N Scale layout, continous running with helices instead of loops.

DD99 Apr 1, 2018

  1. ppuinn

    ppuinn Staff Member

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    If radius is 16 inches, the maximum hole diameter could be about 29 inches, but I’d suggest you leave a 6 or 7 inch lip on one side (quarter?) so you have someplace to set tools and “stuff” when you work inside the helix...so you don’t have to set it on the layout (and short track, bump buildings and rail cars, or crush your scenery).



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  2. ppuinn

    ppuinn Staff Member

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    Yep. Three circuits and plug the benchwork outlets to the wall outlets. In several places in my basement, I’ve got a light switch on my fascia or on the wall that controls the ceiling lights and the lights illuminating the lower layout deck in that part of the basement. If doing it over, I’d try to have room lights and layout lights on separate switches (and separate circuits too, if available). That way, I wouldn’t have to turn on the whole layout when I run downstairs to get a screwdriver or the glue gun.

    For you, maybe one circuit for room lights and west (left) and south (door) outlets, second for east (Stirling) and north (window) outlets and layout lights and benchwork power tools, and third for track power, accessories power, any electronics/computer, battery charger, etc. All plug in extensions to or from outlets on the third circuit should have surge protection so turning on/off high draw power tools on Circuit 2 does not lead to problems with electronics plugged into the 3rd circuit.
     
  3. ppuinn

    ppuinn Staff Member

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    Hmmm...rethinking this.
    One or two outlets in the room should be on the third circuit, instead of all outlets only on the first two circuits.




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  4. DD99

    DD99 TrainBoard Supporter

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    Yikes! I must have written that before my brain woke up, or at least before coffee...
     
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  5. ppuinn

    ppuinn Staff Member

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    LOL. I know the name of that tune!


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  6. ppuinn

    ppuinn Staff Member

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    • These are drawings of the helix for your layout. Minimum radius (track centerline) = 16 inches, at 0 inches elevation on the lowest "step" of the East support. (There isn't really a step there because it's 0 inches high.) Each loop is 1.25 inches wide. The spiraling 1.25 wide ramp of the helix can be cut in a continuous cut from one end of a 4x8 sheet of Homasote (a 1/2 inch thick, grayish paper product used in housing construction, but it's great for model RR decks, especially when supported by a 1/2 inch sheet of OSB Panel or 1/2 inch plywood.) If you can't find or order Homasote from lumber yards in your area, you could use 1/2 inch plywood or OSB Panel (sometimes called wafer board or chip board) but these run a distant second to Homasote...in my opinion.

    • Your helix will be supported by a 4 foot by 4 foot helix base: a 1/2 inch thick OSB panel or 1/2 inch plywood with a hole cut out of the center. Because of the pillar you will have to cut the panel near where the pillar will go and after positioning it, splice it.
    • The 8 stair-step supports are cut from 5/8 or 3/4 inch OSB panel or plywood to the dimensions found on the sheet posted below. I generated these numbers using the Excel spreadsheet bowl-shaped helix dimensions calculator I developed several years ago and stickied at the top of the Layout Design Discussion forum home page for anyone to copy/download to their own computer. You can plug in various values like the minimum radius, grade in the helix, width of the ramp/loop, how big a footprint you want, and the program will calculate dimensions for each of the supports.
    • You can see a profile view of the West and East stair-step supports on the page with the dimensions. Each stair-step support is a little different because as you move around the points of the compass the helix ramp is continually rising and its radius is constantly increasing by 1.25 inches each loop. Note that the amount of rise slowly increases from one support to the next, because the radius increases, so the circumference continually gets longer as it rises.

