Help with the Staging Yard geometry

TrainzLuvr May 21, 2020

  1. TrainzLuvr

    TrainzLuvr TrainBoard Member

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    I've been struggling for weeks now trying to get my staging yard geometry to look ok.

    The track I'm using is Atlas C80 with #6 remote turnouts.

    The West ladder of the yard looks decent, in my humble opinion, but the East ladder is just wonky.

    [​IMG]

    The top most track closest to the wall is supposed to be the thoroughfare/main, with two sidings for misc. vehicles.

    I feel that making compound ladders out of Atlas #6 turnouts never feels right, because you have to account for the switch machines mounted on the side of the turnout...

    I must be missing something (glaringly obvious?) and I would appreciate any opinions, ideas, or advice.
     
  2. Point353

    Point353 TrainBoard Member

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    The Atlas "Custom Line" code 80 #6 turnouts lack the side-mounted switch machine.
    You can power them with either of the under-table style switch machines that Atlas sells, or a Tortoise type switch machine, among others.

    https://www.trainworld.com/manufact...essories/code-80-6-turnout-custom-right-2753/

    https://www.trainworld.com/manufact...ies/atlas-2752-code-80-6-turnout-custom-left/

    https://www.trainworld.com/manufact...s/atlas-66-deluxe-under-table-switch-machine/

    [Edited to remove non-advertiser link: Please see TrainBoard Advertiser policy]
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 21, 2020
  3. TrainzLuvr

    TrainzLuvr TrainBoard Member

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    It's my first time working with Atlas Code 80 track, and was hoping to work with what I have - buying new turnouts is not in the stars for me.

    What I'm really looking for are ideas on whether/how I should re-arrange the East ladder in (some) better configuration.
     
  4. Sumner

    Sumner TrainBoard Member

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    gmorider and Dogwood like this.
  5. Dave1905

    Dave1905 TrainBoard Member

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    If its a hidden staging yard, unless there is an operational problem, like sharp S curves, the look isn't as critical. The difference between the two is one is symmetrical and the other isn't. Some places you have one switch in a row and others 3. If you could rearrange it you could probably make it look like the other end and remove the S curve in the yard body.
     
  6. TrainzLuvr

    TrainzLuvr TrainBoard Member

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    It seems I might have several "mini" S curves in the East ladder, so I was hoping for a more "optimized" look. Not sure if those S curves have any impact.

    Operationally, the look does not matter as people would not be managing any trains here. The run would start from either end of the yard and into the layout room.

    [​IMG]

    I'd like to avoid complications of hand-laid turnouts and trying to figure out how to attach solenoids to them, etc. I got bunch of Atlas #6s and flex Code 80 track waiting to be used. I just want to get going and finish it, as I've bemoaned over the geometry for way too long.
     
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  7. acptulsa

    acptulsa TrainBoard Member

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    You're right. The west end looks great. The main bulls right into the middle of the yard and everything gets distributed nicely. It's rather artistic.

    But the main doesn't aim itself at the east end of the yard. The main skirts the edge. Use anything but a simple ladder there, and you waste car parking space, with curves you can't uncouple on and switches too far in. The single ladder would correct for the longer tracks around the curve, and they'd all come out more similar in length. And it wouldn't detract or distract from the compound ladder that works.

    So, are you trying to make the natural situation for a ladder more artistic? If so, you don't seem to be pleased with it. Are you trying to work with existing inventory? Have enough right hand switches?

    That's a major yard. Don't you want switching leads alongside the main for a distance, so switchers can pull cuts of cars clear without fouling the main line?
     
    Last edited: May 22, 2020
  8. Sumner

    Sumner TrainBoard Member

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    I wasn't trying to push hand-laying the turnout. I thought that Atlas had a 3-way but can now only find one in code 55. The 3-way would add length to most of the tracks on that side by eliminating the long gap in that area.

    Nice bench work!!

    Sumner
     
  9. Dave1905

    Dave1905 TrainBoard Member

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    Maybe this will help your design. If you look at the two ends, the basic alignment is different. On the left side , it is a "fan", the tracks break out equall from both sides. The single main leading into staging is "pointed" down the center of the yard.

    On the right the basic alignment of the tracks is that of a conventional "left hand" lead, the single track entering rom the right is pointed at the innermost track.

    If you want something more symmetrical, I suggest trying a conventional compound ladder. You are trying to force a "fan" switch arrangement on a situation where the track naturally is a conventional switch arrangement, so it isn't fitting "right".
     
  10. TrainzLuvr

    TrainzLuvr TrainBoard Member

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    I mentioned that this portion of the layout will not be used by operators, so it's more of a parking lot, symbolizing the outside railroads connecting to my railroad.

    Actually, I like the right (West) side, the conventional left-hand ladder arrangement. The setup there looks as if it belongs in that space.

