Soliciting Layout Design Ideas

texasdon Feb 17, 2004

  1. texasdon

    texasdon E-Mail Bounces

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    Greg, Boxcab, Ted, and any other S Gaugers,

    I decided to post this question in here rather than in the layout design category because I hope to plug in specifically to some S Scale experience. I will also look for some help from the local Houston S Gaugers. I can host a meeting at my house and get some ideas from them as well.

    It is now time to turn my attention to a plan for my home layout. I would like to get the design reasonably firm over the next couple of months so I can do the construction over the summer. My daughter will be in Spain on a foreign exchange program, so I can store the things which I promised the exchequery (my wife) we would store under the layout in my daughters room during benchwork construction.

    I would like a few ideas from any of you on what makes sense. I intend to model somewhere in the 1950's or 1960's with four axle diesels and 40-50 foot cars. My initial thoughts and goals include:

    Provide as long as possible continuous run for those times when I just want to watch my trains run.

    Provide some sort of staging (hidden if possible) to allow 2-3 trains to be employed during operations.

    Provide a small yard and some industries for switching operations.

    I would like to attempt to do this with 15 turnouts or less. This is more of an intellectual challenge than a fixed number. I want to see if I can create something interesting yet simple to build, operate, and maintain.

    I have a space at one end of a bedroom, The space is roughly 12'x12' (I still need to get precise measurements). My thought is to create a long loop of track by passing it over itself in some sort of elongated figure 8. The staging yard would be underneath the main scenic feature of the layout, which I intend to make as a small but prosperous town - say a county seat with several industries. Any thoughts or ideas?
     
  2. Greg Elems

    Greg Elems Staff Member

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    Sounds like a duck under or lift out bridge will be needed Don. Have you considered a two layer layout, with the staging yard underneath? For one of your switching zones, consider a John Allen "Timesaver" which includes a short run around. I've been playing with one of those and they only need 4 or 5 switches to keep you busy.

    Greg
     
  3. texasdon

    texasdon E-Mail Bounces

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    Greg,

    I will probably live with a duckunder rather than bother with the added complexities of the lift bridge. I am thinking about a two layer layout with the staging yard under my main town. I have seen a lot of published plans which do something like that. I want to avoid the space consumption of a helix between levels, so it will probably end up being a glorified figure 8 time arrangement with a lower and upper level. The timesaver idea is a good one. I will look into that somemore. I have a couple of articles about the concept.

    I have been giving some general thought to what makes sense. Typical operations would like be to run the trains around for about 30 minutes in the evening just to chill and play. A serious operating session might be a bit longer with some real industrial switching. I will not have the space to build a huge world class layout which would keep 20 people busy all evening. A better compromise is one which can amuse 2 people for an hour or two by having one person run trains on the main and the other switch between a small yard and the industries. If I keep the track plan reasonably simple, I can minimize maintenance issues which would take time away from running trains. If I pay attention to the general problem at hand and do some decent scenery, the whole thing should be satisfactory to me.
     
  4. TRZP1800

    TRZP1800 E-Mail Bounces

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    Hi Don:
    Since it takes a fair amount of real estate to drop a train below the board, consider raising your layout steadily as it goes around the room and then droping it back down again. Then you can drop down into your yard in the same area. This way, you only have to raise or lower half of your layout a half step each.

    In other words, at the entry door the layout elevation is 48-inches, by the time you get to the opposite side the board height has risen to 54-inches, then it drops back down to 48 when it gets back to the door. At the same time, your staging yard access track starts at the door at 48-inches and drops down to 42 inches. It can continue around the loop and climb back up to 48 or it can dead end.

    The heights are arbitrary, as is the starting point for the change in elevations, it's just trying to use the same idea of as a split level house so you don't have to try and drop to the yard in just 12 feet.

    I agree it sounds like you'll have to do a 'round the room layout, especially if you'll be running any passenger equipment. No reason you can't vary the depth of your benchwork or even cut across a corner to try and "break out of the box".

