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Help with layout shape and plan, please!

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Posted by fender777 on Monday, July 17, 2017 12:05 PM
Let me add that one big mistake is to cram to much table area in the room. You have a very nice floor. After a while a cramped room keeps getting more cramped and soon you will hate the room. I have done this with slotcars and trains. A around the wall layout with just big radius at each end will give you a lot of mainline.
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Posted by TrainzLuvr on Monday, July 17, 2017 7:20 PM

@fender777

I am going with H0, I actually changed the title of the thread to reflect my final committment, too.

Do you have a layout plan of your layout you can show, and some photos perhaps?

EDIT: I'd love to see how you managed your space because we are almost identical in size.

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Posted by TrainzLuvr on Monday, July 17, 2017 8:01 PM

I have come up with another layout plan. The #34 (G shape) was an inspiration to start with, then it was morphed along side with #37 into what it is now. It's really a variation of #18/#19 that I lost track of.

I feel that I'm getting closer to the finish line as I can see more meaning in how things should operate.

Here's #40 in shape and track (v1, with v2 being worked on already). This is a double deck layout with lower staging.

Mainline is about 140' long!!! The larger turnbacks are 29" radii while the center one is 26". I'm open to suggestions whether I should alter them to 28" and 27", having in mind that 24" is the smallest choke point I'd contend with and would prefer 30" there, if I could.

The way I see this operate is as follows:

Staging would be below the center peninsula and trains could leave going either eastbound (right, then down towards the columns in gray) or westbound (right then up towards the upper wall) while climbing up to the main level. They would emerge somewhere on the bottom turnback (location TBD) or upper wall (location TBD) and merge the main line. They would have to traverse the entire main line, to reach their respective yards on the north/south side of the peninsula.

When trains leave the yard, they can either go to the other respective yard, or to the opposite staging, through above established route.

Industries and towns/stations would be somewhere along the main, and I hope I can fit them with a decent spacing in-between.

Originally, I thought I would put a helix in the upper turnback and was ready to settle for losing that space. Then today while surfing the web I stumbled upon a linear/curved elevator concept that I totally lost track of (I've seen it before).

To reach the upper deck, trains would take the linear elevator in the bottom, just below the columns, symbolized with the light green box with the track in it.

I have not connected the track yet, but I plan to have two sidings to the main line there, one of which will be the elevator.

EDIT: Forgot to mention, aisle are very generous, aside from the two chokepoints around the center peninsula.

Still much more to be added, but as I said, I feel I'm getting really close to something I would build.

I won't post the v2 of the track because I'd like to hear any feedback first and whether this makes sense or not.

Please and thank you.

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Posted by Choops on Tuesday, July 18, 2017 7:12 AM

A folded g shape will give you the same amount of main line with one less "blob" and a straight run along the east wall.

Steve

Modeling Union Pacific between Cheyenne and Laramie in 1957 (roughly)
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Posted by fender777 on Tuesday, July 18, 2017 7:34 AM
You would not like my plan I think' it is more of a switching point to point layout around the wall. My room is 22ft long but only 11.6ft wide' which made a dogbone are G shape just to cramed. I am more into industries and factories and coal. I will have 2 towns. Only 1 mainline. And later the layout will connect to run trains around the intire room. Just check my threads on my shelf layout. Their are pic. Thanks
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Posted by fender777 on Tuesday, July 18, 2017 7:59 AM
Here is a link and pic.
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Posted by DSchmitt on Tuesday, July 18, 2017 9:08 AM

fender777
Here is a link and pic.
 

I tried to sell my two cents worth, but no one would give me a plug nickel for it.

I don't have a leg to stand on.

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Posted by TrainzLuvr on Wednesday, July 19, 2017 7:07 PM

@Choops

I tried the G and it has a shorter mainline than what I posted above in #40.

Plus the G has these narrow areas that really do not help much with putting anything on them beside just scenery...didn't really look that hot to me.

 

@DSchmitt

thanks for reposting the image.

 

@fender777

At least your ceiling appears taller than mine, and there's much more trackwork and scenery, too. :)

 

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Posted by fender777 on Thursday, July 20, 2017 6:28 AM
Of all the layouts posted no17 looks like the best to me. To many of them will have tight radius in reality. My self I would just do a complete around the wall 24in wide with a duck under. But don't complete the duck under intill most of the hard work is done then do a liftout or something.
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Posted by TrainzLuvr on Sunday, July 23, 2017 11:18 AM

@fender777

#17 was a suggestion from one of my club members. He figured that to utilize the two columns at the bottom, make that portion of the layout wider so that it could be operated from both sides of the columns.

