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Old 10th January 2012, 01:51   #1
mysterd429
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Default 4x8 layout design -- looking for suggestions

Hi all,

Well, it's been a while since I've posted stuff here. After some time off from model railroading, I decided to build a small layout rather than scratchbuild rolling stock for the time being. After all, I'd like somewhere to run the stuff I build. Plus, my family likes the hobby, and a layout is easier to share. I chose the 4x8 because I'm not much of a carpenter, and the way our basement is built, I'll get the most out of a walk-around that I can roll into the corner when the floor space is needed. I've got the basic benchwork built, and it's on casters that work nicely.

So, anyway, here's my current plan:



I'm modeling the the outer boroughs and suburbs of New York City, but not any particular era, not am I trying to be prototypical at all in terms of equipment. Passenger service will be provided by R-17 subway cars and freight service with short trains of 40' and 50' box cars and similar length equipment by GP38 and an FA-1.

The bright blue area is at 0". The forest green area will be at 4" in elevation, and the turquoise area will be at 7.25" in elevation. XTrackCad says that the maximum grade is 4%, which I think is reasonable. The crazy mess of at the top of the layout will be modeled as an elevated subway stop over a commuter rail stop with a freight yard off of the commuter rail line.

The yard at 0" will be the western end. From there, trains would exit the yard, then start going counter-clockwise (East) around one lap and up to the top. As many loops could be made to make up time, while dodging the passenger train that has priority.

Before I write a novel (I'm excited about this!), my three worries are these. Maybe there won't be enough room on the left hand side of the layout to get the tracks all up and down and whichever way while allowing the trains to clear the risers. The s-curve on the way up to the east end looks pretty vicious. There's no way for an engine to run-around at the east end.

Cheers!

edit: This is HO, and the minimum radius is 18", except for the curved turnout, which is 17 3/4 on the inside.
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Old 10th January 2012, 03:10   #2
RW James
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Default Re: 4x8 layout design -- looking for suggestions

First - I'm a fan of roundy-rounds, so I like this.

I would be careful with your grades. As far as I can tell, XTrakCad doesn't take into consideration vertical easements going into and out of grades - so your actually grade may be a bit higher. Measure your equipment. Most equipment can handle a much lower vertical clearance than the NMRA gauge calls for.

The top yard - if you set it at the same angle established by the lower yard, the effect of the S curve would me minimized.
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Old 10th January 2012, 04:34   #3
BR60103
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Default Re: 4x8 layout design -- looking for suggestions

I'd worry a bit about where the browny-red line crosses over the pinky-purple line. You need a car-length of flat beside the double crossover. There may be a little problem where the inner curve goes into the crossover creating a double-s curve.
My only other concern is that the 2 yards come off the loops in the same direction; you'll have to back into the blue one and out again or else reverse in the green station.
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Old 10th January 2012, 05:48   #4
B&O Glennwood
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Default Re: 4x8 layout design -- looking for suggestions

Currently Model Railroader is doing a project layout that somewhat resembles your plan Why not follow there plan all the hard work has already been done in advance for you If you dont like the subject matter you could change the setting This is only a suggestion but one worth considering
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Old 10th January 2012, 18:46   #5
mysterd429
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Default Re: 4x8 layout design -- looking for suggestions

Thanks for the pointers! This plan is actually based on (I think it's called) the Joelberg , Rosston, and Holly from an issue of MR sometime last year, which was a mining layout. I kept the yards at the top and bottom and added the double-track "green" section, and I changed a lot of the angles to keep switch machines from being over other sections of track.

Rick, that didn't occur to me about XTrackCad and the vertical easements. Most of my stuff is pretty short, so I'll try and find the tallest piece, put in on a piece of track on some roadbed, and see how tall it all is. Actually, there are a lot of geometry restrictions on rail operations around here, so I can say it's prototypical! David, I'll see if there's room for a run-around in the green yard if I reconfigure it a little bit, and thanks for pointing out the need for a flat approach to the double-crossover. I think that would also clear up my fears about cars hitting the risers a little bit.

How much of a vertical easement do you think is necessary? How quickly should I ramp up to the maximum grade?
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Old 10th January 2012, 19:37   #6
RW James
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Default Re: 4x8 layout design -- looking for suggestions

Quote:
Originally Posted by mysterd429 View Post
How much of a vertical easement do you think is necessary? How quickly should I ramp up to the maximum grade?
I've never actually calculated this - I generally use the cookie-cutter method when laying sub-roadbed, using 1/2" plywood, and let the wood make it's own easement. (Hope that makes sense)
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Old 11th January 2012, 03:45   #7
mysterd429
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Default Re: 4x8 layout design -- looking for suggestions

I was thinking that the plywood would just take care of that automagically, Rick. How do you join two segments of plywood together end-to-end? I was thinking to use two sheets of 1/4" plywood laminated together and staggering the joints rather than one sheet of 1/2" plywood.

I've added a run-around in two different ways to the east end (upper/light green) yard. I think the first way would not allow for a long enough train:



but the second way should leave two scale feet for my longest engine at the end of the switch and enough room for a three, four, or maybe even five car train or so on the run-around portion:



I except I'll be the only one doing any switching on this layout, but I have at least three guest operators who will want to run more or less continuously, with tolerable station stops to allow for passing

Cheers!
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Old 11th January 2012, 06:09   #8
RW James
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Default Re: 4x8 layout design -- looking for suggestions

The plan is looking good!

I've always used 1/2" ply and it seems to work okay for me. I think I might be afraid of breaking 1/4" ply if I stressed it too much - and the easement would be as gradual. I usually cut the roadbed 2 inches wide which gives you a lot of flexibility with 1/2" ply.
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Old 11th January 2012, 18:36   #9
mysterd429
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Default Re: 4x8 layout design -- looking for suggestions

Thanks for the info, Rick. I think I'll do a little experimenting with the double-1/4" and see how it works out, since I've already got some.
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Old 11th January 2012, 19:57   #10
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Default Re: 4x8 layout design -- looking for suggestions

Consider that model trains tend to derail in the most inaccessible corner (Murphy's law applied to modelrailroading) so when planning clearances between different levels consider your hand thickness too, you may need to operate there ;-)
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