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Planning problem of future layout.

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Planning problem of future layout.
Posted by Anonymous on Tuesday, October 14, 2003 9:08 PM
Hi,

I am in a bit of a bind. I have a train room planned in the future. It will be a spacious amount enough to run 3 seperate lines. Without going too specific, I will say that each line has access to the other two.

What would be the best form? Walk aound? around the wall? or a dogbone with a penuisula? I have suffered a bit of "Detail Amensia" due to too much detail in laying the table and main line on paper.

Should I take a break and try again later?

Thanks in advance for help.

Lee
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Posted by Jacktal on Tuesday, October 14, 2003 11:32 PM
I have a similar problem,or even worse as I don't have much space to start with,but there's always some ways.My suggestion is to draw the outline of the available room with all its components like door(s),window(s),closet(s),etc...the elements that are independant of the layout but impose on it however.I would then draw suitable access to all these.

I think it would be wise to have your main control station as close as possible to suitable electrical supply,phone jacks,etc...and not too far from the entrance,for commodity.Do you wi***o use a stool for sitting while operating?You should plan space for this too.

I call this first stage planning as it outlines most(not all yet) of the things one can and/or can't do.It also gives a much better idea of what type of layout design will fit one's needs best.You may even end up adopting different approaches in different parts of the room...why not?My two cents..........
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Posted by IRONROOSTER on Wednesday, October 15, 2003 6:31 AM
In general an around the walls layout will yield a larger railroad for a given space, frequently at the cost of a duck under to get in the room. Walk around means planning your layout so that you can move with the trains. This can be done for any configuration, but may mean more of your space is tied up in aisles. This is not a totally bad thing as you will probably have good access to all of the layout for construction and maintenance. Around the walls 2-2 1/2' deep will enable walkaround and construction. Avoid penisulas unless they are wide enough at the ends for the mainline to follow.

I am not sure what you mean when you say you'll have three lines, but each must access the other two. It sounds as though you have some idea of what you want but it is a little vague. I would suggest you visit the layout design sig ( you can access their site through www.nmra.org ). They have several articles there to help you through the design process..
Enjoy
Paul
If you're having fun, you're doing it the right way.
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Posted by dehusman on Wednesday, October 15, 2003 6:39 AM
You haven't provided enough information to really give you any advice.
Scale?
Minimum radius?
Size of area?
How do you get into the room? Door in wall? Stairs along wall? Stairs in middle of room?

Also don't understand the comment on 3 separate lines.
Are you seeing 3 setparate railroads?
3 decks?
3 loops of track with a separate train on each loop?

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

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Posted by Anonymous on Wednesday, October 15, 2003 12:31 PM
ok, I apologize for lack of information. I was dealing with the form of the layout. There are many options. The main area will be located near the center of the room and will be a "Port" (Refining, export, inport, and oil as well as city) This will be the focal point with finish mills, heavy industry (Most stimulated off layout by a harbor etc) and fishing. then the south part of room will carry the textiles, cattle, glassworks, etc etc and the Western end of the room will be a Mountain area for minerals, logging and some agricultural (Milk, bakery etc) and there will be way switching small industires along the way.

The layout is based on the B and O as the prototype for the port city and WM for the western end, and the C and O for the south. (Not exactly proto but will try to follow actual railroad practices about 1950's)

The room is expected to be about 45 feet long by about 12 feet wide. The western end will be a sort of a "L" with the access door and back door etc. There will be about 3 windows and it will be built to accomodate single person operation however may have 2 or 3 people over from time to time.

All on one level. There will be a south window set up as a fire escape and utilities will be over head or thru the walls. (No water, just climate and heat)

I envision traffic from 2 roads coming into the port with commodities and export and bringing back to thier respective territories passengers, food of all kinds and finished goods.

I dont want to use too many words but I hope that between your advice and links and plenty of time to explore these issues one may come up with a suitiable configuration. Dont laugh, but I am even using Auran trains as a way to learn what would work operation wise.

