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layout elements, rather than another track plan book

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Posted by IRONROOSTER on Saturday, December 12, 2009 6:31 AM

 Some books to get are:

Railroads You Can Model  and More Railroads You Can Model .  These are reprints of articles for layouts based on real railroads and how the author captures the essence of the railroad.  A couple of these use LDE's (they aren't called that since they pre date Koester's invention of the term) that the author suggests an arrangement for.  Some of the others effectively have LDE's buried in the track plan.

Trackplanning for Realistic Operation, the first edition, has previously published trackplans that John Armstrong shows how to modify for better operation.  These aren't in the current, third edition (I don't know about the second edition).  I have seen first editions show up at train shows.

Enjoy

Paul

If you're having fun, you're doing it the right way.
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Posted by JSperan on Friday, December 11, 2009 4:39 PM

steinjr
what you saw could also have been the special issue "102 Realistic Track Plans"

 

 

Yup, that's what I saw.

steinjr
And no - I am not working for the advertising department at Kalmbach, even though it sometimes probably sounds like it :-)

 

No you are not and yes it often does...not that it's a problem or anything. ;o)

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Posted by Paulus Jas on Friday, December 11, 2009 1:59 PM

 hi Dave,

my first thoughts were like yours. But not every one can visualise what he is up to; and you can't call mr Whitten a newbie.

If it is true that every square feet costs about 50 bucks, an lineair only 450 - 500 feet long pike will take a good piece of the household budget; also those $ 500 are relative.

Generally speaking I think mr-magazine is lacking a bit of journalistic quality. Take e.g. the new UP project railroad. You really have to read carefully to understand the layout is designed for shows. To let two trains run for hours, so the members of the staff who are present can talk with readers. No alternative design for a small room, or even some remarks about the shortcomings for a "homepike". Beside being designed, at least half of it, to promote Kato track. Don't get me wrong, the actual build is awesome.

Back to the original thread: The article about the meat packing industry (jan 2010) could use a couple of  trackplans. They are few in Jeff Wilson books too. Not every one can translate such articles into a trackplan. Local research for a 50's layout is going to be impossible. Tracks are gone, so are the buildings and the young workers can only tell stories about the trucks they have seen. 

have fun, keep smiling

Paul

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Posted by steinjr on Friday, December 11, 2009 1:09 PM

JSperan
I was fairly certain the magazine I saw was a collection of track plans, rather than a track planning book. Do I need to return to the magazine rack to have a closer look?

 

  Depends on what you saw, I guess.

 If what you saw was "Model Railroad Planning", then it is an annual magazine. Looks like this on the cover: http://www.trains.com/mrr/default.aspx?c=a&id=957

 Back issues can be found here: http://www.kalmbachstore.com/modeltrains-railroading-model-railroading-special-issues-model-railroad-planning.html

 Indexes of older MRPs (up to 2006) can be found here, so you get an idea about what kind of articles they have: http://index.mrmag.com/tm.exe?tmpl=tm_mrp

 But what you saw could also have been the special issue "102 Realistic Track Plans", which mostly is a collection of track plans (shown fairly small). Looks like this: http://www.kalmbachstore.com/mr5081101.html

 It's one of the booklets in Kalmbach's Realistic-series. Rest of them are here: http://www.kalmbachstore.com/modeltrains-railroading-model-railroading-special-issues-model-railroader-magazine-special-issues.html

 And no - I am not working for the advertising department at Kalmbach, even though it sometimes probably sounds like it :-)

 Smile,
 Stein

 


 

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Posted by JSperan on Friday, December 11, 2009 11:12 AM

Hey Stein,

I was fairly certain the magazine I saw was a collection of track plans, rather than a track planning book. Do I need to return to the magazine rack to have a closer look?  As for the GMR's magazine, it sounds like they have gone beyond the collection of layout tours I remember from the past.  Perhaps it warrants re-visiting the publication.

Thanks for the info!

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Posted by steinjr on Friday, December 11, 2009 10:05 AM

JSperan

I won't join the debate on trackplan books versus LDE books except to relate my recent trip to the magazine rack.

In the Model Railroader line I found a trackplan magazine, a great model railroads magazine and the latest model railroader issue.

I think the specials were both plastic wrapped... and that's an immediate turn-off for me.  I like to be able to preview and see if a magazine is worth buying.  I wasn't interested in the track plans because I have one already.  I have bought the great model railroads magazines before and have been disappointed when I found there was little or nothing to learn between the covers. 

 

 Model Railroad Planning is a good magazine to get if you are interested in track planning (which is the subject of this thread). It is not just a collection of track plans - it is actually discussions on how to do various things (like how to create an illusion of depth on a narrow shelf, layout height vs user height, how to model big "industries in the aisle" and all kinds of interesting stuff).

 Great Model Railroads 2010 is not bad for learning from either - it is not all just glossy pictures of nice layouts, there is also quite a bit of discussion about how things were done or how the layouts work. The current issue is much improved (IMO) in that respect, relative to earlier issues for GMR.

 As for whether they are worth your cash - that's up to you to evaluate.

