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Crazy Staging Yard Idea

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Crazy Staging Yard Idea
Posted by corsiar on Monday, February 10, 2020 8:27 PM

Need a staging yard for my layout. Never planned to do one so a double decker and helix is not going to work. So I came up with this dumb idea going into the closet. I dont want to pick up the locomotves all the time so I put crossovers on the end so the locos could be uncoupled then moved to the adjacent track to run around the train then couple back up on the other side. Is this a dumb idea or should I come up with something better?

 

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Posted by hon30critter on Monday, February 10, 2020 8:46 PM

Hi corsiar,

I don't see 'dumb'. I see 'smart'!

Dave

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Posted by cowman on Monday, February 10, 2020 8:56 PM

Have  you thought of using wye turnoouts?  Think it would save you some money and space.

Good luck

Richard

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Posted by hardcoalcase on Monday, February 10, 2020 9:21 PM

In place of the turnouts, you could install a turntable at the end where you could switch the loco to-and-from any of the tracks, without having to do multiple back-and-forth sawing. 

Depending on the track spacing, maybe an Atlas Turntable could work, worst case...a small (to fit your locos) non-motorized, finger-operated TT would be a more efficient use of space.  Going fancy, a Walthers programable TT would likely work... and could be cost-attractive compared to the multiple crossover turnouts.

Jim

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Posted by hon30critter on Tuesday, February 11, 2020 1:12 AM

Richard and Jim,

I might be missing something, but I don't see how using either wye turnouts or a turntable would improve on corsiar's design. Please enlighten me.

Wye turnouts are designed to allow the two diverging tracks to go in two different directions. Yard tracks need to be parallel, i.e. go in the same direction. It seems to me that getting tracks to run parallel to each other after coming out of a wye will create rather sharp 'S' curves.

Using a turntable might work if there is enough space to accommodate the curved approach tracks, but isn't the 'back and forth' movement prototypical in a yard?

Just my My 2 Cents

Please understand that I absolutely do not intend my comments to be disrespectful. I'm really curious to see how either option would work.

Dave

 

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Posted by xdford on Tuesday, February 11, 2020 3:11 AM

As this is a Staging Yard,  would it save space/ save the turnouts/both of the previous to make a transfer table/traverser to hold 2 units (or even three?) literally right on the end of the shelf ? 

The table itself could be a piece of aluminum U channel resting on rails or a "strap"/"plank"/ "length" of MDF which would also mean that only one track would be needed to be vacant to provide a runaround.

Hope this helps

Cheers from Australia

Trevor

 

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Posted by jim57 on Tuesday, February 11, 2020 5:07 AM

Your closet staging yard is a very creative use of space,  However, I see some issues with the staging yard and the multiple run-arounds:  they eat up storage space and the adjacent track must be clear to provide a return path for the arriving loco.

One option would be to dedicate only one staging lead as the arrival track, which would also save cost of multiple turnouts and increase available storage space considerably.

Perhaps a more efficient option would be an arrival track (siding) before the yard ladder, so there is no need to have 2 of six tracks in the yard clear.

jim57

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Posted by ATLANTIC CENTRAL on Tuesday, February 11, 2020 5:17 AM

Does the layout allow for turning whole trains?

Why not just back the trains into the staging? Eliminate the run around all together, and get more, longer staging?

You can pull trains in during the operating session, and then back them out and turn them later. Or just back them out?

Or always back them in?

Cowman may have been suggesting a "wye" to join the staging to the mainline, that too is a good idea. That is how some of the staging will work on my new layout.

Sheldon

    

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Posted by richhotrain on Tuesday, February 11, 2020 6:30 AM

Ahh, the age old issue, the need for a staging yard but inadequate space to pull it off. I like your idea of using the closet for this purpose, but the need for an escape route for the loco is obvious.

I never like the idea of backing trains out of yards since the possibility of derailments increases with each turnout on the yard ladder. So, it makes more sense to install a runaround track, an escape route, so the trains can move forward out of staging.

