Long Layout w/Reversing Loop - Sanity Check

Michael Doleman Feb 9, 2018

  1. Michael Doleman

    Michael Doleman TrainBoard Member

    After some great input on my initial track plans, I changed direction a bit and went back to the drawing board. I decided that I wanted to do a much longer layout, narrower layout. I had come-up with a nice design that I was happy with, but then noticed that it would be pretty easy to incorporate a reversing loop with just a few changes.

    I made those changes, and now I have what I *think* will be a layout to give me lots of fun options and a few build challenges as well. I had initially not wanted to use flex track, but I've ultimately incorporated five length of it, here (I'm using all Rokuhan, BTW)...

    Anyway, what I'd like to do here is get a "sanity check" on the workability of the layout, before diving-in to purchase the elements that I need. I have most, but still a few needs to be met, if I go with this layout. What I'm not sure about is the way I have the reversing loop connected, with the two opposite-facing short turn-outs. I think my intention is to use 3 power controllers (as color-coded), but there, too, I'm not 100% sure.

    See attached image, and thanks in advance for any advice that'll help me avoid a disaster :)

    Attached Files:

  2. Hardcoaler

    Hardcoaler TrainBoard Member

    Looks good to me Mike. You'll just need to assure that your yard crews never assemble a train that exceeds the length of the purple reverse loop area. Too, if you keep a train operating on the inside yellow/purple route, you'll probably want to automate the reverse loop, else you'll have to manually actuate something with each cycle around.

    I'm driving myself crazy with re-writes of my N Scale track plan too. I think most plans are a compromise and I want it all. :D
    Michael Doleman likes this.
  3. markm

    markm TrainBoard Supporter

    The plan should work, although I have concerns about the back-to-back turnouts when they are both in the diverging position. I'd add a straight section between the two.
    A thought for you: maybe you're taking the reversing loop too literally. If you run a diagonal track across and oval using the same sense turnouts (left or right), that segment of track is also a reversing loop. Might give you a few more options.

    Michael Doleman likes this.
  4. Michael Doleman

    Michael Doleman TrainBoard Member

    Thanks! Both these replies are useful to me, and represent things that I kinda had a hunch about, already -- so it's good to have the confirmation.

    As to the thing about the automatic reversing loop: yes to that, most likely. As to the distance of it -- yes, I thought of that, and it's a potential issue. But, since my "era" and location (early 20th century central Europe) includes mostly very short freight & passenger cars, I think it's going to be okay. Yes, it might be nice to be able to run really long trains along the route at some point, but even with the set-up being 5-1/2' long, I still don't have a lot of overall track to work with. I've thought about this a bit, and come to the conclusion that running long trains is not a priority item for me.

    As to the shape of the reversing loop -- yeah, it is, indeed, a very literal and prototypical loop, to be sure. It ended-up that way simply by virtue of the fact that I had the thing all planned-out, withOUT the reversing loop, but then realized that I could just easily bring the RH inner loop back onto the originating inner track to form the reversal. It ended-up working-out pretty well, at least on paper (with the use of flex track, though, which -- again -- I was trying to avoid).

    Regarding the opposing turnouts, abutted to one-another -- point taken. I thought that might be a bit of an issue. I will go ahead and alter the plan such that I can fit a 110mm section there.

    I did play around, a bit, with running a diagonal across the loop, as suggested. I got that idea to work, also, but to my eye it looked a little more "kludgy" and forced. I may very well try again, just to see if I can make that work, too, as I kinda like the idea a bit better. The wiring for that, though, is a little less clear in my head, to be honest.

    Speaking of which, with where I am going on all of this, and beginning to understand it better, I'm feeling that I will likely incorporate some more complex elements (such as the automatic reversing loop), even though this will be my first layout (well, first *fixed* layout). I am honestly considering the possibility of wiring the whole thing up myself -- i.e., not using the Rokuhan stock controller and accessory switches, since they don't play all too well with the Marklin locomotives I have.

