The All Day & Night in N Scale on a 4'x8'

Tad Apr 24, 2022

  1. Tad

    Tad TrainBoard Supporter

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    Okay, I have accepted the reality that it is going to take a longer than I wanted to be able to build my dream shop with my dream layout room.

    I have also decided that I do not want to go without an operational layout for that long. I got to figuring on what a fellow could do working within the space that I have.I do have a 24'x32' shop but I cannot realistically dedicate space to a layout within in it at this time.

    What I have decided that I can do is build a smaller layout that could be raised and lowered from the ceiling in the shop. We have our canoe and kayak stored in this way. Looking at those got me to thinking that I could use one of those systems with a layout.

    I would also like to use Kato Unitrack for this. I want to get the layout running and I don't really want to fool with finicky track. I have quite a bit of Unitrack that I have accumulated over the years. I would have to buy a few more turnouts.

    I looked at doing this on a door, but decided that since I will have 360 degree access that a 4'x8' with a small staging yard would be doable.

    I wanted to capture the flavor, I guess of a Southern shortline railroad. I think that this design that I came up with in XtrackCAD would let me do that.

    I am open to feedback and discussion, even criticism.

    8324BF61-50E1-4FAE-8392-203465B38087_1_102_o.jpeg
     
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  2. Sumner

    Sumner TrainBoard Member

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    I really like it. Lots you can do with that track plan and the industries. Have fun,

    Sumner
     
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  3. Shortround

    Shortround TrainBoard Member

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    An interesting layout. Best wishes.
    I did know someone that did have his 4x8 layout in the garage that was hoisted up to the ceiling with cables and pulleys to a winch. You could use available hand cranked or like him a small DC winch for the front of a truck. Simple switch activated. He had four drawer file cabinets for support. Moved by hand truck and used for storage.
    So yes it can be done.
     
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  4. BigJake

    BigJake TrainBoard Member

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    Nice layout plan! The yard has a couple of (easily fixed) issues, but I REALLY like they way you have distributed complementary industries around the layout!

    All but one of the yard issues are minor, but the Y switch followed by the reverse curve (13.75R?) makes an S-curve that is pretty severe (roughly equivalent to an 8" radius transition from straight track.) The Y is necessitated because the rest of the yard is not as space-efficient as it could be.

    I would move/flip the #6L switch for the 3rd yard track (from top/right,) from the remaining ladder to the 2nd yard track (you have a 7-3/8 straight there already, just replace it with a #6R switch to feed that 3rd track). This increases the straight length capacity of the 3rd track.

    More importantly, the above also removes the 6L switch from the remaining ladder, yard and shop tracks, giving you more length to slide the remaining switches up, and eliminate that S-curve.

    These are only suggestions that I believe will improve operation of your layout. In the end, this is your layout, not mine, so do what you want.
     
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  5. Tad

    Tad TrainBoard Supporter

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    You’re definitely right.

    That ladder looks like Hogan’s goat.
     
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  6. BigJake

    BigJake TrainBoard Member

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    LOL, I don't think I'd go that far!

    It's just a couple of easy tweaks away from being much better!
     
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  7. BigJake

    BigJake TrainBoard Member

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    I just realized the corner radii of the main loop are 13.75R30's not 15R30's I had assumed.

    You seem to have lots of room on that 4x8; I'd consider increasing the corner radii to 15R30's and perhaps even with 'easements' using a 19R15, 15R30x2, 19R15 combination. But holding a close siding through that curve (e.g. the yard lead (?) inside the upper left corner) would be more difficult (there are no complementary inside/outside curves for 19R15's).

    A compromise that would barely change the overall size of the main loop would be to simply ease the existing 13.75R curves with a 15R30, 13.75R30, 15R30 combination. This reduces the abruptness of the transition between the straight track and the curve, without changing the overall dimensions too much.

    If you want to stay at 13.75R throughout the mainline corners, I would advise using 2x13.75R45's for fewer track joints.

    Who says easement curves are only for flex or hand-laid track?!
     
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  8. BigJake

    BigJake TrainBoard Member

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    One more hint...

    Skewing your track plan away from being parallel/orthogonal to the edges of the layout can make a big improvement in overall appearance, and increase room for a couple of industries or scenes outside two opposite corners. Just take the whole layout and rotate it a few degrees either way, and see how it looks. Of course if the layout is in the middle of flat, orthogonally fenced farmland, or city streets, etc., that may not work so well....
     
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  9. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 HOn30 & N Scales Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    I would agree about paralleling the layout edges. If you could somehow swing one of the sides away from the edge.....
     
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  10. Tad

    Tad TrainBoard Supporter

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    I fixed the yard ladder. And I changed the curves. Together that increased the yard capacity on the five yard tracks. The sixth track is actually part of the Shops.

    Yes, the siding on the left is an extended yard lead. The one on the top left is the lead for the Pile Yard.

