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Designing My New Layout

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Designing My New Layout
Posted by caldreamer on Saturday, December 14, 2019 3:26 PM

I am beginning the design process for my new layout.  Since I model the BNSF, and like busy mountain railroading I will be modeling the 120 mile long Pikes Peak Subdivision which runs south from Denver to Pueblo. 

The area available for my new layout is 47 X 25 feet (1190 square feet).  This will allow me to have a multilevel layout with a lot of track to run on.  I intend to first single track the layout and then add a second track at a later date.  I will use the open grid design.

     Caldreamer 

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Posted by davidmurray on Saturday, December 14, 2019 5:13 PM

This is a huge home layout.  By multi level do you mean superimopsed levels, or hills that the track climbs?

Dave

 

David Murray from Oshawa, Ontario Canada
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Posted by Track fiddler on Saturday, December 14, 2019 5:30 PM

Wow   I will call you space man.  With that kind of square footage why would you need to even think about multi-level.

You sure have enough room to keep grades prototypical.  I do not consider over-under with different levels and bridges multi-level.  I know you have plenty of room to do that.

Some of us have to envy you and your space.  I just wish I knew what you are planningSmile, Wink & Grin

A little more explanation in text would paint a clearer picture.  That would be helpfulSmile, Wink & Grin

 

 

TF

 

 

PS.   Pikes Peak is low on oxygen on top.  I learned that on my visit when I was young.   I won't be going back anytime soonWhistling

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Posted by caldreamer on Saturday, December 14, 2019 7:55 PM

Since I am short, the new layout will start at Devner at 40 Inches climb over the continental divide and decend to Pueblo with lower level in front of the upper level at 36 inches. Having the lower level under the upper level restricts access to it if necessary. By moving lower level out will allow me to reach all trackage easily. Since I run N scale the layout will be planned so that I can be on the outside or inside as necessary.  I will keep the grade as close to the prototype of 1.25 percent per the BNSF employees timetable for the subdivision as possible.  This should give me a good climb over the divide.  I may increase the grade to an absolute maximum of 2 percent based on what I think the grade looks like.  The new layout will be a modified and expaned version of the March 2019  The Rock Island Lines layout without the two helix. The area for the staging yards for both Denver and Pueblo will be totally different.  There will be an intermodal yard at Denver and the steel mill in Pueblo.

    

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Posted by caldreamer on Monday, December 16, 2019 9:12 PM

I have now roughed out the design of my new layout.  The next step will be to scale it out on tracing paper over graph paper then make any final changes to the design.  I will be modeling only the major towns on the subdivision.

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Posted by hon30critter on Monday, December 16, 2019 10:46 PM

47' x 25' in N scale! That's going to be quite a layout! Please keep us posted.

Dave

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Posted by riogrande5761 on Tuesday, December 17, 2019 7:00 AM

caldreamer
the new layout will start at Devner at 40 Inches climb over the continental divide and decend to Pueblo

There is no continental divide between Denver and Pueble directly, at least unless you head west through the Moffatt tunnel (continental divide) to Dotsero CO where the D&RGW lines from Pueblo via Tennessee Pass (continental divide) meet in a wye configuration.  So if you do that, you'll be crossing the continental divide twice to get to Pueblo from Denver.  Stick out tongue

With a large room, and modeling in N, you should be able to cover a lot of ground, especially double decked.

I have mixed emotions about double decking - I've read quite a few people say they had had double decked layouts and have decided they didn't like it and returned to single deck for subsequent layouts.

My plans are to be partially double decked, only so I can have a large staging area and a branchline - something like 3/4 will be have two levels and only a part of that scenic'd.

With your large room at N scale, you chould be able to use a nolix design to get to the other deck without a helix unless you want continous running so maybe one helix to return to the other deck.

I don't recall seeing your March 2019 track plan, can you repost it?

