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Question on Yard Design

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Question on Yard Design
Posted by Doc in CT on Tuesday, February 28, 2012 3:14 PM

Having scrapped the time-saver based yard on the CT River Valley RR, I modified a design by John Armstrong (Fit 2.9, pg 26, Track Planning for Realistic Operation, 3rd Ed.) using it as a terminal rather than a yard off of a main track. Do I need an additional run around at the top to allow an arriving locomotive to "escape" from the top track?  The grid is 12 inches on a side.

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Posted by cowman on Tuesday, February 28, 2012 7:01 PM

I'm not a great layout planner, but here are a couple of things I think I would change/add.

First, in order to get trains off the main without backing, I would put a turnout to connect the main (top track) and the second track at the right hand end.  You could even put a lead on the end of the second track if you have the room.

Second, to get your loco to the service track, which I am assuming is your bottom track, I would put a crossover between the second and third tracks from the top.

Third, I would eliminate the second crossover in from the left.  Listed as optional on your referenced Figure in the book.

Might want to concider a similar escape and lead on the left hand end of your second track.

Good luck,

Richard

 

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Posted by steinjr on Tuesday, February 28, 2012 8:56 PM

Doc in CT

Having scrapped the time-saver based yard on the CT River Valley RR, I modified a design by John Armstrong (Fit 2.9, pg 26, Track Planning for Realistic Operation, 3rd Ed.) using it as a terminal rather than a yard off of a main track. Do I need an additional run around at the top to allow an arriving locomotive to "escape" from the top track?  The grid is 12 inches on a side.

http://www.stationhousevideos.com/CTRiverValleyRR/images/WinRail_11_ral_files/new%20yard.jpg

 Inspired by John Armstrong or not, this yard wastes two out of five tracks (second from top on right, bottom on left) for switchback leads, and has three separate extremely short and unusable runarounds. It is a horribly inefficient use of 13 x 2 foot of layout space.

 I realize that it probably is futile to ask, but how about doing things in the sensible order - instead of copying random track plan fragments and then trying to figure out how to use them, how about starting by telling us what this yard is supposed to do, and then try to create a design that will support the desired functionality?

 Stein

 

 

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Posted by cuyama on Tuesday, February 28, 2012 9:10 PM

steinjr
Inspired by John Armstrong or not, 

The posted design doesn't very much resemble Armstrong's version.

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Posted by Texas Zepher on Tuesday, February 28, 2012 9:25 PM

The short answer to your simple question is, "yes there would need to be an escape track there" but there are much more serious problems here than that.    I got out my copy of the Armstrong book and looke up the layout that you mentioned.   Mr. Armstrong says "a minimum but adequate division point yard", but the version shown here has reduced it even further.

The first big problem that I see is that he intended as arrival/departure tracks (he calls through freight east and through freight west) have been reduced to less than 9" each.  Of course with a stub end yard the third track which was the main in the original is of questionable value.   You have included the optional crossover which is really not needed with the shortening of the other tracks.  Then the two classification tracks are going the opposite direction of the track leading out of the yard which seems like it then wastes the length of the switch lead.   I think I would reverse the whole thing to match the entry/exit track to the left.

To help fix I need to know a bit more about the intended use for the yard.   What Train is the locomotive excaping from on the top track? How big is the layout connected to this yard.   How many classification and AD tracks are going to be needed? Is there any reason that the space to the lower left has not been used?

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Posted by cv_acr on Tuesday, February 28, 2012 10:42 PM

To be quite brutally honest, this looks more like a random collection of switches and spurs than a yard.

The switches on the left side of the plan "sort of" create something like a pair of runarounds, but there're both so short you could not even run around a single car. Then you have two spurs facing one way, and another track facing another direction, with what sort of looks like an attempt at parallel ladders. There's no really indication as to what you intended each track to be.

Also, I assume the two tracks at bottom left are the ones intended as your yard "body" tracks. However, you can never leave cars sitting on the bottom track, as it forms a switchback to the two spurs at right. If that bottom track is blocked, the tracks at right are also effectively blocked and unable to be accessed.

On the bright side, there's something that looks like a dedicated switching lead at the top right, although for just a pair of tracks there won't be much switching.