    It's the left (East) side that does not feel right. Whether it's that Y or because it's a fan, or both, something is throwing things off. I'm a visual person and the feeling I'm getting is that it does not jive visually, so everything else might not work well either.

    A more "harmonic" (to me) arrangement is below. Of course, the organic curving of the inner tracks might not be good at all for the rolling stock.

    [​IMG]

    I have not yet verified that this is physically doable, so that the "evil" Atlas solenoid motors are out of the way on adjacent tracks, but the individual track lengths are about the same, except for the first 3 inner ones (one of which is thoroughfare/main).

    Another question is can I do away with the rerailers on each track? I put them there because I see many people use them after their turnouts in case of derailments.
     
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  11. Point353

    Point353 TrainBoard Member

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    Consider the rerailers as a form of insurance.
    If your staging yard is going to be readily accessible and the engineer will have a good view of the train, then the rerailers might be less necessary than if the yard were in a less convenient location.
    Perhaps, at a minimum, put one rerailer on the entrance/exit at either end the yard.
     
  12. TrainzLuvr

    TrainzLuvr TrainBoard Member

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    Sometimes it really seems my skull's too thick and things won't go through it.

    Sumner suggested to use a 3-way turnout, and Dave1905 to go for a compound ladder. Well...marrying the two suggestions together, we get this beauty:

    [​IMG]

    The ladder is short, track appears to flows nicely, adjacent turnouts have good spacing...

    Even though I was considering making a 3-way C80 turnout as I have all the tools and materials, a commercial turnout from PECO is just going to be better in this case. I already placed an order from a LHS and hope to have it early next week.

    Thank you everyone.
     
  13. Sumner

    Sumner TrainBoard Member

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    I like it and looks like a good use of maximizing the space(y)!

    On the 3-way, I've done 5 now, and when I finished the first I though no more but a week later resumed building them. I had done a number of #6 N scale with fixtures and curved using paper templates, the 3-ways using paper were by far the hardest.



    Even though they checked good with a NMRA gauge and running gauged trucks through them while building them in the test fixture above ( http://1fatgmc.com/RailRoad/Trackwork/page-17.html ) I still had to tweak them a little more running loco's and cars through them. One I kept tweaking and then finally realized the wheels on the loco I was using to test with were out of gauge:(. Now I'm checking the locos before using them.

    Probably a good plan to order the one. Keep posting pictures as it looks to be a great layout,

    Sumner
     
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  14. TrainzLuvr

    TrainzLuvr TrainBoard Member

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    The kicker is that I recently purchased a Laser Cutter and also have all the tools and jigs from Fast Tracks to make my own turnouts. The Laser Cutter is not setup yet - I need to build a table for it and also rig some vent to expel fumes outside.

    What's missing is the desire to do anything - I just feel bummed out in general (I'm sure many people feel the same with the current world situation).
    I also recently found out that my neighbour 3 doors down suddenly passed away - from COVID-19. He retired a few years back and we always joked how I'm still working so he could receive his pension. Heck, I was secretly hoping he would be part of my operating crew - I was going to gather a few of the retired neighbours here and keep them occupied every now and then running some trains on my layout. Oh well...
     
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  15. ppuinn

    ppuinn Staff Member

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    I agree, the plan in Post #12 is the best, so far.

    Tweaking the East throat configuration:
    If you add a yard lead parallel to the main on the 12 inch wide portion of the shelf to the left (East) of the yard throat, as acptulsa asked about, you may want to make your yard access with a right-handed crossover positioned on the 12 inch shelf, instead of on the deeper shelf with the yard turnouts, because putting it on the deeper shelf will force you to shorten all 12 of your yard tracks by at least 10 inches each. Also, if the crossover is on the 12 inch shelf, you may be able to squeeze in additional industries on the two spurs on the deeper shelf, or even add a 3rd spur behind the left (East) side of the yard.

    Operating expectations:
    What are your expectations regarding operations on your layout? Adding such a yard lead could be a high priority, if you will be modeling a lot of traffic needing the Main at the same time a yard switcher is trying to build or break down trains, or at the same time an operator is trying to bring in or take out a train to/from one of the yard tracks. It becomes a much lower priority, if classification (building and breaking down trains), hostling (adding or removing motive power to/from a string of cars), or staging activities (changing what cars are on the layout) are all done by 0-5-0 or the Hand Of God (AKA, the RR Owner/Superintendent) instead of by an operator running a yard switcher, or if only 2 or 3 people will ever be operating on the layout at the same time.

    Is the 12 inch wide shelf a lift-out section, or was that version of the track plan discarded a while back? If it IS still a lift-out section, AND if a yard lead IS a higher priority due to your hopes for future operations, could the far end of an East yard lead tie into the Main before coming onto the East end of the lift out section? This would eliminate the need for crossover turnouts on a lift-out and simplify lift-out electrical connections (track power only and no need for TO power); but, a downside is that it would be necessary for the yard switcher to park on one of the classification tracks any time a train entered or left the East end of the yard.
     
