News

Due to heavy spamming attempts on this forum, automatic registration has been disabled. We will approve registration requests as quickly as possible (unless you're a spammer of course :) )

Topic: Basement N Scale  (Read 173 times)

0 Members and 2 Guests are viewing this topic.

Offline Vic A

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 10
Basement N Scale
« on: December 07, 2018, 12:21:34 am »
Hello everyone -

I'd like to introduce myself - I'm Vic.  I have been in and out of model RRing for some time but I'm trying to get in and stay in. 

N Scale.  Modern/Current equipment.  Midwest.  Mostly BNSF but no huge preference.  Plan on running grain, coal, ethanol and maybe stack trains (someday).  And locals of course.  I have a GN passenger train so that'll be the excursion, dinner, wine, executive type of train occasionally.

I have been working on this a while and feel that it is time to let others weigh in on the project.

Much of this is operational.  Nothing scenicked.  Naturally, there are portions that are less than optimal but I don't mind re-working them.

The main works pretty good - trains go around and around up and down the 1% grade without too many issues.  The yard can be switched but the lead is short.  The three track elevator yard works good.  Doesn't have to remain an elevator though.  The passenger train siding works as well.  There are no tracks set for the proposed ethanol plant as yet. 
Nothing to the right (East) of the two railroad bridges is complete - no river/doorway bridge spans.  That is a blank canvas and needs some imagination applied to it. 

I like trains running in circles and I like to switch 'em up as well.  If this plan works, at least two trains can run without interfering with each other while some local industry service is happening.  I have some concern with the reverse loops that are inevitable but I'm sure enough wire and money will cure that.

I am looking for input on yard functionality - industries and their location - storage/staging tracks and anything else you can think of.  It bugs me that I can't get to the yard ladder from the A/D track but maybe that's not a big deal.  It would be nice to have 2 or 3 operators but so far it's only me.

This is built on 1x4s with 1" foam at about 50" high.  I am using Digitrax.  No plans for remote switches.  All hand throws so far.  No plans for signaling.  Please excuse my Frankenstein approach regarding track products.  I have married Peco code 80 switches to Peco code 55 track to Atlas code 55 switches and track.  The plan indicates several Peco Electrofrogs.  There is really only one at the yard lead.  The rest are insulfrogs.  My favorite is the Atlas 55s though.  There are even a couple of Micro Engineering code 55 switches at the end of the yard that I thought were Atlas.

The plan has a proposed secondary main that would run along side of (but at "0" elevation) to get trains out of here that are running CW.

Whew - - - That was a bunch of info.  Told myself "nobody is going to help you if you just blab the whole time".  Too late . . . .

Thank you for taking a look.  This is a fun process but it is going to take some fresh points of view.

Vic

Offline Tom Springer

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 380
Re: Basement N Scale
« Reply #1 on: December 07, 2018, 03:25:05 am »
Vic, welcome to the forum.

Presume this is single direction running, left to right on the mainline track at the top of the layout. When the additional area on the right is operational, will there be bi-directional running?

So, for now, and in the future, how does an arriving train, entering the A/D track at the right end, get the engines to the service facility?  Their path is ... what?  And then, when serviced, how to they get back to pick up the outbound train?  What 'direction' do they run (forward/reverse?)  Any need to 'turn' the engines? And if bi-directional running comes into play, how would a train arriving at the A/D left end have those engines get to the service facility?

Does the service facility have to be 'part' of the yard, or could it be 'detached', with the engines traveling to it via some possibly circular path? And what configuration is needed? Very long tracks, or multiple shorter tracks for different purposes (fueling, sanding, etc.) In order words, what do your 'consists' consist of?  How many engines per train, and how many different 'groupings' in the service facility?

How long do you want your yard lead to be?  (What is the length of an arriving train?)  If much longer than you have, could it be "circular", following the path next to the blue proposed 2nd mainline track? If the A/D track was moved down a bit, could there be a new track just above it where the arriving train, once the engines are detached, be moved to before moving cars into the yard?

