Dan/John/Mark/Tom,
Here’s some comments I made to a friend. Please let me know if I’m close or way off base.
I believe there are 2 things at play with easements. The 1st is the front (or rear for that matter) hitting the track. The 2nd is what looks good, particularly with large engines.
I understand the 2nd one more than the 1st. The way I see it is if an engine can go up 1/8”, then 1/4”, why can it go up 1/4” to begin with? Doesn’t 1/8 become 0 for the next section so you 0 to 1/8, then 0 to 1/4, 0 to 1/2, and so on? I suppose there’s some geometry involved with how the rear moves as the engine climbs, so the 0 isn’t really 0.
One thing I always thought was that those using L-girder simply cookie-cut a length of plywood sub-roadbed and used risers to raise it at regular intervals until they reach their desired grade (2.4%-2.6% or whatever) rather than use a bunch of shorter tracks. Dan used 35” segments and 1/8, +1/4, +1/2, etc. L-girder is often 16” centers, so the intervals and amounts would be different.
As far as bending goes, if you tack the end of a 40” straight to the sub-roadbed, then raise the sub-roadbed X”, the track should bend to match the sub-roadbed as you tack it down. The same should happen to the pin when you add the next track, though the pin might be too strong and need a little help. The technique is probably the opposite of using a hammer to straighten a bent nail. I really don’t think it should be necessary to use shorter tracks. It is in the software if you want to get a more accurate representation of the easements and actual grade. If you put 3% in SCARM, then add the beginning and ending easements during construction, the section between the easements will end up being greater than 3%.
When trying this out with Dave’s layout, I put together a Ross 20 track plus 2 Ross 15 tracks to get 35” sections. Then I raised the first 1/8, the 2nd 3/8 (1/8+1/4), and so on until I hit my desired grade. At that point I added more sections using that same added height. Once I got to above 2%, I lowered the rate of incline in reverse order. As you can see in the photo I posted, I reached 2.5% with the 4th section. Unfortunately, I only had 2 more sections to work with, but needed 4, so I’d have to back off to 3 sections for the beginning easement and 3 for the ending. That means I couldn’t rise as high.
If it were me, I wouldn’t use shorter tracks. I’d use the longest tracks that fit and just place the shims at the correct intervals. If your bench work has 16” centers, risers could go 1/16, then 1/8 to get the 0.3% initial easement.
Last edited by DoubleDAZ

Dave,  DoubleDAZ is doing a great jon on your track plan. I thought I would share a turntable I’m going to be doing for a customer who order it today. They are modeling the Juniata locomotive shops with their new modern turntable.

We are going to 3D print the arch and going to be using our diamond plate decking on the bridge with the metal cab. It’s going to be the most modern we’ve done thus far.

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Last edited by CSX Al
@DoubleDAZ posted:

To be honest, Dave, I have no idea why the nuclear test, but will find out Monday. I did a regular treadmill stress test and had an Echo on Monday. This time I begged off the treadmill, so they gave me some medication instead. I felt weird after, but she said that was normal. When I got home I drank a liter of caffeine (Dr Pepper), felt better and eventually my headache went away. I found out Monday I’ve had an aneurysm, but I don’t know if it’s grown or just why the test. It could just be routine since I turn 75 in March.

Wow yeah thats rough, 75 wow i guess i have a long ways to go im 38. But i probably have just as many health issues i am often told i need to change my eating habits and all. I am on 25 pills per day for diabeties, high bp, i have a liver deficiency IE alpha-1 antitrypsum (doesn't effect me now but may later , i hope that never happens). I am told the key to everything is weight loss but with stress, life and work i find that hard to do. I often turn to this hobby as a way out of my everyday stresses, work and all the craziness of life. Gives me a way to enjoy something. I have heard aneurysm's can be fatal if they rupture. But i have also heard many people can have them and it never does that and things go on. Hopefully yours is just something that is not effecting you and can go on without worry about it, if not hopefully than can fix you up.  I am sure being retired is great at your age but i always think of all the things i have to deal with when i hit the retirement age IE health issues that we are all prone to. I know this is off topic for a forum but i do genuinely care about everyone. Hopefully you can rest and everything go back to normal for you

@CSX Al posted:

Dave,  DoubleDAZ is doing a great jon on your track plan. I thought I would share a turntable I’m going to be doing for a customer who order it today. They are modeling the Juniata locomotive shops with their new modern turntable.

