The D&H - Rocky Mountain Empire (Plan#2)

Stourbridge Lion Jun 28, 2010

  1. Stourbridge Lion

    Stourbridge Lion TrainBoard Supporter

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    Well, Plan#1 for my future HO layout was a complete disaster so I went back to the drawing board. Another design idea inspired me to once again start a draft drawing to see if it might fit and through "extremely" tight, it might just be what my D&H - Rocky Mountain Empire will turn out to be.

    Let's step back and review the limitations of "space" I have for a future HO train room. Awhile back we had our porch floor redone with the plan to redo this space as a "3 Season" room; as in no heat/cooling system included. So, it will be better then a garage but not as nice as a true inside room either. The overall size is approx. 24FT wide and 12FT deep.

    [​IMG]

    Using the outer polls, the right most 25% is off limits for layout usage. Along the brick wall must be a "hallway" that will be approx 4FT in width. The middle 50% will have a height limit of 48IN. The left most 25%, the layout can go floor to ceiling if I wish.

    So, that leaves me with roughly 212" by 92" on train layout space and 66.7% can only be 48" in height. The "dream" is to have a "loop" layout that would allow at least 1 train to run the mainline unattended and maximize the length of that mainline by "layering" the layout. My D&H roster is by design DC purchased with some DCC ready and includes a 4-6-6-4 Challenger with long passenger cars as the largest pieces that will need to transverse the loop. Though this consistent might make 18" curves, I have chosen to go with no less then 22" curves in the design and go wall-to-wall within my 212" by 92" space.

    So, let me walk you through Plan#2 and be ready for a mainline that will snake and wind it way back and forth and up and down within these fixed limits...

    :tb-ooh: :tb-ooh: :tb-ooh:
     
  2. Stourbridge Lion

    Stourbridge Lion TrainBoard Supporter

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    212" by 92"

    Based on these limits, I have chosen to use 2 "Stacked" Helix's and have the layout go as low as 24" off the floor so access will be "tight" to say the least. As you can see, side access is extremely limited so I also have reserved a access opening from below to get to a few areas as well.

    So, roughly below is the shaded area of what I will build layer on layer onto. The top of this image represents the "Outside"/"North" wall. The bottom is the "Brick"/"South" wall which the last 4FT is off-limits. To the "Left"/"West" is the 25% area that is off-limits. The "Right/East" most 25% can be floor-to-ceiling while the remainder will have a 48" maximum height.

    I dread the NE corner for derailments as it won't be easy to access... :(

    Time to start stacking layer-on-layer with Level#1...

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 28, 2010
  3. Stourbridge Lion

    Stourbridge Lion TrainBoard Supporter

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    Level#1 - Hidden Staging / Reverse Loop

    [​IMG]

    OK, here is the Level#1 track plan where the vast majority will be hidden from view. Five tunnel portals are planned all in the middle area. The "left" side will have a access door(s) to get to the track as it turns around the western Helix or maybe a shelf style opening but remember, we are just 2FT from the floor at this point and it would only be visible from the side.
     
  4. Stourbridge Lion

    Stourbridge Lion TrainBoard Supporter

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    Level#1 - Hidden Staging / Reverse Loop

    A 3D view of this layer without topography over it would look like...

    [​IMG]

    The Helix in this view is to move the train vertically between Level#1 and Level#3 where Level #2 is reached via the grade along the back wall. The Hidden Staging is somewhat accessible via the long opening below the layout.

    Start visioning a train heading out of the staging yard in a clockwise direction. To move to Level#2 or Level#3 it will go into the reverse loop and either switch to the Helix to head to Level#3 or to the back grade to Level#2. This means the maximum train consistent is limited to the reverse loop size otherwise the engine will run into it's own train.
     
  5. Stourbridge Lion

    Stourbridge Lion TrainBoard Supporter

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    Level#1 - Hidden Staging / Reverse Loop

    A 3D view of this layer with topography over it would look like...

