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Second stab at PRW track plan... need some assistance

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Posted by snjroy on Saturday, April 3, 2021 10:17 PM

To serve your South  passenger station, you will need to back up your loco to go back on the mainline. If you put your station on the main, where what seems to be a water tower, you won't need to do that. You could also install some turnouts to allow another train to go around the passenger train while it sits at the station.

Simon

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Posted by Lastspikemike on Sunday, April 4, 2021 9:07 AM

That's another advantage of fitting your yard inside your main loop. Plus including a passing siding at the station gets you a long run around. 

Also, you have just enough space to fit a reversing section, a loop across the middle.

Alyth Yard

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Posted by SeeYou190 on Sunday, April 4, 2021 9:36 AM

Putting the yard inside to loop is unpleasing to the eye. It also limits the size of the yard, access, and location of the lead track. It is a necessity on a 4 by 8 HO layout, but you do not have that limitation.

I would suggest keeping the yard outside the loop.

My yard was inside the loop on my original N scale layout in high school. It did not take me long to figure out all the advantages of relocating it.

-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 Doughless on Sunday, April 4, 2021 12:49 PM

OP could work in a drill track/yard lead along the right edge of the layout.  That could allow him to break up and make up trains as another train orbits the layout.

- Douglas

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Posted by crossthedog on Sunday, April 4, 2021 11:54 PM

I appreciate the different views expressed on the best location of the yard relative to the mainline loop. I've tried several times to draw up a plan with the yard on the inside of the loop. In the end, my real complaint is that if the yard has any length then it has to curl with the loop curves at one end, and so do any sidings and spurs. All those tracks curving together makes the layout start to look like a lot of concentric circles, like a cross section of a fir tree. I like the way the yard at the bottom gives it an orthogonal look, lends the layout a feeling of variety and angularity, and the loop looks less dominant rather than more. Plus, the branch coming off of the yard lead just seems to work right. It makes the yard work as a kind of interchange.    

@Lastspikemike
Seems I could learn a lot from your layout. It sounds like you planned well. If you ever get photo posting capability I'd love to see it. As for my passenger station, I'm still not exactly sure where I want to put it. I might be okay putting a small station on the mainline for quick stops, and I do like the idea of a passing siding that serves as a runaround.  

@Kevin
Seattle doesn't have a huge temperature differential. A cold summer day is like a warm winter day. And yeah, I grew up here and never knew what air conditioning was until I went to California. Our air is conditioned by the Pacific Ocean and the coastal ranges. Also, as noted above, I agree with you about the yard looking better outside the loop in my case.

@Douglas
Great minds. Even before your suggestion about shifting track to the right at the north end, I was planning to curve the corner of the layout by the shelves, simply because the layout extends north far enough to somewhat impede access to them. But what exactly is a drill track? I mean how is it different from a siding?

Thanks again all for your input. It's been instructive.

-Matt

Returning to model railroading after 40 years and taking unconscionable liberties with the SP&S, Northern Pacific and Great Northern roads in the '40s and '50s.

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Posted by hon30critter on Monday, April 5, 2021 12:56 AM

crossthedog
But what exactly is a drill track? I mean how is it different from a siding?

Hi Matt,

A drill track is a track attached to a yard onto which the yard switcher can pull a cut of cars from one yard track to put them onto another yard track without having to go onto the mainline or otherwise interfere with any other train movements in the vicinity of the yard.

The drill track has to be kept clear. Cars would not be left on the drill track for any length of time whereas cars are usually left on a siding for extended periods, either for storage or to be loaded or unloaded.

Hope that makes sense.

Dave

I'm just a dude with a bad back having a lot of fun with model trains, and finally building a layout!

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Posted by bagal on Monday, April 5, 2021 5:28 AM

Can you park the car on the LHS and put the layout where the car is now?

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Posted by Doughless on Monday, April 5, 2021 7:50 AM

crossthedog
@Douglas Great minds. Even before your suggestion about shifting track to the right at the north end, I was planning to curve the corner of the layout by the shelves, simply because the layout extends north far enough to somewhat impede access to them. But what exactly is a drill track? I mean how is it different from a siding?

Its what Dave said.  Taking another look at your plan...for example....pretend engine servicing wasn't there, if you had a track come off the green track near the tunnel and connect to the south side of the orange oval, a train could circle the layout while you worked the yard.  

In that case, the track up to the branch would be the yard lead/drill track. You wouldn't need to put another track on the right side as I thought.

If you eliminated the orange line SW oval section, you might have space to put engine servicing there.

- Douglas

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Posted by Lastspikemike on Monday, April 5, 2021 8:26 AM

You're just a hairbreadth away from building a classic twice around if you connect the outer branch line back into the main oval instead of making that the branch line. That gives continuous loop running far more satisfying than the simple oval you now have.

