Looking for advice on this layout design

Troubleshoot Jan 1, 2023

  1. Troubleshoot

    Troubleshoot New Member

    Large Z scale layout built in modules. Each grid box is 1x1 foot. Entire footprint is 5x12 foot rectangle. No duck under - I would crawl to get to the inside.
    I see it as 4 main sections.
    The rail yard on the bottom
    The two vertical sections have spurs for industries
    One long horizontal section on the top would scenery focused

    Specific questions: I imagined the trains running clockwise. Should the spurs branch off in the direction of traffic. I imagined the trains back into the spurs to pick up and drop off freight.

    Any critiques of the rail yard? I haven't built a flow-through yard before and based this off of yards I found online.

    Attached Files:

  2. COverton

    COverton TrainBoard Supporter

    In real life, the prototype switches out industries with both 'facing point and trailing point' setups. If you model this, it tends to make a layout more interesting. The same for running in one direction all the time. It can get tedious, plus it tends to put most of the wheel flange wear on the outer wheels all the time.

    I'll take a look at your plan and offer considered opinions now, and if I do comment, I'll signify an edit to this post.

    Edit - added...)

    It looks okay, provided none of your yard turnouts are too sharp. I think your switching tail could use another 6-12" in length. Also, depending on what you'll have outward of the ovals, in the corners, you might be missing a couple of opportunities to do some industrial switching. On my layout, the primary resources industries (minerals, forestry, coal, quarrying, etc.) would be in the corners, with each corner an opportunity to try different scenery techniques. Also, think about grades, especially if you have some room to reach even slight elevations in those corners to a sawmill or whatever.
    Last edited: Jan 1, 2023
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  3. Burlington Bob

    Burlington Bob TrainBoard Member

    Is this your first layout? Do you like switching operations, railfanning your trains, or maybe a mixture of the two. Another couple of things to consider; what will the height of the layout be and would anything interfere with it and, no offense, your size.......slim, average or large?

    With Z scale, scenery to track ratio is a plus and something that can be played up for awesome effects. I don't see much in the way of industrial areas that tend to give our miniature railroads a reason for being. You do have a nice size yard, but without many industries to service it can get kind of boring just moving cars around to make up a train with no reason. Also, the yard is not double ended leaving you to switch it with a very short lead that will lead to frustration in short order.

    You have a double track main with only two crossovers between the mains. This will tend to limit your train routing to a degree. There are no industries located on the outer main so trains on it won't have much to do other than run in circles.

    Now to the reason for asking about your size. I'm 5'7" and 158 pounds. Two feet would be the narrowest aisle that I would want to work in. And that's by myself. Forget having another person in the middle at the same time. And when it comes time to duck under to get in the middle, the height of the layout will be very important. As well as your age!

    I would recommend revising the yard design and think about an industry or two for the outer track. And maybe a runaround track, or two, to facilitate switching. Remember, real railroads run in both directions.
    BNSF FAN likes this.
  4. BigJake

    BigJake TrainBoard Member

    DC or DCC?

    Doubletracks are often run one with one track primarily in each direction, but also for passing trains in the same direction. Crossovers are reasonably common, and add flexibility. Flexibility adds variety and interest.

    I agree with previous comments about sidings being facing- and trailing-point in real life. Facing-point sidings can be served with a run-around (e.g. by crossing over to the other track to back up the engine behind the train or cut of cars to be spotted). Or the facing point siding can be worked on the return trip, when the formerly facing-point sidings become trailing-point sidings. Strategic placement of crossovers can shorten run-arounds and/or the distances run on the "wrong" side while serving those customers.

    The yard can be improved (capacity increased) if the double track mainline splits and runs around top and bottom of the yard, surrounding it. This then allows the yard to use two ladders (half as long each, one going high and the other low) on each end, rather than a single ladder twice as long on each end. Thus the total length of all yard tracks is increased, as is the capacity of the yard for the same space.

    Another common arrangement is to have the opposite end leads to the yard at opposite corners, rather than both at middle, top or bottom. This keeps both ladders parallel to each other, and all yard tracks between the ladders are the same length (may or may not be advantageous). It looks like the left end would be the best end to take low, and leave the right end high.
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