    [​IMG]

    With this view I have shown the Western/Left side open as a optional shelf layout look but again remember it will only be viewable from the side. As you can also see, there is a small "Walk-In" within the middle of the layout.

    That's the Level#1 plan...
     
  6. Mark Watson

    Mark Watson TrainBoard Member

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    Intriguing! I cant wait to see more. :)

    Right off the bat, I'm concerned with the grade percentage necessary for those climbs, but I assume HO is more forgiving on steep grades than N scale is.

    So what's level two look like? :D :D
     
  7. PGE-N°2

    PGE-N°2 TrainBoard Member

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    It's an intriguing thought process for sure. I can't say for sure whether HO would perform better on grades then N scale, or not. However, in this case, with the amount of layout space available, you may want to switch to N and find out.
     
  8. Stourbridge Lion

    Stourbridge Lion TrainBoard Supporter

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    Most of the layout will be 2% grade or less; but, within the HELIX itself, it about 3.3%. Level#2 coming soon...

    Actaully I will have a N Scale layout in the basement which is a smaller space yet but for N Scale it will be plently of space. My O Scale layout will be in the same room as the N Scale as a simple oval running around the ceiling.

    :tb-biggrin: :tb-biggrin: :tb-biggrin: :tb-biggrin:​
     
  9. Stourbridge Lion

    Stourbridge Lion TrainBoard Supporter

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    Level#2 - Tunnel District

    With Level#1 starting from a height of 24", Level#2 will sit vertially above it starting from a height of 31.5" and slightly offset in the center showing the visible section of Level#1 below it. Again, you can see the same two circle access holes for the Helix's and the dark yellow is shown where the access hole is on Level#1 to the hidden staging yard. The Western/Left side is vertially stacked so the only way to see the optional shelf on Level#1 is truly from the side. There will also be a shelf scene on this level on the Western/Left side that will have an old D&RGW steam era feel to it that will also be only visible from the side as Level #3 will stack on top of this yet too...

    [​IMG]
     
  10. Stourbridge Lion

    Stourbridge Lion TrainBoard Supporter

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    Level#2 - Tunnel District

    [​IMG]
    Here is what the Level#2 track plan is. Once again invisson the train that exited the stageing yard clokcwise, used the reverse loop to turn around to the counter-clockwise direction and started up the 2% grade along the Back/North wall behind the left Helix.​

    The train then exits onto Level#2 via the first tunnel portal and crosses over a river on the left side onto the bottom section of shelf layout scene. The train travels along the edge of the layout along the river and exits the shelf layout back into a tunnel.​

    The train exists onto the main layout scene via a tunel portal heading NE towards the middle area and then turns E onto the "High Line" with the exsposed Level#1 trackage area below it. It then crosses under a steal "High Bridge" as it turns NE again before entering another tunnel portal.​

    The train continues to climb up an approx. 2% grade around the right Helix access hole until it exists a tunnel portal the will be the box end of a canyon. The train will then turns North and enter into yet another tunnel. ​

    The train now travels through the tunnel under a cascading waterfall, it continues out of sight as it makes a turn the west crossing vertially over the staging yard below also behind the access hole. The train once again make an appearance on the upper section of shelf layout scene on the western end; this time passing a Depot and Water Tower with the river below it. The train once again exists the shelf layout area of Level#2 via another tunnle portal.​

    The train now makes it's dramatic enterence back onto the main area of Level#2 making a quick turn North and once again vanishes into a tunnel portal as it cross over the hidden access hole.​

    Near the Back/Middle area, the train once again appears onto the layout and turns SE onto the steal "High Bridge" that will take it over the track it has now "Looped" over as well as cross over the cascading water fall. The track cross over a tunnel portal below and turns eastward into the box canyon until it once again enters into the last tunnel portal.​