Somewhere near the overhead crossing you now have could be converted into a twice around instead. If you flip the overhead so that what is now the branch line goes under the main line you could make the outer loop into main line and the inner loop becomes branch line giving you twice around main line length. 

Our layout is mainly for running trains rather than any attempt at Scenic realism. Not to everyone's taste. We made the classic "mistake" of jamming far too much track into our available space. 

We like it.

Alyth Yard

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Posted by crossthedog on Monday, April 5, 2021 6:14 PM

Lastspikemike

Somewhere near the overhead crossing you now have could be converted into a twice around instead. If you flip the overhead so that what is now the branch line goes under the main line you could make the outer loop into main line and the inner loop becomes branch line giving you twice around main line length.

@Mike, the only way I can envision the twice-around is by coming off the end of what is now one of the branch industry spurs and then making a long downward grade to connect to the loop, as shown by the waggly purple line I just added to a copy of my plan:



If I went this route, I would delete all of the red oval from the 9 o'clock turnout all the way around to where the grade came back down. The mainline would use the Undertown Tunnel, go past the yard, then up the outside right (now branch), cross over, level off into the current upper town area, and then start back down around to join the old red oval at the top again. I don't see how we'd reverse the overhead. I think I'm missing something you were seeing. But in any case, I also don't see where I'd have a branch then. I like the idea of a long, interesting run, but from here it looks like I'd lose most of my branch doing that. Edit: Also, all the current branch curves are way to tight for passenger cars, so if this were a twice-around mainline I'd have to restrict it to freights, or else rework all the curves. It still might work with some adjusting.

Still, the idea of a twice-around is tantalizing.

-Matt

Returning to model railroading after 40 years and taking unconscionable liberties with the SP&S, Northern Pacific and Great Northern roads in the '40s and '50s.

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Posted by crossthedog on Monday, April 5, 2021 6:22 PM

Doughless
if you had a track come off the green track near the tunnel and connect to the south side of the orange oval, a train could circle the layout while you worked the yard.

@Douglas,

I'm thinking you mean something like this?


That looks easy to do, and I might also be able to come back down off the blue siding to service engines about where the crossed-out red curve on the loop is. Again, in this iteration I would omit the turnout at 9 o-clock, as you've been suggesting. 

-Matt

 

Returning to model railroading after 40 years and taking unconscionable liberties with the SP&S, Northern Pacific and Great Northern roads in the '40s and '50s.

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Posted by Doughless on Monday, April 5, 2021 6:34 PM

Yes, that's what I was describing.  

If you did not have the lower access point, you could have engine servicing there, facing the opposite direction.  Maybe even a small turntable would fit if you have steam to turn.  Would have to cross the main line, but its a small layout.

If you could tilt the entire top half of the oval and branchline to the right a foot, it looks like you could have 24 inches between the layout and the shelf corner.  

Most modelers believe that a 24 inch "pinch point" is accepatable as long as you can stand in more open space before or after going through that tight spot.  Same idea with the post on the other side.  

Not trying to design your plan here.  Every adjustment takes you a small step away from your original vision, and you may end up with something unrecognizable.

Just tossing out things I see that you could consider, or throw out completely.

- Douglas

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Posted by snjroy on Tuesday, April 6, 2021 9:24 AM

Hi there. Douglas pointed out earlier that you might not need the access hatches. I definitely think that you could remove the northern hatch (access 1).

The decisions about your plan should obviously be guided by the operations you are anticipating - if that matters. For example, there is room for a double mainline if you are operating short equipment (which I believe is the case). I like Douglas' idea of removing the orange loop - it's an overkill with no specific purpose. Otherwise, the plan does not lend itself well for multiple operators or multiple trains.

I don't think you mentioned whether you would run steam or diesels - I suspect both given the era. If that is the case, the return track in the South yard would only make sense for a diesel engine. I believe some steam did operate "backwards", but that was more the exception than the rule. Another reason to put the passenger station on the main... Nothing beats a nice Pacific pulling a passenger train!

Simon

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Posted by crossthedog on Tuesday, April 6, 2021 10:19 AM

Doughless
Not trying to design your plan here.

@Douglas
I'm in the process of drafting another iteration, angling right at the top as you've suggested. I don't feel bullied at all with all these specific suggestions. That's why I asked for help. Everyone is supplying really good ideas, and some are more in line than others with my vision and what I need, which is really only becoming clear to me as I go along here. So no worries about that. I don't feel anyone is stepping on my pike.
 
@Simon,
You've heard the phrase "champagne taste on a beer budget"? Well, space-wise, I have an operations taste on an oval budget. I want it all, but I'm having to choose essentials.

