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TPRR Configuration Ideas - I am noodling ideas on how to get some of my wants in a less than ideal space.  For this iteration I want to figure out how best to layout a passenger terminal on a lower level. The terminal and town would be built over the track.  I know backing a train down a slope is not ideal but unless you can figure out how to get more space - I think I am stuck.

I would love to get full length trains on each departure rail but it looks like the best I can do is 5 cars plus an AA or ABA set. Steamers are a little shorter so are less of an issue. Looking for 8 tracks but can settle for less, but not less than 100 inches per departure track. Sidings for extra cars and engines is a plus. All my equipment is scale. MTH cars are 18 inches +/- , my Weaver Milwaukee Road Hiawatha's are 20.

I keep thinking there must be better ways to layout out yards. This is entirely new to me so any insights are helpful. Curves are all 072 Dia.

This is one possible option. The entire left side of the room is open, the rest are immovable walls. The left side is attractive because I would be able to see all the passenger cars. The downside is it would have to be a crawl under - not my favorite. NOTE: I would have an expanded space between pairs of cars for passenger walkways.

Initial options.

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I like option one for yard, kinda line what gunrunner did….I am trying to do something similar off my outside loop…..the length is somewhat disappointing cause like you, I wanted to just park a consist, drop one off pick one up, and you need to have one open all the time to drop off before you pick up…enjoying your thread and am learning a bunch

Personally, I prefer the station location where the track heads in to the alcove because you will never get any mainline track in there.  An O72 half-circle just will not fit.  HOWEVER, as far as I can tell, use of that alcove plus O72 curves, in the current configuration, leaves your station tracks at the minimum of 100 inches.  Five cars plus just one engine will not fit without fouling the yard throat.  Use of curved switches might make this option more viable.

On the other hand, with your passenger station and tracks along the long straight wall, you should be able to get 5 cars and an engine on each track without fouling the throat.  You also might be able to get both your intermodal yard and grain elevator into the alcove.  This would also allow you to put all the switches for the throat on a lift-up piece making for easy egress to the middle of the layout.

Just some thoughts.

Chuck

Last edited by PRR1950

Keep the ideas coming.  Due to space and access needs, here is a little more track planning.  Could get a freight yard in the lower level. The alcove could get a shortened version of an intermodal and grain terminal.  Thinking a switcher could build a consist and bring it to a yard lead for the main line engines.  A layout access point could be installed on the left. Interconnect switches, sidings, etc need to be considered.  Not fond of the plain double oval, but ... 

Sweet Clover Space e2

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When laying out your passenger station area, remember to leave sufficient space between the tracks for passenger and freight platforms.  Those will also have to be wide enough for walkways up to the terminal / street level.  That said, you moved everything against a solid wall; watch your reach.

Chuck

Last edited by PRR1950

Mark, this is just an exercise in what if.  The entire length from the exit curve of the yard to the turnout at the main has grades no more than 2.5%, close to the turnout it flattens out. The vertical gain is 7 1/2 inches.  I am not in love with backing down that distance, but it will be pretty cool to see the SP 4449 Daylight, Milwaukee Road Hiawatha (x2), Santa Fe F3s, N&W 611, Pennsy GG1, Great Northern F3s pulling that long way out to the mainline. Yes I am fond of passenger sets, but they pose a special problem due to their length at scale. Toss in my D&RG Railking Passenger set and I am at 8.

I am looking over an old "101 Track Plan" book by Westcott I got about 1971.   I am fond of the folded loops which tend to give longer running times, before returning to the origin. And have plenty of opportunity for scenery. 

@PRR1950  yep on the clearance. I like to photograph/video the engines and layout so having access to various vantage points is important to me.  Much of the lower area will be open grid so I should be able to access anything from below. On the other hand I may try to leave 14 to 16 inches between the wall and benchwork top and bottom for access. One looks possible, both look not!  --- On TPRR 1 I used about 3 inches between cars for a passenger platform.  That seemed to be wide enough.

So - I suppose the real question is whether to highlight a passenger terminal and surrounding city, or just bag all that and focus on scenery and long running trains with a mix of industries for interest. Staging and yards can all be below deck.

Ok everyone, I got to thinking about the double oval and how "blah" that would be. So I pulled out my ancient copy of 101 and Track Plans and came across this Wescott offering.  Surprisingly with some adaptation it fits in my available space and has room to spare for long sidings and well as a long track to access the lower level yard this all started with. (Troy and Mohawk Valley RY)

I think the passenger city terminal idea goes away but the passengers would see nice scenery.  Minimum curves are 072 with a bunch of 080 and 088 sweeping curves added where space allowed. If the lower level yard works like I think it can, the yard can be pull through.   