That bottom arm could facilitate a larger yard etc. while the top arm would be more scenic with track overlapping at various heights, and a fold down turnback section in yellow, to allow access to the electrical panel.

The last two plans I posted (#37 and #40) are walk arounds, although #40 has two turnback loops, I still favour it more over #37.

Would you not put a peninsula in the middle? Just a 24" walk around would leave a lot of space unused in the middle of the room and  would end up looking like #29.

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Posted by fender777 on Sunday, July 23, 2017 1:17 PM
Yes I would use a peninsula in the middle as long as their is room to move around and not to cramped and the radius can be at least 28in or more.
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Posted by TrainzLuvr on Sunday, July 23, 2017 2:15 PM

So something like this:

I made the top wall portion 30" instead of 24" so that the yard can go at the front and main can pass behind, as well as the no-lix track could climb around the wall.

Or would you have some other suggestions, I'm open to anything...

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Posted by rrinker on Sunday, July 23, 2017 8:42 PM

 You probably don't need 30" there. I have 6 yard tracks, 2 AD tracks, plus a 2 track main in 2' and the spacing between the main and AD tracks and the AD tracks and the first yard track are somewhat excessive as I haven't gone back and totally cleaned up the first draft yet.

 On the opposite side - maybe go down to 18" wide instead of a full 24". You can still get plenty of scenery and even sidings in that space. Those two changes save a full foot, which if you adjust the penninsula menas each aisle can gain 6" of width. Without really sacrificing any layout.

                                 --Randy

 


Modeling the Reading Railroad in the 1950's

 

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

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Posted by Doughless on Monday, July 24, 2017 3:08 PM

TrainzLuvr

So something like this:

I made the top wall portion 30" instead of 24" so that the yard can go at the front and main can pass behind, as well as the no-lix track could climb around the wall.

Or would you have some other suggestions, I'm open to anything...

 

The space on the south side of the columns is perfect for hidden staging.  Run a backdrop between the columns.  

And I agree with Randy.  30 inches is probably overkill, and the base of the peninsula is probably also too wide  

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Posted by TrainzLuvr on Monday, July 24, 2017 5:48 PM

Thanks for the suggestions guys!

I was going to either put the staging on the peninsula (lower level) or on the top wall, that's why I kept it at 30".

I'm not sure there's enough room for staging in the space below the columns - just 12" there and the no-lix track was going to pass there with perhaps one siding. I did not put it but yes a backdrop was going to go just below the columns all along to the right wall.

What about left and right walls, should I keep them as is or thin down too. Again, need space for the no-lix track and I'm not sure of the best way to incorporate it into the rest of the layout so the trains don't go missing for long periods of time.

Speaking of which, how do you come up in the benchwork when you have a climbing track, assuming I build with open-grid or L-griders frameworks?

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Posted by Doughless on Tuesday, July 25, 2017 2:16 PM

I've lost track of your overall concept so I apologize if my observation muddied the waters.

My thought was that you are able to access the layout from both sides of the columns, even though the room allowing south side access isn't part of the normal operating space.  When operating the layout within its confines, I thought the track beyond the columns might be difficult to scenic and might not be very efficient operationally.  Using it for staging hidden from view from the operating ailes, but yet totaly accessible from the south, could be a useful situation.

Devoting a few more inches of benchwork to the south side might eliminate the need for below or above grade staging and the complexities thereof.

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Posted by Choops on Wednesday, July 26, 2017 7:44 AM

have you studied the latest issue with the HO scale CSX's KD Subdivision?  It is very similar to what you want to build.

Steve

Modeling Union Pacific between Cheyenne and Laramie in 1957 (roughly)
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Posted by TrainzLuvr on Wednesday, July 26, 2017 5:42 PM

I've gone beyond the columns for 12" and that's probably the most I can get away with. That space is basically a hallway through the basement and has to be kept clear and accessible.
We also plan to add a closet space below the left column on the opposite wall. With me taking those 12" there and the closet space, it's making that part of the hallway fairly narrow at 3' or so.

Would it be worth while putting staging there into the 12" of space, considering that I don't have much space on the opposite side of the columns for a pass-thru track, or a no-lix incline?

