Trains.com

Subscriber & Member Login

Login, or register today to interact in our online community, comment on articles, receive our newsletter, manage your account online and more!

Staging yard fix

2387 views
20 replies
1 rating 2 rating 3 rating 4 rating 5 rating
  • Member since
    January 2019
  • 2,227 posts
Staging yard fix
Posted by John-NYBW on Saturday, June 4, 2022 10:29 PM

I have been building my current large basement layout for over 20 years now. While I think my overall design was a good one, I made one major mistake which has been a continued source of aggravation and frustration and I have finally decided I can't live with it any longer. My layout is an around the walls dogbone with the double track mainline gaining elevation as it moves westbound and the end loops are stacked in one corner of the basement to save space. Each loop is triple tracked and the loops serve as staging yards. The problem is I didn't create enough vertical separation between the two loops. Access to the lower loops is difficult and when there is a derailment, it is a nightmare. I need to do something with the upper loops to get better access to the lower loops.

One idea I'm considering is replacing the upper loops with a stub end staging yard and a single loop for turning the trains. This is similar to what John Armstrong proposed in his book Track Planning for realistic operation. The stup end yard would be on a 2% grade so arriving trains would head into the yard going up the slope and would back out of the yard going down slope and then get turned on the single track loop. 

My concern is the reliability of backing long trains out of the yard. My thinking is that by doing the backing move down grade there is less chance for a derailment as gravity will help pull the cars downhill. My longest passenger train is the Walthers 20th Century Limited set with 9 full length passenger cars and two E-units. My longest freights would be of a similar length. The trains will be backing out of a yard ladder and I'm wondering if that is going to be a problem. 

Has anybody else used a track plan that required backing moves with long trains and how reliably can that be done?

  • Member since
    September 2003
  • From: Omaha, NE
  • 10,439 posts
Posted by dehusman on Sunday, June 5, 2022 8:56 AM

Alternate idea.  Offset the two loops by 6-8" so the majority of the lower loop is visible and the portion under the upper loop is minimized.

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

  • Member since
    July 2006
  • From: west coast
  • 7,273 posts
Posted by rrebell on Sunday, June 5, 2022 8:59 AM

There was proubly nothing wrong with the plan but the exicution of the staging loops, can we get a pic?

  • Member since
    September 2002
  • 7,387 posts
Posted by ndbprr on Sunday, June 5, 2022 9:03 AM

As a candidate for captain obvious the lower level could be lowered or the upper level raised. if you wrapped the lower level with a helix you could somewhat easily raise the upper level allowing inside access to the lower level.  That assumes that the return loops are not large enough to put a helix inside the loops which would be better access. Alternately you could rebuild both outside a helix.  it shouldn't take more then a loop or two on a helix to gain sufficient separation.

  • Member since
    January 2019
  • 2,227 posts
Posted by John-NYBW on Sunday, June 5, 2022 9:19 AM

dehusman

Alternate idea.  Offset the two loops by 6-8" so the majority of the lower loop is visible and the portion under the upper loop is minimized.

 

It's almost 6" now. I would have to gain significant elevation to make a difference. The upper loop is in an area about 8' by 14'. One of the other options I am considering is to make a completel loop of that area to gain elevation. It would became a large single loop helix if I did that. My calculations tell me that the added loop on a 2% grade would gain about 7 3/4 inches.

Another option would be to move the lower loop and lower it so it runs under the approach to the upper loop. If I were to do it over again that might be the best option but I would literally have to do it over again because of the drastic changes to the bench work. 

Before considering either of the above two options, I'd like to know if backing long trains out of the ladder is a viable option. It would require the least changes to the existing bench work and the least amount of additional track. 

  • Member since
    January 2019
  • 2,227 posts
Posted by John-NYBW on Sunday, June 5, 2022 9:27 AM

ndbprr

As a candidate for captain obvious the lower level could be lowered or the upper level raised. if you wrapped the lower level with a helix you could somewhat easily raise the upper level allowing inside access to the lower level.  That assumes that the return loops are not large enough to put a helix inside the loops which would be better access. Alternately you could rebuild both outside a helix.  it shouldn't take more then a loop or two on a helix to gain sufficient separation.

 

Your reply posted while I was typing my reply to dehusman and I discussed these options. Either of the these options is going to grab the space currently occupied by my workbench. I have a space I can move that to if necessary. One of the other drawbacks to either is that it is going to create a lengthy duck under which at my age is an important consideration. I already have to make a short duck under to get inside the loops and these options would extend that. 

