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On a seeking advice point I was thinking of maybe doing a small yard off of the big loop that goes under the stairs for maybe a programing yard but not sure how a few lines off a big loop would look?
It'll be fine. Somewhere "below" the pole (in your drawing) put a curved turnout in your outside track. Then you would curve the diverging leg back the other way and head down the spur/yard. Yep, that would make an S-curve and some people poo-poo those - I am not one. You'll just have to play around with the positioning of the turnout off the main so that the radii in the S aren't too tight. Once the main leg is figured out, add turnouts and... small yard.

PECO has turnout templates (plans) that you can download and print actual size. Along with a few pieces of flex track and some T-pins, they're great for transferring plans from paper to baseboard to see how things are really going to fit... before buying.

 

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Discussion Starter · #142 ·
Much better!
I know right?

Right now the WH & boiler are venting out the chimney. Where/how will you vent them if you move them way over there?

Looks like you have hot water heat?
So the new boiler would be a condesning unit that from what I've read and can comprehend reuses the exhaust heat to keep heating the water so it's much more efficient and the exhaust isn't as hot and can be vented from a small PVC pipe out the side of the house and can even be plumbed with PVC somewhere else. I would either want to have it right out the side of the house or I may opt to run it along that wall and through the bulkhead wall with the final hole being drilled in the metal bulkhead.

And yes we have a baseboard heat system and it's all on natural gas. We have natural gas for the stove and dryer and we pay about $1,000-$1,200 a year for gas. I'm hopeful the greatly increased efficiency from just the boiler alone (current one is around 80% new one would be 95%) and the even better efficiency upgrade from a direct HW tank to an in-direct (95% efficient since the boiler would be doing the work) should save a ton of money in the long run but who are we kidding it's mainly for the extra space for the layout!!!
 

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Discussion Starter · #143 ·
It'll be fine. Somewhere "below" the pole (in your drawing) put a curved turnout in your outside track. Then you would curve the diverging leg back the other way and head down the spur/yard. Yep, that would make an S-curve and some people poo-poo those - I am not one. You'll just have to play around with the positioning of the turnout off the main so that the radii in the S aren't too tight. Once the main leg is figured out, add turnouts and... small yard.

PECO has turnout templates (plans) that you can download and print actual size. Along with a few pieces of flex track and some T-pins, they're great for transferring plans from paper to baseboard to see how things are really going to fit... before buying.

Thanks for the input and bigger thanks for that link that will def help a ton! I'll print a bunch out at work tonight!
 

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Discussion Starter · #144 ·
Think I'm done for the day... I ended up using a pretty rugged work table I made for my reef tank duties with 4x4 legs and insanely overbuilt for the small section I wanted to add at the end. I don't plan to secure it to the rest of the layout so I can move it if needed...

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Discussion Starter · #145 · (Edited)
It is about 4-5" too short but slides right under perfectly and with 2 layers of the pink insulation foam it is pretty much level. I can push it further in and adjust how far it sticks out to get the optimal wife approved look... The height is close enough that I can shave them level and the big loop is a little high and uneven on that side anyways... Just need to paint the workbench gray to match everything else now...

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Discussion Starter · #146 ·
Placed the dorm fridge and wine cooler that I use for my reef tank live food under the table. I had made a simple 20"x20" rolling dolly so I can roll them in and out. I want to do a work desk that either hinges out or pulls out and by using this work bench it is more than strong enough to accommodate a pull out desk... I will be relocating the cat liter boxes to where the work bench used to be slowly over the next few days...

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Discussion Starter · #147 ·
Nice wide open space where it used to be that could make for a nice spot if the boiler gets repositioned ;)

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Discussion Starter · #148 ·
With the workbench moved and with a simple lowering of the dehumidifier I could run the mainline around the chimney as lets face it removal of the chimney would be a long ways away :rolleyes:

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Discussion Starter · #149 ·
Best part about the height I picked is that it can easily accommodate the height of my wife's wrapping paper obsession that we never really had a place that it would fit! :cautious:

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On a seeking advice point I was thinking of maybe doing a small yard off of the big loop that goes under the stairs for maybe a programing yard but not sure how a few lines off a big loop would look? Would only be 1-2 feet wide and 3-4 feet long and go to the left if you're looking at the first picture... I'm interested to hear everybody's thoughts? If the boiler and HW heater get relocated I should have plenty more room for yards and such but feel it could be a different add on and maybe I could make it one of the forgotten branch lines or something but just don't know if it would look out of place coming off a big 30"+ loop...

