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ianly

Help with new layout design

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First post and first attempt at a layout in 30 plus years. So, looking for any help I can get.

 

My plan is to construct a modern image 00 gauge layout. The layout will be located in the roof-space above my garage. The room already exists and has dimensions 3.65m long by 3m wide (in old money 12ft by 9ft 10in). It is fully insulated, connected to house central heating and well lit. Access from the garage below is via concertina steps, which don’t project into the room itself. I’ve attached a draft (very) plan that shows the room and position of the floor hatch. The baseboard will be around the room. The layout will be DCC, and I hope to motorise all points/crossovers.

 

I’m looking to model an imaginary location on the GWR mainline from Reading westwards. As such, I’ve shown four tracks and station platforms. I expect to run a mix of passenger (inc. 2+4 HST and DMUs) and freight. I also hope to occasionally run a couple of heritage steamers, although unclear as to the best location for storage sheds and/or a small country type station.

 

My preference is to keep the layout as simple but visually interesting as possible, thus allowing me to just watch the trains go by. I’m not overly interested in a fiddle yard with acres of track with complex point arrangements, shunting, etc. Ideally, loco and rolling stock not in use will be stored off scene. The plan shows a single way in/out of a four-lane storage area but I’m open to the idea of more storage lanes and one or both outer fast lines going through this area, albeit behind a scenic break. Unfortunately, my skills with the software RailModeller Pro) used to draw the plan are somewhat limited which means I’ve not found a way to fit a through-line storage area into the available space. May be the space I have simply won’t allow this. I've not shown points/crossovers as I’m also unclear where best to put same on order that trains can from the outer loop to the inner loop and vice versa. This aspect in particular is the one that I need the most help with.

 

As drawn, the plan shows Peco Code 100 Setrack Curves (r2, 3 and 4) and Code 100 Streamline Flextrack. The setract curves were used as it made it easier for me to draw than indicate same as a preference.

 

Any comments/help that can be passed my way would be much appreciated.

 

Ian

 

 

IanL_Ver_2a.png

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Hi Ian 

 

Welcome to RMWeb . A few thoughts on your proposed layout.

 

As a keep it simple and watching  the trains go by no problem with the design if that is what you want to do. As you note, at present you can only change trains on the outer loop, so a crossover (on the left hand end would allow trains to reach the next track. 

 

There are many layouts around where there are no points in the storage area, and trains and just stacked up one behind the other. There are options for some sort of automatic control which would send a train out into the "viewing area" and then move the trains behind up a little and then dispatch the next train after a suitable delay once the first train has returned. This is not something I have done, but there are others on RMweb who can help. 

 

Hope this helps

 

Nick

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4 continuous loops with the emphasis on train watching, and a minimum of shunting operation.  The idea is to watch the trains passing through the countryside or whatever environment the scenery represents.  The problem with it as you've drawn it out is that only the outer loop can have trains changed on it from the hidden sidings/fiddle yard area.  You want to keep points to a minimum, but as it stands you can only have a maximum of 7 different trains, 3 permanently running around the 3 inner circuits and another 4 stored on the hidden sidings with one running around the outer circuit.  Assuming you are modelling UK modern practice, in general the 4 tracks would be either an up and down main with an up and down relief alongside, or the two centre track would be the up and down main with an up slow alongside the up main and a down slow alongside, well, you get the idea,

 

So, firstly, how do you get a train back into the hidden sidings without running in the wrong direction, and secondly, how do you change trains on the 3 inner circuits?

 

As Nick has suggested, a facing crossover will allow trains to access the second inner circuit from the hidden sidings, and further crossovers will allow them to access the other circuits.  But only in one direction.  I would respectfully suggest that access to the hidden sidings needs to be from both ends, but getting a train from the inner circuit to the hidden sidings will be onerous and disrupt traffic on all the other circuits.  Also, the length of trains you are able to store in the hidden sidings will be considerably shortened so as to accommodate them clear of the pointwork which will now be at both ends of the hidden sidings.  Nick's suggested 'stacking' storage will not be much help in fiddle yard roads as short as this to be honest.