For a train to actually arrive or depart would be awkward if not impossible. A small train running from left to right would have to run in on the lead track at top right, and back itself into an empty track (and realistically, you only have one that can be used). A train running from right to left cannot properly make any movement at all since there is no runaround. There's no way for the engine to get to or from what should be the front of the train.

I agree with the poster(s) above that asked you to first identify what it is that you want your yard to actually accomplish. Is it:

  • simply a place to park a short train or two that you're not running?
  • simply a place to store extra freight cars, and perhaps an engine servicing track to store unused engines?
  • a small group of tracks for holding cars for local industries ("Industry support yard")
  • a place to sort inbound/outbound cars by destinations? (a "Classification" yard - the most common basic type of yard. Could be anything from a small town yard with only a few tracks to the largest hump yards)

One person referred to "arrival/departure" tracks - in a yard this small there wouldn't be dedicated arrival/departure tracks - any local train that actually originates/terminates could use any available track. Of course, stub-end yards on really railroads are pretty rare, except maybe for car storage tracks, and you need to have a track or tracks that an arriving train can runaround on.

So, if you can figure out what you want your yard to do, then you can figure out what sort of tracks you need to accomplish that, and then determine how to balance that with the space you have.

I hope you won't take this too harshly, but slapping down a few tracks without knowing the how or why and then trying to figure out how to run it is probably the best way to end up dissatisfied down the road. John Armstrong's track planning books were all about the hows and whys of what the railroad is and what it does. Understand that, and you'll start to understand the track plans. Real railroad yards may look like a complicated sea of track and switches, but all those tracks and switches were designed with a purpose. (Although over the course of a hundred years or so, the traffic patterns tend to change a little, and yard tracks are often rebuilt, expanded, modified or abandoned.)

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Posted by Texas Zepher on Tuesday, February 28, 2012 10:43 PM

Perhaps you intended something more like this?....  Still has plenty of issues but maybe a step toward what you were after?    Four good yard tracks, a station track or departure track, an Arrival Departure track, caboose track, yard bypass, yard lead..

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Posted by Doc in CT on Wednesday, February 29, 2012 5:05 PM

Having given some thought to the more helpful comments above, I have reworked the design a bit.  Major change was to reverse things allowing for more length in the storage tracks on the right.  I see this as a combination of staging tracks and simple operations yard.

Trains can arrive on tracks 1 or 2 and be stored on 1 or 5; locomotive "escapes" via run-a-round on 6.

Locomotive could then pick up cars from 1, 5, 7 or 8 depending on arrival.

Track 4 is for locomotive storage and for DCC programming.

One (of perhaps a number of) issue is how to spot or pickup cards on track 3 (an industry spur).
Is a cross-over needed at the green oval?

There is room at the top for a "passing spur" although I rather not be reaching in that far (there is a second level above this).

Tags: Yard design

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Posted by cowman on Wednesday, February 29, 2012 6:23 PM

AArrrrrrg!!!!!!!  Just hit something I shouldn't have and my message vanished.  Oh well.

Let's try again.

I'm a bit confused.  It appears that 1 is your main, but you refer to storing cars there.

Is there a reason you are keeping the crossover in the middle from 1 to 5?

As I look at it tracks 5 & 6 could be your A&D tracks, loco using the other A&D or the main (not ideal, but you have limited space), if the other track is full, to get to the runaround track and storage.

To pick  up or spot a car on track 3, you will have to runaround it using the runaround and yard tracks to get to the "right end" of the car to put it in place.

Track 2-5 could be used for a passing siding if it were necessary on occasion.

As long as your loco pushes the cars into the yard tracks, 7 & 8, you do not need a crossover at your circle.  Having a crossover there would use a lot of car storage space and you'd have to keep one track clear to escape on.

Have you considered a switching lead on the east end of 2?

Good luck,

Richard

 

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Posted by cv_acr on Wednesday, February 29, 2012 6:23 PM

Doc: I like it a lot better. A couple of runaround opportunities there.

One or two comments.

Track 1 is basically your incoming mainline. Just one quick question: I assume you're primarily coming in from the left? Does the line continue off to the right, or does this terminal basically stub-end? Doesn't really change much, just curious.

With Track 1 as your main, Tracks 2+5 together make a nice double-ended siding.

One thing I might suggest, is that by simply reversing the direction of the crossover between 1 and 5 you can use Track 1 and 2 as a short runaround even if 5 has cars sitting on it. With the crossover in the direction as drawn, 5 must be clear of cars in order for any runaround to take place, and in such a small yard you want to maximize your arrangement as much as possible.

