Still tweaking the MPRR

Vaccam May 17, 2011

  1. TwinDad

    TwinDad TrainBoard Member

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    Thanks.

    Here's a slightly different version just to clarify things, since it seems to me my use of "A" might be ambiguous...

    All of the track I showed goes entirely on the layout extension to the left, at "C".

    So on this one, you can see where your "A" connects in... on the right. The track marked "D" is a dummy track. It is the "other mainline" that you interchange with, but you never actually run trains on it. It's just scenery.

    The stuff at "E" below the blue line might not actually be modeled - it's off the layout in the operator's lap - but its presence is implied by the alignment of the track "D" and the spur coming off the siding.

    Note that I shifted track "D" (used to be "A") to show that it doesn't have to (and probably shouldn't) cross both the main and siding.

    The turnout to the industry at "C" could be anywhere along the main and the spur could also cross the "other main" if you wanted.

    Note also that this is NOT a true wye. It's a crossing. You could make it a wye by adding another curved track to the right of the other main as Kursplat mentioned, but then you'd have to get permission from the other RR's dispatcher to use it.

    In other news, adding the second connection at (your) "A" to form a wye between the yard lead and your existing layout is probably a good idea. I don't think I'd do the second-yard-lead extension, though. Just a simple wye.
     

    Attached Files:

  2. Vaccam

    Vaccam TrainBoard Member

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    TwinDad,

    Thanks for the clarification, that helps a lot.

    I drew it up and here is what it looks like. The yellow bars are 25 inches long. I inserted them to help judge if I am over extending my reach. I am 5' 7" normal build, I am not quite sure what my reach would be with the bench at 44 inches or so. I decided to try drawing it allowing for a train to get to the industry C via the mainline.


    [​IMG]

    Thanks for looking,

    Michael
     
  3. kursplat

    kursplat TrainBoard Member

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    hey, i like that.
    i am wondering about the yards so far toward the walls though. all the buildings, (if you use any) will be blocking the view of the track and in the way of reaching cars. or are you going for an industrial look with the tracks some what obscured?
     
  4. Vaccam

    Vaccam TrainBoard Member

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    Thanks kursplat,

    The tracks will not be that close to the walls. I just did not have time to modify the layout to fit with the walls. I plan on moving the yard closer to the front of the shelf and I would like to add more features such as RIP and maybe some engine service facilities and probably use some flats along that wall as industries and/or urban.

    I am going to bring the top of the layout down further as well with a rural feel towards the left and the center section would probably be wooded.

    Nothing is totally decided yet except the parts that are already done. I removed the track in the center of the layout, so I have to do something there, as well.

    Thanks!

    Michael
     
  5. Vaccam

    Vaccam TrainBoard Member

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    Here is my latest version. There is a bit more room around the track than shown. The zoom resolution is keeping me from showing the whole image. Especially at the bottom, where there is 4 more feet to the lower wall. I need to adjust the fascia, too.

    [​IMG]

    Thanks for looking,

    Michael
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 6, 2011
  6. ppuinn

    ppuinn Staff Member

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    Michael:
    Your plan has evolved a long way from the original! I especially like separating the yard and interchange to shelves around the room and using a wye at the yard entrance to perform passenger train turn-arounds.

    I'm still concerned by a comment you made about cleaning the staging tracks. Your original design was two ovals of different elevations with a pair of crossovers connecting them on one side of the layout and a 3rd loop providing staging underneath. Those staging tracks and their turnouts will be hidden by scenery, but much more importantly, they may be covered by permanent track from the industrial trackage you have proposed. There may be 2 or 3 inches between the staging tracks and the bottom of subroadbed supporting the industrial tracks, and that can offer enough clearance to get your hand in with a Bright Boy or pad to clean track, but it will definitely NOT be enough space to rerail a car, couple/uncouple cars, or perform future repairs or adjustments (e.g. , making any adjustments to those [electrified?] staging turnouts, holding a soldering gun at the proper angle to reattach a broken feeder wire, trying to eyeball alignment on a replaced turnout or section of track).

    Two options to consider...
    #1 (my preference): Remove the entire staging loop from the 4x8 portion of the layout...both the staging tracks and tracks leading to them. Put 2 or 3 staging tracks behind easily removed building flats, structures, or trees/hills all along the wall shelves. West staging could be behind the Interchange buildings and East Staging behind the Yard buildings.