 

My instinct would be to reduce the layout to two circuits,, up and down (UK practice is for left hand running) perhaps with loops so that trains can pass each other, and have access from both ends of the hidden sidings.  Some space can be saved using curved points, and the layout will be much easier to operate in this configuration.  This retains simplicity, in fact it will be much easier to operate, and still give plenty of action in terms of trains to watch.  Moreover, your hidden storage can be extended to store perhaps twice as many trains so that you can ring the changes.  With loops, the appearance of 4 running lines can be preserved for most of the layout, though you won't be able to have more than 2 trains running at the same time.

 

Which probably isn't what you wanted to hear.

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Hi Ian,

 

Good advice from @The Johnster which would simplify and streamline the design!

 

It's usually a bad idea to hide your storage yard behind a scenic break because you will need access to change locos, make up train formations, etc. It makes sense to have the storage loops in the open for around 1/3rd of the plan with the other 2/3rds being scenic. (Storage loops rather than sidings make train movements in and out of storage much more straightforward and eliminate a nasty junction.) There should be enough interest in the 2/3rd scenic to retain your focus without the need for a 360dgree turn on a swivel chair.

 

Your platform arrangements are a bit odd. It might be better to have four closely spaced tracks (51mm is normal for Peco Streamline trackwork but that can be varied) and platforms on the two outside lines: Platform, Slow, Fast, Fast, Slow, Platform, as The Johnster said. The two slow tracks being loops off the main double track circuit rather than whole circuits. That makes better use of the space and although you can't then have 4 trains running simultaneously, you can still have 4 on scene: two running past two stopped, which would still be visually interesting.

 

With a basically double track circuit and two platform loops then the crossovers needed become much simpler. In fact depending on the operations you want to perform you might not need any in the scenic area.

 

For visual interest: Don't pack the scenic area with trackwork - leave space for non-railway scenery and think about places where the landscape level might drop below track level before you build the baseboards. Also try to break the alignment of the tracks with the layout boundaries and maybe have some gentle curves if possible.

 

All the best,

Edited by Harlequin
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Totally agree with above. I’m certain you will soon get board of just trains running round loops.

 

ive a similar size space. I opted for three connected loops. But spurred off the two main lines to a branch line and inclined it up and over  the curves ( meaniing there was far more space and no tight curves)on what would be the left hand side of your layout.

 

The branch terminus would be where you have the storage area planned now.this means I can run trains around the loops and do more movement in in the branch station and yard.

 

the. Inner of my three loops is a storage yard modelled as part of the layout.

this is Conectted to all three loops.

 

im certainly no expert and it’s not perfect as I should have added passing loops on the main line too

 

Hope that helps Dan

 

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Can I offer two pieces of advice?

 

Firstly, get hold of a Working Time Table (WTT) for the line and see what trains actually ran.

You will need to decide what your definition of "Modern"  is! Do you mean 1977, when HSTs came to the area, or 1986-92 when all the passenger trains except the long distance expresses were in the colourful Network Southeast livery, or sometime post Privatisation?

The most recent that it is sensible to go foe is 2016 as more recently the catenary masts etc. have appeared!

You can get WTTS quite cheaply on Ebay and one of a year around your chosen year will generally give you an idea of both passenger and goods traffic, although for earlier times you may need three volumes:-  Passenger (Mandatary),  Goods (Mandatory),  and Conditional. Then you can decide what trains you want to run and that will help you finalise your track plan. But be warned, mainlines are difficult because of the number of trains they need for accurate portrayal although as the years have gone by trains have become more standardised so you can get away with one set of stock running through several times representing different trains!

 

Secondly, Look at a section of RM Web Forum called Skills and Knowledge Centre, particularly the subsection called Layout and Track Design. I have a thread on this that you might find useful . It is called Design Ideas Welcome. It shows the Design process for my 12ft x 8ft railway room. It is based on the slow(called relief by GWR and WR)  lines and the start of the High Wycombe Branch at Maidenhead, so is East of Reading. I also like watching the trains run by, but will sometimes do it while shunting the yard. Much of the design work has been done by Phil (known as Harlequin) who has already answered your thread above. My layout has no station because I want to run c1962 steam transition plus more up to date eras with HSTs etc., and station detail changed over the years!   

 

What  Harlequin's and all the other replies advise you is good sense, so best of luck with your plans!

 

Cheers

Paul

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Thank you all for your excellent feedback. I think I have a fair bit of reading to do.

 

 

 

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Paul,

 

I came across the thread you mention a week or so back. Unfortunately, having found it and read through from beginning to end i forgot to bookmark the page link. Having just looked at it again, I see there is info and sketches that I don't recall seeing before. More reading.