Since you ask, I have several small steam locos and one long (11") Atlantic, and the rest are F-units and Alco road switchers. The reason I've kept the south loop (what everyone is calling "orange" even though it's red, but why quibble over hues) is because I want to have the option of running a passenger train behind my Great Northern FP-7s (or behind the Atlantic for that matter, because SP&S had a number of Atlantics in passenger service), and I need wider curves for that, whereas the Undertown Tunnel (green) keeps wanting to be too tight. I'm trying to preserve a wide curve under there without eating into the yard at the bottom. I'm currently redrawing, and if that works I may cut that red/orange south curve away. Otherwise, I need it for passenger cars.

I'm not really a club guy and I don't know any local modellers, so while I appreciate and agree with your evaluation that my plan won't handle multiple cabs, I'm not too worried about that. Being something of a simpleton, I'm easily amused, and I won't soon be hosting Model Railroader editors in my garage. If you're in Seattle, though, you're welcome to come and play.* :)  

I've decided I don't want a double mainline, not only because I'm trying to avoid the look of concentric rings; deep soul-searching after all this feedback has made me realize my chief need in a loop is just so that I can enjoy the hum of a train running around while I work or show my nieces and nephews the layout. Operationally, all that's really important is that I can go around a few times on the mainline, then break up and make up trains -- even if they're small ones -- in the yard (or off the loop siding) and take small cuts up the branch to one or two small industries in the town and on the way.

If I can do those basic things, then I don't mind the drab oval and I don't mind fouling or crossing the main. I can pretend engine servicing is elswhere so I don't need the shed. I don't mind backing my passenger train in and out (if I put the station in the south yard). I may even ditch the idea of passenger service altogether. Sticking with short '40s and '50s freight cars would make everything so much easier, spacewise.

Cheers,

-Matt

*if you mask up

Returning to model railroading after 40 years and taking unconscionable liberties with the SP&S, Northern Pacific and Great Northern roads in the '40s and '50s.

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Posted by pt714 on Tuesday, April 6, 2021 11:05 AM

Been following this conversation with interest, Matt. I like your plan-- connecting the loop beneath the town as you noted in purple, for a single main, would allow a train to go around while you can simultaneously switch in the yard or run a local up to the town. 

 

crossthedog


Since you ask, I have several small steam locos and one long (11") Atlantic, and the rest are F-units and Alco road switchers. The reason I've kept the south loop (what everyone is calling "orange" even though it's red, but why quibble over hues) is because I want to have the option of running a passenger train behind my Great Northern FP-7s (or behind the Atlantic for that matter, because SP&S had a number of Atlantics in passenger service), and I need wider curves for that, whereas the Undertown Tunnel (green) keeps wanting to be too tight. I'm trying to preserve a wide curve under there without eating into the yard at the bottom. I'm currently redrawing, and if that works I may cut that red/orange south curve away. Otherwise, I need it for passenger cars.

 

 

I don't know if it's been mentioned already, but there's a serious S-curve at the north end of that green loop beneath the town. Eliminating it would lessen the chance of derailments in a spot already with limited access. If the south end of the red loop gets eliminated, the main could swing out gently toward the wall, straightening that bend, and that might allow broader curves beneath the town. What radius do your passenger cars need? It can vary quite a bit depending on the manufacturer.

 

Phil

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Posted by crossthedog on Tuesday, April 6, 2021 11:27 AM

pt714
I don't know if it's been mentioned already, but there's a serious S-curve at the north end of that green loop beneath the town. Eliminating it would lessen the chance of derailments in a spot already with limited access. If the south end of the red loop gets eliminated, the main could swing out gently toward the wall, straightening that bend, and that might allow broader curves beneath the town. What radius do your passenger cars need? It can vary quite a bit depending on the manufacturer.

Hi Phil, thanks for jumping in.

Yes, some have expressed angst over the "9 o'clock turnout", and Douglas has pointed out that if I swing the north end design to the right (which would "foul the main" for my wife's car operations but only slightly) I could actually get back into that area without scrambling under the layout. Working on that.

Cheating that 9 o'clock corner a little to enable a wider Undertown Tunnel curve has been suggested (Douglas and others have championed this idea, and now you) so that I can use that as my mainline instead of just an alternate yard exit for freight.

I don't actually "have" my passenger cars yet, but they won't be short; I like the idea of Loewy (streamline) North Coast Limited on the mainline (terminating in the yard) and maybe some musty old heavyweights up the branch behind my Atlantic 4-4-2 in a mixed local.

I don't know what radius they officially "need", but everything I've read suggests that more is never enough for passenger cars, and that 18" truly won't cut the mustard. So I'm shooting for 24" minimum on the mainline, and if I could get that radius on the green line under the town, I could remove that turnout at 9 o'clock. But -- I can hardly believe I'm saying this -- I'm starting to get attached to that dorky little oval.

