Need feedback on N Scale layout

ctrain07 Jun 1, 2021

  1. ctrain07

    ctrain07 TrainBoard Member

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    I dont have a ton of space but I designed a layout and needed some feedback. N scale Coal and intermodal layout designed to have some small yard operations while running trains on the main.. Staging is not shown but will be introduced form one of top tracks. It is on a 4x8 that I already had built. New 2 inch foam installed though.. there will be town buildings elevated along back drop on no mountain side. Road to right will be and over pass with tracks going underneath. Road on left side will go under the tracks.. so gradual 4% road incline to town going left to right. at this point I just want to get some stuff rolling.. thanks everyone.

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  2. BigJake

    BigJake TrainBoard Member

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    Nice plan!

    If not already planning on doing so, I would elevate the industrial loop in the top half (serving coal facility and industry spur). It would help to visually and purposefully separate the industrial line from the mainline. The lower side of the industrial loop is too integrated with the mainline to be elevated relative to the mainline.

    I would slope the yard leads, and lower the yard relative the mainline, for a similar, separating effect. It is important to keep yard and siding tracks level, but yard leads can be sloped since cars are never spotted on yard leads.

    You might have to make the highway cross over or under the tracks on both ends to make this work. Keeping the highway level makes the downtown structures easier to place and keep level.

    I like the way it takes a whole loop around the layout to go between yard and industries. That adds to the separation as well.

    The secondary yard lead at lower right seems superfluous. It only serves the bottom track, and cannot handle a long exchange train there without fouling the lead for the ladder anyway, given the short distance between the ladder and the switch feeding it. I would eliminate it, and slide the yard ladder rightward in its place, expanding the yard capacity a little instead.

    Are your exchange yard tracks going to extend off-layout, like the "from staging" track at upper right? If so, those two extensions on opposite corners will make it harder to walk around the layout, which is necessary with a 4x8 layout. I would switch ends with the engine service tracks and the exchange yard extension tracks, so you could at least walk around the left end.

    That's all I got for now...
     
  3. ctrain07

    ctrain07 TrainBoard Member

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    Thanks soso much.. that is great input.. I have taken notes for sure!! Yes I plan on having the mains raised from yard... about 1/8 to 3/16 inch.. maybe more... advice taken.. also making the yard more weathered. You can't see but the road will pass under on left and gradual up to town and then the highway will over pass the RR on the right side with a bridge. The second yard lead on right was intended to be a run around but you are right it is not necessary... I plan on parking some engines there though..

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  4. BigJake

    BigJake TrainBoard Member

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    What's the plan for how you want to use the yard? That could have a big impact on how the yard should be structured.

    You appear to be designating two A/D tracks accessible from either end for bi-directional, simultaneous arrivals and departures. You will need a run-around/through track, to get locomotives between their service tracks and either end of arriving and departing trains. That leaves only one classification track, but if it is accessible from both ends, it could be worked almost like two (shorter) classification tracks (i.e. from either end).

    You'll need twin yard leads on both ends (like you have on the right end now), to allow you to pull a cut from one end of the class track, drop it on the ladder, and get around the cut via the outer lead to couple up to the other end of the cut, pull it through the pass-through yard track to the other end, and push it onto the opposite end of the departure train.

    And vice-versa for pulling a cut from an arrival train and pushing it onto the opposite end of the classification track.

    If you only designate one A/D track, you can gain a second classification track for more capacity. However the yard throughput would decrease, since you could not simultaneously handle an arriving train while assembling a departing one.

    That will be your choice, more yard capacity, or more yard throughput? Or you could find some way to add a fifth yard track...

    I would vote for more capacity, at the cost of less throughput, especially if you will normally operate the layout by yourself. And I want to display as many freight cars on the layout as possible.

    The run-around/through track should be the bottom track, since it is shortest (reserving longer yard tracks for trains/cars), and is directly accessible to the engine service, RIP/caboose tracks at opposite ends, and both leads at both ends.

    You will need to keep both yard leads on both ends clear at all times, so add another spur (or two) above the locomotive maintenance tracks to store locomotives. I would also streamline the trackwork, and have the service tracks feed directly into the outer yard leads. This also maximizes the lengths of the service and storage tracks.

