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11' by 5' L-Shape Layout Design - Input Desired

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11' by 5' L-Shape Layout Design - Input Desired
Posted by swisstrain on Thursday, September 14, 2017 2:05 PM

Hi - I am fairly new to the forum, and I am in the process of designing a 11' x 5' L- Shaped Layout.

Some key characteristics/desires:

  • Location is a spare room, of which I get to occupy half Big Smile
  • HO Scale
  • Minimum radius 18", max grades 2%
  • Time period early 1900's, running small steam engines (2-6-0 and 4-4-0, maybe a 2-8-0) and 36-40' freight cars
  • Max train lenghts engine plus 5-6 cars
  • Free-lanced
  • Want continuous running - I built an earlier layout (all track operational, but no landscape) as an out and return back in loop, and did not like that I could not let a train just run and watch for a while without intervention

So far this is where I am with my design:

https://www.flickr.com/photos/150771392@N07/36830106820/

The plan is designed with Atlas 83 rail, just because that is what I have on hand from my earlier layout (with exception of a #6 1/2 Sinohara curved turnout).

In essence, I believe I was able to stick to above set parameters, although I had to go slightly above my maximum desired grades (max grade 2.5% as designed).  I planned sidings for a small wharf/port (bottom left), and a small branch going to a mine (left layout wing).  I may or may not include a turntable in the yard, just thinking it will get too crowded, and I won't really need one to turn, due to the continuous run.

Any input is welcome!

Urs

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Posted by gregc on Thursday, September 14, 2017 6:42 PM

near the bottom left, i assume there's a bridge where the loop crosses itself.   there's a turnout with a spur that also crosses the loop.   isn't the spur above the loop it crosses?   does it need a bridge?

do you really need the crossover in the middle of the siding?

most of the spurs are oriented for counter-clockwise (right side loop) running.   do you plan on running clockwise?   should there be spurs, not on the siding that are oriented for cw running?

why do you have so many spurs off the siding?d

 

greg - Philadelphia & Reading / Reading

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Posted by dehusman on Thursday, September 14, 2017 8:00 PM

swisstrain
HO Scale Minimum radius 18", max grades 2%

You will have to make sure your track is well done for such tight curves.  The pilot trucks will object it there are any kinks.  As long as you are running short trains(4-6 cars) the grades should work.

Time period early 1900's, running small steam engines (2-6-0 and 4-4-0, maybe a 2-8-0) and 36-40' freight cars

1900 era is 28-36 ft cars.  A 40 ft car in 1900 would be like a high cube today.  You will want mostly Bachmann 34 ft cars, Mantua 30 ft cars and the roundhouse 36 ft cars.  40 ft cars didn't become common until 1910-1915.

The combination of grades and curves could be problematic, but as long as you want short trains you will be ok.

Dave H. Painted side goes up.

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Posted by 7j43k on Thursday, September 14, 2017 8:22 PM

It looks OK to me.  I, too, wonder at the crossover in the middle of the siding.  But it causes no harm.  Except that you then can't have another spur track there.

I think that the layout should be operated point to point--from the port up into the hills, and back.  In that instance, it would be nice to have a run-around track up at the mines.  I do, also, endorse the continuous run, but only as a "fun option".  I would probably do the same thing.  It is indeed nice to watch the train(s) run instead of operating them.  On occasion.

This can be a fun layout if you really attend to the scenery and buildings.  I do wish the rail size was smaller than Code 83.  That is really huge, and will make things look "funny".  I do sympathize with the re-use concept, however.  As much as you are able to pull off, I recommend Code 70 throughout, with some Code 55 on the industrial sidings.

A turntable can be fun.  You'll have to decide about whether it "works" or not.

 

In a way, the layout reminds me of the original (tiny) Gorre & Daphetid.

 

Ed

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Posted by BigDaddy on Friday, September 15, 2017 2:17 AM

Welcome the the forum, if you share your flickr pic with the BB code, you can just copy and paste the link, without using the photo icon above or any sizing

 Smallport Western Rev 8d by Urs Rathgeb, on Flickr

It doesn't look like you have much space next to most of your sidings for any structures/factories.