We are going to 3D print the arch and going to be using our diamond plate decking on the bridge with the metal cab. It’s going to be the most modern we’ve done thus far.

Man thats one heck of a turntable. I like it. I am still considering the millhouse products, i am also strongly considering your coal industry items like the coal flood loader and the coal rotary dumper. One thing though as doubledaz has mentioned i only have so much room so i have to consider the size and where it will fit as well. See this is a rough choice but your convincing me though with the features your turntables have and the detail. You also mentioned you can remove the bridge from the pit and that is a plus if you get the pit dirty from building (hopefully im not that messy because that means other things getting jacked up). doubledaz is doing a aweome job, i am also learning alot. Once we have it all figured out, i need to build my trian room area first. Then once i get to the office area thats when i will hit the switch on buying a turntable. Still several months out, gotta save up \$\$ after i spend alot on the train room but its in the budget later this year. That gives me plenty of time to consider your product as well.

Sorry for your issues. I’m a realist and I’m prepared, so I tend not to worry about things I don’t control. I see my doctors regularly and do what they say, not much more I can do. Oh, and I pray regularly too. 🙏🏻

@DoubleDAZ posted:

Sorry for your issues. I’m a realist and I’m prepared, so I tend not to worry about things I don’t control. I see my doctors regularly and do what they say, not much more I can do. Oh, and I pray regularly too. 🙏🏻

Now praying makes the world of a difference that goes a long way i have experienced that myself.

@DoubleDAZ, the slopes I used are pretty conservative for a layout and certainly not the only way. Some would say my transitions are longer than they need to be. Partly by design and partly by erroring toward the conservative side. I have not had to attempt this with more space constraints that what I have.

Mark's approach to deciding what his ratios would be is very practical. Tom has probably done it so many times he already has a few patterns, I'm guessing.

@DoubleDAZ posted:

I found out Monday I’ve had an aneurysm, but I don’t know if it’s grown or just why the test. It could just be routine since I turn 75 in March.

I don't think an aneurysm is ever "normal" or "routine", I'd be on top of that!

I don't think an aneurysm is ever "normal" or "routine", I'd be on top of that!

Wow, Dave!  I agree with John!  I'm praying they can correct that for you!!!

Dan,

I've always assumed your numbers were conservative, maybe even very conservative, but not having more accurate numbers, specifically for a Big Boy, I'm having a hard time deciding whether or not Dave should try to add elevations or just forget them. To that end, I made a more linear representation of his office mainline. I used Atlas track so I could cut a 40" down to 35" and use it for the sections. However, as John mentioned, the 35" includes the tender, which is really the same as another piece of rolling stock, so I suspect the real number is closer to 25" for just the engine.

What I got using 35, suggests Dave can only rise 1 1/8" to the yard on the right before he has to descend again in order to get back to 0" at the TT switches. That means the right yard will be 1 18" high and the left yard only 1/4" high. It also means his grade only gets to 1.4% before he has to taper off for the next easement.

Even if I change things to 25", the interim points change from .3%, .7%, 1.4% and 2%+ to .5%, 1% and 2%+. The right yard will be around 2", the left around 1/2" and a high grade of 2.2%. The grades without easements will only 0.8% and 1.1% respectively. I get that a large engine, like the Big Boy, can't navigate the 5% grade created by a Lionel trestle set because the front will hit, but can it really not navigate more than a .5% or 1% grade without easements?

Then I look at adding a piece of 1/2" foam under the left yard and a 2" piece under the right yard and I just don't see the point. If he could raise all the track along the top wall 3" or more, it might be worth it, but he can't. Maybe I'm just missing something. I like elevation changes, but I think they have to make sense.

I went back a few pages and re-acquainted myself with the plan. I agree, Dave, not much point even in a short rise and back down. You may have mentioned this before but I see that the effect of such a feature would be diminished by the relatively short distance from the back track to the front.