 Smile,
 Stein


 

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Posted by JSperan on Friday, December 11, 2009 9:48 AM

Hmm, great discussion although somewhat confusing with so many opinions and quotes and opinions and counter-opinions...

I won't join the debate on trackplan books versus LDE books except to relate my recent trip to the magazine rack.

In the Model Railroader line I found a trackplan magazine, a great model railroads magazine and the latest model railroader issue.

I think the specials were both plastic wrapped... and that's an immediate turn-off for me.  I like to be able to preview and see if a magazine is worth buying.  I wasn't interested in the track plans because I have one already.  I have bought the great model railroads magazines before and have been disappointed when I found there was little or nothing to learn between the covers.  Just layout tours essentially, as I recall, so I passed on that one.  The latest issue of the magazine didn't inspire me all that much either, so I ended up buying a copy of RMC so I could take some Model Railroading home with me.

I buy Model Railroading magazines and books to learn new stuff about the hobby so the more how-to content the better, as far as I am concerned.

 

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Posted by jwhitten on Thursday, December 10, 2009 7:12 PM

dehusman

jwhitten
Whatever the case, that "education" probably cost me an extra $500 bucks in lumber.

Wouldn't it be better to figure out where the tracks went before you built the benchwork?  Just a thought.

You can buy a whole lot of paper and #2 pencils for $500. 

Dave H.

 

 

Yeah, I did that for a long time-- months. Finally after a zillion drawings, both with pencil and paper and CAD it became clear that the benchwork could only really go about one way with very little variation, due to constraints in my original agreement with my wife regarding the usage plan for the basement.

So I finally decided I could sit and draw trackplans forever and that what I really needed was to pick up a hammer and saw and get busy doing something. Which led to my first big Ooops! I bought inferior wood that started to twist and warp right about the moment the bank okayed the transaction at the register. I got a good bit of the benchwork built in that first weekend-- still a single-deck concept at that point. By the end of the weekend the wood that was still left loose had already started to twist and curl.  I looked at the wood and then at my benchwork and had a vision of the future and it didn't involve smooth-running trains. So I chalked it up to my first lesson and tore it all down and rebuilt it with better wood.

Incarnations two and three were casualties to "political battles" between me and the "railroad commission" regarding land grants / grabs and track warrants. We eventually came to an accord that permitted construction to continue. That was lessons two and three... be careful what you say off-the-cuff prior to a negotiation. It could come back to haunt you! :-)

Incarnation four was the one that came closest to being ready for the next step. I got it built as a single-deck all around the room. I laid down some temporary track and was running some trains for a couple of months. And as I ran them I started to realize that it didn't "feel right", that the shape of the layout wasn't quite right and I wanted to model more of the region that I was able to do comfortably in a single deck. I wanted to double-deck the layout. In renegotiating with my wife we agreed that I could double-deck about half of it and the rest around the room would need to be mounted at about the same height as the top deck. And I also pushed hard for a larger center peninsula.

So the next step was really difficult. I put a lot of thought into it and searching to make sure I felt okay about it. Eventually I decided I was okay with it-- so I knocked most of it down so I could rebuild it. That I think was the hardest thing I've had to do so far MR-related.  I tried a couple of variations on building the top deck before finally hitting upon the method that works best for me whereupon I I tore out the top deck (for what I hope will be the last time) and installed metal shelving standards and brackets. Lesson number five, go with your first instincts, they're probably right. :-)

 

I'm pretty sure about how the mainline will go. I'm sure there will have to be some adjustments as I go, but I think I have that part figured out. Now I'm working on figuring out where and how the towns will look and where the industries will go. I think once I get that kinda worked-out, a lot of the track plan will suggest itself.

Modeling the South Pennsylvania Railroad ("The Hilltop Route") in the late 50's
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Posted by tgindy on Thursday, December 10, 2009 3:44 PM

gregc

I know you can look for these elements in the track plans, but I think it would be more helpful to have a book focused on interesting elements and discussing what makes them, or how to make them interesting.   This would include track work, as well as scenic details.

The 47-page PDF-download in my personal library, Building a coal-hauling model railroad, by Tony Koester, is quite possibly that more complete resource.  I certainly gleaned enough to plan ahead to build coal operations into layout planning.

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Posted by dehusman on Thursday, December 10, 2009 2:56 PM

jwhitten
Whatever the case, that "education" probably cost me an extra $500 bucks in lumber.

jwhitten
While I do feel a little overwhelmed by it, I also feel like things are slotting-into place sorta just-in-time. As I indicated earlier, I know essentially the path for the mainline. While I expect a little bit of deviation to occur as I figure out the towns and secondary trackage, the mainline itself is pretty straightforward and only about 450-500 linear feet.

Wouldn't it be better to figure out where the tracks went before you built the benchwork?  Just a thought.

You can buy a whole lot of paper and #2 pencils for $500. 

Dave H.

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Posted by odave on Thursday, December 10, 2009 11:54 AM

jwhitten
only about 450-500 linear feet.

Which is "only" about 10X my mainline run Smile  I would be overwhelmed too!  I can only offer another tired old bromide:  "how do you eat an elephant?  One bite at a time".   It sounds like you have a great concept so far - I'm looking forward to seeing your progress!

