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Layout Plan: Please Review and Comment

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JPD
  • Member since
    July 2008
  • From: Berkley, MI
  • 110 posts
Layout Plan: Please Review and Comment
Posted by JPD on Friday, November 15, 2019 5:53 PM

The image I have attached is for my planned around the room layout. My wife has graciously given me a portion of our basement for my layout. The plan is done in AnyRail and I am still learning it so please pardon any oddities in its use. 

The West Oconto Branch is nearly done, a switching layout for an imaginary town (there is an Oconto, Wisconsin, but no West Oconto, and the Oconto branch was abandoned before the 1950s, but it is still a viable branch on my layout). The setting is the mid-1950s, Milwaukee Road, Superior Division. 

The around the room layout will include the West Oconto Branch. The larger layout is designed to be a point-to-point layout, namely from the Green Bay yard to West Oconto. But I also include a loop around the whole room so I can occasionally run some Milwaukee Road passenger trains. Most the turnouts are no. 6s, except for the no. 8s used on the crossovers. The outside radius is 32 inches and the inside radius is 30 inches with a minimal radius of 28 inches going into the staging area. I will be using Atlas code 83 track which is what I used on the West Oconto Branch. I tried to stick to the track recommendations of Lance Mindheim.  

I have not yet mastered doing easements in AnyRail, but have followed Mindheim’s recommendation of at least two inches between the end of a curve and a turnout.

The Green Bay yard has an arrival and a departure track and three tracks for sorting and classification.

As this is supposed to be the area of Wisconsin between Green Bay and Oconto, it is going to be level, no mountains, no tunnels, no gradients. I do not want a two-level layout with a helix. My goal is to make this layout easy to build, operate, and maintain. I do not want to design a huge layout I will never complete, it too challenging for me to build, is too expensive, and would be an effort to maintain because it is enormous.

The staging yard is behind a wall in a hallway we use for storage, rather cramped. The window is deed enough that I can place a station in it, but I have to be able to lift it out to clean the window.

I welcome your comments and suggestions. Thank you.

MILW Layout Plan

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  • From: Central Vermont
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Posted by cowman on Friday, November 15, 2019 6:32 PM

How large an area are we looking at?  (Whatever it is I envy you.  Be sure to thank the wife often.)

Good luck,

Richard

  • Member since
    July 2006
  • From: Bradford, Ontario
  • 10,316 posts
Posted by hon30critter on Friday, November 15, 2019 10:01 PM

Hi JPD,

I am no expert but I think you might be making the same mistake that I made when I designed the club's layout 2 1/2 years ago. You have tons of yard space and service space but relatively few destinations for all those trains to go to. Also, most of your spurs are very short when compared to the length of trains that your yards and staging can accommodate.

If all you want to do is watch trains go around the layout and then back into one yard or another then the layout is fine. However, if you want to switch longer cuts of cars I don't think that will work without fouling the mainlines constantly. You may be fine with that if you are going to be the only operator and only run short trains, but if you plan of inviting others to operate with you I would give it some thought.

I could be out to lunch as far as my comments regarding your layout plan, but we have discovered that the club layout can't accommodate long cuts of cars for switching purposes. We have lots of industries but very few of them can switch more than three or four cars, and yet our yards are quite large. If I was doing things over, I would concentrate on designing the spurs and sidings first and then figuring out how to connect them, with the spurs being much longer than they are now. Not being able to switch long trains has disappointed some of the club members big time.

Hopefully Byron (cuyama) will add to the conversation. He is a highly experienced and knowledgeable layout designer.

Dave

  • Member since
    July 2009
  • From: somerset, nj
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Posted by gregc on Saturday, November 16, 2019 8:38 AM

i'm helping with a layout designed for operation that I was unfamiliar with.  Operation is a train arrives from staging into a yard, cars for other destinations drops off and later sorted.  Cars added to the train and the train leaves back into a 2nd storage loop.   

a separate yard track hold cars for local and passing trains.   staging represents 3 distant cities.

your layout seems to have similar elements.

presumably the Cormier/Oconto branch is reached by a local train traveling counter-clockwise (ccw) which services industries in Oconto and Comier.   have you considered separating them into two branches serviced by two trains. 

Oconto could be reach with a clockwise trackage from the east end of the yard and the remainer as it.   

i don't understand the need for double-track/siding on the right side of the layout.   A single track could provide a circular connection as well as an industry siding other wise, or yet short 3rd branch if the entrance lift-out is not in place   

is the yard lead really one of the siding tracks?

car for each branches would be separated from incoming trains onto separate yard tracks.  another yard track would be each outgoing train to staging.

have you considered an escape track in staging so that trains can arrive with the loco at the head, and after the loco escapes are them pulled out and pushed into separate tracks in staging (might consider a separate lead for thsi purpose).    avoids the need the back the train from the yard into staging.

there's the potential for quite a few staged and local trains

greg - Philadelphia & Reading / Reading

  • Member since
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  • From: Reading, PA
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Posted by rrinker on Saturday, November 16, 2019 10:52 AM

 I don't know that I'd switch the direction of the branch connection. Depending on the siding capacities along the bottom half, I would see there being two locals, one that serviced the branch (and maybe stayed over and came back the next day, since there is that convenient little drop down yard), and another that was a turn servicing the industries along the main. This is similar to how the Reading served the C&F branch, they rean a train for the branch all the way out of Reading over the East Penn to Alburtis where it then went on up the branch. I don't think that train did much if any work along the East Penn.

                                    --Randy

 


Modeling the Reading Railroad in the 1950's

 

Visit my web site at www.readingeastpenn.com for construction updates, DCC Info, and more.

