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N scale track plan

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  • Member since
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N scale track plan
Posted by engineAL on Wednesday, May 18, 2011 9:38 AM

I have come up with a track plan that I like for my n scale 4x8 layout. I know some have suggested in other posts that I go with a different shape but that will just not work. Tell me what you think. It is not perfect but is pretty close to scale. The coloring in the lower left hand corner doesn't mean anything. I was just experimenting.

Tags: Layout Design , N

Modeling the Maine Central in N scale.

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Posted by cowman on Wednesday, May 18, 2011 11:36 AM

Personally I prefer my trains to go somewhere.  I use a scenic divider so they go out of sight, before returning to view.  The divider can be put in with just a staging area behind it, so you can change trains, so the same train doesn't come right back.  The layout can also be more evenly divided and have scenic and operational areas on both sides.  Trains come in, sets out and picks up few cars, moves on, next one comes in, sets out, picks up, moves on.

Your plan looks a little "busy" to me, but I am not as familiar with N as HO.  It may be that there is more space between the tracks than it appears.

Even if you aren't going to have a roundhouse, I would think about putting more than one storage track off from the turntable.

Have fun,

Richard

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Posted by Comrad_Durandal on Wednesday, May 18, 2011 11:38 AM

I would say your next step is if you have the space already open - is to get the templates from Atlas (or whatever track manufacturer you are planning to use).  They are paper cut-out patterns like you'd sew clothing with, except in the shape of track sections.  This will give you a general idea if your trackwork will fit the area given the materials you would have to work with.  This also has the added benefit of letting you know just how many of this item and how many of that item you'd need to purchase to make this layout.

There are computer programs out there (WinRail, Atlas's offering whose name escapes me) but I have found they have serious flaws and limitations, especially when you are dealing with elevations and track passing over other track.

Of course, your milage may vary - and I am pretty new at the hobby myself so I'd also check with other more experienced modelers.

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Posted by Paulus Jas on Wednesday, May 18, 2011 1:32 PM

hi no-name,

i have tried to draw your plan in Atlas RTS; i found some issues. As you drew it you will encounter grade problems,  vertical easements will take length, so the grades might be much steeper then you imagine. I could not get the station and the return loop in, in the way you have drawn it. It might have to do with lack of information, not knowing radii and switch-numbers i had to guess.

You did not talk about the placement in the room, a 8 x 4 is to wide to place it in a corner. Placed against one wall it is a first class space eater. The lower half has no function other then running through, some spurs might be added there. I love the way you intend to use the roads, they will divide the scenes in a natural way, if your layout is build high. Lack of information again.

Due to the grades the station is rather short. Since you did not draw the room, it is hard to tell if a cassette (staging) can be added. Nor is it possible to "judge" if your plan works, since you do not give any information about the kind and number of trains you want to operate.  

Try to draw a plan with a compass and a ruler next-time, and use real dimensions for switches. Using Armstrong squares will help a lot too.

Smile,

Paul

 

 

 

 

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Posted by steinjr on Wednesday, May 18, 2011 2:35 PM

Paulus Jas

You did not talk about the placement in the room, a 8 x 4 is to wide to place it in a corner. Placed against one wall it is a first class space eater. The lower half has no function other then running through, some spurs might be added there. I love the way you intend to use the roads, they will divide the scenes in a natural way, if your layout is build high. Lack of information again.

 Click on post count under poster's name to see his old posts. OP is a young person, with a room better suited for a water wings format than a 4x8 - here is the suggestion by Byron Henderson in an earlier thread for fitting a layout into his room:

 

 For some unknown reason the OP has decided that this "just won't work", and gone back to a 4x8 in the lower right hand corner, planning to pull the layout out into the center of the room so he can squeeze behind it at times.

 Ceiling height at lower end of room is low - so low that there is no room for a layout above a dresser if the dresser is located along the lower wall.

 Drawing by OP (in PNG format, which your browser seemingly do not display):

http://cs.trains.com/trccs/media/p/2087467.aspx

Smile,
Stein

 

 

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Posted by Paulus Jas on Wednesday, May 18, 2011 3:03 PM

hi Stein and Virginian

thanks for the information. I even did draw some weeks ago a N-scale version for the space Byron Henderson had found.

Smile
Paul

 

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Posted by engineAL on Wednesday, May 18, 2011 4:17 PM

Paul, as much as I like your plan for the space Byron Henderson had found, I can't put the dresser in front of the window or remove it from the room. I also already have a table that I can use.

In response to the track I will be using, I will be using Atlas superflex code 80 track with either Atlas customline turnouts and Peco Insulfrog curved turnouts or all Peco Electrofrog turnouts.

There will not be much of a grade in the upper, right hand corner. The track that you see going under the trestle is a log dump for the logging mill and will not be under the trestle.