Back to the original topic, the Walther's Flyer will occasionally publish a "typical" track plan and background info for whatever industry they are featuring at that time.  Sure, the motive is to sell products, but there is good information there.  Maybe the need could be met by adding mored detail like that (beyond what is already there) into an "Industries Along the Tracks" book.  This would still be at a generic level though, and more research would be required for a specific prototype.

--O'Dave
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Posted by jwhitten on Thursday, December 10, 2009 11:20 AM

odave

jwhitten
Whatever the case, that "education" probably cost me an extra $500 bucks in lumber.

That has me wondering what someone like Byron Henderson charges for reviews.  If you're stuck in a rut, it might be a wise investment to get some professional consulting to help kick you out Smile

jwhitten

Maybe that stuff flows out easily for some people, but for me there's lots of caveats and gotchas in there that I feel I need to work through and consider to arrive at the ultimate arrangement.

You also need to know when to let yourself off the hook (and that point is different for everyone).  Remember the old addage "better is the enemy of good enough".   I used to have a "final plan" every other week, then I realized that a plan is just a plan and not a model railroad.  I agree that knowing when the plan is done enough is difficult, but at some point construction should start. 

Just be patient and keep asking questions - it will come Smile

 

 

I have actually talked to Byron and he's a really, really nice guy. I asked him for a rough quote for his services and he came back with an eminently reasonable offer, but it was beyond my price range. I have read every word on his web site though, probably three or four times by now. He has a ton of good advice there to offer.

While I do feel a little overwhelmed by it, I also feel like things are slotting-into place sorta just-in-time. As I indicated earlier, I know essentially the path for the mainline. While I expect a little bit of deviation to occur as I figure out the towns and secondary trackage, the mainline itself is pretty straightforward and only about 450-500 linear feet. About a third or so of that will be double-tracked heavy-duty rail-pounding Pennsy mainline. About half of the remainder (most of the bottom deck) will be the Pennsy bridge-line subsidiary, the South Pennsylvania RR, which was intended to operate between Harrisburg and Pittsburgh PA-- technically to Irwin PA, just outside of Pittsburgh. And the rest (essentially all of the top deck) will be the Montour RR, which operated in a belt region around the southern and south-eastern regions surrounding Pittsburgh.

Historically the Pennsy was heavily invested in the Montour, along with several other class-I railroads, and eventually bought them outright. And of course the Pennsy owned the rights to the South Pennsylvania ROW even though historically the road was never actually completed. The interplay between those three railroads, along with an additional interchange with the WM, will provide the fundamental aspects for operations.

I have no plans to actually model Harrisburg or Pittsburgh cities-- though I *might* do a little of the outlying area around Pittsburgh, I'm still a little undecided about that. Instead I'm going to concentrate operations into a few of the cities along the route, which will most likely include Mt. Dallas / Burnt Cabins / Everett (essentially all one place in real life, very close together), Bedford, and Somerset or New Baltimore. I might model brief references to one or two other locations along the way to make the schedule more interesting. And I'll do something similar with the Montour portion, but since it serviced mainly coal and mineral companies, towns aren't really much of a focus for it.

The South Pennsylvania RR itself has an interesting heritage. The route was surveyed and graded by William Vanderbilt of the NYC, who was in a bitter rivalry at the time with the Pennsy. Construction of the route had progressed apace and a bridge across the susquehanna was nearly completed when a deal was struck, ownership given to the Pennsy, and construction was halted. Today people know the route as the Pennsylvania Turnpike, but most don't realize they are travelling the route laid out for the South Penn... :-)

 

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Posted by odave on Thursday, December 10, 2009 10:00 AM

I would enjoy reading a book along the lines gregc suggests - have the author take several track plans (small to large), pick them apart, then make them better.  And have the text give clear, concrete reasons for why each change was needed.   It would be a lot like a "best-of" collection of the reviews found on this or other forums put together into a coherent whole (if such a thing is possible Smile)

As for having a detailed book on LDEs or scenes, I think the problem is what Stein alluded to earlier - there is so much variation in the way different prototypes serve different industries and handle different situations, and so many different things to consider when modeling the LDE or scene.   To produce such a detailed book economically, it would have to have a fairly narrow focus - either one industry or how one person implemented that industry on their layout.  And then, how many people would buy such a focused book, outside of the ones who are interested in that specific subject?  A book with a wider focus could be produced, but would it be any better than what is available now?  I have a feeling that that the detailed research would still be "left as an exercise for the student".

jwhitten
Whatever the case, that "education" probably cost me an extra $500 bucks in lumber.
That has me wondering what someone like Byron Henderson charges for reviews.  If you're stuck in a rut, it might be a wise investment to get some professional consulting to help kick you out Smile
jwhitten
Maybe that stuff flows out easily for some people, but for me there's lots of caveats and gotchas in there that I feel I need to work through and consider to arrive at the ultimate arrangement.
You also need to know when to let yourself off the hook (and that point is different for everyone).  Remember the old addage "better is the enemy of good enough".   I used to have a "final plan" every other week, then I realized that a plan is just a plan and not a model railroad.  I agree that knowing when the plan is done enough is difficult, but at some point construction should start. 