I did see the CSX KD Sub plan and its shape is similar to my #42. This brings me to a question whether it would be better to go all the way around the walls like #42, or two turnbacks like #40.

Also have this variation made

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Posted by Doughless on Wednesday, July 26, 2017 8:52 PM

You can certainly get a few staging tracks into a 12 inch space, but I'm afraid I can't make the judgment of how many or few staging tracks would be adequate for what you are trying to accomplish.  You probably need professional design help for that, in that a person would have to take the time to discuss your goals and wants probably in more detail than what can be provided here.

It why making suggestions on a forum is tough, since it impacts a bunch of other decisions you may have already settled on. 

 

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Posted by rrinker on Wednesday, July 26, 2017 10:11 PM

 You can easily get 5 staging tracks in 12" width and still have space away from the edge of the table - although since it's staging you can also put up a small fence to prevent 'issues' since it doesn't have to look as nice as the visible part of the layout. In fact, a removeable full height 'fence' made to look like furniture may help the acceptance factor. Is 5 staging tracks enough? You need to come up with some sort of operating plan to determine that. Plus that's 5 trains the full length of the longest wall, just about. Too big to run on the layout. On at least 2 if not 3 of the 5 tracks, you could easily stage 2 trains per track. Either back to back, one staged to run east, the other staged to run west, or serially, both facing the same way. So that's 7-8 trains staged. Also, having the staging outside of the main layout means you could have a workign staging yard - here's where the removable cover comes in. Normally the cover is on, makign the room look nice. When it's tiem to operate the layout, someone could stand or sit in that hallway to actively shift cars on and off the staging tracks to make up new trains and break down ones that finish the run, making for unlimited operation. Like mole staging but since this person wouldn't be buried behind the benchwork I wouldn't call them a mole. This may make for a good compromise between having enough tracks and not using prime real estate for staging.

 That second one with 2 short penninsulas - personally I nope out on those because everything is then curved, no places for sidings or anything. Someone gave me a similar suggestion for my old space (I had 50+ feet of linear space but only about 15 feet wide) and while I've sure something could be done liek that, it just didn't register with me. Rather than sharply defined blobs, some gentle curving of the benchwork so it's not all square improves the appearance and just one penninsula seems to me a more effective use of the space.

 #42, if the staging is outside the pillars, that interior, if you don;t mind the duckunder entrance, gives you more than a scale mile run just with a simple single lap and no double decking - it's actually more because I didn't calculate curves by circumference, just diagonal blocks - which is also off because diagnonal on a 1' square block is 1.4', not 1'. On the inside of the pillars you could run a bypass track that bypasses the staging and gives a completely visible continuous run. You could do a twice around design with only slight height difference (not a true double deck - so you can get back down to have just the one staging yard) and get something like 2.5 miles or more of main line running.

                            --Randy

 


Modeling the Reading Railroad in the 1950's

 

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

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Posted by Schuylkill and Susquehanna on Thursday, July 27, 2017 12:01 AM

You can get 6 tracks in at 2" spacing, but that assumes that you intend it to be a staging yard and not a fiddle yard.  If you want a fiddle yard, I'd suggest having 4 tracks so you have plenty of room for not-quite-scale fingers.

 

Have you determined how long you would like your trains to be?  I took a read through this thread, and I don't recall seeing it.  I like trains that are 12 to 14 cars long, plus an engine or two and a cabin car (caboose for those who are not Pennsy-literate).  In HO scale:

  • 118 foot steam locomotive (J1), 14 50-foot cars, N5C cabin car = 10.49 feet
  • 2 BF16 (RF-16) diesels, 14 50-foot cars, N5C cabin car = 10.39 feet

Remember to do the train length calculation using the dimension over the pulling faces of the couplers.  Afterwards fudge a little extra to allow for oversize model couplers and operational flexability.  For example, I'd probably design the sidings and yards for an 11 foot train rather than the calculated 10.5 foot maximum train length.

Dimensions for various cars and locomotives are available here (sorry, PRR only): http://prr.railfan.net/diagrams/PRRdiagrams.html?sel=&sz=sm&fr=

 

I feel that the track plan for CSX's KD subdivision, as previously mentioned in this thread, gives a good idea of what can be done with a very similar space.  The CSX plan is 15'x22'3" while your space is 14'x22'8", and it appears to be designed for roughly 10-11 foot long trains.

I would suggest avioding a pair of turbacks like you show in #40.  It's going to make the no-lix a bit harder because you will be doubling back instead of maintaining a gentle spiral, and it adds an area in the top left corner of the room that will require a lift-out or duckunder to access.