Modeling the Maine Central in N scale.

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Posted by steinjr on Wednesday, May 18, 2011 7:46 PM

WWtrain

Paul, as much as I like your plan for the space Byron Henderson had found, I can't put the dresser in front of the window or remove it from the room. I also already have a table that I can use.

 Just curious -  how important is it to you to use that specific table size and shape? 

 Is it at all a viable option for you e.g. to cut it down to say 8 feet long by 32" wide, or make it L-shaped or some such thing, or is the benchwork pretty much fixed at 4x8, come what may?

 Smile,
 Stein

 

 

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Posted by engineAL on Wednesday, May 18, 2011 8:07 PM

steinjr

Just curious -  how important is it to you to use that specific table size and shape? 

Is it at all a viable option for you e.g. to cut it down to say 8 feet long by 32" wide, or make it L-shaped or some such thing, or is the benchwork pretty much fixed at 4x8, come what may?

It is 4x8, and without a lot of modification of the support it won't be changing shape so I plan to leave it as is.

Modeling the Maine Central in N scale.

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Posted by cuyama on Wednesday, May 18, 2011 10:52 PM

A train table that is too big for your space will make it harder to build, maintain, and operate your layout. Doesn't seem like much of a bargain, even if it's free.

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Posted by steinjr on Wednesday, May 18, 2011 11:33 PM

WWtrain

 

 steinjr:

 

Just curious -  how important is it to you to use that specific table size and shape? 

Is it at all a viable option for you e.g. to cut it down to say 8 feet long by 32" wide, or make it L-shaped or some such thing, or is the benchwork pretty much fixed at 4x8, come what may?

 

 

It is 4x8, and without a lot of modification of the support it won't be changing shape so I plan to leave it as is.

 Okay, about as I suspected.

 Good luck with your layout.

 Smile,
 Stein, out

 

 

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Posted by Fastball on Sunday, May 29, 2011 8:04 PM

My current layout started out by laying tape on the basement floor before one board was screwed together.  Some of that tape is still there after umpteen layout changes. 

Twenty years later I'm still ripping up track and adjusting stuff here and there.  Be prepared to change whatever you decide upon.

-Paul 

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Posted by engineAL on Thursday, August 25, 2011 5:37 PM

Over the summer, I have changed the track plan a bit. I am using code 80 Atlas flex track with Customline (standard and #6) switches and PECO curved turnouts. I know that you are going to tell me 4x8 is hard to reach so please don't bring that up.

The first change that you might notice is that I added a little section in front of the dresser. This will be a removable section that will be one connection to the outside world (the other two are the tunnel), create another industry, and be a scenic wraparound to blend the dresser in and make the layout seem larger.

I also got rid of one track where the mountain is and replaced it with the mine. The grade is 2.5% and since I will only be pushing up a few cars for the mine I think it will work.

You might also notice a _ . _ . _ line. This is a track that I want to include but will not work (not enough clearance). I would like this track because it forms a reversing loop and creates a track crossing, which I would like to have. If you find a way that this is possible, please let me know (I want the reversing loop more than the crossing).

I also got rid of the turntable, there was just not enough room. In its place, I will add an industry, which adds to operations.

Please comment, it is appreciated. I would like to know your ideas and what you would do to make it better.

Modeling the Maine Central in N scale.

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Posted by leighant on Saturday, August 27, 2011 2:01 PM

I thought the crossing of the reverse loop cutoff with the branch to the mine would be a problem.  I would suggest giving the reverse loop cutoff top priority,  There is so much you can do with it.  For instance, you can turn trains that have gone off towards somewhere counterclockwise to come back clockwise.  You can let it function as a wye to turn passenger consists.  You can use it to turn locos, thus making the turntable unnuecessary unless you need it to access roundhouse tracks.

Now for the branch to the mine... why not have it come off about the middle of the reverse loop cutoff rather than coming directly out of the yard area.  This would

  1. eliminate the awkward crossing.
  2. make the mine seem operationally "somewhere else" which adds to the sense of different places your railroad runs
  3. eliminate interference of the mine with yard and mainline.

 

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Posted by leighant on Saturday, August 27, 2011 2:28 PM

Now let's analyze what I assume is intended to be your yard.  You have four double-ended through tracks side by side in the upper right corner.  All of them can be reached from the right end, toward the middle of the plan as you have drawn it.  They could all be switched from that end, but if you do it, you will block the mainline.  I would leave this as as, except to move it as far to right as possible, and as close as possible to the reverse loop cutoff.

I would have one mainline track that runs alongside the yard, then several parallel yard tracks that connect to a switching lead that eventually connects to the mainline.  A switcher can shunt cars back and forth into the yard class tracks, coming out nonto the lead without blocking trains running on the main.  However, a crossover from the main to the lead just clear of the yard ladder would allow a train to run between the main and any class track.  It could even do that while there is a switcher and cut of cars on the yard lead clear of the crossover.

