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First time HO gauge industrial layout advice

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First time HO gauge industrial layout advice
Posted by Andy110675 on Tuesday, October 31, 2017 1:32 PM

Hello everyone i am needing some advice on a layout im building.Curentlly i have built the bench work with a foam top that is shapped into a U shape.One side of the U measures 13ftx3ft the shorter bottom of the U measures 2ftx7ft and the opposite long section of the U measures around 18"x6ft.I dont have a clue which way to go with it as i have never built a train layout before.I  have purchased a walthers cement plant and a fuller rock crushing plant that i would like to incorperate into the plan,any advice for track switching and track sections would be greatlly appreciated.

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Posted by Steven Otte on Tuesday, October 31, 2017 3:14 PM

It sounds like most of your railroading is going to be done on the 3 x 13-foot side of the U. The 18" x 6' side won't be very useful as another town, since there won't be enough length for a lot of sidings. What I would do is use a low backdrop to separate the narrow side into two 9" wide halves. Use the back half, hidden behind the divider, for a 4-track staging yard to represent connections to the rest of the world. The front half, visible to operators standing in the middle of the U, can be a branch line, either with a few industries represented by backdrop flats, or a single larger industry (like a paper mill, auto plant, or steel mill) separated from the rest of your layout by a brief stretch of rural scenery to make it seem like a longer run.

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Posted by Andy110675 on Wednesday, November 01, 2017 1:22 AM

Hi Steven thank you for your reply.I have decided to place another section at the open ends of the U to join them together that way i would be able to have a continuous track leading back to the main board,does that sound practical to you Steven?

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Posted by Steven Otte on Wednesday, November 01, 2017 8:47 AM

It depends on the purpose of the layout. If you're building it because you like to watch trains go around and around in a circle, then yes, build that connection. But if you're expecting to operate it realistically, with trains traveling point-to-point to deliver cargos, that connection will create a shortcut you'll have to pretend isn't there to justify taking your trains the long way around.

Another consideration is, how tall is your layout? If you build this connection, will you be able to comfortably duck under it to get into the central operator's area? If so... how many more years will you be able to do so? If not... are you confident enough in your layout-building abilities to make this section a working lift-out or swinging gate?

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Posted by HO-Velo on Wednesday, November 01, 2017 11:21 PM

Hi Andy110675, 

Sounds like you've got a nice blank canvas to work with and in for loads of fun.  Steven's suggestion of partitioning the short leg of the U & incorporating a staging yard is a good one, so too the use of background flat structures.  Another good idea would be to take a good gander at John Armstrong's book, Track Planning for realistic operation, an invaluable aid to layout building imo.

I too am building a U shaped ISL & while sometimes missing the ability to have continuous running it is switching operations that are my cup of tea.  My layout's connection to the outside world is via a static carfloat.

Regards,  Peter

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Posted by Andy110675 on Thursday, November 02, 2017 4:40 AM

Thank you both for your input,i am confident in my building work as i am a coded welder and plater prior to moving into trains i have built numerous scratch build models including 7ft mega yacht,1/4 scale truck a fully functional 1/8th front loader and a 1/9th f-16 turbine but to name a few.The hatches are both removable Steve so that wont be an issue.My ideal layout would be industrial with no passenger trains and no stations fields or houses etc.My main problem is where to start with the track does it have to resemble a real life layout or is it possible to build from your imagination.I will take a photo and post it to give you a better idea

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Posted by Doughless on Thursday, November 02, 2017 7:57 AM

Andy110675

Hi Steven thank you for your reply.I have decided to place another section at the open ends of the U to join them together that way i would be able to have a continuous track leading back to the main board,does that sound practical to you Steven?

 

Hi Andy.  Welcome.  If you're going to have circular benchwork with a center pit for operating (aka donut), google Heart of Georgia HO scale layout.

You can also search for Big Island Rail and Tom Klimoskis Georgia Northeastern layouts in previous editions of MR and youtube.  These two are slitley bigger than your space and have a center penisula that you probably dont have room for, but the articles provide nice ideas.

These are all plans I'm familiar with that offer continuous running and switching.  Of course, you can add or delete switching spurs and industries to suit your needs.

Once something is designed by you and posted as a pic, we can offer more specific observations and suggestions.

Also, as Steve suggested, think about theme and what you want to model.  It sounds like you're interested in aggregate/cement.  You could build an entire cement complex in the space you have, if you wanted to devote the layout to one industry.  

edit:  A previous contributor to this forum, Steinjr, also built a small donut Industrial Switching Layout that is close to your space.  You might want to try and find his layout via typical search.

