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My first layout design

Started by andruec, November 13, 2020, 11:47:26 am

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andruec

November 13, 2020, 11:47:26 am Last Edit: November 13, 2020, 12:04:58 pm by andruec
It's been many, many years since I ran a model railway. Over 30 in fact. But with retirement not too far away I thought I'd try and rekindle it as a hobby for when the weather is not conducive to golf.

So this is my first design (or at least the first I intend to actually try and construct). My interest is more in building it, and adding scenery rather than in actively managing trains. Trains going through a landscape I've built is fun and interesting but shunting trains doesn't really do it for me :)

It's going to be 'N' gauge and the board size is going to be a rectangle slightly larger than 1.5m x 2.5m. Some questions I have.

1. Inclines. I have four of them. All are less than 2% - I need to get the track up to 40mm and given the space had to split each rise in half. How important are vertical easements? My current idea is to anchor each end of the slope then insert props in the middle allowing the track to bend a bit at either end for an easement. Currently I'm intending to use settrack but am considering using flextrack for the slopes. Does this sound feasible?

2. My plan mostly works in AnyRail but I've had to overlap some sections of track in order to avoid gaps (I think the inclines throw the geometry and mean that fixed sized settrack just won't work). Is having to trim a couple of settrack pieces fine or is it the case that if AnyRail won't 'allow' me to connect every piece then the design has a serious flaw?

The basic purpose of the design is to allow me to store 8 trains on the board and randomly send one or two out for some 'exercise' through my (hopefully) wonderful landscape. Eventually the two track-free areas next to the sidings will be office/residential on one side and industrial on the other in an attempt to make it look like the railway actually serves a purpose.

Thoughts welcomed :)

andruec

November 15, 2020, 11:54:34 am #1 Last Edit: November 15, 2020, 11:56:40 am by andruec
I loaded it into TrainPlayer and that prompted me to investigate flextrack. The only one I could fine in AnyRail was Fleishman Piccolo but I don't suppose that matters. Anyway with the various breaks fixed the trains run nicely.

The only issue I can see is that there's no easy way to move locomotives round to the back of the train. I suppose I could add points at the end of the sidings (some of them at least). Amost all my locomotives will be diesel so as long as I can change a train from push to pull it should be fine.

Bob Bryce

November 15, 2020, 01:32:34 pm #2 Last Edit: November 15, 2020, 01:38:34 pm by Bob Bryce
I am not sure if we are talking about the same thing, but you have 2 elevated yards with multiple dead end sidings.  Should you need to pull a train onto one of the sidings (pull, not push), the locomotive will be trapped.  Since both sets seem to be elevated the same amount, maybe you could tie the sidings together on the dead end and have one, most likely the outermost sidings, continue around over the lower tracks and form a loop.  Another option would be to add to each yard another turnout with a short siding for holding a yard switching locomotive.  The yard switcher could be used to move the cars onto and off the main line by always pushing the cars into the siding or pulling them out of the siding, no matter where the main locomotive(s) are.  When the yard work is finished, the switcher is moved back to it's siding.  You could even put a maintenance building or 2 there also.

Bob Bryce

Question ... do you have Trainplayer?  It's a program that allows you to actually run trains on your Anyrail layout.  You can see if the layout will actually work or has an operational problem before you build it.  Anyrail exports your layout directly into Trainplayer.  I have the better version, Tracklayer, where I can modify the tracks in Trainplayer after importing the layout from Anyrail if I want to.

andruec

November 15, 2020, 05:16:12 pm #4 Last Edit: November 15, 2020, 05:22:35 pm by andruec
I like the idea of joining the sidings together at both ends. I've just had another go at this and I think it should work. I've attached a plan here - it needs a bit of flextrack magic but it looks feasible.No message is associated with this attachment.

Vic A

Welcome Andrue -

Any reach over two feet or 60 cm is going to be difficult to work on.

Can you arrange your plan to have access down the middle of the layout?


Vic

andruec

November 16, 2020, 09:46:24 am #6 Last Edit: November 16, 2020, 09:57:59 am by andruec
Quote from: Vic A on November 16, 2020, 04:58:50 amWelcome Andrue -

Any reach over two feet or 60 cm is going to be difficult to work on.

Can you arrange your plan to have access down the middle of the layout?


