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April 04, 2020, 11:39:08 pm


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Started by armchairmodeler, March 24, 2020, 07:47:55 pm

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Small introduction.  Been model railroading for 70 years.  Current member and officer of Olympic Model Railroad Society (OMRS).  Been using AR for over 8 years designing layouts for myself, started construction on three of them before the chainsaw gremlins decided that what they saw and invisioned were entirely different.  After joining OMRS I decided no longer needed a personal layout.  I was asked to design a layout by a club member to fit in his 16 x20 garage consisting of 3 levels.  Another member suggest I post it here and allow design experts critique the layout and suggest changes to help with operations.  My friend's layout is called Nalley Valley Northern (NVN).  Based on logging and mining operations in Oregon that interchanged with SP.  There is a mainline standard gauge, narrow gauge branch line and small dual gauge interchange section.  I will pass on your recommendations, but my friend is pretty set in what he has invisioned as this is his first layout.  Mainline is #8 peco switches, middle level freight yard is #6 peco and lower staging yard is all #8 peco and the branchline is Fast Track #5s.  Mainline mininium raidus is 30", one helixes has 3 turns and other 4 turns.  Lower level is 42" off floor, middle level at 54" and upper level at 66".  Mainline grades are no more than 2.1% in the helixes with 4% on the branchline.  I'll be looking forward to comments and seeing his is reactions.

Tom Springer

Having the ANY file(s) would make looking at the layout a lot easier.

Since your club layout is HO, is this also HO?

What is the operational purpose of the layout?  Prototypes have one, so I presume this model has one.

Hard to tell if/where the interchange with the SP is.  And what gets interchanged.  And how, since there is no obvious connection with the green dual gauge interchange trackage.

Even with the reverse loops, is the intent to have mostly single-direction operations?

Have you tried to actually operate the middle level using TrainPlayer and service the industries and town?  Looks like potentially a lot of operating in reverse for most of these.  Do you have sufficient track lengths to service the industries numbered 1 through 5?

Is your runaround track actually part of the mainline?  Is there a switching lead for the freight yard?
Tom Springer

(Unintentional Pyromaniac)


I forwarded your questions to my friend.  All I did was draw the plan from sketches he gave me.  After about a dozen changes he finally liked what I presented.  Sorry I can't be more help, but I thought that posting here would help shed some light for him to consider before he starts building.

Tom Springer


What his interests are for the layout would help; what type of ops, switching or general running, etc.

But please take what you currently have over to TrainPlayer and have him try operating the layout; a lot may be learned by doing that.
Tom Springer

(Unintentional Pyromaniac)


I finally got somewhat of any answer from my friend.  As to train player not sure if that's possible as he is a total 100% Apple computer users.

The Nalley Valley Northern is a "fantasy" branch line of the Southern Pacific in and around Klamath County, Oregon. While there are elements of the OC& E Weyerhaeuser timber lines east and west of Klamath Falls, it is also a nod to a ghost town 'Kirk' located at the end of the SP push into Southern Oregon before the Natron Pass was begun. As a shipping point for several lumber companies there were many logging railroads that spread out from Kirk. The Nalley Valley name comes from where the layout will actually be built. I live just north of the Nalley Valley in Tacoma.

The layout is 16 x 20 feet with three layers and two single track helixes. The lower level drawing is staging for all of the mainline trains that has reversing loops and entrances to the two helix tracks. The main level drawing will show much of what is planned with some details to be worked out as the build progresses. The SP will be the power on this level with through-passenger service twice daily.  The "trip" up to the upper level will include dual gauge track halfway up to the  Bly Mountain Quarry where the narrow gauge will take over from Kirk Junction to the wye at Kirk. The OC&E will have the primary duty of making the climb to the quarry through two switchbacks between 'Kirk Junction' and 'Red Tail'. The NVN will finish the climb to Kirk. From there the narrow gauge track will wind through forests and open rangeland to the Sycan Lumber camp and on to Arcady, a mining town that serves as a junction to the snow sheds and tunnels at 'Divide' at the top of the pass on the shoulder of Mt. Mazama.

Tom Springer

I am compelled to emphasize the use of TrainPlayer to see if the layout works as expected, even if it means borrowing a computer.

Someone needs to check the operations at least regarding:

  • use of the yard track on the mainline, specifically how the yard is switched and cars move between the tracks,
  • what happen to engines arriving at that yard as they detach from their trains; same for engines coupling to new trains in the yard, and how they get to the yard,
  • how industries are serviced; if the era this layout is oriented to is pre-mid-80s, trains would have had a caboose, and assuming realistic ops are a target, then one must consider where the caboose is when servicing industries via a back-in maneuver,
  • how the engine service facility works, and where fuel is provided.

There probably would be more if the ANY file was available.

I'll leave additional comments to others; I'll be down for a month starting next week and not sure when I'll have access to the forum in the future.

Good luck getting this layout designed and operating.
Tom Springer

(Unintentional Pyromaniac)