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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hi Everyone,

Somehow with scope creep and too big of a wish list I made this NO FUN! I decided to keep the U shape and that was about it. We created our MUST haves or it is not worth doing list. We MUST have ample room for scenery and scale modeling of buildings and such. We MUST have some form of operations and switching. We MUST be able to run continuous trains, that do not interfere with sperate switching activity. We must have SOME rolling stock yard.

This is basically 3 30" slabs with some added to the one on the top. It still runs along 3 walls with the open side facing into a large open area. It is still 138"x110". it is now 30" wide except for that bump out which is 48". The hard to get to corners will be coved, I may have to get one of those Top Side Creeper things or some sort of dedicated ladder, we shall see.

Those little sidings are parking for locomotives as I can't really fit a separate area but still wanted some on the layout near the yard. Each one is 10" after the turnout so big enough for any locomotive.

That gray line running from one side to the center is a point to point auto reversing Tram serving that town and the brick factory kit (N Scale Architects) that is going there. This is based on a plan I found online, modified somewhat.

PLEASE have a look, We really do appreciate your opinions...

Rob
Map Rectangle Slope Font Parallel
 

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Definitely a Need list & a Want list is a good idea. If sacrifices need to be made, only do so on the Want list.

As to the plan:
Is that bridge showing mainline under and siding over it a mistake? I’m guessing so?

I’m not entirely understanding some of the sidings. Particularly the long one parallel to the yard ladder.
And the four short spurs, presumably for loco parking? It’d make more sense to have a double track using only 2 turnouts, or double ended using four if you don’t want any being trapped.

IF you’re using the inner loop as an in/outbound track where trains are assembled, which itself is fine, those four short loco parking spurs would be blocked.

There are no cross overs from inner loop to outer. Was this an oversight?
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 · (Edited)
Definitely a Need list & a Want list is a good idea. If sacrifices need to be made, only do so on the Want list.

As to the plan:
Is that bridge showing mainline under and siding over it a mistake? I’m guessing so?

I’m not entirely understanding some of the sidings. Particularly the long one parallel to the yard ladder.
And the four short spurs, presumably for loco parking? It’d make more sense to have a double track using only 2 turnouts, or double ended using four if you don’t want any being trapped.

IF you’re using the inner loop as an in/outbound track where trains are assembled, which itself is fine, those four short loco parking spurs would be blocked.

There are no cross overs from inner loop to outer. Was this an oversight?
First off, THANK YOU VERY MUCH for your help.

The case of the levitating siding is a SCARM error, It is GREAT software but sometimes it is a tad aggravating.....

The long siding mirroring the yard track is my attempt at a run around track. It will allow the switcher to build a consist on it then the tasked locomotive can pick it up. I do now see that I am missing a return switch though.

Yes the 4 short turnouts are for loco parking. The idea is all four are ready to go at any time.

There is supposed to be a Kato crossover switch on the top 2 tracks.

I will fix these things, thanks again!
Rob
 

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Hi Everyone,

Somehow with scope creep and too big of a wish list I made this NO FUN! I decided to keep the U shape and that was about it. We created our MUST haves or it is not worth doing list. We MUST have ample room for scenery and scale modeling of buildings and such. We MUST have some form of operations and switching. We MUST be able to run continuous trains, that do not interfere with sperate switching activity. We must have SOME rolling stock yard.

This is basically 3 30" slabs with some added to the one on the top. It still runs along 3 walls with the open side facing into a large open area. It is still 138"x110". it is now 30" wide except for that bump out which is 48". The hard to get to corners will be coved, I may have to get one of those Top Side Creeper things or some sort of dedicated ladder, we shall see.

Those little sidings are parking for locomotives as I can't really fit a separate area but still wanted some on the layout near the yard. Each one is 10" after the turnout so big enough for any locomotive.

That gray line running from one side to the center is a point to point auto reversing Tram serving that town and the brick factory kit (N Scale Architects) that is going there. This is based on a plan I found online, modified somewhat.

PLEASE have a look, We really do appreciate your opinions...

Rob
View attachment 589727
Bigfoot:

First, I agree with OilValley's sensible suggestions.

Besides those, I notice a lot of difficult-to-reach track. This is basically "NO FUN" built right into your design. :(
A "topside creeper" is very expensive, bulky to store, and basically a way to compensate (poorly) for bad design. Its your railroad, and you are free to go with what you have, but based on somewhat bitter personal experience, I feel strongly that its the wrong way to go.

