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Topic: N scale basement  (Read 667 times)

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Offline Blackbird Trains

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N scale basement
« on: December 22, 2018, 10:00:09 am »
Ok, so here goes a much more thought out plan for the basement. I've gone through many levels of planning and tweaking in an attempt to make this a fun layout for operations. It can be considered point to point with the ability to run continuous as well for a little rail fanning.

This will be a totally modern era setup with dcc control. Most industry switches will be manual with dcc control for staging and possibly the yard.

I've been running this on Train Player a bit and it seems to work pretty well.  Maxxing most of the industries out with cars initially put me at 108 cars total. I think that's plenty so probably won't be adding much there.  I want the peninsula at the entrance to be a wow factor with great scenery and then along that top section too before you walk around to the rest. The industries got populated a little heavy on the right side but I think that'll be alright.  Should still be room for operators without too much crowding.  There won't usually be that many anyway. I'll probably just be going down and losing myself for hours myself most of the time.

This is total fantasy land.  A few of the industries are modelled after real places. The city of Ada is where I grew up and did have some of what is in the layout.  The creamery was converted into a resaurant and mini mall in the 70's by my parents and that structure will have to be scratch built as I want it for a tribute to them.  A couple other spots of interest are the "bomb" factory (really an explosives factory for dynamite and such) and the barrel factory. The extreme grades on these are completely prototypical as they represent places in the Duluth area.  An engineer I know says they are a real bugger to switch out too.  The turnouts at the bottom are to be locked in place when they leave in the diverging route to intentionally derail a car that might get loose. The very long shove up to the log loading yard is on purpose as well.  It gives me an excuse to use a caboose.  It gets left at the turnout for the conductor to ride in instead of hanging off the back car on long shoves.

One of the concerns is having the yard in a 180 degree curve. Spacing may have to be adjusted as some of the longer cars could cause trouble there. I welcome some input on that.

The coal unloader is the only industry that will get cars from on the layout. It is designed to hold a little over 28 cars and it's my intention to someday have this be a working unloader.  The coal mine will be switched out by a yard switcher and the loads stored until there is enough for a full train.  The interchange yard is designed to allow for coal to be delivered from "off layout" places as well and stored there.  The unloading company will have their own switcher and is not allowed on the main line so the extra track there allows for this. At least one railroad will only have trackage rights to the interchange yard from staging as well.

Many thanks go to Trainz Luvr for turning my attention to the videos that Mr. Baranek has done. It was a MAJOR influence in my design. Also having an engineer from a class 1 railroad to bounce ideas off and get advice and lots of education from was a huge help!

There are still tweaks to do, but I think this is a solid start.  I am also acutely aware that this will take years to get to any sense of a finished layout and that's just fine.  I plan to start the benchwork by this summer and get some track laid as soon as possible when that's done. I look forward to making some new friends and getting some op sessions going when it's ready for that. I'm taking Bill's advice on not doing any scenery until the track is thoroughly tested too.

Offline The Track Planner

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Re: N scale basement
« Reply #1 on: December 23, 2018, 10:49:16 pm »
First, thanks for the shout-out regarding my YouTube Model Builders videos, much appreciated! Second, over all, I think you have done a great job with this plan. Below are few suggestions to hopefully improve the design. After reading my comments, if you would like to discuss these suggestions and others, feel free to contact me through my website.
Fargo Staging
1. I would do away with the two three-way turnouts and use the same turnout configuration on both ends of staging yards. Three-ways can cause problems for operators.
Wye Area (coming out of Fargo staging)
1. I would move the wye to the right approximately 10” to 12”. This will allow for only one portal through the wall, instead of two.
2. By moving the wye, this would bring the mainline closer to the front edge of the benchwork, which I think is a good thing. You would still able to use the lift-out, by moving it to the right (see comments below regarding the City of Beltrami).
3. I would move the lift-out 6" to 10" inches to the right, so it is not right up against the door opening. This also helps if the track north of the lift is moved closer to the benchwork fascia.
4. The mountain scene can still be there, but I would narrow the benchwork, somewhat, doesn’t need to be 24” wide, all the way to the door/lift-out area.
Country Scene Area
1. I would have the tracks curved slightly through this scene, for visual effect.
City of Beltrami (small town)
1. By moving the lift-out to the right, approximately 6" to 10" (maybe more), you could then run the tracks along the front edge of the benchwork and not have to run through the wall.
2. This would allow you to place the city scene, in the corner, behind the mainline tracks. In my opinion, this would make for a more interesting rural town scene.
Power Plan & Glacier Gravel Area
1. I would add a third passing siding near the power plant and glacier gravel. This would allow for switching moves to both industries without using the passing siding. This would also allow for normal mainline operations, just in case two opposing trains needed to pass in this area.
City of Felton (small town)
1. I would remove the curved portion of the view block at Glacier Gravel. I would continue it straight to the turn-back. This would allow for an additional industry on the right side of the turn-back.
2. Because of the over all size of the turn-back peninsula, there should be plenty of room for small rural town scene.
3. As presently designed, with the curved view block, I feel the mountain scene would be too large, in N scale you don’t need huge mountainous scenes, to make the scene believable.
1. As long as you keep the grades under 2.5% you should be okay. Just keep in mind, in N scale, the pulling power of some locomotives gets reduced by 50% or more depending on the grade. When you go over 2% you can lose upwards of 75% pulling power.