The objection that I see to your proposed arrangement is that it takes 9 turnouts over 6 tracks to accomplish a complete escape route. That is a lot of moves, a lot of turnouts and, potentially, a lot of switch machines to control the turnouts.

I will vote with Trevor for a transfer table. With a little ingenuity and construction work, you could design and install a manually operated transfer table and eliminate all of the turnout movements.

Rich

Alton Junction

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Posted by ATLANTIC CENTRAL on Tuesday, February 11, 2020 6:50 AM

richhotrain

Ahh, the age old issue, the need for a staging yard but inadequate space to pull it off. I like your idea of using the closet for this purpose, but the need for an escape route for the loco is obvious.

I never like the idea of backing trains out of yards since the possibility of derailments increases with each turnout on the yard ladder. So, it makes more sense to install a runaround track, an escape route, so the trains can move forward out of staging.

The objection that I see to your proposed arrangement is that it takes 9 turnouts over 6 tracks to accomplish a complete escape route. That is a lot of moves, a lot of turnouts and, potentially, a lot of switch machines to control the turnouts.

I will vote with Trevor for a transfer table. With a little ingenuity and construction work, you could design and install a manually operated transfer table and eliminate all of the turnout movements.

Rich

 

Well, I guess it depends on a lot of factors, but I have never had issues backing up trains, even thru yard ladders. Switching any working yard is 50% backing thru yard ladders.........

In my model world, freight trains have cabeese, and passenger trains have a specific order to their consist, that need to be delt with as well, and many of my locos are not suitable for just running to the other end of the train.

So dead end staging requires turning the whole train, on a loop or a wye, the latter will require backing up.

I've been backing up 35 to 50 car trains for 40 years now, but all my equipment meets some strict standards for weight, trucks/wheelsets and couplers.

And my curves are large, 36" minimum, and turnouts are #6 and larger.

Just like the prototype, go slow in reverse............

Sheldon

    

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Posted by snjroy on Tuesday, February 11, 2020 7:01 AM

I agree that backing up in a yard with a curve is likely to cause derailments. The transfer table is an interesting idea - it avoids the use of multiple escape routes I see in that plan. Anyway, I would consider removing the two small side walls in front of the closet to give more room and improve the appearance of the layout. 

Simon

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Posted by Onewolf on Tuesday, February 11, 2020 7:47 AM

I would also vote for backing in to the yard and avoiding any sort of run around.  Or if more space is available add a return loop after double ended yard ladders. :)

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.

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Posted by richhotrain on Tuesday, February 11, 2020 8:30 AM

One apparent drawback to the OP's design is that although there are 6 proposed staging tracks, only 5 tracks are actually available since one of the tracks needs to be the loco escape track. So, if you want 6 staging tracks, you need a 7th track for the escape route.

If the OP has room for a 7th track and would be willing to add one more foot of space to the escape route plan, I am envisioning the center track as the escape route. The two outermost tracks would be single turnouts and the four inner tracks that lead to the center track would be double slips. The center track would be a 3-way track. The beauty of that arrangement would be the absence of a back and forth set of movements, replaced by a straight access route to the center escape track.

Rich

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Posted by mbinsewi on Tuesday, February 11, 2020 9:04 AM

So, If I have his plan correct, you pull a train into the 1st track, then you have to do the run a round right away, to open up the 2nd track for another train, and so on, until the staging is full, except the last track, so you have space to stage 5 trains, and possibly back a short train into the 6th track.

I'm starting at the back of the closet.

And for the wye, so you can pull out of the yard, and go either way around the layout, where would you put it?  There's no room at the throat of the staging yard.

I do like the closet idea, as long as it's located right there, use it!  I didn't design any staging on my small layout, as the staging to hold a locomotive and 15 to 20 cars would be almost bigger than the layout!  

I place each train, one car at a time on the main, and remove it the same way.  But, my layout was designed just for me, the sole operator.