Perhaps its just another SCARM error, but your mainline seems to be pushed out to, and running along, the table edge for no discernable reason. You list scenery and structures as "Must Haves." Moving the track in from the edges, especially in the "coffin corner" on the top right, will actually provide some locations for scenery & structures.

The three long sidings, (and their short, loco-storing brethren) take up a lot of your potential scenery & structure space.
While, operationally speaking, sidings are a good thing to have, they should (ideally) make sense. Those sidings are located very close to the yard, and to the front part of your main line. Yet, for reasons that make no sense to me, they are not connected to the yard that's right there next to them, or to the equally nearby main line. Instead they branch off from the mainline way out in back, presumably miles away. Why?

I suggest you keep the overall size & shape of your layout. Also keep most of the track where it is, with the exception of bringing it in from the edges. I recommend you remove the three sidings and stubs from the middle. They don't get deleted altogether, just re-located to the left, or bottom, parts of the layout, where they will make more sense operationally.
Your trains deliver, and/or pick up, freight over there from the industries the re-located sidings serve. The trains then transport the freight to the yard area where it can be unloaded, or forwarded to another train going on to the freight's final destination. (actually hidden staging tracks.)
A runaround track could be made from one of the yard tracks, or an added track parallel to the yard. To function as a runaround, you're right, it needs a turnout at each end, and some track beyond each turnout, for the loco, & perhaps a car or two, to get past the turnout so it can be thrown to its other route. (AKA past the "fouling point" of the turnout.)

The now mostly empty (of track) area, where those three sidings were, can instead be used to slant that inaccessible back track curve & track forward, and angled, to bring it within short reach from the font aisle. This is also a potential location for a staging yard, which would be hidden if you elect to build the town over it. This track could go through the center of a town full of the structures you like to build. It could even go under the town, as long as you make the portion of town over the track removeable. I do this on my own layout. Much of my "downtown Seattle" is built over track, on lightweight, removable "city blocks." (See photos: the track going under the street bridge in photo 2, feeds into hidden staging tracks under the "city block" of structures in photo1.)
The "coffin corner" (now devoid of track), can also be filled with structures, which will add depth, and believability, to your town.

One more recommended re-location for better access. Bring the passing siding from its present location, right up along the left wall, to the other (front aisle) side of that loop. It can curve around the corner to maintain its length. By the way, consider making a small 45 degree "bump out" to fill in a small part of that corner, and the corner on the opposite side of the aisle, near the yard. Then you can use a broader curve, and you will have room for the passing siding alongside the main line. This moves the turnouts out where you can see, and maintain, them easily, No topside creeper required. 😄

So basically, I'm suggesting changes to some of the middle trackage of your layout, leaving the main line alone in most areas, with a little scooting inward. I feel if you should choose to adopt my suggestions, you'll end up with a more satisfying, and less troublesome, layout. As always, its your choice.

Traction Fan🙂
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Traction Fan - THANKS! Let me do some reworking...... You are 100% correct, I feel like I am close now, just need to tweak this a bit. I am not sure how to bring the track away from the edge on the top section without making my curves tighter, but I will work on it. I REALLY APPRECIATE THE HELP.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks to some VALUABLE feedback, here is another version with the industry relocated and toward the front edge for reach. I was also able to shrink the left table down to 24" wide and still have a good number of industries to service. It is getting there!
Font Slope Rectangle Parallel Pattern
 

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Traction Fan - THANKS! Let me do some reworking...... You are 100% correct, I feel like I am close now, just need to tweak this a bit. I am not sure how to bring the track away from the edge on the top section without making my curves tighter, but I will work on it. I REALLY APPRECIATE THE HELP.
Bigfoot;

How tight are the top section curves now ? (I'm assuming we're talking about the top left area that I called the "coffin corner.")
You don't necessarily need to reduce the radius of the curve, rather, just add on another piece, or two, of curved track, before entering straight track. I think you're using Kato Unitrack, right? That comes in straight, and various curve radii pieces. Your curve is now 90 degrees. Replacing a straight section with a curved one will make it approximately a 120- 135 degree curve. This can be done with the same curvature pieces you're now using, or you can make the curve better by using a larger radius curved piece. Do the same at the other end of that same curve. This is an elemental form of a curve "easement." A bit of broad radius curve easies the train's transition from straight track into, and/or out of, the main, slightly tighter, curve. On one of my old N-scale layouts I used Atlas sectional track. My minimum radius was 9-3/4".
At each end of the 9-3/4" radius curve, I inserted a section of 11" radius curved track, and then a piece of 19" radius curved track. This smoothed out the train's transition from straight track into the tight 9-3/4" radius curve quite well.