    The 4x8 portion would only have 2 ovals at 1 inch elevation on the right (3:00) side of the 4x8 portion and outer and inner loops at 0 inches and 2 inches, respectively, on the left (9:00) side): Both arms of the wye from the Yard tie into the outer loop. One will tie in at 1 inch elevation at about 3:00 and the other at about 12:00 at 0.5 inches elevation. One track from the Interchange will tie into the inner oval at about 9:00 at 2 inches elevation (so it can pass over the lower outer oval).

    The operational flow of traffic westward would be right to left at any point of the layout (Yard, either side of the 4x8, and Interchange); traffic eastward would always be moving left to right.

    Passenger trains appear from staging, pause at the local station, and proceed over the 4x8 portion of the layout, drop passengers at the other station, and disappear into the other staging. It would also be possible to have the East station be the final stop and the train crew has to turn the empty train before parking it for servicing out of sight. Hmmm, will some of the yard industries include sidings for servicing passenger cars?

    Freight trains could move between West staging and the yard, or else between East and West staging without entering the yard at all.

    #2 (if your heart is firmly set on keeping some staging tracks on the 4x8 portion of the layout): Position ALL track and turnouts so there is easy access from above...ideally, when you remove whatever hides your hidden tracks, you should be able to see and comfortably reach the outside of both rails anywhere in the "hidden" loop.
     
  7. Vaccam

    Vaccam TrainBoard Member

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    Dave,

    Thanks for you post and detailed explanation of track operations. I have been giving the staging tracks some thought. I plan on putting together another modification of my plan without the staging tracks. I have some ideas in mind that will actually flip the 4 x 8 section end to end.

    I will see if I can figure out how or where to add the staging tracks as you mentioned. Can you expand on how operations from these hidden staging tracks would work? Let’s say I do both top and side hidden staging for passenger trains and or a freight, how would the trains enter and exit staging. I would think the only option I have is back in, unless I somehow get them there via the yard.

    I had not considered any servicing of passenger cars. I will consider adding this to the yard. Possibly have one side of the yard freight and the other side passenger.

    I think the only part that is set in stone at this point are the two mainline oval tracks. They are complete and ready for track, so I won’t be able to change the elevation as you suggested. As I said I have some ideas that I will work up in the next few days and post an update.

    Thanks for your input,

    Michael
     
  8. Vaccam

    Vaccam TrainBoard Member

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    Dave,

    After re-reading your post it dawned on me that the trains destined for west staging could be run forward into east staging and then be backed into west staging and the opposite could occur west staging. Each train would then be ready to run forward out of staging. There would need to be some type of crossover in staging. I will have to give it more thought.

    Michael
     
  9. Vaccam

    Vaccam TrainBoard Member

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    Dave,

    After re-reading your post it dawned on me that the trains destined for west staging could be run forward into east staging and then be backed into west staging and the opposite could occur east staging. Each train would then be ready to run forward out of staging. There would need to be some type of crossover in staging. I will have to give it more thought.

    Michael
     
  10. ppuinn

    ppuinn Staff Member

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    The way the 2 ovals are currently configured, all changes between inner and outer ovals must be made by passing through a crossover with a #6 S-curve...certainly not an impossible feat for long passenger cars, but one with the potential for operating frustrations or disappointing appearance.

    Do you still have the capability of shifting the inner oval so there is an inch or 2 more space between the inner and outer ovals from their northern end (top right of the 4x8 plan) and along the right side of the 4x8, near where the wye ties in from the Yard? If you can still reposition the tracks that enter the level area on the right of the 4x8, you would have the option of inserting a variation on a double-crossover that would allow transferring from inner to outer ovals without going through any S-curves, plus you would have the option of continuous running (orbiting) on a twice-around plan rather than needing to manage the crossovers every time you wanted to change which oval you were orbiting on.

    Half of the modified double crossover would be in the upper curve of the ovals and half in the straight part on the right side of the ovals. The double X-O tracks would still be parallel, but the lower turnouts on the straight part of the ovals would both be left hand turnouts and the upper ones would both be right hand turnouts (instead of the traditional straight double X-O with a right and a left TO at the bottom and a right and left TO at the top).