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Posted by caldreamer on Tuesday, December 17, 2019 8:27 AM

I hate helix, so by having the lower level in front of the upper level I will have a double deck using the nolix method of construction.  The continental dive is just north of Palmer Lake where the track is at 7980 ft according to the BNSF subdivision timetable.  I will begin carefully scaling out the layout today.  Will keep you posted.

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Posted by riogrande5761 on Tuesday, December 17, 2019 9:34 AM

caldreamer

The continental dive is just north of Palmer Lake where the track is at 7980 ft according to the BNSF subdivision timetable.  I will begin carefully scaling out the layout today.  Will keep you posted.

Did you mean east of Palmer lake.  The D&RGW trackage between Pueblo and Denver follows the front range of the Rockes somewhat paralleling Rt 25.  No continental divide along that route unless my brain is cheeted by a spell. 

On the standard gauge D&RGW the continental divide occurs in two places - Tennessee Pass and Moffatt Tunnel.

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Posted by kasskaboose on Tuesday, December 17, 2019 12:47 PM

Fantastic news about the layout.  I too can't wait to see what you develop. Pls post pics and keep us updated!

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Posted by mbinsewi on Tuesday, December 17, 2019 2:04 PM

Not sure if this will post, I'll give it a try.

https://mrarchive.mrr.trains.com/mrr/mar-2019/flipbook/42/

It's the RI track plan from the March 2019 issue.

Mike.

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Posted by riogrande5761 on Tuesday, December 17, 2019 2:14 PM

It worked.  That is quite the layout plan - expect it would take a long time to build.

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Posted by mbinsewi on Tuesday, December 17, 2019 2:38 PM

It's huge!  A very ambitious plan.  30 years ago, something like this was my "dream layout".

Hopefully I didn't break any rules by posting it from the archives.

Mike.

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Posted by caldreamer on Tuesday, December 17, 2019 4:57 PM

That is the track plan that I will be basing my railroad on.  Picture the lower level on the inside, in front of and  below the upper level using the open grid construction method.  I am modifying the design quite a bit, since a 40' X 30' HO layout works out to 21'6" X 11'4" for N scale. I will have more than twice the rquired space for my layout.

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Posted by ATLANTIC CENTRAL on Tuesday, December 17, 2019 5:48 PM

Well, I will offer a few thoughts. I remember reading that article, nice layout.

But I will offer a mild critique of the HO version as built.

I would never build a layout with aisles that narrow, he has places that are only 24" to 30", especially not with having two scenic decks.

I would never build a layout that size, in that kind of space, and use curves that sharp. You may think 30" curves are big, but they are not. 36" radius is my HO Class I railroad minimum.

I built a layout with two scenic decks, hated it before it was complete. Never again.

I have designed and built several layouts this size or bigger, some for myself, some I designed and helped build for friends. It is a project that requires commitment.

BUT, there is a BIG difference between large and complex. I have talked about this a lot on here, including in a thread outlining my new layout which I hope to start on by spring.

Complex and large - that's a lot of work, a lot of money, and a lot of time. But simple and large is not much more than building medium sized......

My classic example - an eight track double ended freight yard. It can be 12' long or 20' long, but the cost and complexity are pretty close to the same either way - if you have the room, which would you rather have?

My new layout will fill about 1600 sq ft, it will stage 30 trains, it will handle 35-50 car trains in my 1954 era, it will only be one scenic level. It will have a visable double track mainline run of 250'. Most of my scenes will be 3-5 feet deep, no more "shelf" scenery for me. 

If work calms down just a little, I will get the details done on the track plan and get it posted on this forum.

Good luck with you plans, sounds like a great concept and the right amount of space to do it justice.

Sheldon

    

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Posted by caldreamer on Tuesday, December 17, 2019 6:39 PM

Thank you Sheldon.  I will continue to post as I progress on the design and constructon of my layout.

