Still tweaking the MPRR

Vaccam May 17, 2011

  1. Vaccam

    Vaccam TrainBoard Member

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    Hi all,

    I am still trying to add more operational interest to my layout. N scale 76 inch by 44 inch (50 inch if I make my desired changes), with access to all sides. Early diesel era, possibly in the Cascades. I am using ME code 55 flex track with Fast Tracks #6 turnouts. I hope I am not moving too close to spaghetti bowl.

    My first addition was to add hidden staging below my layout, this can be seen in the first shot below. The hidden staging is meant mainly for holding passenger trains in waiting, as well as a general route for making it seam like the trains have left the area for a time.

    The second picture shows a more defined industrial area in the center of the layout, using the right hand curve as an arrival track, the lower center section will have three industries, a team track and a runaround for a switcher. The above section would be two additional industries, possibly a mine. The gap by the switch in the upper center is an xtrkcadd error.

    In the lower portion of the track I have included a small yard with a runaround and a two bay engine house also an industry in the lower right corner. I got the idea for the yard from New York, Ontario & Western Ry. Kingston Branch track plan which originally appeared in the 2000 issue of Great Model Railroads. If you are a Model Railroader subscriber you can click here. I don't think it is legal to post the picture.

    So here are the before and after photos. The after would give me two destinations plus passenger and other traffic coming from a location off layout.

    Your comments and suggestions are very much appreciated, good or bad.

    Before:

    [​IMG]

    After:

    [​IMG]

    Thanks for looking,

    Michael
     
  2. Harron

    Harron TrainBoard Supporter

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    Your overall plan looks ok to me - it is a little busy for my taste but isn't overboard. I've attached a suggestion for your yard - which is currently only 1 track!

    On the right you should extend a yard switching lead up towards the top of the plan. This will allow you to switch without interference to the trains running around. What I've shown in the first attachment is a "pinwheel" type yard ladder that will give you slightly longer yard tracks. It also moves your enginehouse to the lower right - effectively giving you another track.

    When you build a runaround in a yard, you only need to make the escape track (the "tail") as long as your longest engine consist. The long lead you have toward the left is simply wasted space. The second attachment shows the modifications I would make to your yard as it is now without reworking the ladder extensively. It gives you a long runaround for your A/D tracks, ample switching room, and an additional storage track.

    So there's a few things for you to consider.
     

    Attached Files:

  3. Vaccam

    Vaccam TrainBoard Member

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    Harron,

    Thanks for your suggestions and taking the effort and time to draw it out. I can see benefits to both; the first takes up less room with only 4 tracks vs. 5, and allows for longer trains/tracks. I do like the extended yard lead. I will see if I can work them both out in xtrkcadd. Do you prefer one over the other?

    Thanks again,

    Michael
     
  4. Harron

    Harron TrainBoard Supporter

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    I'm betting you can fit 5 tracks in either way - my rough MS paint sketch is certainly not to scale. Remember with your enginehouse on the left the lead to it isn't really a yard track - you can't store cars there without blocking the house in.

    Without seeing the Xtrkcad versions I couldn't offer an opinion on which I like better. I'm proficient in it myself but it's quicker to get the ideas out with a paint sketch rather than re-creating your layout. I do know the first one actually has more storage space then the second.
     
  5. Vaccam

    Vaccam TrainBoard Member

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    Thanks, I will work them both out in Xtrkcad over the next few days.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 18, 2011
  6. Vaccam

    Vaccam TrainBoard Member

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    Harron and others,

    Here are the changes worked up in xtrkcad, which do you prefer? I removed the two spurs at the top center, hoping it makes the track less busy.

    First one, close to my orriginal design:

    [​IMG]

    Second one, Herron's modified version:

    [​IMG]

    I am liking both versions. Need to make up my mind. Or something else?

    The second provides a much larger yard, not sure if I need that much though. But it is probably one of those things that you can never have too much. The yard throat it a bit different, did I get is correct?

