Old School Trackplan

RailMix Jan 2, 2019

  1. Chops

    Chops TrainBoard Member

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    I am following your posts with great interest. This will be most exciting if you can pull it off.

    You may have already accounted for this, but if your turnouts lie near the base of a grade, you are in for a lot of trouble. The lateral pull and gradient is a very effective derailer; I learned that the hard way, too.

    In the model train layout, we are lucky to have, here in El Paso, was built in 1986 and has two duck unders: one you have to bend in a deep bow, the other can only be traversed on hand and knee. In 1986 it was a nuisance to bend and crawl, in our present age it has become debilitating to many of the members.

    Hmmm, your space predicament is highly common to many of us. It certainly sounds you have thought this through, but my own experience is that trying to wedge too much into too little to be he railroad to Hell. Perhaps you will succeed where I have fallen flat on my face. Always remember: "what doesn't kill you, leaves you in jagged little pieces."

    Just for the sake of the conversation regarding space, I also dabble in British OO. For one thing, a lot of freight cars, and some 19th century style coaches, have but two axles. That was fine, until I got interested in later coaches with double bogies. That, in golfing parlance, became a double bogie, and I was forced to rethink and rebuild.

    Presently, my interests have taken me down the road of building micro layouts, the current project being 40 inches by 32 inches, just to see how much I could do scenery wise to project a broader image. That, and it is small enough to stuff into my hatchback with an eye to taking to the occasional model rail exhibit.
     
    Last edited: Jan 29, 2019
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  2. RailMix

    RailMix TrainBoard Member

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    I designed for flex track and a variety of turnouts as needed. The original plan was designed in the 50's at a time when handlaid track was much more common. Sectional track wasn't specified then, either
    Yeah, that's one of the things I thought about. I don't get along with duckunders very well any more, so I want the layout high enough and open enough underneath to accommodate a low rolling chair for any rerailing or maintenance on hidden track. Also want to install some sort of removable guards for preventing equipment from taking the long trip to the floor. I'll definitely look at the turnout as derailer issue. I hadn't thought about that one. I will also consider putting a liftout between Erewhon and Greenriver. At this point, though, the biggest issue I see is the grades themselves and just what length of trains I can pull on them. Just found this discussion on grades:

    http://cs.trains.com/mrr/f/88/t/161574.aspx

    Sounds like 3% should be no problem for the older Mantua stuff. These guys are pulling longer trains than would even fit on this layout.
     
    Last edited: Jan 29, 2019
  3. gjslsffan

    gjslsffan Staff Member

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    I am enjoying this thread as well. I am one of those guys lucky enough to build a larger MRR 50'X30'. But I gotta tell you I had more fun running trains on that 12'x12' MRR in a spare bedroom. The one thing I have learned is to never, ever build another as big and complicated again. So I am looking on with great interest. Those heavy grades were common here in CO on the narrow gauge outfits. From an operational point, you may consider doubling your trains on these grades, that was a very common practice to conserve crew starts and power, especially for short distances. That will also lend operating realism for you.
    Please carry on Tom!
     
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  4. country joe

    country joe TrainBoard Member

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    Very good suggestion, Warren. My track plans were made with Kato Unitrack with the minimum curve being 315mm (12 3/8") radius. Either plan could be made with flex track or adapted to another brand of sectional track. I don't know if a double crossover is available from other track brands but there is enough room in both plans to use two single crossovers in place of a double crossover.

    The first plan I posted is as built. The second is before actually building the layout. I don't remember changing the mainline at all but I changed the industrial spurs during construction. I also moved the turntable to the upper right and straightened the yard tracks. I take a plan as a suggestion, even one I designed myself, as I find that what looks good on paper, or a computer screen, doesn't alway look good when built or can be improved by tweaking.
     
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  5. RailMix

    RailMix TrainBoard Member

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    I hadn't thought about doubling the hill, but at the bottom of the 4% grade there is a passing siding to leave half of the train on and at the top half could be left on the flour mill spur. Gotta figure out which solution is cooler. Might try both that and the helper and see which one I like best.
     
  6. RailMix

    RailMix TrainBoard Member

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    Please don't take this part too seriously because I can't resist it. Hell is actually not too far from where I work.:LOL:, and yes, Mother was mistaken. The road to Hell is actually paved with asphalt. I think I may be at least somewhat safe because I don't think there was ever a railroad that ran there.