    The upper TO on the outside oval (right handed) would be positioned at 10:00 or 11:00--before the right handed turnout whose straight portion leads to the northern arm of the wye into the Yard. (Note: Don't position any turnouts at 12:00...you may be able to reach them, but working on them at full arm extension and bent over a 4 foot high layout will be VERY uncomfortable and dangerous for scenery (and your back!). Ideally, both the TO for the northern arm of the wye and the outer to inner oval upper TO for the X-O should be within a foot or so of the aisle, so you don't have to stretch all the way to 12:00 to do any TO maintenance.) The cross-over track from outer oval to inner will run inside and parallel to the outer oval up the rising ramp from 1/4 or 3/8 inches elevation at 10:00 or 11:00 to 1 inch elevation on the other side of the 4x8. It will pass over a diamond just before tying into the inner oval through the straight arm of a left handed turnout, and, if everything is positioned correctly, there should not need to be any S-curves through the X-O from outer to inner oval.

    The upper turnout for the inner oval will be a right handed TO positioned at about 1:00 on the inner oval. The curved arm of the turnout should point down a line that is parallel with the aisle. The straight arm of the turnout should point at about a 15 degree angle toward the aisle. The X-O track will pass from the straight arm of the right handed TO, over the diamond that brings the outer X-O track to the inner oval, and then will tie into the outer oval through the curved arm of a left handed turnout. Hopefully, this arm of the double crossover will be positioned so it runs in a straight line through the straight arm of the inner oval turnout, straight over the diamond and straight into the curved arm of the left handed turnout of the outer oval, so there are absolutely no S-curves on this arm of the double X-O, either.

    Running trains from Yard to Interchange or from one staging area to the other will typically only use one arm of the double crossover (from outer to inner oval when westbound, and the same arm from inner to outer oval when eastbound).

    When you opt to run continuous orbits, you could set up the double X-O to have 2 trains running simultaneously on separate ovals; or you could set up the double X-O to pass a single train back and forth between the inner and outer loops in a twice-around plan without needing to constantly monitor crossovers. Trains traveling clockwise around the layout set up for twice-around operation would start at 3:00, travel clockwise all the way around to about 10:00 or 11:00, take the curved portion of the outer oval X-O right hand turnout, go through the diamond, and enter the inner oval at about 2:00, travel around the inner oval to about 1:00 and go through the straight portion of the inner oval X-O turnout, cross the diamond and begin the twice around journey again at 3:00. When you want to stop orbiting, you can exit to the Interchange or to the Yard. When orbiting counter-clockwise, you can only exit to the Yard (unless you make other changes not presented in this post).

    In addition to eliminating S-curves, easing maintenance, and allowing continuous running without continually needing to throw turnouts one way or the other:
    1. stretching out the double X-O makes the area where the wye comes in to the oval a little less crowded, trackwise.
    2. when operating in point to point mode (staging/Yard to staging/Interchange), you never need to travel over the same track twice in the same run from one side of the layout to the other. If the double crossover were positioned differently, it might necessitate going over the same stretch of track a second time.
    3. using a different track for each pass along the right side of the 4x8 gives you the chance to work industries on the outside of the outer oval on one pass through and industries on the inside of the inner oval on a different pass through the same area...so you get the impression of 2 different towns instead of coming into the same town twice. (You can also increase this sense of 2 different towns if the outside industries are only served by a local yard switcher out and back from the Yard and the inside industries by a roadswitcher traveling between the West staging/Interchange and East staging/Yard...as if any sidings outside the ovals or in the wye were closer to the Yard than to the town on the 4x8.)
    4. using the double X-O turnouts set for twice-around operation supports the sense that your mainline is longer and there is a significant difference between the inner and outer ovals, especially when elevation differences on the left side of the 4x8 separate the inner and outer ovals, and scenery on the right side of the 4x8 focuses your attention high on the inside of the ovals and low on the outside of the ovals. This high/low attention focus on the right side of the 4x8 can be enhanced a little more if the arm of the wye from the yard to the outer oval comes in from slightly below 1 inch instead of level or above the 1 inch elevation.
     
  11. Vaccam

    Vaccam TrainBoard Member

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    Dave,

    Thank you for your very well thought out and detail post.

    Unfortunately I am having a very hard time following what you are trying to convey to me. I think maybe if you could make a quick sketch it may help. I cannot make out where you want me to shift the ovals and I can't figure out the modified double crossover.

    Your explanation of the train operations sounds like something I would want to do.

