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Painted myself into a corner?


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Hello chums,

 

I thought I ought to update this thread since due to C-19, cold weather and a lack of cash, I have not been able to start any construction works as yet in the barn to enable the layout itself to be commenced - though I am still in credit regarding Brownie points!

 

Prior to Christmas as we were still in a restricted movement mode here, I thought I would while away some time translating my proposed plan into 3D using SketchUp as someone had already done over in the recent Minories/Seironim thread. Whilst I saw over there that the track plan had been cleverly overlaid by the 3D drawing, I wasn't sure how to make my track plan follow the various gradients, so no track but ballasted areas for the moment.

 

The first, second, and third iterations of the 3D plan showed up things that didn't work as I saw them in my head and there was an issue of a sloping ceiling that ate its way into some major landscaping. I also tried to max-out the plan to follow the alignment of the walls and use up every inch possible. That created additional problems in that the alignment of the walls were opposite to the track alignment - so I reverted back to a 'standard' rectangular shape. The final dimension has taken into account the thickness of new walls and insulation that will be needed to ensure a minimum of comfort once in the barn. The final usable dimension should be of the order of 6250x7780mm (20'6" x 25' 6"). I shan't know for sure until the new floor is raised and walls erected.

 

I have finally come to a decision regarding turntable or traverser for the fiddle yard. Neither. As I've gone for a minimum length of 4m for the fiddle yard, as my modern image block trains will need that, there isn't now room for a turntable and I'm not sure how a traverser would work out over that sort of length, so it'll now be a sector plate - one pivot point, wheels at the other end with a supporting pair mid-point and a curved rubbing plate. Hopefully that will avoid any over-complexity mechanically-wise.

 

In doing the drawings both in SCARM and SketchUp, it has shown up that there is never, ever enough room if you're trying to achieve a prototypical station - there is an awful lot of compression needed. Even Tony Wright and his 60' room still wasn't enough to recreate Little Bytham without having to compress the entry and exit curves.

 

I have some .jpgs showing the general arrangement of the layout in 3D. All the buildings I drew to 'scale' (4mm/ft) based on photographs but as it was down to brick counting and best guestimates, not all the proportions are there yet, though I'm very happy with Ledbury station. It actually looks similar to a photo! I'm missing a goods shed for Pontrilas and 'Dymented' plus two footbridges. There is an awful lot of tidying up to do.

 

I have tried to divide the layout into visual areas: Ledbury station, Pontrilas, 'Dymented' (my Rule 1 zone) and the Ledbury Tunnel/Fiddle Yard area. I have used an over bridge scenic-break that doesn't exist between Pontrilas and 'Dymented' and there's an awful lot of compression (1metre to 1mile) between Pontrilas and the River Dore railbridge - the remainder is 'the rest of the world'. Ledbury viaduct is OK in terms of height and proportions but only 1/3rd of its true length and it should have been straight!

 

What I have ended with, is a train in the scenery - Malvern Hills are high! I'm happy with the general look and gradients and curves. Curves minimum 1000mm radius, maximum gradient on the branch 1:50, and mainline 1:100. The stations are at scale length and the goods yard have had no compression in length but a smidge width wise at Ledbury. I have gone for curved corners on the layout so the backscene will be curved too. I have tried to avoid backscenes that finish at an angle - and what can you do with corners anyway? I haven't a turntable/MPD or industry as in-fill, IF prototype is to be followed.

 

One thing I have noticed is the layout is very bare regarding buildings. At Ledbury, outside of the immediate station, there is nothing save the Stationmaster's house. Modern commercial buildings have since erupted on the old station yard and to the north of the railway embankment. Pontrilas is similar, though there are some houses fronting the road that runs parallel to the railway line. Again, modern commercial buildings abound too. As I'm keeping Pontrilas and Ledbury stations (as were) I shall avoid anything too 'modern'.

 

In the early 1900s, there was a wood by-product chemical works on the east side of the station (north-west on the layout). I have the siding in place but I shall need to tweak a bit in that area to get the works insitu.

