Every railroad should have a purpose; all prototype railroads do. What's yours? Might want to know that before laying out a yard ... what is the purpose for that yard, then leading to why the yard is where it is, then helping to decide how big, and what additional needs are in place. Backing up that 'purpose' for its existence should be a 'story', maybe with some history. Same about the sidings ... why are they there, what do they serve, why, how should they be arranged, what else might be needed, etc.
Looking at the basics of your layout, I can see a good story about all of that track, why and where, how it came into existence, evolved and it is 'today' (early 1950s).
With a 'story' you are building a railroad based on a concept, otherwise, you are just laying track imho.
Thanks Tom. I like the connection between lines and I think I can make those reversals look good too. Now to just make my switchyard better and create some sidings for deliveries. Then I will have no more excuses and will have to start building the table.
Flex track can be cut to any length you want. A 6in piece of sectional track can be replaced by a cut 6in piece of flex track. 3 connected straight 6in pieces = 1 cut 18in piece of flex. An Atlas 2012 curve at 11 1/4in with a 22.5 degree curve can be replaced by a cut piece of flex formed to the same curved properties. Don't like the 11 1/4in radii (because it's not exactly that)? Reform the flex curved piece to 11 1/2 or something, or don't like the 22.5 degree of the curve, make the flex curve 25 degrees, or whatever you want.
Foam or cork: for your first layout, cork over simple 1/4in plywood. Better sound deadening and a lot easier than cutting foam. For the first physically-built layout, choose the simplest approach, which would be cork in my view. You have to run wires through the baseboard, remember. And given the low weight of what's on top of the baseboard, 1/4in plywood should work and be a cost savings.
If you want foam, do use the roadbed view in AnyRail, just to see how track layout looks. And how far from the rails anything you have close to them needs to be.
Ok, 1950s Americana as the guideline for the era. A Class I railroad would be phasing out steam and moving to early diesel; probably moving to EMD FT units for freight and Alco PA units for passenger along the mainline. Smaller railroads would not move as fast.
So to get ideas for this time period, maybe look at some railroads and their history.
My railroad is the old DRGW, Tennessee Pass in particular. So I'm going to make some suggestions based on what that railroad was about, and what the remains of this area is today.
Part of the TP line ran through the area known as the Royal Gorge, a 1250 ft deep and narrow canyon along the Arkansas river. Today that area is operated as a tourist railroad out of Canon City on the same tracks. Those tracks are owned by the UP today, the Royal Gorge runs on them under license, as does a local railroad, Rock and Rail, which handles a small rock mining/quarry operation that delivers loads to Pueblo. There is also a 'local' run by UP, although somewhat infrequently, out of Pueblo to Canon City to serve local businesses along the line.
So this could be an inspiration-type 'model concept' for what you could do:
You could have different railroads running on the same tracks.
One might serve some small mine; you like coal, but maybe some other material, even gravel. Or oil from a single pump or 2 or more.
Throw in a railroad that was an 'old fashion' passenger operation from point A to B - cars would be smaller, similar in size to 40ft box cars, smaller curves would work, and a small steamer would fit right in - after all, in that time period, much of the US outside of the big cities would have smaller passenger ops serving them. The big heavyweight silver Pullman cars generally only ran between major cities; rural America had smaller trains, with smaller and fewer cars. And don't forget, most of those trains delivered mail for the post office - not many national highways, Interstate system didn't exist, and long-haul trucking was outdone by rail service. Your smaller road could run from the lake area (small fishing community/harbor, or visitor destination) to a larger 'station' (more likely a mid-America depot) for interchanging with a Class I that stops there. Think of airlines and how people get from one big city to a smaller community today.
Add in the 'local' railroad that runs a day or two a week to make deliveries to local businesses and you might be very busy running everything together.
The Walthers website is a good place to look for possible industries; use their 'advanced search' function and checking the "Include discontinued out of stock products" so you see what has ever been available, you can get many ideas. Just if you find a 'discontinued at Walthers' item you really like and it's on eBay or somewhere, better buy it asap before you actually start building so it's not gone; a lot of us have learned this the hard way.
When you've had a chance to do all of this (and gotten mental fatigue), I'd be glad to throw in some specific examples of cars, trains and industries for your inspiration.
I like the idea of less connections/pieces of track and flexibility but doesn't flex track make it harder to modify the layout? I figure I can replace a 6" straight with a 6" turnout easily enough but not as easily with flex. Would you say the pros outweight the cons?
I was planning on placing 1" extruded (not expanded) foam over the baseboard (I can carve below track level that way) and ballasting eventually. Is there a reason I should use cork if I'm covering the plywood with foam?
I also was not going for strict prototypical. Just whatever I think looks cool or fun. Perhaps my next layout will be prototypical. Generally speaking though, rural 1950's americana. I don't know if that time period had a mix of steam and diesel but that's what I want to run.