    As for shifting the main ovals. I used spline as my subroadbed, the area below the crossovers has been joined together using drywall compound in order to make the transition from inner to outer loop as smooth as possible. The spline subroadbed has a thin layer of drywall compound to remove any horizontal and vertical irregularities. I might be able to move the elevation without changing the horizontal level, but I am not sure. To achieve moving the ovals apart would either require that I cut through the crossover to separate the two ovals or cut through the individual ovals, reposition them and rejoin.

    I am not against doing either of these if it is going to allow me to achieve a more useful and realistic railroad, but I can't picture what exactly you would have me do.

    I understood your previous email more.

    If you don't mind, also explain how trains would enter and exit staging.

    Thanks for all your help,

    Michael
     
  12. Vaccam

    Vaccam TrainBoard Member

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    Thanks for the PM Dave! I now understand what you were trying to explain in your post.

    Thanks,

    Michael
     
  13. ppuinn

    ppuinn Staff Member

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    Michael:
    Staging and operations for 4 passenger trains: Westbound Express, Eastbound Local (which will become Westbound Local later in the operating session), and EB Express.
    Assume 2 staging tracks at East Staging behind Yard and 2 at West Staging behind Interchange, each long enough to hide a passenger train (about 3 or 4 feet long?) and single-ended.
    Assume 3 possible stops: a very small freight depot/station or train waiting area in a diner near the grain elevator at Interchange, a small station in the town on the inner oval on the level area at 1 inch elevation side of the 4x8 portion, and a somewhat larger station near Yard or maybe just a platform in front of a picture of a station or a partially visible model or section of a model in the corner behind the engine shop.

    Before the operating session: 2 trains (a local and an express) have been staged at West and an express (limited stops) at East...all 3 have been backed into their staging berths.

    During the operating session:
    Train 1 is an eastbound local which leaves Track 1 at West, stops at designated stations along the route from West to East, and at the wye by Yard, pulls past the southern arm of the wye and backs toward the Yard station along the northern arm of the wye to pause in front of the station and drop off passengers. When passengers have debarked, the train backs into its staging berth.

    Train 2 is a westbound express passenger train that originated much farther east (but still in the hidden staging). It leaves East Staging, may or may not pick up passengers at Yard Station, definitely does not pick up passengers at the smaller stations, and disappears into West Staging on the track vacated by Train 1 behind Interchange.

    Train 3 is the eastbound counterpart to Train 2 and moves from West Staging to East Staging with no stops. It will pull into Yard using the southern arm of the Yard wye and will not stop until it has disappeared into East staging onto the track vacated by Train 2.

    Train 4 is the westbound counterpart to Train 1 and will make local stops before disappearing into West Staging.

    [If you model passenger car servicing tracks (washing all cars and locos, food prep for a dining car, loading/unloading mail and baggage, maintenance/fuel for locos, etc), you could have a separate crew (or passenger yard hostler??) assume responsibility for breaking down the train by spotting cars and locos wherever they need to go. The same crew might also be responsible for composing the next train scheduled to leave and parking it in its hidden staging berth or partially visible in front of the station platform.]

    After the session:
    You will have to turn all 3 trains on the Y and return them to their starting points (EB Local and EB Express at West, WB Express at East).

    Trainboard has members with much more passenger service knowledge/expertise than me...they can probably offer corrections or more information about modeling prototypic passenger operations.
     
  14. Vaccam

    Vaccam TrainBoard Member

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    Dave,

    Thanks for another well thought out and detailed post. I will have to take some time and process all of that.

    I am not sure if my PM went out to you. Here are some mockup images.

    This first one shows my version of the crossovers with hopefully less 'S' curves. This shows the current shape and location of the inner and outer loops.

    [​IMG]

    This next one shows the change I believe you are suggesting as the modified double crossover.

    [​IMG]

    This last one shows a close up. I used an Atlas 30 degree crossing while laying this out in xtrkcad. The Atlas 30 degree crossing is much larger than the Fast Tracks 30 degree, so I just used the Atlas 30 degree crossing as a template to lay track over. Things did not line up perfectly over the Atlas 30 degree crossing, so I would need to do some testing with a Fast Tracks crossing.

    [​IMG]

    Thanks,

    Michael
     
  15. Vaccam

    Vaccam TrainBoard Member

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    So, this is where the design of my layout stands as of today. Lots of changes, it barely looks like my original plan. Basically the only part left from my original plan is the two main loops, but with the added modified double crossover which allows me to use the loops separately or as a double loop run. Thanks Dave H (ppuinn)!

