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How many towns?

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How many towns?
Posted by Outsailing86 on Sunday, October 27, 2019 7:40 PM

question for the room size layouts... do you model a single town or multiple towns? If multiple towns, how do you accomplish a staging yard? 

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Posted by davidmurray on Sunday, October 27, 2019 9:14 PM

My room is L shaped, with a door up at one corner, and an asile required alng that wall to get to the next door.

I used a donout with duck under.  Two foor layout, with 18" on the long wall away from the doors/  A double sided peninsula left 30" aisles, rather tight.

For off  line staging is a two by eight off one corner. Seven staging tracks.  One side of the peninsula is the classification yard,   I have three towns, and on the twelve foor end away from staging, a switch back, 4% grade to an iron ore mine.

Three throttles enables 12 trains to run during a two hour operating session.

One staging to yard and back freight, three passenger from staging, two freight from staging around the layout and back to staging, one north bound. and one south, ore train from staging to mine and back, two local freights.  End with the same three passenger trans in reverse order.

All freights about eight cars.

Dave

 

David Murray from Oshawa, Ontario Canada
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Posted by doctorwayne on Monday, October 28, 2019 12:41 AM

My layout is in an oddly-shaped room, and its main level has the five towns shown on the drawing...

That green blob represents a peninsula, on which there's a 45' long grade to a partial upper level, which is above the lower area shown in grey.

While the main track on the upper level is in-place and useable, there's only a smattering of background structures in place, along with the start of a locomotive servicing area. 
There'll be another three towns on the upper level.

Here's the area designated on the diagram as "Staging"...

...and some closer views, with the two tracks in the foreground representing an interchange with the TH&B, a real railroad that was based in my hometown.  Immediately above that, with a locomotive in the distance, are another two staging tracks.  They represent various unmodelled industries - on any given occasion, there might be any number of companies, changing as I choose the rolling stock I wish to use.  This is an easy way to generate traffic without using-up valuable layout real estate.

Above that is the lower-level south staging yard...

Here, cars cycle on- or off-layout as needed, coming from or going back into their respective boxes under this part of the layout...

Above the south staging is the north end staging yard.  Like the south staging, cars go on- or off-layout here...

At the entrance to the layout room are two lift-outs, the upper one to connect north staging to the upper layout on the opposite side of the aisle.  The lower one is to connect the TH&B interchange with the lower level on the opposite side of the aisle, but it can also serve to allow continuous running on the lower level when guests "just wanna see some trains running"....

There's also a fifth staging area comprised of two tracks located in my shop in an adjacent room.  They leave the upper level (to the left on the diagram) roughly below the words denoting the Maitland River.  These tracks represent an interchange with a friend's CNR layout.

The layout's era is late '30s, mostly steam, and DC operation.

There's a "Layout (room) tour..." HERE

Wayne

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Posted by rogerhensley on Monday, October 28, 2019 5:34 AM

Two towns.

Roger Hensley
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Posted by ATLANTIC CENTRAL on Monday, October 28, 2019 6:17 AM

My new layout will fill a 1400 sq ft basement, roughly 50 x 30, but will only model one small city and the rural/suburban areas near it.

There will be three passenger stations to support communter train modeling.

All industrial areas will be effectively "in the the city", and will be largely separate from the double track mainline.

The layout will feature large curves and a single freight yard about 20' in length to support long trains.

There will be hidden staging for about 30 trains of 35 to 50 cars each.

Sheldon

    

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Posted by richhotrain on Monday, October 28, 2019 6:29 AM

ATLANTIC CENTRAL

My new layout will fill a 1400 sq ft basement, roughly 50 x 30, but will only model one small city and the rural/suburban areas near it.

There will be three passenger stations to support communter train modeling.

All industrial areas will be effectively "in the the city", and will be largely separate from the double track mainline.

That seems to be the norm on large layouts, to limit the number of cities, villages and towns along the way.

My 42' x 25' layout features a large city train station, industrial area, a freight yard and coach yard, and a suburban train station. That's pretty much it.