 

At 'Dymented', being my Rule 1 area, I may provide some form of industry (but not a milk factory!) the raison d'être of a lot of goods traffic leaving Pontrilas station - perhaps a tying in of the aforementioned chemical works.

 

Anyway, here are some 3D views:

 

This is the general layout with Ledbury closest. To the north is Pontrilas, westwards is 'Dymented' and, east and centre, Malvern tunnel and fiddle yard:

DymentedD0.jpg.a0993de4968bbd381cf68abccc2cb1c6.jpg

 

Here is a shot of 'Dymented' looking along the branch-line underpass in the Ledbury direction. The main-line passes alongside at a higher level. I want to recreate red sandstone retaining walls (Raglan stone) hence the pinky colouring. The red area is a possible industrial traffic generator (but what?). It means altering the signal box position to accommodate pointwork from the small sidings adjoining:

DymentedD1.jpg.34279f7b8fd809b4336e8e0d9d209913.jpg

 

This is a view of Ledbury from a (real life) south west direction. I was very pleased with myself that I was able to recreate the unusual brickwork - the size of the cruciform holes are 3mm (too small to see in the shot). I shall, of course, need to recreate these in card when it comes to the landscaping of the layout:

DymentedD2.jpg.92e1a2a7542e2467b6ed51ce3b05f743.jpg

 

This is a view of the north-east corner of the layout showing a fictitious double river/road overbridge (but copied from the present main-line bridge crossing the A465 at Pontrilas) in the Dore valley, leading to the single line section through the Malvern tunnel controlled by its signal box. As a scenic-break, I could have used an interesting three-arched brick road overbridge that does exist (only spotted it after I'd done the 3D drawings) - that may be one too many road overbridges as it would be too tempting to put a bus upon it!:

DymentedD3.jpg.e29c3a06e38dea1ec7d7e02bc8952ef2.jpg

 

This is a close-up of Pontrilas station. It is very bare as it's missing the goods shed. The red area is that intended to be allocated for housing - though the prototype shows it to be fairly sparse:

DymentedD4.jpg.fd06bdd654d7524df6d0ad15f6aca004.jpg

 

Here's another view of Pontrilas shewing the signal box unusually located above a road under-tunnel and the 'tin shed' loco shed beyond. The red area on the right-hand side is the location of the wood chemical works:

DymentedD5.jpg.6b88f4af488ec82f36b007e4d7473836.jpg

 

This is the Ledbury viaduct corner section. I'm quite happy regarding the proportions in terms of height and dimensions of the arches. It's only 1/3rd of the prototypical length. Behind is a 'Rule 1' steel viaduct taking the Gloucester branch over the River Leadon, whereas the prototype branch swings the opposite way out of Ledbury station to then follow the river on a parallel path:

DymentedD6.jpg.9550ba7cd71fef192b2b57749ac7a5d6.jpg

 

Here's a shot of Ledbury station taking in the signal box (the proportions are not quite there and I haven't put in the stairs), with the goods shed behind and the tunnel entrance beyond:DymentedD7.jpg.51321fda86e213a1b80566a436ee3726.jpg

 

Here's Ledbury station. I am very pleased with it (ignore the colours - it's what I have available) as it looks the same to that of a B/W photo taken from a similar view-point:

DymentedD8.jpg.3c2703c04175ecc6145fd2107239804e.jpg

 

Lastly, another view of 'Dymented' looking towards Pontrilas with the main-line passing at the higher level. It's a little bare as it's missing its goods shed and perhaps a little industrial area. There is scope for fattening as this is my 'Rule 1' area and I widened the board from its original 600mm width to 900mm. A few small buildings wouldn't go amiss - but not too many either! The road-overbridge scenic-break separating 'Dymented' from Pontrilas is in the background:

DymentedD9.jpg.9b37c0f80f7b636dc695dcd40f7a8522.jpg

 

That's the flavour of it.