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Posted by Steven Otte on Thursday, November 02, 2017 8:36 AM

I would second HO-Velo's suggestion to lay your hands on a copy of John Armstrong's book. No volume is more valuable when it comes to designing a layout that operates like the real thing.

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Posted by richhotrain on Thursday, November 02, 2017 8:47 AM

Andy110675

Hi Steven thank you for your reply.I have decided to place another section at the open ends of the U to join them together that way i would be able to have a continuous track leading back to the main board,does that sound practical to you Steven? 

Steven Otte

It depends on the purpose of the layout. If you're building it because you like to watch trains go around and around in a circle, then yes, build that connection. But if you're expecting to operate it realistically, with trains traveling point-to-point to deliver cargos, that connection will create a shortcut you'll have to pretend isn't there to justify taking your trains the long way around.

The OP is looking to do something that is practical, not necessarily prototypical. I would suggest that the continuous run idea is practical. 

I always struggle with the notion of what is prototypical because it is not always easy to perform prototypical operations on a model railroad, especially one that is smaller than larger.

Space considerations and selective compression always seem to raise their ugly heads.

Rich

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Posted by dehusman on Thursday, November 02, 2017 9:22 AM

First thing the OP needs to decide if he wants a continuous run or actually wants an industrial switching line with pretty much all switching.  Makes a big difference in the design.  If the OP doesn't need a continuous run then the U shape is fine.

If he is going to build the benchwork before having a track plan, then he can actually design on the benchwork.  Buy a switch of the size he is going to use, one of either hand (left and right) and then photocopy them  Cut out the photocopies and use them to design the track plan right on the benchwork.

Pick the primary industry or industries he wants.  Then sketch out the way he wants the cars to flow.  Google the type on industry he wants to model, see what components the industries use.  Before everybody gets all bent out of shape about me forcing him to be prototypical (I'm not), researching an industry helps improve the variety of cars.  What inputs does a cement plant use?  What outputs does it have?  He would need limestone to make the cement, probably fly ash as an additive, plus either coal or oil as a fuel.  Output would be bulk cement in covered hoppers or bagged cement in boxcars. Where does he want to locate his railroad, what part of the country?  That will determine whose covered hoppers are used to load the cement and where the nearest coal fired power plant is will determine whose covered hoppers the fly ash is in.

Picking a location will also determine the scenery (Utah looks different than Pennsylvania than Texas) plus it will also help pick other industries, because he's going to want more than just a cement plant.  I personally like a beverage/beer distributor.   That allows a wide variety of boxcars, RBL's and mechanical reefers to be delivered.  If you are in Texas a pipe yard or oil field supply might be in order.  If its in Kansas, a feed mill or grain elevator, or a farm implement dealer.

 

I would also suggest staging, if he wants to operate prototypically its the connection to the outside world, if he doesn't its a place to park a different train while he runs another.  He will also have to decide where to put it.  Otte suggested using the narrow side, if he has something narrow that can use the remaining space that works, otherwise the 3 ft wide section could be used, taking 8-9 in off of that still leaves over 2 ft of space, more than enough for most industries.

Dave H. Painted side goes up.

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Posted by Andy110675 on Thursday, November 02, 2017 10:18 AM

great advice from you all thank you.I have extended the the U shape so both sides are 13ft the narrow side is 2ft wide and the others are 3ft.I have seen a place on google earth its on cement plant road knoxville Tn united states but im not sure if there are enough lines to keep me interested in this one but take a look and let me know.I have all so removed the loop so it is back to a U shape.

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Posted by Doughless on Thursday, November 02, 2017 11:08 AM

Andy110675

Hi Steven thank you for your reply.I have decided to place another section at the open ends of the U to join them together that way i would be able to have a continuous track leading back to the main board,does that sound practical to you Steven?

 

From the previous description and this one, will enclosing the U form a perfect rectangle?  From the earlier description and this one, it seems like the shape would be like the small letter b

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Posted by Andy110675 on Thursday, November 02, 2017 2:30 PM

Hi i have decided to go with the U shape with equel sides i am planning now on following somthing down the line of hanson cement in the uk but using american locos,i dont like the look of uk locos at all lol.

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Posted by Andy110675 on Friday, November 03, 2017 10:17 AM
How do i insert a pic as it asks for source and size etc
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Posted by Doughless on Friday, November 03, 2017 12:18 PM

Andy110675

Hi i have decided to go with the U shape with equel sides i am planning now on following somthing down the line of hanson cement in the uk but using american locos,i dont like the look of uk locos at all lol.

 

Andy, that sounds great.  Switching layouts can be a lot of fun. 

