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60" Shelf Layout Plans?

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  • Member since
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  • From: London, UK
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60" Shelf Layout Plans?
Posted by JL UK on Friday, November 19, 2010 5:26 PM

I've been out of the hobby for a number of years and I'm looking to get back into it.  I've purchased a few boxcars on ebay and I have my eye on the 'Iron Horse' Athearn set as a building block to get me started (US outline equipment is thin on the ground here in the UK!)

Now that I have kids and a wife, I don't have the space to replicate the large layouts I had in the past, so I'm looking to create a small switching layout similar to this one http://www.gatewaynmra.org/layouts/gc15/project15-trackplan.htm

I really like that track plan, but it is designed for 40ft cars, and I'd like to have a slightly more modern timeframe, so i'd have more 50ft hi-cubes and things like that.

Can anyone recommend a good track plan for a shelf-type switching layout that fits into a 60" length?

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Posted by OzarkBelt on Friday, November 19, 2010 8:32 PM

Well howdy! I have been out for a little awhile as well. One good site I would recomend with lots of good ideas is http://www.carendt.com

Check it out!

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Posted by cowman on Friday, November 19, 2010 9:52 PM

Welcome to the forums and back to the hobby.

Are you limited to a 60" length?  If not you could layout a similar plan with #6's.  It would also effect the width some.  If you do have more space available, let folks know, so they can look at other possibilities.

Good luck,

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Posted by steinjr on Friday, November 19, 2010 10:41 PM

 Hopefully you are in N scale (where a 5 foot shelf is about the equivalent of a 9 foot shelf in H0 scale).

 There is a number of shelf layout designs for small switching shelves. Quite a few is far better than the Gateway design you link to in terms of switching realism.

 The Gateway one you are linking to is intended as a game - essentially a "move-the-hole" game  - like those 4 x 4 moving tile puzzles.

 What will work for you depends on a number of factors - like what type of place you want to model :-)

 You can find a decent introduction to small switching (shunting for Brits) layouts on Adrian Wymann's web page: http://www.wymann.info/ShuntingPuzzles/small-layouts.html

 Carl Arend's micro layout's site has been mentioned : http://www.carendt.com - but be warned that the core focus of Carl's site is "how small can you go" - so some of the plans may be trying to shoehorn a bit much into the space.

 Still - there is quite a few interesting and innovative plans there - like e.g. the classic Chuck Yungkurth Gum stump and Snowshoe 1x6 foot (in H0 scale - plenty of space in N scale in 5 foot of length) designs from the 1960s: http://www.carendt.us/scrapbook/page38a/index.html

 You have your fairly dense trackage urban switching layouts, like Shortliner Jack (Trollope)'s "Ness Street Yard": 

Again - in N scale something like this would fit just fine in 5 feet of length. Looks like this in a mock up (photo by Shortliner Jack):

 Or for a fairly extreme case of urban, have a look at Australian modeler professor Klyzr's rather stunning 4-foot H0 scale layout "Brooklyn 3 am" at Carl Arendt's web site.

 For less crowded scenes, have a look at the work of Lance Mindheim and Byron Henderson - you can see some of Lance's work at his web site http://www.lancemindheim.com/, and some of Byron's stuff at his website: http://www.layoutvision.com/

 Lance has several books out on the principles of designing small shelf layouts and small shelf switching layout plans, and Byron has quite a bit of advice on layout design in his blog - linked from the web page above.

 Another small shelf layout builder I am keeping an eye on is German modeler Kurt (who goes by the handle "cnw1961" over at http://www.the-gauge.net) - he builds in the same style as Mindheim's Miami layouts  - relatively sparse track work, lots of room for scenery.

 Some pictures from his latest 12-foot H0 scale layout (ie about 80" or 6 2/3 foot long in N scale) looks like this (all photos by Kurt):

 

You also have the option of going to extremely simple and yet very interesting to run track plans - like Jack Hill's O scale New Castle Industrial Railroad: http://oscalewcor.blogspot.com/

 Anyways - there is no shortage of track plans for small switching layouts - especially if you can go N scale in those 5 feet of length, and/or if you have the option of temporarily extending the length of your layout while running trains - e.g. by the use of an extension cassette.

 Let us know what type of situation you are looking to model, and what scale you are in, and perhaps some of us can point you at specific relevant tracks plans out there.