    Regards,
    Ted
     
  5. Greg Elems

    Greg Elems Staff Member

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    Hi Don,

    Any idea's come down the track your way yet? I was thinking that the duck under should be narrow as possible and as high as possible. With a twice around the room and an over and under you could do either a narrow or high one. Teds idea about going down and up, makes sense. Use your duck under has the height to work up and down from. Also, if you have your lower track loop not as big as the upper, you can have a staging yard on the same level with the upper track on a shelf above it and a scenery block to hide the yard. If you need to access the staging yard, lift out the scene block. Just some idea's that have been floating around here. :D

    Greg
     
  6. texasdon

    texasdon E-Mail Bounces

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    Greg and Ted,

    I think I found an idea I like in the current issue of Model Railroader. I am playing with some study sketches as time allows. Its basically a continuous loop with a yard on one side, a town on the other side, and an extension in the middle for an industrial area. Its towards the back of the magazine. The design is a 9x14 HO layout based on a plan published years ago in Model Railroader. It looks like it fits a lot of bills for me including lending itself to modular construction and providing a chance to either run them for fun or to do some real switching. I'll keep you posted, although probably irregularly the next couple of weeks as I will be traveling some.
     
  7. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 HOn30 & N Scales Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    Don-

    I do not receive Model Railroader. Wish I could see the layout that you've referenced. Hope you'll have a sketch to post soon.

    :D

    Boxcab E50
     
  8. texasdon

    texasdon E-Mail Bounces

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    I plan to create a basic design using CADRAIL. I should be able to save that as a postable image, so I will post it. It will probably be sometime in April, as I will be traveling much of the next two weeks.
     
  9. Greg Elems

    Greg Elems Staff Member

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    Don,

    I saw the layout in MR you were talking about. Not a bad idea. I like the fact there is a switch lead so that you wouldn't foul the mainline while you switch. The peninsula for some industry is a nice idea too. [​IMG]
    Ken, here is an approximation of the layout.

    Greg

    [ 13. March 2004, 08:13: Message edited by: Greg Elems ]
     
  10. TRZP1800

    TRZP1800 E-Mail Bounces

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    Greg,
    The tough part is converting that to "S". Looks great as is, lots of possibilities. The "lower" staging yard could be under the peninsula. Since the mainline is a half step up you can see under it better and you can more easily get to both sides so you can keep the tracks close together and still reach in over stuff. Likes you comment about the movable screens for the staging. Helps with the illusion. I like those layouts that at least in some areas, take the scenery to the floor or ceiling.

    The duck under in the upper right works well with the door.

    Regards,
    Ted
     
  11. Greg Elems

    Greg Elems Staff Member

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    This layout has some merit. In the magazine the staging would have been on the right where there is a siding. Running a staging yard down under the peninsula is a good idea. My main idea was to translate the drawing from MR in its basic form for visualization. I know it wasn't what I visualized before I saw it. If Don goes with this idea, he should have a very nice layout for operation and railfanning. I don't know how many other people would be operating it with him but two people could do their thing comfortably.

    I like this discussion, lets keep it going.

    Greg
     
  12. TRZP1800

    TRZP1800 E-Mail Bounces

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    See, i think the scale of "S" gauge equipment is going to force a number of revisions. If each module is 24-inches wide and the aisles are 36-inches, that fills up the room north/south. An "S" turntable is about 22-24 inches unless you limit it to handling smaller equipment.

    When we do a Tee module it needs to be at least 30 inches deep and then you have a 48-inch throat module. In total thats about 60-inches before you're clear of the turnouts on onto yard track. So the staging yard tracks would be about 36-inches. That's about 4 cars max isn't it? I think 40 foot boaxcars are about 8-inches long.

    I think one or maybe both aisles need to drop down to 24-inches. Keep a wider area at the end of the peninsula for two people to pass. Though my gut tells me to keep a wider aisle for those times when friends come over and want to see the setup. You can't stand at the door and see much. You've gotta "duck under".

