yard plan for N scale

Discussion in 'Layout Design Discussion' started by Speed_man_17, Apr 5, 2007.

  1. Speed_man_17

    Speed_man_17 TrainBoard Member

    heres my plan for my N Scale yard with a passenger termnal at a later time & engine service for diseal power.

    1. what track through the yard should be the main line?
    2. should i make the yard stubed, (if so what side) or tie in both ends whats to gain? by tieing in both ends or the up side of not to?
    3. loco service set up.. should i add any tracks to or looks pretty good?
    4. i have the letter A on the plan circled.. should the passenger lead run threw the loco lead (the dash lines) or should it be as i drew??

    any thing else i may be missing? let me know so i can make it better. im trying for a little operation but more so main line runing. thanks!

    Attached Files:

  2. Colonel

    Colonel Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

    Thats an excellent design, have you considered having the mainline run around the yard rather than through it? If you have continuous running you want to be able to operate the yard without affecting the mainline.

    I wouldnt make the yard stubbed by having through yards gives you much more flexibility.

    My preference would not be to join the passenger lead through to the loco lead as long as you can get locos of the passenger road into the engine yard at the bottom end.

    All in all I'm really impressed with the design.
  3. Speed_man_17

    Speed_man_17 TrainBoard Member

    thanks for help, i am a bit lost by what you mean by run the main around the yard rather then through it. ware might you place the main instead. I was thinking on the main being track #1 and/or 2 with 3 and 4 being arv. and dept. also i did forget about geting passenger locos from the far end of the yard to the service area. what might be a good way to do so. thanks for the praise on the design i cant tell you how long and how many pages of ideas i have around. im very critical of my ideas expicaly when i see so many other amazeing layouts and plans around this site and others.

    also the area to the top left that is space i can cut a bit more into. ie for a way to get passenger trains to the service yard.
  4. Colonel

    Colonel Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

    Tracks 2 and 3 should be the mainlines as they have onlycrossover between them and no other leads running off them however at the far end the engine yard converges at that point which may make it difficult to switch locos off the passsenger terminal to the engine yard. Where tracks 1 and 2 diverge I'd consider putting a short lead for 2 to 3 locos so they do not block number 2 track.

    Hope this makes sense.
  5. Mark Smith

    Mark Smith TrainBoard Member

    I believe you would like to have tracks 3 & 4 for arrival/departure tracks. They could actually be moved closer to the yard for this purpose. That leaves 1 and 2 for your mainline. That makes sense because it will be the side you have your passenger trains stopping. You'll need crossovers to get from both north and south-bound mains to the arrival/departure tracks.

    The loco service is not in the best place. You generally would like to cut off an engine in the arrival track and have a way to the engine facility without crossing the mainline. You'd like to be able to get an engine from the loco facility to the departure track in the same way. That leaves the area now showing as a street and buildings to serve as the area for the loco servicing facility. Perhaps you could swap that existing area for the loco facility.
  6. GM

    GM TrainBoard Member

    Comments about yards in general


    Not to long ago I wrote a short essay about how the yards of the Santa Fe an Cajon Pass work. I thought you might be interested in looking at a drawing of the San Bernardino yards so I have included a link to the essay below.


    Some things you might keep in mind as you design your empire are:
    1. Most yards are really a collection of smaller yards built to perform a specific job
    2. Most yards were built over a long time frame. As new things needed to be done another specialized yard was added to the existing yard.
    3. The location of the main line was determined long before the yard was built. The yard was added later. if the chosen location was not appropriate, they moved it.
    4. Sometimes the special purpose yards were on one side of the main line, sometimes on the other. It really depends on what existing facilities might be needed and where they are located.
    My usual approach to designing yards be it models or real trains is to make a sketch just like the one you made. I then place my imaginary trains on the paper track and run it through some scenarios to see how it might work. Then I make a list of what works and what doesn't. Then I make a list of possible improvements to the track work and consider costs to implement them. You might find that simply moving a turnout from one place to another is all that is needed. Sometimes you scrap the whole plan and start from scratch.

    In your case, I would suggest that you make a schematic drawing of what you have. The schematic can shed some very valuable information about how your yards interact with each other. An example from the Santa Fe & Cajon Pass is the location of the car repair shed next to the RIP track. That arangement makes it very easy to get more use from expensive equipment such as hoists with a minimum of inconvenience to the yard crews.

    Bottom line! It's a lot less expensive to spend time at the drawing boards than it is to construct the yards several times trying to get it right.

    Good luck with your design.

  7. ppuinn

    ppuinn Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

    Please sketch out a simple plan that shows how this yard will fit in with the rest of your layout. It would be helpful if you could also indicate where walls and aisles are so we know the reach involved.