 

I found Phil's designs to be very informative, especially the way in which he used the incline. The absence of a station did confuse me somewhat, but your explanation above helps me better understand why.

 

Thanks again,

 

Ian

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The days of the local station with a goods yard & engine shed were killed off by Marples, so a goods yard or loco depot in the 70s or later would look a little contrived next to a station.

 

When planning, consider what you want from it.

Is your priority to capture the feel of the GW main line or run trains on a layout which has some GW features? If the latter, what features in particular would you want?

Neither are right or wrong in general, but a matter of personal preference.

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A reduction to two running lines moves it from the Reading-Didcot section to Reading-Newbury, the West of England main line, which can run much the same sort of stock and gives you the possibility of 59s on stone trains.

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As a kid I spent ages watching a train fo around and around. And now I find it reflective and relaxing,kind of takes me back :) this is why i jumped at dcc control as allows them to run around as they wish but also stop at the platforms randomly. But I have also built a yard that I control manually to shut whilst the Express thunders past. So I would put slips and turnouts on entrance and exit of platform and a bay or two to allow trains to switch destination and or direction if wanted. But do what you want as it's all about enjoying trains :) but do spend a few evenings running trains before starting scenery so changes and adaptations are easier:)

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I'm the sort of person that would never be content with watching trains going round and round, so am of the opinion that anybody else would find that boring after a while, but my opinion is only guaranteed to work on me, and I accept that others may have a completely different view on the matter.  Much as enjoy train watching, and find that exhibition layouts such as Bath Green Park or Horfield are a very pleasant way of passing the time, I would never have such a layout myself.  

 

And the success of those layouts and similar ones depends to my mind on having a very large fiddle yard that can supply a variety of trains for a period of an hour or more without repeating itself.  The fiddle yard here is far too limited for this sort of thing, so some operation as opposed to train watching is highly recommended.  Goods or platform loops where trains can be held while faster traffic passes them would suit both the location and period and the need to mix things up a bit, while still keeping everything simple in general.   

 

If 4 continuous roads are to be an essential component, as they will be if the Reading-Didcot section is to be the prototype or prototype inspiration, then it is my view that each of the 4 running roads needs as many fiddle yard feeder loops as can be squeezed in.  

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i agree about fiddle yard to aid variaty etc. i didnt have space so using dcc managed to get variity by adding stops and cross overs etc..  see video timelapse this is all random and not in my control. :)

 

but i did see a layout where fiddle yard was on a lower section under the layout (that was feed via a spiral drop, but could be achived with inclines 

 

 

 

i do hope we are helpig :) 

 

On 29/05/2019 at 21:01, ianly said:

first attempt at a layout in 30 plus years.

 

I was same and found a lot had changed so decided that i would google each stage and see whats new etc..  :) with the internet we have 20+ years of back log and it allows ideas technichs to travel and improve quicker.. and its good for getting ideas :) 

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So here are my thoughts on the various responses to this thread, illustrated by my own model progress!

 

Unfortunately, in my opinion anyone wishing to operate a model of a 4 track mainline in less than say 30ft x 10ft is bound to have to make a lot of compromises.

 

Which compromises any individual can live with, I suggest, are up to that individual, but need to be highlighted, in case they have not realised their existence!

 

The compromise none can escape is the need to shorten train lengths in less than the above space.

 

However, the compromises may differ according to the era  chosen to model. Those choosing to model more than one era will have more compromises than the single era modeller.

Further , those choosing to base their model on a real location will have more compromises to deal with.

 

That is why I suggested in my post above that, in wanting to make a model based on a real location, in 12ftx9ft, before choosing an era and a location, the modeller look at the relevant WTTs. These will indicate where interesting operation might be found.

 

I didn't get it right first time, I started off planning round Slough in my 12ftx8ft, because I liked the idea of modelling all the loco turns from a small shed. This would have had to be removable for modern eras.

I roughed out several versions, but concluded even with the 4 tracks only through the station scenic area and the actual loco shed off scene, I could not make it work. This was mainly through lack of fiddle yard space!

So I moved up to Maidenhead.

 

I had decided when looking at Slough, that while I liked expresses roaring through my scene, I could only take so much, and I would not have sufficient fiddle yard space to house for instance, all the named expresses. So in moving to Maidenhead, I decided to modeling the relief(slow) lines rather than the fast lines as the mix of trains was greater, even in the more modern eras that I wanted to dabble in as well as my main target of 1960-2.