Henry

COB Potomac & Northern

By the Chesapeake Bay

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Posted by swisstrain on Friday, September 15, 2017 9:01 AM

Wow, thanks for all the constructive input, good stuff to help me refine my plan.  Obviously, I will need to think things through a bit more (still - looks like I have been thinking forever).

Re: grades and curves, as two of you mentioned, that one is giving me the most headaches.  I ran 18" and 2% grades successfully on the previous layout, but am a bit worried about going beyond.  I guess I will have to do a mock up and experiment.

Dave, when I said early 1900's I really meant somewhere in the time frame 1910-1920 rather than right at the turn of the century, which would include some 40' cars.  Definitely will not run anything larger though.  I hear you regarding pilot trucks, in particular on the 2-6-0, it is why I avoid the Sinohara/Wathers curved turnouts when I can, even though they look nice.

Greg, regarding the crossover in the yard, my intention was to use it to switch the two sidings above the yard, without having to go outside the yard limits onto the main.  I imagined one of those tracks to be a team track, and/or maybe install a small gantry, and use the other for storage.  I'll post another iteration of the plan and provide some labels what the tracks will be used for. Re: the turnout to the branch, it is going over the mainline below, but at that location the mainline will be in the tunnel, so no bridge.  Could change that though.

Ed, you gave me some food for thought, operating as point to point (and using the continuous loop as option) - vs my plan, in which the continuous loop is the dominating scheme.

I too would like to use code 70 rail, but I hate to let all that Atlas track go to waste - I'll get pennies on the dollar if I let it go on ebay.  And it is extremely reliable, in particular those turnouts.

BigDaddy, thanks for the input re: posting pictures.  Still need more input though what the BB code is(?).

Thanks again

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Posted by cuyama on Friday, September 15, 2017 10:29 AM

Welcome to the forum.

Generally it looks like a good start. A few questions/comments:

For those designing their own layouts, John Armstrong’s Track Planning for Realistic Operation is a great introductory resource.

I wonder if there is enough vertical clearance at the bridge. Depending on the type of bridge model and the size (somewhat era-related) of your models, 2.9” railhead-to-railhead might not be sufficient (since the clearance is less). [Refer to NMRA S-7 "Classic" dimensions-- note that these measurements are clearances, railhead-to-railhead elevations calculated in CAD or manually must be greater to allow for track, bridge, and/or subroadbed.]

If the layout is going into a corner of the room at the lower-left of the diagram, most folks would prefer to have less than a 30” reach over scenicked layout areas to avoid damage. If the area at the upper left inside the loop is open, that would help. There may also be a reach concern along the back wall without an access hatch or opening.

Grade transitions are necessary for reliability, and grades should not change within or too near a turnout. If you haven’t allowed for this, the grades will be steeper than you hope. 

Note also that the effective grade through the 18” radius curve is 32/R (R being the radius), which adds 1.78% effective grade to your nominal grade through the curves. You could still be OK as drawn, but there could be more impact on performance and reliability than you would like. (I mention this since you cited your concern about grades.)

With not much modification, one could probably expand to 20” minimum radius (or perhaps a little more), which would help ease the effective grade and allow more types of equipment to run reliably. Note that this would require access spaces for sure.

Your arrangement of spurs is unusual compared to most real-life and model railroads. In this somewhat similar 8X10 HO layout, it was possible to create a more traditional yard (if you like). An interchange track somewhere is a nice-to-have feature. As others have noted, your current plan might not offer as much room for structures as you hope, once you allow for clearances.

As others have mentioned, the crossover in the middle of the main double-ended siding might not add a lot of flexibility. 

There is a bit of a s-curve “wiggle” in the mainline on the lower track just to the left of the bridge in your plan. This would probably be easily corrected in actually laying track, but since it’s in a spot that might be hard to reach, straight track there would be best.

