A few months ago, I posted a sketch and some ideas for a possible track plan I'd been doodling and working on. (That thread can be found here: http://therailwire.net/forum/index.php/topic,22743.0.html
For a number of reasons, that plan didn't really work too well (Ed and a couple of others noted a couple of these and some suggestions, not to mention that it would not have really been able to have been built as drawn without useing #2 switches...).
At the time I was looking for an apartment, but staying at my parents' place in the interim, so basically just sketching ideas for some theoretical space. Well, in February I moved into a new 2-bedroom apartment, and in my second room (office/workroom) I have room for a layout down one wall. There's a 12-foot space from wall to wall, and a 21" shelf will fit between the wall and the opening of the bi-fold closet door.
So I've gone back to the drawing board, working on a new plan to fit this space, being deliberately more conservative with the switches and track layout, while keeping a few elements that I wanted to have.
The main features I really wanted to incorporate are:
1. A design that allows for a logical operating scheme. That meant I wanted to include:
a) an interchange track to represent an outside connection. All inbound/outbound traffic will transfer between here and the modelled industries
b) a place to park an engine
2. a runaround that isn't uselessly short
3. a switching lead that isn't uselessly short and can handle the entire capacity of the runaround track + engine
4. One nice-to-have that I wanted to work in was to incorporate a partially completed factory made from DPM components that I started for an earlier layout. (Industry "D" on the track diagram).
This is the current plan I've come up with; I did some mocking up last night in the actual space to confirm that the elements will fit as planned. (It pretty much went down exactly as drawn, amazingly). The theme is sort of generic light-industrial area.
Looking at the various tracks, using a standard 50' boxcar as a unit, the track capacities are:
Industry "A": 1
Industry "B": 3 (2) *
Industry "C": 4 (1)
Industry "D": 4 (3) (over two tracks)
Team track: 2
Interchange: 6 (could lengthen to 7 by moving the switch by about 2-3" to the left)
Switch lead (left side): 5 +engine
Switch lead (right side): 1 +engine (only needs to be long enough at this end to let the engine escape and runaround)
* (numbers given as x (y) indicate that x cars will actually fit between the switch and end of track, but the track/industry is designed for y actual car spots)
Here's a few photos of the mockup on the floor, fitting things to the space. The paper templates are #6 switch templates printed off FastTracks' website.
The switch to the engine parking track (foreground, below the orange boxcar in the second pic) could be interesting, as the joint would be between the points and frog, but the switch has room to move to the left a few inches to put the whole thing on the middle section, at the cost of shortening the team track to one car. The functions of these two tracks could possibly be swapped in that case.
The next step will be to actually acquire some wood and put the basic module benchwork together.