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Ideas for a "scenic" HO shelf switching layout

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Ideas for a "scenic" HO shelf switching layout
Posted by Sir Madog on Friday, May 15, 2009 5:15 AM

My life made a harsh and sharp turn in recent weeks, forcing me to abandon all previous plans for a model railroad I now see some light at the end of the tunnel. Not only is my business gone, my house is gone as well. But not my hopes and dreams...

I now have very little room for a layout - actually "only" 2´ by 8´6", but with the option to place 2´ long detachable switching leads at each end. What I am now looking for is some type of "scenic" switching layout, that does not only offer a good operation, but also some "scenery" - preferably of the urban/industrial type. Some "water front" would also be nice to have.

My brain is quite empty after folding down my previous life - is there anybody out here with some ideas to help me out?

Cheers!

Ulrich

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Posted by steinjr on Friday, May 15, 2009 6:48 AM

Hi Ulrich --

 Glad to see that you are still into model railroading, despite having taken a nasty body blow from the state of the economy.

 First thing I am thinking is something based on Lance Mindheim's East Rail (set in Miami): http://www.lancemindheim.com/track_plan.htm.

 A countryman of yours named Kurt (cnw1961) has done some very impressive modelling based on the same idea, with two quickly detachable modules:

http://www.the-gauge.net/forum/viewtopic.php?f=46&t=169

 Smile,
 Stein

 

 

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Posted by Sir Madog on Friday, May 15, 2009 7:13 AM

 Hi Stein,

 

thanks for your reply. I am still not completely on my own two feet yet, but doing some planning for the future keeps me from  going insane, after losing everything I had been working for for more than 30 years.

The little cubicle my wife and I will live in (I cannot call it a house) does not allow for an L-shaped layout, just something straight forward. I know Lance Mindheim´s wonderful East Rail layout, but its setting is a little too rural for me.

So I am still searching for some ideas...

 

 

Cheers!

Ulrich

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Posted by Track1 on Friday, May 15, 2009 9:01 AM

Hi Ulrich

Sorry to hear of your financial woes.  Hang in there.

For me the best switching layout that I have come acrossed is John H Wright's PRR

An article appeared in the May 2003 MRR "The Pennsy in Britain. 

It's a 2' x 11' - 6 inch shelf layout with interesting track arrangement and terrific buildings

and scenery.  He also has website www.xclent.freeuk.com 

He models in Proto:87

Hope this helps and hang in there - Better times are coming

Enjoy

Bill

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Posted by loathar on Friday, May 15, 2009 9:20 AM

Sir Madog

 

 

, but doing some planning for the future keeps me from  going insane, after losing everything I had been working for for more than 30 years. 

Some times it's nice to have a little world that YOU actually have control over to keep from going nuts.
Really sorry to hear about your bad luck.

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Posted by steinjr on Friday, May 15, 2009 1:04 PM

 

Sir Madog
 The little cubicle my wife and I will live in (I cannot call it a house) does not allow for an L-shaped layout, just something straight forward. I know Lance Mindheim´s wonderful East Rail layout, but its setting is a little too rural for me.

So I am still searching for some ideas...

 Hmm - nautical flavor and industrial/urban. How about something like the Bush Terminal RR in Brooklyn, New York ? Bernie Kempinsky had an excellent layout based on this water/rail terminal in Model Railroad Planning 2003.

 I made a plan partly inspired by Bernie's plan back in March 2008, as part of a forum debate on how much layout you could get from a single sheet of 4x8 foot plywood - maybe you could steal some of the ideas from something like this to create a small urban/harbor switching layout ?


Smile,
Stein

 

 

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Posted by Svein on Friday, May 15, 2009 2:11 PM

Hi Ulrich.

How about something like David Barrow's South Plains Industrial Switching Layout? With its four 2x4 sections it is easily movable, and the two modules (South Plains and Industry Yard) may even be placed on separate levels on the same wall, with the detachable switch lead doubling as a cassette to move cars between the two levels. It might be better though if you had a 4' lead on one side instead of 2' on each side, I don't know if that's an option.

You could flip the track plan of one of the modules to ease the movement of the switching lead/cassette, and instead of an engine terminal or a grain elevator you could make a harbor scene. I think this layout offers both operation and scenic posibilities as it is, but changes can be done quite easily.