If you’d like to operate two trains (even if one is short), an additional double-ended siding is worth considering.

Good luck with your layout.

Byron

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Posted by 7j43k on Friday, September 15, 2017 11:27 AM

Regarding the bridge clearance:

This layout is meant to be set in the early 1900's using small locomotives.

NMRA "old time" clearance is 2 21/32".

Plate B clearance is a bit under 2 1/8".  And I am sure no equipment properly under consideration would exceed Plate B.

Also, the bridge would have been lightly built.  One such is on p. 69 of my copy of Mallery's "Bridge and Trestle Handbook".  On that bridge, the distance from bottom clearance to railhead is 7/8".

Thus, if you combine 2 1/8" plus 7/8", you get 3".  Perhaps a clever bridge designer could pick up .1" and get the whole thing down to 2.9".

 

The idea behind this layout is very reminiscent, to me, of one in Model Railroader September 1960.  5' x 9', as I recall.  There was a dock and a yard.  A track went up in "the hills" to a mine.  There was a continuous running option.  The supposed prototype was a "stand-alone" railroad (set a bit south of the continental United States--as I recall) that had been built only to go inland to the mine(s) and bring out ore.  So, you had a wharf, a small yard with some company buildings and such, and a run up to the mine.  You would, incidentally, have to have an old coach to transport the miners up to work and back to partake of the small town's wondrous night life.

One interesting difference is that the 5 x 9 layout is smaller than the subject one.  But.  You can get to both "sides" of that 5 x 9.  So it's kind of easy to have two scenes.  With this one, the other "side" is sort of useless.  I do think some more thought might be in order.  One possibility would be to have the continuous run NOT include going up the hill to the mines--just keep it flat.  I don't know if that's an improvement--might be, might not.  Admittedly, the exposed part of the continuous run would likely be much shorter.

For the yard on this layout, I see that as being located where the two parallel spur tracks are, sort of in the middle.  I do believe I might remove that middle crossover and add a couple more spur tracks to enlarge the yard.  Also might be good to put the turntable there--out in front where you can see/operate it.

 

Ed

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Posted by cuyama on Friday, September 15, 2017 11:43 AM

7j43k
NMRA "old time" clearance is 2 21/32"

Just by the way, Didrik Voss, MMR, the manager of the NMRA’s Standards and Conformance Department, has expressed concerns that the "Old Time" standard may be undersized for standard gauge due to long-ago errors. He was recently seeking input on this from modelers. (Layout Design Journal #59, page 40.)

So counting on the exact minimum clearance for model equipment (some of which may itself be slightly oversize) might be risky.

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Posted by cuyama on Friday, September 15, 2017 11:47 AM

7j43k
One interesting difference is that the 5 x 9 layout is smaller than the subject one.  But.  You can get to both "sides" of that 5 x 9.  So it's kind of easy to have two scenes.  With this one, the other "side" is sort of useless.

It adds quite a bit to length of run, so I wouldn't personally consider that "useless". But yes, within the same physical space, multiple footprints may work. Without knowing what’s in the rest of the room and the impact this would have on aisles, hard to say.

Edit: After a quick look at the published 5X9 you are suggesting, it would be a bit tighter if built as drawn. It's drawn with handlaid-to-fit "true" #4s, which are a bit sharper than the Atlas "#4s" (actually #4½) that the Original Poster used. If using the Atlas #4s, it might not quite fit in 5’X9’. But an interesting concept.

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Posted by rrinker on Friday, September 15, 2017 12:48 PM

 It also reminds me somewhat of another plan in MR from later int eh 60's. I think it was brought up here int he past year or so, but the heck if I remember what year or what it was called. I know I looked it up at the time and it was certainly interesting, althouth perhaps the same caveats as many of the plans - I doubt it was designed to sectional turnouts. I know, some help - but the one I'm thinking of was L shaped in a similar footprint.