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Posted by ROBERT PETRICK on Tuesday, December 17, 2019 6:43 PM

Hey Cal-

I'll wait until I see your track plan before making any comments, but if you want some free unsolicited advice before you begin . . .

I agree with most of Sheldon's comments. Particularly his suggestions regarding aisle width and curve radiusses (radaii). Make both as large as you can stand, and then grit your teeth and make them a little larger. A specific design criteria for my layout is a minimum aisle width of 36". Two-thirds of my layout has 36" and one-third has 48".

You've said you do not like helixes (helices) and would install a nolix instead. You haven't mentioned what sort of deck separation you intend to use, but have you calculated the actual length of a nolix using the maximum 1.25% grade you listed? including the up- and down vertical curve transitions?

Looking forward to your progress.

Robert

 

PS

I am modifying the design quite a bit, since a 40' X 30' HO layout works out to 21'6" X 11'4" for N scale. I will have more than twice the rquired space for my layout.

You will actually have more than four times the space . . .

 

LINK to SNSR Blog


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Posted by caldreamer on Tuesday, December 17, 2019 8:36 PM

Robert:

  Due to the fact that my layout is N scale, 12 1/2 inch radius is considered average for most locomotives.  I intend to make my minimum mainline radius 16" which is considered wide for N scale.  When I scale the layout onto grid paper, I can figure the length of the run to the maximun height just before Palmer Lake and  and down to the Pueblo.  Since I will be able to work Denver yard from the outside of the layout and Pueblo yard from the inside they will be within easy reach.  I intend to have Big Lift (the intermodal yard) and all other tracks within arms length.  Learned this lesson from my last layout.  NEVER again.

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Posted by carl425 on Wednesday, December 18, 2019 9:37 AM

caldreamer
N scale, 12 1/2 inch radius is considered average for most locomotives.  I intend to make my minimum mainline radius 16" which is considered wide for N scale. 

Not really.  Take a look at the NMRA Recommended Practices for curvature.

https://www.nmra.org/sites/default/files/standards/sandrp/pdf/rp-11_2018.03.03.pdf

BNSF to me implies modern, 70' long 6-axle locomotives.  The recommended radius for those is at least 17-3/8".

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 riogrande5761 on Wednesday, December 18, 2019 10:25 AM

caldreamer

Robert:

  Due to the fact that my layout is N scale, 12 1/2 inch radius is considered average for most locomotives.  I intend to make my minimum mainline radius 16" which is considered wide for N scale.

A 16 inch radius is roughly equivelent to a 31 inch radius in HO, which is not considered wide by todays standards.  I realize John Armstrongs Track Planning for Realistic Operation lists HO curves as follows:

Sharp = 18 inches radius

Conventional = 24 inches radius

Broad = 30 inches radius

I'd estimate N scale equivelents at 9.5 inch radius for sharp, 13 inches radius conventional and 16 inches as broad; but those are old school conventions and with more detail and more rolling stock made to scale length, more longer rolling stock.

A modern relabeling of curves might be HO/N (in inches):

Very Sharp = 18/9.5 R

Sharp = 24/13 R

Conventional = 30/16 R

Broad = 36/19 + R

The above are somewhat arbitrary and modelers may chose somewhat different curves by those descriptions.  I've read a lot of articles in MR magazine during th 80's and 90's and 30 inch minimum curves were a recurring theme in many many layout articles so it's probably a good benchmark for conventional curves, that or maybe 32 inches. 

Some years back there was an article re-evaluation of curves as a ratio of rolling stock length to curve radius.  For example in HO an 80' passenger car may track ok on a 19 inch radius curve but look very toylike with extreme overhang - and that's assuming there is no detail to interfer with the trucks or ends of cars.  A table was given with some generalized comments at 2.0x, 2.5x, 3.0x, 3.5 x and so on.  An 80 inch passenger car with couplers would be 11.5 inches long so the curve radius at 2.0X the length woud be 23 inches.  At 2.5x radius would be 29 inches and at 3.0x radius woud be 35 inches and so on.