Mike.

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Posted by ROBERT PETRICK on Tuesday, February 11, 2020 9:19 AM

Glad you have a staging area. Many don't. I agree with the idea to put the available closet to good use as a staging yard.

I think I'd assign two tracks as the exclusive A/D and have them share a single runaround at the end. And lengthen the other four tracks as stub ends to maximize storage.

If arrivals can be backed in, good. If not, arrive head first, run the engine around, pull the arrival out, push it into one of the stub end storage tracks, and keep the A/D clear.

Four staging tracks are a lot more than none. Be thankful.

Robert 

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Posted by carl425 on Tuesday, February 11, 2020 9:38 AM

I also vote for the transfer table.  Since it's staging and it doesn't have to look realistic it will be easier to build and have it function well.  Use the shout track as the escape route rather than wasting a long one.

If as others have suggested and you have a spot to turn whole trains, put the yard on a slight downgrade. This will reduce the tendency to derail when backing the train in case you're not as perfect as Sheldon. Smile

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Posted by mbinsewi on Tuesday, February 11, 2020 9:39 AM

I wouldn't mind backing trains into a staging yard, as it would be a stub end yard, for maximum train length, and a big plus would be to be able to go either direction on the layout, when leaving the yard.

Mike.

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Posted by carl425 on Tuesday, February 11, 2020 9:44 AM

ROBERT PETRICK
arrive head first, run the engine around, pull the arrival out, push it into one of the stub end storage tracks, and keep the A/D clear.

This would work for "between session staging" but if you want to reuse a train in an op session, this practice would move the backstage operation out in the open.  Think of an actor changing costumes for the next scene while onstage.

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 dknelson on Tuesday, February 11, 2020 10:13 AM

A "dead end" staging yard is rather common in British display layouts, and the Brits have arrived at several imaginative ideas on how to get the trains out again without having to back into the staging yard.  These ideas have been brought over to the US, partly due to articles in Model Railroad Planning.  You now see dead end staging in many of the modular layouts taken to US train shows, often in a center peninsula where the crew sits and the public does not have access to.

The idea of a turntable has been raised and I have seen photos of an American layout where a "practical" turntable (built on a sort of lazy susan mechanism) connects with most if not all of the staging tracks.  By "practical" I mean it is not a model of a turntable, but a constructed bit of trackwork that does what a turntable does.  One slight negative is that the staging yard tracks have to angle inward towards the turnable, creating fouling points.  I also know some guys who have ripped out the mechanism from an Atlas turntable and use it, but you are limited to the 9" length or whatever of the track (in HO).  At one time Airfix made a cheap turntable that some guys used.  Have not seen one in years.

The transfer table has been mentioned.  That keeps the staging yard tracks parallel and thus does not create fouling points.  Sector plate i s another solutionas well - David Popp installed one in one or another of the MRVP project layouts and showed how to build one from start to finish.  Basically it is half a turntable - a board ending in a pivot point. It can get locomotives (and cars of course) from one track to another without having to install a bunch of crossover tracks (which take up valuable yard space) but it does not turn the locomotive (or single end cars such as observation cars or snow plows) around as a turntable can.  The staging tracks have to curve in to meet the sector plate but the angle can be wide enough to minimize the fouling points created.  

Another idea, which I am toying with on the staging yards of my own layout is cassettes (long enough for your longest power) which move around on a smooth surface like erasers on a white board (in fact white board is what I intend to use, with soft felt on the bottom of the cassette).  There are various ways of mating their power supply with the tracks against which they are held, some sophisticated and precise, some very simple and "analog" (like a stereo headphone jack).  You can turn the car or locomotive around with the cassette (it is double ended) or just transfer from one track to another.  The amount of space it uses at the end of the staging yard is the length of the cassette and perhaps a bit for safety's sake.