I can work in a parallel main on the upper level.  Because this is a crawl under, I need to figure out how big the pop ups will be. I'll have to raise the deck so it won't be a pain to crawl under for access. Including access to the lower level yard.

Amazingly I was able to run the train simulator on the finished layout and it worked!!  There are a couple of clearance issues that need to be addressed, but should not be too difficult. As drawn there was 7.5 inches vertical for clearance. No grade was more than 2.5%.

Wescott tmv 3d

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Well stuff happens, the space I thought I had is not going to work.  Back to the drawing board. Now down to a rough 12x13 space. 

Here is a possible reconfiguration of TPRR2 in a tighter space. The idea is to keep the inside open (yellow) for access and running trains. The inner yard would be connected to the double main line.  A feeder track would descend to provide access to a lower lever passenger station yard - no more than 30 inches wide and about 7 - 8 inches below the upper level.  Main lines are 080 and 072 curves. lower level access is 072 minimum.  The inner industrial yard is 042.  I am not super happy with the length needed for the wye, may ditch them for longer yard track and a return for a switcher. As drawn there would be about 30 inches in length to each yard track - only enough for 2 cars.  The alcove at the top right will be for storage so a minimum 24 inch aisle is needed across the top along the 188 space. I can grab a few inches here and there, but not feet. Just thinking out loud. Comments appreciated, especially for the inner yard configuration.  I think we have a decent idea on creating the passenger yard with curved turnouts leading into the yard and a gentle decline into the passenger area. A long backing down hill operation but should be manageable.  I would also add a passing track somewhere along the main and staging for engines if necessary.  Might use Mark's idea for an engine area with a wye turnout.

On the other hand it could be reduced to 8x13 to leave access around the layout but cram as much as possible leaving no free inner space.

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Jeff- sorry to hear that space has been lost to other needs.......

Since you need to maintain a walkway along the top, why not eliminate the center walkways and do a pop up to access the back? Are you married to the double loops? A folded dog bone or folded figure 8 could allow for a long mainline and give you space for yards, etc. A reversing loop might be fit as well. I haven't looked at anything in SCARM to see what fits.

just my $.02......

Bob

That’s unfortunate Jeff that it’s not working out as you planned. You had been so looking forward to the move and the new layout. Just to flesh it out in reality, perhaps mark off the floor with painters tape and do some measurements. Then you can play with some pieces of various curves to give you a perspective. The important thing is- you’re going to have a layout.

Jay

Jeff, just some food for thought. I don't think there's a way to do what you want in the new space, so I played around a bit.

I played with several versions of a yard to fit your peninsula and the one of the far right offers the most storage. However, they all suffer from the closeness of the turnouts, so storage is less than what's shown. Note the 4.8% grade to get down tot he lower level and be able to go under the upper level track. It'd be a little less than that because I have it going from 7.5" down to 0" when it actually only needs to go to 1"-1.5". The point is it's probably going to be steeper than you want. I also don't know how you expect to go down to passenger tracks and then get back up, so I decided to see what kind of yard I could fit on the lower left.

TPRR2 oops1 daz

This removes the peninsula, changes the inner loop to O-72, puts the station above the siding and keeps the yard. I see no way to connect the blue and orange tracks.

TPRR2 oops1 daz2

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HI all,  regarding the space, I was looking forward to a nice long 18 to 22 foot run with TPRR2. The first two homes we bought had the space. This 3rd one showed a similar length until it became apparent the basement area drawing were way off. Total square footage was correct so no real alternative than going through with the purchase and the CEO would have flipped out anyway. All in all glad to be out of Illinois and starting a new phase.  If we stay here I have a couple of alternatives, if not well the current space will not matter.

With 72 inch Dia curves, I need about 13 x 7 just to make a figure 8 or to incorporate reversing tracks. So given the space restrictions it is just not workable IMO, so no point in exploring that further.  So I have roughly a 12x13 space to work with.  I am using Westcott's building methods so each track will have its own roadbed, no full expanse of plywood, except in the yards. I have never built this way, but should be straightforward enough. It appears it will be much easier to set the grades with this method than the 2x4 on top of plywood I used previously. Made making changes really challenging.

Dave, the yard entry track will extend beyond the double main entering somewhere in the top left of the plan.  I may have to elevate the double main a bit to get clearance in order to avoid more than 2.8% down grades. According to SCARM this should be doable.  As built the first bench has 40 inches of clearance from floor to bottom of beams - much better than the 28 inches I had with TPRR1.  The inner loop track will be at nearly the same height as the main so should not be an issue connecting. I think it showed up at 0 with the double at 7 - yes those would be a challenge to connect.  Looking at it, I will probably have to flip the terminal to end toward the top. Since I'll do a duck under starting the downgrade at the top will keep the 40 inch clearance. I do not see doing lift outs, although I may try a roll out, given the modular build I am attempting.