  • Member since
    January 2009
  • From: Maryland
  • 12,169 posts
Posted by ATLANTIC CENTRAL on Sunday, June 5, 2022 11:28 AM

What radius are your curves? At 36" radius I have never had any issues backing long trains. A friend had a stub end staging yard behind a backdrop and backed 30 car trains around a 30" radius to park trains.

You have seen my new layout plan, I will be backing trains around both legs of the wye to turn them and to back them into the staging. The staging tracks are about 20' long, 35 to 40 car freight trains.

I have done this before, and have no concerns about my design.

Sheldon

    

  • Member since
    December 2004
  • From: Bedford, MA, USA
  • 20,821 posts
Posted by MisterBeasley on Sunday, June 5, 2022 12:45 PM

I do have a stub-ended staging yard and yes, I occasionally have trouble backing passenger cars through the turnouts approaching the yard.  These are large radius turnouts and present no problems in the forward direction.  I have trouble with very old passenger cars with Talgo trucks.  This doesn't surprise me at all.  I have no problems with rolling stock like freight cars.

It takes an iron man to play with a toy iron horse. 

  • Member since
    September 2003
  • From: Omaha, NE
  • 10,439 posts
Posted by dehusman on Sunday, June 5, 2022 2:35 PM

John-NYBW
It's almost 6" now. I would have to gain significant elevation to make a difference.

Not vertically, horizontally.  Don't change elevation, change alignment.  Put the top loop against the wall and move the bottom loop 6" towards the aisle and 6" away from the end wall.

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

  • Member since
    January 2019
  • 2,227 posts
Posted by John-NYBW on Sunday, June 5, 2022 6:30 PM

dehusman

 

 
John-NYBW
It's almost 6" now. I would have to gain significant elevation to make a difference.

 

Not vertically, horizontally.  Don't change elevation, change alignment.  Put the top loop against the wall and move the bottom loop 6" towards the aisle and 6" away from the end wall.

 

That's just not feasible. The top loop is already against the wall and moving the lower loop out 6 inches would require realigniing the main throat into the staging loop which would require a major overhaul of the modeled portion of the layout. I'm not prepared to do that. 

What might work is what I already wrote about which is to relocate the lower loop so that it runs under the throat to the upper loop. In essence I would be unstacking the loops. I have sketched it out free hand but I'm going to have to sit down with some graph paper and a compass to draw actual track radii to see if what I want to do will fit in the available space. I want to maintain a minimum 32" radius for all the tracks in any loop or curve. 

  • Member since
    January 2019
  • 2,227 posts
Posted by John-NYBW on Sunday, June 5, 2022 6:35 PM

MisterBeasley

I do have a stub-ended staging yard and yes, I occasionally have trouble backing passenger cars through the turnouts approaching the yard.  These are large radius turnouts and present no problems in the forward direction.  I have trouble with very old passenger cars with Talgo trucks.  This doesn't surprise me at all.  I have no problems with rolling stock like freight cars.

 

That doesn't surprise me. That's why I'm thinking of putting the stub yard on a grade so when I'm backing out, gravity will be assisting the backing move so the engine isn't pushing as hard on the train. 

I have a long 1.75% grade that I could test a backing move with my longer trains but it doesn't have the turnouts to negotiate so that isn't going to tell me everything I need to know. 

  • Member since
    January 2019
  • 2,227 posts
Posted by John-NYBW on Sunday, June 5, 2022 6:47 PM

ATLANTIC CENTRAL

What radius are your curves? At 36" radius I have never had any issues backing long trains. A friend had a stub end staging yard behind a backdrop and backed 30 car trains around a 30" radius to park trains.

You have seen my new layout plan, I will be backing trains around both legs of the wye to turn them and to back them into the staging. The staging tracks are about 20' long, 35 to 40 car freight trains.

I have done this before, and have no concerns about my design.

Sheldon

 

My minimum radius for my loops is 32" but that's not the issue. I won't be backing around the loop. I will be backing out of a stub yard. My current loop staging yards use #6 turnouts but normal operation never requires me to back a train around the loops. To get the stub yard to fit I'm going to have to stay with #6 turnouts and my concern is whether backing a long train through the ladder is going to lead to common derailments. 

As I recall, the plan John Armstrong presented did back the train around the curve but I have to dig up my copy of Track Planning for Realistic Operation to see exactly how that worked. With a stub end staging yard, you're either going to have to back the trains into it or out of it through a ladder and that's my concern more than backing around a loop. 

That's good to know that you are able to back your trains into your staging yard. What size turnouts have you used in your ladder?