I'm sorry to hear about the loss of both your business and your home, that's just to sad! I lost my job two weeks ago when my employer filed for bancrupsy, but I can't even begin to imagine what you are going through. As Bill said, hang in there.

Svein

 

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Posted by Sir Madog on Friday, May 15, 2009 11:28 PM

 Thanks for all the good ideas and the warm words. Although my economical situation is, to say the least, very tight, I feel somehow relieved, now that most of the folding up work is done. Losing most of the posessions is not as hard as losing one´s health - which was my main worry. So I don´t have a big and expensive house any longer, I do not drive a BMW 7 series car any more. Now it is going to be a tiny house with three tiny rooms and a 15 year old Mercedes that a friend gave to me - so what! My wife and I will celebrate our silver wedding anniversary this year and we our closer together than ever!

There is even room for thoughts on model railroading. I will pick up the ideas and post the results here.

If there is more food for thought - it is most welcome!

 

Cheers!

Ulrich

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Posted by Sir Madog on Saturday, May 16, 2009 4:12 AM

 I did some research this morning and came up with an adaption of a plan published in MR´s May 2003 copy. It is slightly larger than what I figured out I can do, but maybe I can squeeze out a couple of feet.

 Here it is:


 

What do you think, folks?

Cheers!

Ulrich

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Posted by camaro on Saturday, May 16, 2009 7:47 AM

Ulrich,

 

This is a very nice plan.  You don't need a lot of depth to set up a realistic scene.  My shelf layout is set up with only 22 inches of depth from the wall.  I am currently doing an adaptation of Lance Mindheim's "East Rail".  However, this is how the actual "East Rail" looks in that the Seaboard Warehouse/Archive Americas complex  at the far end of my layout are actually tied together with a breezeway that allows movement of materials between both buildings. The pastel green building is Colmar Warehousing and yes it is green. I went with East Rail only because it had palm trees and I wanted to do something different this time.   It have included a link that shows the true building on 54th Street in Miami.

http://maps.live.com/default.aspx?v=2&FORM=LMLTCP&cp=25.8245~-80.251594&style=h&lvl=19&tilt=-90&dir=0&alt=-1000&phx=0&phy=0&phscl=1&encType=1

 

  

 Best of luck.

Larry

 

 

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Posted by E-L man tom on Saturday, May 16, 2009 11:03 AM

Ulrich,

The May, 2001 MR has a layout article authored by Jonathan Jones, who lived at the time in NY City in a small apartment. His layout inspried me, as I live in an apartment right now and only have room for a small layout. This is an "urban corridor" that is 2' x 10'. I have modeled my small 2' x 14' L-sahped layout roughly after his

So sorry to hear about your terrible misfortune. I too have been pondering my own business, which, in the last month or two has taken a seasonal as well as an economic downturn. I am just hanging on trying to keep up two households right now (my children, all grown, are going to college and live in my house two states away) and it is becoming very tenuous.

I have found that keeping busy with my small railroad is a good distraction from the troubles. I certainly wish you all the best.

Tom Modeling the free-lanced Toledo Erie Central switching layout.
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Posted by steinjr on Saturday, May 16, 2009 11:46 AM

E-L man tom
The May, 2001 MR has a layout article authored by Jonathan Jones, who lived at the time in NY City in a small apartment. His layout inspried me, as I live in an apartment right now and only have room for a small layout. This is an "urban corridor" that is 2' x 10'. I have modeled my small 2' x 14' L-sahped layout roughly after his

 

 I agree with Tom. That Jonathan Jones layout is a very good  basis for a small urban shelf switching layout. Byron Henderson played around a bit with it the last time it was discussed here, to make it a little easier to switch. This is my interpretation of what Byron ended up with:

 

 That could be made into an 8 1/2 by 2 foot layout with a nautical flavor fairly easily, maybe something loosely like this ?

 

 Btw - "bulk transshipment" is probably not the right term - but some kind of transfer of stuff from rail to sea transport (or the other way around). Could be pretty much anything - stuff from flatcars, gondolas, hoppers, maybe even covered hoppers (if you put a pit with conveyors under the track).

Smile,
Stein

 

 

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Posted by Phoebe Vet on Saturday, May 16, 2009 12:25 PM

Sometimes life rises up and kicks you in the ... well, let's just say "kicks you".

