My "first attempt" (thus the title)

MichaelClyde Feb 25, 2023

  1. MichaelClyde

    MichaelClyde TrainBoard Member

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    firstattempt.jpg
    Using SCARM wanted a basic, starting layout, far from finished, that will fit 2 4X8 subfloor boards (12' across top X 8' deep on left) with still a lot to fill in. The roundhouse (9 bay) & turntable is "in the mail". . . am told the RH track is 8"(6"+2"?) the extensive instructions are here.

    Am still collecting needed track/wire/switches/controls . .
     
    Last edited: Feb 25, 2023
  2. MichaelClyde

    MichaelClyde TrainBoard Member

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    firstattempt.scarm
    Parts List

    List contents: All parts in the project

    No. Image Number Name Scale Producer Pcs. Note
    1 168 168/Flex HO Atlas 1
    2 175 60° HO Atlas 1
    3 177 12.5° HO Atlas 1
    4 281 #4 L HO Atlas 10
    5 282 #4 R HO Atlas 16
    6 305 Turntable HO Atlas 1
    7 821 9" HO Atlas 37
    8 822 6" HO Atlas 25
    9 823 3" HO Atlas 12
    10 825 1.5" HO Atlas 6
    11 831 15"/30° HO Atlas 43
    12 832 15"/15° HO Atlas 4
    13 833 18"/30° HO Atlas 4
    14 834 18"/15° HO Atlas 5
    15 835 18"/10° HO Atlas 4
    16 840 9" TS HO Atlas 1 Terminal Track
    17 843 Bmp HO Atlas 7 Bumper
    18 847 0.75" 0.75" HO Atlas 11
    19 847 1" 1" HO Atlas 6
    20 847 1.25" 1.25" HO Atlas 3
    21 847 2" 2" HO Atlas 11
    22847 2.5" 2.5" HO Atlas 10
    Total: 219 Tracks count: 219
    Generated by SCARM 1.9.2
    - www.scarm.info
     
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  3. BigJake

    BigJake TrainBoard Member

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    Nice plan!

    Will you have easy access along both outer sides?

    There is an S-curve that may be a little too sharp on the left side, in the middle, between successive 15R30 and 15R15 curves.

    Most roundhouses have approach tracks from the turntable that are almost as long as the tracks inside the roundhouse stalls (and as the turntable bridge itself.) This allows room for the roundhouse stall approach tracks to spread out and go through separate doors for each roundhouse slots. In between those doors are the structural columns that hold up the roundhouse roof, too. Therefore, you may need more room for your turntable and roundhouse than your plan shows.

    If you need more space for your round-house, try rotating it by 90 degrees, and approach from only one side. There is really no need to have the approach track directly opposite the roundhouse on the turntable.

    There are usually locomotive service (fuel and water) tracks before or adjacent to the roundtable entrance/exit track. These service tracks are often double-ended, rather than stub sidings, parallel to the lead to the turntable. There would also be caboose service track(s) (cleaning, etc.) somewhere between roundhouse and arrival/departure tracks for the yard. Yard goats would be responsible for handling the cabooses between their assigned train and their service/storage tracks.

    Very seldom would a locomotive proceed directly between the mainline and a roundhouse stall. Thus, I'm doubtful of the purpose of the turntable approach to/from mainline on the right?

    If you have not read "Track Planning for Realistic Operation" by John Armstrong, I strongly recommend it before you start laying track for your yard and roundhouse, . It goes into depth on how railroads and trains operate, and trackage to support them. It also delves into customer facilities and their trackage.
     
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  4. MichaelClyde

    MichaelClyde TrainBoard Member

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    Aye! I was trying to avoid using the flex-track pictured in the middle but that 12.5 crossing toward the top dictated the weird angle . . Layout will be in garage (poor choice really due Southern humidity) but but . . will allow room around.

    Will also look at your roundhouse suggestions as, come to think of it, my diesel's trucks will fit on table but the body itself is l o n g e r than the 9" platter track which means it would be hanging outside the doors and render interference with another on table, wouldn't it!

    Well DUH! Will replace the 6" with 9"s (+ 3.5" bumps do I need these inside")) == 12.5" better? (lol MAJOR ADJ find room!) Haven't received 3 bays (X 3 = 9) RH yet an open track between is ok?


    Thanks! Will update & keep posted . .
     
