Alaska Railroad Starter Layout Eventually in Larger Plan

bob303 Feb 20, 2014

  1. bob303

    bob303 New Member

    All -

    This is a continuation of a thread begun in N-Scale UniTrack group.

    In the attached inline diagram, I've sketched out how a HCD Whittier, Alaska themed port layout (based on an original design by David Smith "Jersey City") might fit into a small bedroom.

    The probability of building the HCD Whittier in the next year is 80% while the probability of building the room size is very low for the next few years. Still, I'd like to plan ahead and in case simple changes to the small HCD might now make it fit more easily into the larger room size layout down the road.

    A little bit of background about my Alaska Railroad interest and initial modeling attempts is on this website

    My own critique of my attempt to integrate the HCD with the shelf concept: I don't like the idea of a space-eating and time consuming helix, so my double deck is probably a bad start. I don't think this room is large enough for a "no-helix" grade to get double decks. The isle space consequently is very narrow. I'm coming to the conclusion that maybe the room is big enough for a shelf, or the HCD but not both. Getting feedback on that would be valuable - I would then build the HCD, and toss it when/if I ever get the time to model a shelf layout in a spare room.

    I'd like to have a run along Turnagain Arm from Anchorage to Whittier - perhaps modeling Portage junction with Anchorage and perhaps Seward staging. Then just modeling the branch run to Whittier would be more realistic for my space and time even in the room sized layout.

    thanks in advance for suggestions, comments and ideas


    Attached Files:

  2. David K. Smith

    David K. Smith TrainBoard Supporter

    Bob, I'm a little vague about what it is exactly you're looking for--a suggestion for the HCD, an expandable HCD, and/or a full room-sized plan? I'll start by saying the room size is really not suited for a double-deck layout with an HCD peninsula: with 10 feet to work with, subtract 3' for the HCD, and 6 feet for two 3-foot aisles (minimum recommended) and you're already out of space. You could put the HCD along the short wall, and have room for two shelf extensions, but a helix is a squeeze no matter what. So, I'd recommend sticking with a single-deck layout.

    An HCD is a good way to get the ball rolling, no matter what your future plans may be. I'm flattered you like my plan, but I think you can get closer to the Whittier feel by starting "fresh" with a much simpler approach, as my plan is way over the top for your chosen setting. Besides, Unitrack will be a big limitation as far as what you can squeeze onto a door. See if this floats your car ferry:


    It can be expanded fairly easily by extending the mainline at the lower right, and tapping into one or both ends of the staging yard. Or, by the time you're ready for something bigger, you may have ideas for something altogether different. As Yoda says, "Always in motion is the future."
  3. Team DTO

    Team DTO TrainBoard Member

    Did you consider an around the room double deck, but no peninsula? This would give you a long mainline and still have plenty of room for operators and guests.
  4. Jeepy84

    Jeepy84 TrainBoard Member

    His room isn't big enough without a helix or some steep grades to get decent deck separation.

    Bob, just curious if you have seen the MRR article on an n scale ARR in a garage from the mid 90s? Might be worth the hunt if you want some ideas.

    If a HCD won't work as a peninsula later, perhaps if you plan ahead, a saber saw could turn a HCD into two useful parts of shelf layout later?

    Sent from my XT907 using Tapatalk
  5. bob303

    bob303 New Member

    All -

    Thanks all for the feedback. It is good to have a reality check, such as "the room is too small for what you are planning".

    Chris - I do have a copy of the MR ARR article (1996 I believe) - nice design and is pretty true to the spirit of the road and track arrangements while working in some nice scenery elements. Bigger footprint than I have to work with. Still, I should go get that out and look at it for an element or two that might fit on a HCD. I was thinking along the lines you suggest of using the HCD later if possible. That essentially was the purpose of the drawing of the HCD inside the room with simple "mainline" added. But of course I got carried away with a double deck concept.

    Team DTO - The shelf around the room only is a good idea. I should look back at some of Ian (can't recall his last name) shelf designs. Where you thinking of a duckunder or gate at the door?

    David: I'm a little vague about what it is exactly you're looking for--a suggestion for the HCD, an expandable HCD, and/or a full room-sized plan?

    David - sorry about the ambiguity. I'm asking about the HCD since that is something that is likely to get built this year, whereas the room layout has stagnated. I might build it as two pieces so that Whittier is on a different door from staging. It would seem that a Whittier 24" X 80" could then be worked in as an element in a larger layout.

    David - you did a good job of capturing the actual track arrangement at Whittier. Thanks! I'll look hard at your "Whittier" as well as your "Jersey City".

    thanks everyone, I'm offline until Tuesday. Going up to ski for a few days.


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