So a little while ago I got the Atlas O Track Designing software.

I have a design in mind for my "Dream" Layout. I plan on modeling it after El Paso Texas where, according to my research, is the only spot (in Texas) where the Union Pacific, Southern Pacific and Santa Fe all converged. The largest locomotive I plan to run is the Union Pacific Big Boy (probably a Vision Line). Here is some technical details on the layout.

Table size: 280.15" x 266.49" (Roughtly 23' x 22')
Maximum Curve: 0-72
Number of Loops: 3
Planned Access Points: 3 (One in each mountain, one under the city)

With that said I would like some input on the following,

- Over all design

- Some problems I may run into while building it (Exclude size of space needed)

- Some lessons and words of advice to me based on building your own layout

Greg R.

Lone Star Hi Railers

Metal Fabricator

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Original Post

Your minimum curve should be O72 if you are planning on running the BigBoy everywhere on your layout.  You'll want to have your BB in the engine house so all curves and switches need to be O72.  My layout is 28' x 14', and my curves are O99 and O90 on the mainline.

You don't have any industries for switching operations if that interests you. 

I like a double track mainline so trains can pass each other.

Your sidings in the yard are not long enough to store cars or makeup a train.  You don't have a yard lead so you'll foul the main.

Have you considered an around the room design?

Jan

Jan posted:

Your minimum curve should be O72 if you are planning on running the BigBoy everywhere on your layout.  You'll want to have your BB in the engine house so all curves and switches need to be O72.  My layout is 28' x 14', and my curves are O99 and O90 on the mainline.

You don't have any industries for switching operations if that interests you. 

I like a double track mainline so trains can pass each other.

Your sidings in the yard are not long enough to store cars or makeup a train.  You don't have a yard lead so you'll foul the main.

Have you considered an around the room design?

Jan

I believe all the switches with the exception of the inner 2 loops are 072, outter most track (light Blue ) is 0-72.

How would you do a yard lead?

Greg R.

Lone Star Hi Railers

Metal Fabricator

Your yard has "switch overkill".  In the real world, this would be called the "bowl" of the yard, and these tracks split off one or two mains, but they don't normally have crossovers between them. Eliminating the inner switches will give you more space to store cars without fouling anything.

Also, make sure your turntable is long enough for your Big Boy. One thing that limited the operating area of the real engines was that only a few turntables could handle them.

I assume that rectangular building with the two tracks coming out of it is your backshop. It might make more sense to eliminate that diamond and switch, lengthen the approach, and enter it off a turntable lead.

 

Here is an idea for the yard.  Did this quick so it could be cleaned up.  It uses two Ross curved O-72/O-54 switches, keeping a minimum of O-72 from the outer loop to the turntable for the Big boy.

I also eliminated the crossover to the engine house to allow placement of a coaling tower, water tower, sanding tower for your steam engines.  There are other ways to get this done.  Just a thought.

I also did an insert with a yard lead if you wanted one.  Since your layout is for loop running I'm not sure it is needed.  You could put one crossover between any two yard tracks for an engine escape.

Yard 10

Ron

 

TCA, TTOS, NCT, LCCA, PRRT&HS

 

Volunteers don't get paid, not because they are worthless, but because they are priceless!  Author Sherry Anderson

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CAPPilot posted:

Here is an idea for the yard.  Did this quick so it could be cleaned up.  It uses two Ross curved O-72/O-54 switches, keeping a minimum of O-72 from the outer loop to the turntable for the Big boy.

I also eliminated the crossover to the engine house to allow placement of a coaling tower, water tower, sanding tower for your steam engines.  There are other ways to get this done.  Just a thought.

I also did an insert with a yard lead if you wanted one.  Since your layout is for loop running I'm not sure it is needed.  You could put one crossover between any two yard tracks for an engine escape.

Yard 10

Better yard design, and this is how I envisioned access to the backshop. One change I would make is to place the backshop at more of an angle, so viewers can see inside.

An escape track normally comes out the bottom of the bowl, so on the shortest ladder track you could replace that curve with a switch, and take the escape track out that way.

CAPPilot posted:

Here is an idea for the yard.  Did this quick so it could be cleaned up.  It uses two Ross curved O-72/O-54 switches, keeping a minimum of O-72 from the outer loop to the turntable for the Big boy.

I also eliminated the crossover to the engine house to allow placement of a coaling tower, water tower, sanding tower for your steam engines.  There are other ways to get this done.  Just a thought.

I also did an insert with a yard lead if you wanted one.  Since your layout is for loop running I'm not sure it is needed.  You could put one crossover between any two yard tracks for an engine escape.

Yard 10

Thanks for the input, That was honestly me trying to be uber switcher loco.

Greg R.

Lone Star Hi Railers

Metal Fabricator

Greg,

If you want a usable yard that you can break down/make up trains I made a few modifications plus kept the yard lead.  If you already know how a yard like this works, ignore the rest of the post.