    • After you've cut out all 8 supports, you'll be ready for the making the helix. For your situation, it will be necessary to cut the Homasote (or OSB panel or plywood) to position it around the pillar, but DO NOT CUT it until you have marked every part of the helix ramp edges (where you will be cutting) and the track centerline (which you definitely DO NOT want to cut by mistake). You will need an uncut sheet because you must work out from a fixed center point and your measurements and cuts will need to be made to the nearest 1/16th of an inch. I found it useful to scribe concentric circles at 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, and 23 inches. Mark the 8 lines to points of the compass. Starting at the East support (0 inches elevation, 16 inch radius), VERY carefully draw the track center line that gradually spirals out from 16 inches at the East support to 16 3/16 at the Southeast support and continue around until you've gotten to the 5th loop on the northwest support.
    • Now go back to the beginning and mark the inside edge of the ramp...which will be 10/16ths of an inch (half of the 1.25 inch width of the ramp) inside of the track centerline. USE A DIFFERENT COLOR MARKER for the ramp edge than you used for the track centerline, because you DO NOT want to cut the track centerline by mistake. (Yes, I'm shouting, because I don't want you to waste a 4x8 piece of paneling like I did!) After you finish the first loop, you will be marking, simultaneously, both the outside of the first loop and the inside of the second loop. Continue to the outside of the 5th loop (inside of the 6th) at the northwest support.
    • Go to the center and mark out the hole you want to cut out of the middle of the helix for access. Remember to leave a 6 to 7 inch lip on one side or quarter of the hole. You also need to ensure you leave enough clearance around the pole, because it will be very difficult to re-cut once you've positioned it.
    • Cut out the center first, then cut from the outside to the inside about half way between the East and Southeast supports. After positioning it (a two- or three person job!), it will be necessary to put a splice underneath the cut you made to get the panel positioned around the pole. Your splice should not extend onto either of the supports (because it will mess up the elevations of each stair-step of the supports. All screws for the splice should be positioned along the track centerline, not on the lines showing the ramp edges where you will be cutting.
    • To cut the ramp, you first need to clamp two 4 foot long 1x2s on either side of the panel at about 1 foot from the end, and another pair at about 3 feet from the end so that, as you cut the ramp, the loops do not start dropping down, twisting, and potentially binding your saber saw.
    • Assuming you've already cut out the hole in the center, start to cut the ramp edges on the inside about half way between the northeast and east supports. This may be tough, because you will be very close to the pillar. This first cut should be straight across the ramp, because you will be eventually be splicing a tangent ramp to extend under helix ramp under the outer loops to the lower level shelf...where you will splice the other end to the lower level shelf.
    • As you proceed around the ramp loops, cutting your continuous line from inside to outside, you will have to reposition the clamps multiple times. This task will go easier if you have a couple of helpers to stabilize the panel and adjust the clamps, as needed. Working from inside of the cramped hole, you'll also get tangled in the saber saw's power cord and will have to unplug once for each loop to untangle the cord from around the pillar too.
    • When the cut is done, have 2 helpers hold the panel while someone releases the clamps and other helpers carefully let the loops drop down onto the 8 supports held in their proper position by other helpers.
    • (Did I mention that you should have your upper level supports in place so the north 2/3s of the panel is supported while your helpers guide the helix loops down onto the appropriate stair-steps of each support.)
    • After tweaking the supports to be perfectly vertical and the ramp to steadily climb at the same grade throughout the entire helix, and perhaps trimming and shimming the ramp as needed, drill pilot holes through the ramp on the track centerline and into the supports. (This is especially important to do, if you are using OSB panel, which splits very easily unless it is pre-drilled.
    • I assume you are using flex-track. Solder two pieces together while straight. If you keep the sliding rail on the inside of the curve, then the bending will cause the inside rail to stick out and you will be able to trim it without needing to also trim off several ties (which you would have to do if you put the sliding rail on the outside.) Take time to carefully solder joins as you go, because even a subtle misalignment, kink, or gauge problem will be very difficult to repair after you've gone on. (You will most likely need to remove a 3 or 4 inch section of track and make two pairs of soldered joins instead of one, and smooth joins are very hard to make on curved track.)
    • This is a drawing of the helix from above, with elevations, and showing where the lower level tracks come into the first loop of the helix, and where the lower level staging tracks come into a left hand turnout on the 2nd loop at a little over 2 inches elevation. This turnout should be positioned near the northeast support, but not over it, so you can put a Tortoise or switchmotor under or by it. There should also be a right hand turnout from the 2nd loop near but not over the west support
    • On the top-left center is the upper level tangent climbing toward 12 inches elevation as it goes off the top of the page.
    • Pics of my 4 bow-shaped helixes. There are more pics in my Helix album in RailImages.
     
