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DT
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You may have seen my current layout. I built it last summer on my old slotcar base board.



It was an island layout that could have about 6 trains running around the mainline or a secondary figure of 8 line in the middle. The baseboard was about 430cm x 210cm.

The track was fixed, but apart from a few trees, buildings and stations, there was no fixed scenery.

This was a typical tail-chaser, not very protypical at all. My first baseboard layout was much the same, but a little smaller.

After chatting to some of our members and getting some great inspiration form some magazines that Dennis sent me, I have decided to build a walk-around track.

This is the rough plan. Grid is made up of 1m squares.

The mainline will be situated at around 47.24" (120cm) high off the floor. It will rise by about 16cm on the East part of the layout before going into the return loop. The two return loops are hidden. 24" (61cm) radii. They are contained in a double height box fixed over the workshop at about 8 feet off the ground. Access is quite easy if required using a step ladder and opening a hatch in the box.

This shows hidden staging tracks under the main yard.

The trains arrive at the staging tracks from a gentle descending curve from the shelf. They leave via a route that takes them behind the scenery backdrop and onto the layout through a tunnel. I could probably link the hidden staging yard to my workbench so that trains being worked on could drive straight onto the layout.

The whole scene is European with English, French and German/Swiss accents. A bit of a fantasy layout.

The mainline, yards and staging will be DCC with 3 power districts. The idea for the North yard/station is for it to be industrial and build-up, same thing with the West yard. The East area is countryside with farming activity and a small country station.

Please give me your thoughts and suggestions before I start building the benchwork.
 

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Doug,

As I read you plans there are 3 levels. The lowest is the storage yard, the middle contains the freight yard & most of the main line whilst the top level is the loco shed. If I am wrong the rest of this is rubbish.

I have considered a similar plan but I have always been put off by the problems of "hand of god" access to the storage yards. Do you not see this as a problem? I guess the loco shed being at a higher level might well get around the problem & give hand clearance. This is an interesting idea if that is what you intend & I would appreciate your thoughts.

Chris
 

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I have a couple of comments :-they are not critisum's.
Try to make your, sidings ,fiddle yard, passing loops equal to the longest length of train and try to retain this through out the layout. In fiddle yards and goods yards the best arrangement where space permits is that of the parallelogram. You might want to consider modular bench work, where by you can move a module in or move one out just for a change, this would work in nicely with your universal european approach. Increase the diameter of the return loops, see if you can manage at least 30" in old money, or 760mm if you are metric. You will have a lot less derailment problems on your return loops.
 

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DT
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Chris, only the storage yard is on a lower level. I could store all the trains down there out of the light and dust for extended periods. I may have to increase the size of that, but I could always use the space under the North section.

The three colours of track represent the booster power districts.

The idea is that the trains in use for the day would be driven up to the North Yard or to the loco depot on the West yard.

MMaD, I'll try and build those loops as wide as possible, no need to cut corners there 30" shouldn't be a problem. I know what you mean about a parallelogram for the yard - I'll see if the physics allow for a different approach.

I was thinking about a modular approach. At least in one or two areas. This would allow me to build various different scenes - perhaps to use for reviews of locos (old/modern - British/Continental).
 

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DT
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Discussion Starter · #5 ·


Update to the plan.
Added some scenery features. I'd like to have some water and the canal is very tempting. A loading dock for the barges and trains would be fun. That piece of scenery rises 16cm from the bottom to the top so a lock would work out well - I suppose I'll have to invest in some of the Hornby Skaledale canal items


Regarding the mainline. I am trying to think of any situation where the trains would want to cross over onto the oncoming line - that would mean reversing loop modules - which I have, but with my return loops, would it ever be needed? On the double line prototype, do trains ever go up the line the wrong way?
 

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Doug,

I don't want to be too critical of anybody elses attempts to produce a design that he hopes will give him satisafaction and fulfil his own particular conception of how a model railway should look. However you have posted your design and asked for comments, and so perhaps you are hoping for constructive criticism.

I accept that the advent of DCC gives you the opportunity to run more than one train on the same main line, so, subject to your trains running at the same speed, or with a fancy bit of automatic signalling, you should be able to have a procession of trains following each other around. That will leave you to work at your bench whilst the trains get some exercise without human intervention. The largest radius curves possible on the main lines should reduce derailments. The 30" radius on the return loops looks a bit risky.

Would it not be better to do away with the return loops and instead just run the up and down main lines in two continuous ovals allowing two trains to run in opposite directions without the need to intervene. This also allows you to provide cross overs on the main line and you will then be able to change a loco, take it back to the MPD, service and turn it and send it back in the opposite direction.

Then again how about having two levels as a folded over figure of eight so that your trains would pass alternately at high and low levels and double the route length. For added interest you could interlink the two at some point.

You would need a fiddle yard so how about building it below the largest baseboards to the north and west and building a station on top. On the south east board you could allow the two main lines to cross over as they must somewhere, and have a viaduct and and a simple wayside station.

Finally, why no try to base your station designs on an actual location. There is a tendancy upon modellers to make copies of other models rather than go back to the prototype.

Call me a traditionalist if you like, but I think that you are just imitating American model railway practice,

Colombo
 

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DT
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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Colombo,

I have been reading quite a few American magazines


I currently have 24" radii on my tail-chaser layout and they are fine for all my trains at full speed. I think the 30" radii as suggested by Makemineadouble above will be fine. I am not restricted for space for any return loops so I could make them bigger.