How is the grain elevator serviced?  Cars left at the track on top, and then moved by the facility operator, or do you provide an engine for their movements, or is everything done by the 'local'? (Does a 'local' actually operate a plant?) Do the cars move along the 'siding' through the switches when the facility is operating?  Does this have any conflicts with the operation of the excursion train needing to transverse those switches?  Btw, there are 2 sheds, one long and one short, on the Walthers facility; are you only going to use 1 of them?

When you get to building the ethanol plant, how will you service it?  How far are you going to have to run in reverse to get cars in/out? Could a 'through' track be made to work?  What types of cars will be coming in and what quantity?  (Affects the track arrangements)  Covered hoppers in and tankers out?  Or just hoppers in (and a pipeline out)?  What structures are you thinking about?  Walthers only (i.e., the grain elevator only), or maybe, if this includes a "tank farm", have you looked at TomyTec triple tanks, or Faller or Model Power large twin bulk tanks?  How much complexity and operational aspects do you want for this industry?

Finally (for now), what height clearance do you need for stack trains?  Meaning from top of lower rail to bottom of base(board) holding the over-crossing rails?  AnyRail measures height clearance as from top of lower rail to top of higher rail... hope people don't forget that the thickness of baseboards has to be figured in when setting heights.

Offline Tom Springer

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 380
Re: Basement N Scale
« Reply #2 on: December 07, 2018, 04:25:25 am »
One thing I want to add, and it works for anyone who has thoughts of a future industry for a layout... create a "diorama" of your proposed industry as a separate AnyRail layout.  Try different configurations ... without any distractions from having your current layout imposed on your work.  See what works and what doesn't.  Try different things in terms of how the industry operates.  Then when you have a more comfortable feeling for what the industry might be in relation to your "big" layout, merge the two concepts.

Working as an independent design, a diorama can be interesting in and of itself.  You also could probably (crudely) build it in reality before doing the full-scale construction of your big layout.  The knowledge (and satisfaction) of doing a diorama often can be well worth the effort.

Offline Vic A

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 10
Re: Basement N Scale
« Reply #3 on: December 07, 2018, 06:40:30 am »
Presume this is single direction running, left to right on the mainline track at the top of the layout. When the additional area on the right is operational, will there be bi-directional running?
I have been running trains CW (left to right at top) and CCW.  I’d like to keep running both.
So, for now, and in the future, how does an arriving train, entering the A/D track at the right end, get the engines to the service facility?  Trains cross over near the elevator.  If the Engine M/S area is moved as in this plan (attached), power will cut off on the A/D and move right into the service tracks. Their path is ... what?  And then, when serviced, how to they get back to pick up the outbound train?  Serviced engines will move onto A/D before their train or sneak across yard lead and go up and around the yard.  I think we need a fifth yard track up top as a way around the yard. What 'direction' do they run (forward/reverse?) Most trains originating from this yard will be powered by two or more engines.  Adding a turn table will enable correct orientation.  Any through freight unit trains can get fresh power if needed.  Any need to 'turn' the engines? And if bi-directional running comes into play, how would a train arriving at the A/D left end have those engines get to the service facility?  These engines will have to pull through the east end of yard under the bridge if the train is not too long and run back across the top of the yard. 

Does the service facility have to be 'part' of the yard, or could it be 'detached', with the engines traveling to it via some possibly circular path? I’m good with moving it down as indicated in this plan. And what configuration is needed? Very long tracks, or multiple shorter tracks for different purposes (fueling, sanding, etc.) In order words, what do your 'consists' consist of?  I have a few six-axle locomotives.  Probably too many for much local work.  I suppose they will be mostly pulling run-through unit freights. How many engines per train, and how many different 'groupings' in the service facility?  I envision two four-axle loco consists doing most of the work out of this yard.  Couple of GP30s, couple of GP38-2s – that type of a set up.

How long do you want your yard lead to be?  (What is the length of an arriving train?)    Longest yard track is about 79”.  Would like lead to be close to that.  If much longer than you have, could it be "circular", following the path next to the blue proposed 2nd mainline track? Still entertaining straighten out the yard lead and having it fly up and over the main(s) on the left.  It would fly right off the end of the existing benchwork but I can make it work. If the A/D track was moved down a bit, could there be a new track just above it where the arriving train, once the engines are detached, be moved to before moving cars into the yard?  I have thought about squeezing one in.  Moving the A/D down a bit would make that easier.