So yes I was expecting and planning for a much larger space and did not get it. So its work with what I have and make the best of it. Then get the trains running to get Ryan and Logan back "playing trains". That's what its all about anyway. But I still want a larger layout.  I probably have only 20 to 30 years left to get it done - time to get busy. ; )   

I do have to relate a story - my backpacking and camping buddy recently had a cancer diagnosis but after further testing, verified there was in fact no cancer. In the course of discussions his doc asked him about "checking out" when the time came. He responded he wanted a Niagara Falls death. Of course the doc thought than meant he would hurt himself, but the meaning was instead, "I would rather go like a bat out of **** and then fall off the cliff and check out quickly, than do the slow decline bit".  While that would be my preference as well, I don't think we get to choose, except maybe to maintain a "healthy" lifestyle and avoid doing really stupid stuff.  Just a relief to know the docs were wrong.

Have a great, healthy and prosperous New Year everyone. And Go ILLINI !

From my family to yours

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Last edited by ScoutingDad

As I was laying out the plan, I was getting concerned about the track plan getting too tight for the space.  I went ahead and built a couple of benchwork pieces to get an idea of space and size relative to the room.  They are surprisingly light and sturdy. For reference the uprights are 48 inches and the L-Girders are 8 feet long. I think I will be able to narrow the benchwork to minimize wasted space.

One lesson here is, in my previous house, I had a separate workshop and a separate storage area for the trains and modeling supplies. Except for a small narrow area under the stairs, this space has to have everything in it. Along the side wall is the first of 3 storage cabinets.  The cabinets are pretty simple to build with 1/2 ply. My table saw (garage), chop saw and air-nailer makes quick work of the cases. The cases will slide on the floor to match up with the benchwork and may provide a point to secure the benchwork if necessary.  And yes I know several of you who have the same situation and are playing a miniature fiddle in response to my plight - no sympathy.    A case of not appreciating what one has until its gone.   

@mike g.  just a suggestion as you are moving things back and forth as you rebuild your layout - any possibility to making similar storage units to minimize all the moving back and forth? I personally can't stand having to do or move things twice. Right now I am trying to minimize the clutter in order to make some additional progress.

SweetClover room 2

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Hi Jeff, I probably could, but everything I am moving is pretty much everything I took off the layout. I had most of it in the garage, but needed it back in the train room so I could work on things in the garage.

Once done all that will be under the layout will be empty boxes and scenery supplies.  Maybe some rolling stock, but I am trying not to have any rolling stock under it.

I hope with a little bench work up it will help your mind go free with ideas for your layout!

I am glad your friend is ok! The "C" word is really scary!

Last edited by mike g.

Got back to Menards to buy more sheet goods, this time 3/4 ply for a cabinet to hold steam engines. At basically 12x12 this is where the layout plan is today.  I would like to get one side down to 11 feet for added walkway, but anything under 12 foot would help.  I still have to think about the center yard as it does not leave me with much car storage.  On the passenger level I made use of double curves to gain extra track length for 3 passenger trains. Not 8 but it will work. The passenger track will be "hung" below the upper deck so that it can be removed for modeling or repair with a simple drop down.

Sweet Clover 3D

The yellow portion is an open area.  I need to widen the top area to 18 inches or more for easier access. The areas at the bottom are 24 inches.  I'll have to move the passenger tracks left. I can see having a nice long lower level passenger platform on the left side of the layout to show off "prized cars".  A long view would be available looking down the length of the tracks.

For reference blue is lower level, red is transition track and yellow is upper level. Actual placement of track is approximate and positioned to make sure there is enough clearance.   

Sweet Clover SpaceR2

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Jeff, here's some food for thought. The yard on the left can store 14 50' boxcars while the one on the right can store 16. However, the one on the left saves you 2 switches, some fitters, plus quite a bit of aisle space, and looks better. Even if you extend the spurs on the right, you still only get 16 cars because they won't be long enough for another car on each. Of course, cars are different lengths, so it's a crap shoot. And that's not counting the switches, etc., for the wye, so I'm just not sure the payoff to store that many cars is worth the investment. Have you thought about just using the wye/peninsula to turn engines and as an engine maintenance facility or something?

yard

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@DoubleDAZ posted:

Jeff, here's some food for thought. The yard on the left can store 14 50' boxcars while the one on the right can store 16. However, the one on the left saves you 2 switches, some fitters, plus quite a bit of aisle space, and looks better. Even if you extend the spurs on the right, you still only get 16 cars because they won't be long enough for another car on each. Of course, cars are different lengths, so it's a crap shoot. And that's not counting the switches, etc., for the wye, so I'm just not sure the payoff to store that many cars is worth the investment. Have you thought about just using the wye/peninsula to turn engines and as an engine maintenance facility or something?

yard

I agree with Dave. A lot of distance eaten up by traversing the switches. The switches are $$$$$ and the trade off is not that great IMHO. It's all about trade-offs after all.