 

Any comments or helpful criticisms are welcome.

 

Cheers,

 

Philip

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by Philou
eat and ate doh! Additional tidying up.
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Wow, that must be almost as much fun as building a real layout - and no planning permission required from the authorities!!

 

I'm trying to envisage the sector plate.  Normally there's only one track on the swinging bit, feeding a number of radiating lines, like a half roundhouse, but there isn't room for that on your peninsula if you want 4m storage roads.  Are you thinking lots of roads on the plate itself?

 

Cheers, Chris

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@Chimer Thanks for the kind words and to Harlequin for his 'Craftsmanship/Clever'. Indeed the plan is to have two tracks leading in from the Malvern Hills (one towards Pontrilas and the other towards Ledbury) and then a spread of 16 tracks on the sector plate. I should really have included the SCARM plan from which I created the 3D plan - I couldn't find it when I was writing the post above! I suppose the the word 'sector plate' is a mis-nomer.

 

Was it fun? After the third try which failed - it was becoming a bit of a slog, but I did start to find lots of short cuts and starting to think 'why can't I do this, this way?'. The buildings were a challenge as I need to get them right and having no plans at all, it was down to brick-counting and guesswork - but the flavour is there. Unfortunately, the edition of SketchUp that I have doesn't allow me to work off 2D plans (having created the buildings in 3D, I don't think I can get them back as simple 2D line drawings - now THAT would be useful!).

 

I am pleased I did the plan in 3D as you can have a good look around and zoom in and out. You can even take a walk along the track bed at a 23mm height (my scale eye height). At least the levels and gradients worked out - that was the object of the exercise.

 

Here's another shot of Pontrilas station (on a sunny day) - it's the one I want to model as I find the water-tank adjoining the station building intriguing. The photo may have been very early 1900s as there is another similar photo showing ladies in Edwardian dress (so before WWI) but the water tower was gone and the station building extended. The model isn't right as the proportions are not quite there and the W/T has two stories below:

DymentedD10A.jpg.46eccf37d72bb277281ab1d6ab9ffa6d.jpg

 

Also for the sake of clarity, I have found the SCARM plan from which I was working. Ignore the yellow rectangle as such as it is intended to show the location of the sector plate. I need to rework the trackage on it as it should of course splay on approach to the tunnel mouths. I haven't yet worked out how to pivot items from a set point in SCARM though I can in SketchUp:

Dymented05.jpg.a93bdba4b7b861caada260fe0ba09389.jpg

 

Cheers,

 

Philip

 

 

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For those who make like to know more about the packages I used, SCARM was very useful as it will give spot heights along any gradient and will give the slope whilst raising/lowering a section of track. Very useful where translating into 3D. SCARM will provide a 3D view too, but it's not as refined as a true 3D package. What was found to be slightly annoying is that it will not accept pointwork on a gradient - even a modest one - whereas in real life, it exists. I don't know about Anyrail, as I have never used it. YMMV.

 

SCARM, as Anyrail, does have a freebie starter pack but is limited in scope.

 

Insofar as SketchUp is concerned, it is free for non-professional use (you do have to register), but is limited of course and is possibly nowhere as sophisticated as 3D Max or Blender. I found it was enough for my needs and you can go down to 1/100 of a mm - if you really, really want to! The annoyance I had was the decimal separator is a comma rather than a full-stop. How many times did I get that wrong!?

 

Cheers,

 

Philip

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28 minutes ago, Philou said:

The annoyance I had was the decimal separator is a comma rather than a full-stop. 

 

Philip,

 

I think you can change that in settings/preferences - though I use SketchUp 2016, as that was the last version before they started messing with it too much & moving it online, so maybe you can't in newer versions (although if a comma is used as the decimal separator, what do you use to separate two dimensions, ie the x & y dims when drawing a square?).

 

 

EDIT - It seems that what is used as the decimal separator is set via the keyboard settings. See this thread on the SketchUp forum.