    I changed the position of and enlarged the Pile Yard. I want the foreign roads to bring in pulpwood and woodchips as they really did. Not a lot, but one pulpwood rack and one woodchip car per turn for the trains that interchange at Crossett. I designated the Crossett Interchange track. I added an additional track to the Chemical Plant, also.

    There will only be one train that interchanges at Monticello. By the way, in Arkansas, it is pronounced Mon-ti-sell-ah.

    I looked at the rotation idea. With the changes in the curves, I just didn't think it worked. It makes the route to staging on the lower right a more difficult transition, also. And to be honest, it messes with my Dress Right, Dress military mind.

    I am unsure if I am going to put anything in the lower left corner. I may put in an industry or I may just leave that as additional interchange space. I'll have to see how that works out. I really don't think that I can put in much more without making it too much.

    And just so that you know, this little layout is primarily to be operations oriented.

    Let me know what y'all think.

    1E7F32C2-F14D-48FF-8E33-6E412DBB1C97.png
     
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  11. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 HOn30 & N Scales Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    Better. Still thinking you would like it a bit more, not paralleling all four sides. I would look at the Monticello side. Curve it inward and put at least one industry on the outer/edge side.
     
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  12. Sumner

    Sumner TrainBoard Member

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    Knowing that I think I wouldn't worry too much about the parallel track/sides. I think changing that is going to be hard to do without shortening some sidings.

    But just because you started with a piece of 4' X 8' plywood doesn't mean .....

    [​IMG]

    ... that you couldn't add on some small extensions in a couple places now or later if you wanted to. The one I show above only adds about 6 inches in each direction.

    Sumner
     
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  13. BigJake

    BigJake TrainBoard Member

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    Very nice. Pond Pass Yard is a significant improvement!

    But while Pile Yard has much more capacity, the interchange track (often occupied in practice) blocks access to it, and access to it's switching lead, from either the foreign road at right, or the mainline loop, limits use to very short trains in comparison to the lengths of the Pile Yard tracks.

    Here's how I would address these issues:
    1. Add a RH crossover between the existing LH crossover at upper left, and the lead switch to Pile Yard.
    2. Remove the left-most switch and trackage between it and the upper left corner of the existing LH crossover, since it is no longer needed to access the Pile Yard Lead.
    3. Add a new stub track below the Pile Yard switch lead at far left, which will tie into the vacated upper left leg of that LH crossover. This will be your new exchange track, out of the way of local and foreign traffic, but readily accessible to both.
    Some interchanges use two interchange tracks, one for inbound traffic from, and one for outbound traffic to, the foreign road (to which I assume Pile Yard belongs). You could add another track above the existing yard lead at upper left for this (or use that upper track for the yard lead and the existing lead track for the 2nd interchange track.)

    There are certainly other ways to skin this cat!
     
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  14. Tad

    Tad TrainBoard Supporter

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    Andy,

    I really appreciate all of your constructive comments.

    I thought that it was time that I really explained my Operational Concept so that y'all can understand what I am thinking.

    First, some background.

    In my world on the All Day & Night the era is late 1970's to mid 1990's.

    The Rock Island wasn't run into the ground and finished off by the clerk's strike.
    The Missouri Pacific wasn't eaten by the Union Pacific and they didn't pull up the tracks through my hometown.
    The Illinois Central Gulf bought the Arkansas & Louisiana Missouri instead of it being bought by the Georgia Pacific Railroads.

    All of the above factors contributed to the demise of the Ashley, Drew & Northern.

    I have built this version of the All Day & Night in JMRI Operations Pro and run about 100 iterations in working on balancing the operations of the layout. I had the ops working really well and was writing up an explanation of how I envisioned the trains running on this new layout. While doing so, I discovered a fatal flaw in my design.

    I have been working on a redesign for the last couple of days and I am now updating my Operations Pro design to work on traffic balance.

    I am off work for the next couple of days. I will post up my new design for y'all's review and comments.

    Thanks to everyone,
     
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  15. Tad

    Tad TrainBoard Supporter

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    Okay, here we go. This is long.

    All of the interchange trains on the All Day & Night are turns that originate and terminate in staging. The fatal flaw that I discovered in my design was that the three trains that interchanged in Crossett had no way to runaround their trains and exit back to staging. That was definitely not going to work.

    I tried several things to fix that and couldn't make a runaround fit in. I found myself thinking, "If I just had a couple of more feet, I could fix this." Then I thought about what @Sumner said and thought that the only thing constraining me was trying to make it fit into a 4'x8'.

    How I envision building this layout is to build a lightweight frame that will hold a 2" thick sheet of foam and then raising it to the ceiling of my 24'x32' shop when I am not working on it or running trains. I have 10' walls in my shop, so I have ample height to raise it up. So, I decided to make it 4'x10' instead of 4'x8'.

    Here is my latest design. The All Day & Night in N Scale on a 4'x10'.