I agree with rrinker that #41 could cause you problems trying to place sidings and yards.  Coupling on curves that tight is quite possible, but only with near-equal length cars and locomotives.  If you want to put more curves in the track, perhaps incicative of a line that had been cut into the side of a mountain, then some gentle curves in the track, combined with a gently undulating fascia can provide that effect without having to add peninsulas.  Had I been the one to build the KD Subdivision, I would have cut the layout edge along the top and left walls to follow the tracks to give it a more fluid feel.

 

S&S

 

Modeling the Pennsy and loving it!

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Posted by fender777 on Thursday, July 27, 2017 6:36 AM
I do like #42 gives you a good lap without tight radius. Sometimes a duck under is just what has to happen' I am going to use one' No biggie' I just keep it open intill most of the hard stuff is done on the rest of layout. And you can use a lift out their also. Myself I never like double deck layouts' My eyes like to just look at one level.
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Posted by Choops on Thursday, July 27, 2017 10:24 AM

I still think the g shape will give you the best results. multi deck or single deck. 

With the e shape you don't get the long straight runs.   There are turnbacks everywhere.  The whole east wall is almost useless. 

As far as the duckunder or bridge I would be against it.  Looks like the room you are puting it in is nicely finished and you will want to show the layout to friends and family.  reliability of removeable bridges is debatable but it will never be as easy as walking into the layout.

Steve

Modeling Union Pacific between Cheyenne and Laramie in 1957 (roughly)
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Posted by Schuylkill and Susquehanna on Thursday, July 27, 2017 3:19 PM

I agree that in general a "G" is preferable, but using it as part of a no-lix design becomes problematic.  To complete the no-lix, the track has to run along the north and east walls, back around to the south-east corner of the room to re-emerge on the sceniced portions of the layout.  Personally, I don't like long stretches of hidden trackage, and trying to no-lix a "G" shaped layout is going to require 35+ feet of hard to access hidden track.

A lift-out or swing bridge can be a problem, too.  Lift-outs tend to wear and eventually lose their alignment, and swing bridges need to be rigid enough to maintain vertical alignment at the open end.  There have been some nice articles published by Kalmbach on building lift-outs and swing bridges that are rigid, durable, and have easy alignment adjustments.

Ideally, we could use a teleporter to get inside the layout, but for now we'll just have to compromise.  Between inaccessible track and a possibly finicky but easier to access swing gate, I'd choose the gate, but that's just me.

S&S

 

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Posted by carl425 on Thursday, July 27, 2017 3:37 PM

Schuylkill and Susquehanna
I agree that in general a "G" is preferable, but using it as part of a no-lix design becomes problematic.

When John Armstrong first used the no-lix, it was on a G shaped layout.

I have the right to remain silent.  By posting here I have given up that right and accept that anything I say can and will be used as evidence to critique me.

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Posted by Schuylkill and Susquehanna on Thursday, July 27, 2017 3:39 PM

carl425

 

When John Armstrong first used the no-lix, it was on a G shaped layout.

Looks like I need to brush up on my John Armstrong plans.  Do you recall the article title or what the layout was called?

 

EDIT:  Found it.  "To Hardscrabble the Hard Way"  For those who looked and said TLDR, Armstrong doubles the track back through scenes and uses one peninsula as a transition between the lower and upper decks.

 

Modeling the Pennsy and loving it!

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Posted by rrinker on Thursday, July 27, 2017 6:24 PM

G shape? I'd say that layout is more of an E than a G. A G shape would either the top or bottom leg around towards the middle, not have an extra (though somewhat short) leg in the middle. That, my friends, is an E. With seriphs on the upper and lower leg. 

                            --Randy

 


Modeling the Reading Railroad in the 1950's

 

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Posted by TrainzLuvr on Thursday, July 27, 2017 8:01 PM

Thanks everyone for your replies...I'll take it from the top.