Thanks for the help. I realize that spouse, budget and life has a way of deciding how the road is to be built. But that is all part of fun.

Lee
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Posted by Anonymous on Wednesday, October 15, 2003 12:35 PM
And a addition to raidus etc,

The main will be a single track with some double near the port to accomodate two way traffic. Radius will be 24" minimum and #6 switches. The industries will be supported by #4 switches and possibly some major ones will have #6.

The yards will not be very big, only enough to accomodate local industries and be different switches as required. Block control at first then DCC later upon completion of the trackage and debugging.

Schedules will be dictated by industries, bridge traffic and dealing cards at beginning of session.

I hope this helps.

Lee
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Posted by dehusman on Wednesday, October 15, 2003 12:56 PM
How are you going to operate a 12x45 layout with three separate operating railroads with only one person?

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

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Posted by trollw on Wednesday, October 15, 2003 12:59 PM
I have 2 suggestions: (1) dump the pencil and paper and get a CAD program (my personal favorite is CADRAIL but different strokes for different folks) - It will keep you honest about clearances and accessability and be much easier to 'evolve' your track plan, and (2) go with DCC from the start - you can spend a lot of money and time on switches and wiring for the blocks - for debugging, just wire into the newest section and leave the older, debugged section dead until you are sure you don't have any shorts (put in one DPDT toggle switch - one position to the 'debugged track' the other to flying leads to connect to the 'track being debugged').

12' x 45' - boy, do I ever wish I had your problem!

John

Regards,

 John

 "You are what you eat," said a wise old man. Oh Lord, if it's true, I'm a garbage can.

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Posted by dehusman on Wednesday, October 15, 2003 1:07 PM
If the width is just 12 feet then you have a major constraint there. You need to allow 30-36 in (48 is better) for aisles. If you assume 36in aisles, if you go around the room with a center peninsula that makes it 6 used for aisles, 6 ft for benchwork, possibly in a 18in wide shelf on each wall and two 18 in deep scenes down the middle. At the turnback at the end of the peninsula 24" r = a blob about 5 ft across, so the aisles will have to narrow to 24" through there. You could build some "wiggle" into the benchwork by making the benchwork narrower (12" min) varying the aisle width.

The other pattern would be around the walls with the center open. For a port that would work since you could have the piers extend into the room.

If you are going to do DCC, just bite the bullet and go DCC from the get go. Why double the cost for the electrical by building a DC system first? I would suggest NCE, EasyDCC or Digitrax.

For an area 45x12 in a heavy urban area you could create enough switching areas to keep 15-20 people going for a 3 or 4 hour operating session easy. That's why I asked about only haing one operator.

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

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Posted by Anonymous on Wednesday, October 15, 2003 3:48 PM
I think you might be over planning your layout. Just work on the mainline and bench shape at the same time. The space you have is really a club layout size so I would plan on a number of operators (don't worry - "build it and they will come").

Personally I would be looking at some kind of G shaped layout with a centre peninsula. I would make the peninsula a switching area so that you don't need a large bulbous end to bring the train back down the other side of the peninsula.

Once you have your benchwork and mainline decided, then put additional goodies in where space permits.

You might want to look at David Barrow's Domino layout design track planning tools, you could get some inspiration from his goodies.

With a layout that size, I think I would personally be inclined to run point to point (but this is a personal thing) since your mainline will be long enough anyways to be interesting. So lots of staging on either side of the room. If you did this, it wouldn't be a G shaped layout so much, rather a U shaped layout with a centre peninsula.
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Posted by Anonymous on Wednesday, October 15, 2003 5:06 PM
Very Nice ideas. This one has been in planning for some time. I am not too concerned with single person operation I may set it up so I could work one line and possibly 2 or 3 folks to work the other lines.

However considering the expense involoved in wiring DCC may be the way to go. Just wondering about boosters. I think zypher has 5 amps a booster.