    Most yards have one or more repair in place (RIP) tracks for minor repairs on freight cars, including coupler, brake shoe, wheelset, and air hose replacements, adjustments, etc. Replacing wheelsets requires a small mobile cherry-picker crane or possibly a heavy-duty forklift, and a supply of new (but still rusty) wheelsets. And of course, a collection of old wheelsets waiting to be loaded onto a flatcar or gondola, and taken to a refurbishment/scrap facility. The RIP track would usually have a shop building nearby, so the RIP track would likely be the upper of the two tracks at lower left.

    Depending on the modelled era, you may need a caboose track, where cabeese are stored until needed, even if taken off an incoming train only until the next outbound train is assembled. That could be the lower left track at the far left end. If your era is post-caboose, then that lower track can be used for whatever (MOW equipment, more loco storage space, etc.) In fact, if you need a caboose track, you'll probably want third stub track at lower left for MOW equipment. Just keep the top track for RIP so it can be adjacent to a shop and other equipment.

    Now, having written all this, it's only how and why I would do it (I like to plan vicariously through others' layouts!) It's your layout, so feel completely free to set up and use your yard any which way you want!
     
  5. ctrain07

    ctrain07 TrainBoard Member

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    OK take a look ... I made some revisions.. gonna take som squeezing.. I took a pic of my scarm file ./. looks like I can barely make it in.. pic is with roadbed...

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  6. ctrain07

    ctrain07 TrainBoard Member

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    I may have to put some plexi to keep train from going off side.. or I can fabricate a small piece of wood frame to extend yard area ..

    BigJake let me know what you think?
     
    Last edited: Jun 3, 2021
  7. astrotrain

    astrotrain TrainBoard Member

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    Wow that's allot of track for the area.
     
  8. ctrain07

    ctrain07 TrainBoard Member

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    I know, right? sorry.. I just have a small space and needed the 4'x8' foot print...lol
     

    Attached Files:

  9. warnerj01

    warnerj01 TrainBoard Member

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    It looks like you are using Kato Unitrack. Which turnouts are you using? #4 or #6?

    If you are using #4 turnouts, don't forget that one of the legs of the turnout needs the special cut straight piece otherwise the roadbeds overlap. Since track planning software don't require the piece, it's easy to forget include it.

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  10. BigJake

    BigJake TrainBoard Member

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    Ctrain,

    Wow, didn't know you had room for another track! I suppose where there's a will, there's a way...

    Regarding track vs space, everyone has their own balance. If you are comfortable with it, then a 5-track yard will provide more capacity and throughput. I think a strip of plexiglass on the edges of layouts is a good thing anyway, to protect trains, scenery, etc. near the edge, while I lean over the edge of the layout, or just walk by too closely with loose clothing.

    I would still combine the ladders for the exchange yard and engine service tracks with the outer yard leads. This saves a couple of switches, and adds track capacity with zero operational deficit. Back-to-back ladders are very common in large yards.

    And the inner leads' (main yard) ladders really need to extend all the way to the bottom track, or else it greatly increases the effort and time required to use both ends of the classification tracks.

    We haven't talked much about the lower industrial trackage, and there are some improvements that would allow bidirectional access from both mainline tracks.

    If you take the left two-switch crossover (from mainline to branchline) and slide it to the right (up to the other two-switch crossover), that will give you room for a left crossover between the mainline tracks on the left end, similar to the right crossover you have on the right end of the mainline straight.

    There are also several places where multiple shorter straight track pieces can be replaced with a single longer one. Reducing rail joiners is always a good idea.
     
  11. ctrain07

    ctrain07 TrainBoard Member

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    i just went out and tested this ^^^ warnerj01 and you can configure a #4 ladder (to be worked by a small road switcher or switcher consist 4 axle) i played around with the pieces until i got it.. Good Catch Though.. I am glad you told me!!!

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  12. ctrain07

    ctrain07 TrainBoard Member

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    ok Bigjake... try this..

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  13. BigJake

    BigJake TrainBoard Member

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    Ctrain,

    Getting there!

    Now, do the same thing with the engine fueling/maintenance tracks that you did with the exchange yard tracks.