Rich

Alton Junction

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Posted by Doughless on Monday, October 28, 2019 6:54 AM

I'm building a U shaped layout around the basement walls that spans two rooms, basically, two L shaped layouts connected by a common wall that sticks 4 feet out perpendicular from the basement foundation wall.  The main room will have one L of 19x13x2 with a suburban town on the 19 foot bench and a rural area on the 13 foot bench.  That leg leads into a hole in the wall (that represents about 10 miles) for accessing the other room that has staging.  Staging will be a scenicked interchange with a few buildings so its officially a second town, 7x13x2 feet deep.

All together, one town is 19x2 and another town is 13x2 with 20 feet of rural area in between and a wall/viewblock that represents about 10 miles.

- Douglas

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Posted by SeeYou190 on Monday, October 28, 2019 7:00 AM

My layout will represent the operations in four towns.

.

The main yard and engine servicing will be in Centerville on one 20 foot side of the layout. Industries in Centerville will be contained on a true "Timesaver" that will not interchange with the rest of the layout.

.

Across the aisle will Port Annabell where there will be lots of industry and a waterfront.

.

The two towns represented off layout in staging will be Manchester and Great Divide. These will be run out of Centerville and Port Annabell respectively.

.

.

-Kevin

.

Wink Happily modeling my STRATTON & GILLETTE RAILROAD. A Class A line located in a personal fantasy world of semi-plausible nonsense on Tuesday, August 3rd, 1954.

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Posted by dehusman on Monday, October 28, 2019 7:44 AM

"Towns" is kind of a non-specific way to design things.  I model a 60 mile branch of the Reading, but I could model the MP in Houston and model 60 miles all in one city, Houston.

 

I use two rules of thumb.  I divide the square footage of the room by 4 and gives a rough estimate of the length of run you can fit in the space with a single line through a scene, single level, with decent aisles.  In a 12 x 24 room has 288 sq ft.  Dividing by 4 gives me a main  track run of about 72 ft.

 

The second rule of thumb relies on train size.  Lets say I am in HO and I want to run 10 ft long trains (2 engines, 10 cars and a caboose).  That means my layout can have a run of 7 train lengths.  Then I have to decide how long of a distance I want between passing sidings.  Lets say I want one train length between sidings.  That means I can get 3 or 4 sidings on my layout: 

siding-main-siding-main-siding-main-siding or

main-siding-main-siding-main-siding-main.

On the other hand if I choose to have a longer run between sidings, such as 2 train lengths, then the number of sidings goes down to 2 or 3 sidings.

main-siding-main-main-siding-main-main

siding-main-main-siding-main-main-siding

Its all a function of how much main track you want between sidings and how long your trains are.  If you have a train size of 20 ft, you pretty much are only going to get one siding on the layout.

Dave H. Painted side goes up. My website : wnbranch.com

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Posted by riogrande5761 on Monday, October 28, 2019 12:06 PM

I'm planning on a main yard with staging below.  Most of the rest will be open desert running with an industry or two off the mainline.  I do plan a branchline on a lower level also with some switching possibilities.

Rio Grande was mostly a single track mainline with passing sidings.  The track plan her has two 20 foot passing siding on the desert mainline west of Grand Junction.

Plan is to start putting benchwork up in the next couple weeks.  Here is a basic draft of the track plan.

What Dave outlined above in terms of train length, mainline run and sidings seems to roughly co-inside with the track plan I have come up with in the ~610 sq ft of layout space that I have.  Layout is partially double decked.

 

Rio Grande.  The Action Road  - Focus 1977-1983

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Posted by ATLANTIC CENTRAL on Monday, October 28, 2019 12:32 PM

I have always seen model railroads as having one of two possible basic approaches.

One, you try to convey the sense of going from one place to another. This is of course the fundmential reason for a railroad.

OR, you accept that you cannot model places that represent any great distance from each other, and you model the railroad activity in a single place, even if it is a somewhat large place, like my small city and surrounding areas.

I have a friend with a double decked layout, filling 1200 sq ft, that only represents the PRR as it passes thru Baltimore, Penn Station and all. Rather impressive.

Sheldon

    

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Posted by IRONROOSTER on Monday, October 28, 2019 4:37 PM

My layout (currently under construction) is a shortline with a terminal at each end and includes 4 of the towns in between.  Each terminal has interchange tracks.  There is no staging of trains although one interchange will be connected to a transfer table in another room so the car mix on the layout can change.

