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I'm in the process of building a layout that is 28' x 8' with a 10'5' x 4' yard extension.  Access to the yard will be by backing in from the out main line.  My yard design is attached and I would like to get some comments before tying everything down.  I know it would be better to use Ross 4 way yard switches but they are quite expensive and I have all of these 11 degree switches from a previous layout. 

I expect that I will be parking mostly passenger trains in the yards, although freight might also be there.  I have some yard tracks branching off to the right in the picture and these may be used as either a caboose track or possibly a MOW track.  The squares are 1 foot each.  Thoughts?? Yard


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  • Yard
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Constructive comments would be easier to make if we knew what the rest of your layout looked like, including the location of the edge of your benchwork, the space for aisles, and any other objects (doors, windows, appliances, supports, etc.) that might interfere with our suggestions.  The first comment above about a "run around" track (which could also be used as an "arrival" and/or "departure" track) and a yard lead are both pretty standard items required for a yard to work well.

That is, of course, if you plan to use the yard to sort cars and make up trains.  If you only plan to store train "sets" that will enter and leave the layout intact, then what you have will probably work just fine.  One other caution; be sure to leave enough room between tracks for full scale hands to reach in and fix the derailments that are bound to occur occasionally.  Some of your spacing looks pretty tight.


Your 11 degree switches are probably a better choice than getting new #4 switches since you will be backing in.  Some longer cars may not like the sharper #4s.

The "caboose" tracks may not be that useful since you do not have a run around track, unless you keep a switcher in the lower left tracks.

As Chuck stated, if this is a staging or storage yard it is adequate.  If you want to do more realistic yard movements you will need to add a few more features to make it usable.  The issue with adding a yard lead and run around track is it will decrease the yard capacity.   With the size of the area you have, you will have to decide what trade-offs you want to do.

Last edited by CAPPilot

BurkusCircus52, I'm not understanding your comment.

I've attached a picture of the full layout but it is kind of hard to see.  Ignore the upper section above the yard as that will be a separate section possibly going above the yard but that isn't finalized.  All of the buildings, etc. dropped in the center section are there right now for inventory reasons and may be moved or removed later.

The yard to the left will mostly be used for storage and not classification. The layout is 8 feet wide and sits in the middle of a 16 foot wide room so getting around all sides is not really a problem.



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  • Layout27A

Thanks for the complete picture.  I think what BurkusCircus52 and I are both suggesting is that you start your yard with a switch on the outer main line close to the right-most crossover between the two main lines.  Extend track off of that switch all the way to the point where your yard now begins and start building the yard off of your new track.  This adds about 6 inches to your 8 foot side, but gives you a long enough yard lead to work the yard without interfering with the mainline, and it let's you use the two mainline crossovers as a "run-around" track so that an engine can go to the back of the train and push it into the yard.

In fact, if you are willing to add 1 foot to the 8 foot side, you could put two tracks out there, build your "run-around" track out there, and then never interfere with mainline operation while trains arrive and depart the yard.  Might even put some engine service facilities along those two tracks?

My 02 cents worth of opinion.


Last edited by PRR1950

Hi Don,

It is all flat.  I was never comfortable with a previous layout that had grades.  I do run some prewar Lionel (m10000) and some other O gauge that really don't work well with grades since they have no magnatraction or traction tires for that matter.  It used to be quite the experience with the prewar.  Going up wasn't as bad as coming down the grades! I was going to use some double crossovers but they are expensive and I have a lot of Ross switches already.  Just for interest, where would you recommend the slip switches?

Chuck & BurkusCircus52, I think I understand about putting in a slight extension to the width of the table to add a longer yard lead.  I'll see if I can squeeze it in.  I have a lot of extra Mianne benchwork parts so it might be possible to extend this a little.  Thanks for your help.

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