So I went for the slow lines, at a junction that still exists and was only ever with the slow lines.  I am able to timetable some expresses on the basis of problems with the fast lines!

 

The goods yard was never extensive, but one siding was in use into the mid 1970s as an offload point for vehicles for the Ford Motor Co. The goods shed will be removable and the sidings in modern eras covered by removable hardstanding.

I have reduced the number of through freights by using the timing of one freight for a train to arrive in the yard, and the timing of a later freight for the train to continue. I have to be careful that a train arriving as a class 4, does not leave in the timing of a class 9, as the consists would be entirely different!

 

The above suits me, but is an individual take.

I think we need individual takes on models otherwise we end up with 100s of samey-samey layouts and nothing to be critical of or improve on!

 

In a further post I will put forward my thoughts on automation, which can be a way to run high density of trains, but has many traps and compromises of its own!

 

Best regards

Happy modelling

Paul

 

 

 

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On ‎29‎/‎05‎/‎2019 at 21:01, ianly said:

First post and first attempt at a layout in 30 plus years. So, looking for any help I can get.

 

My plan is to construct a modern image 00 gauge layout. The layout will be located in the roof-space above my garage. The room already exists and has dimensions 3.65m long by 3m wide (in old money 12ft by 9ft 10in). It is fully insulated, connected to house central heating and well lit. Access from the garage below is via concertina steps, which don’t project into the room itself. I’ve attached a draft (very) plan that shows the room and position of the floor hatch. The baseboard will be around the room. The layout will be DCC, and I hope to motorise all points/crossovers.

 

I’m looking to model an imaginary location on the GWR mainline from Reading westwards. As such, I’ve shown four tracks and station platforms. I expect to run a mix of passenger (inc. 2+4 HST and DMUs) and freight. I also hope to occasionally run a couple of heritage steamers, although unclear as to the best location for storage sheds and/or a small country type station.

 

My preference is to keep the layout as simple but visually interesting as possible, thus allowing me to just watch the trains go by. I’m not overly interested in a fiddle yard with acres of track with complex point arrangements, shunting, etc. Ideally, loco and rolling stock not in use will be stored off scene. The plan shows a single way in/out of a four-lane storage area but I’m open to the idea of more storage lanes and one or both outer fast lines going through this area, albeit behind a scenic break. Unfortunately, my skills with the software RailModeller Pro) used to draw the plan are somewhat limited which means I’ve not found a way to fit a through-line storage area into the available space. May be the space I have simply won’t allow this. I've not shown points/crossovers as I’m also unclear where best to put same on order that trains can from the outer loop to the inner loop and vice versa. This aspect in particular is the one that I need the most help with.

 

As drawn, the plan shows Peco Code 100 Setrack Curves (r2, 3 and 4) and Code 100 Streamline Flextrack. The setract curves were used as it made it easier for me to draw than indicate same as a preference.

 

Any comments/help that can be passed my way would be much appreciated.

 

Ian

 

 

IanL_Ver_2a.png

Looks very interesting design,and welcome to Rmweb..

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Again, thanks for all the feedback and suggestions, it’s much appreciated.

 

I think below plan, which I acknowledge still requires a good deal more work, addresses the main issue identified with my first plan. I've reduced to two lines rather than the original four, although the station will expand to four. I'll probably place the station/platforms closer to the bottom right corner than currently shown. My longest train is likely to be in the order of 1.7m, although the fiddle yard with 6 lanes (2 through) is drawn at 1.8m in length. I don't expect that all of the lanes need to be 1.8m long, but as others have mentioned, more trains allows for greater variety in running sessions. A couple more lanes in each direction would be useful, but they’d need to be shorter than those already included.

 

I had mentioned modern image in my first post, but probably should have been more specific. As such, I expect to be modelling 2015-16 although some steamers/ old DMUs will make an occasional appearance.

 

As mentioned above, the plan is far from complete. For example, I still need to position a small heritage station, and probably some sidings, head shunt at the main station area. I also need to include a crossover between the two main lines, although I haven’t decided where yet.