My current Givens and Druthers are on page 3: http://cs.trains.com/mrr/f/11/t/260185.aspx?page=3#2973314

~~~

When it comes to train lengths I am not a fan of long trains. And I'd like to concept of selective compression, applied on train lengths as well.

I read somewhere that for my size of space/sq.footage/mainline length, trains should be average 12-15 cars long, and I'm kinda leaning towards the lower number, or even 10-12, plus the engine(s) and the caboose.

I'd like to follow the rule to have 2-2.5 train lengths separation between populated areas/towns, if that's possible in my space. At 11-12 cars, plus engine, plus caboose, we are looking at 8.5-9' for 50' box cars.

This is all based on Bob Sprague's Curve and Grade Calculator from https://docs.wixstatic.com/ugd/fce877_c65b63916d8f4742bebdfdcfb6ab882a.xlsx

I like the idea of staging below the columns as it doesn't take space inside the layout nor does it require a layout sub-level. Since the hallway space is open and can be accessed if/when needed, someone could potentially work the staging as a "hostler" (I believe is the term).
Also, there could be upper and lower staging in the same space of 12", potentially providing 5-6 tracks, 14-15' long.

~~~

Now regarding the layout shape, what if I was to put a helix into #40 turnback at the upper-left?

It would be a pretty big waste of space (28 sq.ft) but I could put something ontop of that helix, on the upper level: turntable+roundhouses+engine facilities; some kind of a mine or a quarry; etc.

Sadly, I have to contend with a ~6'5"-6'7" ceiling height which does not leave much room for upper level scenery/structures.

~~~

I don't like duck unders (and neither does my SO - I've been explicitly told against them) so there would have to be a swing gate on #42, probably in the lower-left, on the diagonal portion. By the way, csxmad on YouTube made an awesome swing gate:

There would also be some removable section in the upper-right for the electrical panel, unless someone here has a suggestion/idea how to go around it (mine is in a closet behind a full height door). I'd love to get rid of it, but I need electricity in the house, and for the trains. Big Smile

~~~

Armstrong's Hardscrabble design looks more like an E to me not G.

Why do some of you feel that the G shape is more preferable?

Byron (cuyama) suggested it:

And so did Bob Sprague (to whom I've been talking to on and off past couple of months):

The G shape just does not appear, at least to me, to offer as much room for industries, towns, etc. There are many narrow sections, all I see are scenic areas. And as S&S said, building a no-lix into it would make a lot of hidden track.

 

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Posted by rrinker on Thursday, July 27, 2017 8:31 PM

 The G to me seems to give the most runnign room for a single deck layout - though even mine is essentially a G with an extra tail goign to the staging loops. A helix is a space eater but I can't think of any other way to handle it on my plan. And even if I didn;t have a helix there, I would need a turnback loop anyway, occupying the same space, so why not go up? In that case, a G shape works well, if the one lobe can be a helix. 

 On the other hand, the E shape, while having a partially unusable wall at the base of the center penninsula, well, that otherwise unusable wall could be part of the climb for the no-lix.

 I had considered switching the staging to 3rd and 4th decks and putting my helix in the otherwise unusable laundry room, but then I don't knwo how to handle the other end of the layout. I want a continuus run option, and the helix as going to be in teh middle of the run - if I have staging come in from either direction at the middle of the layout ti changes the whole concept. And of course there is tht small part of me that wants to make it all single track - but my prototype was double track, even back when they laid the first rails in 1840 or so. I suppose I could split the diffeerence and make one deck double and the other deck single. Seeing as how at the base of the helix is a major yard.

ANd I've been working on this for 3 years now - so don;t get discouraged, it can be a long process to get what you want and can live with. Granted I have not been designing continuously for 3 years - I've barely looked at it in the past year and a half, just starting again now that I have contractors lined up to redo the basement and make it layout ready.

                 --Randy 


Modeling the Reading Railroad in the 1950's

 

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

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Posted by Doughless on Thursday, July 27, 2017 8:45 PM

After reading your last post, and that you are considering a helix, you obviously want a lot of mainline run...with the mainline going through different scenes, not running laps around a big loop (BTW which is an effective way to build mileage between towns. A couple of towns could represent many different towns every time the train passes through each, but it does remind us of the 4x8 train set)

Then, you are concerned about not having enough space for industries and switching if the G shape is built.

My observation is:  you want it all, but, frankly, you'll probably need to use the entire basement to get it.  I don't think your space supports having everything.  I think you're going to have to decide if you prefer the long diverse mainline or "plenty" of room for "lots" of industries.  Once that is settled..going back to theme here...I think planning the space will be easier since it will eliminate some choices.

If you build a helix, that might give you enough run to provide most everything.  But then that is a bit of a tight space to use a helix, so there's that issue.

Once you take some time to really settle on the priorities and what you're willing to sacrifice, I think the forum will be in a better position to offer more specific suggestions.

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