Just be patient and keep asking questions - it will come Smile

--O'Dave
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Posted by jwhitten on Thursday, December 10, 2009 12:20 AM

gregc

Discussing that process might make a good magazine article.   It could start with an initial layout plan that a novice might come up with.   Then explain the shortcomings in that design and how they can be improved.   I'd think changes in one part of the design would ripple through the whole layout, making existing parts look out of place.   A final design will result after several iterations.

thanks, greg

 

 

Greg,

I think you said very succinctly what I was attempting to say.

I suppose the old-school answer would be just to try stuff out and see what works. (And I'm aiming that at myself as much as anybody)

I don't know if things were different in times past, but-- for me, at least-- I don't have a lot of time to devote to the hobby and yet I have a very specific goal I am attempting to reach-- which is the point where I think I'll start to really have fun. But at the same time, I don't have the money or time to keep building things, finding stuff that catastrophically won't work, tear it down and build it up again. A little bit of that I would find "fun" and educational. A lot of that and there's gonna be some hammers flying through windows. And its not that I'm impatient. I have built and rebuilt my benchwork literally five times now to get what I want. Three of them had very specific issues that warranted the rebuilds. The other two were more political in nature. Whatever the case, that "education" probably cost me an extra $500 bucks in lumber. Not that I'm blaming anybody for anything, just saying that there is an actual cost and a time element that is consumed in that "just try stuff out to see what works" advice. And I consider myself *fortunate* that I was able to spot the error of my ways before it ran into *real* money, in the way of consumables. This is not a cheap hobby! Smile

I would heartily second the notion that beginners could really benefit a lot more from "here's a plan, and here's what's good and bad about it" write-ups and lessons. Especially with an eye towards operations, and how a particular segment would/could integrate into a larger overall "system". I can look at a track plan and-- for what I believe anyway-- have some understanding of those things, but I'm certainly not an expert at it, nor have I had a lot of (read: nearly none) experience with actual operations. On my layouts as a kid I just ran the trains around to watch them go, and played at switching cars around in the yard. Now as an adult I am more interested in the "simulation" aspect, modeling for operations, and understanding the fundamental concepts that underly a "real" railroad. And I want to learn about aesthetics and develop those skills as well.

 

I sense many things coming together for me in my efforts in building the South Penn RR (my layout). I have faith that the "track plan" will soon work itself out, even  though I'm not quite sure how just yet. I have a gut sense of how it must go, at least for the mainline, and coupled with a pretty good understanding of where I want the towns and such to be, where they're located geographically and temporally, and the general resources that are available in the geographic region I'm modeling, I think all my hand-wringing will prove to be for naught and the track plan will likely reveal itself more "naturally" than it seems. I'm down to the point in my thinking and design trying to develop a sense for what the towns will literally look like, where the industries will go, what they will be, etc. I already have the major ones in mind-- coal, gravel, coke, an auto plant, etc. Its the minor ones that I'm struggling with somewhat. Maybe that stuff flows out easily for some people, but for me there's lots of caveats and gotchas in there that I feel I need to work through and consider to arrive at the ultimate arrangement.

And my layout concept does also deal with several railroads in various relationships with each other. Essentially, irrespective of the details of that, the overall concept for my layout "region" is a bridge between two large cities and in an area that is flanked by other large class-I railroads. So that it is only through the patronage of "my class-I" (the Pennsy) that the regionals I'm modeling can continue to exist and eke out a living.

All-in-all there is a lot in there to think about and consider. And I do feel a little overwhelmed at times and wonder if its ever going to end and I can get to the "running the trains" part. But then I think about what it is I'm trying to build-- the sheer magnitude of the effort, especially for a beginner, and tell myself to be patient, to go slow, take the time I need to get it done as "right" as I can, and that it will be worth the effort in the end.
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Posted by steinjr on Thursday, December 10, 2009 12:07 AM

gregc
Except for Tony Koester's book, I didn't think the other books were what I had in mind.

 

 Mmmm - I am not too sure what you are looking for in that book. Some possible things you might be looking for:

 - how to look at some specific real location and extract the "core characteristics" of that location into a scene on a track plan (ie how to design an LDE) ? 

 - how to model a generic example of some type of industry (say your "typical" mid-western grain elevator or your "typical" meat packer or your "typical" Appalachian coal mine or your "typical" lumber mill) on your layout ?

 - how to model a scene or scenes in such a way that you create the illusion of depth and minimize visual interference between scenes that are supposed to be far apart, even though they are only a few feet apart in the layout room ?

 - how to fit a layout into a room in such a way that you can reach things and both work on the layout and run your trains in the room without throwing out your back or crushing your scenery ? 

 - how to design a layout to work as a whole, rather than as a collection of scenes, ie track planning for operations ?

 - how to do iterative design ?

 - how to adapt existing track plans to fit your available space and your chosen scale ?

 - how to "test run" your layout plan before you start building (ie how to do a critique) ?

  I don't think you will find one article or one book that does it all :-)

 

 

gregc

  I've read the Locomotive Servicing Terminal book and from the previews available for the Industries Along the Track series, it looks like these books just describe prototypes without discussing how they could be compressed and modeled on a variety of different types of layouts.