And still another way to deal with the dead end staging yard is to have a staging yardmaster who "plays God" and picks up cars and locomotives and turns them around, or takes them off the layout, and so on.  Because they work in isolation from the rest of the layout, the popular name for these yardmasters is "mole."  Not the best idea perhaps with today's hyper-detailed and delicate rolling stock.

Lastly, another possibility mentioned by carl425 and the least complex of all, is to use the dead end staging yard purely passively - if a train arrives heading in, there it sits for the rest of the operating session.  The layout owner takes care of any movements needed once the session is over and he, or she, is preparing for the next session.  Some very long op sessions have an intermission and owners do some of that rearranging then.  Personally my brain (and back and feet) have had enough trains after 3 hours or so but the op till you drop folks love to operate well into two digits.  

Dave Nelson 

 

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Posted by gregc on Tuesday, February 11, 2020 10:53 AM

it's a shame to have an escape track for each yard track.

a double ended parrallelogram shaped yard would keep track more equal length and only one escape track needed.  ideally,  the escape track is the shortest track

 

 

greg - Philadelphia & Reading / Reading

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Posted by ATLANTIC CENTRAL on Tuesday, February 11, 2020 11:24 AM

So, a lot of great info and ideas have been suggested here.

A few more thoughts.

First, these choices depend a lot on train length and the desired operating scheme.

In my case trains may or may not reappear in the same operating session, but generally trains using the dead end staging will not reappear.  That staging yard, connected to the main with a wye, giving that scenic appearance of a wye junction, will have 10 tracks each able to hold a 35 to 40 car train and its locos.

Those 10 trains start out the session facing out, and come on stage and travel east or west depending on the schedule. Some will eventually return to this staging yard, others will terminate at the main yard or in other staging, the rest of which is thru staging hidden behind/under the scenery and/or backdrop.

There are about 20 such thru staging tracks planned. 

As trains terminate in the dead end staging at the wye, they just pull in as if they are headed down that route.

After the session, trains can be backed out around the eye, turned around, and backed into the staging yard for the next session, without ever touching a car or loco with your greasy fingers........

I hate handling equipment more than necessary, five finger fiddle yards are a non starter for me, especially with 35 to 50 car trains.

Based on the drawing the OP posted, it seem hs could possibly connect the yard to the main with a wye, depending on radius, and eliminate all the run around turnouts, making the staging longer on that end.

Only his operational desires will define the best choices.

Sheldon

    

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Posted by corsiar on Tuesday, February 11, 2020 11:29 AM

Thanks for all of the input. Have to sit and read through them all. Here is an overall pic of the layout plus kind of the room shape. Probably should of called it a storage yard rather than a staging yard. Orginal plan was to use the main yard for staging and classification but it didnt work not enough room. Taking cars on and off all the time is going to be a pain. Trying to run 65" trains with two locos so around 75" total may have to go to 65" total.

 

Did come up with this idea last night but would have to build a lift up bridge and shorten the yard ladder.

 

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Posted by Deane Johnson on Tuesday, February 11, 2020 11:31 AM

I don't know beans about track layout, but in looking at the OP's original post, it looks to me like every other track would have to go unused in order to provide an escape track.  The only other option would be to ratchet back and forth through the switches to get to a clear track.

Probably a lot of work, but a transfer table would be neat.  They look really cool in operation. It would be a shame to hide it in the closet.

Perhaps the most simple solution would be to hire the neighbor's kid during operating sessions to sit in there in the dark and just lift the engine to another track.Smile

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Posted by ATLANTIC CENTRAL on Tuesday, February 11, 2020 11:32 AM

gregc

it's a shame to have an escape track for each yard track.

a double ended parrallelogram shaped yard would keep track more equal length and only one escape track needed.  ideally,  the escape track is the shortest track

 

 

 

Agreed but he is trying to keep the tracks longer by not having the length of another ladder, something I am arguing against entirely. 

If he opens up the closet wall to allow use of the corner, he could fit the wye on the main better, and get more track length for my version.

I am a big fan of parrallelagram double ended yards but I think the OP needs more room for that to really work.