Edited by jrb
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I have to admit I couldn't see how the sector plate could be done, and set out to prove it couldn't.  I was wrong .....

 

2129402220_Philougif.gif.f09285de6226490d472483c62a6a1077.gif

 

2" separation between tracks, 1 degree difference in end angles, with the exit tracks at 89 and 91 degrees.  I used XTrackCads clever "cornu" joins for the S-curves at the end of each track.  Pivot point at x = 0", y = 24".

 

Don't know if this will be any use to you, but it was fun to work out how to do it (I really must get a life for after Covid).

 

Cheers, Chris

Edited by Chimer
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@Chimer Yay! Thanks for that - I hadn't looked at it in detail at all - just thought it could be done (optimist me). All that I would change in your diagram for my use is to ease the reverse curves a tad and it should be good to go. I'll need to change the two incoming tracks too, but no issue as their spacings are not set in stone and there is plenty of room.

 

@jrb Thanks for the link - I had a quick look but seemingly it may do a global change and not just for SketchUp use. Nonethless, if I do use "." just once too often, then I'll keep your advice in mind.

 

Cheers,

 

Philip

Edited by Philou
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Having given some thought to the practicalities of aligning real tracks as opposed to pictures on a screen, I think starting with one track down the centre line, even if it doesn't align with either of the exit tracks, would make life easier than trying to do the beautifully symmetrical arrangement I drew above ........ I also reckon I would use the shortest length of set-track at the end of each storage road, making absolutely sure each one is at right-angles to the edge of the plate, the one degree separation being less important.

 

Have to say I'm not entirely convinced this will be any easier than a traverser, which could equally use wheels rather than drawer slides.  But whatever you do, I'm looking forward to watching you do it!  Cash in those brownie points and set to ......

 

Cheers, Chris

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@Chimer I have given this a bit of thought - I should be able, tomorrow or Friday, to do a full scale mock-up with a piece of string and pencil, a big sheet of blank paper and a measuring tape. I can mark out the 4m radius on the sheet of paper - we have some paper table-cloth which would be ideal and then take it from there. I know already the height of the sector to be drawn (45.25mm as a check) and I know that your 1° increment equates to a 70mm spacing on the circle edge. Getting the tangents spot on will be the tricky bit as I haven't a straight edge nor any PSE/batten that measures 4m.

 

I agree that having a nice straight alignment set dead-centre would be good but I prefer to keep my two tracks leading back to the Malvern tunnel for the time being as it avoids a reverse loop juicer.

 

If it works out, I can keep it as a template for the real thing. I'll let you know how I get on.

 

Cheers,

 

Philip

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Philip,

 

If you go down the XTrackCad route that Chris used above, you can do all the hard work on the computer and simply print out the result at 1:1 scale. No need for tricky measurements and the track can all be spot on by sticking the printouts down on your baseboard and laying the track on top. It can even help you get the baseboard cuts right, especially the curved ones.

 

That's the approach I take with my layout - and the only tricky thing is to make sure the printout sheets are all laid square and true. XTrackCad provides registration marks and rulers on the printouts to help with that - just add some care and patience!

 

Yours,  Mike.

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I'm not suggesting that you don't keep the two entry tracks.  I just think putting one storage track on the centreline will make the setting out easier.  I'll mod my picture to show what I mean Thursday morning.

 

Cheers, Chris

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@KingEdwardII Hello there, I did try XTrackCad a couple of times, but I just couldn't get on with it - it wasn't intuitive and at the time I found the tutorials less than useful. HOWEVER, having now used SketchUp and finding the use of short-cut keys (rather than wholly mouse controls), perhaps now is the time to have another go. For that matter, I ought to revisit Templot too!

 

Cheers,

 

Philip

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As promised - I've used pink to show where I think I'd use set-track pieces ....

 

335882171_Philougif.gif.85b7cbdc322bd6e900715b7eccb2c48e.gif

 

When it came to it, I'd swing the plate and set each quarter straight in line with the straight stub track on the centreline.