Vic
Unfortunately not. I have limited space available. This layout is basically going to replace (or maybe sit over the top of) a double bed in my spare bedroom. However the baseboard is actually going to be in three pieces length-wise (made professionally) so I've been thinking I could split the board to work on it if it becomes a problem.

You've made me think though and I'm wondering if it would be practical to have the central inclines and the two sidings on their own platform. For transport that gives six pieces - three for the main board, the central 'spine' and two platforms for sidings. It's an intriguing idea. I'd need breaks anyway to take it apart and this strategy removes a lot of them because the spine only needs to connect at either end, and the sidings only at one point as I'm sure they could be carried as a single section.

Vic A

What are the room dimensions? 

Any chance of running around the perimeter?  That would allow the bed to remain in the center of the room.


andruec

Not with the bed in place. There's only just enough space to get around the bed anyway. It's something else to consider when I start looking for a new house after the pandemic but even without the pandemic it could be a couple of years before I find the perfect property.

andruec

November 17, 2020, 08:00:51 pm #9 Last Edit: November 17, 2020, 08:05:26 pm by andruec
So I've made a couple of revisions and here's the new final plan :)

Latest changes:
* Added a short siding off the mainline where the sidings branch off. This allows me to park a loco while the shunter parks the current wagon set and gets a new one. I don't know if I'll ever really need it but I can't imagine a real railway blocks the mainline while waiting for a shunting operation.
* Removed the incline on a couple of the curves. Turns out it's not needed.
* The sidings now terminate better and are all more or less the same length.
* I realised the board dimensions were wrong. But in a good way. Turns out I had an extra 130mm of length. I haven't changed anything other than lengthen some of the straights (which reduces the inclines).
* Marked the board joins. Thankfully they avoid points and with the sidings/central incline on their own platform I reckon there's only 11 track joints.

The issue of reach is a valid one but I don't think there's any solution. At least most of the track work will be within half a metre of the edge.

Bob Bryce

Something for you to consider now before committing to a track plan is, that is a lot of track.  Where do you plan to put scenery and structures?  My first of about a hundred versions of my current track plan did not consider that, and I found all I had was a lot of boring track to look at, and no way to incorporate buildings, towns, farms, industries, etc, just a lot of track.  Anyrail can place buildings to scale wherever you desire, and if they fit in Anyrail, they will fir on the layout.  If not, they won't.

andruec

November 18, 2020, 10:43:29 am #11 Last Edit: November 18, 2020, 10:51:08 am by andruec
The board is going to be conceptually divided in two length-wise.

One half will be 'pretty residential' with concrete walls on the inclines and residential/office/golf course in the mostly empty area inside its half of the inner figure of eight.

The other half will be 'gritty industrial' with rock walls on the inclines and quarry/industrial units in the mostly empty area.

I also have an idea of running a road between the two areas, underneath the central inclined spine but I have to decide how the road would deal with the sidings. A crossing on one side and a bridge on the other might look nice.

I think it's key to have the scenery asymmetrical to hide the symmetrical/mathematical nature of the layout. Using the central spine as the demarcation point is an obviously fake thing to do but maybe I can call the layout 'A Tale of Two Halves' :)

I hadn't really thought much about structures outside of the two central areas other than a vague idea of 'a few wooded areas and a line shack here and there', so I'll give that some more thought tonight. A key point is that I do want to see the trains passing through interesting scenery. My brother and I had a layout built by our Dad and while it was great fun it never had any scenery other than a handful of pre-built buildings. So 'just a plastic train driving over some track' is definitely something I want to improve on.

Taking a quick look now I see that there's only 50mm between the outer loop and the figure of eight I might be able to move the outer loop closer to the edge of the board (expanding its 'radius') which will increase the gap allowing for more scenery. I'll have a play tonight and see what I think - I don't want the trains too close to the edge of the board obviously.

andruec

Lol, the golf course is out. I just did some calculations and each hole needs to be between 1 and 3 metres.

Darkhorse427

another thing to think of on your revised plan is that your tail track on you yard ladders are not long enough to be a useful runaround.

Darkhorse427

as an alternative try something like this. each yard is a slightly different geometry as to give a better illusion of two different places.

I used mostly flex track on the yellow yard.