 

 Mmmm - you have the Tony Koester book I mentioned ("Realistic Model Railroad Building Blocks", which is essentially a sampler of LDEs). He also have "Realistic Model Railroad Design" and "Realistic Model Railroad Operations" which describe various aspects of designing a model railroad.

 Mmm - there isn' a lot of books which discuss how to model the same scene in different ways. Bernie Kempinski is doing it in his book "Mid-Size Track Plans for Realitic Layouts" - where he present at least two versions (in different scales - mostly H0 and N scale) of every track plan. He also did that in his article on the Bush Terminal RR in New York in Model Railroad Planning a few years back.

 You of course have John Armstrong's classical "Track Planning for Realistic Operations", which you apparently already have. That book has a lot of basic information any track planner should know.

 But since I don't totally grasp exactly what you are looking for, it is a little hard giving specific advice.

Smile,
Stein

 

 

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Posted by markpierce on Wednesday, December 9, 2009 9:14 PM

Articles on layouts based on real places are very interesting.  I like to see how a place's essence is "squeezed" onto a model railroad.

Mark

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Posted by gregc on Wednesday, December 9, 2009 9:03 PM

steinjr
Hmmm. First you bemoan the fact that no one has written any books about "track elements".

 When informed that there are actually several such books on the subject easily available, you comment "I guess there isn't that much interested [sic] in track elements".

 Just curious - how did you arrive at that conclusion ?

Except for Tony Koester's book, I didn't think the other books were what I had in mind.   I've read the Locomotive Servicing Terminal book and from the previews available for the Industries Along the Track series, it looks like these books just describe prototypes without discussing how they could be compressed and modeled on a variety of different types of layouts.   But I can't be sure without seeing more of the book.


I've ordered Koester's book.   Maybe after I reading it, I'll have a better idea of what a layout design element is.    But I've learned a lot from the postings in this thread.   Adapting and integrating  LDE(s) into a particular layout is obviously a challenge.

Discussing that process might make a good magazine article.   It could start with an initial layout plan that a novice might come up with.   Then explain the shortcomings in that design and how they can be improved.   I'd think changes in one part of the design would ripple through the whole layout, making existing parts look out of place.   A final design will result after several iterations.

thanks, greg

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Posted by steinjr on Tuesday, December 8, 2009 11:10 PM

EM-1

Besides, what is a layout besides a collection of design elements tied together? 

 It depends on what you are modeling.  

 It can also be an integrated whole, where the parts work together to simulate a transportation system, rather than just a collection of scenes strung together.

 I am attempting to model switching in three small urban scenes - the main scene is about 10 x 2 feet - a corner of a yard in front of a couple of industry tracks along a row of tallish warehouse type buildings side by side, and there are two small side scenes - an about 7 x 2 feet scene one where I intend to have tracks running in urban canyons between buildings, and a 6x1 feet scene where I want to have a small river terminal with a warehouse and a dock along the river bank to transload stuff to or from barges.

 This is not a complete transportation system - it is just a collection of scenes.

 In contrast, have a look at Dave Steensland's Silverton and Lake City layout: http://ldopsigmeet.tulsanmra.org/slc.htm

 His layout is a transportation system, where the interplay between staging and the visible scenes are critical, and where there are three different railroads which interacts.

 A layout certainly can be a lot more than just a collection of scenes. As for whether you want to model a scene, a transportation system or something else - that's up to you.

 I won't get too far into the "it's my railroad, I can do as I like" discussion. It is trivially true - obviously anyone can do whatever he or she likes on his or her layout. And it is not very interesting in the context which was being discussed - how to design scenes/LDEs or the difference between the approach "collection of scenes" and the approach "overall design".

Smile,
Stein

 

 

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Posted by Paulus Jas on Tuesday, December 8, 2009 3:23 PM

 hi,

dehusman
The important thing is to choose the industry, then choose the tracks that will serve it (one track, two tracks, wide spacing, next to each other, etc).  Then you plan the tracks into the layout.  Once the track is in then you figure out where the building goes. 

 

Look at the space first. I always saw the industry as one object including the buildings, tracks, roads and even the "relief" yard nearby. Important is having some kind of a druthers list. My industry needs at least 4 modeled bays for the freightcars and a parking lot for trailers. Most of the times I know were my buildings are going first. How much selective compression is needed, how much is truncated is decided later.

dehusman
I will concede the point that a book of LDE's would be a wonderful thing.  Anybody care to define an LDE?  8-)

Defining an LDE is easy. You should honour Tony Koester and read his book. 

E.G. if you want to model a fruitpacker, you could read one of the books by Jeff Wilson. You can also research the prototype and talk with the guy's. How they operate off season and how they deal with the long cuts of cars in season. By copy-ing and compressing the prototype you still end up with flaws, but for every flaw still in you have at least omitted three times as many.(Tony's thinking)

Some where in the sixties a beautifull layout was featured in MR. One of the scenes was a steep mud road through a residential area, crossing a shaky wooden bridge over the railway line. Both used by heavely loaded trucks, coming down the hill, to dump coal in waiting hoppers. Imagine those trucks on a rainy day. A professional road engineer commended on that scene and was not being loved at all. The nitpicker, how did he dare.

