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Layout Critique

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Layout Critique
Posted by jacobsen9026 on Saturday, February 1, 2020 10:28 AM

There is a redesign found on page 2

http://cs.trains.com/mrr/f/11/t/280638.aspx?page=2#3222478

 

I'll start with some disclaimers:

  • I'm a newbie
  • I want sectional for portabillity 2'x4' secitons
  • I don't want to be a Cad-too-soon victim (but I know I am)
  • I want continuous run capabillity for kids/background noise/relaxation
  • I'm only just barely invested in building materials (basically just some 2'x4' tables)
  • HO is a must because of my grandfathers inherited collection
  • I've got a draft CAD model made but still needs tweaking on 2'x4' table seams
  • I'm not sure how prototypical I want to go, I like the balanced model/display approach

 

This is the planned table layout and surrounding basement space modeled. Note: the track in this image is not the latest version, keep scrolling to see the latest.

High Resolution

 

The latest layout design

High Resolution

 

 

I'm willing to scrap everything and start over. Thoughts?

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Posted by BigDaddy on Monday, February 3, 2020 8:27 PM

Welcome o the forum.  Your posts are moderated for the first handful, so there is a delay.

jacobsen9026
I don't want to be a Cad-too-soon victim (but I know I am)

I haven't a clue what that means.

Your last link shows 4 tracks within 3 squares, which I assume are 1' squares.

Given that most people want 2" of leeway between the drop to the floor that means the biggest radius is 16" and the rest are much smaller. 

The tightest curves look like they are 12"  That isn't going to work.

My experience in designing modules is that it is hard to not have turnouts cross the modules or have a throwbar in the middle between modules. 

I understand nostalgia and wanting to use your grandfathers stuff, but I am a grandfathter and the Tyco trains I had were less than optimal (in deference to the moderators)  and I don't want them on my layout.  Are these rolling stock that your grandfather would want on his layout in 2020 or are they just 30 year old beginners rolling stock?

The problem I had trying to do a sectional yard is that 4' isn't enough room and the throwbar ends up being in between sections.

Henry

COB Potomac & Northern

By the Chesapeake Bay

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Posted by mbinsewi on Monday, February 3, 2020 8:39 PM

The second drawing,  what size are the squares?  1'x1'?, 2'x2'?, or what?  They sure don't look like 2'x4'.

And the yellow and red lines, when I zoom in, they show the track grade?

You definitely have lots of track!

Mike.

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Posted by xboxtravis7992 on Monday, February 3, 2020 9:07 PM

First off, those renders are awesome looking. Is there a specific program you are using for it? I really like the way it turned out.

As for the track, I see your goal is to have plent of continous running options. But it seems very busy, and in my opinion you could probably trim it down to three or even two tracks on the main loop. More track is more expensive; switches in particular cost a lot of money. 

Without knowing your scale, I can't tell what your radiuses are. Most HO equipment runs at a minimum of 18" radius. I would recommend 24" for larger equipment. 

The inherited equipment, is it DCC or DC equipement? If its DC you have to make sure you have insulated block segments to support different locomotives. You can only have one consist on a DC segment of track at a time to avoid collisions. DCC can support multiple consists on the same block of wiring, but with as much track as you have; you should still block segments to prevent shorts and overstressing the system. 


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Posted by riogrande5761 on Tuesday, February 4, 2020 7:07 AM

The first plan appears to be the proverbial spaghetti track plan.  The second one less so.

What would be most helpful is a scale or what size the squares represent.

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Posted by RR_Mel on Tuesday, February 4, 2020 9:24 AM

Looking closely the track and squares it doesn’t scale to workable HO.  If the squares are 1’ then he has a 6.435” or 46’ 8” turntable and turnouts 3.86” long.
 
Quickie from my CAD
 
 
 
Even doubling the squares to 2’ it’s closer but still out of HO scale.
 
 
 
Mel
 
 
 
My Model Railroad   
 
Bakersfield, California
 
I'm beginning to realize that aging is not for wimps.
 
 
 
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Posted by carl425 on Tuesday, February 4, 2020 9:45 AM

RR_Mel
Looking closely the track and squares it doesn’t scale to workable HO.  If the squares are 1’ then he has a 6.435” or 46’ 8” turntable and turnouts 3.86” long.

Based on how he spells his name (jacobsen), I'd guess he comes from a place that uses the metric system. That makes the squares 1 meter.