  • Member since
    January 2009
  • From: Maryland
  • 12,169 posts
Posted by ATLANTIC CENTRAL on Sunday, June 5, 2022 10:18 PM

John-NYBW

 

 
ATLANTIC CENTRAL

What radius are your curves? At 36" radius I have never had any issues backing long trains. A friend had a stub end staging yard behind a backdrop and backed 30 car trains around a 30" radius to park trains.

You have seen my new layout plan, I will be backing trains around both legs of the wye to turn them and to back them into the staging. The staging tracks are about 20' long, 35 to 40 car freight trains.

I have done this before, and have no concerns about my design.

Sheldon

 

 

 

My minimum radius for my loops is 32" but that's not the issue. I won't be backing around the loop. I will be backing out of a stub yard. My current loop staging yards use #6 turnouts but normal operation never requires me to back a train around the loops. To get the stub yard to fit I'm going to have to stay with #6 turnouts and my concern is whether backing a long train through the ladder is going to lead to common derailments. 

As I recall, the plan John Armstrong presented did back the train around the curve but I have to dig up my copy of Track Planning for Realistic Operation to see exactly how that worked. With a stub end staging yard, you're either going to have to back the trains into it or out of it through a ladder and that's my concern more than backing around a loop. 

That's good to know that you are able to back your trains into your staging yard. What size turnouts have you used in your ladder?

 

My friend who had a similar setup, and my own previous similar setup were done with Atlas #6 code 83 Custom Line turnouts.

I my experiance, backing long trains is more about good rolling stock standards than any particular track configuration, so long as the track configuration uses sound railroad engineering principles.

My new layout will also be mostly Atlas #6 code 83 Custom Line turnouts, including the stub end staging at the wye. 

The wye will represent a large junction and the staging yard will obviously be a large number of places "off stage". It will have 10 tracks.

 

On the right side of the plan you will see the wye and the yard. The wye will also be the only way to reverse whole trains on the double track mainline - there are no reverse loops on the ATLANTIC CENTRAL portion of the layout.

So trains will be staged facing out, and other trains will pull in during operating sessions. Those trains will need to be backed out, pulled around the wye, and backed in for restaging.

I should note, none of my passenger equipment has truck mounted couplers, and all have working American Limited diaphragms which actually work rather well as buffers in reverse.

Sheldon 

    

  • Member since
    January 2019
  • 2,227 posts
Posted by John-NYBW on Monday, June 6, 2022 10:47 AM

ATLANTIC CENTRAL

 

 
John-NYBW

 

 
ATLANTIC CENTRAL

What radius are your curves? At 36" radius I have never had any issues backing long trains. A friend had a stub end staging yard behind a backdrop and backed 30 car trains around a 30" radius to park trains.

You have seen my new layout plan, I will be backing trains around both legs of the wye to turn them and to back them into the staging. The staging tracks are about 20' long, 35 to 40 car freight trains.

I have done this before, and have no concerns about my design.

Sheldon

 

 

 

My minimum radius for my loops is 32" but that's not the issue. I won't be backing around the loop. I will be backing out of a stub yard. My current loop staging yards use #6 turnouts but normal operation never requires me to back a train around the loops. To get the stub yard to fit I'm going to have to stay with #6 turnouts and my concern is whether backing a long train through the ladder is going to lead to common derailments. 

As I recall, the plan John Armstrong presented did back the train around the curve but I have to dig up my copy of Track Planning for Realistic Operation to see exactly how that worked. With a stub end staging yard, you're either going to have to back the trains into it or out of it through a ladder and that's my concern more than backing around a loop. 

That's good to know that you are able to back your trains into your staging yard. What size turnouts have you used in your ladder?

 

 

 

My friend who had a similar setup, and my own previous similar setup were done with Atlas #6 code 83 Custom Line turnouts.

I my experiance, backing long trains is more about good rolling stock standards than any particular track configuration, so long as the track configuration uses sound railroad engineering principles.

My new layout will also be mostly Atlas #6 code 83 Custom Line turnouts, including the stub end staging at the wye. 

The wye will represent a large junction and the staging yard will obviously be a large number of places "off stage". It will have 10 tracks.

 

On the right side of the plan you will see the wye and the yard. The wye will also be the only way to reverse whole trains on the double track mainline - there are no reverse loops on the ATLANTIC CENTRAL portion of the layout.

So trains will be staged facing out, and other trains will pull in during operating sessions. Those trains will need to be backed out, pulled around the wye, and backed in for restaging.

I should note, none of my passenger equipment has truck mounted couplers, and all have working American Limited diaphragms which actually work rather well as buffers in reverse.

