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Discussion Starter · #81 ·
So I spent some time playing over the last few days with the layout, and fixing my car. I've arrived at this layout here and I think I'm happier with this. The yard on a turn makes for a difficult situation coupling cars, but uses less straight track for longer trains as, I think it was, @OilValleyRy suggested in another design I had. I've got the wye back in there. There are also a few more sidings for other industries as a result. The intermodal yard is near the railyard/part of it. I don't like the S but that's the only way I could make it work in AnyRail. I'd like to make a second siding near the town if I can but I'm just going to get this out on the benchwork and see what happens.
Slope Rectangle Font Parallel Pattern
 

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I like it!
Is it possible to have your double main use the outside curves at the lower left? As it is, the mainline has to take the tightest curve. Might be better running if you moved the yard inside. Just a suggestion. The yard would be a little smaller, but it's pretty large now.

I love that you put the wye back in. I think it's the statement piece of the layout. It just looks cool! 馃槑
 

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Discussion Starter · #83 ·
I like it!
Is it possible to have your double main use the outside curves at the lower left? As it is, the mainline has to take the tightest curve. Might be better running if you moved the yard inside. Just a suggestion. The yard would be a little smaller, but it's pretty large now.

I love that you put the wye back in. I think it's the statement piece of the layout. It just looks cool! 馃槑
I fixed it in actual practice. Wasn't sure how much track I had of certain types, but I knew I had a bunch of 9" and 11" radius I wasn't using. Main line is now 15" radius on the outside and 13 and change on the inner loop in that area.
I like the idea of yard on the inside, not having to reach over the main better though, but this way gets me the yard length I want. It may actually be longer than I want/need.
 

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Discussion Starter · #84 ·
I love that you put the wye back in. I think it's the statement piece of the layout. It just looks cool! 馃槑
Should also note the wye will be elevated relative to the inner loop, so it should very much so stand out. I just wish I could have designed a series of loops with a wye connecting them. Just don't have the space for it.
 

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That yard should prove to be lots of fun! Don鈥檛 forget that operationally it鈥檚 more like two yards, not one. So don鈥檛 worry about coupling/uncoupling on curves. Unit trains can use the full track of course.
Shorter cuts are more likely to be uncoupled closer to the ladders. That is to say if you鈥檙e uncoupling 3 cars off an 18 car train, how often will they be the farthest cars from the loco versus the closest 3 cars?
It has fun multi-operator possibilities too, a switcher at each ladder.
With the town opposite, and remembering your compass is sideways, you have a yard north of the town, and one south of the town. So you could do some prototypical ops if you wanted. E.g. Amtrak going South during daylight hours, and Northbound after dusk.
You could make each yard a different company if you wanted as well.
Or one company with Up/Down Yard associated with direction of travel. Or a Receiving yard and Departure yard, making the whole yard one assembly line kind of thing. One switcher crew breaks down trains and sorts them, the other assembles new trains (opposite ladder end).
Kinda begs for family involvement.
 

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Discussion Starter · #86 ·
That yard should prove to be lots of fun! Don鈥檛 forget that operationally it鈥檚 more like two yards, not one. So don鈥檛 worry about coupling/uncoupling on curves. Unit trains can use the full track of course.
Shorter cuts are more likely to be uncoupled closer to the ladders. That is to say if you鈥檙e uncoupling 3 cars off an 18 car train, how often will they be the farthest cars from the loco versus the closest 3 cars?
It has fun multi-operator possibilities too, a switcher at each ladder.
With the town opposite, and remembering your compass is sideways, you have a yard north of the town, and one south of the town. So you could do some prototypical ops if you wanted. E.g. Amtrak going South during daylight hours, and Northbound after dusk.
You could make each yard a different company if you wanted as well.
Or one company with Up/Down Yard associated with direction of travel. Or a Receiving yard and Departure yard, making the whole yard one assembly line kind of thing. One switcher crew breaks down trains and sorts them, the other assembles new trains (opposite ladder end).
Kinda begs for family involvement.
I'll certainly keep that in mind. Having them be two yards and maybe even two companies opens possibilities. I'd like to get some BNSF and maybe CP Rail locos. Trying to keep it prototypical in operating area, so I won't have CSX or NS on here. I think I've probably got more locomotives than I do cars to make trains for them. But it may mean I run two trains at a time, with power for moving cuts of cars or localized operations in other areas. I like the Amtrak suggestion, I did get some of their auto train auto racks with the intention of repainting them.