Byron Henderson warns at the same time against cherry picking. Just throw in some cute very prototypical scenes (LDE's) and you have a great design, is far beside the truth. Having an overall view or concept is where you should start; and then picking proper LDE's.

dehusman
Believe it or not, railroading isn't rocket science.  The basic moves haven't really changed since the 1800's. There really aren't that many variations you can do.

 

But you still have to know them. Track Planning for Realistic Operation by the late John Armstrong opened so many eye's and still does.

have fun, keep smiling

Paul

 

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Posted by EM-1 on Tuesday, December 8, 2009 2:28 PM

Besides, what is a layout besides a collection of design elements tied together?  Does it really matter whether or not the layout builder  designs every aspect of the route by himself, or just decides to copy a few ideas from various publications and connect them with a stretch of mainline?  Or if he combines both mehods?  Or just copies a published layout?  Whose business it to tell him he's wrong?

The last operating session I had an opportunity to do was with a loop of E-Z track with a couple sidings on the basement floor.   I mostly ran a large number of my locos around to see which ones needed some maintainance after prolonged storage, as well as trying out some new kit and scratch built cars.  I enjoyed myself.  Did I have a right to?

An organized club has a right to et some standards, by general agreement of the membership, how things are going to get done, at least at the club's layout.  For our own layouts, the sky's the limit.

If published books about LDEs brings more people into this hobby, then that's something we need.  Growth in the number of participants brings growth in availability of better and newer resources and supplies and suppliers,  Variety in approaches is good!   Saying "It's got to be this way exactly!" can limit growth, turn people off.  It's your railroad, you're the boss, do your own thing.

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Posted by jwhitten on Tuesday, December 8, 2009 1:44 PM

>> where did they get the sulphur from?

 Tennessee ??

Modeling the South Pennsylvania Railroad ("The Hilltop Route") in the late 50's
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Posted by dehusman on Tuesday, December 8, 2009 12:09 PM

jwhitten
John Armstrong's book on Track Planning is pretty good, IMO, for that type of thing. He goes into great detail about facing point and trailing point spurs and such, and explaining why one way is better than another-- but "real" railroads do it the way it fits best into the location, or what the customer demands (is willing to pay for), etc. Further, how does a neophite track planner know how to gauge the traffic into/out of a particular location from a static photograph or drawing? Which may also go into the various design decisions that are made regarding trackage at a particular location.

Back when I was a neophyte modeler I found out by reading MR, occaisionally RMC and occaisionally another layout book, and eventually belonging to a club.  I built a layout, when it didn't work, I took it apart and built another one, and repeated that process over several years.

People today don't want to take that much time.  They expect to get it right the first time (whether that is unreasonable or not is another discussion).

 How does a neophyte modeler do it today?  There are about a zillion photo collections on the internet, between independent forums and Yahoo groups there must be several hundred discussion areas where people ask questions.  There are a dozen various mapping and aerial photograph sites on the internet.  The amount of information out there is staggering.  I don't ask how a neophyte does it today, I ask myself how in the world did I do it 30-40 years ago when we had zippo in the way of information.  How does a neophyte do it today?  He merely asks.  Post a question or a plan on the internet and you will get feedback that took me years to collect in a matter of hours.

For example, if you have an industry that is seasonal, it may go much/most of the time with little or no traffic and then all of a sudden be in its "rush season" and get slammed with traffic. The railroad may have taken that into consideration and decided to "live with it" the few times a year it happens. To pick up the cars, however "painfully", run them in front of the locomotive for fifty miles up the line to the next point, and that's the end of it. I'm not even sure an old pro could really figure that one out from just an aerial view of the track plan.

Believe it or not, railroading isn't rocket science.  The basic moves haven't really changed since the 1800's.  There really aren't that many variations you can do.

Here's another thing people can do.  Draw out the track plan and pretend to run a train around the layout.  Pretend to switch.  If someone mentally (or physically on paper) trys to switch things they will find the problems.  If they can't figure it out in your head, maybe its not such a good plan.  If a person just can't visualize it, then draw it out large scale and use blocks of wood for cars and engines or learn to use one of a dozen or so track planning programs that let you operate trains on the proposed track plan (paper is waaaaay cheaper).

 (by the way, if its any time before the last decade or so the crew would pull the cars out to the spur and drop them by the engine, then spot them.)

 You'd need to know more about the industry, the economic conditions, etc. to be able to make that call. And all of that is information *not* included in the google map, and probably not on the sanborn map either.

I rather doubt that the typical neophyte modeler will be building industries that are so complicated that they really have to worry about this kind of stuff.    If you are then you have to accept the learning curve that goes with it.  I have been researching some stuff for decades and still haven't found the answers (pop quiz : EI Dupont made gunpowder in the Wilmington, DE area in the late 1800's, early 1900's, where did they get the sulphur from?)

If all you have is a 3 car spur, then you pretty much have 3 options, spot 1 car, spot 2 cars, spot 3 cars, dada, dada, dadats all folks.  If you want something really complicated like building an entire fully integrated steel mill or a complete auto assembly plant then you had best figure you're going to spend some time doing research.

