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Layout Design Thoughts

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Layout Design Thoughts
Posted by fsts2k on Sunday, October 23, 2016 8:21 PM

Hello all, 

I have been a G-scaler for the past 15 years but recently I joined an HO model railroad club and have really enjoyed it. Since I have been a part of this community for period of time I thought that even if it isn't G, perhaps you might offer some opinions on the layout. I started the design with the 8x10 Waterwings layout that Bryon Henderson designed (http://www.layoutvision.com/id56.html). I expanded it a bit more to fit the space and cut out the end spurs as I can't fit those in my room. 

I thought about doing a lower level for staging but am thinking for my first layout in many years simpler is better. As of now I am thinking about going all PECO 83 flex track and turnouts but also considering ME track and turnouts. 

My thoughts on the layout:

- I like the 1950s era of end of steam, new diesel 

- Would like to model South Eastern area of US, Appalachian areas

- Have not decided to do coal, lumber, etc.. right now I am freelancing

- Would prefer the abilty to do continious running and want to do switching

- Thought about putting in a switching puzzle like the TimeSaver but after much reading it seems I am better off staying prototypical

- Will be DCC

Thoughts? Thank you

Design

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Posted by Steven Otte on Monday, October 24, 2016 9:44 AM

Hi, and welcome to the Forums!

Your "design" link sends me to a website that requires a login to view. Sites that require logins can't host pictures for our Forums. Read the thread "How to Post a Photo to the Forums" at the top of the General Discussion Forum to learn how to post your track plan here.

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Posted by fsts2k on Monday, October 24, 2016 4:48 PM

Lets try this again:

 

Layout

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Posted by Steven Otte on Tuesday, October 25, 2016 8:53 AM

Sorry, nope. You can't use a website that requires a login as a host for photos, even if you make the photos themselves public. Put them on a photo hosting service like Photobucket.

Also: You're posting a link to the page that embeds the image, not the image itself. If the URL you're copying and pasting doesn't end in .JPG (or .GIF or .PNG), you don't have the image location, and your photo link isn't going to work.

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Posted by fsts2k on Tuesday, October 25, 2016 8:58 AM

Tried Photobucket.. it is down. New option, TinyPic

 

 

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Posted by BigDaddy on Tuesday, October 25, 2016 10:08 AM

Both sites work for me, without login, maybe the OP has fiddled with the links since Steve's post.

On the last link, top left turnout looks like the track has a very sharp radius on that turnout.  Someone else will need to comment on whether the grades required for the cross overs and unders are doable in the space you have.

Henry

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Posted by dknelson on Tuesday, October 25, 2016 10:54 AM

Yes the second link worked for me too.  I myself am not a big fan of continuous running on a small layout as the loops are not just such space eaters, but they tend to create very stereotyped (and repetitive) track or scenery options within the loops.  On very large layouts the option of continuous running can be created without dominating the layout itself.

On this plan enough space has been allocated to the required loops that everything else that makes a layout interesting to operate seems jammed into small bits of space, in my view.  If point to point is out of the question, I'd explore what a point to loop plan could do in that space.  It is not continuous running but lengthens the run.

Dave Nelson 

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Posted by cuyama on Tuesday, October 25, 2016 12:13 PM

Here's the Original Poster's image

And the HO 8'X10' layout he began with from my site.

The revised version seems to crowd the left side of the layout (the yard) more than is necessary, especially given the larger area. The area where the tracks cross over and under at the upper right seems not to be workable as drawn in the revised version, at least if the visibly overlapping tracks are representative of the planned elevation relationships.

As far as changing to different track components, the PECO Code 75 turnouts are very space-saving. PECO C83 or MicroEngineering will require a bit more room. So the exact track arrangement may not fit with a track component change

As it happens, I know of at least a couple of folks who have built variations of this layout -- and they seem to be very happy with them.

Best of luck with your layout.

Tags: HO 8X10 , Virginian
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Posted by fsts2k on Tuesday, October 25, 2016 1:43 PM

Thanks! I didn't realize the difference with Code 75 vs. 83 track, will revert to PECO. I checked grades and I thought I kept them under the 2.6% but will redraw with the different turnouts to see how that goes. 

 

I am wondering if I can fit a reversing loop under the top right area such that I can drive forward into the main yard as well. Also thinkng about getting the benchwork started and just lay some of this out... having a bit of a hard time visualizing the plan fully. 

Kevin

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Posted by fsts2k on Wednesday, October 26, 2016 7:53 AM

cuyama

The revised version seems to crowd the left side of the layout (the yard) more than is necessary, especially given the larger area. The area where the tracks cross over and under at the upper right seems not to be workable as drawn in the revised version, at least if the visibly overlapping tracks are representative of the planned elevation relationships.

As far as changing to different track components, the PECO Code 75 turnouts are very space-saving. PECO C83 or MicroEngineering will require a bit more room. So the exact track arrangement may not fit with a track component change

As it happens, I know of at least a couple of folks who have built variations of this layout -- and they seem to be very happy with them.

Best of luck with your layout.