    At this point, the train now continues it's climb along the east wall, turning west along the north wall as it climbs it's way to Level#3. At this point, it's traveling above the hidden staging yard of Level#1 as well as above the track it used to get from Level#1 to Level#2.​

    So, Level#2 is in many ways one large helix twisting and turning over the entire space. The train will make six (6) visual appearences onto the layout going in and out of tunnels, crossing a river twice, over one long steal "High Bridge" as the mainline makes a "Loop" over itself and then over a cascading waterfall. All curves are planned to be 22" radii or will be flextrack set to ~22" radii or larger.​
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 28, 2010
  11. Stourbridge Lion

    Stourbridge Lion TrainBoard Supporter

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    Level#2 - Tunnel District

    [​IMG]


    Above is a 3D view of the tunnel district with the topography added over the trackage. Here you can see the tunnels more clearly as the are planned for Level#2.​

    .

    [​IMG]

    By rotating the 3D view and adding in Level#1 you can see how the middle section of Level #1 and Level#2 combine into a larger Tunnel District scene. The cascade waterfall would reach Level#1 and pass under a section of the Level#1 trackage as well. The Western/Left side only shows the Level#2 shelf layout area as the topography covers the Level #1 optional shelf layout due to it being truly "under" the Level #2 shelf layout.​

    The Level#2 shelf layout area is planned to be a D&RGW Steam Era feel with a depot and Water Tower along the upper trackage with a roaring river below that the trackage also travels along it's edge. Oh the Railfan photo ops that can happen here...​

    I wonder if folks noticed some of the Colorado RR location terms that I used in descibing Level#2. See, this design is not D&H Proto but what might have happened if the D&H would have been created in the Colorado Rockies and various locations were all mushed together into a single area.​

    By also planning Level#2 this way, I hope to have mostly avoided the "tail chaser" look of squizing a HO layout into such a small space by having the train vanish from sight and reappearing at different locations / heights using topography to it's fullest.​

    That's the Level#2 plan...​
     
  12. Mark Watson

    Mark Watson TrainBoard Member

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    Clever technique! Still looking good. :)
     
  13. SteamDonkey74

    SteamDonkey74 TrainBoard Supporter

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    At our N scale club we have found that that Athearn Challengers have really good track pickup AND they can take tighter corners than a lot of our 6-axle diesels, which may seem a bit counter-intuitive at first but that's been our experience. I don't know if the same is true of the HO version.

    As far as being a non-conditioned space, you can probably get a lot of mileage out of the walls if you put insulation in them and then with either a milk-house heater or an in wall A/C unit (depending on season) you should have pretty good temperature control overall. It's not so big a space that this WON'T work. We have space heaters for our club for the winter and we have no cooling other than portable fans in the summer and we do pretty well.

    What direction does this covered porch face?
     
  14. Stourbridge Lion

    Stourbridge Lion TrainBoard Supporter

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    The porch is on the north side of the house so during the winter the outside temps can drop below -20F and during the summer can exceed 100F. A future deck will be added to the west of the porch.

    Once enclosed, above the 48" limit in the middle will be windows and the off-limit area (West/Left) will be sliding glass doors and windows. As a 3-Season room the humidity I believe will be mostly constent with the rest of the house.

    Long before this plan gets finalized, I will test the entire roster on 22" curves using a simple oval and Figure-8 to also test for 4" clearance planed for within the helix and in places where the trackages crosses over itself.

    With current lack of housing construction $$$'s in the family budget, it will still be sometime before the room walls go up so right now this is just me testing designs against what we believe will be the space avaible when those walls do happen...

    :tb-wink: :tb-wink: :tb-wink: :tb-wink:​
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 28, 2010
  15. Stourbridge Lion

    Stourbridge Lion TrainBoard Supporter

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    Level#3 - North Yard

    The design once again stacks another layer over the two just described...