Thanks, Dan. We can revisit this when Dave gets closer to an actual build date, who knows what might change.

John, I didn’t mean the aneurysm was routine, I meant the nuclear stress test because I don’t know if the treadmill stress test or echo showed something, they didn’t say. An aneurysm is cause for concern, perhaps lifestyle changes, etc., but a lot of them go undiagnosed and don’t cause symptoms. I don’t know how long I’ve had it, I’ll find out Monday. My heart problems all started in 2011 with a gallbladder attack resulting is just-in-time removal. In 2017 I had a vertigo attack where my wife says I stopped breathing as the ambulance arrived. They did an MRI and found evidence of a prior mini-stroke, but nothing about an aneurysm that I recall. When the tech made the appointment for the nuclear test, she said if it had been serious, the doctor would have sent me straight to the hospital. I’m not trying to minimize the danger of the aneurysm, I just don’t dwell on it and follow doctors orders as best I can.

@DoubleDAZ posted:

Thanks, Dan. We can revisit this when Dave gets closer to an actual build date, who knows what might change.

Yeah i’m pretty indecisive sometimes i know. But i think from what is presented here so far we all agree the elevations for 1” rise or so just isn’t the best. If the big boy was out of the picture i’m sure that we could do something crazy with 3 or 4% elevations but i saw what that did to my wizard of oz locomotive it didn’t look natural or smooth at all like a regular train. It climbed up such was cool but then when it went back down i had to cut the throttle way back as it wasn’t just going down it was barreling down the track so that’s when i said this ain’t gonna work and ditched the fast track all together. The icing on the cake was when my N&W 612 locomotive went down then decending side to came off the bridge then hit a small straight then a O72 curve and when it hit the curve on a decent of that trestle kit it fell right over the side even at slow speeds. I thought maybe it was a minimum curve radius issue but i looked it up and lionel said the model i had could handle O31 curves at that point i was like what gives

Dave, nothing wrong with being indecisive. I enjoyed the exercise, just sorry it's not going to work out. I had never made a serious attempt to model easements in SCARM, so it was a learning experience for me. I think Mark and John both said they did a lot of trial&error to get their grades running smoothly and that's not something you can do until you have an engine. I know Mark set up a test with track on a long board to see how high his engines could climb before we settled on his elevations.

Anyway, since there's so much track vs landscape space in the train room and only smaller engines will be running on the inside track, I did a little experimenting. I don't know if this would be something that could satisfy your desire for elevation changes, but I thought I show it.

The upper left purple track goes up 1". The blue on the other side is supposed to be purple too and it also goes up 1", both for a 1.9% grade. The lower left purple track goes up another 2" to 3" total for a 2.4% grade while the lower right purple track goes up another 1.5" to 2.5" total for a 2.2% grade. I don't think these will cause any problems for your smaller engines.

Obviously, that means one of the removable platforms across the entry will be at a slight angle. However, if you don't want that, you can simply lower the left grade to 2.5" instead of 3", if you decide to go this route. If you go up to 4" and 3.5", the grades change to 3.6% and 3.7%, into needing easements territory and closer to what you have with the trestle set.

Also, don't forget that there is at least one version of the Big Boy that runs on O-31 curves, the "MTH Railking O Scale Big Boy", though I don't know what that means as far as easements go. You can search for that and the "Premier" version to see the difference in price and detail. If that can use steeper easements and you can get to 2" for the left yard and 4" for the right yard, it might make sense. The SCARM file differs a bit from these photos because I played around after I did the captures.

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@DoubleDAZ On the subject of Grades, I've often wondered why SCARM does not allow switches to be included with-in an established grade. It only allows them to be level.

SCARM forces all three switch connection points to have the same elevation, unless I'm missing something.

I get why it would be bad to include a switch within a vertical easement, because it would have the potential to introduce twisting that may cause the points to bind, derailments, or both.

Why not be able to include a switch within a consistently flat (planar, not level) grade (between and away from the top and bottom easements)?

Do you know of any way to do this within SCARM?