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  7. DD99

    DD99 TrainBoard Supporter

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    Thanks Dave - you anticipated my next question - construction. I'm hoping to print out the full size spiral on my plotter. I looked online for drawing spirals in Illustrator but InkScape was recommended. It's freeware and I already had it so used it. Took about an hour of fiddling, but I think it's right. Does it look right to you?
    In the graphic, the page is 48" square, centre guidelines are at 24X24". Spiral starts on the East at 40" and increases in 1.25" increments to the fifth spiral at 45". Guidelines are 1.25" apart.
    inkscape spiral1.PNG
     
  8. ppuinn

    ppuinn Staff Member

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    Good spiral with the right dimensions but it’s climbing counter-clockwise and will look like a wedding cake instead of a bowl. And track will be on the outside instead of inside which will make access to the top level difficult where it meets the upper deck. Also, if you want to build that dust proof wall, you will not be able to reach two thirds of the track without removing the protective doors/walls.
    If it is printable on tracing paper, just flip it over; otherwise, start at the same spot and go clockwise from the inside to the outside.
    Even printing it full size, I would still encourage you to mark your track centerline and ramp edges directly onto the panel, because the paper will tear and get out of place as you cut and you’ll ruin your board.


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    Last edited: Apr 14, 2018
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  9. DD99

    DD99 TrainBoard Supporter

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    Right, as soon as I drew in the tracks became obvious.
    RU thinking staging off the helix as well as at the "ends" on the left of the room, or only off the helix?
    inkscape spiral2.PNG
     
  10. ppuinn

    ppuinn Staff Member

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    A single track coming south from lower level Staging at 2 inches elevation should split into two tracks and one connect to 2nd loop near but not above the East support to climb up to Stirling, and other (which I forgot to draw in) should connect on second loop near but not above the West support, so a train can come from 2 inch elevation staging and go to lower level industries and satellite yard.

    Depending on how much space you want to use or how motivated you are to run lots of trains, it would be possible to have 2 or 3 lower level staging tracks hidden behind easily removed building flats which were behind the satellite yard tracks. Access to that staging would be by entering a helix at the front of the left end of the layout, circling clockwise up to about 1 inch and taking a turnout off the helix to the staging tracks running parallel with the backdrop.
    If the outside edge of the helix at the left end of the layout was set 4 inches from the west wall and 4 inches from the north wall, then 2 staging tracks could be located along those walls and curving around the outside of the helix on the upper deck. How much aisle space you need at that end of the layout will influence whether you access those upper level staging tracks by passing in front of the helix or stub end them along the west wall about 4 feet from the corner.
    I lean toward accessing them from the middle of the room, and hiding them behind easily removable building flats or tree flats...but your preferences may differ.

    Another point to consider while you are building your empire a few modules at a time:
    If you have 2 hidden staging tracks at 1 inch elevation at the left end of the lower level and two hidden staging tracks at two inches elevation at the other end of the lower level, and both are connected to the helixes, it would be possible to connect them with a single track that was visible as it passed in front of the windows and use that track and one of the hidden staging tracks in each area as a continuous loop while completing the upper parts of either helix and any of the upper deck modules.
    This loop option would also let you add about 3/4 of a scale mile to your mainline runs by sending trains out of either staging area and across the visible track in front of the windows at about 1.5 inches elevation, through the other staging area, then down and around a half loop of the helix to pass across the front of the layout at 0 inches elevation, and then to climb up the helix at the other end of the layout to get to the upper level.