Hobbies can help you keep your sanity.

Have you considered looking for a club?  Participating in the club layout can help hold you over while you reassemble the pieces of your life.

In the meantime be thankful for the good woman who loves you just as much during the bad times as she did through the good times.

Dave

Lackawanna Route of the Phoebe Snow

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Posted by Sir Madog on Saturday, May 16, 2009 11:53 PM

 There seems to be a family tradition in having to start up all over again. My grandfather lost everything he had and could save only his bare life in the wake of WW I and WW II, my father nearly lost his skin during the terror reign of that Austrian with this funny moustache and I seem to be a victim af the global financial crisis, which is somewhat like a war...

It is good to know that there are fellow model railroader and friends out there in the world, with whom we can keep in touch through forums (fori!) like this one.

Stein, as usual your plan is just ... wow!

Phoebe Vet - I am a lone wolf - modelling US prototype is not very common in my area, most clubs have German themes. I have been dreaming of having a US model railroad since I was an exchange student to the US back in the early 70´s.

Thanks to all of you!

Cheers!

Ulrich

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Posted by BruceJob on Sunday, May 17, 2009 12:08 PM

Sorry to hear about your circumstance. Its good to have a diversion to take your mind off your problems.

Here's another suggestion for an industrial switching track plan...follow the link to Scot Osterweil's shelf layout plans:

http://www.carendt.com/articles/highland/index.html

I'm currently building a shelf layout using this track plan. Although the plan calls for a 1' x 6' shelf, I'm using an 18" wide hollow core door as the base. This gives me some extra space at the front edge for some street and storefront scenery and a few inches at the left and right ends for additional structures to "frame" the layout. Take a look at this plan...it may work for you.

 Bruce J.

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Posted by grizlump9 on Monday, May 18, 2009 11:13 AM

 toughen up, things will get better. it all takes time.

now about your model railroad.  my entire basement layout is done in the "urban grunge" theme.  i have never enjoyed making trees etc. so my railroad's neighbors are other railroads (as in E St Louis) and factory buildings.  my walls are lined with walls and instead of pastoral scenery, i have streets and sidewalks.

justification for this idea came from two sources.  when i first went to work on the old Big Four at Brooklyn Illinois, we had to climb through the Wabash yard to get to our yard and across the main line was the GM&O yard.  at least four other railroads used our main line.   second source was my first train ride from Philly to New York.  almost a hundred miles and we were never out of town.  every time i looked out the window all i could see was the back side of a building with an occasional street or highway.

grizlump

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Posted by steinjr on Monday, May 18, 2009 2:46 PM

 Found another interesting one - from the Carendt site. Switching urban layout with elvated mainline at front of layout, looking down over the front structures for the switching.

  Original can be viewed here: http://www.carendt.com/scrapbook/page62/index.html

  An adaptation to 8 1/2 foot long with 2 feet cassettes and 30" deep (little deeper than the 24" you wanted):

 

  Allows you to have a mainline train arrived on the elevated rail, run around its cars and shove the cars "onto a car float" or "into a siding" or some such thing (ie onto cassette).

 Then move the cassette down to the switching area at the bottom rear, and have a smaller switcher come out and start grabbing outbound cars and inbound cars and do it's thing.

 Smile,
 Stein

 

 

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Posted by Sir Madog on Tuesday, May 19, 2009 8:19 AM

 Stein,

 I took your idea and transformed it into using Atlas Code 83 track and no.6 turnouts. Another step in the right direction.

 Here it is:

 

A suggestion to MR´s staff - why don´t you run a series or even make a book about "scenic" shelf switchers? Not all of us have the space (and the money) to build one 0f those 15´by 30´ or even bigger layouts, filling an entire basement.

 

Cheers!

Ulrich

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Posted by tcf511 on Tuesday, May 19, 2009 9:47 AM

The do have a book out about Shelf Layouts. It is written by Iain Rice. It doesn't have too many layout plans but does discuss the theory and a lot of options in building a shelf layout. I found it very useful as I try to design my first shelf layout. Good luck with everything.

Tim Fahey

Musconetcong Branch of the Lehigh Valley RR

 

 

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Posted by DigitalGriffin on Tuesday, May 19, 2009 10:00 AM

Hey Ulrich

I'm so sorry you are having problems.  The economy is hitting a lot of us hard.  It seems everyone, except retires, is effected by the downturn now.