The layout is 13 1/2 x 36 plus external aisles on one short and one long side.  The terminals and the towns will just capture a flavor of the real thing.

Paul

If you're having fun, you're doing it the right way.
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Posted by Outsailing86 on Tuesday, October 29, 2019 7:34 AM

Looking at these posts, it appears my layout will be a staging yard with a single town shown. 

No way I’d get spousal approval for those large layouts. Is that a it’s better to ask for forgiveness than permission situation?

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Posted by snjroy on Tuesday, October 29, 2019 8:12 AM

In my opinion, towns need a minimum amount of critical mass and space to look nice. I don't have that space but my backdrop suggests the existence of a town in the background.

Simon

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Posted by ATLANTIC CENTRAL on Tuesday, October 29, 2019 8:34 AM

Outsailing86

Looking at these posts, it appears my layout will be a staging yard with a single town shown. 

No way I’d get spousal approval for those large layouts. Is that a it’s better to ask for forgiveness than permission situation?

 

My wife figures the bigger the train layout, the more she knows where to find me, yet I am still out of her hair........

Sheldon

    

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Posted by Medina1128 on Tuesday, October 29, 2019 9:20 AM

My Clinton-Golden Valley Railroad is loosely based on my town, Clinton, MO. It takes up roughly 790 sq/ft in my 1155 sq/ft basement. It's two levels, with a power plant, coal mining operation with its own hotel (for visiting miners' family), boarding house (for the miners), general store, and passenger depot. The mining site is only accessible by train.

There is also a western-themed town that the railroad's owner uses rail-fanning trains for arrival and departure. The staging area also has a diesel fueling facility, while the steam locomotives use the coaling and water tower near the town, Sandy Flats.

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Posted by Outsailing86 on Tuesday, October 29, 2019 1:44 PM

I think I found it! BNSF Congress Park on the Chicago Sub. I’ll have a IHB connection track on the close side. Triple track, with the small yard on the wall side. The wall will be Transload and a couple storage tracks. 

 

Some questions: 

what curve radius should I use?

How far apart do I make the tracks? 

How long is a grade for the one track to be above the other?

how many tracks can you put on a traverser?

does anyone make a double crossover code 83, and what’s the track centerline spacing?

How do signals work for DCC ? Do you need insulated joints?

 

 

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Posted by hardcoalcase on Tuesday, October 29, 2019 1:51 PM

Like most MRRers, I'd love to have a lot more mainline between towns, but the train room is only so big.  However, I did find a way to "stretch" the mainline track...

For purpose of illustration, below is the schematic of my layout, west-to-east.  The passing sidings are about 9 feet long with just about that much mainline to the next town.  

  • West staging - reversing loop & shared run-through car interchange
  • Town 1 - passing siding  & coal colliery
  • Town 2 - passing siding & lumber mill
  • Town 3 - passing siding & various fiber mills
  • Town 4 - passing siding, freight yard & various industries
  • Town 5 - passing siding & meat packing plant
  • Town 6 - passing siding, coal pier & a few industries
  • East staging- reversing loop & shared run-through car interchange

Trains originate from the freight yard in Town 4, and do a "turn" either east or west.  

The way I stretch the mainline, is in the operating plan:

Westbound Train A departs Town 4, works 3, passes by 2, and works 1, uses the reversing loop, switches at the car interchange, and works 1 and 3 again, skipping 2, returning to 4.  

Westbound Train B departs Town 4, passes 3, works 2, skips 1, uses reversing loop, switches at the car interchange, skips 1, works 2, skips 3 again and returns to 4.

The east side of the layout operates in the same manner as Westbound Train B, where Towns 5 & 6 both have a separate dedicated turn that continues on to use the reversing loop and car interchange. 

The net effect of skipping a town triples the train's mainline run between switching chores, and creates a sense of greater distance.

 

Jim

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Posted by ATLANTIC CENTRAL on Tuesday, October 29, 2019 6:17 PM

I admire the dedication of those of you with carefully thought out single track schemes, but I have never been able to get a realistic feeling with only one or two train lengths between sidings.