There is also a way of moving that back track in away from the coffin corner without changing the curve at all. You could remove some of the straight track along the bottom edge of your 48" "bump out" section. This would get that back track away from the edge, but it wouldn't do as much for getting it within easy reach of the aisle. For this reason, I don't recommend this, but its an option. This would require taking out an equal amount of straight track along the top edge, to line things up. If we keep this track removal stuff up, you may end up without a layout at all. o_O Horror of horrors! I'm kidding of course. Nothing close to that drastic is required.

Access, access, access. Its a problem on nearly all model railroads. Some consider things like crawling across the top of the layout, (topside creepers?😄) or duck-under pop up hatches, "access." I don't. At least not reasonable access.
That's why I keep harping on keeping things super-simple (and therefore more reliable) in the back, and moving all the complicated stuff, like turnouts, up front. (See photo for an extreme example on my layout.)
Model railroaders are somewhat obsessed with tunnels. For every tunnel on the prototype railroads there are probably at least ten tunnels on model railroads. Unfortunately, all these model tunnels seldom have any reasonable access to the track inside them. I saw a cartoon in a model railroad book where the erstwhile modeler was using a flashlight, and a fishing rod, to extract his derailed train through a tunnel portal. Despite the fact that this is roughly about as practical as a surgeon removing your appendix through one of your nostrils, there are plenty of model railroads with equivalent access issues.

I'll let you in on a little "secret" about published track plans. They are exactly what they say they are, plans for a toy train setup/ model railroad, not plans for a real railroad. Obvious as this should be, it remains undiscovered by many modelers. A certain amount, ( a lot actually) of the difference between a model railroad track plan, and the track pattern of a prototype railroad, is necessary to keep modelers happy.
The "track plan" used by many real railroads is a less-than-spellbinding straight line, or close to it. Few modelers would be happy with such a plan.
However, understand that a good model railroad track plan should be able to answer this question. "Why would a real railroad build this track arrangement?" If the truth is "They wouldn't," then you may need to change some things, and/or hide some things, to make it look more like the real thing. The three sidings on your plan that I suggested you re-locate, are a classic example. Why are they where they are, and why are they connected to the main line at what is essentially the "wrong" place. The answer is that the plan you found was for a model railroad, and "It kind of looked neat to have track there." No relation to much of anything else.

Good Luck & Keep Having Fun*

Traction Fan 🙂

NOTE: "Having Fun" may mean getting away from the track planning occasionally. :sneaky:
 

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Thanks to some VALUABLE feedback, here is another version with the industry relocated and toward the front edge for reach. I was also able to shrink the left table down to 24" wide and still have a good number of industries to service. It is getting there! View attachment 589823
Bigfoot;

It looks better. I still recommend getting that back track out of the upper-right "coffin corner" though. Otherwise, its looking good.(y)

Traction Fan
 

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I like it. Trains can now depart the yard in either direction. Not only is that nice for changing up mainline travel direction, but it eliminates the need for run arounds near the industries by, instead, running more than one local in different directions to switch trailing point industries.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I think I got most of the ideas, I rounded out those corners on the right side, they are now 12".4 and 13.7", the same as the left. I had to put the bottom crossover in a different spot, but it works. I changed the pull off in the lower area to be longer and added a industry spur. I added some locomotive parking at the top of the yard, I am not sure it is staying though, it may be too much. Though it would be nice as I had to ditch the turn table. Thoughts? Have a look - THANKS AGAIN FOR THE HELP EVERYONE!
Rectangle Slope Font Parallel Pattern
 

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For a yard with as many spurs as you have I
would strongly advise using a DIODE MATRIX
turnout control system. You decide what spur
is your destination. Push a button on that track
and all points provide the route. It sounds
complex but it isn't. You would need a number
of diodes that are connected to the spur track
buttons. If you decide to use this system
I'll be glad to show you how to wire it.

Don
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
For a yard with as many spurs as you have I
would strongly advise using a DIODE MATRIX
turnout control system. You decide what spur
is your destination. Push a button on that track
and all points provide the route. It sounds
complex but it isn't. You would need a number
of diodes that are connected to the spur track
buttons. If you decide to use this system
I'll be glad to show you how to wire it.

