N Scale Santa Fe layout

TigerDude Feb 16, 2021

  1. TigerDude

    TigerDude TrainBoard Member

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    New to the hobby (as an adult at least), slowly acquiring what I need for a 1st layout. Will be late 50s Santa Fe, no specific prototype location. F7's for road power since that's what I had as a kid. ESU CabControl on the way via Ebay. This layout is what I have so far. 144 inches long, 40 to 32 inches wide (366 x 101/81 cm). I'm not worried about width & reach. I'll sit while running the trains, so it will be about 42 inches (106 cm) high, and the benchwork will be on casters for rear access.

    I want to do switching, but I want the trains to be able to run. I'm aiming the red line as 1st class passenger (El Capitan) and blue as freight. I'd like to have 2 or 3 industries, but it seems like I need to run them off the passenger line if I want to expand. Maybe bottom right or inside the loops near the lead track.

    I'm also wondering if my yard doesn't have to be like it is. I did it this way to preserve east-west space, but I've since added a couple feet to the end so maybe I should go back to a regular ladder. When I made the layout longer I squeezed in the middle, but still might just keep it all at 40" (would make it easier to build the bench).

    Thoughts/suggestions?

    Thanks
    SCARM plan view.PNG SCARM 3D.PNG
     
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  2. traingeekboy

    traingeekboy TrainBoard Member

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    The yard tracks seem short is my only criticism.
     
  3. logging loco

    logging loco TrainBoard Supporter

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    Sorry no planning software.

    20210216_072001.png
    How about something like this for the yard.

    I didn't sketch it in, but, maybe add or at least plan for a future view block and couple crossovers along the back so you can park or stage a train or two.
     
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  4. traingeekboy

    traingeekboy TrainBoard Member

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    Better with the longer tracks for sure.

    I do not know how much knowledge you have about layout design, so I do not mean to talk down to you with what follows. There are some key concepts to consider in designing yards.

    A yard has certain specific tracks:

    -Departure track, or sorting track where trains are built up
    -Arrival Track
    -Storage
    -Drill track, or yard lead
    -Caboose track for storage, servicing
    -MOW track for cranes and other railway repair cars
    -Loco track for service, fuel, storage, etc

    Sometimes on a layout people use one track as both arrival/departure. Generally a train should pull directly into the yard.

    This old plan has the smallest example of a single entry, or stub end yard.

    [​IMG]

    If you look at the three track yard it is really simple. Yet, it has everything one would find in any size yard.

    Trains drive right into one of the tracks as an arrival and departure track. There are two more tracks for storage and sorting.

    The long track facing away is a combo loco, caboose and MOW track. Thus it serves as three important functions.

    The short track facing away is a drill track/yard lead to keep from "Fouling the main line" while working in the yard. It can also serve a switcher pocket when a train is arriving.

    Since trains pull in head first, a switcher would need to pull the arrivals off the loco.

    The design is for very short trains, but again, everything is there. The yard is meant to be where trains originate in order to take cars to the various industrial tracks.

    [​IMG]

    This plan has a yard with a run around track for removing a loco from the head end of the train.

    Consider that the arrival and departure tracks should be the full length of one train based on your layout size. You have a lot of mainline, so the yard should reflect this longer train length.

    Have fun designing. :)
     
    Last edited: Feb 17, 2021
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  5. logging loco

    logging loco TrainBoard Supporter

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    TigerDude,
    Like traingeekboy wrote,
    I'm by no means an expert at layout design.

    Are you familiar with John Armstrong's Given and Druthers lists for layout planing?
     
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  6. Philip H

    Philip H TrainBoard Member

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    Thats ALWAYS a good place to start when layout planning. Do you have yours done?
     
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  7. TigerDude

    TigerDude TrainBoard Member

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    No worries about talking down to me. I do have Mr. Armstrong's Track Planning for Realistic Operations and I guess I had considered givens & druthers, but not by those words. But let's get specific:

    Scale: N

    Prototype: ATSF
    Era: Early Diesel, late 50s, early 60s
    Region: None, probably desert

    Space: Large finished & air conditioned basement, but not the whole thing. I have limited myself to 12 feet wide, but I have space to walk around it. Hey, I'm paying for a wireless cab, let's use it.

    Governing Rolling Stock: (Biggest planned) Santa Fe lightweight passenger stock, El Capitan or Super Chief.

    Relative Emphasis: (move the V)

    |__V____________________________________________|
    Track/Operation .....................................................Scenic realism
    |_____________V_________________________________|
    Mainline Running ..................................................... Switching

    Operation Priorities: (rearrange as required)

    1. Main-Line Passenger Train Operation (watching the long train go)
    2. Long Freight Train Operations
    3. Local Freight Operations
    4. Engine Terminal Movements
    5. Passenger Train Switching
    6. Helper District Operations

    Typical operating Crew: 1

    Eye Level (Owner): 51 In. (sitting)

    I originally was thinking a folded dogbone but decided I wanted 2 tracks to let the passenger line run. Based on comment so far I've changed away from my pinched layout back to a full width one. This let me make yard tracks longer, add dedicated arrival & departure tracks, have a runaround, and have better room for spurs in the interior. This gives me the shortest arrival/departure of 1150 mm (45 freedom units), which I think will let me run F7 A/B, 10 cars, and a caboose ("way car" in ATSF lingo apparently). I also have room for locomotive storage, RIP, icing, etc. if I want to do those, to the left of the left ladder. Right of the ladder is a bit troublesome since there are grades to take the east yard exit mainline over the other loop.