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 RR_Mel on Tuesday, February 4, 2020 10:16 AM

Carl
 
I ran it in metric and that really blows it apart.  As he used inches in his post I think 24” squares are the closest to HO workable.  When I do my drawings I measure the actual turnout I’ll be using, he maybe using a generic template for his turnouts which will get you into the ballpark.
 
Using 24” his tightest radius is 18” and the total size 10’ x 16’, kinda tough to do with 2’ x 4’ modules.
 
 
EDIT:
 
Actual size
 
 
 
 
Mel
 
 
 
My Model Railroad   
 
Bakersfield, California
 
I'm beginning to realize that aging is not for wimps.
 
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Posted by Onewolf on Tuesday, February 4, 2020 10:59 AM

If you want to do 2x4 sectional/modular (good idea!) I would do connected 2x4 modules around an open center.  Your current track plans look like way too much track and not enough room for scenery/structures/operational interest.

Bonus points for using a 'standard' module system:

https://www.nmra.org/introduction-layout-modules

Also search for "TOMA" for modular layout information.

 

 

 

Modeling an HO gauge freelance version of the Union Pacific Oregon Short Line and the Utah Railway around 1957 in a world where Pirates from the Great Salt Lake founded Ogden, UT.

- Photo album of layout construction -

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Posted by mbinsewi on Tuesday, February 4, 2020 11:53 AM

Still waiting on what size his squares are.  The first drawing clearly shows the individual 2'x4' tables.  The program he used even shows the grain on the sheets of plywood, for whatever that's worth.  I'm sure those that like computer drawing programs probably think it's cool.

The second drawing shows squares.  What size are they?

The whole thing looks crowded, and some of it might not be reachable, depending on the size of the squares.

Mike.

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Posted by NVSRR on Tuesday, February 4, 2020 8:11 PM

mbinsewi

Still waiting on what size his squares are.  The first drawing clearly shows the individual 2'x4' tables.  The program he used even shows the grain on the sheets of plywood, for whatever that's worth.  I'm sure those that like computer drawing programs probably think it's cool.

The second drawing shows squares.  What size are they?

The whole thing looks crowded, and some of it might not be reachable, depending on the size of the squares.

Mike.

 

 

From looking at both designs, it looks like the squares are 2x2.    Even still some of the curves dont work.  And how does he get to the center section?  S ee A couple places were a gantry crane is needed to reach.    He should consider digging through the track plan data base here and build one of those.  This one looks like a bowl of unneeded aggrivation more than just a spaghetti bowl

A pessimist sees a dark tunnel

An optimist sees the light at the end of the tunnel

A realist sees a frieght train

An engineer sees three idiots standing on the tracks stairing blankly in space

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Posted by jacobsen9026 on Tuesday, February 4, 2020 8:42 PM

I see I've left out some crucial details, and will update the op as well.

 

This is HO scale

DCC, may plan for block detection

Grid in second picture is 2' units

Smallest radius apears to be around 12" at the lower yard entrance which I need to fix, but on the main lines and elsewhere the smallest radius is 16" on the inner figure 8 loop, and about 24" on the outer two loops.

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Posted by jacobsen9026 on Tuesday, February 4, 2020 8:46 PM

2'x2' grid

colored lines are radii, no color is over 32",  yellow, is between 20"-32", orange is between 18"-20" and red is 18" or less, where I need to rethink.

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Posted by jacobsen9026 on Tuesday, February 4, 2020 8:56 PM

I saw some article in ModelRailroader that warned against just using model rail cad software without thinking everything through, which I haven't.

 

2' squares so double everything.

Tightest curve is like 15" in some sidings, should I adjust?

I spent some time adjusting turnouts before posting this to avoid that issue. I'm not sure how well they will be able to come apart, but if it would be at all possible with the least amount of cutting things apart, that'd be awesome. You never know when life may change and I need to pack up and move cross the country.

If it can't be done it can't be done, but I'll try.

My grandfather had purchased mostly Athearn blue box stock and loco's as well as Atlas brass track and turnouts(though I will be puchasing all new track and points), I also have already splurged a little and purchased more quality rolling stock, a trio of locos, and swapped in kadee couplers to everything.

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Posted by jacobsen9026 on Tuesday, February 4, 2020 9:05 PM

So the track was planned in AnyRail and they have an export 3d model option.