Don
DON!!!

THAT sounds like a lot of fun, I will look into that - I never knew it was a possibility - THANKS!
 

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For a yard with as many spurs as you have I
would strongly advise using a DIODE MATRIX
turnout control system. You decide what spur
is your destination. Push a button on that track
and all points provide the route. It sounds
complex but it isn't. You would need a number
of diodes that are connected to the spur track
buttons. If you decide to use this system
I'll be glad to show you how to wire it.

Don
Don;

The OP, "Bigfoot", is using Kato turnouts, which have a unique, internal, single-coil, switch machine that only works with DC. Momentarily reversing the polarity of the DC to the switch machine moves the points. The much more common twin-coil machines, used by Peco, Atlas, & Bachmann, can work on either DC or AC, and the diode matrix for them is pretty straightforward & simple.

While it is possible to create a diode matrix for DC stall motors, In fact, I use one on my own layout, its a bit more complicated. Mine uses a split power supply that provides intentionally unequal Negative and Positive DC voltages with respect to ground. My system would not work for the OP, since he needs a momentary burst of either Positive or Negative DC. Mine stays on constantly, which would burn out his Kato turnout's coils.

There are several digital electronic route control systems which could operate multiple turnouts at once (actually in sequence) but Bigfoot is a newbie to the hobby, and I don't want to lay more confusion on him now.
Still, route control is nice, and he may want it eventually, but it may take some engineering.

Regards;

Traction Fan
 

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I think I got most of the ideas, I rounded out those corners on the right side, they are now 12".4 and 13.7", the same as the left. I had to put the bottom crossover in a different spot, but it works. I changed the pull off in the lower area to be longer and added a industry spur. I added some locomotive parking at the top of the yard, I am not sure it is staying though, it may be too much. Though it would be nice as I had to ditch the turn table. Thoughts? Have a look - THANKS AGAIN FOR THE HELP EVERYONE! View attachment 589887
Bigfoot;

More improvement. Good for you.
I still don't see that back track moving forward though. That passing siding at the top could be lengthened to accommodate longer trains. Don't you think either that passing siding, or especially the double crossover to the right of it, will have access issues? It sure looks that way to me.
If you end up extending the bottom right curve, as I suggested, and moving the back track forward, and parallel to the runaround track of your yard, it will solve a lot of potential problems. The back track can be far enough from the yard's runaround track to be hidden by your town. That would also bring the top passing siding closer to the aisle, where you can reach it.
I suggest you move the double crossover down to the table that butts into the cabinet. It could be located between the turnouts for the two industry spurs you have down there. By the way. Kato's double crossovers ain't cheap, and you really don't need two of them.
If you were using single crossovers, then yes, you would need two. One to get a train from the inner track onto the outer, and a second single crossover to get the train back from the outer track and onto the inner track.
If you only had one single crossover, you would need to back the train through the crossover to get back where you started.
Not so with a double crossover. Per its name, it is operationally equivalent to the two single crossovers in the previous discussion. A train on the outer track, approaching from either direction, can crossover onto the inner track When it comes around the loop again, it can cross back onto the outer track. Again, this can be done regardless of the train's direction of travel.

Keep up the good work;(y)

Traction Fan 🙂
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Bigfoot;

More improvement. Good for you.
I still don't see that back track moving forward though. That passing siding at the top could be lengthened to accommodate longer trains. Don't you think either that passing siding, or especially the double crossover to the right of it, will have access issues? It sure looks that way to me.
If you end up extending the bottom right curve, as I suggested, and moving the back track forward, and parallel to the runaround track of your yard, it will solve a lot of potential problems. The back track can be far enough from the yard's runaround track to be hidden by your town. That would also bring the top passing siding closer to the aisle, where you can reach it.
I suggest you move the double crossover down to the table that butts into the cabinet. It could be located between the turnouts for the two industry spurs you have down there. By the way. Kato's double crossovers ain't cheap, and you really don't need two of them.
If you were using single crossovers, then yes, you would need two. One to get a train from the inner track onto the outer, and a second single crossover to get the train back from the outer track and onto the inner track.
If you only had one single crossover, you would need to back the train through the crossover to get back where you started.
Not so with a double crossover. Per its name, it is operationally equivalent to the two single crossovers in the previous discussion. A train on the outer track, approaching from either direction, can crossover onto the inner track When it comes around the loop again, it can cross back onto the outer track. Again, this can be done regardless of the train's direction of travel.

