N scale 2'x8' shelf switching plan for your review

txronharris Feb 18, 2014

  1. txronharris

    txronharris TrainBoard Member

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    I’ve decided to finalize my N scale switching layout plans so I’m coming to you guys to take a look and see if I’m on the right track. The plan will be a 2’x8’ shelf type layout.

    The plan is based off the original IOTA short line plan I’ve included along with my adaptation drawing. I’ve added a couple sidings to increase operations and want to make sure I’ve not tried to cram 20 lbs of Peco code 55 into a 10lb sack.

    My plan calls for a cement dealer on the upper left which will be a Medusa Cement kit. The extra spur will be bulk materials like rock and such delivered there also. The middle left is an LPG distributor which will be something like the Interstate Fuel and Oil kit (I plan to make it more of a “flat” about 3” deep) along with a TrainCat tank car unloading rack. The upper right will be a lumber yard that will also be a 3” deep flat to save some space.

    The bottom left will be a farm supply I will kitbash from some stuff I have lying around. The grain elevator on the lower right will be a larger one (like the ADM kit from Walthers) and I really want to keep the two tracks to take care of my covered hopper addiction. I also plan to possibly add a removable 2’ hidden staging cassette (probably to the left) so I can have a train or two from my shortline show up for operational variety. I plan to have similar scenery as the original plan with trees and such.

    Let me know what you think.


    Original IOTA plan:

    [​IMG]

    My variation:

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 18, 2014
  2. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    Your plan looks like an interesting, busy eight feet. Are you ready to build?
     
  3. txronharris

    txronharris TrainBoard Member

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    I'm pretty close to getting started. I'm thinking since my idea for my short line is a rural farm-type setting I may have too much going on.
     
  4. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    The large grain elevator complex gets away from what I'd think was usual in small town North America. And perhaps the cement plant. At least from where I have lived, or what I have seen. Otherwise, the other businesses would seem to fit in some fashion. But it's your empire and you are the one who must be happy with it.
     
  5. David K. Smith

    David K. Smith TrainBoard Supporter

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    I'm not as much concerned about the choice of industries as their placement. The grain silos effectively block the view of--and, in particular, access to--anything behind it, which includes several switches. Consider swapping this industry with the lumber yard.
     
  6. jimil

    jimil TrainBoard Member

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    That or make the front the back maybe? Most of the action seems to be in the rear 12" assuming the elevator side is the front. I'm tall and can reach 28" without knocking things over if I have to, but I still like having the bulk of the action in the first 12". That will carry an impact on the modeling of those industries, but 2 of the 3 on that side seem to be oriented to allow for reach around (instead of over). The elevator is not sited at all for reach around.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 19, 2014
  7. David K. Smith

    David K. Smith TrainBoard Supporter

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    Silos are really tall, and despite your reach, they can be a problem. You may want to think about adapting the track plan somewhat to suit the arrangement of industries. It might look something like this--

    [​IMG]

    2 by 8 feet in N scale is a very healthy space for a shelf layout. You have lots of room to play.
     
  8. Grey One

    Grey One TrainBoard Supporter

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    Does anyone have a link to 'Andrew Martin's' website? I seem to recall 10s of shelf layout plans but have lost the link. Thanks!
     
  9. Doug A.

    Doug A. TrainBoard Supporter

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    My two cents. Elevators, even large ones, can appear in disproportionately small towns. However, I agree that the cement plant of "railroad-served-size" would be rare in a smallish town. Here's what I would do...
    1. Put the large elevator on the back, as in David's new plan.
    2. Replace the cement plant with the lumberyard. (actually I would flip-flop the LP dealer and lumberyard as well...LP dealer would be on "edge of town" (safety issues) whereas lumberyard is more downtown/business center focused.
    3. Make the front industry another elevator...smaller with maybe a 4-silo concrete structure (easy to reach around) and a couple of smaller steel bins. (lower height)

    I like the plan, I would make the premise that the shortline operates the town and snakes off at an angle out of town (the curve track) and the "mainline" that is the straight line running off each end is a branchline of BNSF or UP or whomever. They interchange with you but otherwise aren't a huge presence. (and maybe there's talks of selling the line heading one way or another to you and only maintaining a single line into town for an eventual grain shuttle they are planning)
     
  10. txronharris

    txronharris TrainBoard Member

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    This is exaclty why I asked your opinions. Everyone here always has great input.

    I can see the reasoning in moving the larger elevator to the rear of the layout. I tried looking at the original plan reversing the front and back and it didn't seem to flow right. I think maybe adding a smaller elevator like Doug A. mentioned instead of a farm supply might help with additional places to put covered hoppers. The thought with the two tracks at the cement plant was that it would also receive materials in ortner hoppers like rocks or other materials to make cement but I agree that type of industry might be a little large for a small town. Looking at David's revised plan, maybe putting a smaller elevator where the lumber yard is and moving the lumber to the lower left where it says branchline might work?

    I still want to keep the small town feel since my shortline is kind of like Farmrail or the Kiamichi so it's hard to ballance that with having enough switching interest and operations to keep me interested.
     