    [​IMG]
    To quickly recap, our "train" pulled out of the hidden storage yard (Base @ 24") clockwise on Level#1, entered the reverse loop, and then used the back wall trackage at a 2% grade to climb to Level#2 (Base 31.5") in a counter-clockwise direction. From there, the train snaked it's way through several tunnels and trestles as it climbed through (not around) the Rocky Mountains. At the end of our travel up the Tunnel District, we were once again out of sight along the back wall using trackage climbing to Level#3 (Base @ 43") moving in a counter-clockwise direction; right over the top of the track we entered Level#2 as if on a giant helix.

    On this image, you are seeing Level#1 in Gray, Level#2 in Yellow, and now Level#3 in Blue that basically shows the limits of where most the track will be placed for this level.​
     
  16. Stourbridge Lion

    Stourbridge Lion TrainBoard Supporter

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    Level#3 - North Yard

    [​IMG]

    Here is planned trackage for Level#3. Our "train" just reached this level in the NW corner (upper left) and will make a right (south) turn to exit onto Level#3 via a double tunnel portal. You will quickly notice that Level#3 is basically two reverse loops that join together via a narrow straight away along the back wall.

    A Roundhouse is placed on a "hatch" that sits over the top of the Helix on the left side that the train has still not used yet. To fit the 48" limit, the trackage is basically level now at 43" above base leaving 5" of height for builds; not much! So, structures at this level will have to be low profile and more of a "yard" theme.

    As the "train" enters onto Level#3 via the double portal West/Left of the Roundhouse, it makes a slow wide swing to the front of the layout and then turns do North and crosses over the Level#1 access hole way down below. Obviously this is closed on Level#3 but to show it's location I drew it to keep access areas visiable. Now the train swings east over a narrow straight away towards another reverse loop. Here the train can go either way but for layout design lets go straight and enter into another tunnel portal just above the right helix access hole. The train remains out of sight as it pass though the NE corner of the layout as well as along the eastern wall until it exists that tunnel in the SE coner. The train now can exit the reverse loop and head for the Roundhouser track, the track that will take us onto the right Helix and/or use the other reverse loop and come back over the narrow straight away again...

    Let's loop back around again but this time turn to the right rather the go straight. By doing so, we can now head towrds the switch that takes us to Level#4. See, on the right side of the layout, I don't have the 48" limit so we will climb once more; but, let's not get ahead of ourself. Instead, let's go now to the topography of Level#3 and see how it's tied into Level#2 and Level #1 below it...
     
  17. Stourbridge Lion

    Stourbridge Lion TrainBoard Supporter

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    Level #3 - North Yard

    [​IMG]



    With the 3D topography added, once again the shelf layout area(s) of Level#1 and Level #2 are not seen as Level #3 is sitting above them so the topography masks their locations. The Roundhouse (shown in Purple) sits atop a plateau that doubles as a hatchway to the western/left helix from above. The shallow hill behind the Roundhouse conceals the trackage as it heads downward to the lower levels. Height in this are is restricted to 48" and thus the trackage is at 43" to leave 5" for structures. As the "train" leaves the left side over the narrow straight away along the back wall, you can see the Tunnel District of Level#2 as well as the exsposed trackage from Level#1 deep below in the canyons. On the right side, the trackage moves outward onto a High Curved Wooden trestle where the cascade waterfall falls from this level from a river that passes behind the mointain on the right side. The High Curved Wooden Trestle rejoins the mountain side on a ledge that forms a box canyon that Level#2 travels in/out of tunnels below. The trackage then splits before entering two tunnels in the SE corner just above the trackage from Level#2. The High Curved Wooden trestle even crosses over the steal "High Bridge" as well as over trackage from Level#1 so it's a long ways down! Hidden within the mountain side on the right side is the helix to Level#4 that is accessed via the inner trackage off the switch whereas the outer trackage will take the train through the mountain and back out towards the plateau.​

    That's Level#3 for the most part other then talking about the two Helix's that are accessible on Level#3.​

    Lets head up the eastern Helix to Level#4...​
     
  18. Stourbridge Lion

    Stourbridge Lion TrainBoard Supporter

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    Level #4 - Mining District