 

 

I revised the plan to use PECO Code 75 and expanded the left area. Have not worked much on the top right yet other than getting the curve in. 

 

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Posted by fsts2k on Wednesday, October 26, 2016 7:53 AM

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Posted by joe323 on Wednesday, October 26, 2016 12:20 PM

fsts2k

 

Actually I like your design except that crawling under a layout is not for me so I would somehow need to design it so the holes are gone. Perhaps I would invest in a topside creeper.

 

Joe Staten Island West 

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Posted by Choops on Wednesday, October 26, 2016 12:39 PM

Try to add a yard lead to the main yard.  Then you can make trains without interrupting the main line.

Steve

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Posted by carl425 on Wednesday, October 26, 2016 1:51 PM

fsts2k
I revised the plan to use PECO Code 75 and expanded the left area.

Remember that the Peco code 75 is European style track and depending how picky you are, it won't look right on a North American railroad.

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 CentralGulf on Wednesday, October 26, 2016 3:17 PM

A couple of things. Assuming you are adapting Byron's plan, please note that he shows a scenic divider on his design, but you don't. That divider is something that the track has to clear on both sides. Your current plan does not appear to leave sufficient room to do so.

Without the scenic designer, the plan does not really make much sense. That is compounded by the loss of the tunnel in the upper right. The divider and the tunnel are techniques that give the plan a sense of going somewhere. Without them, it is much more a mishmash of track with no obvious purpose.

I would also add that trying to leave something as major and controlling as steep grade changes until later is probably a mistake. Things like that should be roughed out before you get into the fine details, less you end up having to throw all that detail work out simply because you can't get the grades to work.

If you don't already have one, please get a copy of "Track Planning For Realistic Operation" by John Armstrong. It is considered the bible of track planning. It will save you a great deal of time, grief, and money.

Also, if possible please post a drawing that is large enough that the notations on it can be read without difficulty.

Best of luck,

CG

 

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Posted by fsts2k on Wednesday, October 26, 2016 4:23 PM

Good point... will look into that

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Posted by fsts2k on Wednesday, October 26, 2016 4:23 PM

Hmm... didn't know that. 

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Posted by fsts2k on Wednesday, October 26, 2016 4:31 PM
Thanks, few things:
- agree on the scenic divide and that it is currently tight. the tracks in the back are 3.5" higher than the yard and descend through the loop creating something of a divide but your point is right
- The tunnel would still be there on the top right, I didn't draw it into the plan; goal would be to have it there. The sidings above (don't love how they are right now) are ~4" in elevation
 
- Not totally sure what your point is on "major and controlling as steep grade changes means" but it could mean that I am now showing elevation right now. The grades I have worked out are ~2% based on what I can best tell on height vs run
- Book is ordered.. thanks for the recommendation
- Will post larger picture... may also look at pulling the PECO code 83 version back out and seeing how rough that will change the layout. Still also trying to think if I can get a reversing loop in there to have the train pull out of the yard; loop around, then go into reversing loop and drive back into yard.
 
 
- Will consider a point to point but am nervous that is going to limit what I run (I know I have to make sacrifices to work in a small space)..  

 

 
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Posted by cuyama on Friday, October 28, 2016 11:29 AM

If this image reflects the current version of your plan:

… a couple of thoughts on the plan and on comments that you and others have made.

The access area at the lower left is probably too small for someone to come up from beneath. By placing a small curve in the yard ladder you will be abel to bring the yard more parallel and closer to the main line near the aisle (as int he original plan), which would be an improvement in appearance and access. This would also help with the clearance to the passing siding along the far left side.

joe323
Actually I like your design except that crawling under a layout is not for me so I would somehow need to design it so the holes are gone. Perhaps I would invest in a topside creeper.

As far as the access areas themselves, they would only be needed for emergencies and maintenance, so they would be rarely used. But they need to be large enough to access easily. Building the layout high would help also, of course.

Topside creepers are an interesting idea, but in practice they are large (even when folded) and heavy to move around. 

fsts2k
I am wondering if I can fit a reversing loop under the top right area such that I can drive forward into the main yard as well.

I’m not sure that you could add it beneath while maintaining reasonable grades. It would certainly be possible in the space that you have to do away with the over/under tracks, remove the grades, and add a reversing connection.

But note that heading into the yard actually doesn’t help as much as you might like, since the engine will be trapped by the train. That’s why the yard is situated next to a passing siding in the original design. Engines can run around the train on the passing siding before switching cars into the yard.

Choops
Try to add a yard lead to the main yard.  Then you can make trains without interrupting the main line.

I’m a big fan of yard leads in general, but it might not be possible with the over/under and elevation changes. In a version that is basically level, it might be. 

carl425
Remember that the Peco code 75 is European style track and depending how picky you are, it won't look right on a North American railroad.

Some people find the appearance objectionable, others don’t. The Original Poster might look at both components and choose. The Code 75 certainly helps put more in the space, but it’s a personal preference issue.

fsts2k
The grades I have worked out are ~2% based on what I can best tell on height vs run

That may not tell the whole story. For reliable operation, it’s good practice to include a length of track as a transition from level-to-grade and back (a car length for each per cent grade is a good place to start). 