Pulling cars out of the industry (Track 3) won't be too bad if its just one or two cars at a time, you can use the track that is parallel to the ladder as a short runaround. I think you've rightly identified that pulling any more than about 2 cars from track 3 would be a slightly more awkward move to runaround, (you'd have to push them back down and use 1 and 5, although the distance involved isn't really THAT bad here). The problem with putting in a crossover between 8 and 7 is that now 7 has to be clear of cars in order to use that. That kind of only leaves track 6 that can be left blocked the whole time. Honestly I'd probably leave that part of the plan the way it is and work around it.

If you have any depth available to squeeze in another stub track between 7 and 8 for more car capacity, I'd take it. I'm not real familiar with your space so I don't know how much of an option that is, but it shouldn't be too bad to squeeze out

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Posted by cv_acr on Wednesday, February 29, 2012 6:27 PM

I might also extend 6 out as a stub track so it has more capacity. You probably won't be switching it from the right side, and 2/5 is basically your runaround.

The right side of track 1 would never have anything standing on it. That would be your main/arrival track.

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Posted by steinjr on Wednesday, February 29, 2012 10:51 PM

Doc in CT

I see this as a combination of staging tracks and simple operations yard.

<snip>

There is room at the top for a "passing spur" although I rather not be reaching in that far (there is a second level above this).

 Starting with the basics:

 Does the mainline continue both to the right and left, or only to the left? (Edit: you have already stated that you want this as a terminal - i.e end of line, not as a yard on a main line. Makes the comment on a passing siding a little cryptic, but whatever)

 If we assume that the main is only to the left and this is a stub ended yard - will trains arrive backing in from the left, or heading in engine first from the left?  Might sound like a dumb question since you are planning engine escapes, but it may also means that you have not considered whether to simply back trains into the yard after either turning them on a train length wye or running the engine around the cars somewhere before you get to the yard and just pushing the cars into the yard.

 What era is this? Will you need to turn engines (steam or diesel), or will you run multi-engine diesel consists that won't need to be turned before the train heads out again towards the left? If you need to turn engines - can that be done away from the yard? Will your trains have a caboose?

 This is on one deck of a multi-deck layout. We can assume that access is from the bottom of the drawing, right? How much overhead clearance over the yard between the decks?

 You want to use this as staging. How many trains will need to be in staging at the same time? How long trains?  

 Will this yard also be used as a fiddle area (where you by hand take cars from the track and put them away on shelves, in drawers or in boxes, and put new cars onto the track)?

 I assume that "simple operations yard" means that you want to be able to sort cars. How long trains will be arriving and departing?

 Will two or more trains arrive before a train departs with some of the cars that arrived on the inbound trains? Will you be building blocks that will be going out on several trains (so you need to hold some blocks of cars for a time).

 Or will it be one train coming in, the cars in that train being sorted into a different order, and then the same train will be heading out again?

 Or something totally different?

 This is what I mean by starting with figuring out how you want to use the yard, and then designing something that support the desired operations - getting runaround long enough, having enough tracks, having enough access for adding or removing cars etc.

 Smile,
 Stein

 

 

 

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Posted by Doc in CT on Thursday, March 01, 2012 7:30 AM

cowman
I'm a bit confused.  It appears that 1 is your main, but you refer to storing cars there.  ...... Is there a reason you are keeping the crossover in the middle from 1 to 5?

I may use 1 as a staging track;  The 1-5 cross over is an artifact left over from the original design, doesn't seem to add anything does it.

cowman
Have you considered a switching lead on the east end of 2?

Duh, forgot that, it should be there.

 

 

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Posted by Doc in CT on Thursday, March 01, 2012 7:37 AM

It's a work in progress and thanks

cv_acr
Track 1 is basically your incoming mainline. Just one quick question: I assume you're primarily coming in from the left? Does the line continue off to the right, or does this terminal basically stub-end? Doesn't really change much, just curious.

 

cv_acr
One thing I might suggest, is that by simply reversing the direction of the crossover between 1 and 5 you can use Track 1 and 2 as a short runaround even if 5 has cars sitting on it.

As pointed out by cowman, as placed the crossover doesn't add anything, but reversing it would ad some utility.