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  16. TrainzLuvr

    TrainzLuvr TrainBoard Member

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    Hi ppuinn, long time no chat !

    I think what's missing is the "big picture", so here it is:

    [​IMG]

    The yard arrangement you are seeing on the bottom is a staging yard and I do not foresee anyone being on this side of the room at any time (unless they are just passing by).

    This is a loose track plan - I don't have anything else. I am going to lay the main line and then figure out where to put yards, industries, scenic portions, etc. I have spent too much time trying to figure that out on paper, when I should've just lay the main down and go from there.

    The main yard was planned for Newbridge location, but I might actually have another smaller yard in Cranston.

    Silverhill looked like it might be a best place for a yard being the longest wall, I just don't know whether operationally that makes sense. It's a half-way point on the layout and even though outside trains would never terminate in that yard, locals would have a pretty short run going East or West to their industrial destinations.

    If I put a yard at the beginning/end at Newbridge, as I originally planned, then there's an entire layout to traverse, for both locals and through trains. It also offers a possibility for transfers between two yards, e.g. an interchange yard in Westhead at the junction to the Lockport branch (left of the blob).

    I do invite any comments about that, although I was going to create a new thread about it eventually, any time is a good time for operating discussion.

    The 12" portion you are referring to on the left is the entrance to the layout, and a bascule bridge (lifts up on drawer slides):

    [​IMG]

    I guess it would be doable to put more track on it as well as couple of cross-over turnouts, but since we are talking about a staging yard, humans will not be operating it and so I chose to avoid more complications by keeping the bridge single track. There's still a track on the other side, 1" lower that is a branch line to Lockport.

    That's why I left those two big portal openings/windows to the left and right in the photo in my first post, so the operators could see their head/end of the train.
     
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  17. ppuinn

    ppuinn Staff Member

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    TrainzLuvr wrote: Long time, no chat!

    Too long!
    Until Covid 19 cleared my calendar for me, the Layout Party was the only TrainBoard activity that drew more than the briefest of drop ins or posts.

    I remember NewBridge, LockPort and Bramshott but Cranston and the others didn’t ring a bell.



    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
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  18. ppuinn

    ppuinn Staff Member

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    The lift up-bascule bridge-section sounds clever. If you don’t already have a different TrainBoard thread about it, without digressing too far from the original theme of this thread, could you please post pics or brief description in this thread about how you used drawer slides to produce a lifting action like a bascule bridge and a description of electrical connections and/or any electrical safeguards you have (or will have) to keep trains from taking The Plunge?

    How long is the bascule bridge section?
    Aha! Another memory (or mis-remembrance): Did you and I talk about using a type of swing gate to span the doorway?


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
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  19. TrainzLuvr

    TrainzLuvr TrainBoard Member

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    The bridge is not finished yet, I still need to figure out a way how to keep it up securely while being able to use it conveniently to go in and out of the layout room. Trying to come up with some kind of a latch system that will also have a grab handle for a person to hold the bridge structure while sliding up and down.

    The bridge is the width of the doorway entrance, about 29", and then the two drawer slides on each side to fit the doorway. The tolerances were pretty tight and measurements had to be made precise otherwise it would not slide well.

    I've actually taken photos and videos while making the bascule bridge, and all the other things in-between. Only have not had a chance to write up a blog posts or make any videos about them.

    I'm so far behind on keeping documentation online as I chose to spend the time building and working on the layout past year, rather than documenting, and now that lag is all catching up with me now that I need it to show stuff to other people. :(

    This weekend I started work on the staging by securing the top surface, laying cork down and painting it. Now I'm thinking it would be nice to have some kind of a wrap-around backdrop in that area, perhaps a cityscape of some sorts so it doesn't look bare.

    But I think I will lay track down first and take care of the wiring and blocking each track and turnout ladders...
     
  20. TrainzLuvr

    TrainzLuvr TrainBoard Member

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    Little update:

    [​IMG]

    I got these el-cheapo Home Despot 4 ft. LED fixtures 36W...I mean REAL CHEAP at CAD 15/ea, which is like what, USD 6.99? :)

    They are 4,000K which is exactly what I wanted to use, not too warm and not too cold. I really don't like the 5,000K lights and anything over 4,100K (which is ideal) destroys eyes over time.

    The illumination isn't perfect but this is staging so I don't really care. Once I put a valence up, some light will reflect more at the front and compensate some of the shadows.

    These lights are very skinny which is another plus and you can string up 6 at a time, they have 2 prong connectors on one end and a 5 ft cable on the other.
     
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