Basically, an arrival train coming down from the top would back into the arrival/departure track and stop with the caboose about half way down it.  A switcher parked at the end of the track would grab the caboose and using the runaround track move the caboose out of the way  The road engine would then push the cars all the way to the end.  The road engine would then uncouple and move to the roundhouse.

An arrival train coming from the bottom would go right into the arr/dep track and the road engine would stop about half way down.  The road engine would then uncouple, go to the end, back up through the crossover and using the runaround track go to the roundhouse.  A switcher that was pre-positioned on the yard lead would push the cars all the way in.

A switcher would then take the cars from the arr/dep track and move them to one of the classification tracks.

Do the reverse for a departing train.

Beyond the crossover you have a short section of track for your cabooses.

Gives you something to do while your other trains are running on the main lines.

Yard 11

Ron

 

TCA, TTOS, NCT, LCCA, PRRT&HS

 

Volunteers don't get paid, not because they are worthless, but because they are priceless!  Author Sherry Anderson

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CAPPilot posted:

Greg,

If you want a usable yard that you can break down/make up trains I made a few modifications plus kept the yard lead.  If you already know how a yard like this works, ignore the rest of the post.

Basically, an arrival train coming down from the top would back into the arrival/departure track and stop with the caboose about half way down it.  A switcher parked at the end of the track would grab the caboose and using the runaround track move the caboose out of the way  The road engine would then push the cars all the way to the end.  The road engine would then uncouple and move to the roundhouse.

An arrival train coming from the bottom would go right into the arr/dep track and the road engine would stop about half way down.  The road engine would then uncouple, go to the end, back up through the crossover and using the runaround track go to the roundhouse.  A switcher that was pre-positioned on the yard lead would push the cars all the way in.

A switcher would then take the cars from the arr/dep track and move them to one of the classification tracks.

Do the reverse for a departing train.

Beyond the crossover you have a short section of track for your cabooses.

Gives you something to do while your other trains are running on the main lines.

Yard 11

Ah ha, Now i see what you did there.  I like the design of it and I think Ill use it though changing a few short things.

1. changing location for coal/sand loading. Moved to Turn table slot.

2. Slightly change the length of the tracks used.

Key
- Cyan - Main Line Arrival/Departure (For Big Locomotives)
- Gray - 0-54 Loco Trains
- Red - Storage/siding/engine slot
- Black - Sand/Coal (might be moved to different location)
- N/A - Diesel Refueling Depot (close to coal)

Greg R.

Lone Star Hi Railers

Metal Fabricator

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If you use the cyan track as the A/D, you need to switch the cross over so the engine can escape and go to the engine service facilities.  Any additional length you can add to your yard tracks will permit you to run longer trains,

Jan

UPMav#488 posted:
CAPPilot posted:

Greg,

If you want a usable yard that you can break down/make up trains I made a few modifications plus kept the yard lead.  If you already know how a yard like this works, ignore the rest of the post.

Basically, an arrival train coming down from the top would back into the arrival/departure track and stop with the caboose about half way down it.  A switcher parked at the end of the track would grab the caboose and using the runaround track move the caboose out of the way  The road engine would then push the cars all the way to the end.  The road engine would then uncouple and move to the roundhouse.

An arrival train coming from the bottom would go right into the arr/dep track and the road engine would stop about half way down.  The road engine would then uncouple, go to the end, back up through the crossover and using the runaround track go to the roundhouse.  A switcher that was pre-positioned on the yard lead would push the cars all the way in.

A switcher would then take the cars from the arr/dep track and move them to one of the classification tracks.

Do the reverse for a departing train.

Beyond the crossover you have a short section of track for your cabooses.

Gives you something to do while your other trains are running on the main lines.

Yard 11

Ah ha, Now i see what you did there.  I like the design of it and I think Ill use it though changing a few short things.

1. changing location for coal/sand loading. Moved to Turn table slot.

2. Slightly change the length of the tracks used.

Key
- Cyan - Main Line Arrival/Departure (For Big Locomotives)
- Gray - 0-54 Loco Trains
- Red - Storage/siding/engine slot
- Black - Sand/Coal (might be moved to different location)
- N/A - Diesel Refueling Depot (close to coal)

This is a great yard. I would put a straight section between the turntable and that switch on the backshop track, so the transition to curve isn't too abrupt.

Also, you might want to flip-flop your coaling track and backshop track, especially if your locomotive sound systems include coal loading. If viewers can see your engine at the coaling dock, the sound will make more sense.