                     --Randy

 


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Posted by RR_Mel on Friday, September 15, 2017 12:54 PM

All the advise above is exceptionally good.  I wasn’t going to add to this post but because of my personal experience I want to emphasize Byron’s statement “Grade transitions are necessary for reliability, and grades should not change within or too near a turnout. If you haven’t allowed for this, the grades will be steeper than you hope.”  Byron is right on the money!!
 
I failed to leave enough distance between a #4 turnout and my grade and I had no end of problems until I removed and replaced the track. 
 
My problems were selective to specific locomotives.  My six axle Proto E8s & E9s and Rivarossi Cab Forwards would almost constantly derail at the turnout.  Athearn PA six axle, Proto E7 six axle, as well as all of my SDs and other steam passed the turnout with ease.
 
After I rebuilt the transition everything works great, its been several years with out a single derail after the fix.  When my GS4s pass a turnout any locomotive will pass.
 
 
Mel
 
Modeling the early to mid 1950s SP in HO scale since 1951
 
My Model Railroad   
 
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I'm beginning to realize that aging is not for wimps.
 
 
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Posted by swisstrain on Friday, September 15, 2017 1:06 PM

Thanks guys, this is really amazing feedback!  Never thought I would get that much critical, thought provoking and encouraging input in that short amount of time!

I do have that John Armstrong Book, and will do a bit of study - and thanks for reminding me of the necessary easements in elevations, cuyama, I will need to seriously rethink that.  Considering the curve, I would be dealing with 4% plus incline, in particular if increasing clearance a bit at the bridge, and the relatively light 2-6-0's and 4-4-0's that I have will start slipping, even with just 5-6 cars - not what I want to deal with.  That makes Ed's suggestion of keeping the continuous run flat and have the branchline go uphill a serious consideration.  Will also study that 5x9 plan mentioned, I have access to the mentioned copy of MR.

Concerning access, as you guessed the layout is in a corner of the room, but I will have access from the side of the return loops (e.g. by the trestle over the water at the top right, and the small wharf scene at bottom left - just not from the rear.

I just would like to have the continous run.  I know it's not prototypical, but there is nothing more relaxing after a day of work than watching a little freight train doing a couple of loops chuffing over the tracks ...

Will have to get back to the drawing board for a little bit.  More to follow. Thanks again.

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Posted by 7j43k on Friday, September 15, 2017 2:42 PM

cuyama

 

 
7j43k
NMRA "old time" clearance is 2 21/32"

 

Just by the way, Didrik Voss, MMR, the manager of the NMRA’s Standards and Conformance Department, has expressed concerns that the "Old Time" standard may be undersized for standard gauge due to long-ago errors. He was recently seeking input on this from modelers. (Layout Design Journal #59, page 40.)

So counting on the exact minimum clearance for model equipment (some of which may itself be slightly oversize) might be risky.

 

 

I think I would make a point of not buying oversize equipment.  And keeping a lighter grade.  Back in the (g)olden days of model railroading, there was sort of an excuse for models not having correct overall dimensions.  There is not, now, for HO.

The Erie railroad was well noted for its extremely generous clearances.  So,if any railroad were going to "go big", it would be them.  I looked in my earliest ORER (1926).  Erie lists two car series that exceed Plate B vertical clearance (15'-1").  By 3/8".  Add to this that these cars are listed 20 years later than the subject era.  And, even more, we're talking about a little backwater railroad, the cars of which are mostly going to be ore gons.  Not the Erie.

I also checked my only two locomotives from the era: an 0-6-0 and a giant 4-6-0.  They both will clear Plate B.

Also, consider what a real railroad like this one would have done.  Mr. Moneybags, who is, yes, supplying all the money and making most of the profits says:  "If I have a lighter grade, I can haul more ore.  Make me such a grade.  Minimize the bridge clearance if it helps that goal.  Tell the men not to ride the tops of cars in that area.  And ask my secretary to bring in another gin and tonic on your way out."*

 

So I'll stick to my 2 1/8" clearance.  Which is actually 15'-5".  And would clear the tall Erie cars.