    Thanks for looking,

    Michael
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 19, 2011
  7. Harron

    Harron TrainBoard Supporter

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    Yep, as I mentioned your second revision (my first) has more storage space - and is what I would use if it were my layout. It is a much better design. You have one-and-a-half tracks on the first one, three tracks on the second. Here's how the I see the yard tracks being utilized in each version, starting from the bottom (track 1) and moving up.

    Your version 1:
    Track 1 - Left edge (left of the leftmost crossover) is the tail for the runaround, between the crossovers is the runaround, right of the rightmost crossover is the switcher pocket.
    Track 2 - Left edge is a caboose or rip track, arrival/departure runs to the ladder, then the switching lead beyond it.
    Track 3&4 - Classification
    Track 5 - Enginehouse lead

    Your version 2:
    Track 1: Left edge is caboose or rip track, between the crossovers is the runaround and enginehouse lead, and then the enginehouse.
    Track 2: Left edge is the tail for the runaround, then the arrival/departure track all the way to the "high switch" for the yard ladder.
    Track 3 thru 5: Classification.

    With Version 2, your outbound trains should fit between the right crossover and the left edge of track 2 when built and shoved off by the switcher. Then the road power can come out of the house a make a quick zig-zag through the crossover and be right on the head end of the train. A train pulling in to yard on track 2 should fit between the left crossover and the "high switch" of the yard. The road power cuts off and goes through the left crossover and straight to the house down track 1 while the yard power comes from the yard side and couples onto the rear to begin switching.
     
  8. Vaccam

    Vaccam TrainBoard Member

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    Harron,

    Thanks for the great explanation on how this yard would work. I agree this is much better and will be using your version. One question, where would the switcher pocket be, or does the switcher just sit at the top of one of the classification yards?

    Thanks for all the info. It should be very helpful.

    Michael
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 19, 2011
  9. Harron

    Harron TrainBoard Supporter

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    Yep, just over in the class yard on the ladder is fine - the idea is they would be tying on to the next track and getting ready to switch it while the road crew is getting ready to leave. No "switcher pocket" necessary. Either that or they could pull up the lead above the mainline crossover (in either version)
     
  10. Vaccam

    Vaccam TrainBoard Member

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    Harron,

    Great! That is more than I expected. I appreciate all your help and will be sure to post my progress. It will probalby be a while before I actually start construction of this part of the layout.

    Michael
     
  11. Grey One

    Grey One TrainBoard Supporter

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    I definitely like the 2nd version.
    Very nice!
     
  12. traingeekboy

    traingeekboy TrainBoard Member

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    I am partial to the pre harron version, only because it isn't yard heavy. Not knowing what kind of trains you plan to run the track plan makes me think it will be a steam era layout with tall pine trees.

    since you have staging already in hiding. I would be tempted top put a reverse loop in there too. That way trains from staging can be turned and ready to return to your terminal.
     
  13. Vaccam

    Vaccam TrainBoard Member

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    Thanks Grey One! I have enjoyed reading your post... From humble beginings. Your yard will be very nice.

    Michael
     
  14. Vaccam

    Vaccam TrainBoard Member

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    traingeekboy,

    Can you tell me which version you are referring too, maybe by post#? I am not sure if you mean my original or one of the others.

    I plan to run mostly early diesel. I do not think I have the room for a proper steam yard, unless you have some other ideas. With the current changes the width is at 50 inches, I am pushing my limit on reach.

    I hope to have one steam passenger train and one diesel passenger train in waiting in staging, with one going east and one going west. They would take turns doing the runaround and then head back to staging. The yard would service the town in the center, and possibly a freight train from hidden staging. With signaling I could have three trains in hidden staging, but then I would lose the through route.

    ***Edit: The above in blue would not work. My trains would be stuck in the yard.

    Of course I would like to be able to throw in a more modern diesel from time to time as well. We want to have it all don’t we?

    Thanks for looking,

    Michael
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 19, 2011
  15. Harron

    Harron TrainBoard Supporter

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    I think he is referring to your original post, the "after" plan. My response to that sentiment is as follows.