    Last edited: Feb 26, 2023
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  5. BigJake

    BigJake TrainBoard Member

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    You'll likely have to wait until you receive the roundhouse to see how long the tracks should be from turntable to roundhouse, unless you can find the documentation/instructions online.

    If you rotate the spoke tracks around the turntable by 135 degrees CCW, then slide the turntable up and to the left (off-center to the left), that will provide more room for spokes and roundhouse on the right. Or vise versa, which would give a better view of the front of the roundhouse, assuming you will primarily be operating your layout from the left.

    Lots of layouts have been built in garages. I would plan on covering the layout when not in use, and perhaps painting the garage's floor (with purpose-made paint) to keep down dust from exposed concrete. Assuming your garage floor is slightly graded downward, toward the garage door(s), I would take care construct the benchwork such that the layout is level, so railcars will stay put where you left them, especially on sidings or in the yard.
     
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  6. MichaelClyde

    MichaelClyde TrainBoard Member

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    Updated layout . . wadda ya's think? Improvement at least? Turntable & roundhouses (3 == 9 bays!) came yesterday test wiring has been fun . . (more later)

    I need a SouthWest 'yard exit' away from the turntable . . (edit: layout update three... added middle crossing above tbl in order to back rolling stock into yard AND deleted third 'NE' approach/exit from table in favor of less track, more flexible direction choice.

    It still disturbs me there's only ONE WAY IN/OUT of yard (removed turntable conx)
     

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    Last edited: Mar 1, 2023
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  7. BigJake

    BigJake TrainBoard Member

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    Generally, steam locomotives travel mainline <-> arrival/departure tracks <-> ash/water/fuel tracks <-> roundhouse, sometimes skipping the roundhouse if they are not due for significant maintenance between trips.

    The arrival/departure (A/D) tracks are where an arriving train is dropped, or a departing train is picked up, by the road loco. A/D tracks are double-ended, so a train can enter or leave either end to go the desired direction on the mainline. Switcher locos will move the train (sans road loco) between A/D track(s) and yard, as well as dis/assemble in/outgoing trains in the yard. An arrival/departure track should not be the yard ladder. This allows yard goats to dis/assemble trains uninterrupted while the A/D track is occupied.

    Thus, there is no use for your tracks directly between the mainline and the roundhouse. If a loco is not in maintenance, it is out on the road, or waiting to go on the road.

    Your yard is... unconventional. Double-ended yards (with switch ladders on both ends) are more typical, because they are more efficient in use, but sometimes a single-ended yard, with a run-around for at least one track, was used at small sites. A single-ended yard would not often be associated with a large roundhouse like yours, and may even use a wye and run-around instead of a turntable to turn the steam locos and swap ends.

    I would put the roundhouse at the far right end, with a parallelogram-shaped yard to its left, alongside the upper tracks. The A/D track(s) would be on the bottom track(s) of the yard (away from the main at top), giving you more room between them and the roundhouse for the ash/fuel/water track(s). The left end yard ladder, with the switch ladder's lead extending down along the inner track on left side of the layout.

    I would move the reversing track to the short leg (lower left.) In a dog-leg layout, a space-efficient route for a reversing track is an L from outside lower left, up and over to inside lower right. Then you have room for industries in the lower left end, and perhaps (depending on yard/roundhouse complex length) on the far right end of the long leg.

    But this is your layout, not mine! These are only suggestions, and you get to decide whether you like them or not.
     
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  8. MichaelClyde

    MichaelClyde TrainBoard Member

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    Update 3: Figured out how turntable/roundhouse wiring works but added a twist I call . . Ready for this / DRUMROLL -> "Impulse Control"!

    Ok I explain: I have 1 Atlas (Y-loop) Control & 2 Cab power/Track Selectors (8 positions total) BUT am only using ONE Selector for all turntable/RH operations BECAUSE . .

    Am using SWITCH (momentary) CONTROLLERS instead. 1st switch (left) powers approach track & table rails (right currently unused) and 2nd switch powers two stalls within the roundhouse proper with one wire run per track and 'B' side negs all tied in common. Polarity on table track power is "B" side reversed as well. If I use a 'A" side approach (which currently don't) then it's the unused "1st switch (right)"

    SAVVY? The idea being everything STOPS by simply letting go!
     
