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Track Plans for North American Layouts


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40 minutes ago, Dr Gerbil-Fritters said:

 

Another thumbs up from me.  I watched his livestream the other day, it was very enjoyable.  I would still point out though that the GNE may not occupy the size of the Principality Stadium, it still occupies 10'6" × 9'2" and the staging is outside that footprint. Square spaces are definitely an advantage.

 

I couldn't fit it into my shed - too narrow and nowhere for the staging - at which point I finally abandoned modelling US outline.

 

Its an interesting layout, isn’t it? Americans don’t seem concerned with undisguised continuous runs, do they? 

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1 hour ago, rockershovel said:

 

Its an interesting layout, isn’t it? Americans don’t seem concerned with undisguised continuous runs, do they? 

 

Although looking closely at the track plan, it seems to be a G shape layout and the continuous run connection is disguised somewhat.  It's an efficient use of the space and were I to start again I would probably aim for 2 14x7 sheds side by side :D

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8 hours ago, Dr Gerbil-Fritters said:

 

That sounds like the early runs of The Super C, the Santa Fes first go at dedicated intermodal service.  The loadings were very slim in the few years it ran and intermodal faded away until the big revival under Rob Krebs in the 90s, so not at all a generic pike sized freight I'm sad to say.


Fair point - for my “about 1970” period it was the idea of a genuine one car freight train that appealed - I’d not really ‘processed’ the length of that car!

 

8 hours ago, Dr Gerbil-Fritters said:

I realised i have the book... as I thought, its train 100 the Eastbound Super C at Winslow. So its on the main transcon.  Tofc and curves don't mix at all well.  50' boxcars are the way forward... if you can bear to, check my thread The Eagle Has Landed which starts out with my attempts to shoe horn a US pike into a 14 x 7 shed.


There’s a picture on page 68 of the same book of an intermodal going round the Tehachapi loop which appears to show trailers on shorter flat cars - the rear wheels of the trailers are on one car, the front support wheels on the car in front.  I can’t tell if the flat cars are articulated, but I presume they might be?  
 

Interestingly, there’s a starter layout plan based on more modern intermodal operations in Kalmbach’s “Basic Model Railroad Track Plans” (2002) for a 12’ x 10’ space that can accommodate two 12’ trains.  Unfortunately, I think 12’ is just about 10 long freight cars (or two 5-car articulated sets) behind twin power units - as you say, 50’ boxcars are the way for me to go.

Edited by Keith Addenbrooke
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  • 3 months later...

I'm working on a 9x9 table with a 3x2 extension on the top right side. It's on two levels 0 and 3.5 inches with continuous runs on each, a hidden return loop on the base and a reversing section on the top.

There are 4 hidden staging tracks (1 top, 3 base) each around 90 inches. In order to have 28 and 24 scenic curves I need 18 inch curves in the small hidden corners and on the base level hidden loop. 

 

Will Amtrack 85' cars negotiate the 18" curves so I can run a passenger train now and then? Full length French carriages manage 18" but are the US ones more prone to locking?

 

Ill try and draw a sketch plan later. 

Here's a very rough sketch. The station is served by a team track and is more compact and forward than shown. There are two industries on the upper level. A passing loop acts as hidden storage on the upper and there is a stage track below. Two trains can run on the lower level to give the grandchildren a thrill. The plan looks busy but in fact there is quite a bit of space. 5 trains can be staged if needed. But the staging is mainly for the Amtrack to hide away etc. 

 

Any suggestions welcome

 

 

IMG_0182.JPG

Edited by Railpassion
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On 15/03/2021 at 07:35, Railpassion said:

Will Amtrack 85' cars negotiate the 18" curves so I can run a passenger train now and then? Full length French carriages manage 18" but are the US ones more prone to locking?

 

It appears there may not be anyone modelling US passenger stuff on here, so...

 

I don't have access currently to any of my model train stuff to try and test, but I note that Bachmann calls for 22" minimum radius for their Amtrak stuff. 