Generalized charactaristics:

2.0x - 80' passenger cars just barely stay on the track with no details to get in the way of truck swing.  (radius in this scenario is 23"/12") HO/N

2.5x - 80' passenger cars with finally couple and will track reasonably well, but look totally unrealistic.  (radius in this scenario is 29")/15" 

3.0x - 80' passenger cars will roll very freely with no tracking problems although overhang is still excessive.  (radius in this scenario is 35"/18")

3.5x - 80' passenger cars look noticeably better when viewed from inside the curve (raidus in this scenario is 41"/"21)

Food for thought - radius in N would be a bit more than half the HO radius.  I've posted HO and N depending on the need.

As is often the case, most of us would like to have broad curves but more often we have to compromise due to limitations in space since we all can't afford an large one thousand+ sq ft basement.

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Posted by caldreamer on Wednesday, December 18, 2019 12:09 PM

I do not care about HO track radius.  I am in N scale.  All of my diesel engines run fine around a minimum 16" radius curve.  The longest engine that I have is a U50B with B-B+B-B trucks and an SD9043MC with C-C trucks.

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Posted by doctorwayne on Wednesday, December 18, 2019 12:48 PM

caldreamer
I do not care about HO track radius. I am in N scale...

Rio's advice was not so much about HO scale radii as such, but rather about radii which are suitable not only for good operations, but also for good-looking operations. 

If you have sufficient room to allow curves wider than your good-enough radii of 16", I would encourage you to utilise that room to your advantage, as it's one of the true advantages of N scale - I think that you will come to appreciate the more realistic appearance.

Wayne

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Posted by riogrande5761 on Wednesday, December 18, 2019 1:12 PM

caldreamer

I do not care about HO track radius.  I am in N scale.  

Uh huh, I get that, which is why I included the N scale equivelents in the discussion.  See the numbers after the slash / .   

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Posted by riogrande5761 on Wednesday, December 18, 2019 1:14 PM

doctorwayne
 
caldreamer
I do not care about HO track radius. I am in N scale... 

Rio's advice was not so much about HO scale radii as such, but rather about radii which are suitable not only for good operations, but also for good-looking operations. 

If you have sufficient room to allow curves wider than your good-enough radii of 16", I would encourage you to utilise that room to your advantage, as it's one of the true advantages of N scale - I think that you will come to appreciate the more realistic appearance.

Wayne

Hear him ^, or not.

caldreamer, I do understand there are limitations - in my case to fit the kind of operation I want, there is definitely a limitation to the curves I will be using - I just can't squeeze much more than I am.  If you can increase radii beyond 16 inches, at least in some places, you won't regret it.

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Posted by Wolf359 on Wednesday, December 18, 2019 1:33 PM

riogrande5761

 

 
caldreamer

The continental dive is just north of Palmer Lake where the track is at 7980 ft according to the BNSF subdivision timetable.  I will begin carefully scaling out the layout today.  Will keep you posted.

 

 

Did you mean east of Palmer lake.  The D&RGW trackage between Pueblo and Denver follows the front range of the Rockes somewhat paralleling Rt 25.  No continental divide along that route unless my brain is cheeted by a spell. 

On the standard gauge D&RGW the continental divide occurs in two places - Tennessee Pass and Moffatt Tunnel.

 

(edited) Your brain isn't being cheated by a spell. I live in Colorado Springs, Colorado, so I know that there is indeed a divide in that area, but it's NOT the Continental divide or a continental divide at all. It's called the Palmer Divide. It's actually a ridge that runs East from the town of Palmer Lake for about 80 miles toward the town of Limon and separates the South Platte river basin from the Arkansas River basin. There, that's my My 2 Cents worthSmile, Wink & Grin

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Posted by riogrande5761 on Wednesday, December 18, 2019 2:00 PM

Wolf359
Your brain isn't being cheated by a spell. I live in Colorado Springs, Colorado, so I know that there is indeed a divide in that area, but it's not the Continental divide. It's actually the Palmer Divide. It's a ridge that runs East from the town of Palmer Lake toward the town of Limon and separates the South Platte river basin from the Arkansas River basin. There, that's my worth

I only said the "cheeted by a spell" comment for laughs.