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  9. MichaelClyde

    MichaelClyde TrainBoard Member

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    Jake, appreciate your suggestions .. will 'ave to reread THRICE! Yes, at best the one-way in/out yard position is untenable might try yet another revamp it was originally across the top (lol forgot why it got moved)
     
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  10. BigJake

    BigJake TrainBoard Member

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    Yeah, I know, a picture would be worth a thousand words...
     
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  11. MichaelClyde

    MichaelClyde TrainBoard Member

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    Semi-final layout (approximated in SCARM) as it exists today. Would like to add another 4'X 8' L extension on the left, garage room permitting, to open things up took the suggestion of keeping the turntable close and built-in push-button (Atlas switch-machines) "momentary pulse control" to avoid high-speed accidents in the yards & reverse-loop . . LOL 4-yr-old grandson is catching on quick we currently "race 'round the loop" and he's asking more "how to" questions all the time.

    The inner/outer loop(s) are illuminated all-the-way 'round [​IMG] and the yards / roundhouse(s) have tall, very bright "playground" type lighting [​IMG] (4 LEDs not 2)
     

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Jun 22, 2023
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  12. porkypine52

    porkypine52 TrainBoard Member

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    Sorry I can't see any of it. Get rid of the sectional track, use flex track. Joints can be a major problem. NO #4 turnouts, at the very least #6's. The bigger the turnout number the better. And if you are leaning to running STEAM, the bigger the better. Forget the SLIP Switches, they can be a PAIN THE ASS to get working [and stay working]. You have a switchback into the bottom lead to the roundhouse, NOPE, too much trouble and will be bottleneck. You are on the verge of making a "bowl of spaghetti" type layout, having too much track work crammed into your layout space.
    Make all your track work, BULLET-PROOF from the git-go and NEVER worry about it again.
     
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  13. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 HOn30 & N Scales Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    It is an improvement. Much yet to do. The stub ended yards are a problem. As already suggested, avoid sectional track. Track radius and switch size will limit equipment you can use. Keep playing with it. Take your time. It will pay off for you.
     
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  14. MichaelClyde

    MichaelClyde TrainBoard Member

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    THX! All criticisms and suggestions WELCOME and, yes, it's CRAMPED. Been running brass rails (NS filling in here & there) and while derailments with the 6-axle locos haven't been a problem noticed lighter rolling-stock derails is very common, especially if a turnout is not set right.

    The double slip-switches are by "Roco" and been flawless so far. One switch machine controls both directions which are set as either left or right . . much less confusing! As an upgrade does anyone here use Berrett Hill's Matrix Controller in conjunction with his Touch Toggles & "Snap Action Base"?

    His "Route Control" example is confusing at best but it'd be nice to just pick a destination and let his "software", a editable text file, auto-set the path. If I cleaned up the control-panel aspect then perhaps could concentrate more on the overall scenery effects?
     
    Last edited: Jun 23, 2023
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  15. BigJake

    BigJake TrainBoard Member

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    Interesting compact layout!

    The stub yards are too short, especially given the space available. If your main yard tracks peeled off the switch at bottom, rather than all the way past the slip, you would have much more room (longer yard tracks to work/stage longer trains.)

    Yard tracks 1-2 are awkward and curved more than necessary (coupling on tight curves usually requires manual assistance). I would flip the switch feeding them to a righty, which should straighten out both tracks, and provide space above track 1, if you wanted that to be a separate industrial spur from track 2, with another industry below track 2.

    Not really sure what the spur around top left of roundhouse is for, except maybe Arrival/Departure (A/D) track, but it is not particularly easily accessible to/from the yard or the roundhouse. It could be a locomotive service track (water, ash dump & fuel can be in order on one track from main to turntable, but those are usually on a (longish) lead to/from the roundhouse.

    What do you have planned for the space below the turntable? I would consider sliding the turntable up closer to the top right loop tracks, and have the spokes exit downward instead, or slide it to the bottom, and have the spokes emanating upward.

    I'm not sure why you have branches leading to the turntable labeled "reverse loop", since you cannot run a train through the turntable (as situated) while that is exactly what reverse loops are for. The turntable IS the reverser for a loco (or anything else short enough to fit on it) from any track attached.

    From an operations point of view, steam locos and their trains arrive on an Arrival/Departure track, where the loco separates and heads to a sequential water/ash/fuel track, and on to the roundhouse or open spokes of the turntable for light maintenance. The W/A/F track could be a longish spoke on the turntable instead in tight quarters. A busy location could make use of the sequential locations for W/A/F on an assembly line, handling multiple locos, one at each W/A/F stop. Water is almost always needed, but ash & fuel service maybe not, depending on distances travelled and loads hauled.