I just wish I had more space! I tried to make modifications to have a peninsula that one main line splits off to for longer runs between areas, but couldn't do it without going down to 24 inch aisles, which is no good. Needing to put my desk and racing sim underneath really hampers my only other option for more space, which is two levels. A lower level around part of the room would be too low, and an upper level couldn't be more than about 4 inches up from the current planned height or I can't see it.

My wife has no interest, other than new locomotive purchases (she wanted a blue locomotive, so UP1982-Missouri Pacific Heritage was purchased), and it being something to keep me busy. My dad might partake when visiting. Otherwise, it's just the two of us and our dogs, and I don't think they'll be of much help.
 

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Discussion Starter · #87 ·
Trying to figure out the best way to go about cutting foam for each layout section. Do I 1:1 print the layout or, since some parts work better a different way in practice than the track plan, do I build the sections separate from the layout on foam, cut the foam to shape and have large layout chunks to put down on the benchwork?
 

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We all want more space.

My construction approach has evolved with every layout built. I think that goes for everybody; making improvements each time.
And we are all different. It鈥檚 entirely 鈥渢o each their own鈥.
My new approach is to nor carve foam whatsoever. I use foam for 3 specific applications only now.
1: removable hills; terraced like a mayan pyramid, often only around the perimeter with hollow center, then filling/smoothing the slope edge with newspaper wads & plaster. No carving, no wasted material/cost, lighter, etc.
2: where major depressions will exist such as rivers. I still terrace, then fill the sloped river bank with dyed joint compound for waterproofing.
3: removable structure foundations; ie laying a section of 24鈥 x 30鈥 gluing only the perimeter. Then using a knife to cut out an inner area making sure to cut in a carrot shape. That allows the structure base to lift out. Track atop would get gapped. The structure can be detailed on a workbench like a diorama, then dropped in place. The angled or carrot shape edges eases concern about support below.

FWIW to you and/or anyone else in the area of Menards stores; I saw they now sell smaller foam sheets. They are thinner, but saves cutting. They鈥檙e 1.5鈥 thick not 2鈥, but I think they were 12鈥漻48鈥. My location has them on an end cap along the molding/trim area facing the fencing/etc desk. Might be easier than a 4x8 for those who don鈥檛 have a pickup truck.
I鈥檓 considering using those with half inch shims below.
 

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Discussion Starter · #89 ·
I had planned on doing foam for just under track and structures. I like the foam because it gives me predetermined, even heights. I picked up a sheet of 2 inch, 1 inch, and 1/2 inch. So I can set sections of track at specific heights and then just need to worry about the incline or decline to it. The problem is I have the track laid on the benchwork now, I'll have to take off the sections, cut the foam to shape, put it back up and hope it all lines up when I eventually get to wiring.

I'll use it for structure bases, but otherwise I'll be doing woven cardboard and plaster cloth for terrain. The hardest part for me though is I really don't know what structures I'm using for anything but the coal mine since I have that kit partially built. So I don't know how to plan for where a structure will be or what the terrain will do.
 

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Discussion Starter · #90 ·
We all want more space.

My construction approach has evolved with every layout built. I think that goes for everybody; making improvements each time.
And we are all different. It鈥檚 entirely 鈥渢o each their own鈥.
My new approach is to nor carve foam whatsoever. I use foam for 3 specific applications only now.
1: removable hills; terraced like a mayan pyramid, often only around the perimeter with hollow center, then filling/smoothing the slope edge with newspaper wads & plaster. No carving, no wasted material/cost, lighter, etc.
2: where major depressions will exist such as rivers. I still terrace, then fill the sloped river bank with dyed joint compound for waterproofing.
3: removable structure foundations; ie laying a section of 24鈥 x 30鈥 gluing only the perimeter. Then using a knife to cut out an inner area making sure to cut in a carrot shape. That allows the structure base to lift out. Track atop would get gapped. The structure can be detailed on a workbench like a diorama, then dropped in place. The angled or carrot shape edges eases concern about support below.

FWIW to you and/or anyone else in the area of Menards stores; I saw they now sell smaller foam sheets. They are thinner, but saves cutting. They鈥檙e 1.5鈥 thick not 2鈥, but I think they were 12鈥漻48鈥. My location has them on an end cap along the molding/trim area facing the fencing/etc desk. Might be easier than a 4x8 for those who don鈥檛 have a pickup truck.
I鈥檓 considering using those with half inch shims below.
What do you use to cut the foam? For sections small sections it's easy enough to mark it and cut with a saw. But when I need to notch something out and I have a large amount of track to move, I tried my hot wire cutter and man is it slow on XPS foam.
 