    Hmmm...Suppose there were four 2-track hidden staging areas (lower level left end at 1 inch elevation, lower right at 2 inches, upper left behind the helix accessed from near the middle of the room, and upper right starting at the front of the shelf and curving around the outside of the top of the right helix and behind the right end of Stirling). It would be possible to maximize both mainline traffic opportunities and mainline length by arranging north-south traffic between upper left and lower right staging areas, and east-west traffic between upper right and lower left staging areas. Transfer trains running on the lower level could run between the visible satellite yard and industries and “a large yard” in an upper level staging area; through trains could pass through from staging areas on one level to staging areas on the other without stopping, and road switchers could work the industries. On the upper level, roadswitchers (and transfers) could work a major interchange in front of the windows near where upper left staging is, as well as industries (some designated for north-south RRs only and others only east-west? Or maybe first shift and second shift?); and of course, all through trains would pass through to staging on the upper level without stopping.
    I suspect trying to model two completely different RRs on a double-deck layout this size will result in overcrowded scenery and a spaghetti-bowl track plan, but you can locate industries as densely as you like...unless you want to model industries that are in completely separate towns. One of the advantages of choosing to model a terminal RR (as opposed to a RR that travels between distant towns/cities) is that you can model local jobs providing traffic and switching opportunities from yard to industries that “feels” a lot like a road switcher working towns separated by several miles. But, when you model a terminal RR, you don’t have to struggle trying to maintain an illusion of having your caboose in a different town when you switch two industries or two interchanges that are physically near each other on your terminal rr layout.
     
    Last edited: Apr 14, 2018
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  11. DD99

    DD99 TrainBoard Supporter

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    I can't get the spacing perfect enough in Inkscape to use as a printout, but close enough to show in CadRail the placement.

    Seems to me it makes sense to maximize the inner radius, since the double posts take up space, and the outer diameter is less sensitive. Here's two versions. One with 16" radius, the other the next ring at 18.5" radius.
    1 spiral 16in radius as placed.png 16" inner radius 2 spiral 18p5in radius as placed 20180414.png 18.5" inner radius, staging: purple, Stirling: blue, Seaforth: brown
     
  12. DD99

    DD99 TrainBoard Supporter

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    Took me a while to figure this out, partly because I didn't label the different locations... But since working on the attached plan I think I get your drift... This has most of the elements but without a left helix. I'll play with adding the second helix, in the meantime really interested in your ops thoughts on this one. One thing I don't understand about the right helix, if I have it drawn properly, is taking off Seaforth on the right and Stirling on the left, necessitating a cross over and losing a fair amount of mainline run through those towns. Wouldn't it make sense to flip the helix vertically, so they come out on the same side as the towns?
    Seaforth_Butedale20180415.jpg
     
  13. DD99

    DD99 TrainBoard Supporter

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    For visual/mental separation of scenes, I'm figuring the north west corner will be a canyon where both levels are exposed. Lower level following a river bed with short tunnels through mountain spurs, e.g. exit Seaforth, tunnel in 6-8" rock spur, around corner and something similar before entering Kingston. On the upper level, exit Stirling and out from behind back drop, tracks on the top of the rock spur, across the river and back onto the upper level at Butedale 1.

    I could do the left helix, but takes up quite a bit of real estate. I'm wondering about the utility of the 11" rise. Only advantage on the right is potential staging under Stirling, since I only have room for two operating positions on either side. On the wall in front of the windows seems to me I could have 3 fairly tight operating positions - in the layout above, without a left helix, they would be 1. engine servicing and car float, 2. main yard and passenger station, 3. ship pier and whatever I add there, and Butedale on the upper deck. But I could have the same whether completely different shelves or not. A helix on the left would constrain it to 2 operating positions, although the ship pier position would also have the engine servicing.