That combined with my need for long trains, made me a double track guy early on.

And in my chosen era and local, double track mainlines were pretty common........

Sheldon

    

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Posted by ROBERT PETRICK on Tuesday, October 29, 2019 7:28 PM

hardcoalcase

Like most MRRers, I'd love to have a lot more mainline between towns, but the train room is only so big.  However, I did find a way to "stretch" the mainline track...

For purpose of illustration, below is the schematic of my layout, west-to-east.  The passing sidings are about 9 feet long with just about that much mainline to the next town.  

  • West staging - reversing loop & shared run-through car interchange
  • Town 1 - passing siding  & coal colliery
  • Town 2 - passing siding & lumber mill
  • Town 3 - passing siding & various fiber mills
  • Town 4 - passing siding, freight yard & various industries
  • Town 5 - passing siding & meat packing plant
  • Town 6 - passing siding, coal pier & a few industries
  • East staging- reversing loop & shared run-through car interchange

Trains originate from the freight yard in Town 4, and do a "turn" either east or west.  

The way I stretch the mainline, is in the operating plan:

Westbound Train A departs Town 4, works 3, passes by 2, and works 1, uses the reversing loop, switches at the car interchange, and works 1 and 3 again, skipping 2, returning to 4.  

Westbound Train B departs Town 4, passes 3, works 2, skips 1, uses reversing loop, switches at the car interchange, skips 1, works 2, skips 3 again and returns to 4.

The east side of the layout operates in the same manner as Westbound Train B, where Towns 5 & 6 both have a separate dedicated turn that continues on to use the reversing loop and car interchange. 

The net effect of skipping a town triples the train's mainline run between switching chores, and creates a sense of greater distance. 

Jim

Hey Jim-

I think your narrative describing operations on your layout is clear and well-written, but without a sketch or layout plan it is kinda hard for me to follow. But, I think your philosophy and mine are similar.

My idea is to create schedules and operational rules so that the trains do not hit towns and industries in a tight sequential order . . . bam, bam, bam . . . under the guise of trying to minimalize wasted movements and be as efficient as possible. Instead, trains will be required to 'take the long way around' enroute to their next destination; sometimes making an entire lap around the layout (what I call taking the scenic route), similar to using a combination padlock where you have to go right to 15 then go left past zero to 14 . . . and so forth.

In the 1:1 world, time is money and horsepower wasted can never be recovered, but in model railroading it is all about having fun.

Robert

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Posted by Doughless on Wednesday, October 30, 2019 8:42 AM

Since this is a layout building section, how about some thoughts on how to separate towns from each other, since most modelers face the issue of not having as much distance as they would like. (part of the reason I like 7 car or less trains, BTW)

I'm a big proponent of scene separaters.  Viewblocks that cut across the benchwork and block the mainline if not for holes cut into them.  In a mountain setting, disguising the holes  can be done easily with tunnel portals.  In other settings, bridges, trees, buildings can disguise the opening.

On my last layout, such a viewblock was very successful in creating distance that wasn't there. 

The viewblock can represent 15 miles.

I tend to follow the locomotive around the layout and with the viewblock, it was easy to metally create that separation.  Even though the tail of the train might be departing the previous town as the loco is entering the new town, mentally your mind tends to adhere to what you've designed, so the tail of the train is easy to ignore because the viewblock helps to tell yourself that what's past is inconsequential.  Without the viewblock, that separation might be harder to create since the two towns might look like one large scene.

- Douglas

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Posted by ATLANTIC CENTRAL on Wednesday, October 30, 2019 8:51 AM

Doughless

Since this is a layout building section, how about some thoughts on how to separate towns from each other, since most modelers face the issue of not having as much distance as they would like. (part of the reason I like 7 car or less trains, BTW)

I'm a big proponent of scene separaters.  Viewblocks that cut across the benchwork and block the mainline if not for holes cut into them.  In a mountain setting, disguising the holes  can be done easily with tunnel portals.  In other settings, bridges, trees, buildings can disguise the opening.

On my last layout, such a viewblock was very successful in creating distance that wasn't there. 

The viewblock can represent 15 miles.