    I kept both main lines at the same level to keep the individual tracks level. I thought if I lowered the outer loop on the left it would drop the outer edge of the outer loop below the inner edge of the outer loop.

    I made the yard on the right a Passenger Yard and the yard on the left a Freight Yard. The Freight Yard is a bit smaller than I would like. I'm not sure what I can do about that. If I build it as is there isn't any room for me to move the main section (two main loops) any further to the right. I think I can fit about 12, 50 foot cars in there. I would like to squeeze in one more classification track somehow.

    I removed all hidden staging; I just don't have the room. I tried to keep all switches within reach.

    The basic premise of the layout is a passenger line with multiple passenger stations (one medium sized and two smaller ones) and a freight yard that services the small town and the passenger line and interchange with another railroad. There is a through line from this other railroad that enters the scene from the lower left and exits in the upper right or vise versa. There is an interchange track in the upper right just before the other RR exits.

    There are three crossings, all at 19 degrees. I would either be using a Fast Tracks template or a Fast Tracks fixture for these.

    The isle below the center section, not shown, is about four feet.

    Link to larger view


    [​IMG]

    I havn't decided if I will build it as designed yet or not.

    Any and all comments or suggestions are welcome.

    Thanks for looking,

    Michael
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 13, 2011
  16. Vaccam

    Vaccam TrainBoard Member

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    I've made some slight modifications to the Freight Yard on the left. I was able to add another classification yard, but it made the wye useless on the freight yard side. I had posted an image,'but decided I did not like it and removed it.

    I also modified the double crossover slightly and the crossover on the left leading into the Freight Yard. Both of the 19 degree crossings were to short compared to the actual Fast Tracks 19 degree crossing.

    Michael
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 14, 2011
  17. Vaccam

    Vaccam TrainBoard Member

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    Here is the latest version of my plan. I think I am pretty well set on the freight yard, the only change beyond where this drawing is, is that I replaced the slip switch in the freight yard with conventional turnouts. I did not have time to label this image, but the slip switch is located below the engine house and to the left, two switches. There is a right hand TO followed by the slip switch. I guess the slip switch is the lead in to the ladder. Changing to conventional TOs made the yard a bit shorter than you see here, but I read that the slip switch would be very hard to hand lay.

    The Yard lead now extends up and towards the center of the layout instead of down.

    Larger version here.

    The town area is not set yet.

    [​IMG]

    Thanks,

    Michael
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 16, 2011
  18. Harron

    Harron TrainBoard Supporter

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    Well, I've got a lot here now that I've looked through the thread some.

    While I understand Dave's point about S-curves, I think the changes you've made actually increase your maintainance headaches (two crossings at grade and extra track?) and move further from the prototype (if you are looking for a sense of realism in your track plan).

    As you have it, the line is a twice-around with an option for double-track running. As you originally had it, the line is double-track with an option for twice-around running. It's the same thing, except there is a visual aesthetic change and a difference in realism.

    I've attached one of your sketches with some visuals. An "S-curve" occurs anywhere the direction of curvature reverses. On the lower right, both A to C and B to D are S-curves. Running the crossover from the outside to the inside as you come off the curve, as in the top right, creates only one S-curve, from E to G. F to H is a "continuous" curve of the same direction, although it flattens out slightly at the base of the switch.

    A crossover includes an S-curve naturally. In my opinion, a #6 crossover in N scale is sufficient for what you are doing. If you are hand-laying you could certainly go larger - maybe a #7 or #8. The bigger the switch, the less the effect of the S-curve is. This holds true for the prototype as well - the size of the switch dictates the maximum speed allowed through it.

    You still have a situation where freight can't reverse back to the yard - they either have to runaround or shove back in. You also said you wanted a larger freight yard. I suggest you move the wye from the left to the right and re-introduce a reversing loop. This will give you room for a larger freight yard - and if you want for a decent size joint engine facility.

    I'm envisioning a plan where the wye splits the freight yard from the passenger terminal, and the joint engine facility is on the freight yard side. This would be similar to an actual prototype - Troy, NY - in the heyday of railroading.

    Ultimately it's up to you what you want to do with your railroad. We're just here to offer suggestions and get you thoroughly confused. :tb-tongue:
     

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