I re-worked the yard for greater center rail spacing and O63 curves to aid in coupling on the curves.

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Working on the yard, with larger diameter curves, again with the idea of better coupling of cars.   From the right, O99, O90, O81, O72.

Yard tracks are a little bit longer, the longest is 73 1/2 inches.

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Last edited by Ken-Oscale

Regarding the aisle pinch point of 20":  I see that OSHA requires a minimum of 28 inches for an aisle approaching an exit.   Is 20" doable do you think?

I thought to add two more access hatches to solve (most) of the access problems.

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Considering the outside two loop route (no reverse-loops, not across the bridge):  total length of this route is somewhere in the vicinity of 60' - which is enough for two 10' trains to follow each other with 20' of separation.

With a train on the elevated O45 loop, and another on the main-level route past the yard and running one leg of the wye in the tunnel, that is FOUR trains can run easily without (much) operator intervention!  This layout design certainly evolved far beyond Robert Sherman's vision in 1947, or my imaginings in first tackling a redesign in 2018.  Its been fun and satisfying.   And yes, I would like to build it, but its just beyond my capabilities this year.

Love to see the evolution of this plan Ken. One other operating option that could be nice is to let a train run from the top reverse loop up the hill to the 045 loop and back down. It would require adding a switch from the ground level loop to get back to the outer track to the top again.
I think the small industrial sidings may need to be sacrificed or at least modified to fit the extra switch to make the reverse work but it could be an interesting option.
A 12 X 12 plan that can handle 4 trains at once is a lot of action for the size of the layout.

Bob

@RSJB18 posted:

Love to see the evolution of this plan Ken. One other operating option that could be nice is to let a train run from the top reverse loop up the hill to the 045 loop and back down. It would require adding a switch from the ground level loop to get back to the outer track to the top again.
I think the small industrial sidings may need to be sacrificed or at least modified to fit the extra switch to make the reverse work but it could be an interesting option.
A 12 X 12 plan that can handle 4 trains at once is a lot of action for the size of the layout.

Bob

Good idea!  That route was "lost" with the addition that made the double-track to the bridge.

Here is a roughed-in try  for this idea:

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Last edited by Ken-Oscale

Looks good Ken. And you created a run-around for the quarry too!

@RSJB18 posted:

Looks good Ken. And you created a run-around for the quarry too!

Right!  And this version adds back in a short lead for switching the quarry:

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@RSJB18 posted:

Thanks again for the suggestion!!

Have you put any more thought into moving the doorway into the upper left corner and increasing the radii in the upper right? I acknowledge it would reduce the isleway but would better fit an existing bedroom.

@Trainmstr posted:

Have you put any more thought into moving the doorway into the upper left corner and increasing the radii in the upper right? I acknowledge it would reduce the isleway but would better fit an existing bedroom.

Trainmstr:  I assume you are referring to the FasTrack version?  The recent Atlas versions are all O54, on the main level, so no need to increase diameter.

The most recent FasTrack versions have a turnout located in the area (upper left corner), so I would have to look at earlier versions.  Looking over earlier versions, it looks like you would have to accept custom made curved bridges.  I might have to work on relocated one turnout.

Rather than do any work blind, can you give me the measurements of where the door is from the upper left corner, and the width of the door?  I hope it swings-out, an door swinging-in would be a big problem.   Perhaps the door can be replaced with a sliding or folding door.  Can you comment please?

For the aisle with the current bridge (which would get narrower), I would probably fill-in the area with a wide river, maybe 4" below grade.

Last edited by Ken-Oscale

It would be a 30” door on the left wall that swings into the room parallel to the top of the layout as it presently exists. Doesn’t have to be fast rack, Gargreaves & Ross is fine

@Trainmstr posted:

It would be a 30” door on the left wall that swings into the room parallel to the top of the layout as it presently exists. Doesn’t have to be fast rack, Gargreaves & Ross is fine

Something along these lines then?  If not FasTrack, then this is the Atlas-O, replace with any other track system allowing O54 if you prefer.

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Last edited by Ken-Oscale

I did some work on the upper level town:  I removed the operating accessories, thinking these are two far away to reach and view, and replaced them with the animated freight station and a warehouse.  I also added another spur.  And reworked the house and store section.

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Here showing two options for entry into the operating space:  Corner, and Center.  The plan can be rotated and/or flipped to accommodate the room.

The reverse curve track in the center of the elevated loop is now clear, its not doubling as a siding for industry.

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Last edited by Ken-Oscale

I have been wondering for a few days, about the reliability of the Atlas-O curved turnout (O72&O54).  The above version shows one in use connecting to an O72 'Y'.   There have been suggestions that the Atlas-O double-slip switch turnout is not reliable, but I am not sure what I have heard about the curved turnout.   I could replace the curved turnout and 'Y' with two O54 turnouts, for a less "elegant" solution.

Does anyone have experience with an Atlas-O curved turnout (recent manufacture, perhaps within last 5 years)??  Thanks for any information!!