  11. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    True. But my point is that is less common. In my town, we have one with 6 concrete silos/6 steel bins. It is very compact, keeps very busy, but is much, much smaller that what shows in those plans. The same can be true for a steel sheathed or even wooden version. Cars are spotted by trackmobile, and there can be quite a gaggle in town, awaiting loads, or pickup. Rather than a trackmobile, one could use such as an SW or old GP9, which would add some interest.

    Depends upon when it was established. Some are well within a town. Perhaps built that way, or the town grew up around it. There are a couple of examples in my vicinity. One is almost right down town.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 19, 2014
  12. Doug A.

    Doug A. TrainBoard Supporter

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    Less common, perhaps, but for a town that supports this level of industry, and grain being the driving force, it would not be unusual. And he mentioned Farmrail, which is what I was envisioning in the back of my mind and they host many large elevators along their lines. (although maybe some better scenery...lol)

    I'm not saying the LP siding would be wrong in that location. Just what I would do.
     
  13. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    I mis-typed. Six steel bins, not four. Anyhow, one can see possible compaction of such a facility. Note the building extending left of the elevator is feed store. Hay, grain, fencing and such. Owned by the same company, but not part of actual elevator operations. When they get really busy, trucks are lined up all over the place on adjacent streets, the facility is roaring 24/7.

    Elevator.jpg
     
  14. David K. Smith

    David K. Smith TrainBoard Supporter

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    The track marked "branchline" is used as a switchback. Putting an industry on that track means having to pull the cars out of the industry in order to serve the other one, then spot cars back on the switchback. Very awkward. Running the switchback off the layout as if it was a branchline or interchange justifies using it as a switchback, since a real railroad would not build a switchback like that--they'd simply run the lumber yard siding right off of the mainline.

    If you want two silos, honestly, I'd ditch the cement plant and put the other one there.

    [​IMG]

    "Much, much smaller"? You sure about that? I did a rough calculation on the size of the facility you posted, and it's actually larger than what's shown on the plan. Bear in mind, the real world is much bigger than most modelers realize, because we are so used to downsizing our buildings substantially in order to fit on small layouts. It's quite rare to see industries modeled properly to scale, because it takes so much layout real estate.

    As to the location of silos, I don't believe there needs to be any correlation with the size of an adjacent town. There's an enormous one in Pennsylvania I've driven past many times that's not even near any town at all. It's just there.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 19, 2014
  15. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    OK. What size?

    I know. We have many such examples here. I am referencing his plan as a comparison. Montana is a fair producer of grains. We have what has long been known as "The Golden Triangle" in our mid-state region.
     
  16. David K. Smith

    David K. Smith TrainBoard Supporter

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    I've superimposed a roughly scaled image of the facility you posted over the corresponding location on the plan. As you can see, it's larger--and it doesn't even include all of the silos! Which means, if the whole facility was modeled to scale, it would take substantially more layout space.

    [​IMG]

    A more typical silo facility, if modeled to scale, could fill half the layout or more, and the track servicing it would extend well beyond the layout perimeter.

    Also, modelers typically think in terms of using short switches (like #5 or #4) for industrial sidings. This may be appropriate for tight urban settings, but the switches in the sidings on that satellite view (which are far more typical) are closer to #10.

    The real world is waaaaay bigger than most modelers tend to think...
     
  17. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    Sorry, David. I'm not following your dimensionless supposition. What you've superimposed is the entire trackside length of the grain complex. It looks shorter than what was drawn. to me. I'm not seeing how four bins and a much smaller lift house are longer than six silos and a larger house.
     
  18. David K. Smith

    David K. Smith TrainBoard Supporter

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    The "six silos and a larger house" I drew were rendered at an arbitrary size merely to suggest a grain silo complex. It's not a scale drawing of anything that exists, either in real life or as a model product; it's merely an icon.

    I sized the image you posted based on track spacing and other features to match the scale of the track plan; it may be off by some amount, but not much. Then I dropped it in place over the faux silo on the plan.

    The point is that the complex in the image you posted, if built in N scale to match the prototype, is bigger than the "six silos and a larger house" on the track plan.

    Here I've placed the image of your silo complex beside (instead of over) the one I drew on the plan, so you can (hopefully) see what I'm talking about:

    [​IMG]

    The overarching point is that your example of a "small" complex is still quite large in the context of a layout.

    Follow now?
     
  19. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    For the six silo complex, I am picturing in mind what I am used to seeing, versus the four bins in that photo. So a real six definitely takes up more length, trackside. I fear you are looking at the adjacent building with a white-ish colored roof, as part of the complex? If so, as I noted earlier, that is not part of their grain facility. Only what is to the right of it. The brown roofed building is also unassociated, used by a moving company. The elevator is just that "L" shape seen. The small building at lower right is a drive through espresso stand, plus parking.
     
  20. David K. Smith

    David K. Smith TrainBoard Supporter

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    Regardless, look at the total area taken up by the just silos themselves; if arranged in a row, they would barely fit on the layout in the space allotted. Thus my point that your "small" facility is larger than you realize. Not just the linear space it occupies, but the area. And even if you only modeled the four trackside silos, and ditched everything else, it's not a whole lot smaller than what's drawn on the plan; it's hardly "much, much smaller" as you contend.

    [​IMG]

    Please provide a photographic example of this, and I would wager it could not possibly fit on the layout.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 20, 2014

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