And to make another example regarding general track-planning / space-planning... which comes first, the industry or the railroad? (A rhetorical question of course with no "right" answer other than "it depends"). But for a beginning planner, that could be a difficult and imposing question-- and I'd wager, IS a difficult question.

And this is where an LDE might not help.  When you give somebody a plan of an industry they tend to see it as a "solid" object.  Just like a building kit, and try to put the entire building in the layout.  The important thing is to choose the industry, then choose the tracks that will serve it (one track, two tracks, wide spacing, next to each other, etc).  Then you plan the tracks into the layout.  Once the track is in then you figure out where the building goes.  Very few of my buildings are built stock and most are missing one or more walls because they bump up against the backdrop.

I will concede the point that a book of LDE's would be a wonderful thing.  Anybody care to define an LDE?  8-)

(P.S. The sulphur comes from upstate New York.  I found that out by flying to Philly to visit family and driving down to the Hagley Museum in Wilmington, reading the markers outside the building where the sulphur was stored.   Not all research is easy.)

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

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Posted by steinjr on Tuesday, December 8, 2009 12:02 PM

jwhitten
how would someone just learning know that (a) operationally a particular LDE (to continue the terminology) needed to have a run-around to make it work "right" or "better", and (b) to look in the next town for it?

 

 I guess he or she would either have to read a general text that explains about facing and trailing spurs, or just figure out on his or her own that if the engine gets trapped between the cars and the end of the spur and only can get out if lifted out by a giant hand in the sky, something might be missing ...

  One common source of such a general information is John Armstrong's classical "Track Planning for Realistic Operations". Another is e.g. the LDSIG Layout Design Primer at http://macrodyn.com/ldsig/wiki/index.php?title=Category:Primer.

 Facing spurs and the use of runarounds are explained a lot of places.

 


 Further, how does a neophite track planner know how to gauge the traffic into/out of a particular location from a static photograph or drawing? Which may also go into the various design decisions that are made regarding trackage at a particular location.

 It may. But it doesn't have to. I'd start simple and introduce further complexities later.

 Most layouts works just fine if you plan industries spurs to hold maybe 3-5 cars. Switching a cut of two or three cars and having some "sure spots" (a given car has to be put in a specific spot) provides plenty of entertainment value.

 Spotting 10-15 cars at a spur instead of 3-5 cars doesn't necessarily add 3-5 times more entertainment value.


For example, if you have an industry that is seasonal, it may go much/most of the time with little or no traffic and then all of a sudden be in its "rush season" and get slammed with traffic.

<...>

 You'd need to know more about the industry, the economic conditions, etc. to be able to make that call.

If you want to do seasonal variations, you do that.That usually entails a visit to the library or amazon or various web sites to read up on the history of the community or plant you are modeling.

 But again - you don't have to do seasonal variations.

 


And to make another example regarding general track-planning / space-planning... which comes first, the industry or the railroad? (A rhetorical question of course with no "right" answer other than "it depends"). But for a beginning planner, that could be a difficult and imposing question-- and I'd wager, IS a difficult question.

 Not really. Industries will not normally grow and decline as you run your trains on your layout.

 What you have normally is a "snapshot" taken at some definite point of time (or an imaginary time and place).

 Just try to compose your scene so it looks esthetically pleasing for you, or so it resembles photos you have seen of the scene, or whatever constitutes esthetically pleasing for you.

 Whether that means industries placed in a row, wall to wall, or spread out or whatever depends on what you like and how the scene you are trying to recreate looked, if you are modeling a real place at a real time.

 Smile,
 Stein

 

 

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Posted by jwhitten on Tuesday, December 8, 2009 10:44 AM

odave
The example of an LDE that won't work well without a runaround 5 miles up the line presents the designer with a choice.  Either model the runaround up the line (compressed, of course), thus preserving the prototype and "LDE  status", or modify the LDE to include a runaround in the scene, thus departing from the prototype and losing LDE status.  How important it is to maintain LDE status would be up to the designer, of course.  If keeping LDE status is that important, then the designer should abandon this LDE if the runaround-up-the-line cannot be modeled in the available space.

My own preference is to study the prototype and build a scene like it that works within my space, and not worry about it being an LDE or any other TLA (Three Letter Acronym Smile)

 

 

Yes, but that was exactly my point-- how would someone just learning know that (a) operationally a particular LDE (to continue the terminology) needed to have a run-around to make it work "right" or "better", and (b) to look in the next town for it? That's good advice and everything if you're talking to someone who knows enough to be able to use it. But completely lost on someone still figuring things out.

John Armstrong's book on Track Planning is pretty good, IMO, for that type of thing. He goes into great detail about facing point and trailing point spurs and such, and explaining why one way is better than another-- but "real" railroads do it the way it fits best into the location, or what the customer demands (is willing to pay for), etc. Further, how does a neophite track planner know how to gauge the traffic into/out of a particular location from a static photograph or drawing? Which may also go into the various design decisions that are made regarding trackage at a particular location.