    Thanks again so much for all the help, here. It's really helping me evolve my ideas, designs, and knowledge. I'm having a great time with the hobby, and I'm only in the planning stages :)
  5. Doug A.

    Doug A. TrainBoard Supporter

    My advice: ditch the return loop and the flex track. Neither add any value to the layout and are unnecessary complications for a first layout. There's simply no *reason* for a return loop in your situation other than as a novelty of being able to reverse the trains direction on a whim. You said yourself it's gonna be "very short trains" so if it bothers you so much that a train is running the same direction, simply swap a loco and caboose and voila!

    Again, that's just *my* advice and worth what it costs maybe. But with every iteration of your posts you seem to be creeping into that danger zone that a lot of newbies do and that is: trying to do to much. Get a simple track plan decided, place the track, and start running some trains. Throw down a little scenery, make mistakes, redo things, run some trains.
  6. Greg Elmassian

    Greg Elmassian TrainBoard Member

    I disagree, being able to run a train in a different direction adds interest. Pick up the train and turn it around? It's more fun running the trains than removing them from the rails.

    Maybe 10 years ago reversing sections were voodoo, but no longer.

    Just build it in phases, outer loop, then inner. Get trains running right away so you can sort out your rolling stock.

  7. Doug A.

    Doug A. TrainBoard Supporter

    Never said anything about reverse loops being "voodoo". I just still think it's unnecessary and a potential problem point.

    The other elephant in the room is the small Rokuhan turnouts being used. I know the mention of short trains and small rolling stock, but those short Rokuhan turnouts aren't very forgiving of most locomotives.
  8. Michael Doleman

    Michael Doleman TrainBoard Member

    My simple observation on the necessity vs. excess of a reversing loop stems only from the experiences I've had in the past few weeks of trying various small/temporary layouts with sectional track. And here's the conclusion I've come to: if you're going to the trouble and expense of laying-down a permanent layout, and you have the space, and it fits into your design concept without an inordinate degree of manipulation, then I don't see any compelling reason not to do it.

    In just running a few trains around the sidings that I've set-up, it quickly becomes a pain to have to work with the trains by hand, just to turn them around (and it's for this reason alone that there's a part of me that wishes I hadn't gone with locomotives having a specific front versus back, LOL). So I do see the value in a reversing loop. It's something which, if I really decided to do so, I could get used to it, and essentially have it be a non-issue. But I also regard it as one of those things sorta like having a thorn in your sock. Sure, you can keep on going with it there, but it only takes a second to stop and get it out, so you may as well do so, if it's bothering you.

    And I feel the same way about flex track, too. Again, it's true that I could come-up with a layout that doesn't use any -- but it wouldn't look as interesting, and there are certain things which I simply may not otherwise be able to do. So my philosophy is to try to stick with sectional track wherever possible, but use flex track for single connections, where nothing else will fit. I've found that by using just a couple sections, here and there, where it makes sense, it really opens-up a lot of possibilities that would be closed, otherwise. I do understand the point, though: don't run wild with it, and don't use it to form weird, contrived shapes, or to form pinched, tight curves.

    In looking again at my design, I am again making a lot of changes, not the least of which is to nix the idea of using the short turn-outs -- as suggested in this thread. I'd previously committed myself to not using them, and I'm going to stick with that commitment. I've read too many things hinting that -- indeed -- they can cause too many issues.

    The design I posted here doesn't adhere to my principles, as stated, above: I'm using flex track to artificially bring the upper track of the inside oval back down to meet the lower track. And that's not good. I've got an alternative in process, now, that does a much better job of forming the reversing loop, on the left side of the layout, with a simple traversing track. It looks much more natural and do-able.

    In the end, I may wind-up not doing the reversal -- I don't know. Right now, though, since I do have the space to do it, it sure seems like it would be good to incorporate it. One of my notions is that I would like to be a "purist" and not have to physically touch the trains, at all, to run them as I wish.

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