In Autodesk Fusion 360 I modeled a crude version of my basement in the area I plan to build, modeled the tables and arranged them in a way I only ever have to reach 3 feet from the edge but maximize space with minumal tables. Imported the AnyRail 3d model and placed it on top of the tables. Voila.

So there are only 3 main loops in the current design, the inner one is a figure 8 with a bridge. If you had to remove an element which one would you choose? I hated the simplistic oval the outer 2 loops alone were making so I added the inner one.

Refer to my previous replies for radius numbers

Inherited is DC, I have purchased a few DCC/DCC-Ready locos as well. I will have a DPDT toggle to switch between DCC mode and DC and am willing to swap loco's. I will attempt to convert the DC locos to DCC, but I have an alternative.

So block segments are something I have not really studied up on yet. I have to do that.

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Posted by jacobsen9026 on Tuesday, February 4, 2020 9:06 PM

riogrande5761

The first plan appears to be the proverbial spaghetti track plan.  The second one less so.

What would be most helpful is a scale or what size the squares represent.

 

his is HO scale

DCC, may plan for block detection

Grid in second picture is 2' units

Smallest radius apears to be around 12" at the lower yard entrance which I need to fix, but on the main lines and elsewhere the smallest radius is 16" on the inner figure 8 loop, and about 24" on the outer two loops.

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Posted by jacobsen9026 on Tuesday, February 4, 2020 9:08 PM

RR_Mel

Looking closely the track and squares it doesn’t scale to workable HO.  If the squares are 1’ then he has a 6.435” or 46’ 8” turntable and turnouts 3.86” long.
 
Quickie from my CAD
 
 
 
Even doubling the squares to 2’ it’s closer but still out of HO scale.
 
 
 
Mel
 
 
 
My Model Railroad   
 
Bakersfield, California
 
I'm beginning to realize that aging is not for wimps.
 
 
 
 

 

It's 2', and that yard entrance is way too tight, you're right I need to fix that.

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Posted by jacobsen9026 on Tuesday, February 4, 2020 9:10 PM

RR_Mel

Carl
 
I ran it in metric and that really blows it apart.  As he used inches in his post I think 24” squares are the closest to HO workable.  When I do my drawings I measure the actual turnout I’ll be using, he maybe using a generic template for his turnouts which will get you into the ballpark.
 
Using 24” his tightest radius is 18” and the total size 10’ x 16’, kinda tough to do with 2’ x 4’ modules.
 
 
EDIT:
 
Actual size
 
 
 
 
Mel
 
 
 
My Model Railroad   
 
Bakersfield, California
 
I'm beginning to realize that aging is not for wimps.
 
 

 

I have a few different atlas turnouts in there, but they should be dimensionally perfect because I'm using AnyRail

So I realize I want sectional, not modular, is that still hard to accomplish what I want, other that the obvious try and avoid turnouts on seams.

2' grid size

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Posted by jacobsen9026 on Tuesday, February 4, 2020 9:18 PM

NVSRR

 

 
mbinsewi

Still waiting on what size his squares are.  The first drawing clearly shows the individual 2'x4' tables.  The program he used even shows the grain on the sheets of plywood, for whatever that's worth.  I'm sure those that like computer drawing programs probably think it's cool.

The second drawing shows squares.  What size are they?

The whole thing looks crowded, and some of it might not be reachable, depending on the size of the squares.

Mike.

 

 

 

 

From looking at both designs, it looks like the squares are 2x2.    Even still some of the curves dont work.  And how does he get to the center section?  S ee A couple places were a gantry crane is needed to reach.    He should consider digging through the track plan data base here and build one of those.  This one looks like a bowl of unneeded aggrivation more than just a spaghetti bowl

 

 

So you are right about drawing scale, and spaghetti ness, and the 3' reach to the center. I'm 6'2" but I see what you mean.

 

I've looked at a bunch of track plans, but I'm a sort of look at others and make it my own kinda of guy, (built and designed my own 3d printer and CNC Router/Aluminum Mill) so I need it to be my own plan.

On top of that, I intend to fully scene this layout with landscape ,grass , trees, rocks, cliffs, the works.

 

What would you remove first?

 

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Posted by jacobsen9026 on Tuesday, February 4, 2020 9:24 PM

So Thank you so much to everyone who has chimed in, I appreciate the feedback.

Based on your thoughts, I am leaning towards a complete re-design. (Of course it will likely be more track) I am thinking I want to ditch the clustered table sections plan and go with either a 2'-4' wide L,U, or full loop with the tables themselves. This will result in less scenerySad, more track, better reach, and a better shot at a more portotypical design.

