Critique this track plan.

Folks:
Well, after downloading the free Trainplayer demo, which includes the Rahway and something RR from "101 Track Plans", I found it to be interesting,
and tinkered with it a bit on RTS to see if I could make it better.
Here's what I came up with:
www.geocities.com/kezelak/tinymr/aanda.htm
I may build this...or may not...it seems like whenever I put up a plan and decide to build it it activates some sort of No You Won't curse...
Now, before anybody goes and says unkind words about 4 x 8s that take up 8 x 10, I have started to notice that, while this is true of the standard present-day Two Long-Side Cities With Divider plan, it's not necessarily true of earlier plans, such as this is based on, which can often be shoved against the wall. I'd certainly recommend a walk-in 8 x 10 over a 'divided' 4 x 8 with two-side access (unless, as is often the case, the center of a big open room is less valuable real estate than the near-wall spaces, or an 8 x 10 would just occupy too much space in the cellar to walk around easily).
Generally the "wall" side on these plans has few if any switches, and just serves as a way to return the train to the front side....you do of course need access to that switch when stuff goes haywire or track needs cleaning, but then a 4 x 8 table isn't terribly hard to move over.
Anyway, what does everybody think? I figured a little yard would be nice, and a way to switch it while running mainline trains, and definitely some car-swallowing destinations. The railroad as I see it can actually take three operators: one on the main, one making up trains in the yard, and one flunky who has nothing to do but drink beer and shuffle around loaded and empty coal hoppers/gons on the dock. (obviously a rookie).
Oh, and the two town names were taken from Discworld books, which are fun to read, but most other names are just Made Up For Versimilitude. I probably wouldn't use most on the finished article (if I build this, see above) except for Klotzbach, which is a recurring industry.
Cordially yours: Gerard P. President, a box of track and some grids.
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snipped-for-privacy@gannon.edu wrote in
*snip*

*snip*
Ah, the triangle of getting something done. It's a difficult triangle to assemble, as you need three things: 1. Opportunity 2. Materials 3. Ability
You'll find if you have any two, the job won't get done. It seems that opportunity is the hardest to come by, followed by ability. (Personally, I have enough trouble getting the right materials that it's actually second hardest to get.)
Puckdropper
--
Wise is the man who attempts to answer his question before asking it.

To email me directly, send a message to puckdropper (at) fastmail.fm
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snipped-for-privacy@gannon.edu wrote: [...]
I like 4x8s. They are a classic layout design problem. The haiku of model railroading. :-)

Especially if you put it on casters. I did that with a 5x6 layout I built in the common laundry area in a small apartment building we lived in about 40 years ago (the layout that actually got about 60% "completed"). Worked just fine. Use locking casters if there's a chance the thing will move on its own or with a gentle nudge.
the wall end looks to me to be the right hand end, not either of the long sides.

Well, I don't think you _need_ that reversing track. It will only work one way anyhow, then you'll have to move the engine to t'other end and maybe do a turntable-in-the-sky maneuver, too. If you omit that reversing track, you could put a string of businesses and houses diagonally across the center, which would help the viewer focus on or the other switching area. And give you a chance to indulge your penchant for architecture, if you have one.
Other than that, the plan looks operationally complicated enough, as outlined by you in the bit I snipped. It's a classic theme.
[...]
--


Wolf

"Don't believe everything you think." (Maxine)
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Folks:
Lots of stuff here, so I'm going to break it up.
Wolf wrote:

W:
Indeed...it's a theme with a few simple yet challenging constraints.

And that 60% completion bit has a lot to do with why I'm considering building this...I too have had better luck with small islands than with more elaborate real estate. In your case, it was a floating island. I like that idea, but am not sure how I'd combine casters and leg adjustment.

Well, as I see it the 'top' edge is against the wall. While there are a few switches up there, there's no switching of cars going on. Based on previous experience I think I can get away with it on a movable layout like this would be, if the track's carefully done.
And then Puckdropper wrote of the triangle of Getting Stuff Done:

Pd: I find that number 1 is the elusive one, but at the moment it seems I can steal moments here and there when I get bogged down in house repairs.
And David The Real McCoy Nebenzahl wrote:

DN:
I used RTS, so the switches are therefore Atlas "number 4" (closer to 4 1/2). They're not quite as packed-up as it seems, since I have RTS set to show roadbed and filled track, which I find gives a better idea of how crammed your table will look. :) CAD would be more flexible but it's too much like my job. :D
Bill McCutcheon wrote:

B McC:
Wolf pointed this out, too, and it's one of my less favorite parts of this plan. I would love to have out-and-home routing, but it's very hard in 4 x 8 to elegantly combine a central yard, a single track level, and a reversing loop to get it. The Elizabeth & Rahway River (101 TRACK PLANS) shows a way to accomplish this, but the 'homeward' reversing loop, shown dashed, must cross the yard tracks (ugh).
For some reason, I actually ended up using the seemingly useless loop quite a bit when playing with the E&RR on Trainplayer, probably because there wasn't any runaround. We'll see what happens, if I do build this thing. I can always rip it up.
I think I'd keep the reverse track in simply to have a simulated wye for routing and steam-locomotive turning (Wolf's "turntable in the sky") , and because a future expansion could come off the dock switchback (with the switches reversed on the mainline), going to another loop, which would allow use of the wrong-way loop in a loop-to-loop route. Loop loop loop.
David Starr wrote:

DS:
Hmm. Both ideas are very good. What I'd *really* like would be to have both the passenger station and long siding in town, but there we hit another snag; to allow the yard switcher and mainline traffic to peacefully coexist on such a small table, either the yard or the siding must be out in BFE, and I wanted the yard to be a sort of "short line combination switching and industrial-spur yard from hell" such as once existed in Waynesburg on the W & W. :)
The canyon idea...I like that...but how to reconcile that with the floodplain location of Allapissinis River Terminal?
Oh, and the name's actually "Wepissinis Pond". It's, ah, Lenape for "Pond from which white man drinks water"...I think. :-) Obviously, then, it's not entirely man-made...well, not by a dam at least...the dam probably just raised the level to operate the Old Mould Mills.

For sure. Erie, PA once had some incredibly convoluted industrial trackage like this, particularly around the docks and NYC main...tracks that diverged and crossed, tracks that made 270 degree bends. I find this kind of thing fascinating and eminently modelable.
(and let's not forget the puzzle-maze that was New York's harbor railroads)
ANYWAY, this is getting incredibly verbose, but keep the hints coming... I'll take any anybody cares to throw out there. For what it's worth, I envision AM being a small but busy city with a yard and a turning wye, with the RR going one way to ART, and the other way past the BA branch to an interchange, with "let's reuse the AM runaround" sidings located at ART and the interchange.
Cordially yours: Gerard P. President, a box of track and some grids.
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I'm very much with Wolf on this one. I just cannot see the point of one reversing track. My own interest is mainly 0 gauge three rail (i.e., toy) trains, and reversing tracks are extremely popular in that world. I secretly suspect that the reason for their popularity is nothing more than the ease of wiring, with three rail track :-)
--
Graeme, Scotland

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[snip]
You can only reverse CCW traffic to CW. For CW-->CCW, you'll have to run the train backward through the center track. Is that a vital concern?
-- Bill McC.
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snipped-for-privacy@gannon.edu spake thus:

