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I would be glad of some more feedback. I have cleaned up a little.

1. Took out one superfluous track leading to turntable. That gives more space at the 'corner' which I envision as prime operating space.

2. I am thinking about maybe adding a 'program' track there, i.e. lower left of the TT along the edge. Should be easy to wire an isolating DPDT and plug into my Zephyr.

3. I took out one TO in the south spurs. That was merely to give a resting place for the industrial switcher I envision working the industries. But, in reality, I can park it most anywhere.

4. I still envision this as a modified twice around. The op plan is to allow road freights to leave the yard head first and take the outer loop, then the inner loop, and then drop cars for the industries and then take the reversing loop to return to the yard headfirst. Once in the yard on the main, there would be an EM uncoupler to disconnect the steam locomotive and allow it to 'escape' to first ladder branch. The to get to the engine servicing area and RH. Steam/diesel switcher would 'work' the ladder, preparing outbound strings.

5. While the road loco is out on the main loops, also the switchers can classify in the yard. This will give me opportunity to let the road run the loops while working the yard and even maybe the industries, although I can see that would be a challenge.

6. Again, the entire north edge is against a wall, entire west edge is free. Most of the east is is free standing, except where the 'L' goes into an alcove, which is portrayed by the heavy red lines.

Thoughts? COmments? SUggestions? all welcome, TIA

Steve
Steve;

Given your available space, and the curve radii dictated by your modeling scale, I think you have a good plan. I also think your idea of a full-time dedicated programing track to the left of the turntable, is very smart.

When you say, "the entire west edge is free," does that mean there is enough space along that western edge for you to walk along that side of the layout? (One of the problems I have in evaluating your benchwork & track plans, is not being able to see the surrounding room.)
I assume that your layout is the size and shape shown on your plans because you don't have room for anything more.
For instance, if there is a walkable "aisle" along the west side of the layout, that would mean you could reach the main section of your layout from both sides. That, in turn opens up the option of visually dividing the main section of your table into two separate scenes, with a double-sided backdrop. This would be very useful for disguising the ("round & round the little train goes" look,) so common to many layouts. Instead, the train would simply enter a given scene, do any switching needed, and then move out of that scene, and on to the next, just as the prototype does.
This may, or may not, be something you want to do of course. On your railroad, you rule.

My layout is set up this way, and I think the way the trains are seen to be traveling along from one town to another, looks very realistic. I have plenty of places where there actually are many tracks close to each other, and filling up most of my very restricted space.
These are two of the things I preach against, but my layout doesn't look like a gaggle of pointless track cramming because about half the track is hidden from view. (It is, however, accessible for track cleaning, and maintenance, via removable backdrops, & sections of scenery.)
It's all about manipulating the viewer's perception when we face the impossible task of representing something as huge as a real railroad in our always-too-small spaces.

Looks better each time!

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Discussion Starter · #22 ·
Yes, the entire west edge is free standing with a walkway the entire length. Just to the left of the west edge on the north wall is a doorway into the spare bedroom/wife's-office. There is a piano in that walkway, but still the entire west edge is available and hence the tabletop is reachable. The only long reach is the NE corner in the alcove.


Thanks TF!! Your good opinion is compliment indeed!

I have thought about a 'divider' to break the views And will keep thinking about it . First idea is to go from NW corner, over the four curves, due south and then ease over to the SW corner.

Now to mount that Turntable.
 

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Some pictures of the space for perspective
Seejones82;

Thanks for the photos of your space. That clears a lot of questions in my mind. I also think I have been confusing your room/layout situation with that of another member (deboone) who has a similar size HO-scale layout in roughly the same size room (I think.)
His layout is sort of 'C'-shaped, rather than your 'L'-shape, though. You have excellent access to your layout, except for the right hand end. Are you sure you want to mount your turntable in that somewhat constricted alcove? Turntables are not easy to install, and tend to be quite high maintenance. If you "flipped" your present track plan "upside down", that would put the turntable close to that nice open aisle on the west side of the layout. I suggest this might be worth thinking about.

I see you have your basic oval set up. I don't know if it is glued down yet, or not. You wouldn't necessarily have to flip the entire plan, in order to re-locate the turntable to the west side. That whole top area, against the wall with the door in it, could be one long yard. the turntable, round house, and engine service facilities could be near the west end, and the yard tracks on the east side continuing on into the alcove section. Yard tracks, once installed and wired, don't need much maintenance, other than occasional cleaning.
Turntables, on the other hand, are inherently complicated mechanisms. The motor must drive the turntable and stop very precisely at the exact point where each set of rails line up exactly with the rails on the turntable bridge, and they have to do the same at the opposite end of the bridge too. This is called "indexing", and there are several ways to do it. They range in complexity from manual rotation and eyeball indexing, clear on up to microprocessor controlled systems. Other than the first, (hand & eyeball) option, all may need fairly frequent adjustment. So its a good idea to mount a turntable where you have a good close-up view of it, and can get at the workings easily.