My only hurdle is my darn continuous run requirement. I don't like the idea of a hidden loopback track behind the layout so scratch that one. It needs either to be a full loop (where I either have to duck under or have a hindged part) or have loops at each end of the L or U. Everything would need a minimum of a double track mainline.

Good idea?

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Posted by carl425 on Tuesday, February 4, 2020 10:51 PM

RR_Mel
I think 24” squares are the closest to HO workable.

You're right.  I thought I had sleuthed it out to be metric (Norwegian?) with the *sen vs *son spelling, but the 3D drawing clearly shows the 2x4 modules he talks about in his post.

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 mbinsewi on Wednesday, February 5, 2020 7:02 AM

NVSRR
From looking at both designs, it looks like the squares are 2x2

It does look like that, but I'm waiting for the OP to confirm it.

Mike.

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Posted by cuyama on Wednesday, February 5, 2020 10:44 AM

jacobsen9026
Based on your thoughts, I am leaning towards a complete re-design. (Of course it will likely be more track) I am thinking I want to ditch the clustered table sections plan

That would improve access and the efficiency of the use of the space. There's nothing magical about 2'X4' sections -- or any fixed section size (unless you are building modules to connect with others). Larger sections will reduce the limitations posed by so many seams -- and the costs imposed by so many legs.

I always encourage folks to see the entire space, not just rectangles. 

jacobsen9026
I saw some article in ModelRailroader that warned against just using model rail cad software without thinking everything through, which I haven't.

Or maybe here. The point of that web page is to take a step back from the CAD and spend a little time learning some layout design principles. One can think through the concept, purpose, theme, desired operation and viewing experience, etc. of one's layout -- the track plan grows out of that exercise. Concepts like staging, overlapping elements, framing scenes, the principles of yard design, etc. usually make the resulting layout a better choice for long-term engagement and enjoyment.

Or if you just want to build something soon, working on a smaller interim layout in just part of the space would allow you to build skills and explore your preferences before tackling the long-term design.

Radii below 15" in HO are not practical except for the smallest equipment -- and certainly not in an area like the yard.

Good luck with your layout.

Byron

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Posted by riogrande5761 on Wednesday, February 5, 2020 10:54 AM

I agree with Cuyuma.  While I am not a professional track planner I do enjoy taking a space available and seeing what can fit into it.

You might want to look at the room as a whole and see what track arrangement might use that room to it's fullest potential, keeping in mind such things as curve radius and turn-back loops.  Then you can design benchwork sections that suite the track design as if it's another layer in the sketch.

The current plan seems to have very sharp curves, and the extremely sharp curves not withstanding, even 18 inch curves are considered sharp in todays model railroading world.  While you can trick some longer rolling stock to operate on such curves, it's always a best practice if you can manage the biggest curve radius that you can reasonably fit into track plan for the given space.  At such low radius figures, every bit of increase you can squeeze in will make a sizable difference in train operation and allow some longer cars that might otherwise balk at such tight curves.

If you can manage an around the walls style layout, you will likely get a lot more operation and broader curves than an island or semi-island style layout.  Around the walls may be accomplished with a dog bone configuration or possibly a lift out bridge for entry into a large around the walls oval.

Rio Grande.  The Action Road  - Focus 1977-1983

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Posted by Tinplate Toddler on Wednesday, February 5, 2020 11:12 AM

I took the OP´s track plan and laid a 2´ by 4´ grid over it.

If this layout is meant to be built in these sections, getting the track aligned properly will be very hard to achieve. I am inclined to say it won´t work!

The layout covers a foot print of minimum 10` by 20´, which is a huge footprint, that could see better use.

Happy times!

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Posted by riogrande5761 on Wednesday, February 5, 2020 12:18 PM

yep

Rio Grande.  The Action Road  - Focus 1977-1983

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Posted by jacobsen9026 on Thursday, February 6, 2020 6:19 PM

cuyama

 

 
jacobsen9026
Based on your thoughts, I am leaning towards a complete re-design. (Of course it will likely be more track) I am thinking I want to ditch the clustered table sections plan

 

That would improve access and the efficiency of the use of the space. There's nothing magical about 2'X4' sections -- or any fixed section size (unless you are building modules to connect with others). Larger sections will reduce the limitations posed by so many seams -- and the costs imposed by so many legs.