[quote user="cv_acr"]I'm not real familiar with your space..

The orange color defines the table space available.  Also, this yard will be below an upper layer with only about 8 inches between the two, so I am trying to keep it shallow.

Alan

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Posted by steinjr on Thursday, March 01, 2012 7:52 AM


 Numbering tracks 1 -5 from rear to front

 - Access from main directly into all tracks. Can depart from any track to the main.

 - Can have trains arrive in or depart from track 1 without interfering with switching of tracks 2-5

 - Engine escape possible for tracks 1 and 2 (if the other track is not occupied). If both of these tracks are occupied at the same time, road engine will have to wait until a yard switcher pulls cars away (and shove them into another track)

 - Loco track and industry in lower left hand corner

 - Yard track closest to aisle can be used as fiddle track or as a 7-8 foot programming track (changing function to programming track by feeding power through a DPDT electric switch).

 Doesn't have to be any more complicated than that.

 Smile,
 Stein

 

Smile,
Stein

 

 

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Posted by Doc in CT on Thursday, March 01, 2012 7:54 AM

Please see second reply below (thought I lost this reply to stein).

Only additional information is that the benchwork shown is what is available (12 inch grid).

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Posted by Paulus Jas on Thursday, March 01, 2012 8:11 AM

hi Doc,

all depends on the number of trains you want to enter into this yard.

If you can handle one train at a time, do the run-around and switch the cars, before a second train enters the premise the only things you need is one run-around track and a few "spurs".

But, switching this terminal might need a lead or drill track if other trains are using the main. According to your plan you have a reversing loop with a passing siding just above this terminal, it could be necessary to be able to work your terminal merely independent from those loop tracks.

Only you are able to answer these questions, Stein asked them too..........  Beside the above the max train-length is an issue as well. Track 5 is only 3 feet long, you could do a lot better.

Instead of numbering tracks you could label them, and be very clear about the use of turnouts and passing sidings as well. Why are they in the plan, what is their function; write it all down.

Track 2 is in John Armstrong's view a yard lead, is it long enough to handle your cuts of cars?

The crossover between track 5 and 1 is used as a connection to get trains from the main(1) to a dedicated arrival and departure track(5). But you do not need a thorough fare (1) in this terminal, are you really running that many trains you have to divide yard -switching done by a local switcher from incoming trains from the main? Or is switching done by the road-engine?

Pay way more attention to  WHY tracks are drawn in a certain plan; never just copy a plan and place it in a completely different environment.

Paul   

 

 

 

 

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Posted by Doc in CT on Thursday, March 01, 2012 8:15 AM

can't believe I lose this replay on posting, anyway

Stein, to answer you questions

  1. This is a terminal yard for west bound freight traffic which enters stage left; nothing continues to the east (stage right).  Traffic enters engine head-in; while I have track to the upper left, this is on a 2% incline down into the yard, and shares space with two other lines.
  2. modern era diesel; any cabooses on the layout are for static display only or part of a train on continuous loop on the other section of the layout.
  3. the yard is a lower level with about 8 inches of clearance to the upper level; as there are only 3 turnouts on the upper level (which is very light traffic) I will be using ground throws rather than switch machines on the upper.
  4. I will likely have at least one consist there for staging (likely on track 1 right); I won't be running for than 5 or 6 cars per train.  There will be at least on other major yard on the layout along with come industrial areas with spurs.  I do have possible locations for other lower level staging storage.
    (My other half, who is not supposed to be into the hobby, asked if I was going to punch holes in the walls to hide some staging tracks in an adjacent room, go know. Interesting thought but not practical.)
  5. Fiddle - yes; I have enough rolling stock to want to swap out cars for visual interest and for some operations.
  6. I'm not a big operations person, more of a running around and scenery; that being said, having provisions for operations will add to the enjoyment once the layout gets closer to being finished.  However, I can't see spending hours just sorting and shuffling cars in a yard. (see next)
  7. I haven't given a lot of thought to how various trains and consists will be handled; I'll assume it's some combination of the possibilities you asked about.  For now, let's say I will want to do some point to point operational work between industries and destinations.

PS   The yard in your posting won't work as I don't have the space on the left (the jog in on the benchwork is to allows for access to a utility room, 1/2 bath and a closet).

