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Donut layout help

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Donut layout help
Posted by S and C Branch on Saturday, February 10, 2018 10:10 PM

Hello folks, I'm just getting back into the hobby after a move and my last activity was endlessly planning a layout that never got started. I'd like to model some passenger action on the mainline PRR so I'm thinking I need a HO double track layout.  I also want some coal hauling (think a branch, but it would be B&O not PRR) and some steel.  And I need all this in about a 7 x 10 area.  I'm thinking a donut might work; I found a 6 x7 layout that has hidden staging at one end (I'm not doing lower level hidden staging) but it's single track (twice around). I can't seem to attach a pic (maybe because I'm still on forum probation).  Thoughts?   Thanks

 

Mark

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Posted by cuyama on Monday, February 12, 2018 11:54 AM

Welcome to the forum. To post a picture, one needs to host it on another site and post the link. Free sites like Imgur work fine. I use Trainboard's Railimages.

This thread explains the process. The first post is the most useful.
http://cs.trains.com/mrr/f/88/t/249194.aspx

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Posted by doctorwayne on Monday, February 12, 2018 12:33 PM

Welcome to the Model Railroader Forums, Mark!

S and C Branch
...I need all this in about a 7 x 10 area. I'm thinking a donut might work; I found a 6 x7 layout that has hidden staging at one end (I'm not doing lower level hidden staging) but it's single track (twice around)....

If you're planning to build a tabletop-style layout, you'll likely have difficulty being able to reach the centre - even if there are no tracks there, you'll still need to consider access for adding scenery.
If the room you're using is 7'x10', or is such a space within a larger room, you'll get a more useable layout by building in around the perimeter of the room or of the 7'x10' space. 
If you make the long sides 2' deep (or less), you'll have at least a 3' wide aisle in which to operate.  While this will require more material for benchwork, the mainline run will be longer, and your curves can also be wider.  All of the layout will be within easy reach, too, so greater ease of tracklaying and scenery construction, and no need to model the back walls of structures, allowing you to use the un-used and un-seen walls to enlarge the visible side of the buildings.

Wayne

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Posted by S and C Branch on Monday, February 12, 2018 9:21 PM

Thanks for the welcome and the input, cuyama and Wayne.  The plan that is the inspiration du jour can be seen here:

https://imgur.com/a/Ne3ml

So it's really an "around-the-wall" layout with a duckunder.  I'd have walls on two sides (narrow aisle on the left 7' side), and open on the right 7' side so staging can occur.  But I'm looking to adapt this to double track and feed in a branch  as well.  Thanks again.

 

Mark

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Posted by cuyama on Tuesday, February 13, 2018 12:21 PM

That layout is from the August 2008 Model Railroader and suffers (in my opinion) from the gimmick of cutting it all from a single 4X8 "sacred sheet". Subscribers can see it here:
http://mrr.trains.com/how-to/track-plan-database/2008/06/indiana-and-aurora-rr

Not all of the PRR was double-track (or more), of course, but it should be possible if that's what you prefer. Believable steel-making buildings do take up a lot of area, but you might be able to model part of a process or use flats against a wall or backdrop. There’s always more “good stuff” than will fit in any given space.

It may not work for you, but when thinking about a donut-style plan that will be against some walls, I always try to think of using the inside, outside, and “backside” of the donut (against the wall). This not-to-scale rough sketch illustrates the idea.

Good luck with your layout.

Byron

Tags: donut , doughnut
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Posted by cuyama on Tuesday, February 13, 2018 12:31 PM

Also, I may just be dense, but I'm not clear on your description of the walls and the way the layout space is to be entered. A quick rough dimensioned sketch might help others help you.

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Posted by S and C Branch on Tuesday, February 13, 2018 9:29 PM

Thanks again for the input.  Yes, a sketch of the room might help.  It's part of the basement.  I was thinking the staging on the right of the layout would be good on the right of the room.  The wall on the left has some brickwork leftover from an old fireplace (upstairs) that I could probably box out and turn into a background layout structure.  

https://imgur.com/J7OSq3U

 

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Posted by S and C Branch on Tuesday, February 13, 2018 9:41 PM

Thanks for the input (again). I agree that it is "gimmicky" that they were coming up with plans that could be done via a 4 x 8 sheet, but it was the first time that I thought of a donut plan as an alternative. Also, I ran across an old Robert Schliecher plan that had a duckunder (9 x 8), but it had two levels and I'm thinking that a lower level of hidden staging is just asking for trouble.  This one avoided that by putting the staging off to the right.  

The area I'm looking to model is Johnstown, PA, where the PRR was four-track, I believe.  There's so much to choose from there.  Besides the east-west PRR mainline, the B&O terminated its Somerset and Cambria branch there and for the time I'm modeling (60s-70s), they were the taconite pellet haulers to the Bethlehem Steel mill in Johnstown, besides servicing mines south of Johnstown.  

