Layout Planning Help

CzarCzajko Feb 24, 2014

  1. CzarCzajko

    CzarCzajko New Member

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    Hello all,

    I am Alex. I am new to the forums as well as model railroading in general. I have hit a major roadblock in my rather short model railroading career. Track planning is unexpectedly difficult and frustrating most of the time. I am put in quite a jam where my current residence only allows the space for a small shelf layout. I only have collected HO trains and plan to use them on the layout. I have also built two kits that I plan to use, Walthers Open Air Trans-load and Walthers Heritage Furniture background building. Furthermore, I have already built the benchwork to have somewhere to build kits and because as previously described, it is the only place suitable for the time being. I have attached an image of the benchwork. Each leg is 2' wide with 5' length put together to form an 'L' shape. I have always intended a switching layout preferably with atlas sectional track due to my current inability to use flex track effectively. I apologize for the lengthy message, but this is mostly out of desperation. My inexperience makes the planning difficult, even with software. I don't want to eyeball and buy a bunch of track that will be deemed useless in the end either. And since I am a 21 year old college student, most of the older hobbyists hardly take me serious when I ask for advice. Thank you in advance! Layout.jpg I am excited to be a part of the forum and further my knowledge of model railroading.
     
  2. David K. Smith

    David K. Smith TrainBoard Supporter

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    Alex, welcome to the forum. You've discovered a model railroading maxim: track planning software doesn't make one a track planner. But that's OK! We're here to help.

    Here is something to consider: a compact urban industrial switching layout that features five industries to work, plus a staging yard hidden behind a low backdrop of buildings. It utilizes Atlas Code 100 snap track.

    [​IMG]

    This is just a starting point, of course; from here we can make it simpler, change the theme, or whatever you may desire.
     
  3. David K. Smith

    David K. Smith TrainBoard Supporter

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    So, in re-reading your post a few times, and looking at the image, I'm not sure whether you have two 2 x 5 foot sections connected into an L, such that the overall dimensions are 5 x 7 feet, or if you have 2 x 3 and 2 x 5 foot sections connected in an L with overall dimensions of 5 x 5 feet. Just in case it's the latter, I also did a plan to fit the smaller dimensions. The basic theme is the same.

    [​IMG]
     
  4. PaulBeinert

    PaulBeinert TrainBoard Supporter

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    Alex,
    Welcome to TrainBoard!
    You will find that the older modelers are more than happy to help out us younger guys.
    While I am quite good at using the track planning software, as David says, it does not make me a track planner where as with David, it just enhances his considerable knowledge.

    Nicely done David!
     
  5. DrMb

    DrMb TrainBoard Member

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    That's ok. We hardly take older hobbyists who act like that seriously either. ;)

    Do you want this shelf layout to be a one shot deal or do you plan to expand it once more space becomes available?
     
  6. Grey One

    Grey One TrainBoard Supporter

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    Here are just some thoughts on how I would design a shelf switching layout.
    Basically it would contain present or abstracted:
    • A fairly clearly defined main line or link to one even if it goes into a backdrop
    • A two track interchange - arrival and departure with room for a loco on the lead
    • Industry laid out as if it was coming off the main or a branch line
    • Some roads and buildings but some open grass or mounds
    • Yes, definitely a team track and a warehouse for less than car loads
    To design something of this nature I would:
    First print out multiple copies of the space on 8.5 x 11" paper and make sketch after sketch till it felt right. The sketches would include variations with:
    • Run a main line through the shelf or decide where it would be - maybe just a link of the end
    • Decide where the interchange is. I tend to put this as far from the main / branch line to create 'travel'.
    • Decide how many industries I want to serve and space them out across the area. This will help provide a sense of 'travel'.
    • Think about era and possible industries type to develop a sense of what cars you might be using.
    There is probably more and I"ll be following this thread as I plan my middle shelf of the GandG VI-3.
     
  7. Kevin Anderson

    Kevin Anderson TrainBoard Member

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    Welcome to the board Alex! Track planning does take some getting used to. I redrew my current track plan about 20 times to get it the way I wanted. And I am still tweaking it. The plans offered are a great place to start. With the amount of space you have think compact. Lots of background buildings to help set the scene up will help. Start with these questions to get an idea of where to go. Are you looking at freelancing or going with a current railroad? What industries do you want to model? Will there be a possible expansion in the future? With the space you have short trains will be a must. Whether you are using software or not just by getting some drafting paper will help by with the drawing to scale. Also doodling different ideas always helped me visualize what I am thinking.
     
  8. Grey One

    Grey One TrainBoard Supporter

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    A crude example of what I have in mind:
    [​IMG]
    Hope this helps.
     
