From aisle width to layout design.

Discussion in 'N Scale' started by John Moore, Apr 13, 2012.

  1. John Moore

    John Moore TrainBoard Member TrainBoard Supporter

    In the last few days I have been going through some graph paper in working out some designs. Solved the aisle space problem by going back to a initial idea I've always had floating around in the space between the ears. Essentially I have gone back to a shelf style layout design with shelf widths varying between 30 inches and 36 inches. The mainline curvature is not less than 16 inches and not more than 19 inches with a total of 68 feet of mainline running. The only locations of 16 inch radius is in entering and leaving the town of Lyle. The line is a water level route with no grades. The logging and mining branch will have approximately 40 feet of mainline with grades not to exceed 2% only in the climb up from Lyle. The layout will have two levels but not in the ordinary sense and design of a dual level layout. The area modeled along the Columbia River has steep rises of 300 to 500 feet and more not far off the riverbank where the mainline runs in the area being modeled. The upper level will be on top of this with the mainline down following the river. A number of places those rock outcroppings run to the river thus there are quite a few short tunnels which gives me places where the upper level can widen out for log camps etc. In another concession to having gimpy knees etc. I'm going to set the heigth of the lower line to a comfortable chair heigth. Probably 36 to 40 inches, If I want I can just set and watch trains run and switch the town of Lyle from some level of comfort. The upper level will be just below eye level probably about chin or neck level. Inside corners will rounded and be void spaces keeping everything within decent reach of 30 to 36 inches. The layout is being designed to fit in a 12X12 foot room and using the shelf concept around the room gives me a lot of open space in the middle for a small work space. I'm still working out the logging and mining branch track layout but here I get to play with 9 and 3/4 radius. All the tunnel portals will be double wide even though a single track runs through them for the most part and a little higher than normal in case I end up having to go up in scale to HOn30 because of the eye issue. Another issue with the tunnels, which I think I have a handle on because although numerous, they are all short and in accessible areas. I plan to make liberal use of rerailers in the tunnel areas. I have been able to get a harbor/port area into the design so the river and coastal craft will get used.

    Doing a reality check I've had to make a number of compromises and just flat give up some things. The Broughton Flume and sawmill is one of them. It will be modified for a small mill in Lyle. The Chinatown module I built back some time ago cannot be used and will most likely end up in a display case, or maybe cut into smaller sections, and the largest turntable will be the Atlas model with a single stall engine house. Fortunately a number of my structures are smaller in size and may be able to fit up on the branchline so the branchline may get a brewery located on it. But unless I get ahold of a nice basement along with the new digs where I can add some footage to the Lyle area probably about 50% of my structures are going to end up being surplus. And of course the narrow gauge is history both because of the vision issues and because there just won't be room for it.

    One of the other things I scrapped for now is the idea of a staging yard. It ate up too much space and I don't want anything under the layout with the inherent problems of getting to it. What I may end up designing is a portable staging that can be rolled out of the way, or even out of the room, and can be connected by a single track to the main by a narrow hinged bridge. Probably not more than 24 to 26 inches wide so it can be rolled out the door if needed.
  2. RBrodzinsky

    RBrodzinsky Staff Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

    Sounds great, John. Can't wait to see it come together.
  3. TetsuUma

    TetsuUma TrainBoard Member

    This got me thinking. What about under layout staging that pulls out like a drawer and could also function as a transfer table?

    Tetsu Uma
  4. pomperaugrr

    pomperaugrr TrainBoard Member

    Just be careful with the shelf widths. My layout is set so the rail height is at 53" and some of my decks are 32" deep. I am 6'4" tall and need a step ladder to reach more than 2/3 of the way into the 32" wide shelves. If I were to do it again, I would stick with 24" to 30" deep shelves as my maximum.

    Here are some examples of my "in progress" layout's 32" wide shelf areas.




  5. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 Administrator Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

    Seems like this would be a great idea.
  6. John Moore

    John Moore TrainBoard Member TrainBoard Supporter

    Wouldn't be a bad idea if I can find a suitably strong mechanism that allows the staging to be raised up to track level when in use or needed, and then can drop down and retract under the layout.

    As far as the shelf width I think it will do for me for several reasons. The first is the lower area will be set for chair seating heigth and the upper narrow area will have the tracks out about six inches from the wall. Some initial playing with a tape measure over a surface the proposed heigth seems to support this. All the structures I have built so far have complete 360 detailing so the issue of looking down will reveal yet more visual effects such as rear loading docks etc.

    Still playing with design particularly the upper logging and mining level but I've pretty much worked out the water level mainline. Still have to fit in a couple of more tracks and industry sidings into the Lyle area but here is what I have done so far.
    The cluster of squares at the bottom left is the sheep pens and where the spur curves around and ends the Klickitat River and bridge will be. The upper level branch is at the left leaving the yard and starting its climb.

    This is the westbound section and the cannery and small harbor are will be inside the curve. The point where the tracks curve to the front will be Beacon Rock and I intend to put a lighthouse and Coast Guard station there adjacent to the harbor. All areas that have tunnels have the scenery and rock cliffs coming to the layout edge and that gives upper level room for log camps and woods scenes plus a mine module already built to be placed probably on the opposite side.

