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Video note: The tunnel effect is not great.   I would have to edit my layout to make track sections align better with the tunnel portals.  And then still cars "wink out" rather than transition.

I was playing around yesterday, and came up with this design.   I have been "approved" to add a 12x20 or 12x24 train building structure adjacent to our home and parking apron.  [perhaps in a couple years post retirement.]   For fun I came up with this design to see what could go.

  • Wide curves:  O90 minimum curves, #5 mainline turnouts
  • Mostly sectional, two lengths of flex
  • My wants: a staging track, yard, turntable, double-track main, some industry switching
  • Good access and reach so I would enjoy working on the layout, and more likely to make progress rather than put-off because of hassle
  • A front viewing area for casual viewers and kids (everyone seems to want to "see" the layout, even if for only a view minutes while conversation ranges)
  • Restroom included
  • Will be heated and cooled (window air, electric faux fireplace), North Georgia
  • Side barn-door delete, front door only

Comments, suggestions, criticisms most welcome!



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Last edited by Ken-Oscale
Original Post

Oooo! I have definite train-room envy.  That is going to be a very nice space.


WRT track-planning, I especially like the three-stub-siding industrial area (lower right). I have done this on my pike and it provides very interesting switching operations. Sort of an abbreviated Inglenooks switching puzzle. I find an Inglenooks to be much more realistic and prototypical than switchback-timesaver puzzles:



Depending on what is incoming and what is outgoing this four-industry area can take 40 minutes (actual, not scale time) to do the switching.



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BTW, excellent yard lead. You really will be able to have trains running while simultaneously doing classification work in the yard. John Armstrong would approve of your trackplan.

On edit: Traffic on the yard lead will still foul the inner mainline. I'm not sure how that would best be addressed.

I see a potential problem with the staging/interchange track. Because it is almost out of reach you won't be able to easily change consists. For me interchange is of crucial importance because it represents the whole outside World and thus the other half of operation. That is, I use my interchange track (which is actually a return loop in an adjacent room) as a fiddle yard where I build incoming consists using the old O-5-O switcher (hands).


Ya, on my list of #aroundtoits is to do a more workmanlike job of the return loop but in the meanwhile it does function as needed. The paintbrush, as well as being a dusting tool, indicates the next set of cars to be worked into a train. I don't use switch-lists or waybills but simply cycle through a set of possible consists. Someday when I'm really bored maybe I'll see if my math-foo is up to the task of determining the total number of consist variations and their frequency of occurrence.



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Last edited by geysergazer

The bigger, the better.  24' is better than 20', that's for sure.

A restroom would be great, but kinda' hate to see it in the center area of the layout.  It will always be a view block, no matter where you stand in the building.  Any chance of utilizing a small portion of the 4' x 24' front porch area for a restroom?

I have to agree about changing the location of the bathroom; looks like a big eye-sore in middle of room and blocks full layout view.  However, something nobody has mentioned - if you plan to run your trains around the loops a lot, the last thing you want is a double-slip switch on that main line.  No matter who makes it or how carefully it is installed, running through that switch a speed will just be one headache after another.  Stopping that yard lead from crossing the inner mainline will solve the potential derailment problem as well.


Ken, I like the concept of the plan a lot.  Knowing you, you will try many arrangements between now and then so I have no worries about you finding the best solution.  Putting a restroom in the building is a great idea!  I see the initial idea is to keep it out of a corner and make use of the full 12x20/12x24 for broad curves.  Paul has a good idea.  If not on a front porch, could it go in the lower left of the guest viewing area?  Just another thought.

Ken-Oscale posted:



My suggestion: 

Move the restroom to the outside of the layout.  Let’s say that you are having a run session with 3-4 friends over.  Earl had lunch at Chili’s and it included a large order of onion rings and a side of baked beans.  Every 15 minutes he enters and the tuba concert shakes the walls.  Do you really want him to open the door?  





PS -  I know you are not serious, nobody in their right mind would put a chitter in the middle of their layout.  Not even cousin Eddie.


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Last edited by SantaFeJim

All the advice is good.

