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@PRR1950 posted:

You really must remember that most of us are not clairvoyant.  How about attaching a picture of the Atlas plan AND a copy of your SCARM file?  Then, maybe somebody can help you.

Chuck

I am having issues posting a SCARM file, so I am going to post one and see if it will work. (This is for a separate, standard gauge section, which will run underneath a modified 'Cave Creek Central' track plan by Atlas. It is O-16 on pages 43-44.) I tried to create the Cave Creek Central plan but gave up when it was looking nothing like the image in the book.

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I took a look at the AnyRail file settings. One reason the 2 might not match is because AnyRail is more forgiving with it's default track joining tolerances. It joins tracks that are up to .125" (1/8") and 3° apart whereas SCARM uses only .079" (just over 1/12") and 2°. Therefore, if the tracks are "close" to the AnyRail tolerances, they'll join in AnyRail, but not in SCARM and the resulting design in SCARM will end up looking quite different depending on where the disconnects are during the design process. FWIW, RR-Track uses a default tolerance of .05" and doesn't show the angle. It may show that somewhere in the documentation, but I don't see any option to change whatever they use. That said, I'm not saying that changing the tolerance settings in SCARM will solve your problem and get you matching designs. You didn't post your SCARM file, so I have no way of knowing what else might be involved.

Alex,

Just one comment about your multi-level plan; think about what with, or how, you plan to support the upper level, and then think about how that affects what you can see of your trains on the lower level.  If you are going to build a table layout, my suggestion would be to keep the lower level on the outside (all the way around) with the upper level fitting in the middle.  Conversely (I think??), if your building an around the walls layout, keep your lower level closest to the front and your upper level to the back (nearest the wall) unless you intend to hide what's behind the upper level.  Hmmm, maybe not so conversely after all.

Chuck

@DoubleDAZ posted:

I took a look at the AnyRail file settings. One reason the 2 might not match is because AnyRail is more forgiving with it's default track joining tolerances. It joins tracks that are up to .125" (1/8") and 3° apart whereas SCARM uses only .079" (just over 1/12") and 2°. Therefore, if the tracks are "close" to the AnyRail tolerances, they'll join in AnyRail, but not in SCARM and the resulting design in SCARM will end up looking quite different depending on where the disconnects are during the design process. FWIW, RR-Track uses a default tolerance of .05" and doesn't show the angle. It may show that somewhere in the documentation, but I don't see any option to change whatever they use. That said, I'm not saying that changing the tolerance settings in SCARM will solve your problem and get you matching designs. You didn't post your SCARM file, so I have no way of knowing what else might be involved.

Adding to what Dave said, from the SCARM blog: http://www.scarm.info/blog/pro...a-given-layout-plan/

Thanks guys for the help. I was able to get things working. I looked at Cave Creek Central and modified it to create my own track plan. I like how it looks, but I'd like some feedback. For example, is there anything that I should change?

I do have some 18 and 21 inch coaches, so is overhang going to be an issue?

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Last edited by Lionel2056

Yes, reverse the 2 crossovers at the top left from right hand to left hand crossovers.  As now designed, you have a run-around track that you can only exit by reversing.

Do you have enough room to walk all the way around this plan?  If not, you will have to build pop-ups in the middle of each loop to access track unreachable from the "front."

Since it appears that O81 is your outside loop and O72 is your inside loop, you should have no clearance problems with your passenger cars.

Chuck

Last edited by PRR1950

Dave,

Good catch on the O54 switches, but I think the bigger issue is that the 21" coaches might not traverse those switches very well at speed, or at all.  My recommendation would be to change to O72 switches at the minimum (except for spurs the passenger cars will never used), but my preference would be to use all #5 switches which should insure that all mainline separations stay at 4.5" minimum.

Chuck

I don't have any experience with 21" cars and O54 switches, but I did a version with some #5 switches in the upper left. However, they don't fit in the center or in the upper right due to their length. I was able to replace all but 1 flex track, but flex might be preferred over cutting small fitter pieces. I don't know why the top was so close to the edge, so I moved it down some.

Layout_Cave_Creek_Central_Modified daz

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Hi all,

Thanks for the advice. I had the layout against the back wall as the room is 22' 8" x 15' 2". So, if you were wondering about the location of where the layout will be, it will not be an island, but more of an 'around the room' type. Dave, I looked at your changes and I made some adjustments to my track plan. I took notes from you and PRR1950 about clearance issues, so I'm hoping these changes will work.

Update - I managed to remove most of the O54 switches, will figure out how to get rid of the last few.

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Last edited by Lionel2056

Like your new variant, just a question and comment.  First, do you still plan to run an upper level Standard Gauge layout?  Second, would you consider changing the top portion of the Cave Creek based on the suggestion I've attached?  Third, and an even more complicated suggestion would be to consider placing your yard within the same loop where you've now placed a turntable.  The third suggestion also has the benefit of narrowing your table at the top and making any necessary "reach" a bit easier.

Chuck

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Hi guys,

I have been playing around with track plans again, trying to find the 'Perfect' one. The picture below (V3) is an attempt to see how things would look. The one thing I do kind of worry about, is are my curves too close to the walls? I have included two SCARM files below, one is V2_1, which uses some advice from PRR1950, and the other is V3.

Note: Been thinking of maybe an Over-then-under, type of track-plan, but have no idea how to make it work in SCARM. Always looks like spaghetti when I try.

Red- Doors and AC

Green- Pathway (Where you could walk)

Layout_Idea_1_060121

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Let's talk about version 3 first.  Don't take this the wrong way because any idea deserves consideration, but IMO, version 3 belongs on a scrap heap.  The main problem is that your outer oval runs through 2 double-slip switches, a recipe for disaster.  Double slip switches should only be used (for model purposes) when you are constructing a yard or terminal; in other words, where only slow speeds are allowed.  Running a full speed passenger or freight train through them creates just a "YIKES" moment.

