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Recently moved into a house with a basement and wanted to get some thoughts on a new layout. Note that there is 18" on all sides of the baseboard to allow for walking around the perimeter of the layout. Otherwise, I'll need to put in some strategic popups/cutouts for reach purposes. You'll see quite a bit of real estate on the left side that I not ready to commit to as it will block access to the door. Plus, considering lumber and track prices, a 55' layout is just unreasonable at this point.

I prioritize being able to sit back and let trains run but in this layout there is also some switching/yard work to add some interest. I also like some elevation and you will see a 6" rise in the upper right hand corner that leads to a reversing loop on a plateau (note there is a second reversing loop that will run underneath it for the inner mainline).

I am looking for feedback regarding any trackwork that may be impossible to construct, any issues regarding the LCS signal with big loops of track running above each other, and any aesthetic enhancement suggestions. Thanks for looking.

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Last edited by Doug Kinsman
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It seems to meet your needs but switching the right side will foul the inner main line.  Could only look at the pdf so probably did not see the entire picture. 

There should be no issues with signal strength except in some cases the legacy/tmcc signal could be masked if there is too much overhead track but that is easily fixed.  Have fun.

I believe necrails original comment was about your 3 track industrial area off to the right, but the comment also holds true for the 3 track double ended yard.  Unless you just intend to park stopped trains there, any yard switching will probably foul the inner main line.  Search for "yard lead" to get a better explanation and some ideas of how to create one.

Chuck

Depending on the length of trains that you want to run, the double-ended yard can be somewhat limiting.  Might want to consider some long staging sidings, either along the long side (if there's space in your room) or as a narrow extension reaching into the empty space to the left.  The multi-track staging can be as little as a foot wide, so it doesn't require a lot of lumber, and it's really convenient for taking trains on and off the layout.

Last edited by Mallard4468

I'm glad you added a yard lead, but looking at your plan again, I'm thoroughly confused.  At the top (north side), it looks like your outside main rises and enters a reversing loop, but on the bottom (south side), it looks like the same outside loop just completes the circle.  If so, to what does it connect underneath the raised return loop?

About that yard lead; while inserting it, you made your longest yard track unreachable from the lead.  Since that longest track should probably be your "Arrival / Departure" track where trains are either broken down or made up in the yard, you must reconnect it at both ends.  That can be done by using a double slip switch in the same spot where you "inserted" the yard lead switch.  Finally, most double-ended yards will have a yard lead on each end for more efficient switching, but I can see from you layout plan that this idea will not work out very well for you.  But just imagine two operators trying to sort cars from each end of your yard!!

Lastly, your reach concerns on the left are justified.  To resolve, put the turntable on a jack of some type that can be raised sufficiently to allow you to work back there when necessary.  Remember to increase the available wiring length accordingly.

Chuck

EDIT: Sorry, but I just realized that the top loop switch that I thought started your upper loop actually allows the outer loop to descend to table level while it goes around the raised loop.  Mea culpa.

Last edited by PRR1950
@Mallard4468 posted:

Depending on the length of trains that you want to run, the double-ended yard can be somewhat limiting.  Might want to consider some long staging sidings, either along the long side (if there's space in your room) or as a narrow extension reaching into the empty space to the left.  The multi-track staging can be as little as a foot wide, so it doesn't require a lot of lumber, and it's really convenient for taking trains on and off the layout.

For right now I am going to leave that real estate to the left alone. The door to the basement swings in there (will be re-hinged to swing out) and also my current track bill is higher than the GDP of most third world countries. I will probably be expanding and kicking myself later.... but I think it will be easy to expand leftward when the time comes as none if the tricky track work is over there.

@PRR1950 posted:

I'm glad you added a yard lead, but looking at your plan again, I'm thoroughly confused.  At the top (north side), it looks like your outside main rises and enters a reversing loop, but on the bottom (south side), it looks like the same outside loop just completes the circle.  If so, to what does it connect underneath the raised return loop?

About that yard lead; while inserting it, you made your longest yard track unreachable from the lead.  Since that longest track should probably be your "Arrival / Departure" track where trains are either broken down or made up in the yard, you must reconnect it at both ends.  That can be done by using a double slip switch in the same spot where you "inserted" the yard lead switch.  Finally, most double-ended yards will have a yard lead on each end for more efficient switching, but I can see from you layout plan that this idea will not work out very well for you.  But just imagine two operators trying to sort cars from each end of your yard!!

Lastly, your reach concerns on the left are justified.  To resolve, put the turntable on a jack of some type that can be raised sufficiently to allow you to work back there when necessary.  Remember to increase the available wiring length accordingly.

Chuck

EDIT: Sorry, but I just realized that the top loop switch that I thought started your upper loop actually allows the outer loop to descend to table level while it goes around the raised loop.  Mea culpa.

Haha, I knew that elevation gain and plateau would be difficult to imagine in 2D. My concern with it is realism as the plateau will need to have dead vertical sides and won't look natural. I am considering kicking the outter mainline further to the right a couple inches so I can make it more of a gradual slope from the lower track height to the 6" plateau.

I actually end up with an additional staging track as compared to rev. 1. I think the three yard lines should be good and the 4th, upper line will just be storage. I am using all Fastrack so it kind of limits what switches get used, i.e. double slip switch not an option. You may be able to talk me into it though...

The turntable idea is excellent and I never would have thought of it. Quickly adds another 24" of reach to that side of the table; I'll just have to brainstorm how to lift the TT without it being a circus.

I like your thought process... optimizing your layout with space and budget limitations.  Thanks for sharing.  My only recommendation is to get something running, even if just an outer loop.  It will be motivation to continue progress.  So easy to get stuck in the planning process searching for perfect when good is often good enough.  

I hear you Sather, but I need to wait for a radon mitigation on Friday before I get going with benchwork. Otherwise, too much building supply stuff in the way for them to seal off the basement and drill through the foundation. The radon levels are too high for me to spend the majority of my time down there without having it in the back of my mind.

There are no "rules" in model railroading, and everybody is free to do their own thing.  But, without a temporarily empty yard track (normally called the Arrival / Departure track), you will have to make up trains on the mainline, and that can be a real pain in the a**.

I know you mentioned using FasTrack and they don't offer a double-slip switch, and I know that many people on this forum use FasTrack, but I highly recommend looking at the numerous threads about which track is best.  The overwhelming majority recommend a combination of  GarGraves flex track and Ross switches, with a close second being a combination of Atlas track and Ross switches, for a variety of reasons.  I think Atlas track usually sits in second place because it is not always readily available and its switches just aren't reliable enough.

Glad you like the idea of a lift-up turntable for access to the back.

Chuck

I updated the Scarm file to include a roundhouse and connected the yard lead back to the turntable lead. I also brought the main elevation up 3/4" to better accommodate tall rolling stock going under it. Max grade is 5% but its only for a few track lengths. I am kind of struggling with where the tunnels will start and stop as the support structure for the plateau over the lower reversing loop is going to be interesting.snapshot 3

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Thanks Dylan, I am trying my best not to rush it. So far this layout is sooo much better operationally with long passing sidings, reverse loops, and real storage. Still getting use to which switch does what, but it will come. I am a little daunted by building the upper level but really looking forward to a third independent loop. When the upper level and yard are finished I will have four separate areas to move trains around.

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