Sheldon 

 

This is all good information. Most of my turnouts are Atlas Code 83 with #6 being the standard in the staging yard. Since the staging yards are hidden, they aren't ballasted which will make reusing them easy for whatever reconfiguration I decide on. I have recently developed a preference for Peco turnouts but I don't want to buy new ones when I have older ones which are in good shape. 

  • Member since
    February 2008
  • 8,177 posts
Posted by maxman on Monday, June 6, 2022 11:42 AM

You seem to be fixated on pulling a train into staging and then letting gravity assist with the backing out process.

But what happens after you turn the train and then use the engine to back into staging and gravity starts to work against you? 

  • Member since
    January 2019
  • 2,227 posts
Posted by John-NYBW on Monday, June 6, 2022 2:33 PM

maxman

You seem to be fixated on pulling a train into staging and then letting gravity assist with the backing out process.

But what happens after you turn the train and then use the engine to back into staging and gravity starts to work against you? 

 

I would have no reason to back into the staging yard. Trains would head in, and back out.

UPDATE: I mentioned in the OP that what I was thinking of doing was similar to a solution in John Armtrong's Track Planning for Realistic Operation. I based that on memory and wasn't quite sure about the configuration of his proposed staging yard. I just located my copy of his book and see that what he proposed is not what I have in mind. In his plan, a train would head into the staging yard, then back up around a loop and then back into the staging yard. What I have in mind is a stub yard that trains would enter before going around the reversing loop. When it was time for the trains to make their return trip over the layout, they would back out of the yard and then go around the reversing loop. I have several options as to where to locate the entrance to the stub yard. It could be at the beginning of the reverse loop or after going part way around the loop. In either case, it would head in and back out which is why I could put it on a grade to allow gravity to assist the back up move. 

My copy of the book is the 3rd edition. For those who have the book, the staging yard he proposed is on page 104. It's an interesting idea but not right for my situation. 

  • Member since
    January 2019
  • 2,227 posts
Posted by John-NYBW on Thursday, June 9, 2022 8:17 AM

For those who have John Armstrong's Track Planning for Realistic Operation, 3rd edition, page 124 shows a diagram of what I have in mind. My current set up is much like the top diagram minus the small stub yard. What I have in mind is much like the lower diagram except that I would have the stub yard go over the loop track rather than under it and the entrance to the stub yard would be from the other lead track so I could head in and back out of the yard.

  • Member since
    December 2008
  • From: Heart of Georgia
  • 5,133 posts
Posted by Doughless on Thursday, June 9, 2022 9:59 AM

John-NYBW
What I have in mind is a stub yard that trains would enter before going around the reversing loop. When it was time for the trains to make their return trip over the layout, they would back out of the yard and then go around the reversing loop. I have several options as to where to locate the entrance to the stub yard. It could be at the beginning of the reverse loop or after going part way around the loop. In either case, it would head in and back out which is why I could put it on a grade to allow gravity to assist the back up move. 

This seems like a good solution.

I think its slightly different from the way most people think of staging.  Your first move in an op session would be to back up the train and position it for heading down the mainline.  I think most people think of staging as a place to reposition the train for the next session, and that repositioning would be the last move of the previous op session, not the first move of the new session.   I don't think it matters, its just a different way to think about it, IMO.

Hopefully there is enough space savings with the new design to fix the problem you have now.

Edit:  I could see that if you had to back up each train before turning it to then head out of staging, it might interfere with a multiple-train time schedule.  That's why most would want to turn all of the trains (two loops stacked on each other) at the end of the previous session in order to have each train ready to go ahead of time and can leave staging immediately when it needs to leave.  You might want to consider the impact this new design will have on the schedule, if it matters to your op session.

- Douglas

  • Member since
    January 2019
  • 2,227 posts
Posted by John-NYBW on Thursday, June 9, 2022 10:14 AM

Doughless

 

 
John-NYBW
What I have in mind is a stub yard that trains would enter before going around the reversing loop. When it was time for the trains to make their return trip over the layout, they would back out of the yard and then go around the reversing loop. I have several options as to where to locate the entrance to the stub yard. It could be at the beginning of the reverse loop or after going part way around the loop. In either case, it would head in and back out which is why I could put it on a grade to allow gravity to assist the back up move. 

 

This seems like a good solution.

I think its slightly different from the way most people think of staging.  Your first move in an op session would be to back up the train and position it for heading down the mainline.  I think most people think of staging as a place to reposition the train for the next session, and that repositioning would be the last move of the previous op session, not the first move of the new session.   I don't think it matters, its just a different way to think about it, IMO.

Hopefully there is enough space savings with the new design to fix the problem you have now.