The only other suggestions I have are:
1) Rounding off the table's projecting corners. These can, and sooner or later will, potentially injure you as you run around to grab a locomotive that is headed for disaster.
2) You also might look at skewing the oval a bit, so that your long straight sections don't run dead parallel to the table edge. Track tends to look more interesting, (and less like nearly every other layout ever built馃槃) when set up this way. It can sometimes create some more usable spaces for scenery or structures too.

Good Luck & Have Fun;

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Discussion Starter · #25 ·
Thanks again, TF - very helpful suggestions.

1. Maybe I am locked in mentally to the yard, TT, and RH as-is, but I'm not seeing a decent way to 'flip' and still connect to the main table loops. I do already have all the TOs for the ladder in hand, so changing orientation (left to right diverging) would be expensive.

2. The oval currently on the table is just some Atlas True Track I bought back in December just to get going a little. It is not glued down and will not be part of the permanent layout. It is just for some fun while planning and then beginning construction. I realize I can remove the track sections from the plastic roadbed, but I do not plan to do that. I plan to use Micro Engineering Code 83 flextrack and PECO and Walthers turnouts for the main loops.

3. Rounding or even angling the corners is a good idea.

Do you use Anyrail? I can attach or send you the base file if you want to take the time to show me what you're thinking regarding the RH/TT in the NW corner.
 

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Thanks again, TF - very helpful suggestions.

1. Maybe I am locked in mentally to the yard, TT, and RH as-is, but I'm not seeing a decent way to 'flip' and still connect to the main table loops. I do already have all the TOs for the ladder in hand, so changing orientation (left to right diverging) would be expensive.

2. The oval currently on the table is just some Atlas True Track I bought back in December just to get going a little. It is not glued down and will not be part of the permanent layout. It is just for some fun while planning and then beginning construction. I realize I can remove the track sections from the plastic roadbed, but I do not plan to do that. I plan to use Micro Engineering Code 83 flextrack and PECO and Walthers turnouts for the main loops.

3. Rounding or even angling the corners is a good idea.

Do you use Anyrail? I can attach or send you the base file if you want to take the time to show me what you're thinking regarding the RH/TT in the NW corner.
Stejones82;

No, I don't use Anyrail. I'm an old analog geezer, and my idea of "track planning software" is a soft #2 pencil, some paper, and a ruler. 馃槃
The only important point I was trying to make was to get the turntable over to the west side of your layout, where you will be able to see, and maintain, it better. If you honestly have really good eyeball and hand access to it in your originally planned (east alcove) location, then moving it may not be necessary at all.

However, the access didn't look good to me in your photos. It looked like you would be standing on that step stool, and leaning around a corner, to see, and reach, the turntable. That would make lining up the rails by eyeball, quite difficult, and also get very uncomfortable for your spine pretty quickly. If that's true, then be kind to yourself. Don't kid yourself into thinking, "Oh its not that bad, I can handle it." It will feel a lot worse with repetition over time, and you may someday come to regret installing the turntable in that less accessible location.

I just noticed the note on one of your drawings that says you are using the Micro Engineering condensed ladder system. That, obviously isn't reversible, and won't work as individual turnouts elsewhere, at least not easily. However, looking again at your last track plan, it looks to me like the entire yard could be rotated 180 degrees in a flat, horizontal, plane, rather than flipping it vertically. That would mean the turntable would be on the west side, and also that the Micro Engineering ladder could stay intact, and still be used. You wouldn't need to replace it. Doing this might mean changing your connecting tracks from the main line loops to the yard, or possibly vertically flipping the entire main line loop section, while horizontally rotating the yard section. Whichever is easier.

On the subject of turnouts, You mentioned that you planned to use Peco, and "Walthers" (Shinohara?) turnouts as well as Micro Engineering's yard throat. All are good brands, but do all of them come with the "DCC compatible configuration" built in ? I know that Micro Engineering's turnouts, and Peco's new "Unifrog" turnouts do have this factory-installed, but I don't know about the Walthers turnouts. Peco "Electrofrogs" can be modified for DCC, and their "Insulfrogs" will work with DCC, though they have plastic frogs. The file below, "All about turnouts" explains the DCC compatible/friendly configuration. I'm assuming you are planning to use DCC.