The pier front switching layout you are working on looks like a good fit.  I have several variations of a pier front I've done myself.  The advantage of a pier front layout is you can use short wheelbase switchers which handle R18" well.  So you can get away with #4 turnouts if you want.  (Providing you don't have anything over 50'->55' scale feet cargo wise)

Don H-Specializing in layout DC->DCC conversions

Modeling C&O transition era and steel industries There's Nothing Like Big Steam!

 

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Posted by Sir Madog on Tuesday, May 19, 2009 10:37 AM

tcf511

The do have a book out about Shelf Layouts. It is written by Iain Rice. It doesn't have too many layout plans but does discuss the theory and a lot of options in building a shelf layout. I found it very useful as I try to design my first shelf layout. Good luck with everything.

 

... was delivered to me last week - a good book for those who have not yet built a shelf layout. Could have more track plan examples, for my taste.

Cheers!

Ulrich

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Posted by steinjr on Tuesday, May 19, 2009 11:03 AM

 

Sir Madog

 Stein,

 I took your idea and transformed it into using Atlas Code 83 track and no.6 turnouts. Another step in the right direction.

 Here it is:

  

 Looks good to me! 

 


A suggestion to MR´s staff - why don´t you run a series or even make a book about "scenic" shelf switchers? Not all of us have the space (and the money) to build one 0f those 15´by 30´ or even bigger layouts, filling an entire basement.

 Well, they have several books which show small shelf switching layouts. Several (most) issues of Model Railroad Planning has shelf switching layouts.

 MRP 2006 has Ian Rice on sectional shelf layouts and Mike Aufterderheide's "Modeling the Monon's Hoosier Hub", Linda Sand's excellent "Industrial Railroad on a shelf"and an excellent article by David Barrow: "From model railroad to railroad model" where he shows a linear shelf layout based on LDEs, and a scene (Elevator A) from Chuch Hitchcock's Argentine Industrial District Railway

 MRP 2005 e.g. has Scot Osterweil's adaptation of Linn Westcott's Switchman's Neightmare and Byron Henderson's Alameda Belt Line

MRP 2004 has en interesting plan based on Long Island's Oyster Bay Branch and a 4x8 Illinois Midland model railroad improved by turning it into an L shaped shelf layout

MRP 2003 was a theme issues - with 9 bookcase layout (small shelf layouts that would fit on top of a bookcase): including Bernie Kempinski's New York Cross Harbor and two good plans by forum regular Dave Husman, plus some ideas by Tony Koester on how to model big industries on small shelves.

 Most issues of MRP has some good shelf plans in addition to bigger plans.  This was just a random selection of four issues from the pile next to my computer.

 Smile,
 Stein

 

 

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Posted by dante on Tuesday, May 19, 2009 10:18 PM
DigitalGriffin
It seems everyone, except retires, is effected by the downturn now.

What makes you think that retirees are exceptions to the rule?  Have you noticed the stock market and/or interest rates and/or home prices during the recent economic disaster?  And remember that retirees don't have the time to recover that younger folks do.  We all are being hit hard, some obviously and tragically harder than others.

Dante

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Posted by Sir Madog on Tuesday, May 19, 2009 11:04 PM

 I know we should not get political in this forum, but this financial crisis is affecting all of us, whereever we are in the world. Our hobby is also affected, with more and more companies filing insolvency or just going out of business. Marklin/Trix/LGB and Mehano are only the more spectacular cases. It is not only a credit crunch anymore - it is a desease which may impose a threat to many a democracy all over the world - also Germany! We will have general elections in September and I expect a tremendous gain in votes for both the socialistic "Left" party as well as ... (expletive, deleted) "national Rights".

I am woriied!

Cheers!

Ulrich

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Posted by Sir Madog on Tuesday, May 19, 2009 11:07 PM

Stein,

you are a fountain of information!

Unfortunately I do not have the "change" anylonger to purchase those issues of MRP you mentioned Sigh

Cheers!

Ulrich

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Posted by grizlump9 on Wednesday, May 20, 2009 1:11 AM

 i know what you mean, Ulrich.  i don't want to get too political either but the way things are going, the whole country could find itself in a fuhrer, oops, i meant furor.

grizlump

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Posted by steinjr on Wednesday, May 20, 2009 2:45 AM

Sir Madog

Stein,

you are a fountain of information!