I like that you've moved the yard to the center, but instead of connecting it to the mainline, why not connect it to the inside most passing siding.  That way, the passing siding can also double as a yard lead, allowing you to "work" the yard without fouling the mainline.

Version 2.1 is a definite improvement over earlier versions IMO.

Finally, you mentioned the idea of an around-the-walls layout.  Generally speaking, that means no part of the layout is more than 30"-36" away from the wall supporting it, requiring no duck-unders to reach any part of the layout.  That method also usually requires some sort of bridge or moveable section of benchwork right where the entry door is located.  Based on the plan you started with, you could place 2 reversing double track loops (I like to think of them as "bulbs") in the southwest and southeast corners of your room (leaving enough room for access) that then connect to a yard / town along the top.  Some people actually put the reversing loops over each other in one corner, place a yard and engine house in the other corner, and then use a rise (or fall, depending on direction) in the two rear tracks of a 4-track mainline along the north wall.

I hope this makes some sense and doesn't overwhelm you!

Chuck

Alex. Unfortunately, you can't do an over/under the way you have it. The green tracks have been raised to 6". The purple tracks are the grades. The green tracks overlap the purple tracks on the loops so there isn't enough separation for trains to pass. The purple tracks in the center that aren't covered are too short, so the grade there is over 10%. The small yellow blocks are 4.5" and the long yellow blocks are 3". Depending on engine overhang, you might be able to get away with 2.5", but I tend to use 3" to be on the safe side. The last thing you want to do is hit a wall.

Re grades, the easiest way to create them is to color-code the tracks that will be part of the grade. Then you can double-click to select them and all you have to do is set the height on one end to 0 and the other to 6. If you need to add tracks to the group to lower the grade, simply change their colors, double-click again and reset the beginning and end heights.

I noticed judicious use of FlexTrack and as a result several straight pieces ended up on angles. That in turn forced some weird configurations in the purple and green upper loops. So, I fiddled a bit and was able to get the grades down to around 5%, still too steep, but progress. Check out the attached files and see what you think.

Layout_Cave_Creek_Central_Modified_V4 daz

Layout_Cave_Creek_Central_Modified_V4 daz2

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No, the problem is there isn't enough length to the tracks I circled in Blue to lower the grade below 5% and most want it below 3%, closer to 2%. Now, modern engines can negotiate 5% grades and that's what you get with Lionel's graduated trestle set. Trouble is it's not prototypical, so it's frowned on. It also limits how long your trains can be because even the best engines can only pull so much up steep grades.

Layout_Cave_Creek_Central_Modified_V4.2

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Images (1)
  • Layout_Cave_Creek_Central_Modified_V4.2

Dave, Chuck, and Mike, all good suggestions as usual.

Just putting this out for consideration.  Maybe not ideal for operational flexibility or for grade prototypicality, but if the trains only ran in only one direction, they would have a gentle ~2.7% grade up hill (orange) and ~5.3% grade downhill (purple).  Perhaps further refinements will allow reduction of the steeper grade if desired...

Ascending vs Decending

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  • Ascending vs Decending

Playing around with reverse loops, like Chuck suggested. I do like his idea about the loops. Also, I tried to move the track further from the walls.

  • I tried setting the loops at different heights, but I doubt the 'Steep Gradient' issue is going to go away without a fight.
  • One loop is at 'Zero', a second is at 6 1/4", and the last is at 12 1/2" - Whether this is enough, I don't know
  • Should I consider a helix? Would this help? Or bad idea?

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Last edited by Lionel2056

Alex,

I thought that maybe if I provided some examples you might better understand my suggestions.  The more complicated example is an actual layout plan with two "bulb" (reverse loops) at each end of the layout, separated by a peninsula in the middle with a roundhouse.  The simpler example is actually a layout "progression" that starts with two ovals designed to look like water-wings, then folds the ends of the oval over itself, and so on.  Looking at the simple layout #1, if you placed two 90 degree curves just before each "bulb" and added more straight track down each new side, you would have a "u" shaped layout with the "bulbs" near the bottom.  Proper placement of a few switches changes those "bulbs" into reversing loops, if you choose.

Now, you have all that straight track area (minus the 90 degree curves) to plan a yard, industries, passenger stations, and maybe even an engine service area off of the yard on its own peninsula.  The only thing to be careful about is that O81 curves will make the bulbs about 90 inches wide.  You will have to leave room at each wall for access to all sides of each bulb.

Chuck

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Images (2)
  • Combined View of All Levels
  • Loops for Planning
@DoubleDAZ posted:

I see what you did. Never know when a slight change in perspective will spark an idea. No matter what I try though I can't get both sides of the lower overpass below 4%. When I lower one side, the other side goes up.

Hi Dave,

Thanks again for your help. I appreciate it.

Should my engines and cars be fine with the 4% grade? The longest car is a 21" coach.

Last edited by Lionel2056
@Lionel2056 posted:

Hi all,

I had a question. Will my GN S-2 and 21" coaches be a problem? Or will the 4% grade be OK?

Alex, I would suggest to answer this question that you construct a test track with the grade you're considering and check how well the loco pulls the cars up that grade.  If the grade portion of the planned layout also has curves, include those exact curve diameters in the test track as well, because the curves add friction and can decrease the pulling ability of the loco.  This will give you a better idea of how many and what types of cars the loco is able to pull up the grade.

Last edited by SteveH

Alex, I agree with Steve, but that assumes you have track, etc. if you don’t, you might want to post the question in the 3-Rail forum to get more viewers, but even then you probably won’t find many who have experience with that engine and those cars. Mark Boyce might be able to tell you about the grade test he did for his layout.

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