main, there was a half mile siding with two grain elevators and a place that would occasionally load out barco rock. I managed to piece something together with a small yard at each end to sort cars. It just doesn't have a lot of appeal to me though. To be prototypical, I would need to move back to the 30's or 40's to be accurate. Not sure when everything was changed, but at some point all of that was taken out, and the current MFA fertilizer plant was put up.
    The second thing I looked at was the Heart of Georgia plan. I remade it to fit my space, and tweaked a couple things and I really like the end result. It gets me as much or more action as my other plans while being less crowded. Pictures below.

    Attached Files:

  16. klrwhizkid

    klrwhizkid Administrator Staff Member Administrator Supporter

    Ethan, spend a little time looking at The Patch. The more interesting the track arrangement, the more play value there is. Try to incorporate cross track moves and a run-around. I understand your desire to model what you describe, but it won't hold your interest as well for the long term.
  17. Iantha_Branch

    Iantha_Branch Member

    Keith, I had planned on looking more at the patch tonight and seeing what I could learn from it. I wanted to get those other two ideas down on paper before I started digging into the patch
  18. Joe Lovett

    Joe Lovett Member

  19. Iantha_Branch

    Iantha_Branch Member

    Joe, thanks for posting that. I'm not sure what if any scenery I will add in on this layout, but my existing modules have 2" foam should I choose to attempt something.

    I looked at the Patch track plan tonight and drew some inspirations from it. I think I like what I came up with. I plan on revising it later with a fresh set of eyes. There is a track coming off the left side that has room for something fairly long, but I'm not sure what to do with the space yet. As for operations, there are 6 industries, a small yard and locomotive facility, plus separate inbound and outbound tracks that could be used to make some entertaining op sessions.

    Attached Files:

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  20. klrwhizkid

    klrwhizkid Administrator Staff Member Administrator Supporter

    Ethan, that is much more interesting and offers some good switching scenarios. Shorten the lead on the industry spur to the upper left and you could curve that long track around and next to the left wall behind a view block with industry building flats (a staging track for a full train to arrive from and depart on). Don't be afraid to locate an industry flat against the fascia next to the aisle. I don't have a better picture, but the attached one has a building flat in the lower left of the picture that faces away from the aisle. The loading doors are open to the aisle so the crew can spot the cars more easily.

    Attached Files:

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