I always encourage folks to see the entire space, not just rectangles. 

 

 
jacobsen9026
I saw some article in ModelRailroader that warned against just using model rail cad software without thinking everything through, which I haven't.

 

Or maybe here. The point of that web page is to take a step back from the CAD and spend a little time learning some layout design principles. One can think through the concept, purpose, theme, desired operation and viewing experience, etc. of one's layout -- the track plan grows out of that exercise. Concepts like staging, overlapping elements, framing scenes, the principles of yard design, etc. usually make the resulting layout a better choice for long-term engagement and enjoyment.

Or if you just want to build something soon, working on a smaller interim layout in just part of the space would allow you to build skills and explore your preferences before tackling the long-term design.

Radii below 15" in HO are not practical except for the smallest equipment -- and certainly not in an area like the yard.

Good luck with your layout.

Byron

 

 

I appreciate the feedback. I knew the 15" radii were bad and needed work but I thought 18" was relatively safe. I currently have a temporary layout with atlas sectional track with 18" radius turns which all of my rolling stock have been able to handle (and that's with no easments, and that includes the 85' amtrack coaches) but I see the desire for 24" or larger radii for those long coaches. The mental image of a 5 ft dogbone end-loop just messes with my percieved fung-shui of the layout, it just feels like it needs to be soooo much bigger than the rest of the track, but I guess that's what I'm stuck with if I want continuous run.

 

Again thanks and I appreciate each and every input anyone on here has to give. As I said, this is new territory for me.

Unfortunately I've already built 9 2'x4' tables, but I would need to add more for the new un-clustered oval layout I'm currenty imagining. Plenty of spots to make some more uniquely shaped baseboards to reduce curve radii and fit the room better.

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Posted by jacobsen9026 on Thursday, February 6, 2020 6:22 PM

riogrande5761

I agree with Cuyuma.  While I am not a professional track planner I do enjoy taking a space available and seeing what can fit into it.

You might want to look at the room as a whole and see what track arrangement might use that room to it's fullest potential, keeping in mind such things as curve radius and turn-back loops.  Then you can design benchwork sections that suite the track design as if it's another layer in the sketch.

The current plan seems to have very sharp curves, and the extremely sharp curves not withstanding, even 18 inch curves are considered sharp in todays model railroading world.  While you can trick some longer rolling stock to operate on such curves, it's always a best practice if you can manage the biggest curve radius that you can reasonably fit into track plan for the given space.  At such low radius figures, every bit of increase you can squeeze in will make a sizable difference in train operation and allow some longer cars that might otherwise balk at such tight curves.

If you can manage an around the walls style layout, you will likely get a lot more operation and broader curves than an island or semi-island style layout.  Around the walls may be accomplished with a dog bone configuration or possibly a lift out bridge for entry into a large around the walls oval.

 

 

Thank you for the insights. This is obviously my first layout. And I'd rather not have to rip up glued track down the road should my desires change. If I go around the walls I may not have as much space as I'd like due to the corner of the room area I have chosen to build in (only two actual walls about 12-15 feet in length each. On top of that, my dogbone turnarounds would need an unreasonable amount of space compared to just looping it as an expanded oval with a lift out bridge as you mentioned.

 

I'm guessing track alignment on a lift-out bridge is the hardest part of the expanded oval design. Any tips on how best to achieve a perfect fit?

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Posted by jacobsen9026 on Thursday, February 6, 2020 6:28 PM

Tinplate Toddler

I took the OP´s track plan and laid a 2´ by 4´ grid over it.

If this layout is meant to be built in these sections, getting the track aligned properly will be very hard to achieve. I am inclined to say it won´t work!

The layout covers a foot print of minimum 10` by 20´, which is a huge footprint, that could see better use.

 

 

I was already consider not cutting the tracks at sectional joints where the track was at an awkward angle (leaving the cutting to when I eventually relocate), but I think you, and all the others, are correct in my inefficient use of space and poor secitonal design by changing to a more stretched out layout with more track to scenery ratio so as to utilize the space better.

 

I'll admit I'm almost half as much into this for the scenery as I am for the rail modeling. My 3d printer and CNC router will be able to assist tremendously on scenery fabrication, I can't wait. But I can live with less scenery.

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Posted by jacobsen9026 on Thursday, February 6, 2020 6:30 PM

I also want to reiterate, that my dream is a dissassemble-able sectional layout, but I can live with compromises.

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