For example, if you have an industry that is seasonal, it may go much/most of the time with little or no traffic and then all of a sudden be in its "rush season" and get slammed with traffic. The railroad may have taken that into consideration and decided to "live with it" the few times a year it happens. To pick up the cars, however "painfully", run them in front of the locomotive for fifty miles up the line to the next point, and that's the end of it. I'm not even sure an old pro could really figure that one out from just an aerial view of the track plan. You'd need to know more about the industry, the economic conditions, etc. to be able to make that call. And all of that is information *not* included in the google map, and probably not on the sanborn map either.

 

And to make another example regarding general track-planning / space-planning... which comes first, the industry or the railroad? (A rhetorical question of course with no "right" answer other than "it depends"). But for a beginning planner, that could be a difficult and imposing question-- and I'd wager, IS a difficult question.

And knowing the answer is only slightly more helpful because then you have to consider how the industry grew-- did it just get stuck there all at once? Or did it grow little-by-little over the years? A bit added here and there as the decades went by? Who decided where the buildings / additions would go? Were they, in turn influenced by the proximity of the railroad, or vise versa? Etc.

 

At least for a true prototype modeler there is real actual history that can be consulted and followed. Those questions are even more involved for a pseudo-prototype modeler or a complete free-lancer who would have to answer all of those questions-- understand the complete history of every location and every nuance in order to be able to "see" his vision and come up with the track plan.

 

Of course you could also just take a step back-- do something and if it doesn't work out... well, its only plaster. Smile

Modeling the South Pennsylvania Railroad ("The Hilltop Route") in the late 50's
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Posted by odave on Tuesday, December 8, 2009 9:38 AM

I guess it depends on how much deviation from the prototype is allowed to be in the "like it" part to fit within the terminology.   I haven't read the Koester book on LDEs, so I don't know what his stance on deviation is.

Here's an example from my own design process.  I knew I wanted an grain elevator to be served in my small town.  I looked at prototype trackage at several prototype grain elevators in the area I was modeling.  Some of them are on single spurs, some have multiple spurs.  Some have runarounds nearby, some don't.  Some are on double-ended sidings.  I took all of that information, looked at my space, considered how I wanted my locals to run, and came up with trackage that made sense in my space and looked "typical" for my area.  That was good enough for me. Since my grain elevator scene is not based on any single prototype, I would not call it an LDE.

--O'Dave
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Posted by dehusman on Tuesday, December 8, 2009 9:12 AM

odave
My own preference is to study the prototype and build a scene like it that works within my space, and

That more or less IS the definition of an LDE.

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

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Posted by odave on Tuesday, December 8, 2009 9:08 AM

dehusman
 I feel a lot of people see it as former and I see it more as the latter.

IIRC the strict definition of an LDE is that it is a prototype location.  I Since my layout is freelanced, technically I have no LDEs - I just have scenes.

The example of an LDE that won't work well without a runaround 5 miles up the line presents the designer with a choice.  Either model the runaround up the line (compressed, of course), thus preserving the prototype and "LDE  status", or modify the LDE to include a runaround in the scene, thus departing from the prototype and losing LDE status.  How important it is to maintain LDE status would be up to the designer, of course.  If keeping LDE status is that important, then the designer should abandon this LDE if the runaround-up-the-line cannot be modeled in the available space.

My own preference is to study the prototype and build a scene like it that works within my space, and not worry about it being an LDE or any other TLA (Three Letter Acronym Smile)

--O'Dave
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Posted by jwhitten on Tuesday, December 8, 2009 8:30 AM

odave

jwhitten
how "difficult" it is sometimes to discern the proper operation of "real" railroad track plans because they might place a critical runaround track (or some such) in the next town over that won't be obvious to the casual observer. Okay. So, like, how the heck am I supposed to learn anything with that prosaic humdinger?

Railfanning can help.  If you live near some active tracks and have some free time, following a local around or watching a yard can be very educational.  Yes, you will be observing modern railroading and what you see may not fit your era, but many basic moves have not changed.  

There are also railfanning forums where real railroaders (active or retired) will post and answer questions.

 

 

I live near the W&OD (Washington & Old Dominion) Railroad. Unfortunately the rails themselves are long gone. The whole thing's been paved over and the closest thing to a "run-around maneuver" occurs when a pedestrian bends down to tie a shoelace oblivious to the oncoming cyclist... In the past I have lived where there were great iron beasts pounding steel rails... but alas, no longer.... (sigh)

Modeling the South Pennsylvania Railroad ("The Hilltop Route") in the late 50's
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Posted by odave on Tuesday, December 8, 2009 8:15 AM

jwhitten
how "difficult" it is sometimes to discern the proper operation of "real" railroad track plans because they might place a critical runaround track (or some such) in the next town over that won't be obvious to the casual observer. Okay. So, like, how the heck am I supposed to learn anything with that prosaic humdinger?

Railfanning can help.  If you live near some active tracks and have some free time, following a local around or watching a yard can be very educational.  Yes, you will be observing modern railroading and what you see may not fit your era, but many basic moves have not changed.  

There are also railfanning forums where real railroaders (active or retired) will post and answer questions.

--O'Dave

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