    I think i'd segregate my curve and yard tracks so i could simulate a wider curved mainline for through trains and tighten things up on all the sidings and most of the yard to maximize trackage and operational possibilities.
    Reagrds,
    Ted

    [ 13. March 2004, 23:36: Message edited by: TRZP1800 ]
     
  13. TRZP1800

    TRZP1800 E-Mail Bounces

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    I REALLY need to spell check my posts! Boy!
     
  14. Greg Elems

    Greg Elems Staff Member

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    The HO layout uses 24" radius curves and has 2' isles. Your revisions are valid. S takes up just enough more room that there will have to be some things taken out or moved. I think the yard could be at a different angle and eliminate the turn table. I would add at least one more stub end track for switching and in place of the round house have a couple of stub tracks for engines and cabooses. Don is going to make this a diesel layout so the round house is a non issue in my book. I don't know about Don, but I know 2' isles won't really be enough for 3 or 4 people. Two might be able to keep out of each others way.
    I hope Don likes our kibitzing :D about his layout.

    Greg
     
  15. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 HOn30 & N Scales Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    That's an interesting looking plan. Has some good points.

    Just a thought- I've operated on a couple of layouts that had tight spaces. 24-30" aisles. We were having so much fun, that the tight passage for people was hardly noticed. What the layout was giving to us outweighed the act of squeezing by each other.

    :D

    Boxcab E50
     
  16. Greg Elems

    Greg Elems Staff Member

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    [​IMG]
    Ok, I made a few changes. The red is down to a lower level staging yard. The main yard in orange has been changed as to the mainline. I added a quick and dirty indsutry area on the old mainline.

    Greg
     
  17. texasdon

    texasdon E-Mail Bounces

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    Hi everyone,

    You have some really good suggestions and I appreciate them. I will take these and use them when I get around to modifying the design for my own use. I have a space about 13'x14'. I will not have any closets or such to work around, which is what the MR plan had to deal with. As Greg mentions, I plan to use 4 axle diesels, so I won't need elaborate locomotive facilities or a turntable. I do plan to use 30" aisles and a trainboard depth of 24-30". I figure there will only be space for 2-3 people operating, but that is fine with me. "Real" operations will be switching between the yard and the town and industrial area. The continuous loop is there mostly for those times when I want to just run them and look at them. Like the author in the MR story, I have a lot of time and skill constraints. This layout is simple enough for me to get up and running. If I pay attention to what I am doing, I can create a challenging set of switching problems to maintain operating interest. If I pay attention to making some nice scenic vignettes around the layout, it should be pretty attractive as well. Keep the ideas coming, as I appreciate them.
     
  18. Greg Elems

    Greg Elems Staff Member

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    While perusing some e mail, I found this link to an interesting layout.
    http://layoutdesigns.com/gwm1.html
    As an island type layout for display, it has some interesting possibilities. It could be widened with a duck under and have it as an around the wall with some staging added underneath the switch back section. Thoughts, idea's, improvements.

    Greg
     
  19. texasdon

    texasdon E-Mail Bounces

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    Hey gang, I am back from a long weekend cruise to Mexico. Keep the ideas coming, as I really enjoy them. I intend to design to 30" minimum aisles. I would like more, but I think Boxcab has a good point. 30" is a normal door, so two folks can squeeze past...we need more attractive women in model railroading. I also won't need a turntable with 4 axle diesels, so I won't invest the space for it. I think I want to go with 30" minimum radius on curves. Any thoughts on curve radii for S scale switching?
     
  20. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 HOn30 & N Scales Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    Don-

    I learned from Tomalco, their turnout radiuses. Then I chalked out circles on the basement floor. The smallest was the #4, which is 21 inch. Looking at those outlines on the floor, at least to me, once you start getting under 21", while still easily negotiable, they seem to look awkward. Becoming tight in appearance.

    Perhaps if you chalked out some assorted circles, you could get a feel for what may look decent. What might work for you.

    :D

    Boxcab E50
     

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