Sheldon

    

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Posted by gregc on Tuesday, February 11, 2020 12:30 PM

ATLANTIC CENTRAL
Agreed but he is trying to keep the tracks longer by not having the length of another ladder, something I am arguing against entirely. 

the outermost track is longer because of the bend.  that's where the ladder can start so the inner most track is the last turnout

greg - Philadelphia & Reading / Reading

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Posted by richhotrain on Tuesday, February 11, 2020 12:38 PM

richhotrain

If the OP has room for a 7th track and would be willing to add one more foot of space to the escape route plan, I am envisioning the center track as the escape route. The two outermost tracks would be single turnouts and the four inner tracks that lead to the center track would be double slips. The center track would be a 3-way track. The beauty of that arrangement would be the absence of a back and forth set of movements, replaced by a straight access route to the center escape track.

How about something like this?

The solid blue dots are turnouts, the solid red dot is a 3-way turnout, and the clear blue circles are double slips. The center red line is the escape track, and six blue lines are the staging tracks.

Rich

Escape-Track.jpg

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Posted by ATLANTIC CENTRAL on Tuesday, February 11, 2020 1:11 PM

gregc

 

 
ATLANTIC CENTRAL
Agreed but he is trying to keep the tracks longer by not having the length of another ladder, something I am arguing against entirely. 

 

the outermost track is longer because of the bend.  that's where the ladder can start so the inner most track is the last turnout

 

Also agreed, but I would still be backing trains into a stub end yard rather than moving engines in the space he has. 

But again, I don't know what kind of operation he wants, or what era he models?

I model the 50's, 40 car trains, pulled by ABA F units and a caboose on the end.......

Sheldon

    

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Posted by mbinsewi on Tuesday, February 11, 2020 1:15 PM

corsiar
. Trying to run 65" trains with two locos so around 75" total may have to go to 65" total.

OK,  Now we get to see the entire layout.  My first thought is,  there looks like enough room on what you have to park a train of 65", unless you have all of that yard space and the 3 tracks to the outside, filled with cars that really don't need to be there.  It looks like with all the track you have, you still only have a single main track that will go all the way around.  Doesn't look like a lot of room for industries to justify many cars sitting in the yard(s).

10" more for locos?  what do you run? short steam engines?

A long train on my small layout ( about 45' of total main loop) is about 76", including one loco.  I don't need two.  Actually my longest trains of about 20 cars, and 1 loco is about 100" +

It doesn't look like your 1st. proposed storage yard will hold a train that long, without dividing it.  The 2nd revision looks long enough.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not critiquing your layout, just wondering why you even need the storage yard.

Rich, that looks interesting.  You could use the long tail of the escape track for caboose storage, if you run trains with a caboose.

Mike.

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Posted by snjroy on Tuesday, February 11, 2020 1:25 PM

Being a loco "junkie", I have a ton of perfectly functional DCC switchers sitting in a drawer. I would probably keep a few switchers assigned permanently to the staging tracks, and just pull the trains in the yard. The mainline locos can pick them up from the yard, and when done on the mainline, let the switchers back up on the main line and pull them back in the yard. Not prototypical, but a great excuse to run unused locos... And no derailments.  You could do both (switcher for some line, back up for others), and just keep the assigned switcher for cars that derail more than others, like long passenger cars.

Simon

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Posted by corsiar on Tuesday, February 11, 2020 1:44 PM

I am modeling modern era. All 6 axle diesels. Two diesels together is around 10" coupler to coupler. I will be running a big boy also the reason I am modeling Cheyenne. I do have two mains with the siding going to the staging yard that was going to be used for something else but plans changed. The first idea can hold 75" of train only after the run around and the loco pushes the consist againt the wall. For operating only have two industries. Frontier refinery and Voestalpine Nortrak. The double stacks, auto racks, coal cars, soda ash, and maybe a manifest will just run around the loops. Track plan was not thought out very well. Wish I could start over but all of the track is laid.

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