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Old 09-08-2019, 06:22 PM   #1
Shdwdrgn
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A new yard layout and general thoughts

I've been working on a layout design for a few years while wrapping up some other projects and clearing space to start building, which is probably a good thing because as I do more research and see other layouts I see design ideas that inspire me. To give a general overview, this is essentially a dual-mainline point-to-point operation with reverse loops at each end, twisted into the shape of a large Z. There is a mountain range stretching from the lower left to upper right dividing the two towns, and I'm trying to configure it so I can perform both continuous-loop runs and full operations. It will be a walk-around island, and while I understand reach will be a bit of an issue, I'm working with what I have.

The scenario is the end of the 1800's where narrow-gauge (brown) is being modernized with standard gauge (black), and a productive coal vein has brought a lot of new activity to the area. Passenger and cattle lines still run on narrow gauge while coal and grain are hauled on standard gauge. There is also a small lumber operation where the logs are brought to the sawmill via narrow gauge but then transported to the 'big city' (which has electricity available) on standard gauge for final processing and use.

I've had the general design pretty well fixed for awhile now, but I keep going back to the yard areas, especially at the bottom of the layout. Earlier this year I completely gutted the entire yard area and laid out a new idea. Much more useful for loading and unloading, but still not quite right (the left side was very similar to the right side you still see here). A couple days ago it dawned on me that I could wipe out that left side and lay down a proper ladder yard. It's a bit cramped, but because I have grades up to 3% I'm only going to be running trains of six or seven 40' cars. The middle ladder rungs will comfortably fit 6, 4, and 2 hoppers. I *think* this arrangement at least gives me the chance to move the cars around for their next destination?

The yard to the right is set up with several loading docks of both gauges. The NG trains will only see very minor shuffling of their cars so I don't need much yard space for them. Below that I'm trying to model a loco service facility plus a building for car maintenance. It seems like these three areas should all provide a good variety of options between them?

So my concerns are providing enough track to move the loads around without totally crowding out every last square inch of space, but also having a variety of services to give me some fun modeling opportunities. I want to be able to always leave one of the mainlines open for through-trains so timetables will be important to the yard operations. And I'm still not entirely sure what to do with that siding at the very bottom -- use it for passing on the mainline, staging a new train, a little of both? Are there any suggestions on a better way to arrange that track? And do my yards look functional enough to keep the loads moving?

Thanks for your time and feedback.

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Old 09-09-2019, 01:37 PM   #2
DonR
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You have a very ambitious and elegantly designed
proposal. I see hours of very enjoyable continuous
running as well as ample opportunities for challenging
switching. Maybe I missed it, but did you plan dual
gauge trackage where the narrow and standard
lines overlap?

The yards I see appear to be adequate for your
plans. In many layouts the yards serve mainly
as a place to store cars awaiting assignments.
The amount of rail space in your yards would depend
on how many cars you expect to employ.

Any time you can add industrial spurs you
will add more enjoyment in the switching operations.

You have a number of reverse loops. Have you
considered the Digitrax PM 42? It can control 4
different loops.

Don
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Old 09-09-2019, 02:00 PM   #3
Shdwdrgn
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DonR -- in the picture the black rails are standard gauge and the brown rails are narrow gauge, so yes there are many place where both overlap along the same path. I originally had a lot more of everything but I started scaling it back when I started looking at my lines from the perspective of "what is the bare minimum needed to get the job done". I mean I could have a lot more track and turnouts to allow for most any combination of where I might want to route the trains, but that just gets overly-complicated and in no way represents how real railroads are built. And honestly it just became an eyesore. So I reconsidered exactly what trains I would be running on each gauge and where they needed to go, I left in some options for passing sidings, and found I was much happier with the look of what remained.

Besides the four obvious reverse-loops there is also the wye which is part of the logging line. I wasn't worried about it, once I get to the wiring stage I'll just see what's on the market at the time or just grab a circuit online and build my own.
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Old 09-09-2019, 06:23 PM   #4
CTValleyRR
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Have you checked reach? Some areas of that layout look awfully wide, especially if you don't have access all the way around.
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Old 09-09-2019, 07:07 PM   #5
Shdwdrgn
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Yep, I mentioned that in the original post. The layout will be made to split in half (in case I ever want to take it to a show via my local club). Assembled the longest reach is a full four feet. Disassembled that drops to three feet. Still a bit long, but the halves can be rotated vertically once all the cars are removed. The only area that's of real concern is the mountain pass that winds through the center. Maybe I'll rig up a crane with an arduino-controlled claw to pick up anything that goes off the rail.
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Old 09-10-2019, 06:42 PM   #6
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You mentioned that you were aware of it, but were working with what you had, I should have specified that it didn't look like what you had was workable. I don't honestly see anywhere that layout could be easily split, but you seem to have a plan, so it's all good.
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