    I wonder if a double main and 2 arrival tracks are necessary in this part of the layout…
    How much freight train traffic in and out of this yard do you anticipate in a single operating session? Unless you are modeling a dozen trains (half arriving, half departing) in this freight yard alone, you may only need one arrival-departure track.
    Is it necessary to have a passing siding within the busy yard? Or could you have just one main through the yard with passing sidings in the blocks out on the layout to the east and west of the yard? A variation on this question: Do you anticipate having so many trains running in 2 directions on the rest of the layout that all trains running through on the main while a freight train is being worked on the arrival-departure track have to perform their meet here by the yard instead of anywhere else (e.g., to the east or west of the yard)? When a meet occurs in this area, the aisle will be fairly crowded with operators...one working the yard and the freight on the arrival-departure track, a second working the eastbound train and a third working the westbound. And this doesn't consider anyone working the passenger terminal or servicing power before or after a run.
    :eek:mg: How wide is your aisle by this yard? :teeth:

    What is the scale of the individual squares on your grid? Assuming yard track centerlines of 1.5 inches in most of your yards and a little spacing between groups of tracks, it looks like there would be about 20 inches across the 5 yard tracks plus 2 arrival/departure tracks plus 2 mainline tracks.

    Using that as a measure, it looks like the longest yard track at the front of the classification yard will be about 5 feet long (17 forty foot cars or 12 long ones). The turnout configuration you have will yield only a 3 foot long track at the back of the 5 classification tracks (maybe ten 40’ cars).
    To shorten the space needed for the yard ladder without introducing lots of S-curves (or, conversely, to lengthen the classification tracks), you may want to consider a track arrangement similar to this:


    In the picture, the yard lead is directly beneath the camera, so access to all classification tracks is straight down the lead until a right hand curve--no S-curve--onto the specific track. I'm using Atlas Standard #6 turnouts (19 inch radius), so the curve is large enough to be very reliable. I used Peco 9 inch radius turnouts on a previous layout but was plagued with derailments when pushing long strings of cars through such tight turns. You'll note there are only 2 curves onto any track, both bending in the same direction.

    In the picture, the track that parallels the yard ladder is a lead to the arrival/departure tracks, which run parallel to the classification tracks off the top right of the picture. The far end of the classification yard lead connects with the arr-dep yard lead before the throat of the arr-dep yard just off the top of the picture, so I can pull cars off of the arr-dep tracks directly onto the classification yard ladder (again...no S-curves!). The arr-dep yard turnouts are all Atlas #8s.

    The track to the left of the arr-dep lead is the main that runs around the entire yard. The track all the way to the left is a team track. Since the start of the yard lead also connects to the main back behind the camera, it is possible to pull cars directly from the yard to the start of the yard lead and then push them down the main to access the team track without making any switchback moves. (FWIW, the prototype had this arrangement, too; but, if I had enough space, I’d have positioned the team track turnout on the other side of the crossover so I wouldn’t have to pull team track traffic all the way back to the start of the yard lead to gain access.)

    In your plan, you could use a similar arrangement at both ends of your classification yard: one track for the main, one for arrival-departures, and one for the yard lead. Your plan has a town on the upper right. I agree with Mark...put the freight loco service there instead of on the other side of the main. Have the main come onto the plan at the same place presently shown, and have it follow the present track that passes over the bridge and above A (dotted line), then cross over to Track 1. You would have the arr-dep track about where Track 3 is shown, and both the arr-dep track and the yard lead would run to the upper right hand corner of the plan where they would bend around to eventually connect with the main. Then you would be able to put a freight loco service facility with the main behind it and the arr-dep track and the yard lead in front of it (with a caboose track, RIP track, and car barn between the lead and the front of the shelf).

    At the left end of your classification yard, the yard lead could serve a couple of RR industry sidings (team track, materials yard, freight house). That way, after your yard switcher job clears your arrival track, sets up the next departure, classifies cars for future departures (tasks that could probably be done easily in 15 to 20 minutes for a 10 to 15 car train), he'll also have to spot some cars for RR industries such as a freight house, team track, intermodal, or materials yard at one end of the yard, and paint shop, RIP track, fuel/sand, and car barn destinations at the other end of the yard in the engine facility. Some people like the variety offered by combining the yard and RR industry duties.

    The passenger yard tracks on the lower left could serve as both the passenger car service and passenger loco service areas. For passenger trains moving from the station to the service area, provide a turnout at the left end of the 2 passenger tracks that lets you pull/push the trains onto the service area lead without getting back on the main. The lead would have to be long enough to permit pulling from the terminal and then drill back into the various stub ended tracks for necessary service tasks without ever needing dispatcher permission to get back on the main.

    If it wouldn’t violate a prototypic scene you are trying to represent on your layout, the town could go on the back part of the shelf, on the other side of the main from where you’ve drawn it.
  8. Grey One

    Grey One TrainBoard Supporter

    One thing to note is that your sketch is not to scale. Turnouts will take up much more room than depicted.
  9. ppuinn

    ppuinn Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

    Any update on your yard plan?
  10. Grey One

    Grey One TrainBoard Supporter

    You can store more cars if you use a compound ladder track. If using manual switch machines you may want to design the yard to have so you have direct access to the mechanism.


