Lay out ideas?

GarrettSE Dec 3, 2010

  1. GarrettSE

    GarrettSE TrainBoard Member

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    Me and my buddy are building an N scale lay out, it will be 15x4 with a loop one each end and a yard on one end as well.
    So far we have a rough track plan scratched out, I will post it later.

    We also have a few industries though of and a small town planned. The back of the lay out toward the wall will be slightly elevated and run along the length if that makes sense with mountains behind it, there will be a small lumber facility up there with 2 sidings. The yard will have a loco house on a siding, and there will be a fertilizer operation based on a local plant which will be made using Cornerstone ADM Grain Elevators.
    Would it make sense to have maybe a paper plant down on the edge of the town that is serviced by the lumber company?

    We have tons of space but are sort of out of ideas :( What do you guys suggest? I think it may be easier once we post the rough track plan and you fellas can give us your feed back.


    Also, is there a FREE or cheap fully functioning track plan designer with full features?

    Thanks!
     
  2. Harron

    Harron TrainBoard Supporter

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    To answer your last question, yes there are. Atlas Right-track and XtrkCad are two that I know of. Atlas' program is easier to master, but you can only use Atlas track products.

    Be careful with 4' depth - reach is a big issue. I would advise caution with more that 2.5' unless you're willing to stand on a stool all the time and lean on your layout.

    The best advice I would give at this point is to figure out what you want to model. What industries and scenes are a "must have" and what would be "nice to have" - start with the musts and add in the rest to fit. Once you know what you want, it's easier to design a trackplan around that.
     
  3. bremner

    bremner Staff Member

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    the first thing to do is set an era, location and road to model. Even if it is freelanced, saying I am modeling the Podunk Central in Heresville, 1965 is a start. That way, we can point you in the right direction. Is this a busy main, a lazy local, or a busy branch?

    Also, Atlas has a decent track planning program for FREE
     
  4. Mark Watson

    Mark Watson TrainBoard Member

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    Hi Garrett,

    I'm sure you're far from being out of ideas. You just need to get the ideas realized. :p

    I always recommend the list approach. Just start listing down every possible thing you can think off that you want on the layout. Items can be as broad as "I want to run trains continuously" or "I want coal operations" or items can be as specific as "I want a 4 wheel caboose on display in front of the station". The key is to be as complete as possible. Then once you have the list, you can use it as a guide for what goes on the layout.

    For track planning, I use XtrkCad. It takes some playing around with to get used to, but once you do it's very powerful. Anymore, I just use the Unitrack templates to design with in XtrkCad as it's much easier to build with drag-n-drop (ish) commands than by setting up splines for curves. All you need is a guide for the track centers, then when it comes to actually laying the thing, you can use whatever track you want. :)
    Here's a beginners tutorial which is incredibly helpful.

    Good luck with the planning. :)
     
  5. GarrettSE

    GarrettSE TrainBoard Member

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    It will not be against the wall, it will be out so that we can walk behind it incase of anything happening. Thanks for the quick replies guys, this is why I come here!
     
  6. GarrettSE

    GarrettSE TrainBoard Member

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    It's just going to be a free lance. Semi modern time period with "throw backs" being run on the rails. I'd like a local line with some mainline traffic passing through.
     
  7. Mark Watson

    Mark Watson TrainBoard Member

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    Will there be enough room behind it that would allow you to separate the layout down the center with a backdrop? That would effectively double the perceived real estate of your layout!

    Here's my 4x8 as an example. With almost double the length, and kind of the same idea it sounds like, you guys are going to have a blast making this layout. :D
     
  8. GarrettSE

    GarrettSE TrainBoard Member

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    I'm working on getting the crude track plan uploaded, I'm not sure what you mean as far as where back drop is going to go that you are referring to. Once I get the pic uploaded maybe you can show me better.
     
  9. Mark Watson

    Mark Watson TrainBoard Member

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    On the Thunder Ridge, the backdrop is the light blue curved line going lengthwise down the center.

    If the same were employed on your 15x4, making two halves at 15x2, you would basically have 30 feet of real estate to run your mainline through instead of having 15 feet where the mainline appears to pass through twice. :)
     
  10. bremner

    bremner Staff Member

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    even more questions to ponder...is this a spun off line from a Class 1 like the UP or BNSF? What were you looking at having for motive power?
     
