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Yet Another Newbie With Their Track Plan Attempt

Started by B and O Joe, March 24, 2021, 04:50:48 am

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B and O Joe

March 24, 2021, 04:50:48 am Last Edit: March 24, 2021, 04:54:47 am by B and O Joe Reason: Words missing
winterberry plan 3b.any

Hello AnyRail World!  I started with another brand of plan software (I will be kind here) and soon found the learning curve was killing my love of the hobby.  I came across a utube video by Ron's Trains and Things using AnyRail.  I am familiar with multiple Microsoft products and Corel Draw.  AnyRail looked familiar.  Several weeks and several versions later, I have my first (rev 0) track plan.  Being new to this I know that I have a long way to go but, man, this is fun. Before I continue to frustrate my wife with additional time away from my chores, I am asking for initial comments on my plan.  No comment is to small or too brutal. I really appreciate your time to look.  My room is basically 12'10" by 31' 5".  I am doing HO scale with Peco track products.  For now the design is a walk in double dog bone.  I plan on adding a lift out or swing gate in the future near the room door.  I am modeling the transition era.  Road is B&O out of respect for my late Grandfathers career.  I want to run a Big Boy just because I love them, so I tried not to go less than 30" for the main line.  I know that is not B&O but... my choice. Looking forward to feedback, thanks.



Hello and welcome to AnyRail! Ambitious plan you have! Will be fun to run Big Boy on it when it's done. Some constructive critique on the layout:

  • The main line has very few side spurs (2?), so any loco will block other trains. Suggest you add a few more side spurs, the bottom and both side areas have good space for it and with some tweaking you can add some also in the main yard section.
  • It will be tricky to get into the big yard, a lot of zig zag, back and forth. With long trains and many cars it will be hard to get in there, navigate, and sort cars. I suggest you at least have some crossover so you can drive in with a switcher first and still get out that loco without it getting blocked in. But I think you should take another pass at this whole area, perhaps with TrainPlayer so you can simulate running trains. AnyRail will export directly to TrainPlayer.
  • I don't see any double slip turnouts. I find them very useful in tight spaces to create more flexibility. You could use some in the tongue section. Peco has several models.
  • I see 28" between tracks, that might be too tight to walk through?
  • Access will be hard in some places, like the lower right corner. Without the benchwork visible it's hard to guess.
  • Where will the swing gate track connect on the left side? Btw, you sure you want a swing gate? Seems like you have room for another dog bone curve in the upper right corner.
  • Some S curves in the lower part, always risky

These seem like simple mistakes:
  • I can't see the benchwork so it's hard to see the width of your aisles and workspaces
  • I use layers a lot, and I see you have set up a nice layer structure, but several of your items are in the wrong layer. You can multi select and simply assign a group of items to a new layer.
  • You have one piece in the bottom with 16.7% slope, another with 8.9%.

And finally a general comment. This is a large layout. Consider breaking it down into smaller areas to build step wise.

B and O Joe

Thanks you Magnus for your quick and useful reply.  I printed out your comments and plan to start working on your insights today.  I will repost my layout (in a few weeks?) with your recommendations. Thanks again for your time.


Also just a note I notice you are using #5 Peco turnouts. these will soon be very hard to find as they are changing over to unifrog designs, I found that substituting #6 unifrogs for the #5s did not change the geometry of my track plan by much and the new unifrog turnouts are much better looking and I think will be better preforming as well

B and O Joe

Wow, thank you Russell for sharing that upcoming change with me. I will change my yard to #6s.


I couldn't help myself and spent a little time tinkering around with you track plan. This is what I came up with.


Looks good!  If I may make a suggestion...  Wherever you have an S-bend, and you have several, I would recommend a short straight section between the two curves.  Typically this needs to be no longer than the length of a couple of bogies (could be a bit less), but it will make a big difference to how smoothly your trains transition from one curve to the next.  This not only improves running and minimises the risk of derailments or accidental uncoupling, but it is also a lot better visually since the ends of adjacent wagons or carriages will remain more in line with one another as the train passes through. 

B and O Joe

Hi Russell, I just about to post the second revision of my track plan and saw your gift of a revised track plan.  That is some mighty good tinkering.  I had already made multiple changes from my first attempt.  I will now look at what you provided and integrate your fine suggestions.  It may be a little thing, but I really liked your addition of a spur for the ADM switcher.  Ironically, earlier today I was just looking at a new ADM switcher that is coming out on the market soon and thought hey that would be cool on my layout.

To the big BadBanana, thanks for your recommendation on S curves.  If I end up with any left I will certainly add the short straight.

Well, back to the drawing board.  I will be a couple more weeks before I repost for efforts.  Thanks everyone for the assistance.  There are no rail clubs within a 100 miles from my location.  So, getting an operational perspective on things has been a huge learning curve.