 

The reason for doing it the way I propose is the staging yard will be on a grade and I want the back up move to be down grade so gravity will assist in preventing derailments when a long train is pushed through curves or turnouts. If I were to have the trains go around the reversing loop first, they would be backing up going up grade and I don't see anything good happening from that.

I'm looking at three options right now. One is the stub yard where trains would head into and back out of. Another would be to raise the upper loops vertically. To do that they would have to do an oval lap around the area to gain elevation before entering the upper loop, sort of like a large one turn helix. The other would be to relocate the lower loop so it is not directly under the upper loop which would require a complete rebuild of the upper and lower loops.  

I have sketched out all three options freehand but I need to put them all on graph paper using accurate radii to determine which options can actually fit in the available space. The good news is the staging loops are not ballasted so it should be easy to reuse the track and turnouts for any rebuilt. 

  • Member since
    December 2008
  • From: Heart of Georgia
  • 5,133 posts
Posted by Doughless on Thursday, June 9, 2022 10:20 AM

John-NYBW

 

 
Doughless

 

 
John-NYBW
What I have in mind is a stub yard that trains would enter before going around the reversing loop. When it was time for the trains to make their return trip over the layout, they would back out of the yard and then go around the reversing loop. I have several options as to where to locate the entrance to the stub yard. It could be at the beginning of the reverse loop or after going part way around the loop. In either case, it would head in and back out which is why I could put it on a grade to allow gravity to assist the back up move. 

 

This seems like a good solution.

I think its slightly different from the way most people think of staging.  Your first move in an op session would be to back up the train and position it for heading down the mainline.  I think most people think of staging as a place to reposition the train for the next session, and that repositioning would be the last move of the previous op session, not the first move of the new session.   I don't think it matters, its just a different way to think about it, IMO.

Hopefully there is enough space savings with the new design to fix the problem you have now.

 

 

 

The reason for doing it the way I propose is the staging yard will be on a grade and I want the back up move to be down grade so gravity will assist in preventing derailments when a long train is pushed through curves or turnouts. If I were to have the trains go around the reversing loop first, they would be backing up going up grade and I don't see anything good happening from that.

I'm looking at three options right now. One is the stub yard where trains would head into and back out of. Another would be to raise the upper loops vertically. To do that they would have to do an oval lap around the area to gain elevation before entering the upper loop, sort of like a large one turn helix. The other would be to relocate the lower loop so it is not directly under the upper loop which would require a complete rebuild of the upper and lower loops.  

I have sketched out all three options freehand but I need to put them all on graph paper using accurate radii to determine which options can actually fit in the available space. The good news is the staging loops are not ballasted so it should be easy to reuse the track and turnouts for any rebuilt. 

 

John, I edited my previous post to show a potential impact on any rigid train schedule you might have...by having to back each train out of staging to then use the reversing loop.

- Douglas

  • Member since
    January 2019
  • 2,227 posts
Posted by John-NYBW on Thursday, June 9, 2022 11:51 AM

Doughless

 

 
John-NYBW
What I have in mind is a stub yard that trains would enter before going around the reversing loop. When it was time for the trains to make their return trip over the layout, they would back out of the yard and then go around the reversing loop. I have several options as to where to locate the entrance to the stub yard. It could be at the beginning of the reverse loop or after going part way around the loop. In either case, it would head in and back out which is why I could put it on a grade to allow gravity to assist the back up move. 

 

This seems like a good solution.

I think its slightly different from the way most people think of staging.  Your first move in an op session would be to back up the train and position it for heading down the mainline.  I think most people think of staging as a place to reposition the train for the next session, and that repositioning would be the last move of the previous op session, not the first move of the new session.   I don't think it matters, its just a different way to think about it, IMO.

Hopefully there is enough space savings with the new design to fix the problem you have now.

Edit:  I could see that if you had to back up each train before turning it to then head out of staging, it might interfere with a multiple-train time schedule.  That's why most would want to turn all of the trains (two loops stacked on each other) at the end of the previous session in order to have each train ready to go ahead of time and can leave staging immediately when it needs to leave.  You might want to consider the impact this new design will have on the schedule, if it matters to your op session.

 

That is not really a concern. I am a lone wollf operator and I don't operate on a fast clock. My schedule is a sequence of events, not something that has to be accomplished in a fixed amount of time. The time required to turn the train is going to have an impact at some time during the session so I don't see any advantage to turning them at the end of a session or the beginning. 

Subscriber & Member Login

Login, or register today to interact in our online community, comment on articles, receive our newsletter, manage your account online and more!

Search the Community

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
Model Railroader Newsletter See all
Sign up for our FREE e-newsletter and get model railroad news in your inbox!