    The local freight I want to do is mostly delivery, respoting, and removal of hopper cars to numbered spots, replicating the cars I used to order from CSX Jacksonville for the plastic bag plant I did material planning for. To replicate the prototype I can just do it or not whenever I want because that's how the local treated us.

    Thanks for the help, folks. Based on comments so far I am now thinking:

    Full width.PNG full width 3d.PNG
     
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  8. logging loco

    logging loco TrainBoard Supporter

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    Ahh, you did some homework. Great.

    Did you leave enough room between the orange and blue tracks for the station building?
     
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  9. TigerDude

    TigerDude TrainBoard Member

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    Only the siding. I don't know that I even want a building, might just put a platform.
     
  10. BigJake

    BigJake TrainBoard Member

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    I would avoid having the yard or industrial sidings, etc. on a grade, to keep cars where spotted while not connected to train/locomotive.

    Luckily, your layout is long enough to get down to the tunnel with a ~2% grade solely on the 3 & 4th tracks from the top.

    However, you need to slide the switch where the top of the reversing track joins the 4th (from top) track further to the left to keep a decent grade on the reverse path. I would probably move the double-stub siding to the reverse track. I might swap the single and double stub sidings to give you more room for the double-stub siding.

    Is this layout up against a wall behind it? If so, what is the layout width/depth? Can you reach all the way across it from the front side, with dexterity to repair scenery, re-rail equipment, etc. on the back side? 30" is the usual limit if you cannot move the layout away from the wall, and less than that if layout is above waist height.
     
  11. TigerDude

    TigerDude TrainBoard Member

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    Thanks for digging in like that.

    You can't see the grades, but the yard, lead, and reverse tracks are at 38mm. The front two tracks are at 0 to the tunnel, slope up to 38 for the turnout to the reverse track. The yard exits to the right goes up to 60mm, stays there most of the time at the top then slopes at 2% through the outside left curve back to the front at zero. So the yard is all flat, just elevated a bit up from the base. I still need to convert the heights to probably increments of 1/4 inch, so the yard will prob need to be at 1.25 or 1.5 inches. I have .25, .56, .75, and 1 inch polystyrene board available at the local big box. I'd like to have an elevated area on the right for industry, but space seems tight. I'm really really trying to keep the size down and avoid scope creep.

    It will sit against the wall, but will be on sliders on carpet to pull out, & I might leave it out while operating it. I got a wireless cab, so walking around isn't so bad (tho it does go against my plan to primarily be seated). 40 inches deep, 144 wide. It will be in a huge empty finished room in my basement. It's at 42" height, eye level while seated. It will be 3 modules bolted together.

    Moving the double stub and changing them does make sense. I'm planning on trying to figure some of that out when I can see it as it gets built.
     
  12. BigJake

    BigJake TrainBoard Member

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    TigerDude,

    Ok, I think I see what you are doing...

    But I am not clear if the difference in railhead elevations, where they cross (the tunnel tracks cross under the visible tracks), is sufficient for clearance, including base, roadbed, track, etc. What is that difference where they cross?

    Even given your era, I would allow clearance for modern double-stacks, etc., just in case you change your mind later.

    On a different thought... You might want to add some more industry spurs, perhaps in the corners, to give you more distant places to go from your yard. If you push the front tunnel entrance into the bend, you could have a nice little industry there, right up front. Same thing with the left front corner... This would also give your red line something else to do.

    And about the red line... the location mid-breast of the yard makes it impossible to access the yard without backing into it, which defeats the double-ended yard advantages. You might consider moving the crossover past the left end of the yard, or maybe (and more prototypically), split it into two single crossovers. The right crossover might need to slide up around the bend.

    If I understood your initial message, your red line is exclusively for passenger trains (which would mean such corner spurs might just be small passenger/mail/express-freight depots. On the other hand, if you treated the trackwork more like a double-track mainline, with crossovers strategically placed, then you would have options of passenger depots on the blue line, and industries on the red, and more operating interest running both freight and passenger trains at the same time.

    But, this is YOUR railroad, not mine, so do what YOU want!
     
  13. TigerDude

    TigerDude TrainBoard Member

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    The clearance right now is 60 mm, or 2.36" on the overpass. I'm not planning on being prepared for autoracks or stack trains, and this is a way to force my hand away from continual purchases! I will probably plan on additional sidings after I get the base contours close. Thanks for all your help @BigJake.
     
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  14. Mudkip Orange

    Mudkip Orange TrainBoard Member

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    Can always apply for stimulus money later to raise overpasses. The engineering consultants thank you.
     
  15. S t e f a n

    S t e f a n TrainBoard Member

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    60mm for N scale should be fine, shouldn't it? I measure 42mm from the base of Microengineering flex track to the top of a double stack of containers (on a car). That would leave 18mm for road bed and support below the upper tracks right where they cross over.
     
  16. BigJake

    BigJake TrainBoard Member

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    Yes, 60mm difference in over/under track elevation is plenty for N scale, for artificially supported tracks (bridges, viaducts, etc.).

    It is usually not enough for tunnels in natural rock (the 1:1 thickness of the natural rock roof would not support the weight of the overhead track and moving train, especially with the accompanying vibration). However, insufficient roof thickness can be disguised by including a ridge between the tunnel opening and the upper track.

    For a 1:1 example, the CP spiral tunnel tracks pass over each other at a relative elevation of ~50 ft, which is about 95 mm in N scale. Less elevation may/not be practical, depending on the geology, etc. 60mm? Probably not.

    This additional thickness requirement in natural rock is part of why 1:1 tunnel entrances are often recessed into the side of the mountain, at the end of an open trench, until the necessary roof thickness is present (via the prevailing surface slope).
     
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