 Smile,
 Stein

 

 

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Posted by Paulus Jas on Saturday, November 20, 2010 1:25 AM

hi,

Stein mentioned books by Lance Mindheim; especially How To Design A Small switching Layout is worth reading. It covers very well the thoughts behind the choices you'll have to make during the design. 

By using a cassette you can easily enlarge the passing siding. Omitting switchbacks makes this pike easier to operate realistically.

Two links to switching pikes in Carendt; Fat City and Brooklyn at 3 AM:

http://carendt.us/scrapbook/page81/index.html#fat  and http://www.carendt.us/scrapbook/page87/index.html

 In the outstanding weblog by Byron Henderson or Cuyama you'll find this entry:   http://mrsvc.blogspot.com/search/label/Track%20Plan%20Analysis

The plan you have is a switchers nightmare; if that's what your looking for it's a great choice; though both professional designers mentioned above are into more realistic designs. 

Paul

 

 

 

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Posted by JL UK on Saturday, November 20, 2010 3:13 PM

Ah yes I should have mentioned the scale!  I'm in HO scale, so I'd need a track plan that fits with that size.

I'm not limited to a 5ft length, but if it gets much beyond that it would become a bit too big to easily fit in my car.  Perhaps if there are some good 6ft designs out there? :)

Thanks for those excellent links, I can see I'm going to be researching for a while yet before I find the perfect plan!    I'm hoping to find something that works as a stand-alone layout, but could also be extended in the future, perhaps with the addition of 'off stage' holding areas or as part of a larger layout.

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Posted by mcddhawk4 on Saturday, November 20, 2010 10:56 PM

What about 2 or 3 small sections? could you than fit them in the car?

BNSF FAN
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Posted by steinjr on Saturday, November 20, 2010 11:00 PM

 

JL UK

Ah yes I should have mentioned the scale!  I'm in HO scale, so I'd need a track plan that fits with that size.

I'm not limited to a 5ft length, but if it gets much beyond that it would become a bit too big to easily fit in my car.  Perhaps if there are some good 6ft designs out there? :)

Thanks for those excellent links, I can see I'm going to be researching for a while yet before I find the perfect plan!    I'm hoping to find something that works as a stand-alone layout, but could also be extended in the future, perhaps with the addition of 'off stage' holding areas or as part of a larger layout.

 Just a suggestion - you are more likely to find something that will work well for you if you give up on the idea of "finding" a perfect plan, instead focus on what you want to model on your layout, and then design a plan made specifically for your needs.

 That is especially important if part of your goal is that the layout later should function as part of a larger layout.

 The standard two step process when starting on a layout design is:

 1) define how the room where you will have your layout looks like - make a drawing of the whole room, indicate dimensions, doors and windows, and note what other uses of the room a layout will have to co-exist peacefully with.

2) Make a list of your givens and druthers for the layout. Givens are the factors you cannot (or will not) change - the stuff that are make or break - if you can't do things this way, you won't build a layout. Druthers are the things you would like to have, but you could conceivably compromise these if a better idea came along.

 And important part of the list of given and druthers is your preferred theme, location and era. A 1910 mine in a desert landscape is quite different from a modern era industrial park, or a 1940s Mid-western small agricultural town.

 Anyways -  you may have spent quite a bit of time thinking long and hard about this, but just to be sure: you are sure about H0 scale being a given rather than an option?

 I am not asking because I am opposed to H0 scale - I am in H0 scale myself. But if you actually are limited to a 5-foot long layout, N scale would give you a lot more options.

 Quick illustration of a simple runaround in 5 feet of length in H0 and N scale, assuming a short engine (an SW7 switcher) and short cars (40-foot boxcars - i.e from the transition era, not modern cars):

 

As for transportation - what you seemingly are saying is that you need to be able to separate the layout into 5 foot (or shorter) sections.  Why does the layout need to fit into your car - are you planning to take it to exhibitions or club meets or some such thing?

 Also, if you have no idea or preferences about theme, location and era, you are unlikely to have a large existing collection of usable engines and rolling stock that are appropriate for your era, location and theme and which must be re-used.

 Not trying to badger you into making this or that choice - it is your layout, it will have to suit your preferences, and in the end all choices are yours to make, of course. I just want to make sure that you have considered your options.

 For micro layouts, every inch is important - there is not enough room for not making deliberate decisions about every design factor.