    Vaccam put the yard in because he wanted one. The "yard" he added wasn't functional as a yard - it has a single storage track with a short runaround. The fact he included those elements tells me he's interested in something operational, so I pointed him in a direction that allowed the best use of the available space.

    There are certainly options to reduce the size of the yard. For example you could start the ladder for the 3 class tracks (3 thru 5) once you come parallel to the bottom instead of on the curve - which will shorten the tracks slightly.

    Ultimately it's up to the person who's building the layout. I can only offer suggestions.
     
  16. Vaccam

    Vaccam TrainBoard Member

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    Corey,

    I like the 5 tracks and the operational features and options it offers. That is my plan and I am sticking to it. :tb-biggrin:

    Thanks again,

    Michael
     
  17. Vaccam

    Vaccam TrainBoard Member

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    I hadn't thought about a reverse loop in the staging area. Ugh, more track... That would keep me from having to back in or out of the yard. Hmm.

    I guess it might fit like this. The radius might be a bit small, but it could be for freight only..

    [​IMG]

    Thanks for looking,

    Michael
     
  18. traingeekboy

    traingeekboy TrainBoard Member

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    Yeah I think it was plan #2 I was looking at.

    The big yard is a good yard on the suggested changes, no problems there. I have weird aesthetics when it comes to model railroads. For me, sometimes things can get overpowering. I scrapped my last layout because although it was very functional my yard sort of overpowered the overall look of the layout. I somehow managed to design myself into a corner on that layout. It looked good on paper, but once built it just didn't look right. Yeah it worked, but the track wasn't "pretty to look at".

    The mainline on this layout should dictate how long trains and spurs are. Trains that are much longer than less than a half curve and a straight section would probably be too much to look at on this layout.

    I see those long yard tracks on the suggested design, and for me it overpowers the rest of the layout because those tracks can hold a train that is much too big for the rest of the layout. Once again it isn't that the yard is a bad design per se, it's the ratio between yard and rest of layout.

    But I am very quirky about layout design so others should take my advice based on that. On my new tiny layout (2x3 n scale). I chose to work less track in. My yard is only two tracks. One is a storage track, the other is a track where I can park locos and cabooses. I too am using smaller diesels, an ICG gp38 and a N&W sd35 is all I have for this layout.

    I also worry about lots of hidden track. Hidden track will become dirty track. Tunnels are cool but they aren't cool at all when trains just disappear in there. Or when you bump the layout with your hip and all the trains roll over in hard to get places.

    Another thing, It's very easy to draw things on paper that look good. Yet the lines we draw do not really show how much space things need. Sometimes it's good to go to the benchwork and set pieces of track down and place switches where we think they should be. I also like to put cars and locos on the area I am designing. Structures help too.

    I suppose it's a draw on paper then lay it out and see how it feels. Re-draw on paper and then make more changes. Back and forth till it really comes together.

    Oh boy I do get wordy, sorry.
     
  19. traingeekboy

    traingeekboy TrainBoard Member

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    Oh boy, I looked more and more at the plans and can totally see why the 3rd??? version yard is so big, the staging tracks imply that trains will be very long. If trains were the length of the staging then the original yard can't handle them.
     
  20. Vaccam

    Vaccam TrainBoard Member

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    No problem. I appreciate your incite and you make a lot of sense.



    Actually the trains in the hidden staging were never meant for the Yard. I may have not made that very clear. The trains in the hidden staging, west and east bound passenger trains, leave the hidden staging, run around a bit and return to the hidden staging tracks. They are through trains.

    My mainline and branch line curves are relatively broad at 13.5 inch to 17.5 inch vs. the narrow yard radius of 11.5 inch. The lower yard is only meant for freight in the 40 or 50 foot range. The same goes for the town in the center of the layout, that is freight only. I plan on having a passenger station either along the straight section along the top on the mainline or the straight section along the bottom on the branch line leading into staging.

    I sure hope dirty tracks don't become a problem. I will try to keep on top of that.
    I guess it is a case of me wanting to have more functionality than my space will allow.

    Thanks again for your input.

    Michael
     

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