One also shouldn’t attempt to change grade within a turnout. Once you allow for those concepts, the grades might be a little steeper than you hope. As others have said, it’s definitely worth working through the grades in detail before you go much further in the design.

Good luck with your layout.

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Posted by fsts2k on Saturday, November 12, 2016 10:25 AM

Thanks for all the continuned help. Few things:

- I bought the book Track Planning for Realistic Operation. Helped me understand quite a bit more although I think I will need to read it a few more times

- In the book it said #5 switches are good easements and really represent a fine radius for a 24" min radius layout expect for cross-overs... just an interesting perspective

- I redrew the layout with a curve going into the yard to open up the access space

- Having calculated the grades I am right at 1.9% although that does not totally include easements... generally I think it works if I start to decend right at the top left of the layout. It means the branch on the far left side will not be at the summit and I will have to level out for there but that should give me the abiltiy to decend before I finish the curve on the bottom as I approach to an operator what will be the "front" of the layout

- Since this is my first HO I am struggling if I am biting off more than I can chew.. I am pretty ok with wood working and I purchased a book on benchwork. Generally it seems like something I can easily take care of although I do want to make it modular enough to get it out of the house at some point

- My only other concern is I don't want this to be a spagetti layout... want to make sure I have a bit of room for scenery and buildings. As it looks now, I think I can make that work although my version looks a bit "busier" than what I was going off of. Not sure if that is just the difference in layout software or if I totally butchered it 

- I am going to purchase a piece of Code 72 and 83 flex track to see if there is a noticable difference to me. My goal is to have a nominal home layout since I run at the club a few times a month. Just means I "think" I am ok with something that is not perfectaly prototypical

- I tried to upload a larger picture so you could see the track IDs.. not sure it worked well. Generally I am using SL-100F (PECO Flex Track) and a mix of turnouts including SL-E186 (1), SL-E187 (2), SL-E188 (1), SL-E195 (3), and SL-E196 (7). 

Anyway... thanks for any assistance. Just thought I would give an update. 

 

Kevin

 

 

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Posted by fsts2k on Tuesday, February 28, 2017 8:24 PM

I started construction of the benchwork over just after Christmas and had everything built including the subroadbed laid after four 10 hour days. I then began to lay cork and track while wiring. There were a few do-overs but generally it went pretty smoth and I ended up with 23" radius corners all around. I was able to test it with a 13 car string of Walthers Passenger cars and it did fantastic. I had a few areas that I needed to tweak the track but generally all switches and track was pretty smooth. 

I soldered all non-switch track junctions and put down feeders every 3-4 feet. All track is PECO code 83 with a mix of turnouts (15 in total) powered by Tortise slow machines. I am using Digitrax DS64s for the switch decoders and NCE for cab control. 

Generally I am pretty excited about the progress. Next is to mount the backdrop and start the hardshell scenery base. I am going to use alumimum mesh with Durabond 90 as the plaster. I am not a huge fan of foam as I tried the pink stuff before and even with a hot knife cutting tool it made a mess and didn't cut well. Using a sanding disk was... well.. a snowstorm indoors. 

Still working through what stuctures to put down but currently am thinking about putting a mine in the top right loop and then using false front warehouses behind the yard. 

Here are a few pictures

Construction

 

Part Way

All Track Down and wired

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Posted by cuyama on Tuesday, February 28, 2017 11:28 PM

Nice to see another rendition of this plan being built -- congratulations on your progress!

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Posted by fsts2k on Monday, July 17, 2017 2:40 PM

Almost finished with the electrical and track tunning. It is getting closer but I have two areas to tweak (short circuit on one turnout, small switcher is stalling out on a few turn outs, and small derailment issue) but there is a light at the end of the roughing in. 

 

That said, I need to start to get buildings. Any thoughts on what buildings might be interesting to use? I am considering the Walthers Cornerstone HO scale Diamond Cole Kit for in the middle of the open loop.... Also need buildings for the yard area. 

 

Thanks

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Posted by SeeYou190 on Monday, July 17, 2017 6:48 PM

I am new to these forums since this thread started. I just read through the posts and am very interested to keep up with the layouts progress.

.

Please keep us posted.

.

-Kevin

.

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Posted by cuyama on Monday, July 17, 2017 7:40 PM

fsts2k
Any thoughts on what buildings might be interesting to use? I am considering the Walthers Cornerstone HO scale Diamond Cole Kit for in the middle of the open loop.... Also need buildings for the yard area. 

That's a fairly large kit, but could probably work. As far as the buildings in the yard, on my original track plan there are a variety of Walthers and DPM kits along one side (intended to be an industrial track -- Walthers' Co-op Storage Shed and Spooner's Sash and Door along with DPM's Cutting's Scissor). Near the aisle, that's BTS' New River Freight House. But of course they could be whatever you like.

One version of this plan built by a custom builder mixed in some Woodland Scenics built-ups in the yard area and on a drop-down hatch in the access area.

Congratulations on your progress and I hope that it goes smoothly getting the last few reliability issues ironed out.

Byron

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