Keep up the good work;(y)

Traction Fan 🙂
Are you talking about moving the very back tracks (the one with the pull off that is soo to be lengthened) in to lessen the reach, or moving the front edge of the top table tracks back from the edge (they are only 1 1/2" from the edge)?

THANKS!

Rob
 

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Are you talking about moving the very back tracks (the one with the pull off that is soo to be lengthened) in to lessen the reach, or moving the front edge of the top table tracks back from the edge (they are only 1 1/2" from the edge)?

THANKS!

Rob

Rob;
I meant the double track at the extreme right side of your plan. Its part of your main loop. The curve at the bottom of that right-hand double track could be extended by one, or two, curved track sections. This would bring what is now the extreme right tracks out of the coffin corner, and down (the diagram) and put them parallel to the runaround track of your yard, but about 1-/12- 2 feet from that runaround track. Similar changes would need to be made to the double track curve in the top left, in order to line it up with the new location of the former coffin corner track. This would bring, what is now the entire trackage across the top of your diagram down at an angle and closer to the aisle, in order to meet the relocated left track.

This change would bring all track on the whole layout into easy reach. Since the coffin corner, and the very top would no longer have any track, a huge space for your town would be opened up. Nothing would change operationally. Your main lines would be a bit shorter, but not enough to really matter. The passing siding, that is now at the top of your diagram, could be expanded into a hidden staging yard, under a removable part of your town.
That way a train could chug off into the staging yard and park, while supposedly thundering on to a distant destination. Later, it could re-appear as "another" train. Storing a completely different-looking train or two in staging, would further the illusion, since they could appear before the original train returns.

Traction Fan
 

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I'll have to give some thought to the Diode Matrix on
the single coil turnout motors. It's DC so that keeps
it simple. I have something in mind, will have to
draw it out.

Don
Don, it shouldn't be too hard. You will need a power supply with a grounded center tap transformer, and a diode on each of the main output wires, facing opposite directions from each other. That will give you DC that is negative (with respect to ground) and DC that is positive (with respect to ground. Ground will be the zero volts point.

To operate a single Kato turnout from this supply, you would need a DPDT c/o (Double -Pole-Double-Throw-center off) toggle switch, with the switch spring-loaded to the center, (off) position. The two wires from the Kato turnout would be soldered to the center terminals of the toggle switch. The power wires would go to one pair of end terminals, crisscross each other, and then connect to the other pair of end terminals. This is essentially what happens inside Kato's own, (quite bulky) turnout control lever.

For a route control system, I would ground one of the wires from every turnout, using the same wire, ( i.e. all the black wires, or all the red wires)
The other wire from each of the individual turnouts would be connected to your diode matrix. Pushing a button for "track five" would feed the necessary voltage (negative or positive) to each turnout and line up the entire route into track five.

The difference with the Kato turnout is that the matrix needs to simultaneously supply positive voltage to some turnouts, and negative voltage to other turnouts.
With a twin-coil turnout, (Peco, Atlas, or Bachmann) all that the matrix has to do is supply some kind of voltage to one group of coils. The voltage can be the same for all of the coils being supplied.

Good luck;

Traction Fan
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Don;

The OP, "Bigfoot", is using Kato turnouts, which have a unique, internal, single-coil, switch machine that only works with DC. Momentarily reversing the polarity of the DC to the switch machine moves the points. The much more common twin-coil machines, used by Peco, Atlas, & Bachmann, can work on either DC or AC, and the diode matrix for them is pretty straightforward & simple.

While it is possible to create a diode matrix for DC stall motors, In fact, I use one on my own layout, its a bit more complicated. Mine uses a split power supply that provides intentionally unequal Negative and Positive DC voltages with respect to ground. My system would not work for the OP, since he needs a momentary burst of either Positive or Negative DC. Mine stays on constantly, which would burn out his Kato turnout's coils.

There are several digital electronic route control systems which could operate multiple turnouts at once (actually in sequence) but Bigfoot is a newbie to the hobby, and I don't want to lay more confusion on him now.
Still, route control is nice, and he may want it eventually, but it may take some engineering.

Regards;

Traction Fan
THANKS! I apologize, the side where the "48" is is totally open to a large area in the basement. So reach wise, it is easy. There is one spot at the top right (the hardest to reach sop, where the track is 30" from the edge. I am going to hope that piece of straight track is mostly reliable once set.
 
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