 

I do think I'd suggest the subject railroad build tell-tales at the bridge locations.

 

Ed

 

*Mr. Moneybags is a hands-on railroad (and mine) owner.  He's down there on location to keep a careful eye on things (including his secretary).  The reason for the gin and tonic is to fight malaria (I've seen those old English movies from the '50's!).

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Posted by 7j43k on Friday, September 15, 2017 2:59 PM

swisstrain

 

Some key characteristics/desires:

  • Location is a spare room, of which I get to occupy half Big Smile
 

 

One possibility to consider regarding a bigger railroad:  You can have something like a fold down section that only extends into the other half when the occupant of that half is not there.  Just as that person may get to "intrude" in your half in the same manner.

A thought.

 

Ed

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Posted by 7j43k on Friday, September 15, 2017 3:03 PM

cuyama

Edit: After a quick look at the published 5X9 you are suggesting... 

I hope you also checked out the 4x8 on the facing page.  THAT one I have always thought to be an excellent switching layout.  You?

 

Ed

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Posted by rrinker on Friday, September 15, 2017 4:02 PM

 The Erie had generous clearances because it was originally built to 5' gauge and later narrowed to the standard 4' 8 1/2".

                                 --Randy

 


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Posted by 7j43k on Friday, September 15, 2017 4:13 PM

rrinker

 The Erie had generous clearances because it was originally built to 5' gauge and later narrowed to the standard 4' 8 1/2".

                                 --Randy

 

 

 

Nope: 6'

Now, way down south, they did have a proclivity to build at 5'.

 

 

Ed

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Posted by cuyama on Sunday, September 17, 2017 10:14 AM

7j43k
I hope you also checked out the 4x8 on the facing page.  THAT one I have always thought to be an excellent switching layout.  You?

There are a couple of good ideas in that one (Delaware Branch, MR magazine Sept. 1960, page 28), including the overlap of runarounds, industry leads, yard tracks, etc. But the way the yards are broken up is somewhat awkward and inefficient. I understand why it was done, to allow more operators in a small space in an era before command control (or even walkaround control). This approach made DC block wiring easier. This layout has the same constraints of 18” radii and true #4 turnouts handlaid-to-fit.

It’s also actually 4X9, not 4X8, since the layout is not operable without the folding leaf in place. All-in-all, I think something better might fit in the overall minimum 8’X11’ space required for layout and aisles (whether island or other arrangement). And the claimed five operators would be pretty limited in what they could actually do without interfering with their partners.

So personally, not a fan overall. If trying to do something similar as an island in HO, I’d probably start with this HO 4X8 with its broader curves and turnouts and add in the marine elements and extra length while removing the turntable. I’d forego the limited tunback loop out-and-back schematic of the 1960 layout. I don’t think it adds much for this concept.

[A verison of this layout was published in Model Railroad Planning 2011.]

The broader radii and turnouts along with the more straightforward track arrangement would be more interesting to operate for me. (And I’d probably aim for two or three operators using DCC or other command control method).

Just my opinion, of course.

Byron

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Posted by swisstrain on Sunday, September 17, 2017 10:59 AM

Sorry for not posting yesterday, and for not having come up with some alternative/adjusted plans.  Had some outdoors fun yesterday, and not much time to look at my planned railroad.

Another couple of good ideas, in particular with potentially dividing the scenes between the wings.  I am still wanting the continuous run, but will likely forgo the loop running over itself, the grades would be unreliable. I tried to figure about every which way.  More to follow early next week.

Thanks again for the input.

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Posted by 7j43k on Sunday, September 17, 2017 12:01 PM

Interesting comments.  And thanks.

I expect part of my enthusiasm for the old layout is because, at the time, it was pretty groundbreaking.  Or so I recall.

I wasn't proposing this one for use by Urs--no continuous run, for one.