    The eastbound side is next and the same goes for the area over the tunnels in that it will be part of the upper level logging and mining. Here is where I am thinking of putting the mine, the Macy Molybdenum Mine, also already built as a small module, and I've extended a small length of track to hold cars which will be behind the door. I'm using standard door and frame widths and although I show six inches wide here it could drop to three inches behind the door. And yes the turntable is behind the engine house. The early yard at Lyle had this arrangement. A sawmill is at this corner, one of two in Lyle, and I have fudged with some modelers license and placed the apple warehouse in this section.

    Still have to finish up and put in the grade separations, river, streams, bridges, and color the lines to mark the main from the branch and finish working out the branch line trackage and sidings. All this was scanned in three sections and once done I'll let my wife take the plan to work and reduce it to a standard piece of paper. The plan is currently on two 11X17 inch pieces of graph paper. Depending on what I come up with for staging I will simply throw in a switch at one leg to introduce trains to the main. All the big power stays on the main. Lyle had a lot of through trains either off the Oregon Trunk or heading to the ports in Vancouver or Seattle. The branch and all the yard/industry areas will be handled by small steam like the 2-8-0 and smaller so I can get away with the smaller radius switches in these areas. The largest steam on the branch will be my Micro Ace 2-6-6-0 which can handle the 9 and 3/4ths and the Shays and two Climax locos. The largest diesel is a E-7 for passenger and the rest are all FA1 and 2s and a couple of sets of Fs.
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 15, 2012
  7. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 Administrator Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

    What are you using for a track template? It looks similar to mine.
  8. John Moore

    John Moore TrainBoard Member TrainBoard Supporter

    N Scale Track Template 1:12 and I'm using Canson 4 square per inch 11X 17 graph paper I got at a artist supply that matches the template. Only thing I don't like on the template is that it jumps from 15 to 19 R. without any 17 in there meaning I have to carefully measure out 17" with the old compass for that curvature.
  9. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 Administrator Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

    Yup. That's the same template as mine. Had it for years and used it many times.
  10. mtntrainman

    mtntrainman TrainBoard Member TrainBoard Supporter

    John...where can a guy get that "N Scale Track Template 1:12". I googled it but came up empty :-(
  11. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 Administrator Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter


    Mine was made and sold by an outfit named CTT. Item number is 6000. Have not looked to see if they still exist, but their items used to be sold through the model RR magazines.
  12. mtntrainman

    mtntrainman TrainBoard Member TrainBoard Supporter

    Thnxs...I'll search it out :)

    I really should get a unitrack 20.00 + for a piece of plastic...that chances are I will only use kinda...iffy.
  13. mtntrainman

    mtntrainman TrainBoard Member TrainBoard Supporter

    John...I see you may be running into the same problem I have in about the same area of my layout design.

    Top center...the industry with the 3 buildings...just before the tunnel. You have to back the train up on the main to service the industry. My understanding is thats a no-no in the real world. I could be wrong...wouldnt be the first
  14. John Moore

    John Moore TrainBoard Member TrainBoard Supporter

    Yup mine is a CTT products also and unfortunately they evidently stopped making all of thier scale rules and templates sometime ago. They still exist as a company just seem to have dropped the scale rules and templates and dang it they were very accurate, transparent to be able to see through, and very flexible. Since my CTT rule broke last year I made quite a search to find another and came up with a rule by The Scale Card from a dealer at a show with the same accurancy, flexability and ability to see through didn't check to see if these folks did templates though.
  15. John Moore

    John Moore TrainBoard Member TrainBoard Supporter

  16. glakedylan

    glakedylan TrainBoard Member

    just wondering?

    are you all aware of AnyRail software. it is so easy to use contains all of the track on the market. and even has many structures from manufacturers as well.

    just a lot more accurate in planning and not all that expensive.

    no i am not connected with AnyRail in any way other than being one who uses it.

    just passing on the info FWIW.

    Gary L Lake Dillensnyder
  17. John Moore

    John Moore TrainBoard Member TrainBoard Supporter

    Unfortunately something I may have to live with unless the space I end up with has the ability to add some feet in width. But I'm still in the design phase so when I get all the dimensions on the structures I could end up sliding the sawmill west and then the apple warehouse north and end up with a solution.
  18. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 Administrator Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

    Speaking only for myself- Yes. But pencil and paper works just fine. Have had my template since long, long before personal computers and model RR design software. I have schooling background in mechanical drawing and all those items are handy for use. It's not at all unpleasant to sit at the modeling bench and scribble out an idea. In fact, it can be a lot of fun.
  19. mtntrainman

    mtntrainman TrainBoard Member TrainBoard Supporter

    I have to agree. I have a few software programs to design layouts...but sometimes it just fun to sit with a pencil and some graph paper and draw. Doing things the old fashioned way is much like picking up a cell phone...dialing a number...and actually talking to opposed to texting. It just feels right. :tb-cool:
  20. John Moore

    John Moore TrainBoard Member TrainBoard Supporter

    I've tried about all the various computer designing programs out there at one time or another including the one by the folks that have the other discussion board. Speaking for just myself here I've found them all to not be worth my trouble and time to begin to try and master. And some are just not worth the effort. I already have a good assortment of templates, some artist quality erasers, a whole passel of No. 2 pencils, lots of graph paper, and a good desk lamp, and in half the time or less I can have something on paper, while I would be still sitting in front of the puter straining my eyes. And when the power drops out after a storm I am still in business. Plus as stated it can be a lot of fun.

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