It would help if I draw you a picture but that would take me an hour or so to draw and upload.

 

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Posted by leighant on Saturday, August 27, 2011 3:19 PM

I am drawing this yard schematic as generically as I can, so it will usable for other discussions.  I did not attempt to orient it to your plan, and I drew it as a straight line schematic.  Most of us would usually need to "bend some part of it around the corner of a layout," probably the mainline and lead as the most likely items to be bent.

Tracks all converge to the mainline at one end, but at the other, the yard tracks converge to the yard switching lead.  The lead can go in or out of any yard track without fouling the main.  Using the crossover, a train from the mainline can in or out of any yard track.

This is to model a classification yard, not a "train storage yard," although it does have a dead-end track which can be used for storage.  If you have a grain elevator, there may a harvest time coming when many many cars will need to be loaded and moved.  The storage track might be used to accumulate grain hoppers to get ready for the big harvest, but clear of heavily used class tracks.

A larger yard might have many more class tracks, and might have a switching lead and crossover on each end, so the yard can be worked from both ends at once by two switch engines.  (But probably not on a four x eight layout)

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Posted by engineAL on Saturday, August 27, 2011 3:33 PM

leighant

Now for the branch to the mine... why not have it come off about the middle of the reverse loop cutoff rather than coming directly out of the yard area.

I love this idea! I don't know why I didn't think of it before. I think that I will have it come off the mainline on the bottom of the layout, however, because I don't want to have an incline in the center of town.The suggestion for the classification yard is excellent too, I can see how it will benefit operations. I am working on the changes and will post them later. Thank you!

Modeling the Maine Central in N scale.

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Posted by leighant on Saturday, August 27, 2011 6:21 PM

Now to get really weird.  Why NOT an gradual incline of the whole town!?!?  There is a gradual hill and the town runs up the hill.  CUTS for track on the mainline and the the reverse loop crossover....

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Posted by engineAL on Monday, August 29, 2011 10:17 AM

Here is the updated track plan. I think that having the town on a grade will be too complicated. I reversed the yard drawing so that the switching lead is on the left (curved around to the front). I added an extra crossover going the opposite way in the middle of it so that passenger trains can get to the station without going through the arrival/departure track in the yard. There are two double ended tracks and two stub ended tracks in the yard. On the right side of the yard is a short switching lead for the two engine tracks.

Modeling the Maine Central in N scale.

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Posted by wm3798 on Wednesday, August 31, 2011 7:40 AM

Since you're working in N scale, why are you working with a 4x8?  Not only is it a space consuming size, especially in a bedroom, but it's going to be nearly impossible to reach the area in the corner to work on scenery, clear derailments, etc.

You should seriously consider using a hollow core door slab, which measures 6'8 long x 36".  (other narrower sizes are also available)

Hollow core doors are lightweight, easy to handle, and can be set on a base requiring no benchwork.   There's a great resource right here on the forum.

Since the layout can be self contained on the door panel, you can easily slide it under the bed if you need some space, or, you can get some narrower panels to set up over the dresser to make a staging yard or industrial area.

Get your head out of that 4x8 box.  N scale offers you more flexibility than that!

Lee

Route of the Alpha Jets  www.wmrywesternlines.net

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Posted by Flying switch56 on Friday, September 02, 2011 11:39 AM

Hi WWtrain.

I looked over your plan and thought I'd offer a few suggestions.

One of the main areas I think you'll have problems with is the yard (I'm assuming that is the cluster of tracks in the upper left hand corner of your plan). Since that part is against the wall I'm sure you'll have trouble reaching the tracks and cars during switching. In the plan below I made the yard stub ended and moved it to the front of the layout for easier reach. You can now add a turntable if you like (though it will make the area look a bit crowded, but that's your choice).

Another problem I see is having the line to the mine cross over other tracks. By moving the line to the outside you can have a gentler grade without having to worry about clearances. Also, just for convenience I added a runaround for switching the mine.

In the plan below I kept the industry spurs as close to the left side as possible for easy reach. I also made the plan a dual mainline for more interesting operation. If you'd like, the two mainline tracks on the right can be moved closer to the mine and still be in a tunnel without the mine directly overhead.

Finally, I included an interchange track on the bottom right. This can easily disappear in a tunnel to represent a connection "beyond the layout". This frees up space in front of the dresser (if you prefer, you can still use the turnout to connect with the extension you drew).

These are just a few suggestions I thought you might like to look over.

I almost forgot to mention: the minimum radius is 13" which is considered conventional for N scale.

Vic

Vic

Modelling the span between the real and the N-sane...

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