Steve, I've wondered the same thing. I may have asked Milen about it before, but if I did, I don't remember the reason, other than it's probably the same reason you can't put a figure on a grade and were stuck with drawing little rectangles to create bridge components, etc. He went through some gyrations to create his tree,  but he's never added that to the program.

So, here's what I do:
I swap out the switch for a straight or curve and snip it to size if needed.
In this case, the Ross O-72 curve matches the O-72 switch.
I create my grade. In this example, it's from 0" to 4" for a 3% grade.
Note the curve goes from 2.53" to 2.96".

Next, I replace the curve with the switch. I took care to make sure the switch connected to the 2.53" point, not the 2.96" point, because 2.53" is the elevation the spurs are going to have to be because the elevation of the turnout. I used the Height Shift tool to raise the spurs to 2.53".  If you just had a single spur you could create another grade for the spur if you wanted. Note that the other end of the switch is also 2.53 and no longer connects.

So, I change the 2.96 to 2.53. Note that you'll get a ridiculous grade % when you do this. Don't worry about that because when you actually lay the switch, that end will be 2.96" and the grade will be the same as if the curve were there instead of the switch.

I see I got ahead with the Height Shift tool, but it can be done any time and I'm done. I leave the curve there in case I need to recalculate the grade based on edits I make elsewhere.

When you view it in 3D, you can see the switch is flat and the grade is steeper than the other end whereas during installation the switch will be on the grade and it should look just like the curve would. I guess one drawback to placing a switch on a grade is the tendency for faulty points to not stay open or closed. Another is there really should be an easement between the switch and the spur. Depending on the grade, the spur should probably have an easement to something lower than 2.53”.

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Last edited by DoubleDAZ

Dave thank you for your detailed and clear explanation.  That's pretty much the same work-around I've been doing with the understanding that switches on grade within the layout, "as built" would differ slightly from the SCARM track plan.

I also agree with you that it would be best to keep the spur grade the same as the switch for a little ways and then ease out of that grade into another if desired.  I guess the added complexity needed in the SCARM code and user understanding of the issues involved with switches on grade may be why it is the way it is.

Last edited by SteveH
@DoubleDAZ posted:

To be honest, Dave, I have no idea why the nuclear test, but will find out Monday. I did a regular treadmill stress test and had an Echo on Monday. This time I begged off the treadmill, so they gave me some medication instead. I felt weird after, but she said that was normal. When I got home I drank a liter of caffeine (Dr Pepper), felt better and eventually my headache went away. I found out Monday I’ve had an aneurysm, but I don’t know if it’s grown or just why the test. It could just be routine since I turn 75 in March.

Sorry to hear about the aneurysm! What kind? Aortic? The reason I ask is I have a lot of experience with that. I was diagnosed with one at 39 and my dad had one too. He had his operated on and had the valve and aorta fixed all at once and he’s doing fine. He and I both live in the Phoenix area so if you need a surgeon let me know.

Last edited by Mark Holmgren 110217
@DoubleDAZ posted:

Dave, nothing wrong with being indecisive. I enjoyed the exercise, just sorry it's not going to work out. I had never made a serious attempt to model easements in SCARM, so it was a learning experience for me. I think Mark and John both said they did a lot of trial&error to get their grades running smoothly and that's not something you can do until you have an engine. I know Mark set up a test with track on a long board to see how high his engines could climb before we settled on his elevations.

Anyway, since there's so much track vs landscape space in the train room and only smaller engines will be running on the inside track, I did a little experimenting. I don't know if this would be something that could satisfy your desire for elevation changes, but I thought I show it.

The upper left purple track goes up 1". The blue on the other side is supposed to be purple too and it also goes up 1", both for a 1.9% grade. The lower left purple track goes up another 2" to 3" total for a 2.4% grade while the lower right purple track goes up another 1.5" to 2.5" total for a 2.2% grade. I don't think these will cause any problems for your smaller engines.

Obviously, that means one of the removable platforms across the entry will be at a slight angle. However, if you don't want that, you can simply lower the left grade to 2.5" instead of 3", if you decide to go this route. If you go up to 4" and 3.5", the grades change to 3.6% and 3.7%, into needing easements territory and closer to what you have with the trestle set.