    A yard switcher engine, dispatched from the roundhouse, will handle taking the train from the A/D track to the yard, where it commence disassembly and classification of the railcars. The caboose will be sent to a caboose service track (could be a spoke on the turntable.) A departing train will be assembled in the yard, and once assembled, moved to the A/D track, where the road loco (and perhaps caboose) will be added before departure. In small yards, the departing train could be assembled directly on the departure track.

    If you consider these steps, in the order needed, it will help you design an efficient yard, A/D, loco service, and turntable track arrangement.

    While meaningful operations can consist of only the above and a loop of track, an industry or few will provide more operating interest, particularly in working a local freight that serves them. While you may not care what order railcars are in if you are shipping them off to elsewhere, if you are serving a local set of industries, order of train assembly will matter. This provides extra interest in the yard, and on the A/D track.

    Wow, that got long, and may seem like a lot of critique. But a plan like this has tremendous potential with some critical tweaks.

    Keep in mind it's much easier to critique a layout than to design one. Even great layouts can be improved. You should take comfort in the fact that yours is close enough to warrant the effort.
     
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  16. MichaelClyde

    MichaelClyde TrainBoard Member

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    Yikes HOW TRUE! And just checked and 'ave more rolling stock than can shake a stick at! The dilemma is I would like to create a "pull-thru" type yard but how to do THAT with an extra 4 X 8 HO space and 18radius (or greater) only?

    Been playin' in SCARM, to no logical avail, for the past three days!
     
  17. BigJake

    BigJake TrainBoard Member

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    Eventually, everyone has far more rolling stock than will fit on their layout (and not just on the sidings either!)

    Pull-thru (double-ended) yards are common in 1:1, for efficiency, but the two switch trees take up a lot of room on a small layout, reducing yard capacity. Most of us stage trains (or at least the railcars) on yard tracks by hand, ready to be coupled to a consist of locos and pulled out onto the mainline.

    If you don't already have it, I strongly recommend the book "Track Planning for Realistic Operation: Prototype Railroad Concepts for Your Model Railroad" by John Armstrong. It is crammed full of great information on how railroads actually operate, and planning a model railroad around that, from one of the giants of model railroading. Keep in mind that many of his ideas scale up or down easily, to fit the available space.
     
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  18. MichaelClyde

    MichaelClyde TrainBoard Member

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    Ok! I gave it my best shot and, while still not finished, had an epiphany and finally took the not needed 3rd roundhouse OUT. Thing is, given your "by hand" & yard suggestions, the turntable track makes an easy/great rerailer so why not use it as a "pass-thru" as well? Unconventional for sure but but . . .

    (ps: I'll prolly use a 'Y' off the right side of table and branch a yard from there)
     

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    Last edited: Jun 29, 2023
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  19. BigJake

    BigJake TrainBoard Member

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    Okay, as long as you also have access to the left and top sides of the layout, this is a good idea! The large yard space has room for more trains to be staged and ready to run (assuming you have the railcar/loco collection to support them!)

    I like the new reverse loop. That is actually a very common and effective way to route a reverse loop on an L-shaped layout (from the front of one leg, across to the back of the other leg of the L.)

    I can't help but notice a common pattern on many of your yards/sidings, where a switch curving one way is fed (preceded) by another curve in the opposite direction of curvature. This creates an S curve, and is an inefficient use of space. What happens if you remove the preceding curve, and use an opposite-hand switch, with a curve (or another switch) off the through route instead? This makes for much simpler and compact use, thus preserving more room for the storage tracks downstream of the yard switch tree.

    If the yard is constructed with a single, straight line of successive, left-handed switches feeding the parallel yard tracks (and a lone curve for the 'last' yard track), the yard will be much more compact, or allow more/longer yard tracks in the same space. And with much fewer S-curves. Even if you want more space between the yard tracks, you can insert short straight pieces between the switches to give you that spacing, while avoiding the S-curves you have.
     
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  20. BigJake

    BigJake TrainBoard Member

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    I would also slide the left-most crossover switch pair on the top side, to the left end of that long straight double track.

    This creates a long passing lane (via the inner track) between the crossovers, which allows faster express or passenger trains to pass slower freight trains.

    You already have a long, curved passing lane, via the outer curve around the right end.
     
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