Dual level 30" x 50" Z-scale layout

drken Sep 15, 2022

  1. drken

    drken TrainBoard Member

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    I'm getting a table made that should be ready shortly, so this is my last chance to figure out what exactly I'm going to do layout wise. It's dual level so I can have overpasses without worrying about grades with the top level for passenger and the bottom level for freight. It's going to be DCC using Digitrax stuff (mostly) and I plan to automate it at some point in the future. I'm looking for feedback in case I forgot something important or in case I'm doing something wrong that seems correct now, but will bite me in the ass later on.
    52 by 36 2 stations double run with industry combined.jpg 52 by 36 2 stations double run with industry.jpg 52 by 36 2 stations double run with industry 2.jpg 3D of Track.jpg
     
    gmorider and Kurt Moose like this.
  2. gmorider

    gmorider TrainBoard Member

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    Interesting plan. I am sure folks on here will be helpful.
     
  3. BigJake

    BigJake TrainBoard Member

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    I see lots of spurs and yards, for lots of industries, but no passing (double-ended) sidings. Do you plan to limit operation to one train per level? That would defeat one of the main advantages of DCC over DC.

    The upper left yard on the lower level has a fairly nasty S curve leading to the right-most spur. Also, the ladder would be more efficient if the 2nd to top switch were flipped to a lefty and replaced the curve immediately off the 1st switch.

    On the left end, the lower track runs directly under the upper track. While visually interesting, that section will be a magnet for derailed cars, etc., and getting to them to clear the blockage will be a royal pain. I would shorten one or the other loop, so that one track is not entirely underneath the other for an appreciable length.

    On the upper level, you have two yards that "point" in (enter from) opposite directions, meaning transferring cars from one yard to the other will require running the loco by itself around the whole layout to get to the other end of the train. Typically, this is where a passing siding on/near the yard lead, long enough to hold your longest train, is used to get the loco from the front (pulling the train to the yard) to the rear (pushing the cars onto the yard track(s). If you intended on running two trains in opposite directions using the two yards, then you really need a passing siding or two so that one train can "wait in the hole" while the other passes by.

    I think your layout would be more versatile and enjoyable if you had a ramp or two to transition between the levels. Grades are pretty simple if you use the Woodland Scenics inclines; well worth their trouble. I use Kato Unitrack, and have used their inclined pier sets with bridges and viaduct track sections with very good results.

    These are only ideas I would consider if this were my layout. But you gotta do what you wanna do with your layout!
     
    drken likes this.
  4. drken

    drken TrainBoard Member

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    Thanks, some food for thought. I'll give some of those ideas a try. I tried to design a long ramp that connected the tracks, but I couldn't figure out anything I liked. I concluded that since I'm modeling New Jersey where the freight and passenger trains have separate tracks anyway, this would be prototypical.
     
  5. drken

    drken TrainBoard Member

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    I've made your suggested changes and they've seem to worked quite well. I've also put in where I'm going to put some of the industrial buildings and the main station to give you a better idea of what I'm doing. The industry looks better now and the single track on the right will give the signaling something to do. I'm still undecided about the passenger tracks and I might just switch them back at some point. Also, since only the rear of the layout is against a wall I'm sticking with the the overpasses as they'll be quite accessible.

    I also got rid of the S-curve and I'm pretty sure you meant to type "switch to a righty" as that switch was already a lefty and switching it to a righty cleaned that part of the layout up quite well.

    52 by 36 2 stations double run with industry2.jpg 52 by 36  industry.jpg 52 by 36 2 stations passenger.jpg 52 by 36 2 stations double run with industry_3D.jpg
     
  6. BigJake

    BigJake TrainBoard Member

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    Wow, the minor changes have made a big difference!

    There's one place left with a sharp S-curve, and that's on the middle freight spur (the one to the right of the forge). If you add a short straight piece (typically the length of the longest freight car you would park on that spur) in between the two opposite curves, that should avoid any problems. That will move that spur to the left by the length of the straight piece, but it looks like you have room for it.
     

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