How is the grain elevator serviced?  Cars left at the track on top, and then moved by the facility operator, or do you provide an engine for their movements, or is everything done by the 'local'? (Does a 'local' actually operate a plant?) I’m sure they would if they can bill for it.  May have to add an engine pocket near the elevator.  An engine would then be available for elevator crew to operate. Do the cars move along the 'siding' through the switches when the facility is operating?  That is what I have been doing so far.  Does this have any conflicts with the operation of the excursion train needing to transverse those switches? Elevator crew or people dining on the excursion train will just have to wait.  That’s railroading . . .  Btw, there are 2 sheds, one long and one short, on the Walthers facility; are you only going to use 1 of them?  Really not sure of any of the actual facilities.  I only own the grain elevator currently.

When you get to building the ethanol plant, how will you service it?  How far are you going to have to run in reverse to get cars in/out? Should be able to run by, switch plant, reverse to excursion siding then run around and pull cars back to yard.  This job may switch the ethanol plant then continue across the River/Doorway.  Could a 'through' track be made to work?  What types of cars will be coming in and what quantity?  (Affects the track arrangements) Have not thought the ethanol movements through much.  Covered hoppers in and tankers out? Will likely truck grain in, DDG out in covered hoppers and ethanol out in tank cars.  If I get fancy, gasoline can arrive in tank cars to denature the alcohol. Or just hoppers in (and a pipeline out)?  What structures are you thinking about?  Walthers only (i.e., the grain elevator only), or maybe, if this includes a "tank farm", have you looked at TomyTec triple tanks, or Faller or Model Power large twin bulk tanks?  How much complexity and operational aspects do you want for this industry? I will look into those options.  Really want to keep it a fairly simple country ethanol plant.  Craig, Missouri is an example.  Everything stub ended off of the main line.

Finally (for now), what height clearance do you need for stack trains?  I believe it is 26’.  I have 2” clear rail head to the bridge.  That is a little more than 26’.   Meaning from top of lower rail to bottom of base(board) holding the over-crossing rails?  AnyRail measures height clearance as from top of lower rail to top of higher rail... hope people don't forget that the thickness of baseboards has to be figured in when setting heights.  I started out with 2 ¼” knowing roadbed and track would use up some clearance. 

Thank you for all those thoughts. 
Vic

Offline Tom Springer

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 380
Re: Basement N Scale
« Reply #4 on: December 07, 2018, 08:22:41 am »
Vic,

With the engine service moved, what will you do with the former tracks/space?  Could your switching lead curve back towards that area to gain track length?

Interesting aspects of the GTE facility at Craig.  Looks like the Rix line of tanks could have been modeled on that facility  (I wonder if those tanks might be useful for you for additional scenery).  So it's tank cars out, the grain arrives locally.  Just a few grain bins and the tank loading facility and you have it.  The facility image from Google maps shows they use a trackmobile for movement within the facility; is that what you are thinking?

For the grain elevator, try the attached version (the area marked in green and yellow); if you want the facility to have its own switcher, could easily run that way with an appropriate pocket added.  [I normally don't mark up anothers layout, just prefer to ask questions to simulate thinking; the decisions and results are up to the reader, then. But sometimes a graphic helps avoid a 1000 words...]

In that attached version I put a Peco 55 double switch in the A/D track area (colored red), for you to think about how you might be able to reorient the entry to be part of the ladder and to separate out the switching lead from the service facility entry/exit to avoid conflicts that would otherwise occur.

Glad you are making progress.  I envy the room you have. So many possibilities.