 Smile,
 Stein

 

 

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Posted by Sir Madog on Sunday, November 21, 2010 2:02 AM

There is not really much you can do on a 6 ft. baseboard in HO scale other than a really minimalistic switching (shunting) layout - like an inglenook- type layout, as described in Carl Arendt´s famous web page. I know that in the UK railway modelers are able to put wonderful little layouts in that space, but they do follow European railroading practice, which differs from the way railroads are run in the US.

Just to give you an idea - this is a plan I developed for a British outline layout in OO scale:

This plan was designed mainly for passenger operation - with DMU´s doing the service.

To come up with a plan which will be to your liking, I can only second what Stein has written in his post:

  • Determine the space you really have available
  • Determine the type of operation you´d like to have
  • Choose your prototype
  • Choose you era

I can also recommend to visit Lance Mindheim´s web page. Take a look at his nicely executed, but very minimalistic yet operation intensive East Rail layout - you can view it here. This is a good source of information!

 

Cheers!

Ulrich

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Posted by Paulus Jas on Sunday, November 21, 2010 6:03 AM

hi,

the link of Ulrich is a good source of information. East Rail is a design without a passing track, though it has facing and trailing spurs; it lacks a small yard too. Exactly these issues are covered in How To Design A Small Switching Layout by Lance Mindheim.

I agree with the previous entries; try to find out what you like in terms of locale, era, standards (e.g. min radius, switch-number) and kind of operation. 

Feel free to ask questions!

Paul

 

 

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Posted by ratled on Sunday, November 21, 2010 1:08 PM

steinjr

 You have your fairly dense trackage urban switching layouts, like Shortliner Jack (Trollope)'s "Ness Street Yard": 

http://img191.imageshack.us/img191/3876/nessst.jpg

Again - in N scale something like this would fit just fine in 5 feet of length. Looks like this in a mock up (photo by Shortliner Jack):

http://img710.imageshack.us/img710/1629/nessstb.jpg

  Smile,
 Stein

 

Stein thanks for posting that little layout... off hand do you (or any one)  know what number  Peco small radius works out to be?  Also what degree a short and long crossings are in degrees?  Might be a nice addition to the track work I'm reworking

ratled

 

Modeling the Klamath River area in HO on a proto-lanced sub of the SP “The State of Jefferson Line”

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Posted by AltonFan on Sunday, November 21, 2010 8:31 PM

ratled

 

 

...off hand do you (or any one)  know what number  Peco small radius works out to be?  Also what degree a short and long crossings are in degrees?  Might be a nice addition to the track work I'm reworking

ratled

I believe Peco's turnouts are not numbered (x units to 1 unit of separation), but have curves.  At least that's how it is for N.

Dan

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Posted by steinjr on Sunday, November 21, 2010 11:37 PM

ratled

 

 

 

Stein thanks for posting that little layout... off hand do you (or any one)  know what number  Peco small radius works out to be?  Also what degree a short and long crossings are in degrees?  Might be a nice addition to the track work I'm reworking

 For the Peco code 75 streamline type turnouts, the deviating path through a small turnout (ie Peco part # SL-92 or SL-192, depending on whether you are looking on an insulfrog or electrofrog)  forms a 24" radius  curve. In comparison, the Peco code 75 streamline medium turnout has a deviating path forming a 36" radius curve.

 The short crossing is 24 degree angle, the long crossing is 12 degree angle.

 You can download printable templates of the various streamline turnouts (code 75, code 83 and code 100 for H0 scale, and code 80 for N scale) from here:

 http://www.peco-uk.com/page.asp?id=pointplans

 Smile,
 Stein

 

 

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Posted by JL UK on Monday, November 22, 2010 3:15 AM

steinjr
 Just a suggestion - you are more likely to find something that will work well for you if you give up on the idea of "finding" a perfect plan, instead focus on what you want to model on your layout, and then design a plan made specifically for your needs.

All good advice Steinjr, I appreciate the links and the suggestions :)
I've never been the best at designing track layouts, I always preferred the actual hands-on modelling of scenery and rolling stock, so this shelf layout is really going to be a way for me to indulge those parts of the hobby without needing to build a big layout (space and time constraints would make that very, very difficult these days!)
I do want to get to a layout plan that offers some operating potential, so that's why I am so drawn to the small size.  Homes here in the UK are generally small, and we don't have basements, so this layout really will be a shelf plan as it will literally exist on a shelf in my small upstairs 'office' here in the house!  :)
I'm going to take some mroe time to research these small switching 'puzzle' type track plans and hopefully I can get some feedback from you guys once I have a suitable plan.

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