  11. GarrettSE

    GarrettSE TrainBoard Member

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    For power we have 2 GPs, a U23 and a Dash 8.
    Don't want to be a spin off of a larger line.
     
  12. Kenneth L. Anthony

    Kenneth L. Anthony TrainBoard Member

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    Here is what is meant by separated down the middle by a backdrop. This is a plan for a fairly small layout. It is designed to have a low scenic divider down much of the middle, so you can only see about half the layout at one time.

    [​IMG]

    I could be a "walk all around" but I think of it as having the end that is the top of the drawing against a wall-- with a background there as well as down the middle. The side-by-side curved tracks around the top end could be used to store made-up trains, could be used as a passing siding or runaround, or used as a small yard. The two tracks close together with a third dead-end spur give somewhat the look of a small yard that goes "around the corner". Going around the corner keeps you from seeing how short it really is.

    Four feet is probably NOT too deep for a "divided down the middle" layout fully accessible from both sides, and this is just a simple ploan to demonstrate the principle. I once built one much smaller, 2 x 4 feet, with two different scenes each 1 foot deep against the down-the-middle background.
    [​IMG]
    This was one side, with an export grain elevator, a small ship, and refineries on the other side of the channel. Layout had 2 turnouts on each side. Other side was a small farming town with one local spur and one tracdk form interchange with a "trunkline" railroad.

    With a three foot wide layout 7 feet long, I was able to do a lot of railroading...a through mainline, staging, a branch to a sawmill.
    [​IMG]

    I will admit I had a problem because I made my mainline curve too tight a radius. I could run short trains with 40 foot freight cars, but could not run passenger equipment without lots of difficulties.
    I used a row of trees as a divider between the sides of the layout.
    [​IMG]
     
  13. Mark Watson

    Mark Watson TrainBoard Member

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    Nope. Not based on anything specifically, though the ridge scene itself does share many traits of the Durango and Silverton Highline.

    Motive power ranges from a 4-4-0 to a 4-8-8-2 AC-12, to SD40s and SD9s. :p
     
  14. bremner

    bremner Staff Member

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    a spinoff usually is a branch or a line that is not as profitable as a Class 1 would like it to be, so they sell it to a new group. That Group then runs it's own equipment with their own crews. The Wisconson Central or Montana Rail Link are great examples. Some of these are old main lines of roads that merged with a direct competator.
     
  15. Taylor D729

    Taylor D729 TrainBoard Member

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    Hey everyone, I am "the other guy" mentioned by garrett. we will be builidng this in my basement and there isnt a ton of room behind the layout, we were thinking about a foot and a half to run behind the layout if there is a derailment or something of that nature. [​IMG] here is a terrible photo of our track plan, if you can make it out feel free to make suggestions, if not i will try and post something better this evening after garrett is out of work and we get back to planning.
     
  16. bremner

    bremner Staff Member

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    looks like you have a ton of sceanery and little switching. Your 4 foor yard will be smaller than you imagine, and will really by useless. Again, where will this be set?
     
  17. Taylor D729

    Taylor D729 TrainBoard Member

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    this is going to be in my basement, and now that you mention the turnouts, i agree, maybe we should make a larger lengthier yard in the middle so we can park full length or almost full length trains in it.
     
  18. Mark Watson

    Mark Watson TrainBoard Member

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    You might also want to consider capacity of the layout and the yard. Even now, the yard looks quite large for what is going on in the rest of the layout. Is it meant to hold everything owned at once, making it more of a separate storage yard, or do you mean to have the yard as a scene of the layout?

    Since it was mentioned that you guys will be elevating the back of the layout, perhaps a few tracks for storage can be hidden underneath the rear mainline, allowing you to reduce the visible yard down to a more proportional capacity for the rest of the layout.
     
  19. Taylor D729

    Taylor D729 TrainBoard Member

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    the layout space has been expanded to 16 feet! WEEEEEE we now have an extra foot to with what we please. glad my dad signed off on that one. i am about to head to home depot to buy all of the supplies. i will take photos of what progress we make.
     

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