Offline The Track Planner

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 53
Re: Basement N Scale
« Reply #5 on: December 07, 2018, 09:51:11 am »
Vic,
I design track plans with operations as the focal point. While you're doing a pretty good job designing your new layout. let me offer a few suggestions.
First... It appears the room measures approximately 10' x 24'. If you can use the whole space, I would highly recommend you consider an "around the walls - center peninsula" (ATW-CP) design. Why? This would give you the longest mainline run possible, you would have only one turn-back section and that would be at the end of the center peninsula. As designed now you have multiple areas where reach-in is going to be a problem. The average 6' tall person can reach-in a maximum of 36", comfortably, you have areas with a 48" reach.
Second... with the ATW-CP design, you can keep benchwork widths at 18" to a maximum of 24" for easy reach-in.
Third... you can create a track plan where trains travel through scenes once! Very prototypical! Not the case with the present configuration.
Fourth... you can create a one track lift-out. No need for double tracks running across the lift-out.
Fifth... with the present configuration, as you walk with your train(s), you cannot follow them along their entire route. Once a train heads across the doorway, when it returns and heads into the yard, you have to walk around the large center peninsula to get back to your train and the yard. What happens with your train while you can't see it because of the view block on the center peninsula? With the ATW-CP you never loss sight of your train.
Sixth... because you are modeling in N scale and you have a decent amount of space to model in, the ATW-CP design would allow you to include staging yards which only adds to the prototypical feel. Trains "come from somewhere" and trains "go to somewhere" beyond your layout. With your present configuration trains run in a albeit very large circle. You could include reverse loops in staging which would allow for automatic re-staging of trains and continuous running, when you like to sit back and just watch trains runs.
Well, I hope, I have given you some things to think about, if you want to build a layout that is operationally sound. If you would like to discuss things further feel free to contact me at thetrackplanner.com.

Offline Vic A

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 10
Re: Basement N Scale
« Reply #6 on: December 07, 2018, 03:16:27 pm »
I am working through these suggestions.

Got this download error though on the modified plan.  I really wanted to see your ideas!

Offline Vic A

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 10
Re: Basement N Scale
« Reply #7 on: December 07, 2018, 03:40:56 pm »
With the engine service moved, what will you do with the former tracks/space?  Could your switching lead curve back towards that area to gain track length?
That seems like a pretty tight radius.  Still leaning toward straight and elevate over main.  The primary yard lead may be over the river also.

Interesting aspects of the GTE facility at Craig.  Looks like the Rix line of tanks could have been modeled on that facility  (I wonder if those tanks might be useful for you for additional scenery).  So it's tank cars out, the grain arrives locally.  Just a few grain bins and the tank loading facility and you have it.  The facility image from Google maps shows they use a trackmobile for movement within the facility; is that what you are thinking?
Yes - or yet another dedicated leased loco for the plant crew to run.  Have not seen an N scale track mobile but that would be cool.  I have seen a coupler attached to the 3-point hitch of a field tractor at a plant in Des Moines, IA. The plant is next to the Alter Scrap yard.

For the grain elevator, try the attached version (the area marked in green and yellow); if you want the facility to have its own switcher, could easily run that way with an appropriate pocket added.  [I normally don't mark up anothers layout, just prefer to ask questions to simulate thinking; the decisions and results are up to the reader, then. But sometimes a graphic helps avoid a 1000 words...]
I welcome you and others to mark up my plans any way you see fit.  I am happy to have the input.!

In that attached version I put a Peco 55 double switch in the A/D track area (colored red), for you to think about how you might be able to reorient the entry to be part of the ladder and to separate out the switching lead from the service facility entry/exit to avoid conflicts that would otherwise occur.
I need to figure out why I couldn't open your file.  Some do and some don't.  I still have AnyRail 5 on my computer but I can't believe that is the issue.

Glad you are making progress.  I envy the room you have. So many possibilities.
I know - I am blessed with this space.  I want to make good use of it. My HO friend shares your envy.