I'm a little embarrassed about how much server space this plan is taking up on the forum but I truly appreciate the feedback -- I have gotten a heap of value from all the ideas and criticisms. Really, it's going to be a better layout for having had the input of so many collective years of model railroading. You guys are tops.

-Matt

Returning to model railroading after 40 years and taking unconscionable liberties with the SP&S, Northern Pacific and Great Northern roads in the '40s and '50s.

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Posted by pt714 on Tuesday, April 6, 2021 1:16 PM

You'd still have the oval, it just would be more bean-shaped and also partially hidden, which helps aesthetically. A 26"R would fit without swinging to the right (excuse my simple butchering here, you could smooth it further to eliminate an S further north, as well):

It seems like you could open up some space in that pinch point another way, by having the lower main hidden all the way around from 12 o'clock to where it joins the yard, going counterclockwise (what I doctored above.) The branch to the town could then sit directly atop it and thus squeeze in a bit closer to give you room (curves don't have to be quite as broad if only handling 40' or 50' cars)-- you could have that left half of the main loop at a slightly lower level than the right, too, so the branch doesn't have to carry all the grade to get enough clearance above. If the entire left side of the main loop is hidden (though still accessible from the pocket) that may open up possibilities for hidden staging tracks as well, if you desire them.

 

Phil

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Posted by Doughless on Tuesday, April 6, 2021 2:53 PM

pt714

You'd still have the oval, it just would be more bean-shaped and also partially hidden, which helps aesthetically. A 26"R would fit without swinging to the right (excuse my simple butchering here, you could smooth it further to eliminate an S further north, as well):

It seems like you could open up some space in that pinch point another way, by having the lower main hidden all the way around from 12 o'clock to where it joins the yard, going counterclockwise (what I doctored above.) The branch to the town could then sit directly atop it and thus squeeze in a bit closer to give you room (curves don't have to be quite as broad if only handling 40' or 50' cars)-- you could have that left half of the main loop at a slightly lower level than the right, too, so the branch doesn't have to carry all the grade to get enough clearance above. If the entire left side of the main loop is hidden (though still accessible from the pocket) that may open up possibilities for hidden staging tracks as well, if you desire them.

 

Phil

 

Yes, he could get a broader radius there. 

The effort is showing how the layout could curve around the shelf corner to provide access to the back, and therefore a separate scene if he wanted.  

That branch line loop has some play in it, where there is a straight section that could be eliminated.  If Matt brought the branch to the inside of the main sooner, moving the bridge to the right to where it crosses the main more at 11 oclock rather than 10, he could angle the main a bit straighter and start that curve farther to the north, thereby eliminating some of the S curve.  That could allow that green/blue line to be another yard track. 

If the branch crossed the main sooner, he would need to keep the grade manageable by starting the branch at around 5 oclock rather than 3.  Then he might have to rethink how the branch departed the yard. 

All challenges of the small space, but careful drawing might allow it to work.

- Douglas

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Posted by crossthedog on Tuesday, April 6, 2021 3:44 PM

Wow, I love that mashup. Nice hatchetwork. What you've chipped out here is precisely what I'm working on drafting now.

pt714
It seems like you could open up some space in that pinch point another way, by having the lower main hidden all the way around from 12 o'clock to where it joins the yard, going counterclockwise (what I doctored above.) The branch to the town could then sit directly atop it

This is a pretty smashing idea, but I'm not sure I want to hide that much of my main loop. It already goes under the town of Priest River, and there will need to be tunnels at the north end simply in order to facilitate a raison d'être for the trestle on the north curve of the branch... it's gonna get hilly up in there. 

-Matt

Returning to model railroading after 40 years and taking unconscionable liberties with the SP&S, Northern Pacific and Great Northern roads in the '40s and '50s.

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Posted by FlattenedQuarter on Tuesday, April 6, 2021 10:04 PM

SeeYou190

 

She should have gone with a mini split system to provide heating and cooling with same system, bank can't say no to that 
crossthedog
@Kevin, I'm in Seattle. "Incredible heat" only happens in July and August here if at all; it's more likely the "incredible cold" eight months of the year, not a severe cold but more a creeping damp chill if you're standing still in a basement or garage, makes you want to go upstairs by the fire with a cuppa, read about other people's layouts.

 

My middle daughter lives in Seattle. She is having a custom house built right now.

She wanted air conditioning, but the building loan would not cover it because central forced air cooling does not add any value to a house in Seattle. She had to pay the HVAC contractor in cash to get AC installed! Interestingly, the AC system is completely independent of the heating system.

Anyway... I am not sure what special concerns you would have building in a garage in Seattle where temperatures would reach substantial differentials.

That would be a subject for a new thread.

-Kevin

 

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