For the buildings I just grabbed something to illustrate a building will be there (or in the general area ) The selections are pretty sparse and hard to find something specific in anyrail. I haven't given any thought to specific types of businesses. I think my businesses are going to have to be flexible. It may say mercantile over the door but if I feel like watching my train pulling coal cars then that guy is going to be accepting coal. LOL
I was hoping to have a passenger train also but I guess that is out then My radius's are all well below 15". It was hard enough not having it look like an oval run using smaller radiuses (radii?)
Welcome to the hobby. Don't be afraid to ask questions, especially about terminology. We modelers seem to like to confuse people with terminology sometimes. Turnout and switch is my favorite - on the real (prototype) railroad, it's a 'switch'. But in model railroading, we use "turnout" ... because a 'switch' is that little electrical thing we throw to change current direction or make something operate.
Very initial comments to help you get started.
Don't let yourself be constrained with the Atlas sectional (fixed geometry) track; part 2000 in that library is 30 inch flex track; try substituting pieces of it for the straight runs. Then you can work on getting track to connect properly. Later you can decide if you then want to make curved track of a different geometry (radius and/or angles).
Second, if you are using cork for the roadbed, start adding that in; most US cork roadbed is 30mm wide; the roadbed AnyRail uses is the European style and not the same width. So, go to the Settings tab and temporarily switch to Metric mm measurement units, then use the Show tab, enable Trace, and enter 30 (mm) for the trace width; then switch back to your normal measurement unit choice - English fractions(?).
Now you will see the track with the roadbed included. And you will also see where the tracks 'collide' - not enough spacing between roadbed segments. File->Options->Colors will allow you to choose the roadbed color if you want, and can make things easier to visualize.
That Peco NB-80 structure; unfortunately, it's not a "depot" as claimed in the User Objects definition; it's a 2-track 'engine house', with the tracks running through the structure. (We Americans tend to call this an 'engine house' where Europeans tend to use the word "shed".) Peco NB-5 is a single-track 'engine house', albeit more European in look (I actually have one). There are other US kits that can give you a single-track version as well.
That Walthers 3257 station is called "Union Station" and, being modeled after the Denver Union Station, is a very large passenger station with tracks only on one side. (I have many pics I took of the original over time, all before the last remodeling that destroyed it.) It's really meant for a large city/urban environment; may look out of place, otherwise.
It might help you to look through the Walthers website and see not only what's available in terms of offerings from all manufacturers, but in the Walthers structures area, there often is a jpg image for the footprint of the structure, so you can see dimensions and configuration. And if Walthers says it's not available, it's probably a good idea to see if you can find it somewhere else (eBay?) before deciding to use it, in case you can't find it later.
Some questions/information to answer before more comments can be made.
What type of trains are you running, freight and/or passenger? Passenger cars are twice or more as long as freight, so the curve radius needs to be larger for successful operations; I wouldn't run passenger cars on anything smaller than 12.5 inch radius track, and even at that radius I'd have to 'slow op' them to avoid derailments; 15 inches would be the better minimum radius.
What era, steam or diesel, or mixed? "Era" is important, because before the late 1980s you'd probably have a caboose on a freight train, which comes into consideration when 'backing in' to an industry to deliver/receive cars.
What generally are the car types for your yard to handle? Helps to know car lengths.
What type of industries are you considering? Helps to know size, needs, etc. You have the feed mill and mercantile buildings. Where do the deliveries to the feed mill come from? Go out to? Same for the mercantile. (btw, having an industry - feed mill - on the same 'spur' track as a 'station' ("depot"...) is not a good practice as their functions/operations conflict.
Lastly, are you looking at a complete freelance layout, or do you have something existing in mind as an inspiration - locale, certain railroad, etc. btw, where are you located? Maybe there may be something close by that might be of interest to see how various things function. And of course, there is also Google maps/earth and Virtual Railfan.
Ok, enough for now.
Once we have more info, especially about how you want the layout to operate, we can look at connecting those 2 loops and also about avoiding the running-in-one-direction-only situation.
Hi, I am just starting to take on this hobby. I've never had a train layout before except a lionel oval too many years ago to remember. I've been trying to make a layout in anyrail and I can get close to what I want but I can't quite finish. Maybe someone could take a look and give me some tips (and even a couple how-to's in spots? )
I was thinking a u-shaped base with basically track just running through scenery in the middle, a switch yard at one end and a few businesses to deliver to at the other end. I want to be able to run 2 trains on loops as well as try my hand at switching and delivery operations. Of course the obligatory waterfall and lake or river. And I wanted to run the back line raised up on a bridge partially up the base of a mountain but it takes so much track to keep the slope under 3% I can't get more than a few 6" pieces 2-3" high before it's time to come down again.
Anyway, my problems..
I kind of got a switch yard but it just seems meh..
I have a concept of businesses on the right but not sure how I can connect them to the line so they can 'back in' when needed. How would I turn the trains around when necessary?
I also want to connect the two lines so the trains can switch between them but not sure how to handle that. I built something that looks like it would work but it's huge and ugly I just have it sitting next to the tracks at the upper right. I tried searching for videos to see how to do it but I must not be familiar enough with the lingo yet to find what I want.