I have rounded off corners by screwing & gluing a 45 degree piece of 1 x 3 & 1 x 2 'L'-girder across the inside of a 90 degree corner, moving any legs as needed, and then cutting off the projecting 90 degree piece. If you use extruded foam and/or plywood on top, that can be cut to a curve with a saber saw. My own layout has rounded corners and the Luan fascia board is warped around the curve. (see photo) This not only looks nice, it won't hurt me when I bump into it. (I have a disability that means I walk a bit oddly and tend to stagger around and bump into things more than most people.)

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Discussion Starter · #27 ·
Thanks for the heads up on the TOs, TF, I actually have your guides from a few months ago. I am checking the TOs pretty careful. The PECO are great as is (Insulfrog), as are the ME (I will power the frogs of those); The Walthers are the SHinohara version. The only thing that concerns me with them is the points are connected to the closure rails with what look to be rail joiners. They seem pretty loose. I tightened them up with a very fine nose plier, and the electrical connection seemed to improve. Looks like that will be an ongoing maintenance requirement.

I have started to see the new Walthers TOs in LHS, but limited quantities. So I will probably steer clear of them.
 

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Thanks for the heads up on the TOs, TF, I actually have your guides from a few months ago. I am checking the TOs pretty careful. The PECO are great as is (Insulfrog), as are the ME (I will power the frogs of those); The Walthers are the SHinohara version. The only thing that concerns me with them is the points are connected to the closure rails with what look to be rail joiners. They seem pretty loose. I tightened them up with a very fine nose plier, and the electrical connection seemed to improve. Looks like that will be an ongoing maintenance requirement.

I have started to see the new Walthers TOs in LHS, but limited quantities. So I will probably steer clear of them.
Stejones82;

It sounds like the Walthers/Shinohara turnouts you have are similar to those used by my old club. Could you post a photo of one please? Using rail joiners for point pivots is actually a fairly common, and generally reliable, system.
What kind of switch machine do you plan to use to operate your turnouts?

If the Shinohara/Walthers turnout's rail joiners do prove to be "an ongoing maintenance problem", you can eliminate that two ways. If you're using Tortoise, Switchmaster, or some other powerful DC stall motor switch machine, you could try soldering the rail joiners on one of the Shinohara turnouts. This would mean "bending the iron" just like a prototype turnout. This takes a certain amount of force.
I make my turnouts with no pivots, and use stall motors to operate them. This "bending the iron" works fine for me. (see photo)

On the other hand, if you're going to use Peco, (or for some insane reason Atlas o_O ) twin-coil solenoid machines, then I would not solder the actual rail joiners, but rather solder small gauge jumper wires around the joints. That way they can pivot freely, but will have constant power to the point rails too. Before doing either, make sure that each of the point rails is insulated from the frog though. Otherwise you may create a dead short.

The Peco Insulfrogs are good turnouts, but their plastic frogs may possibly stall some locomotives which only pick up power from a few of their wheels. A locomotive with all-wheel pickup should run smoothly through them though.
I prefer powered metal frogs like the Electrofrog, or new Unifrog have. My own scratchbuilt turnouts have isolated metal frogs that are powered, like those on Micro Engineering turnouts.

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The new Walthers #6 turnout.
Insulated Metal frog. Has an easy tab for a frog juicer.
They are all live rails just like the old ones. No power routing.
Sprung throw bar like Peco.
Point rails are one piece, just like the real ones. No pivot joint to go bad.
Looks like completely new tooling.
It's hard to see in the pic but they are pretty long.
Looks like a high quality turnout.

Blue Azure Font Line Rectangle


Magic
 

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I have been using the old Wlathers turnouts for years without issues -- but I have never relied on any piece of track to feed power. I always put a feeder in each leg of track downstream of a turnout.

It's gratifying to hear from Magic that the new ines are good quality. i hope they match the others in appearance, because I've been waiting on them to get the last dozen I need to finish.

As far as the Tam Valley Depot solution goes, I've been a big fan of their products ever since meeting Duncan Mcree (the owner) at the Amherst Train Show, probably 15 years ago, and getting a hands on demo. Now I swear by them and use nothing else for my turnouts.
 
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The new Walthers #6 turnout.
Insulated Metal frog. Has an easy tab for a frog juicer.
They are all live rails just like the old ones. No power routing.
Sprung throw bar like Peco.
Point rails are one piece, just like the real ones. No pivot joint to go bad.
Looks like completely new tooling.
It's hard to see in the pic but they are pretty long.
Looks like a high quality turnout.