Ain't no continental divide geographically between Denver and Pueblo -  no way.    Ok I don't live there but I've driven Pueblo - Denver, Pueblo to Glenwood Springs via Independence Pass and Denver west to California.  It's academic.  

But as some say, "it's your railroad" ...

 

As an aside, been re-watching the old ST:TNG episodes and watched the 2-parter with the Borg attack at wolf359.  Thankfully Data was able to connect to the collective and put them to sleep to destroy the cube!  

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Posted by Wolf359 on Thursday, December 19, 2019 4:04 PM

caldreamer

I am beginning the design process for my new layout.  Since I model the BNSF, and like busy mountain railroading I will be modeling the 120 mile long Pikes Peak Subdivision which runs south from Denver to Pueblo. 

The area available for my new layout is 47 X 25 feet (1190 square feet).  This will allow me to have a multilevel layout with a lot of track to run on.  I intend to first single track the layout and then add a second track at a later date.  I will use the open grid design.

     Caldreamer 

 

That's going to be quite an impressive layout. I envy you!Bow Are you going to add the the downtown Colorado Springs yard as well? I've always liked the looks of the coal-fired Martin Drake power plant that's on a spur just south of that yard. If you are, it sounds like it would be a fun thing to model.

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Posted by caldreamer on Friday, December 20, 2019 8:23 AM

I have not gotten that far yet.  Right now I am placing the tracing paper over the grid paper which has the floor layout.  I like the idea of the Colorado sprigns yard and power plant.  I will look into it when I get that far.  Thanks for the suggestion.

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Posted by riogrande5761 on Friday, December 20, 2019 11:57 AM

caldreamer

I have not gotten that far yet.  Right now I am placing the tracing paper over the grid paper which has the floor layout. 

If you are using paper, you can get pads of 11x17 inch graph paper at stores like Staples that has a grid on it with IIRC, for squares to an inch.  Then you can manually draw in the boundary's of the room to scale.

Example: 

I measured all the walls in my train room on this graph paper to a scale of two squares equal 1 foot.  Along the left of the drawing is a long wall of 27.5 feet.  I measured all the other walls and drew them in.  That way you don't need to relay on a paper plan and you can draw it all to a scale that is as big as you can fit on the 11 x 17 paper.  Add any other features that may be important like door ways, closets, stairs etc.

Once you have all of that, you can make some photo copies if need be for multiple attempts at various layout drawings.

On the drawing, draw a scale bar on it as well, a common practice for scale engineering drawings.  That way you can take a compass and set it for various radii and draw in curves where they will go.  You can experiment a bit to see what the largest curves are that will fit in any given location, hopefully in some locations you can go bigger than the planned 16 inches.  I did this on my track plan - I have drawn in bigger than my minimum where i could manage.

Helpful tools to have would be a good eraser, compass, scale rule and eraser shield.

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Posted by caldreamer on Friday, December 20, 2019 7:44 PM

That is exactly what I am doing.  I have the graph paper taped together to give me the grid area that I need to draw the layout on.  I was at the new house last week and did exact measurements of the basement.  It is 52'7" long and 29'4" wide.  The stairs come down at one end into the basement and do not interfere with layout.  I measured the location of all steel pipes holding up the house. Location and size of the furnace, sump pump and water heater. I have them scaled on the graph paper.  I am using 4 squares to the foot.  I have placed tracing paper over the floor plan and have starting to mark out the layout.  When this is done, I will begin marking our the track, yards, industries, etc.

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