I have more ideas for improving other areas, but because of the amount of detailed information needed for each area, this forum is probably not the place to go over each and every one of them, in full detail. As I stated earlier, if you contact me through my website, I will be happy to further the discussion. Again, overall you have done a great job, all the plan needs is some tweaking to certain areas.
Bill Beranek - The Track Planner

Offline Blackbird Trains

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Re: N scale basement
« Reply #2 on: December 23, 2018, 11:28:04 pm »
Thank you for your input, Bill!  I was hoping you'd have time to chime in on this one.  You are an inspiration and a great credit to the hobby.  I will go through your detailed suggestions and try em out.  I was kinda wondering about the gravel area.  I thought it would need more room there but I will straighten it out as suggested.  That little wall on the southwest corner is a bit of a pain.  It has 4 2x4's together to support the header for the 11' opening. So it was either go around it or through it.
I'll do some experimenting with those extreme grades when I do the actual build.  I want it to be difficult for the engines but not impossible. The prototype uses two GP40's for it and they struggle quite a bit shoving the loaded cars up it.  As a side note, when they get up there, the grade goes down the other way and they have to spot the tankers within a few inches of where they need to be. Since we don't have hand brakes I can't model the opposite grade.
I also am going to increase the spacing between the tracks in Erstad yard. I decided that it was better to get in front of that potential problem now rather than during the build.

Thanks again for your input and suggestions.  I may contact you before I call it as being done and see what last tweaks you suggest.  I will likely be looking for help on how to go about setting up operations on it if I don't get that figured out on my own.  Lots of time to learn that stuff before it's ready to use.

Offline TrainzLuvr

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Re: N scale basement
« Reply #3 on: December 25, 2018, 10:06:15 pm »
Since I'm building my own layout right now, some things are still fresh in my mind, so I'd like to add a few thoughts (not trying to eclipse Bill)

I noticed that all of your pinch points (and aisles perhaps) are tight, especially the one entering your yard (20"). I figure the yard will be a one or two person job, but crews might need to enter it, too (depends on how you run the ops, through trains will need to pass it, and locals will leave and come back).

At 28" width there's little room for "people" passing, not to mention having space for the engine crew to come and get their train, or wait for it. If there's a local crew waiting, and a through crew passing by, along with the Yard Master that's 4-6 people in 28"x76" space.

The same could be said for all other 24" pinch points. What I have learnt in the past year is the need to determine the traffic flow and timing of trains, especially the meets and passes, not just for the sake of trains but also people.

Maybe you could steal 8-10" from the bottom area, making the passageway above the furnace 3' instead of 4' (depending what's needed for service and maintenance events). This would give you additional space above for the latitudinal pinch points. Making the vertical peninsulas narrower would give you a few more inches for the longitudinal pinch points.

Seeing you only have one yard, the engine facility area appears small. More tracks for engine storage and servicing might be needed to accommodate the needs of the railroad.

Lastly, I would suggest altering the track wherever it's following the fascia in parallel, and make it go on an angle.

Bill will probably have much better suggestions about all of the above, especially regarding trains and people flow.

Offline Blackbird Trains

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Re: N scale basement
« Reply #4 on: December 26, 2018, 04:07:39 am »
Thanks Trainzluvr!  I am in the midst of a pretty big revamp.  The area by the furnace could only be used for staging or some other off layout deal.  The blue wall is a supporting wall and about all I can do is run through it.  The only place I can extend is where I did.  That 11' space is an open area with a beam.  The pinch points will be widened slightly and the peninsulas narrowed a bit too.  Yard is moving, and one peninsula is coming out altogether.  I'll probably post some of the progress as I go.