    Is there anyone who can do up a series of variations on yards in Xtracad demonstrating the pros and cons of each? It would probably help others if the file was available.

    I got the idea for this design from Dave H (ppiunn):
    Esthetically pleasing
    Orderly - Easier to "use" because of the pattern
    All of the switch mechanisms are easily accessible,
    All of the curves are in the same direction thus avoiding "S Curves".

    Takes up a more space.
    Difficult to arrange due to the 30 degree angled approach
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 20, 2007
  11. Speed_man_17

    Speed_man_17 TrainBoard Member

    some updates and a new plan

    i got a chance to draw my plan up to scale, takes more space then i thought, but i have room, i can make the plan happen. the passanger part im not so sure about, if i will keep that in or not.

    i took account of what you guys pointed out and drew up another plan.

    this plan i have the service area between the main/ariv. dept. tracks and the yard. now my locos wont cross the main or be in the way of the yard crews to get to the service area. track centers are on 1" that is to scale my turnouts are not to scale.

    let me know what you guys all think of this plan.

    Attached Files:

  12. GM

    GM TrainBoard Member

    Good Morning,

    I like the your revised plan much better than the first one. You really need to draw the turnouts to scale also. Most of the length will come from the distance required to fit the turnouts into the track plan.

    If you have time, point your browser to http://www.nmra.org/standards/consist.html and familiarize yourself with a set of standards for track construction and other interesting subjects. This site is a great place to visit when a question about track spacing comes up. I mention this because not all tracks have the same spacing between them.

    Before you go much further in the design, you might want to consider what style of trains you will be running and how long the cars will be. Those two factors will direct you to the proper size of the radii of your mainline curves and dictate the size of the turnout frog.

    Keep up the good work, you are definitely headed in the right direction.

  13. DiezMon

    DiezMon TrainBoard Supporter

    This isn't exactly a series, but it's an example... :)

    Here's the trick: XtrkCad files are simply text files... so if you use this handy little program, just download this yard.txt file and rename it to yard.xtc

    Attached Files:

  14. Speed_man_17

    Speed_man_17 TrainBoard Member

    Thanks for the helpful link.

    how might i go about drawing my switches up to scale?
  15. Mark Smith

    Mark Smith TrainBoard Member

    You've solved a number of problems with this new plan. Good thinking!

    Personally, 1 inch spacing is a bit tight in the yard but if that's the room you have stay with it. If you plan to fiddle in this yard: take cars on and off the layout, you need an inch and a half (or more) spacing for fingers. An inch and you'll be wanting to call the Head Shed for a track crew to come out and re-lay the yard.
  16. GM

    GM TrainBoard Member

    Precise layout of NMRA standard turnouts

    Point your browser back th the NMRA Standards. Then, look for NMRA RECOMMENDED PRACTICES RP-12.7 Turnout Dimensions N Scale (I used "N" scale because that is the scale of my model)

    The following is a somewhat contrived explaination of how to use some of the values listed on RP-12.7. I hope you will find it helpfull.

    The dimensions needed to layout standard A.R.E.A. turnouts are listed in NMRA RECOMMENDED PRACTICES. Every dimension used to construct prototypical turnouts using Frog numbers from 4 thru 10 have been converted to both Metric and Imperial units expressed in inches for the various model scales.

    Assuming that your straight parallel tracks are to be spaced at a distance of 1-1/16", the following computation will yield a result indicating the distance traveled along the parallel tracks from the PI (point of intersection) of the extension of the straight portion of the divergent track on one parallel track to a similar point on the other.

    Lookup the values for dimensions 24, 25 and 27 in the chart.

    Then add 2*(#24 + (#25) to get the straight line dimension.

    For every 1/16" you deviate from the standard spacing of 1-1/16", change the result of the previous computation by the amount listed in (#27)

    You can think of the above answer as being the height of a very large upper case "N". You still need to errect a perpendicular at one point or the other and locate the PI on the other parallel track. With those two points plotted, you can then draw the diagonal of the large Uppercase "N" to show a scale drawn schematic of a turnout.

    In practice this is much easier to do than it is to explain.

    Using Frog Angles of #6 and # 8 you would get the following dimensions.

    #6 Frog 2*2.123" + 2.078" = 6.324"
    #8 Frog 2*2.833" + 2.798" = 8.464"

    To locate the point of switch (turnout) measure the distance (#8) - the distance #24) from the PI on each track.

    Note: Keep in mind that the above described method is for prototypical turnouts which have been scaled down to model dimensions. If you intend to use manufactured turnouts, it would be wise to obtain one of each size you plan to use and measure them because most do not have standard dimensions.

    I hope this helps you with the design of your layout.

  17. Speed_man_17

    Speed_man_17 TrainBoard Member

    hey thanks alot for that help GM. at first glance it was confuseing but like you said very easy to do!

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