My Northeastern, Passenger-Based, Z-Scale, 24"X50" layout plans

drken Nov 29, 2017

  1. drken

    drken TrainBoard Member

    I'm currently planning my new layout and here is my current progress (see below). The primary guiding principle of this layout is to have the longest station platform and widest turns possible. Everything else is in service to that. For now, it has 270mm radius turns and the express track is 83cm long. Currently, I have it as a double loop for Local and Express that have separate platforms at the station. There's a couple of industries served by an independent, point-to-point system, leaving the 0-5-0 switcher as the only option for running freight on the outer loops or having some locos do double duty, which is fine. If there were streetcars in Z, I'd have a point-to-point one between the station and the town on the right, but there isn't, so I don't. The shared industrial/passenger yard is prototype for the Jersey City waterfront on which this layout is inspired, but instead of a ferry terminal, I went for lowering the water so I can have a bridge on this otherwise flat layout.

    Screen Shot 2017-11-29 at 10.32.36 AM.png

    Anyway, what do you think? Do you see any problems I might have missed? Keep in mind, while I'm currently designing it using sectional pieces to make things easier, I'm planning on building in flex-track, so the position of everything is fairly approximate.
    Kurt Moose likes this.
  2. ddechamp71

    ddechamp71 TrainBoard Member

    I think while keeping oval continuous running if needed, you should add a reverse loop that allow trains leaving the terminus with their locomotives ahead to come back to station the same way. Thus involving interresting maneuvers to uncouple trains from their road locomotives and pulling them back to storage track with a switcher (Amtrak had GP7s or 9s for that).

  3. Hardcoaler

    Hardcoaler TrainBoard Member

    I'd add a connecting track at the bottom of the layout diagram to allow a connection to your point-to-point line. I like your theme! Years ago a friend built a similarly-themed compact N Scale road based on the CNJ's commuter district between Jersey City and Raritan.
    ZosoRailway likes this.
  4. CARS

    CARS New Member

    I think i'd move the station away from industries. A siding on the bottom of your layout for the station and other urban/downtown structures?
  5. drken

    drken TrainBoard Member

    I do have an Amtrak GP9, but I think I'll pass.

    @Hardcoater: A connecting track is a possibility, but all my attempts to put in some shared track to justify it ended up more complicated than I want and just adding a crossover doesn't really change anything as I'm not going to have much shared stock.

    @CARS: Using a siding as a station will give me a platform less than a 3rd of the length I have now. Also, since this is what I'm basing my layout on (more or less), I'm not worried about terminal/industry proximity.
  6. drken

    drken TrainBoard Member

    So, I asked myself: "It's not really a local track if it has the same number of stops as the Express, is it?" I then decided I wanted a local stop more than I wanted the industrial part, which would just push a single hopper or boxcar car back and forth. So, I got rid of the industrial part and added a local stop with the same platform length as the terminal. I'll just run my freight stock around the outside when I want to run freight. The layout will now be divided into 2 scenes; one gentrified industrial and the other suburban. I don't think I'll put a barrier up between them, other than a fence or something. I also added flex-track and easements, which necessitated moving the lowered area to the front.

    The industrial buildings will be converted to residential and commercial use including a 2- engine shed/nightclub, now on order. This is definitely keeping with the prototype as that's pretty much what happened (more or less). The hidden rail is more of a marker of "where the rails used to go" than any specific plan as some streets will have buried rail, at least one of which will be the programming track. This definitely simplifies everything, 7 switches, 2 of which are crossovers, which gives me just 5 switches to control.

    Screen Shot 2017-12-05 at 11.29.40 AM.png
    Kurt Moose likes this.
  7. drken

    drken TrainBoard Member

    There's been progress.
    I've changed from a Mac to a PC, so I can now use Easyrail, which has Fast Tracks switches. I used #6 for the crossovers and #4 for the station spurs. Turnout choice is good. I've also settled on a line to model. Hoboken - High Bridge. Yes, no such line exists. The Raritan Valley line doesn't go from Hoboken to High Bridge, it goes from Newark, but I'm building a scale version of the NJAA's observatory in High Bridge (visit for more info) and I live next door in Jersey City so Hoboken - High Bridge it is. I I'm also going to put a small ferry terminal, even if I have to print out Z-scale ferries myself. No structures shown as of yet, but Hoboken station is being moved to the loopside side of the tracks so it can have the ferry terminal attached. I also added another track to Hoboken Terminal. I'm not quite sure why, but I think I like it. I'm thinking of adding easments to the turns, but Easyrail isn't making it very easy to do.
    NJ Passenger.jpg
    ZosoRailway and Kurt Moose like this.
  8. traingeekboy

    traingeekboy TrainBoard Member

    Do you own the track pieces you plan to use?

    It seems like you could assemble it and just run it if you did. That way you'd get a feel for how it runs before committing to a fixed layout.

    As it is, it reminds me of many double track mainline oval layouts I've seen such this oldy by Atlas.

    Planning and plotting is so much fun, good luck
    Hardcoaler likes this.
  9. drken

    drken TrainBoard Member

    After printing out what I had at 1:1, then moving things around my apartment to see just how much space I have, I increased the size of the layout by 2"X2" and tightened up the curves a bit as 215mm is fine for a narrowest curve in Z when you see it in real life. I've also added another local stop. No idea what it is, so I'm calling it generic New Jersey suburb for now. I'm also putting a mountain/tunnel on the upper left. I may move the local spur around a bit, but I think I'm pretty pleased with it for now.

    NJ Passenger 54 26 2 platform.jpg
    ZosoRailway and Hardcoaler like this.
  10. ZosoRailway

    ZosoRailway TrainBoard Member

    Any Photos you can Share ?

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