 

Ed

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Posted by swisstrain on Monday, September 18, 2017 2:17 PM

Thanks again for all the comments.  I would have gone down the wrong path without all of your input.  Here is my revised layout plan:

 Smallport Western Rev 8e by Urs, on Flickr

  • Gave up the thought of the mainline looping over itself, and grades are now kept below 2% on the mainline, and 2.3% on the branch (but with radii > 20 inches). Obviously I had to give up a significant amount of mainline run.
  • Kept most of the original topics (e.g. continuous run, branch line leading to mine, plus a small wharf/port area). May build that trestle I wanted on the way up to the mine.
  • Also think I addressed the S-curve that was included in the original plan.  All changes in direction now have a straight track segment in between (my short equipment is not prone to this issue anyway).
  • Included in the plan is a hidden siding, which I believe would provide me with some additional operating potential, in the form of some limited staging.  Will need to think about the track arrangement and accessibility though, I don't believe it would be accessible enough as currently drawn.

You will note that the plan has a slightly smaller footprint, after reassessment of available space and other room uses.  Not necessarily unhappy about that, since this has now become a managable project, that can be executed in reasonable time.

Any additional input continues to be welcome.

Urs

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Posted by 7j43k on Monday, September 18, 2017 4:42 PM

Urs,

This is a plan that doesn't really NEED staging.  It is, as far as I can see, a seaport built to service a mine.  Yes, the railroad could be larger.  But it works fine the way it is.  NOT larger.

So.

I recommend moving the lower righthand tunnel portal over to the left of the siding.  Keep the siding exposed.  Use it to assemble the train that is built from the cars that come down from the mine.  And as a run-around for its locomotive.  And, of course, you can now reach over to fix problems.

Now, the mine is ridiculously close to the port.  No, I am not talking about how they would probably have just built a loading chute down to the dock.  I am talking about the length of track from the "town" over to the switch at the end of the mine branch.  About 3 feet, perhaps.  In my mind, I would pretend that distance were much longer--several miles, anyway.  Thus a train runs from town over to the siding, shoves some cars up or brings cars down from the mine, builds its train and returns to town.  3 feet away.  Thus: pretend.

You might add another mine, or even a different "industry" (perhaps logging).  Coming off the branch.

Since the railroad is likely a stand-alone one (no interchange), all of its cars must live on the railroad.  So, I think the yard on the upper right should be larger.  I think maybe the yard switches should move leftward, to increase track length.  You could bring the first yard switch all the way over to touch that industry track.  Then start adding the other two switches as soon as possible, as long as it looks good.  I think the yard tracks should be at least each twice as long.

I would add on more "industry" track over on the left end of the yard passing siding.  I think it would be neat to have its switch to the RIGHT of the newly relocated yard track switch.  Have it cross over the yard track.  Visually interesting.

 

I think I wll speculate on this layout.  It is built on the coast of a Central American country.  The railroad's money is American.  So much of the railroad and related have an American flavor.  But signage is also in Spanish.  There are, after all, locals who work there.  The mine mines chromium ore.  And it is shipped out directly at the dock.  On part of the dock is a storage and transfer bin for the ore.  

Early on, one of the Americans (could be Swiss, who knows?) takes a fancy to the area and decides to put his pathetically small fortune to work locally.  He thinks the way to go is to grow and export oranges (the local ones are fantastic, he notes).  So, off of the branch that goes up to the mine, there is also a load out for the very small fleet of refrigerator cars.  The cars are brought down to the town to a packing plant.  Once done, the oranges are shipped out on ships with refrigeration.

The Swiss-American has also noticed a large stand of very interesting hardwood growing near his orange grove.  He has built a small sawmill in town to cut the logs he brings down into lumber.  It, too, is loaded on the ships (like there is a choice).  

The town itself, is a classic.  It has a cantina (of course).  An office and living space for the Americans and the Swiss-American (though he mostly lives up with the oranges, except on weekends).  Some locals also live in town.  There are a few maintenance buildings for the railroad.  Plus, of course, a very small fueling area for the two locomotives.