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I used 2" foam, 1.5" foam and 1/2" foam. Most of my "build it" cuts were straight. For the most part, if I made a curved cut, it was to shape scenery, not to support track.

For 99% of my cuts I used a cheap utility knife. The plastic ones that have like a 6" blade in them that is scored so you can nip off the top and get a fresh point. I never broke a blade though. I used a straight edge, and cut about 1/2 way through then snapped it apart. The foam snaps pretty cleanly.

You can see how I used the knife to carve the hills here.
Art Wood Urban design Engineering Machine


Then you can wad up paper to add more variations then cover it all in plaster cloth.
Hood Automotive tire Grey Wood Automotive exterior
 

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Discussion Starter · #92 ·
For straight cuts, I've run some wide or even narrow pieces through my table saw. I'll probably stick with that for straight cuts and use my jig saw, remove track sections and trace them.

I just didn't want to put foam under everything to give the option of ground below road bed. Like a gravel/rock filled depression the track gets run over. But also to not end up with that "track on a board" appearance.

I still have more than half the layout to get foam under. Some parts I had planned for, I'm realizing I don't have ideal spacing of supports. But I've got 1/2 inch, 1 inch, and 2 inch. Planning for track heights, at various points, of 1 inch, 1 1/2 inches, 2 inches, and 3 inches. I'm hoping to have it roughly up this week and maybe start wiring to run trains this weekend.

The hard part is planning for structures not around the yard, since almost all of that area will have flat surface around it.
 

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The long blade is a bit bendy, which helps add contour to cuts.

Whatever you do, I would strongly advise against trying to cut an incline for your track. It will not end well. But you can use a long flat piece as an incline as long as you feather the joints to make a smooth transition. Trains don't like abrupt changes in grade.
 

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Discussion Starter · #94 ·
I had planned on using a long strip as inclines, feathering the uphill end, and probably gluing shims or something on the downhill side. I'm hoping to at least have track power run, play with my new digitrax dcc set up, and see how I like the layout while I figure out how to tackle a larger layout. Thinking I'll take it in sections, get close to "finished" and then move on.
 

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For cuts following track, versus carving slopes, I鈥檝e used a saber saw with a fine tooth blade at high speed. Not only does it cut through almost as though it鈥檚 not there, but the mess is more contained. It ended up being a small pile of powdery dust. None of those torn chunks as with a steak knife. You can do very sharp curves too, like a jigsaw puzzle.

For slopes etc, I used to start with a steak knife, followed by a SurFoam rasp which is intended for 鈥渟anding鈥 foam. But it was way too messy in my opinion. So I changed my philosophy to 鈥渂uild up鈥 rather than 鈥渃ut down鈥 material.
 

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Discussion Starter · #96 ·
I've done the surform and a sander to make slopes before. It worked ok. I've also used a wire wheel, but only on styrofoam not xps foam, to make a mountain and my word is it a mess. That I did in my garage in LA and it took months to get rid of all the little white specks. Surform works better on styrofoam than xps foam IMO. Going to try the cardboard lattice and plaster cloth approach for most of my scenery, maybe use extra chunks of foam as a base and some rock forms like @JeffHurl did on his layout. Those came out great.
 

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Discussion Starter · #97 ·
So I went out to home depot tonight to pick up some 5mm plywood. $20 a sheet, not bad. I figured I'd need 4 with the current layout. Ripped a few into 2 feet wide and started laying them on the benchwork. Decided I want to go for just 2 foot benchwork all the way around instead of what I currently have set up. Easier to reach everything. Try to not have to reach over the mainlines. But while there I thought to pick up another 2 inch sheet of xps foam. It went from $40 when I got some a few weeks ago, to $60 a sheet.....needless to say I didn't buy more.
 

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I could throw in a LATE, LATE suggestion. Take the doors off of the closet. Hide it with a layout backdrop of your choosing. Access via duckunder. Did you say the height of the layout?
 

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Discussion Starter · #99 ·
I could throw in a LATE, LATE suggestion. Take the doors off of the closet. Hide it with a layout backdrop of your choosing. Access via duckunder. Did you say the height of the layout?
So I'm actually in the other spare bedroom at this point, single door closet. Worked out better for working around the door into the room. Door is already off the closet with a duck under to the 5x5 closet that will be my model assembly space. Layout is at 52 inches to the top of benchwork, track will be at 54 inches on average. I'm working on a 2 foot deep shelf layout design. It's less interesting looking. But I can probably fix that.
 
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