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Posted by Doc in CT on Thursday, March 01, 2012 8:35 AM

Paul, as I mentioned in a reply above, the switch lead off of track 2 was over looked; given the space I have, it will be less than 36 inches long.

As I indicated in my reply to Stein, I haven't made any decisions on detailed operations;  this is a work in progress.

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Posted by steinjr on Thursday, March 01, 2012 8:43 AM

Doc in CT

PS   The yard in your posting won't work as I don't have the space on the left (the jog in on the benchwork is to allows for access to a utility room, 1/2 bath and a closet).

 

 Smile,
 Stein

 

 

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Posted by Paulus Jas on Thursday, March 01, 2012 8:57 AM

Hi,

Doc you are not really the best reader,

I have added a minimum yard, and the other tracks nearby,

Again without knowing your operational aims, I do have the impression you will NOT be running many trains at the very same time, so the yard below would be sufficient.

At Stein's last plan, by letting the engine and industry track come from the yard lead, you can fully use the third yard track for storage and staging.

BTW, if you use the reversing loop for turning around trains, backing into the yard is all you need.

Paul

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Posted by cv_acr on Thursday, March 01, 2012 1:46 PM

Since the orange highlighted area is the benchwork area available on his plan, I'm pretty sure your reverse loop idea is going to be a non-starter.

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Posted by steinjr on Thursday, March 01, 2012 1:51 PM

cv_acr

Since the orange highlighted area is the benchwork area available on his plan, I'm pretty sure your reverse loop idea is going to be a non-starter.

 Paul probably was thinking about something Doc (otherwise known as Alan) posted a few days ago:

 

 In this overall plan, there seems to be a reversing loop where Paul drew it. But it could be that it is on a different level than the yard Doc is working on here.

 Smile,
 Stein

 

 

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Posted by Paulus Jas on Thursday, March 01, 2012 2:39 PM

hi gentlemen,

Doc told us many times the vertical clearence of his terminal is limited. Besides he uses light yellow for the lower tracks, so the reversing loop and his terminal are on the lower level.

One more issue,

on the overall plan the length of the terminal is 14,5 feet, on Alan´s or Doc´s yard only plan the length is 16,5 ft.

Paul

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Posted by Texas Zepher on Thursday, March 01, 2012 5:10 PM

Doc in CT
Having given some thought to the more helpful comments above, I have reworked the design a bit. 

  I think it is much better. 

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Posted by Lehigh Valley 2089 on Thursday, March 01, 2012 7:34 PM

Not to beat you up or anything, this is really something that seems to be thrown together without much thought going into it. It is something that was never meant to be hooked up to a live railroad. If you want to have a functional yard or terminal, look for one that was designed for a railroad that was meant to run trains as per the prototype, or designe one yourself. I'm sorry, but this plan just doesn't have the ability to serve an actual railroad.

The Lehigh Valley Railroad, the Route of the Black Diamond Express, John Wilkes and Maple Leaf.

-Jake, modeling the Barclay, Towanda & Susquehanna.

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Posted by Doc in CT on Friday, March 02, 2012 7:01 AM

Just to clarify

The big return loops (two of them in the diagram Paul posted) are gone in the current version.  There is still an upper level over the yard; this level is a special diorama which has two manually controlled turnouts.  If I invert the "L girders" on the 3/4in thick plywood deck, I have effectively have 8 inches clearance to reach in with.

PS

Of course, while lengthening the yard, I lost the clearance needed for the duck under to get into the layout; maybe a (real) ladder from upstairs in an empty spot???

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Posted by Doc in CT on Monday, March 05, 2012 12:56 PM

I've been making some changes to the yard design, now an east-west bi-directional design rather than stub/terminal, and to the layout as a whole.    The image below is just the lower level which comprises about 90% of the layout.  The PDF file has far greater detail [link to PDF file 132KB]

Alan

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Posted by dehusman on Monday, March 05, 2012 4:29 PM

Ignoring the layout of the yard for a few moments, why is it there?

Assuming that the green lines are some sort of view block, from an operator standpoint that's a horrible place to put a switching yard.

Put the switching yard "inside" the room and the lead to the reverse loop "outside" the room.  Use the outside area solely for staging and storage and put all the operation on the inside.  Put the reverse loops on a lower level (don't necessarily have to be hidden) and put the industrial area that's inside now above the balloon loop.

Dave H. Painted side goes up.

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