 

Since this is a small layout, scenery and buildings can contribute greatly.

Looks good, though.

 

Ed

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Posted by cuyama on Tuesday, September 19, 2017 1:04 PM

Your new approach removes many of the reliability and performance concerns, at the cost of mainline run. The one issue remaining is the access to the hidden track along the bottom of the diagram. If you plan to access it only from below, moving the branch track toward the center of the room will give you more hand room for the hidden track below.

From a mechanical standpoint, it looks like you are using the Walthers Code 83 curved turnouts. I’d suggest trying the plan with the PECO Code 83 curved turnouts instead. I think that they may be more compact. I also note that the back corner is really far out of reach if there are walls there, need to plan for an access method. Without a runaround at the end of the branch line, you’ll need to shove the cars all the way up to do any switching. Real railroads do that, so it’s not a problem, but something to be aware of to be sure that’s what you intended.

If you’re happy with the current plan, great, ignore what follows. I’ll preface this by noting that I don’t know what your intentions are for the other single-ended tracks, so some of this may be redundant.

But I think one could provide more operating interest in the same space, if desired. First off, I’d respectfully suggest that interchange could potentially add a lot of operating potential. This could be provided via the hidden track or some other means. This way, your imagined railroad has another connection to the outside world and you can justify the appearance of cars moving to- and from many destinations with many different kinds of ladings (and in many different liveries).

Personally I like a small yard and a reason to use it, but many layouts are fine without a formal yard.

With the idea of interchange, a small yard, and more industries, you’d have more variety in activities, ladings, and car types. As it is, it’s a lot of layout for basically the movement from a smallish mine to a wharf.

Good luck with your layout.

  • Member since
    August, 2016
  • 18 posts
Posted by swisstrain on Tuesday, September 19, 2017 9:13 PM

Ed & Byron - thanks again for both of your input.  Even though in slightly different aspects, very helpful.

Ed, I like the whimsical story about the Swiss-American spending his fortune, and the background, very funny, and I will take some of that up when building my little town.  Hell no, we are not building a chute to take the mine ore down to port, because in that case I have no reason to invest my pathetically small fortune in this layout, and find an excuse to travel 20 times the distance to get ore on a ship.  Following your suggestion for the yard, I added one more track on the left, if I add more tracks into that little yard, it starts to look and feel overcrowded (and I can't build the little town, structures are a favorite part of the hobby).  I tried to attach another industry to the branch, but it just gets too full, or I have to place it where it is inaccessible. I indicated the primary use of the various tracks intended.  The industries chosen, plus mine plus wharf should allow for a fair amount of variety in cars in operation. So after your input, I created the following version:

 Smallport Western Rev 8f by Urs, on Flickr

I still liked the idea of a hidden track, so I made it "half" hidden (lol), so that I can operate it with the mine run coming out of town to exchange fulls and empties, but I can also temporarily hide a train.

Then I read Byron's input, and I made a few more modifications, simplifying one more time, mostly for better reliability/accessibility, and trying to implement the interchange idea:

 Smallport Western Rev 8g by Urs, on Flickr

The interchange is realized at the bottom right, and my idea is a "cassette" type, so that I can introduce a made up train, or take one off.  It reaches over an extension of my desk, so that should work ok.  In exchange, I gave up the (semi-)hidden siding, it's location just spelled trouble, as Byron points out.  Now the only hidden element accessible only from below is a limited amount of track.

I looked at the Peco turnouts, and they are a bit more compact, but wouldn't change much for my design, and I already own those Walthers/Sinohara turnouts.  So I will stick with those.

Concerning the mine operation, shoving it up the hill is how I was planning to operate it.  The second track up there is so that I can bring up empties, and take the full ones out in the same run.  If I introduce a runaround, the sidings get ridiculously short.

In the end, I am happy with what I have, but that does not mean that things could not be further improved.  It is much simpler than from where I started, but I believe reliability and concept has substantially improved.