What about using a straight yard leader with either 072's or numbered switches? The straight tracks can be cut shorter to tighten the space between tracks.

TPRR Yard Test2

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@mike g.  I have about 40 inches of clearance floor to L-girders. That should be plenty of space for a "duck under". However if that gets to be problematic, I would do a pull out section.

@DoubleDAZ and @RSJB18  I agree with the problems with the wye in the space. I had wanted to see what it would do and how it would fit and its impact on the layout width.  I think it eats up too much space with switches.  I would like to use the island for a short grain terminal on one side and an intermodal on the other. Those cars tend to be longer than box cars so track space is at a premium. I have #4s but no #11s.  Cutting the turnouts is something I'll have to think about. I can get away with much tighter curves as I would not run the big iron down there, just the diesels.   

@ScoutingDad posted:

@DoubleDAZ  What would you think about removing the wye and having the entry tracks cross each other? I lose the reversing, but maybe gain yard function? I don't think I have room for the 5th yard spur. I only have 30 inches of width on the lower level.

I will look into that tomorrow. I was thinking the same thing earlier, but didn’t get a chance to play with the idea.

Here's a version with a grain elevator and an intermodal (simulated by stringing dual track signals together ). I moved the 4-way yard over a bit and adjusted the baseboard to show the aisle. I used O72 curves before I realized the switches were O42, so redid it with O42 curves and the 90° to shrink the peninsula a bit for more aisle space. Turn on layers 6 & 8 for a 3D view with opaque decking.

Sweet Clover SpaceR2 daz2

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Last edited by DoubleDAZ

@DoubleDAZ  I think this last plan will work. I'll add another parallel track to the transition.  I have room since I want a hill or something taller to hide the rising track. At the end it can come out of a tunnel and then a cut. It will be open from below so no issues in accessing the track. Plus the hills will be foam and removable as necessary.  I am also thinking about how to address the station with the double main up there as I do not have any more horizontal space.  If I get real adventurous, I'll put a "narrow" gauge up there to run my Shay and lumber cars on a point to point for fun. Crazy operation of the drivers - fascinating to watch go.

@RSJB18 Bob - when you cut down your yard switches how much space did that give you and how close to the points did you go? or can one go?  I need more track in the peninsula. I can see adding one turnout on the curve and maybe another if its short enough. Too bad I sold off a bunch of non-Ross turnouts, I would not have felt bad about chopping those up.

@ScoutingDad posted:

@DoubleDAZ  I think this last plan will work. I'll add another parallel track to the transition.  I have room since I want a hill or something taller to hide the rising track. At the end it can come out of a tunnel and then a cut. It will be open from below so no issues in accessing the track. Plus the hills will be foam and removable as necessary.  I am also thinking about how to address the station with the double main up there as I do not have any more horizontal space.  If I get real adventurous, I'll put a "narrow" gauge up there to run my Shay and lumber cars on a point to point for fun. Crazy operation of the drivers - fascinating to watch go.

@RSJB18 Bob - when you cut down your yard switches how much space did that give you and how close to the points did you go? or can one go?  I need more track in the peninsula. I can see adding one turnout on the curve and maybe another if its short enough. Too bad I sold off a bunch of non-Ross turnouts, I would not have felt bad about chopping those up.

I cut some scale trax 031's down for my yard expansion last year. I'll share more pix and info when I'm at my laptop. The biggest issue is power continuity for the center rail due to shortening the distance between the turnouts.

I am getting ready to cut plywood sections for the lower passenger yard and the upper main line.  I was going to piece the mainline in place, but the extra work and cutting makes little sense. I'll also leave the top wider than necessary to provide an easier transition for the track coming up from the lower station. I have found using the "cookie cutter" approach for these transitions yields the best results for me. The start of the grade is much gentler.  The lower section will be removable with bolts.  Photos later - maybe?

Here you go Jeff-

I didn't cut the turnout leg, just the straight. Now, I was trying to fit 3 031's inside an 027 loop, I'm sure if you are cutting 072's or numbered switches you wouldn't need to cut so much.

2021-03-27 15.58.52

My one issue is a dead spot between the 1st and 2nd switches which stalls some of my engines. I even added some center rail to lessen the issue but I couldn't completely eliminate it. Just do some testing as you go to make sure you have solid power all the way through.

2021-04-01 16.13.51

2021-04-08 07.07.55

Bob

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