    This solidifies in my mind two givens: 1: 4 operating positions, and 2: continuous run with two helices.

    The attached is a quick look at not having separate shelves - the helices do 3 turns for approx 5 3/16" rise. Trackage would share the same scenicked view. Advantages to this would be less realestate for the left helix (less critical on the right) and no overhanging shelves.
    Seaforth_Butedale_2helix_20180415.png
     
  14. DD99

    DD99 TrainBoard Supporter

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    I'm presuming the spiral helix starts rising from the centre at 16" radius so that the friction on the turns is relieved on the way up. If on the right helix, if only going 3 turns, I maximized the minimum radius and reversed the rise, i.e. start on the outside -would the increasing friction on the way up be prohibitive, or is it dependent on what the minimum radius is? Seems to me the advantage to this is you have the track on the outside not requiring getting into the middle for access?

    Off to tile the bathroom adjacent to the train room - last major project before trains! Then on to:
    1. tiling the train room to seal the concrete.
    2. sound barrier and drywall the ceiling.
    3. wiring
    4. backdrop and on...
    The bathroom's a major milestone though!
     
  15. ppuinn

    ppuinn Staff Member

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    A 16 inch minimum radius track centerline takes 4.5 loops to climb clockwise from 0 inches on the first loop at the east support to 11 inches on the 5th loop at the west support. The track centerline of the 5th loop is 21-10/16ths inches from the helix centerpoint, and the outside edge of the 5th loop is 22-4/16ths from the helix centerpoint at the west support. Stirling Staging would be accessed by a left hand turnout positioned between the west and southwest supports with the diverging route leading down the helix and the tangent leading to a second turnout to yield the 2 staging tracks that curve around the outside of the helix over the south, southeast, and east supports and then straight along the east wall behind Stirling. The staging track centerlines would be at 22-4/16ths and 23-8/16ths from the helix centerpoint as they cross the east support, and the outside edge of the subroadbed would be 24-2/16ths from the helix centerpoint. This would yield a helix/Stirling Staging east to west footprint of (22-7/16 + 24-2/16 =) 46-9/16ths inches...which would fit into the 4 feet between the door frame and the east wall. For ease of access to the Stirling Staging tracks, you may want to bring them forward (west toward the aisle) so they are reachable. If you run them across the back of the upper shelf behind easily removable Stirling viewblocks (building flats or tree flats) between 27 and 32 inches from the aisle, and stub end them at the north wall of the closet, each will be about 10 feet long...long enough for 20 cars and 2 or 3 locos, but not for any engine escape. This will necessitate a long reach for swapping locos and cabooses by hand between operating sessions...certainly doable, but sort of inconvenient. How would you feel about starting the track to Stirling Staging at the same place (near the west support at the top and front of the helix, where it is easily accessible) and running a single track around the back of the helix and behind the Stirling building flats, but locate the 2nd turnout to form the 2 staging tracks near the north end of the closet and run the 2 staging tracks along the east wall and around the corner toward the windows. This option would add about a minute of running out of sight, but would position the hidden staging tracks where you could more easily access the tracks for routine maintenance, and even connect into the upper level interchange tracks to provide an engine escape (if you want to swap locos and cabeese in the Stirling Staging to send them back out in the next operating session from in front of the right helix), or automatically leave the train pre-staged for the next session to depart through the Interchange/Jct and go down the left helix.

    What industries are you considering for the Stirling area? It would be possible to set up a loads in/empties out scenario where coal trains bring loads onto the layout through the upper level interchange/junction, descend the left helix, and climb the right helix to deliver to a power plant at the north end of Stirling. Empties loop the other direction.