Offline Vic A

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 10
Re: Basement N Scale
« Reply #8 on: December 07, 2018, 04:08:09 pm »
I design track plans with operations as the focal point. While you're doing a pretty good job designing your new layout. let me offer a few suggestions.
First... It appears the room measures approximately 10' x 24'. If you can use the whole space, I would highly recommend you consider an "around the walls - center peninsula" (ATW-CP) design. Why? This would give you the longest mainline run possible, you would have only one turn-back section and that would be at the end of the center peninsula. As designed now you have multiple areas where reach-in is going to be a problem. The average 6' tall person can reach-in a maximum of 36", comfortably, you have areas with a 48" reach.
The file drawing doesn't depict the whole room, I guess.  The only portion of the plan 'against the wall' is the the 16' encompassing the engine service and yard.  I have access around the remainder.
Second... with the ATW-CP design, you can keep benchwork widths at 18" to a maximum of 24" for easy reach-in.
Along the wall it is 24" max.  The 'ice cream cone' shaped peninsula is 4' across so access is not an issue.
Third... you can create a track plan where trains travel through scenes once! Very prototypical! Not the case with the present configuration.
I know - The view block would help but right now I watch trains go 'round 'n 'round. If I had the last word, I would FreeMo the entire basement. 
Fourth... you can create a one track lift-out. No need for double tracks running across the lift-out.It's doubled in the drawing to allow two continuous loops of trains.  Are you suggesting just one with balloon on the right side?  I would have to bring all three tracks into one somehow.
Fifth... with the present configuration, as you walk with your train(s), you cannot follow them along their entire route. Once a train heads across the doorway, when it returns and heads into the yard, you have to walk around the large center peninsula to get back to your train and the yard. What happens with your train while you can't see it because of the view block on the center peninsula? With the ATW-CP you never loss sight of your train.
You are correct - Trains coming from the east into the yard will be on their own.  I can duck under there but I have also bumped my head and caused a mid-west grade tremor to the area.
Sixth... because you are modeling in N scale and you have a decent amount of space to model in, the ATW-CP design would allow you to include staging yards which only adds to the prototypical feel. Trains "come from somewhere" and trains "go to somewhere" beyond your layout. With your present configuration trains run in a albeit very large circle. You could include reverse loops in staging which would allow for automatic re-staging of trains and continuous running, when you like to sit back and just watch trains runs.
That portion of the plan has not been drawn up yet.  It will go on the right side tear drop.
Well, I hope, I have given you some things to think about, if you want to build a layout that is operationally sound.
I do want this to be operationally sound!If you would like to discuss things further feel free to contact me at thetrackplanner.com.
Thank you.  You will likely hear from me there as well.

Offline Vic A

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 10
Re: Basement N Scale
« Reply #9 on: December 07, 2018, 04:21:39 pm »
Just an old school basement - 7' ceilings - poured walls - pretty much standard issue.

Offline Vic A

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 10
Re: Basement N Scale
« Reply #10 on: December 07, 2018, 07:05:33 pm »
I am working through these suggestions.

Got this download error though on the modified plan.  I really wanted to see your ideas!

No issue after all - - - Just needed to update AnyRail to latest version.

Offline The Track Planner

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 53
Re: Basement N Scale
« Reply #11 on: December 07, 2018, 07:21:56 pm »
Vic,
Thanks for responding to me comments.
Regarding my fourth comment and your question... Yes, I'm suggesting only one track crossing over the lift-out. If you designed an around the walls - center peninsula track plan you would only need one track, because with true "walk-along" designs, tracks do not need to double back on its self. If rail fanning is you primary objective, then your dog bone track plan will work, but if you really want to create the illusion of trains going and coming from somewhere, the walk along and hidden staging design, is the way to go.
Suggestion... go to my website and on the front page you will see the seven design elements I try to incorporate into all of my designs. Hopefully, these elements will give you a better understanding of why, in my opinion, the true walk-along design, works the best for prototypical operations.

Offline Tom Springer

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 380
Re: Basement N Scale
« Reply #12 on: December 07, 2018, 09:37:18 pm »
Vic,

Glad you got the file open.

The great thing about AnyRail is that we can do all the "what ifs" we want, trying designs to see what works and doesn't, always learning from things. And with the ability to actually operate by using TrainPlayer and realistic sets of cars, seeing beyond just "virtual paper" to how prospective layouts actually would function can keep the mind active (especially for those of us up in age).