While the yard is now much better laid out ...I wonder about the measurement of the city area where that "pond" is located? How far across is it? My thinking is you may not be able to reach derailed train cars at the far side...I think if it is over 3 feet you may need a rethink of this area...perhaps a pop up?

redjimmy1955 posted:

While the yard is now much better laid out ...I wonder about the measurement of the city area where that "pond" is located? How far across is it? My thinking is you may not be able to reach derailed train cars at the far side...I think if it is over 3 feet you may need a rethink of this area...perhaps a pop up?

That would be one of the "hopefully" Secret access hatches. Also the Dark Blue line would be limited to 
0-27, "Classic" Post War Trains, and some other Conventional small scale trains so not too worried about derailments there. But those other to line would be a problem. As Jan had suggested building to the room I will probably do that in reality, this is more a rough idea as to what I would be looking to accomplish. Plus if this layout is in the center of the room derailments may not be such a big problem.

Greg R.

Lone Star Hi Railers

Metal Fabricator

Okay, some thoughts based on my interests and opinions.     My ideas do not work for everyone, especially toy train collectors who prefer more display and less operation.

First the town area and the "rural" area look too inaccessible.    I prefer an around the walls design with a penisula so no track is more than 30 inches from the edge of the benchwork, which is my arm's reach.    Also all areas of the layout can be accessed without too much trouble and without using popup hatches.

The yard tracks look too short on the diagram.    Also probably more crossovers than needed in the yard.    I would build the yard along a long axis/wall to get 20 feet or so.    The the engine terminal could be inside the turn at the end.

The various "mains" are not connected.    I like all track to be connected so I can run trains from any to any other one without picking them up.

There is no or very little industrial trackage for switching.    My favorite operation is the local freight which goes out from they yard and works a bunch of industries switching cars in and out and then comes back to the yard with its pickups.    these  pickups then leave the yard in a through freight while another through freight brings in more stuff for the local to work.

Except for the engine terminal and  yard, the trackwork is pretty boring.     Wants  you the loops in and run around a few times, what are you going to do next - see above about industries.

No plan or considering for "staging" tracks to represent off-the-layout connections

the schematic below is my layout in a 23x47 ft space.

 

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UPMav#488 posted:
redjimmy1955 posted:

While the yard is now much better laid out ...I wonder about the measurement of the city area where that "pond" is located? How far across is it? My thinking is you may not be able to reach derailed train cars at the far side...I think if it is over 3 feet you may need a rethink of this area...perhaps a pop up?

That would be one of the "hopefully" Secret access hatches. Also the Dark Blue line would be limited to 
0-27, "Classic" Post War Trains, and some other Conventional small scale trains so not too worried about derailments there. But those other to line would be a problem. As Jan had suggested building to the room I will probably do that in reality, this is more a rough idea as to what I would be looking to accomplish. Plus if this layout is in the center of the room derailments may not be such a big problem.

I'm guessing the "pond" is supposed to be Feather Lake, and the hills are the Franklin mountains. Since those are El Paso landmarks, leaving them out is like trying to model Paris without the Eiffel Tower. 

It might be possible to build the surface of Feather Lake into a cut-out on the table, and attach and remove it downward rather than upward. Maybe you could hold it in place with magnets, or make a way to slide it in and out horizontally under the table. Magnets might be better if you want to put vegetation in the lake itself.

Art Lites posted:

In  my memory, the only time the RR comes near water is when it crosses over the Rio Grande to go into Juarez.  The Rio Grande is usually next to dry.  

True enough. But this is an approximation of the real world. You would need about 100 feet of tabletop to show 1 scale mile of track.

Landmarks are like the opening shot of a television show. The city skyline  tells us where the program takes place. Likewise, known landmarks tell other people where our layout is supposed to be.

I model the Jersey Shore, and I have a lighthouse next to the tracks, even though none of the real lighthouses in New Jersey are that close to a railroad.

I would encourage you to re-think the yard. While the proposed design changes make it a functional yard, it is much too small. How are you going to make trains worthy of a Big Boy on classification tracks seven feet long?

The question you need to ask yourself is: what is the yard for? Do you want a real classification yard, to make and break up trains? Or are you really looking for a place to park ready-made trains while you change the power (and maybe the caboose)? Many people, I think, really want the second option. They enjoy taking their locos out, putting them through their paces, and putting them back away. Nothing wrong with that.

For the classification yard, you will certainly want more and longer tracks, but equally important, you need a supporting infrastructure--places for the trains to go, customers to receive the cars, as PRRJim said.

For the engine-change type yard, you really only need three or four sidings long enough to hold an entire train, plus loco, and a way for locos to get between that and the engine terminal. Bonus if you can make it double-ended, since you can easily serve trains going in either direction. Unlike the classification yard, it doesn't need to be straight, since you will be doing the switching only at the ends, as you add and subtract engines and cabeese.

For either yard type, I think the location needs to change. If you want decent-sized trains, you are looking at a 20-foot yard or close to it. Use one of those long runs you have along the side, or maybe wrap it around a corner.

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