I really think the best way to approach this is to google search trackplans and access the MR data base if you are a subscriber, then pick out several plans that interest you.  Offer up those plans for comment to see if you like any of the alterations that the forum will inevitably suggest.

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Posted by cuyama on Friday, November 03, 2017 2:37 PM

As Steven alluded to, overlapping elements of a track plan can be really helpful in smaller spaces. Staging, runarounds, switching leads, and industry tracks can often each be longer this way than if they are arranged sequentially. 

Good luck with your layout.

 

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Posted by Steven Otte on Friday, November 03, 2017 4:02 PM

Andy110675

How do i insert a pic as it asks for source and size etc

 

 
Please read the pinned thread at the top of the General Discussion (Model Railroader) Forum. How to Post a Photo to the Forums

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Posted by Andy110675 on Saturday, November 04, 2017 4:23 AM

Check these out on page 44/45 do you think it would be a good choice to incoperate the two designs one either side of my U shapped layout and bridge the two together. www.layoutvision.com/.../bh_small_layouts_2015_slides_download.pdf

 

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Posted by Andy110675 on Monday, November 06, 2017 3:12 PM

Right click thencopy link address then second on the listBig Smile i hope

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Posted by Andy110675 on Monday, November 06, 2017 3:14 PM
then paste second ond the list
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Posted by cuyama on Monday, November 06, 2017 3:33 PM

Folks can perhaps see those layouts (and the thinking behind them) more easily at this link.
http://www.layoutvision.com/sitebuildercontent/sitebuilderfiles/ldj-52_2x9_ho_switching.pdf

Although I designed all four in response to a client's request, I don't think using two of them as-is would be the optimal approach to your design. As I and others have suggested, using your whole space to overlap staging, runarounds, switching leads, and industry tracks has greater potential.

Of the four, I am personally happiest with the Alpha Terminal design (the first in the article). The others were designed in response to specific client requests that somewhat reduced the overall function of the track plans in the given space. The last "Branch Terminal" design is OK -- if a longer lead is available on the left-hand side.

But if designing from scratch for your situation, I'd work to make best use of the overall space.

Byron

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Posted by Andy110675 on Tuesday, November 07, 2017 8:46 AM

Thanks for that you have all been a great help and i dont mean to come across as been stupid but you mention overlap staging runarounds etc but i can't seem to get my head around what that actually involves.

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Posted by garya on Tuesday, November 07, 2017 12:04 PM

Andy110675

Thanks for that you have all been a great help and i dont mean to come across as been stupid but you mention overlap staging runarounds etc but i can't seem to get my head around what that actually involves.

 

You indicated in your first post you have not built a layout before, so some of the advice here may not make much sense.  For your first layout, it's not a bad idea to use a trackplan from a book or magazine, or I suppose the internet.  The NMRA plans you posted are good though they may not fit your space that well, which is why you are getting some of the advice.  There was another presentation with many good layouts recently posted:

http://www.amherstrail.org/ABEL/Downloads/Shelf-Layouts.pdf

I say it's better to build something rather than be overcome by analysis paralysis, and you don't have to build everything all at once--start with one side of your U.  Feel free to modify plans and post changes you wish to make on this forum for feedback, but remember it's only you you have to satisfy.

Gary
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Posted by Andy110675 on Tuesday, November 07, 2017 1:47 PM

Thanks for that Gary sound advice.I just panic about the track layout more than anything else.The scenery isnt a problem plus buildings having spent years on model boats planes etc but track layin is a whole new ball park for me.My main concern is does the track have to function in the way real life would be what im trying to say is does it need to have turnouts and cross sections in specific places or can you lay them down to your own prefrence.

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Posted by Andy110675 on Tuesday, November 07, 2017 1:50 PM

Just had a look at the pdf you sent Gary and there are a few on there that actually take my fancy thanks again.

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Posted by cuyama on Tuesday, November 07, 2017 2:57 PM

Andy110675
overlap staging runarounds etc but i can't seem to get my head around what that actually involves

It means using the same section of benchwork for all of those elements. Here's an example from this 5'X7' HO small switching layout.

 

This one uses interchange tracks as the only staging, but the same idea would hold true with staging tracks hidden behind a low backdrop 

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Posted by BigDaddy on Tuesday, November 07, 2017 4:04 PM

How did you do that color switching?  Thumbs Up Thumbs Up

Henry

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Posted by cuyama on Tuesday, November 07, 2017 4:18 PM

BigDaddy
How did you do that color switching?

Overlaid layers in an animated .gif in Photoshop frames. Crudely done, but that's the limit of my animation skills.

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Posted by Andy110675 on Wednesday, November 08, 2017 1:59 AM

Thanks alot that has made things alot clearerSmile I'lle get there eventually lol

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