Looking forward to enjoying your progress and learning from your efforts.  Especially what your "Craig" facility will look like.  I hope you aren't reluctant to "kit bash", taking items from different manufacturer's kits to make something a bit different, or just using a kit in a different way.  For example, the Walther "concrete grain elevator" doesn't actually have to have the silos positioned where they are shown in the kit, the 2nd shed doesn't have to be there, and the silos could be "extended" if a larger facility was wanted. The silos are the same as in the Medusa kit, for example; many of the Walthers kits use "common" parts/sprues, and as a result, some kits have "left over" parts that can be used elsewhere; open "used" boxes from E-bay sometimes can be useful for getting "parts" for other things.

As for trackmobiles, there are some in N-scale but none that I know of are operational.  However, having one "stationary" (parked) on a layout can give the viewer the understanding that is the method a facility uses to move cars around.  Might be helpful if you ever plan to publish photos/videos of your layout for others to learn from or just enjoy.

Looking forward to your progress.  For me, the journey is often more enjoyable than the final result.  Of course, the question that is always there ... is there ever a final result when building model railroads.

Offline Vic A

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 10
Re: Basement N Scale
« Reply #13 on: December 07, 2018, 09:38:45 pm »
Thanks for responding to me comments.
You are welcome and thank you for your input.
Regarding my fourth comment and your question... Yes, I'm suggesting only one track crossing over the lift-out. If you designed an around the walls - center peninsula track plan you would only need one track, because with true "walk-along" designs, tracks do not need to double back on its self. If rail fanning is you primary objective, then your dog bone track plan will work, but if you really want to create the illusion of trains going and coming from somewhere, the walk along and hidden staging design, is the way to go.
When you say walk around does that also mean point to point?

Suggestion... go to my website and on the front page you will see the seven design elements I try to incorporate into all of my designs.
  I have already been there.  Those drawings are beautiful.  I will study them further.Hopefully, these elements will give you a better understanding of why, in my opinion, the true walk-along design, works the best for prototypical operations

Offline Vic A

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 10
Re: Basement N Scale
« Reply #14 on: December 07, 2018, 09:53:07 pm »
The great thing about AnyRail is that we can do all the "what ifs" we want, trying designs to see what works and doesn't, always learning from things. And with the ability to actually operate by using TrainPlayer and realistic sets of cars, seeing beyond just "virtual paper" to how prospective layouts actually would function can keep the mind active (especially for those of us up in age).

Looking forward to enjoying your progress and learning from your efforts.  Especially what your "Craig" facility will look like.  I hope you aren't reluctant to "kit bash", taking items from different manufacturer's kits to make something a bit different, or just using a kit in a different way.  For example, the Walther "concrete grain elevator" doesn't actually have to have the silos positioned where they are shown in the kit, the 2nd shed doesn't have to be there, and the silos could be "extended" if a larger facility was wanted. The silos are the same as in the Medusa kit, for example; many of the Walthers kits use "common" parts/sprues, and as a result, some kits have "left over" parts that can be used elsewhere; open "used" boxes from E-bay sometimes can be useful for getting "parts" for other things.
Ain't skeert of kit bashing stuff.  That makes if fun.  Uploaded a pic earlier that had my 100' tall grain elevator made from 1" rust stained PVC pipe.  May make a couple more and use as a Wichita sized elevator doubling as a view block.

As for trackmobiles, there are some in N-scale but none that I know of are operational.  However, having one "stationary" (parked) on a layout can give the viewer the understanding that is the method a facility uses to move cars around.  Might be helpful if you ever plan to publish photos/videos of your layout for others to learn from or just enjoy.How about a magnet on rails beneath the table that moved your track mobile in the industry yard.  It would have to heavy and magnetic.  Cars would have to be all plastic.  Food for thought.

Looking forward to your progress.  For me, the journey is often more enjoyable than the final result.  Of course, the question that is always there ... is there ever a final result when building model railroads.I am convinced it will never end.  Don't want it to.

Worked on that yard lead area a little.  Didn't use the double slip.  Thought there would still be conflict with yard lead and engine service traffic.