    An 18.5 inch minimum radius track centerline starting at the east support and climbing clockwise 4.5 loops to the west support, will reach a height of 12-7/16ths but the outside edge of the loop there will be 23-11/16ths inches from the helix centerpoint, meaning there would not be enough clearance between the east wall and the door frame to run 2 staging tracks around the outside of the helix. If you use just 3.5 loops, you will have room for the Stirling Staging tracks, but you will have only achieved a 9.5 inch rise, so there will only be 5 inches between the railheads of the lower level left staging tracks at 2 inches and the underside of a 2.5 inch thick upper level shelf...in my opinion, an unsatisfactory solution.
     
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  16. DD99

    DD99 TrainBoard Supporter

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    I'm liking this version, unless there are any fundamental errors/problems.
    This is based on
    1. not having two shelf levels, but an approx. 5" elevation difference front to back, 2 1/2 turns in the helices
    2. the right helix is laid out "backwards" so trackwork is on the outside - is this possible if the inner radius is larger than 16"?
    I was thinking in previous versions a coal mine backing onto the Seaforth backdrop with loads in/out in the backdrop...
    Seaforth_Butedale_20180417.png
     
  17. ppuinn

    ppuinn Staff Member

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    Are Stirling, Seaforth, Kingston, and Butesdale real cities served now or in the past by real RRs...and you’d like to incorporate specific terrain features, industries, RRs, structures, etc? Are they viewable in google maps or Bing Maps?

    Or are they freelance (anything goes), as long as there is a waterfront scene, Stirling industrial area, interchange somewhere, staging opportunities, switching opportunities, and hopefully a continuous run option to drive with a computer while you do switching?

    Assuming 600 inches hidden in each helix (1200) and 300 inches visible on each deck (600), then your orbiting computerized train would travel 1800 inches per loop (1800/396 inches per scale mile equals a little over 4.5 scale miles).

    A train traveling at 20 scale miles per hour will take 3 minutes to travel one mile, 13.5 min to travel complete one loop over your layout, and a little under 40 seconds to travel its own length.
    Assume there is a siding that is 80 inches long and has several turnouts to industrial spurs. The siding is in the middle of a 120 inch (.3 scale mile) block. The orbiting train would take about one minute to enter, pass through, and completely exit the block.
    A roadswitcher switching cars in and out of an industry travels very slowly, usually no more than 5 scale miles per hour (about 6 seconds to travel 1 car length). If an operator needs to pick up a car spotted in an industry and set out another car from his train, and if he starts with his train on the siding and the car to be spotted positioned 2 car lengths before a trailing point turnout, then he’ll have to uncouple the car to spot from the other cars (10 seconds), pull forward 5 car lengths (30 seconds), throw the turnout (5 sec), back 5 car lengths to couple to the car to be picked up (30 sec), couple (10 sec), pull forward 6 car lengths (36 sec), close the turnout (5 sec), back 5 car lengths (30 sec), couple picked up car to train (10 sec), uncouple picked up car from car to be set out (10 sec), pull forward 4 car lengths (24 sec), throw turnout (5 sec), back 5 car lengths (30 sec), uncouple (10 sec), pull forward 5 car lengths (30 sec), close turnout (5 sec), back 4 car lengths (24 sec), couple (10 sec). Total time =309 sec = 5:09 min.

    If the car to be spotted is farther back in the train, an operator will have to add 24 seconds for every extra car length, and 24 sec for every extra car length farther from the turnout to where the car must be spotted.



