While I prep the layout space - I have been sketching some track plans.  I do not enjoy computers much beyond email, ebay and this forum, so I draw my plans.  The space for the layout ( 13 x 24 ) is about half the room's size so an all-the-way-around-the-walls plan is not an option.  I would like some continuous running and some switching.   I prefer broad curves to make the equipment look/operate better, however I have nothing that requires 072.  A curved bridge across the access aisle was an afterthought after the branch was sketched out,  not sure it needs to stay.  Layout height will start at 48".   DCS & conventional engines will be run.   The angled edge at the upper right is needed to provide a 48" aisleway to the other half of the room - woodstove, elec panel, exercise equipment, etc.  I'm in my sixties and this will be my first layout that I will be able to complete (long story) and we ain't movin'.  Was it Arnold who said he wanted to "railfan" on his own RR ?   My thoughts exactly !

Thank you in advance, IMG_0515

Rich Weisel

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OK, let's look at your loop-to-loop operations first.  If you plan to run 2 trains in opposite directions on the loop-to-loop, one (Train B) will have to be parked at the siding before the second train (Train A) leaves the lower loop.  However, once Train A clears the lower loop and siding, Train B can only enter the lower loop and will then have to wait for Train A to traverse the entire upper loop and make it safely back to the same siding that Train B cleared earlier.  Not really good for rail-fanning and definitely very little operational interest.

Now, let's say that you also planned a third train (Train C) to run on the "branch."  Eventually, that train also shares some space on the loop-to-loop portion of the layout and will also have to take the siding where one other train must also spend some time in the earlier scenario.  Depending on the direction of travel for Train C, it will have to follow one of the other 2 trains toward their respective loops before heading back into the branch track.

To add some interest, you could also change the direction of Train C by allowing it to follow one of the other trains through a loop (assumes loops are big enough and trains are short enough), but that will require some very careful throttle control.  So, I guess what I'm saying is that unless you limit yourself to running one train at a time, operation may be either boring or nerve-wracking.

I further assume that the two hidden tracks at the bottom represent staging and/or interchange.  You also have two other locations (upper left and upper right) that look like they might be industry and/or operating accessory locations.  If you seek operations, this just will not be enough, and if you only plan to rail-fan, why bother to put these in at all.

Finally given the dimensions of your plan, you will either need to build a couple of access hatches where the two reverse loops cross over each other or you will need to build bench work that you are willing to crawl on to reach problems (derailments, scenery issues, etc.).  With 13' x 24' available to you, I strongly recommend that you search the web for track plans that will make better use of your space, but only after you decide what you are really looking for in a layout.  If "watching them run" is most important to you, try double tracking the entire loop-to-loop (including the loops) part, and if you still want the branch with some operations, put a couple of passing sidings on it, too, if you don't feel like double-tracking that as well.

Chuck

I believe your initial idea about putting a curved bridge across the access aisle as shown at the upper left of your drawing may be a challenge to build (as a lift-up section requiring a precise fit) or [even worse] become a physical/medical barrier issue for you and visitors if you and they must scramble under it if placed as a permanent feature.  

As a now-80-years-old hobbyist, I can tell you through experience that agility disappears sooner than you want or might think. Enjoy the railroad without duck-under contortions likely to send you to a chiropractor's office.

That left side branch of the layout could contain three LONG stub sidings to store long trains ready for a  call to service. Or two LONG stub sidings with action accessories placed between those sidings, for example:

Culvert Loader and Culvert Loader pair
Oil Drum Loader
Sawmill
Barrel Loader
Conveyor Belt Log Loader
"Up and Over" Log Loader
Coal-handling accessories (although messy, they're fun!)

Experienced designers advise layout builders to create "real-life reasons" for trains to travel around the layout, as:
Lumbermen harvesting logs in the forest and loading them on log-dump cars bound for a sawmill at a distant location
Coal-loading Tipple that loads coal into bottom-dump coal hoppers bound for a power plant on the other side of a layout
Oil derricks and storage tanks that feed oil into tank cars headed to a refinery
Uranium mine tunnel with lighted "radioactive" containers leaving that site and bound for a Nuclear Power Station
Diary farm with a siding to load raw milk into Dairy reefers bound for a processing plant with a milk platform alongside.

Kids love to operate these action accessories. The constant action is much more hands-on fun for them (you too) than merely watching trains run around endless loops.   

 Carry on ...

Mike Mottler   LCCA 12394

How wide is your aisle? It looks very narrow. I wouldn't go too narrow there. You won't be happy. I might run a single track along the 24' wall to a wider yard on the 13' side to maximize the use of the narrower portion.

I would also consider a double track with this much space (Is it 3 rail?) Lovely to have two trains running at the same time with no worries of collision. What size are your curves? O72? They look at least that big.

Ideally you figure out the benchwork and then tweak the track plan with actual switches and track. They also make (or used to make before CAD) plastic templates for track sections and switches if you can find some of those. Your switches look like they might not be to scale.

Expect some of the layout guys here to post complete plans for you. Armchair layout planning is a hobby in itself, lol.

You have a large area but the curves look to be at least 072 and unless you plan to run long loco's and cars you could drop down to 054/060 curves and probably still be happy.  I would run a double track mainline with some long passing sidings and a small yard would be nice as well.   I agree with the posts about crawling under the layout to get to access hatches not being health friendly.  You might want to consider some form of a U shape  layout with an aisle.   My 2 cents worth.

Will posted:

How wide is your aisle? It looks very narrow. I wouldn't go too narrow there. You won't be happy. I might run a single track along the 24' wall to a wider yard on the 13' side to maximize the use of the narrower portion.

I would also consider a double track with this much space (Is it 3 rail?) Lovely to have two trains running at the same time with no worries of collision. What size are your curves? O72? They look at least that big.

Ideally you figure out the benchwork and then tweak the track plan with actual switches and track. They also make (or used to make before CAD) plastic templates for track sections and switches if you can find some of those. Your switches look like they might not be to scale.

Expect some of the layout guys here to post complete plans for you. Armchair layout planning is a hobby in itself, lol.

Thks Will,  I actually still have a large roll of paper Ross switch templates that will be very useful.

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