View attachment 559302

Magic
Magic & Stejones82;

Thanks for the photos of the new Walthers turnouts. They look very well designed and have an isolated metal frog. Their appearance is also excellent. Looks like a good choice for turnouts.

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Discussion Starter · #34 ·
I am thinking of using them. I have two left-hand and one right-hand that make my plans possible. I will keep that in mind and I thank you for the heads-up! No "Super elevation," huh.
 

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Discussion Starter · #35 ·
Well - I hit the wall yesterday, just about literally.

Fortunately, before I started cutting, I realized that the problems I was having laying out the turntable, would also be present for cutting the hole. In other words, total interference with the wall for the jigsaw. I COULD do it, but it would not be easy and take a lot of work. SO back to Anyrail. Here is my new plan. It moves the TT out from the wall which should give nice access:

559411



I eliminated one TO and leg to the TT, which was mostly redundant anyway. I added a trak due west from the TT which will be switchable to the "program" mode of DCC. Had to move the RH over as well. Have no ideas for the space behind the RH ... ... a yard office/bunk room maybe?

Pink boxes are electromagnet uncouplers, purple are standard magnets. The EM one in the NE, should that get east (as shown) or west of the TO? That crossover is to allow road locos to escape after uncoupling their drags.

Control boxes added, but locations far from final.

As always, comments/critique gladly accepted.

-----Steve
 

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Well - I hit the wall yesterday, just about literally.

Fortunately, before I started cutting, I realized that the problems I was having laying out the turntable, would also be present for cutting the hole. In other words, total interference with the wall for the jigsaw. I COULD do it, but it would not be easy and take a lot of work. SO back to Anyrail. Here is my new plan. It moves the TT out from the wall which should give nice access:

View attachment 559411


I eliminated one TO and leg to the TT, which was mostly redundant anyway. I added a trak due west from the TT which will be switchable to the "program" mode of DCC. Had to move the RH over as well. Have no ideas for the space behind the RH ... ... a yard office/bunk room maybe?

Pink boxes are electromagnet uncouplers, purple are standard magnets. The EM one in the NE, should that get east (as shown) or west of the TO? That crossover is to allow road locos to escape after uncoupling their drags.

Control boxes added, but locations far from final.

As always, comments/critique gladly accepted.

-----Steve
Steve;

On the east electromagnetic uncoupler, put it east of the turnout. That way it serves both routes through the turnout instead of just one. The track east of that turnout and uncoupler looks short, but if it only has to hold a switcher, that should work.

You don't really need all those permanent magnet uncouplers (one for every track) a single electromagnetic uncoupler located at the very west end of your new drawing, could, theoretically, serve every track in the whole yard. This assumes you are going to use Kadee's "delayed uncoupling" technique. Once uncoupled, a car can be pushed into whatever track it needs to end up in, without re-coupling. At least that's the theory. If the loco should stall, even for a second, anywhere in its long pushing maneuver through turnouts, and along track, the coupler offset will go away, and the loco will then recouple to the car(s) when it bumps back into them.
This, along with the cost, unwanted uncouplings, and somewhat dorky appearance, of multiple uncouplers, is one reason behind the popularity of stick uncoupling. A hand-held small stick or screwdriver, is inserted between coupler and gently twisted to uncouple any car any where you want.

I know I questioned the need for your original three approach tracks to the turntable, but I liked having two of them. A locomotive using any of the facilities, water, fuel, sand, etc. will block the only access to the turntable and roundhouse. Nothing could get in, or out, of the roundhouse while a locomotive was being serviced. I liked your earlier, two approach tracks, setup much better.

Your roundhouse is shown with only one stall track. I assume that's just a drawing thing. There would be no point in having a roundhouse with only one track. That would call for a single-track, rectangular, engine house instead.

Space behind the roundhouse? Few modelers would have trouble filling a space. Our problem is always having too little space, not too much! 馃槃
Your idea of a railroad office building, or any non tracked structure would work. This space would be where the "back shop" would be located in some yards. However, a back shop typically has multiple tracks, and a "transfer table", which is sort of a linier version of a turntable. The bridge of a transfer table moves sideways rather than rotating. But all that requires more track, more scratchbuilding, more work, and more possibility of your sabre say colliding with a wall, than its worth.

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Discussion Starter · #37 ·
Thanks for the feedback TF. I really appreciate your comments.

