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Old 23rd February 2010, 07:21   #1
RW James
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Default Museum Layout Design

I just landed the coolest gig.

I've been a member of the Nevada Railroad Museum for several years, but work and family (et al) has kept me from being active at the museum. But now that I'm retired...

They've had a nice model railroad in the museum, and I did a little work on it, but nothing really much. They are planning to tear out the layout this summer and put in a new one. This one will be 35 feet long and 12 feet wide - but only one side will be in view of the public. The back side will contain a large number of storage tracks. It will be in HO.

I went to a planning meeting tonight. The layout will represent about a mile of track (compressed down to one half mile) with two mainline tracks on either side of a river. It's at a point along the Humboldt River just east of Palisades. The Western Pacific is on the south side of the river and the Southern Pacific is on the north side. We will be modeling the track as it appeared in 1908, because it is still pretty much the same. So they can run trains from any period in the last 100 years. That includes the merger into Union Pacific.

The longest cars we will be pulling will Harriman 90 foot passenger coaches as the appeared in The City of San Francisco which will be 15 feet long. We will also be running long freights, perhaps up to 30 feet long.

I volunteered to put the plan (which right now is rough pencil sketches) into XTrakCAD. We are working from old surveyor plots and USGS topography maps. We also have dozens of photos taken recently in the area.

There will be no grades. The minimum radius on the hidden tracks will be 30 inches. Any thoughts about what I should use for the viewed track? I was thinking 48 inches as minimum - with generous easements.

I'll be posting the plan here as it goes along.
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Old 23rd February 2010, 07:24   #2
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Default Re: Museum Layout Design

Oh - one more thing - just something to kick around. And I only thought of this because I've been influenced by you guys in the UK.

What would you think of a transfer table 30 feet long?

They are thinking of a double ended yard with ladders at each end - but that will limit the length of the longest freight train. A transfer table would take care of that problem. But it seems so BIG!
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Old 23rd February 2010, 08:04   #3
Sir Madog
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Default Re: Museum Layout Design

Rick,

48" minimum radius is a heck of a radius - we Europeans think of a 48 cm being a wide radius already ...

I am not quite sure whether a 10 ft. transfer table is a feasible thing to build. It requires an extreme amount of precision to ensure that the movement is absolutely parallel and without any "hick-up" . Most likely you will have to use aluminum or even steel to build it, as wood will not work.
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Old 23rd February 2010, 09:44   #4
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Default Re: Museum Layout Design

Good luck there Rick and have fun!!
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Old 23rd February 2010, 15:19   #5
RW James
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Default Re: Museum Layout Design

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sir Madog View Post
...I am not quite sure whether a 10 ft. transfer table is a feasible thing to build...
Well, if you think 10 ft would be hard, I'm thinking 30 ft is ridiculous!

I think I'll plan for the ladder tracks then if the balk at the short storage tracks, I'll present the transfer table as an alternative. I really just need probably two tracks 30 feet long - one freight train for each direction.
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Old 23rd February 2010, 15:46   #6
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Default Re: Museum Layout Design

A 30 feet traverser table?

Well, I guess it could be done, but at what effort?
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Old 23rd February 2010, 16:23   #7
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Default Re: Museum Layout Design

You could have it helix down a foot or so to additional train storage - the helix could even be part of the train storage.

The problem I see is having a train nearly as long as the "display area" makes the display area seem really small. The train has to fit the scene.
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Old 23rd February 2010, 19:17   #8
RW James
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Default Re: Museum Layout Design

Yeah, we discussed train length last night. It's not uncommon for trains a mile long to go through that area - but we agreed that a train without a visible locomotive or caboose would be silly. Probably 20 or 25 feet should be good - but we will be limited by the length of the storage tracks.
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Old 24th February 2010, 04:51   #9
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Default Re: Museum Layout Design

Rick: I've never seen a transfer table near that long. Sector plates don't usually go over 4 feet -- mostly because they have to be portable.
One option on yard design would be a lozenge- or diamond-shaped yard with the longest tracks down the middle and shorter ones along the side: each track would be shorter by 2 switch lengths than the one beside it.
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Old 24th February 2010, 22:08   #10
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Default Re: Museum Layout Design

Also, depending on the amount of width you have in your staging area you could put some sweeping wiggle into the tracks. Curved lines are longer than straight ones (:
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