Double slip switches are pretty uncommon in the USA except in some of the old large passenger stations.   Probably for same as the reason above, they require a lot maintenance and tend to create places for derailments.

the yard lead crossing the main would be nice to eliminate if possible.     Generally, only switchers will use the lead and only freight cars, so the radius/diameter of the yard lead could be smaller than the mains and roundhouse leads and any passenger traffic.   so you could possible rearrange the lead to access both an arrival/departure track and the class tracks inside the inner main  using a smaller radius.     The A/D track/s are used to hold an arriving train off the main until broken down, or to build a new train for departure.    they are best double ended.

the restroom sticks out like a sore thumb in that location.    As was suggested, could it be put on the "porch" or perhaps at one end or the other with the mains only passing behind it.    the mains could be going through a tunnel.    

And having earl over after Chilis - or a large Cinncinnati Chili 5 way might make the whole place unhabitible for periods of time.

I cant see how that bathroom is feasible. 3x3 as drawn is an airplane bathroom and you eat another ~8" of space with the framing and drywall (so you're either 28" square or 44" square). I dont even know if building code allows it to be that small. If you gotta have a bathroom (it adds the need for plumbing which is otherwise unnecessary), then stick it in a corner, not in the middle of the layout. Both for the above mentioned reasons and also for re-sale. No one will understand why there's a bathroom in the middle of a building that small. 

Honestly, in a 12x24, I think I'd run back across the driveway. 

Last edited by Boilermaker1

Thanks everyone for the comments and discussion.   Lots of design "trade-offs".  First the "fun" one, the "powder room".

  • Yes, 3x4 OD is very much small/micro, but I found plans that fit that space with a space-saving commode and a tiny wash basin in the corner, with the door swinging out.  Clearly not ADA compliant, but it works.  "Tiny Houses" are all the rage with some innovative space usage features.
  • I also found another idea for a combined commode&washbasin fixture.   
  • Why inside the layout:  access - if outside the layout then I need to figure out how operators will access the powder room - get across the mains.   Not easy.   Then the space needed expands because the door has to swing out to somewhere, again cramping/shrinking the mainlines, reducing length of yard spurs, and a host of other consequences.   When inside the mainlines, the door swing area is into the operating area.
  • If inside the layout its easy to duck in and out: no tracking of dirt and leaves and whatnot in and out of the layout room from the great outdoors.   And little kids need to go too, and at inconvenient times:  with this layout they can duck under the bridges and "hit the head" with little fuss.   And some of us older guys need "to go" often, depending...
  • Scenery construction often needs access to water (depending on technique).   With water in the center of the layout this is easy and convenient.   Easy for water to wash brushes and etc.
  • "Air quality" concerns.   Perhaps an "industrial strength" bathroom fan will do.   Or two fans.  I think this concern is "overblown" (pun intended).
  • Washroom on the porch.   Really!?  How will that look to my neighbors and the homeowner's association.   No go.   Perhaps sticking out the back (into the yard).   But the building is pre-designed and the lumber comes pre-cut, saving construction costs.   Modifying the plan adds substantial costs - I am not trying to build a second house here, or even a "tiny house".

Future resale of property - inconvenient location in the middle of the space.  True.   But its my space for my purposes now.   

Jim, I guess I will have to live with your assessment that I am not in my "right mind".   There are so many advantages to putting it inside the mains that argue the other way.   Sure, its "outside the box thinking".

Re-locating the washroom to the lower-left corner and deleting the industry tracks there might be a good alternative.   Two less walls 4" in width each.   Cramps the viewing space some though.   Not quite as convenient as its past the lift-out bridges - one has to stop the action on both mains to "hit the head".

Last edited by Ken-Oscale

Mainline through the double-slip turnouts.   I have been concerned about this myself.   Did a search and did not find concerns about these Atlas turnouts.   But perhaps I have missed these issues?

I may have gotten complacent after using the nearly bullet-proof FasTrack turnouts.   

The double-slips save so much darned space they are tempting.   Perhaps I should look at using Ross/Gargraves.   Ross has #4 turnouts that will save some space.   As they say if football "Its a game of inches".   

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