Now, to avoid confusion about single person operation I probably will have 14-18 indudtries and each "Line" will have an area of industries to call own. I think that with Grandt Line's system of operation I could theoratically cover the entire work week in 5 to 7 sessions. It will avoid reputation.

I wanted to reach all areas of track so that means about 2 foot give and take max width. The port is probably in the centre by default. I understand the basics of cad, but I always add a few inches on all 4 sides of a square so to speak to accomodate the pencil.

I would think that the sixe of the room is a bit big, but wanted people to be able to move like myself and the spouse. And if necessary wheelchair accessable. (Planning for future.) That really cuts the train table down to size.

I did not give staging much thought until this afternoon. IF I understand this it means to literally make a train and park it ready to come on stage. That may reduce the need to make and break trains on 3 yards (I dont think that big)

I probably will have 2 or 3 trains with very favorite motive power to make time on the main while I handle the way switching. Trains could come out of staging at the appointed order and play out role on the layout (Bridge traffic, transfer, local etc)

I think it is true of every person to think big and grand and when the reality hits little by little, comprimises to settle issues that really counts. Such as 14 car trains. Those look like trains but does not threaten to fall over at curves etc. I think I could assemble a 60 car monster but that is just that a monster.

Thanks again for your kind words of advice. It really has helped.

Lee
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Posted by Anonymous on Wednesday, October 15, 2003 5:44 PM
I get the feeling you haven't read John Armstrong's book on "Track Planning for Realistic Operations." If you have read it, re-read it a couple of more times. One thing John A recommends is not to do the same thing twice. His example of his thinking is "yards;" he recommends one yard per layout, I will leave it up to you to read this book.

DCC will simplify and speed up your wiring. The Zephyr is 2.5 amps, but you can break your layout down into power districts (recommended for a larger layout) and purchase another booster, to increase your power needs. Another book to read is "The Big Book of DCC;" this is simply the best book on DCC out there.

Staging looks just like yards (some will scenic them, others not) but they aren't yards. The classic illustration is to forks together and the end of the handles with the tines of the forks facing out. Each tine of the fork is track for a "staged" train. Again read John A. Simply put, you can't have too much staging.

Some people use staging as their "yard". In other words, when the train comes out, it is treated as a train that just left the yard. Given the width of your benchwork, your yards won't be large - but I wouldn't worry too much about that. With lots of switching at industries the need for lots of switching in a yard can decrease. And a small yard used well, can have a higher output than you might imagine.

Some recommend the yard be next to staging. That way a train can come out of staging to the yard (as though it were made up in that yard) and forwarded on.

Cheers.
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Posted by dehusman on Thursday, October 16, 2003 12:09 AM
If you are planning the layout to be "wheelchair accessible" then you have an entirely different set of constraints.

First off, forget the center peninsula. Go with around the walls and 24" or less wide.
Next the height. Typically benchwork is 40-60 in high. That won't work, you'll have to lower it down to 30-36 in high.

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

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Posted by Anonymous on Thursday, October 16, 2003 4:21 PM
hmm, that is on the money dehusman, I did not know until you pointed out the requirements of wheelchairs. I dont remember seeing any disabled people running layouts, they must be involved in the hobby some how.

Back on topic. I think that I wanted to explore that center area fairly well. Around the walls are doeable. How about multi stacking using a helix in the location that you called "the blob" (I like that name, Blob Mountain) at the turnback of the L area?

I confess I never had a helix however I have seen helixes work and they seem to be nice to have. But I am quite ready to build a grade to reach the upper deck over distance. I would call this a helper division.

I am prepared to research more into wheelchair space, I believe in being able to acomodate that need someday.

Thanks again for your insight I have learned much.