    I will, however,make my best attempt to pay attention to that advice as I have fallen victim to similar problems from time to time in the past.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hell,_Michigan

    Seriously, I really do hope the whole thing doesn't become that kind of a problem. I will definitely keep your other piece of advice (better than I've ever heard it said) in mind:

    "Always remember, 'What doesn't kill you leaves you in little jagged pieces.' " Words to live (and be cautious) by.
     
  7. RailMix

    RailMix TrainBoard Member

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    Any joking aside, you've brought up some very valid points, which I've now had a little time to reflect on and have come up with the following:

    !. Hicksville- Placing the alignment pins in the center near the location of the tracks and clamping the sections together out at the sides should minimize alignment issues. The turntable is less than a 2 foot reach, but the mainline running behind it is somewhat of a concern. In a pinch I think it could be accessed though the window (layout will be built in a small guest house) although that would admittedly not be much fun on a 0F day like today.

    2. Greenriver- Any place not reachable through the removable harbor would have to be accessed through the window. Again not that much fun but doable. Definitely an incentive to do good trackwork.
     
  8. traingeekboy

    traingeekboy TrainBoard Member

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    I like that point to point plan.

    My advice, do not hide too much track, it will come back to bite you. See if you can produce some kind of continuous run on your mainline, it's fun to sit back and let them run sometimes. ;)
     
  9. RailMix

    RailMix TrainBoard Member

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    Point taken on the hidden track, Geeky. In fact, I have grappled extensively with the two things you have mentioned and found them to be the price of a longer mainline run. I intend to make certain that all hidden track is readily accessible from underneath. The possibility of a continuous run connection has eluded me due to the differences in elevation, but I haven't given up on it completely yet.
    Also just bought a trestle set off Ebay-(shipping was more than the item) one of those with the different heights of piers to use in constructing test grades of 3 and 4 percent as Chops suggested, worked around an 18" radius curve to check the practicality of the 3% grade, the use of helpers or doubling on the 4% grade, etc. Will post later on the results of those tests.
     
  10. traingeekboy

    traingeekboy TrainBoard Member

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    You also mentioned train lengths: "My question is, do these ideas about train length and grades sound workable to you guys? I know the diesels I'll use in the more modern era can handle some pretty tough grades, but what do you think about such light steam as the Mantua ten wheeler and prairie and an IHC 4-4-0? "

    I don't know about those locos. I am actually keeping an eye out for both at a reasonable price. Older trains were shorter.

    I would say that it might be worth laying out 3 pieces of flex on a long 2x4 and just testing. The thing of concern is that curves create drag already, A incline on a curve could be an issue. You could also solve this problem by getting some old diesels and turning them into cheater cars by hiding them under freight cars. An old SW type can fit in a boxcar, or combine.

    I would add that if I recall correctly the IHC 4-4-0 is built by Pocher. I would think it is a reliable unit
     
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  11. RailMix

    RailMix TrainBoard Member

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    Old School Track plan- Latest Version:

    BC&BA V4.jpg

    I've left this thread alone for a while pending the completion of my grade experiments and other research and have made some minor changes to the plan in the meantime. Compare to the earlier version above. One thing I have decided in view of an account I read online is to use Bachmann EZ Track on the hidden 3% grade I have come to think of as the "mini helix". According to that individual, the reliability is superior to that of flex track unless you are very accomplished at track laying. Although access will be provided, derailments in this area would be more fun to do without. I decided on EZ Track over Kato Unitrack due to the available 18" radius and also due to Bachmann's 18" radius rerailer sections. The location of rerailers is shown on the plan. As was suggested earlier in this thread, I've provided a number of these in the hidden areas. In the area of the 4% grade at upper left on the plan, I have elected to use 19-1/4" radius Kato Unitrack. This will also be used on the hidden track to staging with one of their short rerailer sections at the entrance to the staging cassettes.
    As far as the grade pull tests are concerned, I was very pleased that they did prove out the practicality of the plan and in the case of the IHC 4-4-0 were a pleasant surprise.

    https://www.trainboard.com/highball/index.php?threads/grade-pull-test.124473/

    I have noted that other members here have experienced a wide variety of results in this area, so the experiments were well worth doing.
     
    Last edited: Apr 23, 2019
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  12. Chops

    Chops TrainBoard Member

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    Sounds good. I applaud you putting in rerailers in those hidden, or otherwise hard to get to spots. Murphy's Law says the train will always derail where
    you can't reach it.
     