 

That said, Walthers claims that their Mainline passenger cars will work on 18" radius - https://www.walthers.com/products/passenger-car-sale-mainline

 

Rapido sort of fudges and says "with modifications" without saying what for their 8600 coaches - https://rapidotrains.com/products/ho-scale/passenger-cars/ho-scale-8600-coach

 

If you don't currently have any passenger stuff, and aren't looking for accuracy, then you can try looking for the older Athearn Blue Box passenger cars (long out of production) - most of the Budd stainless steel cars Athearn made in that era weren't accurate and had been shortened to 72' making them more suitable for sharper curves - though depending on where you are availability on ebay or at shows might be problematic.

 

And while not prototypical in any way, and also currently out of production (and likely never lettered for Amtrak), there is the classic "Oscar" and "Piker" from Walthers that might be a bit of fun at the right price if they can be found.

https://www.walthers.com/21-heavyweight-quot-oscar-quot-quot-piker-quot-set-ready-to-run-pullman

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I have some old 85' cars that need at least 22" (ideally 24") or the trucks catch on the central spine of the underbody.  You'd also need to consider the couplers - whether truck mounted or body mounted they'll need to be able to reach.

I've been given a mix of full length and 'shortie'passenger cars: the problem with the shortie is that freight cars have got longer since it was made, so it looks even less realistic now.  I always find

@mdvle's knowledge of products and advice to be very helpful - if you don't have anything specific in mind all I can say is it may be difficult.  Keith.

Edited by Keith Addenbrooke
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3 hours ago, mdvle said:

 

It appears there may not be anyone modelling US passenger stuff on here, so...

 

I don't have access currently to any of my model train stuff to try and test, but I note that Bachmann calls for 22" minimum radius for their Amtrak stuff. 

 

That said, Walthers claims that their Mainline passenger cars will work on 18" radius - https://www.walthers.com/products/passenger-car-sale-mainline

 

Rapido sort of fudges and says "with modifications" without saying what for their 8600 coaches - https://rapidotrains.com/products/ho-scale/passenger-cars/ho-scale-8600-coach

 

If you don't currently have any passenger stuff, and aren't looking for accuracy, then you can try looking for the older Athearn Blue Box passenger cars (long out of production) - most of the Budd stainless steel cars Athearn made in that era weren't accurate and had been shortened to 72' making them more suitable for sharper curves - though depending on where you are availability on ebay or at shows might be problematic.

 

And while not prototypical in any way, and also currently out of production (and likely never lettered for Amtrak), there is the classic "Oscar" and "Piker" from Walthers that might be a bit of fun at the right price if they can be found.

https://www.walthers.com/21-heavyweight-quot-oscar-quot-quot-piker-quot-set-ready-to-run-pullman

Many thanks for your thorough answer and for the very useful links. Also to @Keith Addenbrooke for the your insight.

It's all a bit new for me as I've never really had much interest in the American scene until recently. 

I would only be using maybe one train of four or five cars and possibly a Budd DMU or railcar. My layout is so restricted in space but I've managed to create enough for two upper level industries and would like to run the odd passenger train in between locals. Using trees and buildings as scenic blocks I'm hoping for a shortline feel.  Maximum freight length for the reversing loop is 14 40ft cars. Maximum length for the staging is 17 cars. The base is built and track work almost complete to the upper section. There's 108 feet of mainline running from the staging siding at the back to the station via the top level. 

One of the problems I've found modelling OO is the length of modern stock and the curve problem. I tried N but it was too small for me to work with easily. So the attraction of US is the dominance of freight with its shorter wagons and interesting operations. I tried British OO 1960's but the 12T vans came off the rails too readily. So this US based plan/fantasy gets me into it for the day when I move and can find a bigger room for a 20 x 30 probably somewhere in Canada. 

 

 

 

 

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  • 4 weeks later...

Although I've had some fun with my Freemo modules in my shed, I feel that I may have limited myself by trying to make all ends suit the Freemo connections. Further limited by the space available.

I know that I didn't need to as I can build adapter boards anyway.

 

There are other reasons for a change of direction due to external factors at play (nothing sinister though!)

 

But:

 

In the meantime, I've been playing with an Anyrail plan to make something more permanent [*]in my shed.

 

 

The descriptions should explain my ideas.

The exchange siding is used to swap wagons to/from the cement unloader - complete with it's own beat up NW2.

The chemical sidings and warehouse aren't yet fixed as industries and may yet change.

 

The loco release will be designed to be easily extended as a run through for future.