You asked for a critique: sorry, don't feel quite up to that at the moment. I do say "go for it" in general ...
But a couple questions: First, can you really pack switches that tightly together, as you show at the bottom? Are those off-the-shelf or hand-built? And second, what software did you use to draw this? (You probably mentioned it earlier, but I must've missed class that day ...)
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I think the reverse loop in the middle of the layout works OK. To turn a train around you would have to back the train through it, but to me it looks like you would never want to turn a full train on this plan anyway. However, sometimes it is nice to be able to turn a locomotive around, and this allows that quite easily. I like wyes for that too, but putting a wye in the middle of this would severely reduce the amount of industrial sidings you have available.
Pretty much all of the sidings come off in the same direction. This means if you have a way freight swithing the industries, you can actually serve them reasonably well without too much run around work.
You probably want to lay out the real thing and check that curved siding in particular. Cars of long length look like they might swipe each other passing on that siding.
Another little problem is that there doesn't appear to be any space for swtich machines or ground throws at some of the switches because the trackage is too tightly spaced. Remember that, unless you completely cut off the throw rod for the switch, there is still stuff on the top side of the layout, even if you have 100% under table switch machines.
If you move the church to the T intersection in the road, you could run a siding from the main line at the top of the layout where the dirt road hits it to the Old Mould Flour Mill. They might appreciate the occasional delivery of hopper car loads of flour. The one that was down the street from me wasn't much bigger than that and received regular shipments by rail into the 1960s.
You could put a lot more cars on the top track at the Alladapissinis River Terminal if you made it come off of the siding on the main line, rather than have the double switch arrangement you show. It means turning your piece of curved track on the siding to get back to the main into a switch. It may wreck havoc with your switching on the main line, but it seems like the longer the track there the better capacity of the river terminal will be.
You have an awful lot of switches in a tight space at the bottom of the layout. Because you are doing this in only 4 ft x 8 ft, you need to be as wise as possible in how you use your space. You can get a lot of bang for your square inch out of 3-way switches, double slips and curved switches. The curved switches that used to be available in HO scale are 18" radius inside track and 22" radius outside track, which might wreck havoc with some of your curves, but it might allow more options.
Some examples of what might be accomplished with some of this somewhat more expensive, but useful trackwork:
1. If you put a curved switch in the top right corner, you could start your reverse track and siding to Badass much earlier, and possibly broaden the radius of some of the track and/or add more sidings due to the added space.
2. If you were to replace the siding/reverse curve switch (again at the top right corner) this would continue the curve through this switch, again allowing yet more space for more sidings and/or broader radius curves.
3. If you put a double slip switch at the bottom of the layout in place of the swtich going from the main to the passing siding, it might get you some better access to the engine terminal area.
4. If you put a 3-way switch in place of your single switch going between the middle track and bottom track going into the powerhouse and passenger terminal, it would also get into your locomotive service area reasonably well.
5. Adding a curved switch to the lower left part of your passing siding would allow you to move the whole switching operation of the river terminal to the left. It would shorten the single left siding of the river terminal trackage, but significantly lengthen the two tracks on the right.
6. If you replaced the swtich that goes from the passing siding to the river terminal with a Y switch, you could move the whole river terminal interchange to the right and allow for about a car's worth of additional space on the left siding of the river terminal track.
7. Replacing this same switch with a 3-way switch allows you to do the above AND have the top right river terminal siding come off this switch as well. This probably significantly increases the track capacity at the river terminal, but means you have to put part of the train on the passing siding to do it.
I'm not saying you *should* do any of this. It is after all your railroad. These are only examples of what you could do with a wider range of switches. I'm only saying that by limiting yourself to simple left and right switches, rather than using the complete range of sectional track products that are out there for HO scale, it puts a lot of limit on what can be done in this limited space. Curved switches are particularly useful because it means your reverse curves at each end of the table can start to be a whole lot more useful.
Really, the best thing to do I think is to get a 4 foot by 8 foot piece of wood and lay all this out on it, and operate it for a while. See if the thing works for you, and if not what needs to change. Put some cars and locomotives on it and see if they sideswipe at any of the switches. Give it a full test drive before you commit to it.
--
-Glennl
The despammed service works OK, but unfortunately
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Lotsa stuff again...breaking it up.
snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com wrote:

gl:
Entirely an accident, but a happy one, I think.

Fortunately, my cars are not of long length. However, the outer track's radius /is/ drawn a little too tight. It should probably be 20.5" instead of 20".

Generally, I use bastard homemade versions of the Eshleman linkage, so I'm pretty much free to trim throw bars as needed.

I might do this...another industry would be good...though I'd envisioned the mill being very, very old indeed (pre-rail service) with freight being hauled down to the team track for loading.

That's true about the capacity, but as you said it would interfere with the main, which I don't really want to do...I see the river terminal as being a continuous operation of shuffling loaded and empty cars, and I want it to be able to go on uninterrupted.

That's a very good idea, and at this point I am 80% sure that I will be doing just that, once I have the table built.
Cordially yours: Gerard P. President, a box of track and some grids.
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Not bad. That will fit on 4*8 using 18" radius. Was it me, I might move the passenger terminal over to the main line, so the express and commuter trains can stop at it, and leave the center stub tracks to serve industries. I might deepen Aninnis creek enough to justify a high bridge to get the track across it. Wippisimas Pond might be a mill pond formed by a dam at the head of the creek, which dried up the deep canyon that Aninnis creek runs thru, allowing a fancy high bridge. I did a reversing loop just like yours on a 4*8 many years ago. It worked, but it didn't get used all that often. Some time ago I drove around the industrial area in Albany NY. They had street running, very sharp curves, and a spur leading into or along side of just about every building. Loading docks everywhere. I keep thinking that I could squeeze in a lot of switching action in a small space by modeling something similar. You have the mainline tracks running at an angle to the sides of the table. That's good IMHO, because straight runs along the table edges emphasis the table edge which spoils the illusion of a limitless minature world that we are tring to achieve.
Good luck
David Starr
snipped-for-privacy@gannon.edu wrote:

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On Mar 29, 4:35?pm, snipped-for-privacy@gannon.edu wrote:

> Cordially yours:

I think you will regret building this plan. If is full of tight swichbacks and S curves which will cause you derailements galore. Don't build it there are far better plans for that amount of space.
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