Also, don't forget that there is at least one version of the Big Boy that runs on O-31 curves, the "MTH Railking O Scale Big Boy", though I don't know what that means as far as easements go. You can search for that and the "Premier" version to see the difference in price and detail. If that can use steeper easements and you can get to 2" for the left yard and 4" for the right yard, it might make sense. The SCARM file differs a bit from these photos because I played around after I did the captures.

Thanks dave , no worries if it don’t work out at least i get a decent amount of track. I may adjust as i go for example some of the spurs if i decide well i rather have a building here after i see it going together i can simply eliminate a spur with not much change to the drawing that’s what’s cool about this setup that’s why i agree with everyone’s thought of going slow with the build to see what i may realizei want after i start building . This version may just scratch the itch but i have to see when i start working on the layout if that will be a huge hit on the layout or if i rather scrap it and stay with the original idea. Using different levels that aren’t connected to the main level is something i could do in the future too

Mark, it’s the upper aorta, but I won’t know more until tomorrow. I have no idea how long it’s been there, but it’s been awhile.

Dave, you got it. There’s nothing wrong with leaving things one level, especially if you’re thinking a 2nd or 3rd level. I’m putting this to rest for now until you need something. Good luck going forward.

@DoubleDAZ posted:

Dave, you got it. There’s nothing wrong with leaving things one level, especially if you’re thinking a 2nd or 3rd level. I’m putting this to rest for now until you need something. Good luck going forward.

Sounds good , will do! and thanks much for your help and good luck with your dr visit

@DoubleDAZ posted:

Mark, it’s the upper aorta, but I won’t know more until tomorrow. I have no idea how long it’s been there, but it’s been awhile.

Good luck and let me know if you have any questions or want to talk. My dad was 84 when he had the operation btw.

Thanks, Mark, and everyone else for your concern. Doc said the aneurysm is there, but it’s very small and hasn’t  changed in the 5 years since my last Echo, the first time it was noticed. The nuclear test had nothing to do with the aneurysm, the readings from the treadmill test were messed up, so he played it safe by doing the nuclear.

@DoubleDAZ posted:

Thanks, Mark, and everyone else for your concern. Doc said the aneurysm is there, but it’s very small and hasn’t  changed in the 5 years since my last Echo, the first time it was noticed. The nuclear test had nothing to do with the aneurysm, the readings from the treadmill test were messed up, so he played it safe by doing the nuclear.

Great news Dave, I'm really happy your OK.

@DoubleDAZ posted:

Also, don't forget that there is at least one version of the Big Boy that runs on O-31 curves, the "MTH Railking O Scale Big Boy", though I don't know what that means as far as easements go.

@DoubleDAZ @davehall83  I had the last version of the Rail King Imperial Big Boy. I was a nice engine that ran really well and was a great puller.  I found the biggest clearance issue was with the cab roof moving through a tunnel portal. Its roof side would hit the edge of a wide tunnel portal going through an 042 curve. I ended up replacing the portal with a 2 track version.  The swing had to be 2 to 3 inches on the outside curve. I can't imagine the overhang on an 031 curve.  Ultimately its your decision as to whether having large overhangs going through small diameter curves is visually acceptable to you.  You can see the roof clip the wall as it exits bouncing the engine.

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Jeff, thanks for the info.  I think he’s already going to have to use a double or custom portal because I don’t “think” there’s enough room on the left side of the wall to angle a single portal perpendicular to the train, but I hadn’t thought about the cab hitting. That’s another reason I favor cutting a large opening so the tunnels can be customized to where everything runs smoothly and can be upgraded more easily if a new engine doesn’t quite work.

@DoubleDAZ posted:

Thanks, Mark, and everyone else for your concern. Doc said the aneurysm is there, but it’s very small and hasn’t  changed in the 5 years since my last Echo, the first time it was noticed. The nuclear test had nothing to do with the aneurysm, the readings from the treadmill test were messed up, so he played it safe by doing the nuclear.

Great news! I hope it stays small!

Great news Dave!

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