    [​IMG]

    Historically the D&H was all about transpotation of "coal" and historic railroads in the Rocky Mountains were about "ore" so I had to at least work in a Minig District. Level #4 sits at a 61" basline, well above Level #3. I did this to truly break up the view so the topography of Level#4 does not touch the topography of Level#3. There is little space up here but I wanted to still maintain the 22" Radii so that any Engine/Car that travels on Level#1 thru Level#3 could also use Level#4. This means, we are still talking about a mainline route still going all the way from Level#1 to Level #4.​
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 28, 2010
  19. Stourbridge Lion

    Stourbridge Lion TrainBoard Supporter

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    Level #4 - Mining District

    [​IMG]


    Here is the trackage for Level#4 at the 61" basline allowed on the right side of the layout.​

    Our "train" enters onto Level #4 from the right helix from Level#3 exiting the helix in a northen direction making a turn towards the west into a switch. Our train can now choose to runs circles around Level#4 on the outer loop track going in/out of one of two tunnels that are up here. We can also take the spur and use the inner track that will be the industral access to the Mining Area and then rejoin the mainline and circle around Level#4 on the outer loop track. The "S" curve that cross over/above the helix access also acts as a reverse loop. There is 18" of straight away in the middle of the "S" curve that should keep the longer engines/cars happy! The "S" curve and/or industrial siding is our path to return to the helix to travel back to Level #3 based on direction the train travels around Level#4.​
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 28, 2010
  20. Stourbridge Lion

    Stourbridge Lion TrainBoard Supporter

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    Level #4 - Mining District

    [​IMG]

    This 3D view of topography for Level #4 does not show the topography for the other levels as it truly is design to be offset as a seperate section and thus the topographies are not joined. The Purple structure in the image is there to designate a Mining Complex to load cars with Coal/Ore from a mine up on the mountain side above that will reach basically to the ceailing of the room.​

    Once our "train" leaves Level #4 via the same right helix it travel on to get their, it returns to Level #3​


    [​IMG]

    Our "train" now exits a tunnel portal on the inner track in the SE corner, crosses over a switch, then once again travels over the High Curved Wooded Trestle, over the narrow straight away, and over to the plateau.​

    To continue our downward journey, our train will turn southernly at the switch and then must make a choice of using the outer trackage or the inner trackage as they are two different paths downward. The outer trackage can be used to now take the long slide through the Tunnel District of Level #2 we just travel through "OR", switch onto the inner trackage we have yet to travel over. By using the inner trackage, we will enter into the tunnel just to the right of the Roundhouse and onto the left helix that will spiral the train down to Level#1, bypassing the Tunnel District. ​

    Since the Tunnel District is a "One Train" route and I wanted the option to run more then one train at a time, I needed a way to sneak trains between Level#3 and Level #1. So, while one train can be moving from Level#2 to either Level #3 (upward) or Level #1 (downward), another train can move between Level #3 and Level #1, bypassing Level#2 completely, via the right helix. There is no helix access from/to Level#2, trains on Level#2 just travel around the left and right helix areas. I can also keep a train running on Level#4 while another uses Level#3 (technically another yet running around Level#1) circling those levels indefinitly. Once a train enters onto Level#2 though, dispatch needs to clear Level#1 or Level#3 (based on direction of travel) of traffic; otherwise, be ready for trouble when the train on Level#2 exists onto another level!​

    As trains travel downward from either Level #2 or the Level#3 helix they once again reach Level #1​

    [​IMG]


    A train using the Level #3 Helix will enter a grade on the inside of the hidden storage yard or via the Level #2 grade on the outside of the hidden storage yard. Both routes join at a switch along the eastern wall and exit back onto the layout via a tunnel portal. The train can now use the reverse loop to start the upward travel again OR switch towards the hidden staging yard to let another train start the journey.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 28, 2010

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