 

 

IanL_Ver_3.png

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On 31/05/2019 at 20:40, calvin Streeting said:

i agree about fiddle yard to aid variaty etc. i didnt have space so using dcc managed to get variity by adding stops and cross overs etc..  see video timelapse this is all random and not in my control. :)

 

but i did see a layout where fiddle yard was on a lower section under the layout (that was feed via a spiral drop, but could be achived with inclines 

 

 

 

I'm keen to automate where it adds interest. As such, the layout wiring will facilitate block detection, etc from from the outset.

 

While I have the space/height to place the fiddle yard at a lower level I would prefer to avoid the issues that it introduces. That being said, the ability to increase the track length through a looped 8 is something I would consider if space allowed. Actually, I had looked at one of CJ Freezers garden shed plans that did just that, but felt that while conceptually interesting, the space he indicated as being required didn't appear realistic (i.e. artists licence).

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Hi Ian,

 

You need offscene crossovers at either end of the FY loops. Here's why: If you send a train Up to Paddington (say) and park it one of the FY loops then later have it leave Paddington then it must head westwards on the down line. So there must be a way to crossover from the up storage loops to the down line before the train appears in the scenic area.

 

The tight curves you've currently got in the scenic area would look unrealistic. IMHO. If you set the station on a diagonal (slightly) then it would give you a bit more length and ease one of the curves, hopefully enough that you could run the platforms round the curve. You could even curve the entire station, and that's probably the best way to get length and get rid of the tight curves at the same time. Peco curved points are helpful in doing this.

 

Edit: Another tip: If you put the station in the middle of the scenic area you get two small scenic runs either side of it but if you offset it to one side or the other you get one longer scenic run beyond it.

Edited by Harlequin
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38 minutes ago, Harlequin said:

Hi Ian,

You need offscene crossovers at either end of the FY loops.

 

 

Thanks for your thoughts, Phil.

 

I've already factored above in, although not shown in above plan as I'm not sure on best location. Identifying where track will go on and off scene is exercising me a bit at present. In my original plan I showed the entire storage area off-scene, but feedback indicated that wasn't ideal. It may be I'm confusing FY and storage.

 

BTW, the way I've drawn access/egress from the fiddle yard in Railmodeller Pro is very crude and needs a good deal of tidying work. 

 

 

Quote

The tight curves you've currently got in the scenic area would look unrealistic. 

 

Agreed. At present, and to keep things simple, they're drawn using 2nd and 3rd radius Setrack. However, they'll will eventually be Flexitrack with much gentler curves.

 

Quote

If you set the station on a diagonal (slightly) then it would give you a bit more length and ease one of the curves, hopefully enough that you could run the platforms round the curve. You could even curve the entire station, and that's probably the best way to get length and get rid of the tight curves at the same time. Peco curved points are helpful in doing this.

 

Putting the station much closer to the right hand corner and on a diagonal/curve is something I've sketched on paper, but not found easy to draw in the software I'm using :blush:

 

Ian

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Maybe you can get some better software because it's difficult to comment sensibly on details we can't see.

 

Lots of people use AnyRail but that has limitations as well.

 

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As suggested, I've smoothed out the curves and even managed to put the main station on a diagonal. The fiddle yard is largely based on the plans Phil did for Paul. The crossovers between the two main lines at each end of the fiddle yard are now included, but may well not be in best location. I still need to position a small heritage station somewhere, and probably some sidings, head shunt at the main station area. The track spacing is still a bit wide in places, but hopefully this can be fine-tuned later. 

 

 

 

2 Loops with 6 Lane Fiddle Yard - Version 5a.png

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I've updated the layout plan a bit since my last post. The lanes in fiddle yard are slightly longer and located behind a removable scenic break. This allowed me to slot in the heritage station I mentioned previously. My idea here is to allow a steamer to circulate part of the inner loop of the main track rather than having run through the fiddle yard or reverse back into the heritage station. Please, feel free to say if what I've shown can be improved upon

 

 

BTW, please say if I've posted to the wrong forum

Heritage Station.png

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‘Tis not I what am the arbiter of such matters, Ian, but this topic might be more at home In Skills and Knowledge/Layout and Track Design. 

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I think you're right, but short of a moderator moving this thread or me starting a new new one on the sub forum you mention I'm stuck here. I'm a moderator on a couple of large forums and can easily move threads. Unfortunately, I can't even see where to ask a moderator for assistance on these forums.

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Click one of the “Report Post” links and ask for the thread to be moved.

 

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