JPD
  • Member since
    July 2008
  • From: Berkley, MI
  • 110 posts
Posted by JPD on Saturday, November 16, 2019 11:04 AM

The area is 12' by 29.5'. Yes, I am lucky that my wife enjoys Model Railroading and helps with the scenery and buildings. She is the granddaughter of a Katy locomotive engineer, worked on the Pere Marquette 1225 at Michigan State University when she was a student, and enjoys rail travel too!

JPD
  • Member since
    July 2008
  • From: Berkley, MI
  • 110 posts
Posted by JPD on Saturday, November 16, 2019 11:14 AM

I guess I should have pointed out that I do not plan on holding operating sessions. I like operating, but it will just be me, my wife, my grandchildren operating, and perhaps some other friends and family. Maybe two people operating at the same time.

Not sure what you consider a long train. On the switching branch I am using 4 to 6 car trains and enjoying the operating. Just enough to have fun for 30 to 60 minutes. With the larger layout I will probably run trains of 8 to 12 cars at the most.

The large staging yards I meant mostly to hold large passenger trains I will run around the layout for fun.

Not sure what industries I will have on all the spurs, but they will be small industries that only require one or two cars to be spotted.

At the club we had a dispatcher and when you arrived at the place you were to switch you had to contact the dispatcher and ask for "track and time." You were then given permission to use the main line if necessary to do your switching. If a local or express needed the mainline, then the dispatcher contacted you and asked you to clear the main until the other train passed. This system worked fine. However, I do not plan on having a dispatcher. I will just corridinate track and time with the other operator.

I find it humorous that you think the yard is too big for the layout. I thought it was too small. The club I belonged to had two much larger yards plus two large staging yards. 

Thanks for your comments, I appreciate your feedback.

 

JPD
  • Member since
    July 2008
  • From: Berkley, MI
  • 110 posts
Posted by JPD on Saturday, November 16, 2019 11:23 AM

At this point I only invision three jobs: (1) a mixed train to Oconto going counterclockwise from the Green Bay yard; (2) a freight train to Cormier going counterclockwise from the Green Bay yard; and (3) the yard switcher when time permits going clockwise to spot cars at the spur off the lead track and crossing over the main to spot cars in the lower right spurs which I will probably use for a freight office and an REA facility. This last job is why I put the run around in the lower right hand corner.

I know that I have attached the yard lead to the passing siding and added a spur off of it, but that is only to give the person operating the yard something to do other than sort and classify trains. I could isolate the lead track, perhaps that would be better.

I will have to consider the escape track idea, not sure how I would do that.

Thanks for your comments and suggestions.

  • Member since
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  • From: Bradford, Ontario
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Posted by hon30critter on Saturday, November 16, 2019 8:52 PM

JPD
I guess I should have pointed out that I do not plan on holding operating sessions. I like operating, but it will just be me, my wife, my grandchildren operating, and perhaps some other friends and family. Maybe two people operating at the same time. Not sure what you consider a long train. On the switching branch I am using 4 to 6 car trains and enjoying the operating. Just enough to have fun for 30 to 60 minutes. With the larger layout I will probably run trains of 8 to 12 cars at the most. The large staging yards I meant mostly to hold large passenger trains I will run around the layout for fun. Not sure what industries I will have on all the spurs, but they will be small industries that only require one or two cars to be spotted. At the club we had a dispatcher and when you arrived at the place you were to switch you had to contact the dispatcher and ask for "track and time." You were then given permission to use the main line if necessary to do your switching. If a local or express needed the mainline, then the dispatcher contacted you and asked you to clear the main until the other train passed. This system worked fine. However, I do not plan on having a dispatcher. I will just corridinate track and time with the other operator. I find it humorous that you think the yard is too big for the layout. I thought it was too small. The club I belonged to had two much larger yards plus two large staging yards. 

Hi again JPD,

All of the above pretty much negates my comments. My concerns were unfounded based on how you want to operate. I hope you didn't think I was being too critical. It sounds like you have given things quite a bit of thought already and your layout should work fine.

Dave

JPD
  • Member since
    July 2008
  • From: Berkley, MI
  • 110 posts
Posted by JPD on Sunday, November 17, 2019 8:16 AM

No problem Dave, how were you to know that I am somewhat of a misanthrope and unlikely to welcome a crowd of operators. I have found all the comments interesting.

  • Member since
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  • From: Bradford, Ontario
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Posted by hon30critter on Sunday, November 17, 2019 8:05 PM

JPD
how were you to know that I am somewhat of a misanthrope and unlikely to welcome a crowd of operators.

Therein lies the difference. Our club's layout by nature has to be able to accommodate multiple operators. That's where my current mindset is, hence the caution about the number and size of your destinations. Clearly that doesn't apply in your case.

I would say "good luck" but given the amount of thought that you have put into your layout, you probably don't need it.Smile, Wink & Grin

Thumbs UpThumbs UpThumbs Up

Dave

  • Member since
    November 2013
  • 869 posts
Posted by snjroy on Tuesday, November 19, 2019 12:04 PM

This is an interesting thread. Dave, we have the same issue at the club. I observed that those that run diesel engines can (and prefer) pull really long trains, and don't care much about switching a few cars for small sidings. The track plan was designed decades ago, and reflected the mixed trains running at the time, including steam and small diesels. Today, only a handful of us run steam (including myself), and I have no problems running and switching smaller trains. We are actually thinking of building a second yard with this in mind, that is, to allow long trains with containers to go from one large yard to another.

Going back to the plan , the presence of the turntable tells me that steam is still king on that pike - is this the case? If yes, then smallish local freight is to be expected. However, my understanding is that operations will be an important activity - so I would suggest doubling up the track everywhere. There is room for it and it really doubles the fun when the young conductors are in town.

Anyway, that's my two cents worth. 

Simon 

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