Thanks again to both of you and others who helped me get on the right track!

Urs

  • Member since
    August, 2016
  • 18 posts
Posted by swisstrain on Wednesday, December 13, 2017 2:00 PM

All right, some time has passed since my initial posts when I started with the trackplan, due to having to squeeze my model railroading activities into my work life.

However, I started construction of the frame, and did an initial 1:1 layout.  I built my table as an open frame grid, in two separate sections connected with bolts in the center, so that I can divide it in case of a move.  There is a third small section (visible in the picture upper right corner) which will support the port area:

 IMG_20171204_211137658 by swisstrain, on Flickr

After pondering my options for the framework/legs (including using ripped plywood strips, like many on the forum recommended), in the end, I found some nice straight 1x2 poplar for the frame, since the local Home Depot would not rip the plywood for me, and I wasn't going to buy a table saw just for that.  For the legs, I used some 1x3s and 2x2s that I had on hand from an earlier project. I know the 1x2s sound skinny, but I wanted to make certain it stays light, and the frame is plenty solid.  Base height is at 45".  I also installed track lighting in the room (barely visible at the top end of the picture).

I then bought myself a piece of foamboard, and placed it temporarily on the grid to lay out the track plan full size, and experiment a little.

 IMG_20171122_223148558_HDR by swisstrain, on Flickr

 IMG_20171122_223204954_HDR by swisstrain, on Flickr

I printed out the track plan full size and attached it to the foam board, then added the track.  The foamboard will be sacrificial, but it allows me to fine tune the track plan as well as the final borders of the layout, since it is light, cheap and can be easily cut.  Once I have determined final track plan and shape, I am planning to use Gatorfoam as my final base.  I realize that it is a bit on the expensive size, but during attending a recent clinic at the Fine Sale Modeling Expo in Altoona in early November, I became convinced of it's rigidity and complete resistance to warping, while at the same time keeping weight down and being able to easily cut and shape it. And we are not talking about a 1400sqft layout ...

So far, I think I am going to largely stick with the plan I came up with with the help fom Byron and Ed (thanks again for the input, it was invaluable).

Next step will be installing a backdrop (not looking forward to pulling the frame back out, but now is the time ...

 

  • Member since
    August, 2016
  • 18 posts
Posted by swisstrain on Thursday, June 07, 2018 9:03 AM

Some more got done, albeit not quite as fast as others seem to progress.

Was able to create/install a backdrop, which I dreaded, but finally attacked a few weeks ago.  I used tempered hardboard (1 4x8 sheet, cut down the long way in the center), which I screwed to the frame.  The rounded corner keeps it nice and stiff, without additional supports.

 IMG_20180514_083510_01

 IMG_20180514_083458_01

For the time being, I will stick to a blue sky and light clouds that I painted on the backdrop

 IMG_20180514_083444_01

  • Member since
    August, 2016
  • 18 posts
Posted by swisstrain on Thursday, June 07, 2018 9:10 AM

Over the last couple of weeks I also installed the risers, the base, and the roadbed.  Now ready to give it a coat of brown paint as a base, and then installing some track.

 IMG_20180606_210438323

 IMG_20180606_210503648

The raised are to the right on the elbow will be the platform for the mining area.  I have not yet added the base for the planned small port scene, which goes in below the mine (see the trackplan earlier in the thread).

Can't wait to lay track, hook up power, and run some trains!

  • Member since
    January, 2018
  • 53 posts
Posted by RWSlater on Thursday, June 07, 2018 3:00 PM

The layout is coming along nicly. It is great when the first train runs. Can't wait to see the next update, 

Robert

  • Member since
    July, 2007
  • From: perogie flats
  • 51 posts
Posted by wvg_ca on Friday, June 08, 2018 4:55 PM

if you want to see some thing slightly different, check scarm under squirrel creek  ..

about 15' x 16' l shape, 1890's, continuous and sidings, short cars, mutiple elevations, foam constuction

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