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afboundguy;

My old club, and several home layouts, use the concentric loops yard idea you're contemplating. They use it as a double-ended "staging yard."
A staging yard is a place where entire trains can be parked out of sight. Think of part of your model railroad's main line as a place where you go to watch real trains. A train will come by headed west, and later another train may come by headed east, etc. Each train makes its appearance, possibly does some switching, and then heads off out of your sight. You can do the same thing on a model railroad by using the staging yard as "the rest of the world, that I can't see from my vantage point."

It gets more interesting if two, or more, railroad companies trains are involved. Junctions between railroads are good spots for train watching, and for modeling. Such junctions were common in the steam era, when there were dozens of independent rail companies operating in the U.S. (Now, most of them have been absorbed by one of the four remaining "super railroads.") At junctions, "back in the day," it was common practice for one railroad to "forward" freight cars that were destined for somewhere served by the other rail company. A junction often had a wye connecting the tracks of the two railroads. This made it easy for trains approaching from either direction to get from one railroad to the other. There would also be a shared siding, or a small yard, depending on traffic levels, where cars could be spotted to later be picked up by the other railroad's local train.

I have a six-track staging yard on my own N-scale shelf layout. It happens to be straight tracks, rather than curved loops, but it serves the same function. My railroad is set in Seattle, Washington, in the 1920s. The city was then served by four major transcontinental rail lines. The Union Pacific, Milwaukee Road, Northern Pacific, and the Great Northern. I concentrate on the passenger operations of those four companies. All four, plus some regional lines, passed through a tiny village called "Black River Junction. My hidden staging yard is under the streets of Seattle, (entrance in photo # 3) and it represents the Northern Pacific, & Great Northern coming out of King St. station.(photo # 1) There is a visible yard at Seattle Union station,(photo # 2) which served the Union Pacific, and the Milwaukee Road. Trains from either station pass eastbound through the wye junction at Black River. (photos # 4 & 5) After they have made their runs, they return to one of the two stations as the westbound equivalent trains.

I don't know if you're at the point of thinking about, or planning for, prototype operations yet, but I do think a staging yard would help with both your initial running of trains, and later with realistic operation.

Good Luck & Have Fun;

Traction Fan 🙂
 

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Discussion Starter · #151 ·
@traction fan I am at the point of planning and appreciate your input as I want the loops to be less of a turn around loop for ease of operation and more of the realistic point to point operations of real railroads with the continuous running "needed" in model railroading so it's a fine ballance. I do like the wye idea and had wanted to incorporate other railroads specifcally the PA Power and Light as a small off shoot of the main line so maybe I can make that area for it...
 

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Discussion Starter · #152 ·
As a matter of fact I was using old flex track to mark out some rough plans last night... Of course the part by the HW heater and chimney will drastically change... I just used small nails to hold down the track nothing fancy...

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Discussion Starter · #153 ·
As of right now the curve by the HW heater is 18"-20" on the outside track so the inside curve may not work (3rd picture)... Even more reason to move the HW heater!!!

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Discussion Starter · #154 · (Edited)
In regard to having a switching yard I was curious if it would be better to have it towards the front of the benchwork with the mailines beind it or mainline in front of the benchwork with the yard in the back by the wall? I'm leaning towards having the yard in the front to make the mainline...

So basically in this picture yard to right of mainline or relocate mainline to right with the yard to the left...

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Discussion Starter · #155 ·
I've been in a work training all week and I'm finishing the projects earlier than a lot of my fellow trainees so I've been doing train research and planning to pass the time and I think I've come up with what will be the final layout plan... It'll afford me ample opportunities to have interchanges with Reading, Erie, B&O, Lehigh Valley and Western Maryland Railroads if needed and gives me 3 switching yard options... I plan to put up a divider wall on the right side with Philadelphia being at the tip so I can have some of the splits from Philadelphia... I won't have a huge totally accurate Philadelphia models by any means but I'll do my best...

For the 3 yards I'll Frazer yard, Lancaster yard and then a scaled down Altoona Yard. I'll be able to have the Susquehanna River in there and a scalled down Harrisburg. At the little part by the steps I would make that the straight mainline after Altoona on it's way to Pittsburg while still having it loop around Altoona for continuous operations...

With the wall at the top right I'll make the line from Philadelphia to Pottsville line go through the wall and make the line coming out on the other side of the wall the real line that branches onto the mainline in that area from Honeybrook area so I can still have continuous operations while keeping it as close to how it was in real life...

Drawings are not to scale by anymeans I just did a more final rough draft after several ideas and like this one the best...

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Discussion Starter · #156 ·
Just to clarify the single lines are just to delineate the path of the mainlines and I plan to run 2, 3 or 4 line mainlines throughout and try to replicate as best I can how many mainlines were at each specific spot as it changes from 2-4 depending on locatio... The loops would be double mainlines looping back to make the second half of the 2-4 line mainline...
 
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