I have thought about the idea of running the trains around, but the idea of the trains going off somewhere then coming back from the same place appeals to me - as opposed to the trains going off and then popping up again from the same direction from which they came.

There should be slower goods trains and faster express trains. The goods trains would have to get off the mainline to let the express pass.

There is a hidden staging planned under the West Loco Yard (see posts further up). I could extend that under the North yard and station area. When I build the benchwork, I'll make provision for that extension.
 

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Doug,

If you want to see trains going somewhere and then coming back, you don't really want them coming straight back onto the layout.

In other words you need your hidden sidings to be incorporated with the return loops, so that you can store your trains out of sight for a while.

Colombo
 

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DT
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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
QUOTE (Colombo @ 12 Jan 2006, 14:21)...
If you want to see trains going somewhere and then coming back, you don't really want them coming straight back onto the layout.

In other words you need your hidden sidings to be incorporated with the return loops, so that you can store your trains out of sight for a while...
<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Yes, I could do that. From the North return loop, the trains could go under the North yard. Putting one point in the box (behind an access hatch) would achieve this.
 

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Doug,

As I said to Dennis about his layout plan, see earlier post, I am also influenced by American thinking for my British Layout.

Thus, while I understand and agree with Columbo's advice about looking at 'real stations' I have studied many British engine MPD's myself, I cannot agree that you can be over influenced by American design ideas.

We just have to be clear what it is that is influencing our thinking.

That is, model operations, not scenic detail. In my case a computer controlling the passenger stock 'varnish' to and from staging; and the single human operator controlling the freight in the visible yards and MPD. This strikes me as the central American idea and one that I like very much. (and their kadees of course!)

To this end, be clear how you get trains in and out of staging if you do not have a team of helpers. If you have no team/slaves and you go down the computer/dcc route then you need to get your block size sorted out now.

*** This is central. Your smallest mainline or staging blocks - for example - ten feet will dictate that your longest trains will be under ten feet long.***

Hope this idea helps

TVBG
 

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DT
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I hear what you guys are saying, but I'm not going to run my trains to a timetable or run them off the layout once they have been around once.

I quite enjoy letting them run a bit. Right now they go round and round. I was just looking for a way to enhance the process a little.

Having a train go from left to right, and then pop up again on the left seems a bit odd.

Here are some mods. Nothing is final yet, I'm just working with ideas.

I'm keen to have a space for my growing HOe collection (orange lines below). I may even run another single HOe track on a slightly wider shelf above the workbench to the canal dock. The HOe will be DC by the way.

 

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I certainly think my next layout will be modular, and HO American. There's a lot to be said for running to a timetable especially on larger layouts. BTW Doug the drawings improving
.That is an american round house in the MPD or are you modelling Gillford on the southern ?.
What does each block represent in term of ft. ? Would it not be practical to run a lower level for your storage ?.
 

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DT
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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Each grid block is 1m x 1m (3.28ft x 3.28ft).

I do have storage under the tables. The 3rd image in the first post of this topic show the hidden staging under the West yard. I may also have staging under the North yard.

The staging tracks on the surface of the North yard are part of the station and will be used for shunting - preparing the trains.
 

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Doug your layout is looking better and better.


Makemineadouble there are a couple of really good books on realistic operation. This is not for everybody and I would never say that this method is better than others but I do know that if you have more than two people running trains this is a way to get everybody involved. It is very popular in the US on larger/modular layouts.
 

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Looking good Doug nice and roomie in there wish i have that sort of space for my layout,and i am looking forward to more progress pics.
 

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Here's another lover of continuous main line running, based on the principle of a double main line with a hidden return (not reversing) loop at both 'ends'. We say 'ends', but in truth there are no ends! Electrically and mechanically, it's very simple and, though DCC may be used, it isn't actually needed

Hidden multiple 'delay' loops in each direction enhance operations no end by ensuring no train re-appears until all the rest have done so.

This setup provides a sustained degree of visual entertainment using a minimum number of trains which appear to both come and go in BOTH directions - emulating a real life main line very realistically. The maximum number of trains is related to the number of hidden delay loops, which again need to be the same number in each direction, plus the additional option (but not necessity) of automated block sections on the main lines in both directions. This is the perfect setup for someone who wants to run lots and lots of trains with no manual fiddle yards and/or 'the hand-of-god'!

A through station can itself similarly provide additional 'delay loops', with multiple platforms, again ideally the same number in each direction, again very simply automated without need of DCC. While the busy main line then pretty much operates itself, the operator is then free to manually control the rest of the through station area. The through station is also a potential terminus for one or more branch lines, whether passenger, idustrial or both and these too would be manually controlled.

This kind of flexible setup seems to offer the absolute maximum entertainment and operational value possible for a SINGLE operator, who likes a lot of fast, main line trains with additional options for shunting/switching and single line branches. Basically very simple, but with as much or as little going on as the owner is inclined to handle (or can afford!)
 

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Ok,

So how many bedrooms do I need to demolish so I can build that sort of layout?


Actually I am building a layout that is close to what you describe but on a smaller scale of course . I actually will need one reverse loop as both of my mainlines are wired in the same direction. This is still in the planning because I have not decided whether it's easier to manage the points this way or in a more standard configuration as you described. Every time I look at my scetches I get dizzy so I'll need to lay out the actual track before I can get my old head around it. I'm looking at a helix at one end to delay things a little. Could do that electronically as well but I was thinking some elevation change might be nice and I bought a cathedral that I want to build on my layout.
 
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