Lee
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Posted by jrbarney on Friday, October 17, 2003 12:04 PM
Lee,
Following up on Dehusman's comment, you'll need aisles not less than 24" wide if you are planning to accommodate either a British Ministry of Health or an American standard 'Universal' wheelchair. According to my ergonomics guidebooks, the turning circle diameter is 4' 11", when the large propelling wheels are in front, or 5' 2" when the large wheels are at the rear of the chair. Don't forget clearing the armrests when figuring layout height, and I'm assuming you either are going to cantilever or widely space the supports. You might want to contact local health resources to determine if there is either an ergonomist or human factors engineer in your area to review your plans. Among other things, don't forget a wide doorway for the nearest bathroom and a toilet compatible with the wheel chair. Good luck on your long range planning.
Bob
"Time flies like an arrow - fruit flies like a banana." "In wine there is wisdom. In beer there is strength. In water there is bacteria." --German proverb
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Posted by Anonymous on Friday, October 17, 2003 5:47 PM
jrbarney,

Thank you for your post. I cannot tell (the written word does not convey emotions very well) if you are gently pulling my leg. However, I have had alot of focus as a result of the wonderful help on this thread I am able to refrain from taking every cubic inch of the availible space.

I am not yet sure if I will build it from the wall or up from the floor; storage space is kind of needed in my house. But several issues were settled this week. Thanks to everyone who provided me with things to think about which I have never even considered.

I just realized that the toilet and the door access is not wide enough for a wheel chair. ( I am not disabled, just planning for future) We do have planned work to be done on the house, that issue will be addressed.

Good Luck, I hope this thread has helped others besides myself.

Lee
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Posted by jrbarney on Friday, October 17, 2003 7:34 PM
Lee,
I was serious and was not gently pulling your leg. Your planning for some degree of disability is commmendable and far sighted. I helped design manufacturing workplaces to accommodate the physically challenged, helped design military cockpit avionics and naval electronics for 16 years before switching to the ergonomics of civilian mid-range and personal computers. Since you seem serious about your future planning, I also recommend lever handles rather than door knobs on all interior doors. Light switches and convenience outlets should be placed at a height that is wheel chair accessible. I have at least three handbooks in my professional library which deal extensively with designing for senior citizens and the physically challenged.
Bob
"Time flies like an arrow - fruit flies like a banana." "In wine there is wisdom. In beer there is strength. In water there is bacteria." --German proverb
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Posted by Anonymous on Friday, October 17, 2003 10:16 PM
jrbarney,

Thank you for the clarification. I will find this very helpful. I realized that there is much more to the knowledge you have imparted so far. I am interested in learning more. I do apologize for the "pulling leg" statement. I feel badly about it now.

I hope that there are those who are physically challenged will learn to participate in the hobby. There are much to enjoy and do. Perhaps someone can provide a voice via MR about this. Who knows? It may lead to great things.

Good Luck

Lee

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Posted by Anonymous on Wednesday, October 22, 2003 11:23 AM
Being in a simiilar situation (double decked - 19 x 38 foot layout in HO) let me offer some advice. Keep your layout as shallow as possible. I have worked on many layouts that are 4 feet deep and they are a pain to scenic and a pain to work on and a pain to operate. They also take 2 1/2 times longer to finish!

There will be areas tha you want deeper than 1 1/2 to 2 feet, and that is OK, as long as there is a reason (large industry, yard, etc) but keep it simple. You will be happy and the layout will be less expensive, and it will end up being a better, more functional layout.
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Posted by Anonymous on Thursday, October 23, 2003 6:42 PM
I agree with the other submitters to this forum. Don't overplan your layout. Use the KISS principle. I wi***hat I would have read the Trackplanning for Realistic Operation book before I built my layout because a lot of relocating of track would not have been needed. Also, don't worry about having a shelf that is too narrow. If everything is landscaped nicely, visitors/operators will look at the whole layout and not the narrow shelf. Besides, I think that shelfs that are larger than 18" is a bad idea because if the layout is at eye level, it actually feels that you are sitting at the throttle of the loco when you are 2 feet away. Just remember, take your time. This is a hobby that cannot be completed in one year. A model railroad is NEVER finished.

Steve

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