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    Last edited: Apr 18, 2018 at 7:53 AM
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  18. DD99

    DD99 TrainBoard Supporter

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    Thanks Dave

    Protofreelance, not "real" places. I like the eastern look of dense industrial/urban trackage, showing existing towns adapting to the arrival of trackage. Very rare here on the BC coast, most towns developed after trains arrived. So I'm into revisionist history. 1955 CPR in an area that didn't experience a WWII boom but has slowly gone downhill from 1920's glory days. Lots of old and decaying brick and wooden buildings.
    I figure Kingston, Northwest Canyon and Seaforth fascias are water front. Stirling and Butedale backcountry.
    I've used 65" as the working length of a train - 19 cars and loco, as the longest siding I can consistently fit. Yes to "interchange somewhere, staging opportunities, switching opportunities, and hopefully a continuous run option to drive with a computer while I do switching", although I haven't thought much about an interchange. Given my revisionist history, I can have CN and CP play nice in 1955, ;-) although I may choose an northern US road.
    To give the allusion (illusion?) of more length, I'm thinking each train would wait for a specific length of time while transiting each helix so it doesn't immediately appear on the other level.
    Also to avoid delaying through traffic, Stirling and Seaforth would have sidings long enough to take a full length train.
    Does this make sense operations-wise?
     
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  19. ppuinn

    ppuinn Staff Member

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    Proto-freelanced RR, transition era, revised history theme...nice!
    I used an 80 inch long siding for my switching time example because a 65 inch train would fit between one facing point and one trailing point turnout at either end of the siding (85 inches), but rounded down to 80 because it made calculating the switching times a little easier by using multiples of 1/10th of a scale mile (39.6 inches...”40” inches).

    Many modelers into operations design layouts with a continuous loop for a train to orbit with no stops and a track configuration with a few sidings where industries or interchanges will be served by a roadswitcher. The problem they often encounter is that the orbiting train completes a loop so quickly that the switching train is only able to complete a single pick-up/set-out before needing to clear the main. And that is under ideal conditions:
    1. all of the switching train is off the main,
    2. the spotted car to pick up is in an industry with a trailing point turnout at one end of the siding so work can be done with only the loco peeking its nose out onto the main far enough to clear the turnout to the Industry,
    3. the car to be spotted is at the front of the train,
    4. there is only one car to pick up and it is not spotted behind another car that is NOT to be picked up,
    5. coupling and uncoupling occur without any problems, and
    6. the switchman only has to switch one turnout...and is able to hop off and on the train instantly and can instantly be at the switch or coupler instead of having to walk.

    If the industry can only be accessed from a facing point turnout, a run-around move must be added: uncouple the loco (10 sec), throw turnout from siding onto main (5 sec), pull forward 6 car lengths (24 sec), align turnout to the industry (5 sec), close mainline turnout (5 sec), back .2 miles at 15 miles per hour (48 sec), throw turnout to siding (5 sec), pull forward 6 car lengths (24 sec), couple (10 sec), push entire train forward 6 car lengths (24 sec), couple (10 sec), pull back 6 car lengths (24 sec), close turnout (5 sec), push forward 6 car lengths (24 sec) [and hope the car will not foul the main], uncouple (10 sec), pull back (24 sec), align TO to industry (5 sec), push forward 6 car lengths (24 sec), uncouple (10 sec), pull back (24 sec), close industry TO (5 sec), push forward (24 sec), couple (10 sec), pull back (24 sec), uncouple loco from back of train (10 sec), pull loco back onto main (24 sec), close siding TO (5 sec), return to front of train on main (48 sec), throw siding switch (5 sec), pull back onto siding (24 sec), realign mainline TO for passing train (5 sec), couple to train (10 sec). (Total time: 504 sec = 8:48 minutes)

    If an operator is switching under less than ideal circumstances, times can easily exceed the time needed to complete a loop around the layout. Busy schedules are certainly not unprototypical; but, the goal is to achieve challenging operations, not frustrating or stressful operations.


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  20. ppuinn

    ppuinn Staff Member

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    You said 19 cars and one loco. Have you tested using a single loco to pull 19 cars up a helix with a 2% grade? I suspect you will need to double head your trains or shorten them, unless you have some of the heavier locos with high pulling power. Most of my trains have 12 to 20 cars, but always at least two locos, and, if I am using my smaller/lighter locos, then I usually need to add a third for those trains with 18 or more cars being pulled up my 2% helixes.



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