Thank you.

 

Unfortunately I do not have the "change" any longer to purchase those issues of MRP you mentioned Sigh

 

 Then again - look on the bright side - if Kalmbach had published a series of books with shelf plans only (as I think you suggested), those books would have been about three times the price of an back issue of MRP, and would have been even further away from being affordable.

 And having the old MRPs, it is quick to summarize ideas from such track plans. E.g. Linda Sand's 1 x 8 foot layout from MRP 2006 looked roughly like this (my interpretation of her plan, not a photo copy of the plan):

 

 Some ideas of making such a small plan more interesting operationally - some mentioned by Sand in the accompanying article in the 2006 MRP, some mentioned by her (and others) in other articles elsewhere:

 Modeling _one_ larger industry with multiple car spots makes for a more interesting flow of traffic than modelling four or five tiny industries that take one boxcar each - and will spend three weeks using up the stuff inside that one boxcar.

 Here there is not a lot of structure to build - two or three flats along the back track, two or three chemical tanks (or trackside pumps) and a shipping building at the front left. But you can build those background structures big - say 4 stories big. Plenty of space to make them seem like a part of a big plant.

 You got three  little bridges over a creek here. One built for the in-plant switch lead. One built for one railroad (in Linda's article Wisconsin Central) main. One build for an interchange track from another railroad (in Linda's article C&NW, later UP). Can be built in totally different styles, with totally different balast colors and styles.

 You can have the crossing of the two railroads over in the front right corner, and scratchbuild a small tower in a suitable style.

  This plan has 10-11 car spots - I've labelled them R1 and R2 (for receiving spot 1 and 2), P1 and P2 (for powerhouse spot 1 and 2), W1 and W2 (for Wood unloading spots 1 and 2), C1 and C2 (chemical spot 1 and 2), S1 and S2 for shipping spot 1 and spot 2 and T1 for "Team track" spot 1.

 You can add all kinds of interesting rules - like "Kaolin sludge in covered hoppers must be delivered to R2, where they can be unloaded into a tank truck". Or "road must not be blocked more than 15 minutes at a time, to allow town emergency vehicles access to houses on the other side of the WC main". Or "Old WC main between the interchange track and the old C&NW/WC tower can be used for temporary storage of cars".

 It would even be possible to have an engine from the railroad the plant is located along take the cars from the interchange track and shove them into the plant, where the plant switcher takes over, thus modeling two railroads (within-plant RR and class 1 RR) in this tiny amount of space.Of so, you could drop the in-plant runaround.

 Or you can just allow the plant switcher trackage rights on the main over to the interchange track.

 Lots of options packed into a small layout, isn't it ? 

 Smile,
 Stein

 

 

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Posted by Sir Madog on Wednesday, May 20, 2009 11:15 PM

 The deeper I dig into the subject of small shelf-type switching layouts, the more I start to like them. They are a challenge to design, to build and to operate - may be even a little more, than bigger layouts. Is that the reason they are so popular in the UK?

Anyway, I am still collecting ideas...

Cheers!

Ulrich

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Posted by Sir Madog on Thursday, May 21, 2009 6:26 AM

 Did some finetuning work on my favorit plan - the fictious Milwaukee Fed Str. Yard. Unless I come up with something better, this will be it...

 

Found a way to squeeze out the extra couple of feet of space needed, but this is the max now SWMBO will allocate to me.

 

Cheers!

Ulrich

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Posted by steinjr on Thursday, May 21, 2009 8:04 AM

 

Sir Madog

 Did some finetuning work on my favorit plan - the fictious Milwaukee Fed Str. Yard. Unless I come up with something better, this will be it...

  

Found a way to squeeze out the extra couple of feet of space needed, but this is the max now SWMBO will allocate to me.

 

  Well, if that's the one you like the best, that's the one you like best.

  I don't think I would have picked that one if I was picking a design for myself. Track plan creates too convoluted moves for my taste when it comes to switching - there seems to be very few moves that can be done in an easy way from the yard tracks to to the industries or the other way around.

 Anyways - what are your favorite features from this plan? 

Smile,
Stein

 

 

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