 

Cheers, Chris

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22 hours ago, Chimer said:

I used XTrackCads clever "cornu" joins for the S-curves at the end of each track. 

 

I must confess I can't see the purpose of the S-curves.  Smooth curves joining the parallel section to the tangents at the end of the sector plate would surely give better running and be easier to lay.

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2 hours ago, Flying Pig said:

 

I must confess I can't see the purpose of the S-curves.  Smooth curves joining the parallel section to the tangents at the end of the sector plate would surely give better running and be easier to lay.

 

I challenge anyone to draw it that way for 16 13' roads.  That was my original line of thought, but I soon began to doubt that it was possible.  So I started out trying to prove it couldn't be done, but discovered that with S-curves it can.  Over to you ....

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It's ages since I used XTrackCad, but can't you lay a curve between two intersecting tangents?  If so, I'd lay the parallel roads and the end pieces as intersecting straights and work from there, starting from the centre.  As you move towards the outside of the sector plate the angle increases so the start of the curve will need to move to the left to maintain minimum radius and that should also ensure that you don't go below minimum spacing.

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23 minutes ago, Chimer said:

I challenge anyone to draw it that way for 16 13' roads

Challenge accepted

Layout your full size plan on the baseboard

With a nail at the rotation pivot point X 

Tie a loop in a string place the loop over the nail & tie a pencil at the radius  X-c

Draw the arc from c to g

Mark your exits on the arc c-g

Draw a straight line c to X ( a chalk line would work)

Draw a straight line from a to f these lines will cross at b

when laying track follow the centre line from c to e then a gentle curve to d & follow the centre line to a

Repeat for the other tracks

 

The drawing is a little rough but i hope it gives the general idea

I have only did the top few lines & they are the black overlay

 

247757327_sectorplate.png.fb9e7d3a74f94fdc130dac761f7ea960.png

 

John

 

 

 

 

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Having been proved wrong, I had to investigate further ..... starting the curve 8' along the track, the curve required for the outside track (16" off the centreline, turning 8 degrees) is roughly 3' long at 8' radius.  For the track 4" off the centreline, the radius (over the same length) is 90' !  XTrackCad can't solve the problem for the track 2" off the CL, turning 1 degree, but having forced a solution, the radius looks to be around 170'.

 

Fascinating - as I said earlier, I should get a life ....

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Hi chums,

 

Independently of what happened since I signed off last night, I used @Chimer's findings as my starter for ten this afternoon. I didn't do full scale-on-paper as it's been raining heavily and guaranteed if I had laid any paper on the floor, the cats would have wanted to leave their marks on the plan too.

 

I used the sector plate in SketchUp directly from the plan shown above and I came to very similar conclusion to that of @John ksabove. As the sector plate was only drawn at a width of 1m, the trackage was limited to 14 roads and not 16 - the final layout will require the plate to be 1200mm wide to allow the 16 tracks to fan out correctly.

 

On the .jpgs below, the trackage has been set out at 60mm centres (to allow for phat phinger syndrome) splaying to 70mm centres at right-angles to the arc of the sector. All reverse curves have been eliminated even the two leading back to Ledbury tunnel. I did allow 50mm straight sections both sides of the sector.

 

All-in-all a good conclusion and thanks for all the input. Here are the pictures:

 

1. Sector plate at 'neutral' - two tracks could be in use if required:

SectorPlate01.jpg.aae6e16e34bd327157fba1d652cec776.jpg

 

2. Sector plate moves to the left - again two tracks could be used together:

SectorPlate02.jpg.4e54900041a20d9400eb4f64dc8e1543.jpg

 

3. Sector plate moves to extreme right, showing that all tracks can be accessed:

SectorPlate03.jpg.766f744a651ef8eb6921dbb00ef80c81.jpg

 

The sharpest curves are those on the edges and are a smidge over 9m radius.

 

Cheers,

 

Philip

 

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