I don't know if Johnstown was a subdivision point, but I think helpers were dispatched out of the Conemaugh yard for eastbound trains for Gallitzen.  I wasn't planning on modeling helpers so I haven't researched it.  

I never worked at Beth Steel in Johnstown but worked at a different mill near Pittsburgh and know a bit about rail operations at a mill. I think I can model some plausible opearting scenarios, hopefully without having a lot of big footprint structures.  

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Posted by S and C Branch on Tuesday, February 13, 2018 10:08 PM

And if I get really ambitious, or decide to expand the layout a bit/replace a chunk with a diorama, I might give a shot at modeling the Johnstown Incline Plane.

https://media-cdn.tripadvisor.com/media/photo-s/02/29/45/74/johnstown-inclined-plane.jpg

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Posted by cuyama on Wednesday, February 14, 2018 11:06 AM

As noted in the thread I referenced, to post an image so that it appears in the forum (and not just the link):

First right-click (PC) or Control-click (Mac) and select "Copy image address" or similar option.

And then on this forum click the little icon that looks like a landscape, and then paste the image link into the "source" line in the box that appears. And then click "Ok"

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Posted by cuyama on Wednesday, February 14, 2018 11:19 AM

Your image:

Johnstown feels ambitious for that space in HO, but a lot is possible. A challenge is not only the multi-track mainline, but generating enough traffic to make it seem necessary. Once you start sketching to-scale you will have a better feel for it.

Given your space and access situation, I’d personally think about placing the staging against the wall behind a low or removable backdrop as shown in my simple sketch. The aisles around the outside feel more useful to me as parts of the operating railroad.

Inclined planes been done on a few model railroads, but for me they don’t capture the impressiveness of the real thing – it’s a long ride to the top (as you know). The models I’ve seen exaggerate the steepness too much in order to get a taller model, so the proportions just look off to my eye.

Good luck with your layout.

 

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Posted by 7j43k on Wednesday, February 14, 2018 3:17 PM

If the "hidden" yard is placed out near the "need to keep open" section, then that yard could be operated by someone not crowding the guy in the donut.  And it would be easier to put trains on and off the layout.  And it could be reached without reaching over a part of the layout, with the attendant risks.

 

Ed

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Posted by rrinker on Wednesday, February 14, 2018 6:37 PM

 My old layout was an 8x12 donut - works out because I used extruded foam and it comes in 2x8 sheets, So 4 sections, each 2x8, butted together to make a donut makes one 8x12 on the outside. Now, i would definitely use that extra 6 inches, because that's an extra track or two. I did have a double track main. My yard was on the inside, to be operated by someone inside the donut. Like this space, the top and left sides were against the walls, with access across the bottom and right. I like the idea of swapping it around and putting the yard on the outside, although that would mean making the radius tighter to leave room - I had 30" on the inner loop and 32" on the outer, which left most of the space for yard and everything else to the inside of the layout rather then along the outside. However, if you don't intend to run large cars (I had to handle not just my stuff, which includes no passenger cars at all, but my ex father on law's equipment which included quite a few 80 and 85' cars, going back to the original Walthers kits. And some larger steam locos. Thus the 30 and 32" radius curves.

                                        --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 S and C Branch on Thursday, February 15, 2018 12:50 PM

Thanks for the input, Byron and Randy.  I would like to be running "shorty" passenger cars in a couple of trains--the Limiteds did not stop in Johnstown but many other trains did (my RR world has no place for Penn Central, Conrail, or Amtrak but a fantasy world where railroads could profitably operate both freight and passenger).  

I have a track planning 1:12 stencil and it's time to start putting some curves on paper and see where I get and then go back to the basement and see exactly how much I need to keep open, or if I can possible build a larger layout that might be shoved together when not in use.  I'm lucky in that the basement is kind of dingy and my SO doesn't like to go down there much.  Once I put up some shelving for a pantry area and some other area, I will have the rest of it to myself.  

Mark

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Posted by S and C Branch on Thursday, February 15, 2018 12:56 PM

Oh, and thanks to Ed also--didn't mean to slight his good advice. I'm not keen on reaching over a backdrop to do staging, but I might have to make some mockups to see what that would actually be like.  

 

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Posted by S and C Branch on Sunday, February 18, 2018 5:32 PM

So I have been spending the minutes before "lights out" with Mr. Armstrong and on page 94 of TPFRO is this nice 4 x 8 plan.  I'm thinking I can perhaps build it (not first choice) or use it as the basis for a donut plan, using it and the original donut plan in my first post as the concept for a double-track main donut plan. Then I can figure out how to fit in the branch B&O line and sandwich in the steel mill operations (as was actually in the case in Johnstown PA, with parts of the mill criss-crossing the river and connected only by rail and utility lines).  

Mark

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Posted by S and C Branch on Sunday, February 18, 2018 5:42 PM
I guess it wouldn't make much sense to build this as is with 18 inch curves. If I were to follow this plan I should up the curves so an expansion wouldn't mean a complete tear down and start over. Going to try some scale sketching and see what's what.

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