  9. David K. Smith

    David K. Smith TrainBoard Supporter

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    Which translates to something like this using Atlas snap track:

    [​IMG]

    Interesting plan. The interchange tracks are kind of short, and it's a bit of a squeeze getting good-sized industries in there. But it might be fun to operate.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 24, 2014
  10. Grey One

    Grey One TrainBoard Supporter

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    Thanks David, very nice!
     
  11. cuyama

    cuyama TrainBoard Member

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    A similar 5X7 HO switching layout design from two 2X5 sheets.

    [​IMG]



    As noted on that web page, this was designed for a relatively small number of cars at each "session". Extending the layout to the bottom of the diagram would allow a longer switching lead to handle more cars at one time.
     
  12. Grey One

    Grey One TrainBoard Supporter

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    My all time favorite shelf layout:
    [​IMG]

    It can be squashed any which way but over all may be tooo long.
    That is a 1 foot grid in HO
    I'm partial to this one because I built it in high school but in the original form where it curved back on itself.
     
  13. CzarCzajko

    CzarCzajko New Member

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    Thank you everyone for the timely responses! I should have elaborated more upon the dimensions, as Dave included a plan earlier with what I am working with. (5x5 overall). I would quote the post, but it says I need to be member for three days before I can post links apparently. I am not looking to expand this in the future... I was just looking for a compact urban switching layout such as the one Dave posted. With that fancy software, does it generate a list of the tracks that are needed?

    Once again, thank you very much everyone.
     
  14. Kevin Anderson

    Kevin Anderson TrainBoard Member

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    I used xtrkcad for my plan and that does give you a list of track needed.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk - now Free
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 25, 2014
  15. David K. Smith

    David K. Smith TrainBoard Supporter

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    #150. Straight 9". 6
    #175. Crossing 3". 60º 2
    #821. Straight 9". 4
    #822. Straight 6". 3
    #823. Straight 3". 4
    #825. Straight 1.5". 5
    #831. Curve radius 15", angle 30º 1
    #833. Curve radius 18", angle 30º 2
    #834. Curve radius 18", angle 15º 1
    #835. Curve radius 18", angle 10º 8
    #843. Buffer/Bumper 3.62". 7
    #850. Left turnout 9". 4
    #851. Right turnout 9". 4

    [​IMG]
     
  16. Grey One

    Grey One TrainBoard Supporter

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    "Design in Place" - is my final step to process. I tend to:
    • Count the crossings individually
    • Count up the turnouts - and if possible get one of each extra
    • Measure off the straights - and add about 10%
    • Approximate the curves - and add about 20% - this is the trickiest part as they are harder to eyeball / measure.
    I'll concede this is a less specific somewhat more expensive method but it allows for modification / changes as you lay the track out and realize, oooops.
    Feel free to modify a plan.
    The above plan from Lynn H. Wescott is fairly simple. You could easily expand the yard / interchange area possibly including a locomotive maintenance / fueling facility or put additional industry behind the yard.
    The rural area could be changed to a built up urban / industrial with more going on. You can make the areas shorter / longer / deeper as your space allows and add track and scenery accordingly.
    So, yes, a track plan all laid out is very useful but you can extrapolate possible from them.
    I wish you the best.
     
  17. David K. Smith

    David K. Smith TrainBoard Supporter

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    The plan I posted is designed with sectional track, per the OP's spec, so there is nothing to measure or cut.

    For myself, the final steps with this sort of project are:

    1. Print the plan at 100% (AnyRail allows you to print the plan 1:1 and provides alignment marks at the corners of each sheet) and tape together.
    2. Assemble the track over the printed plan to verify fit.
    3. Lay the track.
     
  18. Grey One

    Grey One TrainBoard Supporter

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    I won't throw a man a fish - or a finished track plan.
    Yes, I read the specs but I also read the title: "Layout Planning Help". I provided my method.
    I trust a person has the intellect to extrapolate from the simple to the possible. Not everyone does but I am not going to make that call for them. Far too many times people have decided that since I don't have a college education that I can't be very smart.
    Perhaps it will help folks to know that I am the scion of a renown electronics design engineer who never gave me a straight answer. I was pushed to use my brain and derive the answer myself. I was allowed to be wrong, learn, and proceed. Teaching a person to fish is not wrong.
    "It's who I am. It's what I do."
     
  19. David K. Smith

    David K. Smith TrainBoard Supporter

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    Sorry, Grey, I was not trying to push anyone's buttons, just presenting some information.
     
  20. Grey One

    Grey One TrainBoard Supporter

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    It's ok David, no worries. We have two diametrically opposing methods. You and I will seldom see eye to I, but your comments, suggestions, ideas, and contributions of any nature are always welcome.
    Oh, and feel free to call me, "Steve". :)
     

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