1. The track east of the TO on northern ladder track is 13-1/2 inches. It is enough for my steam loco and tender.

2. I will consider eliminating some of the standard magnets. But like you said, any burp and in comes the HOG.

3. I guess I do have space for an second TT entrance track.

559428


What do you think of that? Might could make it a tad longer by shortening the 18" radius immediately in front of that TO.

4. Kept the programing track, but it could go away.

5. Yes, there are three tracks, not shown, for the 3 stall RH.

6. Again, thanks for the critique! Keep 'em coming! Ad other guys can chime in as well. ----Steve
 

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They do make an under the track magnetic uncoupler, I think it's by Kadee.
They work very good and you can't see them once you ballast track.
You'll need some kind of a marker to show where they are.
For me the HOG method really doesn't work unless you can look straight
down on the couplers, might be a problem in that back corner.

It's a nice layout but that yard in that corner just bothers me.
You might get away with it however.
Of course you could always cut a big hole in that wall. o_O :D:D
Make it a window. (y)(y) She'll never notice. :cool:

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Thanks for the feedback TF. I really appreciate your comments.

1. The track east of the TO on northern ladder track is 13-1/2 inches. It is enough for my steam loco and tender.

2. I will consider eliminating some of the standard magnets. But like you said, any burp and in comes the HOG.

3. I guess I do have space for an second TT entrance track.

View attachment 559428

What do you think of that? Might could make it a tad longer by shortening the 18" radius immediately in front of that TO.

4. Kept the programing track, but it could go away.

5. Yes, there are three tracks, not shown, for the 3 stall RH.

6. Again, thanks for the critique! Keep 'em coming! Ad other guys can chime in as well. ----Steve
Steve;

I would consider moving your section joint if possible. One highly recommended practice for sectional layouts is to have as few tracks crossing the joint as possible. Corollaries to this rule are to have straight tracks only and those crossing as close to 90 degrees to the joint line as possible. Avoid curved tracks crossing a joint, and never locate a turnout over a joint.

Moving your section joint down (south) until it is more or less in line with the wall that runs east and west, will avoid the curves, but I don't know if that will put it under some of your turnouts in that area. Doing that would make things worse not better.

Moving it up (north) and angling it parallel to your yard ladder, will cut the number of crossing tracks down to one, and avoid all turnouts, which would be a better option.

Builders of sectional layouts, especially portable, modular ones, have been debating how to lay track across the joints between sections for years. There are two main methods.

One is to lay glued & ballasted track right over the joint and then cut the track(s) directly over the joint. Rail joiners are then fitted to the cut tra,ck(s).
The advantage of this method is that the track at the joint looks like the rest of the track. The big disadvantage though, is that the rail ends, and rail joiners, being right at the very ends of the modules, are very likely to be damaged during the cycle of set up, tear down, & transporting, operations that portable layouts go through.

The other common method uses some form of removeable track section(s) over the joints. These are often simply pieces of sectional straight track. The advantage is that the ends of the main line are now set back some distance from the section joint, and therefore protected from damage. I use a modified form of this method on my layout, since I periodically need to remove a section from my layout, and take it to my workbench, where I can work on it sitting down. (I'm partially disabled)
The disadvantage is a pretty hooky appearance. Now the ballasted track ends at whatever setback is used, and unballasted track takes over at each joint line. The removable sections really detract from the looks of modular layouts.
This will not be a concern for users of roadbed track, like Kato's Unitrack, since even the removable section will have the same plastic "ballast" as all the rest of the track.

For a home layout like yours, which I'm assuming will seldom be disassembled, the first option is likely best. Simply lay track across the joint, and cut it when/if you have to move.

regards;

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They do make an under the track magnetic uncoupler, I think it's by Kadee.
They work very good and you can't see them once you ballast track.
You'll need some kind of a marker to show where they are.
For me the HOG method really doesn't work unless you can look straight
down on the couplers, might be a problem in that back corner.

It's a nice layout but that yard in that corner just bothers me.
You might get away with it however.
Of course you could always cut a big hole in that wall. o_O :D:D
Make it a window. (y)(y) She'll never notice. :cool:

Magic
Magic;

Yes, that invisible, under-the-track magnet is made by Kadee, in HO-scale, (and Micro-Trains makes it in N-scale.)
This magnet also has the option of being hinged, which allows it to be "turned on and off." The magnet in the raised position is right below the track, & parallel to it, and will uncouple. When moved to the down position, It is no longer in a position to uncouple, and so is "turned off." Directions for doing this are on the sheet packaged with the magnet.

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