    Also, since the yard ladders stop at Yard 3, rather than continuing to Thoroughfare, you can't move cars from the left end of the yard to the right end the A/D track. This means that your yard tracks will be single ended, and much harder to manage. If you are running cabeese, there's also no way to get a caboose from the left side to the right end of a left-bound train on the A/D track.

    Unfortunately, adding the additional switches to extend the yard ladders to Thoroughfare, runs afoul of what Warner was saying, since there's no room for one of the tapered track pieces.

    You'll need to add some space between the inner and outer back-back ladders, so you can put one of those tapered pieces between the two switches from thoroughfare to the inner and outer ladders. This will take back some of the length you just gained on the exchange yard tracks. But tying the engine service tracks to the outer yard lead, then sliding the outer yard lead right, will make room for the tapered piece there, without reducing your current engine service track lengths.
     
  14. ctrain07

    ctrain07 TrainBoard Member

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    ok.. I made the yard smaller .. I made add another yard track but I was worried about space.. try this.. I may still keep extra yard track if I can fit...hehe

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  15. ctrain07

    ctrain07 TrainBoard Member

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    also did this one with extra yard track...

    upload_2021-6-4_3-51-29.png
     
  16. ctrain07

    ctrain07 TrainBoard Member

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    Trains I guess could arrive on the thoroughfare track as well (on second yard lead further down) if necessary.. and yes it will be me and maybe my son running trains.. 2 at most.. me working yard though i want it semi functional.. lol just to marshall out coal cars and back with occasional TTX train moving through.. and local freight out of yard as well.. and of course a train or two passing through from staging and exit.. on left top..??? (just thinking) I could store cars on exchange track to keep them out of way.. anyway.. thanks for everyone's input.. ;-)
     
  17. BigJake

    BigJake TrainBoard Member

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    An operational note: Never foul the thoroughfare; you'll regret it!

    Take this example: The A/D is already busy with a departure, all yard tracks are occupied. So you pull a left-bound arrival onto the thoroughfare instead.

    How do you get the inbound locomotive, on the left end of the train, over to the engine service tracks for service?

    You would have to take the loco out on the main, all the way around the layout, to the left side yard (outer) lead.

    Now, if the overlap (in time) between the arriving train and the departing train on the A/D is short (and it already has a refueled engine [and caboose] attached!), then you could just wait until then, and move the inbound up to the A/D track to clear the thoroughfare.

    But you could have parked the inbound train on whichever lead the departure wouldn't need, passing through the yard thoroughfare if needed. This gives you a way to handle an overlap between arriving and departing trains, without having to foul the thoroughfare, and the overlap needn't be that small, since the departure can still attach power [and caboose] after the arrival. In fact you could handle two arrivals that way as well. If you don't foul the thoroughfare!

    This is also why the thoroughfare is best being the shortest yard track, because you're never supposed to park anything on it anyway.
     
  18. BigJake

    BigJake TrainBoard Member

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    Okay, about the two switches you added to the thoroughfare...

    They won't work like that, because you have another switch on both through and diverting routes, so there's no place to put the tapered track piece on either route of those innermost switches.

    The best way to fix this is to create space between the switches to the inner and outer leads on the thoroughfare, to insert a tapered track piece. This increases the space between inner and outer yard leads. On the righthand side, that's not gonna hurt any if you attach the engine service tracks directly to the outer lead to compensate. It will, however, reduce the length of the right hand exchange tracks by about 2".

    Or, if you can squeeze a little bit more room between the Yard 3 (or 2?) and thoroughfare tracks, you could replace thoroughfare's inner-most #4's with #6's that don't need the tapered track pieces. That may be harder than it sounds, since it will create an offset in length between inner and outer leads.

    Thank Goodness for computer track-planning programs!
     
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  19. warnerj01

    warnerj01 TrainBoard Member

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    I'm sorry, I don't think I was clear, The problem is not the ladder. The problem is connecting three #4 switches together in specific configurations.

    I highlighted 3 potential problem areas. If these are #4 switches, the roadbed of the 3 switches overlap. You may or may not be able to trim the roadbed of the switches so the pieces fit.

    Hope this helps out. It's an issue I've learned to watch out for.
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  20. ctrain07

    ctrain07 TrainBoard Member

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    Thanks Jerry and BigJake.. I will test this.. and get back..
     

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