I tend to follow the locomotive around the layout and with the viewblock, it was easy to metally create that separation.  Even though the tail of the train might be departing the previous town as the loco is entering the new town, mentally your mind tends to adhere to what you've designed, so the tail of the train is easy to ignore because the viewblock helps to tell yourself that what's past is inconsequential.  Without the viewblock, that separation might be harder to create since the two towns might look like one large scene.

 

I built a layout once with lots of separate "shadowbox" scenes. It was good scenicly, and created that sense of distance, but I was not happy with other aspects of that layout operationally. 

The new layout will use some view blocks and brief hidden trackage to increase apparent distances, even though I am only modeling one small city and its "suburbs".

Sheldon

    

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Posted by kasskaboose on Friday, November 1, 2019 3:01 PM

Would it not also depend on the area you are trying on modeling?

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Posted by MisterBeasley on Friday, November 1, 2019 3:18 PM

My town is Moose Bay, and extends across most of the layout.  There is a small industrial are called Mooseport where the carfloat comes in, and a tiny station on an unfinished branch line called Bullwinkle.  Mostly, there are buildings everywhere, with small separations between areas.  There really are no open areas between towns, so it's all just one big town.

Separation of settled areas is accomplished with a swamp, a junkyard and the roundhouse, which allows distinct urbanized areas without much space between them.

It takes an iron man to play with a toy iron horse. 

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Posted by Lazers on Friday, November 1, 2019 6:31 PM

Hi OutSailing86,

I'm real glad you asked this Q - because I keep looking at my trackplan thinking, 'because there's no hidden Staging or scenic breaks - will I get booed off-Stage'?

To achieve what I want from my RR, I have distorted the prototype beyond all recognition (and belief) I am lucky to be granted the master-bedroom for my layout, albeit it is handicapped by a low window-sill. My layout is HO, 13' x 11'

The plan is typically British, double-track main, around and around, one Station and a Yard, with a Branch line leading-off around the very perimeter, to an Industrial terminus, with plenty of switching in between. Despite many design attempts, I cannot accomodate staging without giving-way on my Industries etc. which I won't do. The room-shape, door position and some obstacles are contributory factors. 

Everything is on one level and all the trains are in full view, at all times. So switching the Station Yard is 'the Staging', the EMU's make a circuit around each of the double tracks in turn and are parked-up in the Station 'EMU Storage tracks' and the Freight-trains trundle off down the Branch to switch the Industries, terminating dead opposite the Station - all in full view, when it is supposed to be miles away. However, I will plant trees etc. in the true Landscaping proffession.

I am not too phased by any of this. I like seeing my trains all times and I am used to the high 'imagination demand' of UK model railways! Thing is, my layout seems contrary to everything I read and see, to the approach to American Model RR's.

Had I chosen N-gauge, I would have no problems, but I like detailing and my level of skill would not allow it. I have the Timber, some cut to size, starting soon, Paul.

"It's the South Shore Line, Jim - but not as we know it".

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Posted by SeeYou190 on Friday, November 1, 2019 10:47 PM

Lazers
I am not too phased by any of this. I like seeing my trains all times and I am used to the high 'imagination demand' of UK model railways! Thing is, my layout seems contrary to everything I read and see, to the approach to American Model RR's.

.

What you are describing sounds very similar to my fourth layout, which was my first layout in HO scale.

.

I enjoyed it a lot, it sounds like you know what you want.

.

-Kevin

.

Wink Happily modeling my STRATTON & GILLETTE RAILROAD. A Class A line located in a personal fantasy world of semi-plausible nonsense on Tuesday, August 3rd, 1954.

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Posted by mrrdad on Saturday, November 2, 2019 12:18 AM

This is a great topic.

The railroad I chose to model was only in Chicago. One city....easy, right? Not really.

I think the hardest issue model railoaders face is compression. We all want (I think) for our models to look as realistic as possible. A layout is nothing but a series of scenes. Having to compress these scenes to fit the space we have makes it so difficult to make it flow where it does seem realistic. That is why I thing modeling one town makes more sense.

Ed

 

Modeling the B&O Chicago Terminal Railroad in the 1950's

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