    CA579A86-089A-479B-A8E4-3F09C0A8D3CB.jpeg

    The other problem that I had discovered is that I couldn't generate enough traffic to make my interchange trains longer than about 5-7 cars. Since I had the additional space, I was able to add in some of the other mills that were in the Crossett Georgia Pacific Forest Products complex. It's still a far cry from everything that was actually there, but now I can generate enough traffic that my interchange trains are normally 8-10 cars.

    Pile Yard does not belong to the foreign roads. Pile Yard is where the loaded pulpwood racks and woodchip cars are taken so that their loads can be added to the piles.

    In real life Wood Yard was just outside of the Mill Loops on the AD&N mainline. As the AD&N Daily came back from Monticello, it would stop and set out the loaded pulpwood racks and woodchip cars that it picked were picked up on its' run. The loads would later be moved to Pile Yard as needed by a switcher.

    In my scheme, I am going to have the interchange trains use Wood Yard as well to give an additional switching opportunity for the crews instead of just dropping off and picking up their interchange cars.

    In Monticello, Burlington Industries Rug Plant will be switched by the MoPac local.

    This is the lineup of trains that I have in my "virtual build" of the All Day & Night in JMRI Operations Pro.

    CCC30D13-90AD-4407-BD3D-59A5F52A8925.jpeg

    Rock Island #779-#778, MoPac #785-#786, and the ICG Gator all originate in staging, interchange at Crossett, Ark., and terminate in staging. The Rock comes from Tinsman, Ark. The MoPac comes from Montrose, Ark and the ICG comes from Monroe, La.

    MoPac #783-#784 comes from MeGehee, Ark., pronounced Ma-Gee in Arkansas, interchanges in Monticello, Ark., and then terminates in MeGehee (staging). Monticello is pronounced Mon-ta-sell-a in Arkansas.

    How a sequence would work is as follows:

    First, the ADN Pile Yard Switcher AM1 would pull the empty pulpwood rack and woodchip car for the Rock and spot the cars on the lower Wood Yard Track.

    Second, the ADN to Rock Switcher would pull cars for the rock from Pond Pass Yard and spot them on the lower Interchange Track.

    Third, Rock #779-#778 would enter the layout from Tinsman (staging), make a few laps, and enter the Interchange on the upper Interchange Track. He would then break his train and leave the interchange cars standing on the track. He would take his loaded pulpwood rack and woodchip car and drop them on the upper Wood Yard track. He would pick up his empty pulpwood rack and woodchip car from the lower Wood Yard track and head back to the Interchange to tack those on to his interchange cars. He would runaround his train, reconnect his train, make a few laps and exit to Tinsman (staging).

    Fourth, the ADN from Rock Switcher would pickup the Rock interchange cars and take them back to Pond Pass Yard to turn them over to the Yard Master for classification.

    Fifth, the ADN Pile Yard Switcher AM2 would take the loaded Rock cars from Wood Yard to Pile Yard and pull the empty MoPac pulpwood rack and woodchip car from the Pile Yard and spot them onto the lower Wood Yard track.

    Wash, lather, rinse, repeat.

    Realistically, I will probably be running the layout solo most of the time since I live in a very rural area. For a formal operating session I figure that I could accommodate 2-3 other operators. Probably two running switchers and one running mainline trains, they could switch off jobs, of course.

    So, fire away with comments, questions, or criticisms.

    Thanks,
     
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  16. BigJake

    BigJake TrainBoard Member

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    Wow, that explains a lot...

    As long as your WY lead is long enough to handle any cut(s) of cars between the Wood/Pile yards and elsewhere, then I think you're good there. Same applies to other track capacities.

    I really like your use of JMRI Ops Pro to "test" your layout design with realistic traffic volume! I hadn't considered using it in the design phase of a layout before.
     
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  17. Tad

    Tad TrainBoard Supporter

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    The WY lead is 230 ft long, it should be sufficient. I may have to adjust it a little, we'll have to see.

    I did the math and put all of the locations into JMRI at their actual length. It seems to be working pretty well and not overloading the yard.
     
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  18. BigJake

    BigJake TrainBoard Member

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    Will JMRI OP assume multiple passes (left to the operator) through a too-short lead track, if necessary?
     
  19. Tad

    Tad TrainBoard Supporter

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    I reckon, so. Since you really don’t, or at least I haven’t, put the lead in as a location. The Yards, the Interchanges, and the Industry Spurs are locations that are accurately sized in JMRI but the tracks in between and leads and such aren’t really part of locations that are entered into the program.

    The cuts that get pulled onto the lead are two cars. A pulpwood rack and a woodchip car. The longest one would be 129’ onto a 230’ lead. The other cuts are 92’ to 104’ in length.

    I believe that I could extend the WY lead another four to five inches without much trouble if necessary, maybe as much as eight inches if I need to when I actually start building the physical layout. I plan on starting construction within the next month or two as soon as I get the materials gathered up.
     
  20. Tad

    Tad TrainBoard Supporter

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    I’ll figure out how to extend that lead.
     

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