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  13. RailMix

    RailMix TrainBoard Member

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    You're right about that for sure. This track plan pushes the envelope somewhat in several respects, so it's definitely a good idea to take precautions against Murphy. I'll also be providing access to all hidden track along with guard walls made of 1/8" Masonite or acrylic to prevent anything from taking the long trip to the floor, but going under the layout to retrieve derailed trains is still a lot more fun to do without.
    I was also very pleased to discover Bachmann's curved rerailer sections during a visit to my LHS. This allowed me to hide all the rerailers, which I regarded as a definite plus.
     
  14. RailMix

    RailMix TrainBoard Member

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    Since I was concerned about both clearances and tracks that run on top of each other, I built a detailed CAD model of the benchwork just to make sure it was workable. This is what I came up with. Due to the need for access to hidden track from underneath I felt that a grid would work better than L-Girder.

    Bench1.jpg
    I used 3/4" plywood over the framework and will build the roadbed for the left side of the layout mostly from extruded foam. Due to its complexity, the right hand side appears to lend itself better to the use of risers and plywood roadbed as used by Stew D.
    See link:

    https://www.trainboard.com/highball/index.php?media/freight-yard-supports.17559/

    Bench2.jpg
    Note that no attempt was made to model the grades in the roadbed.
    The upper level roadbed also mostly uses risers. The lower level area at left will be used for cassette staging.

    Bench3.jpg
    Bench4.jpg
    Areas where roadbed is not present will be supported by bridgework. Suggestions are welcome.
     
  15. RailMix

    RailMix TrainBoard Member

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    Typo: The lower level area at right will be used for cassette staging.
     
  16. Chops

    Chops TrainBoard Member

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    The track ascending from what appears to be a crossing in the foreground, magneta and red riser looks problematic. The ascent would be quite sharp,
    no? Also, from hard experience, having a turnout, or crossing, at the base of a slope is guaranteed derailment city.

    Maybe I'm looking at it wrong.
     
  17. RailMix

    RailMix TrainBoard Member

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    Good point. I assume you are talking about the circled area in the image. There is a 1.5" rise in a 45" run from the crossing to the crest of the grade (where it crosses the lower level track roughly at the center of the layout) or about a 3.3% grade. You are correct in that the crossing is at the base of the grade, which I had neglected to consider. Probably the best solution would be to start the grade a foot or so back into the loop as this problem also exists on the other leg. This would also make the grade slightly easier- now about 2.6%- and the grade on the leg that runs around the outside of the layout, which is around 4% up to the bridge at the right rear, would also decrease.

    Bench4a_LI.jpg
     
  18. Chops

    Chops TrainBoard Member

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    That's one crossing, and given that it is already on the gradient slope it does not concern me as much as the crossing (or is it an overpass?) to its right
    in the magenta, or pink, sector. My feeling on the circled crossing is that it conforms to a consistent slope on both sides.

    Where I got into trouble was when the crossing formed part of the transition from gradient to flat. The magenta yard, with the double crossing is rather
    dramatic. Now it appears to circle back across the turntable? So through trains would traverse a turntable? Through the roundhouse?
     
  19. RailMix

    RailMix TrainBoard Member

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    OK, I see what you're talking about. Your confusion is probably due to the fact that I did not "bend" the roadbed to conform to the risers (more of a pain in CAD and makes it more difficult to use as a 2D pattern later). Both of the crossings in that area are actually accomplished with bridges, there being at least 3" of separation. In the right rear corner, the mainline doesn't cross the turntable, but makes a curve behind it and the roundhouse. There is a spur there that is intended to serve the coal and sand facilities, but I think that will be relocated, probably as a second turntable lead. The 2D track plan shown earlier in the thread may clarify that somewhat.
     
  20. RailMix

    RailMix TrainBoard Member

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    I haven't posted here in a while because I've been busy on CAD developing cutting patterns for the benchwork as shown below. Given the complexity and number of pieces involved, I decided to make a detailed pattern to minimize material waste. Material will be 3/4" birch plywood. Unused areas will supply material for staging cassettes. I am now regarding this thread as complete other than replying to any suggestions or questions. It's been an interesting project so far. When I am ready to start actual construction I will start another thread in the HO Scale forum.

    Benchwork Pattern Final.jpg
     

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