So I was running trains, and trying some switching on my little 4x10 layout, which emphasized what I already knew:  its pretty darn hard to couple on a curve!   I took a look to see if I could increase the diameter of the yard tracks.  With a couple of adjustments, I was able to go to O108, O99, O90, O81.   I think I may order some of these wide diameter tracks to see if coupling can be acheived, and under what circumstances.

About 73.5" on the longest yard spur.  The three in-most yard tracks all have straight sections of track before the curve, which will help with coupling a cut of cars on the straight, which may then extend across the curves to the end of the spur, and the coupling can be achieved on the straight sections.

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Last edited by Ken-Oscale

More work in the yard:  I was able to add a small engine house (custom built, 18"long outside dimension) on a new spur.  And the longest yard track is now 75"+.   The center rail spacing in the yard is 4", which should be OK with the wider curves - not much overhang with O54-limited equipment at these yard diameters: O81, O90, O99, O108.

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Its tight, but looks like Lionels operating coal loader can go in the engine house siding, if placed over an O54 curve.

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Comparing the evolution of this layout plan.  I find it useful to look at how track plans have evolved, positive and negative:

Robert Sherman's 1947 design in 12x12.  This original design is open with lots of space for scenery.  I don't think that it uses the space well.  Even so, it IS an attractive and engaging design.  Access is a problem, requiring crawling on the layout for maintenance and derailments, meaning the scenery has to be rugged and removable, OR some type of over-layout scaffold used.  With the passing track, it can be a two-train layout.  O27 or O31 minimum.

My FasTrack design for Run 306 of OGR:  The trains are SCALE equipment, not compressed trains for O36, so the layout will seem bigger when running compressed equipment.  This layout can reasonably support three trains.  O42 everywhere (O48 & O42compound).

The most recent O60/O48 FasTrack version:  better than above, but with narrow access pinch-point.

The current Atlas-O version:  it is pretty dense with track, though there are good scenery elements and interest.  It can support four trains: one each on the elevated and inside loops, and two trains following each other around the main line (either the outer oval across the bridge, or the looping route (without using the reverse connections).  O56 on the main surface, O45 on the elevated loop.

Perhaps if the upper loop were deleted the plan would become more open and emphasize scenery a bit more.

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Last edited by Ken-Oscale

I went back to the latest FasTrack version, and expanded the yard curves to O96, O84, and O72, the idea being to increase the ability to couple on the curves in the yard.  The longest yard track is 79.5".

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Last edited by Ken-Oscale

Ken,

I always love watching how your layouts evolve. They are great and have given me so many ideas.

By nature I am more more of a minimalist though I realize that the size of O scale often makes it difficult to have a lot of action, without dense track work. So I think it would be interesting to see what this plan would look like without the upper loop. It would free up space to move the mainline to the left a few inches and add some possibilities to the yard area. Maybe space for an engine service area - a couple tracks.
These are just thoughts I had.

Keep up the great work!

Carl, here is a look at the space without the elevated loop.  What to do with the open space?

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@Ken-Oscale posted:

Carl, here is a look at the space without the elevated loop.  What to do with the open space?

Wow Ken, thanks.  And this changes things a lot.  Without that upper loop, it does open the space.  My thoughts - and you don’t need to redraw these ideas as they are just ideas - are that a small engine service area could be added with a 1 or 2 stall engine house.  This would move the engine house from where it is and open that track as another yard track.  Also, a small town could be placed more toward the wye on the left.

This does change the operating possibilities change from pervious plans.  At the same time, for those who like to run trains more then switch, this opens a lot up.  Rolling hills and cuts would replace the tunnels that previously existed.  If this was the Midwest, a relatively flat terrain would be normal.  For access, a panel could be placed in the center, maybe under part of a town.

Again, just thoughts.

Keep up the great work.  Your plans provide so many ideas for people in this forum I am sure.

Thanks Carl!  Here, I shifted the layout over some as you suggested, which increased the pinch-point access to about 21".  Roughed-in.

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Here is a 3D view of the Atlas-O, O54 w/elevated O45 version:

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Last edited by Ken-Oscale

Just wondering for now:  would it be worthwhile to convert the upper level loop and long grade to reach it, to MTH Scaletrax?  With the lighter rail and wider tie spacing, the Scaletrax might look like a branchline, built to a lower standard than the heavy Atlas-O track?

Scaletrax does not have O45 or O42 turnouts, I would have to use O54 turnouts, and then flex to complete the loop at perhaps O44.  Confirmed this would fit in the current footprint for the upper loop.

Here it is with Scaletrax for the upper loop and long incline.

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Last edited by Ken-Oscale

The above doesn't look much different with Scaletrax vs the Atlas-O for the elevated.

Here is a pic borrowed from superotrackdon on this interesting thread, that compares five track systems, and conveniently has Scaletrax and Atlas-O next to each other.

I think that the difference between the two is readily apparent, and makes a convincing case for heavy mainline (Atlas-O) vs light branchline trackage (Scaletrax).

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