The staging sidings curve round to the right and will probably be nothing more than a simple 3-road ladder at this point.

 

What do folks think?

 

usshed.jpg.f96c81e5ff1385da4e09e5951facf859.jpg

 

 

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21 minutes ago, Keith Addenbrooke said:

Would it be an idea to lengthen the warehouse track (very rough amendment in blue)?  Smooth out the S-curve?
 

8623804A-1EA2-4A5C-AE18-50348EDF59A9.jpeg.47fb995a45d8bbb33801294f23281403.jpeg

 

Possibly - but it may need a curved point to access it. I can make the S a bit less sharp anyway.

I'll tweak it a bit when I lay it out full size (using the obligatory spare roll of wallpaper!

Edited by newbryford
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4 hours ago, Keith Addenbrooke said:

Would it be an idea to lengthen the warehouse track (very rough amendment in blue)?  Smooth out the S-curve?
 

8623804A-1EA2-4A5C-AE18-50348EDF59A9.jpeg.47fb995a45d8bbb33801294f23281403.jpeg

I'd be inclined to make it a Team Track, maybe with a low end-loading deck. There's no indication of where the baseboard edge is, but a warehouse big enough for rail service is going to block the view, restrict access to the track behind it, & generally get in the way...

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5 hours ago, newbryford said:

 

What do folks think?

 

usshed.jpg.f96c81e5ff1385da4e09e5951facf859.jpg

 

 

So the cement plant has its own loco to drop stuff into the exchange siding so you could have working gates open to access the exchange as part of the switching too. Maybe a dummy point off into the backscene to suggest more to the cement plant?

With the warehouse you could just model the loading dock, maybe it’s canopy too, without the main building actually being on the layout. It’s your shed so if you know it’s there it doesn’t need explaining like it might at a show. You could also have a flat pic of it that clamps to the layout fascia for photography. 

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17 minutes ago, F-UnitMad said:

I'd be inclined to make it a Team Track, maybe with a low end-loading deck. There's no indication of where the baseboard edge is, but a warehouse big enough for rail service is going to block the view, restrict access to the track behind it, & generally get in the way...

 

I did wonder about a team track, or maybe a lumber yard to run a centerbeam?

Team track gives more options.

 

6 minutes ago, PaulRhB said:

So the cement plant has its own loco to drop stuff into the exchange siding so you could have working gates open to access the exchange as part of the switching too. Maybe a dummy point off into the backscene to suggest more to the cement plant?

With the warehouse you could just model the loading dock, maybe it’s canopy too, without the main building actually being on the layout. It’s your shed so if you know it’s there it doesn’t need explaining like it might at a show. You could also have a flat pic of it that clamps to the layout fascia for photography. 

 

Nice idea for the dummy point.

 

Nominally viewed from the "inside" to fit the shed, but I like the idea of a temporary backscene.

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14 hours ago, newbryford said:

maybe a lumber yard to run a centerbeam?

Don't forget a centerbeam needs unloading access to both sides at the same time, to keep them in balance.

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Harking back to @Railpassion's question around curves & coaches. I've got several of the Walthers 85' Superliners and 2 sets of the Rapido Budd coaches. Neither will go around anything less than 30" curves without some serious hacking about, especially if being pushed. 

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Not a track plan, but pictures and a diagram of a 1950s California set packing district that provides a lot of operation in a 2'x6' section of layout that could be operated independent of the main layout with either an attached fiddle yard or even a track extension.

 

Some discussion of the operations discussed in a podcast interview (podcast #7) which also discussess the use of reefers more generally.

 

Some info on the layout - https://www.minn-rail.org/layouts/santa_maria.html

 

Podcast discussion (Episode #7 Reefer Madness) - https://tcdnmra.org/podcast/

 

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  • 2 months later...

The Layout Design Sig of the NMRA publishes a quarterly journal, their latest journal has a PDF sample available that includes the track plan for a 11'4" x2'8" tapered layout that is self contained - using a car float to get freight cars on/off the layout.

 

PDF at - https://static1.squarespace.com/static/574b45fc1d07c0e0856410da/t/60e754d7995a9a633329f689/1625773276903/ldj-69_sampler.pdf

 

(don't know how long it will remain available)

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