Author Topic: Best Of Yard Layouts  (Read 32829 times)

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wm3798

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Yard Layouts
« on: February 18, 2009, 10:50:44 PM »
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So last night I decided I needed to take some aerial shots of the current yard configuration  Starting with the west end...


Trains from the west arrive via the steel bridge on the left.  Just prior to the yard entrance, there is a crossover that allows trains to leave the yard, then cross onto the westbound main.  Just past the crossover is the first yard switch, which accesses a run around track.  The shed south of the tracks is the caboose shop.  That building will end up in the Elkins yard when that gets built.



The two grey ballasted tracks at the top are the main lines, which also serve as Arrival/Departure tracks.
The first yard track is also a through track that serves as an A/D track, but is most frequently used to assemble outbound trains.
The next two tracks are the main yard tracks. followed by the access track that reaches the engine terminal, off to the right, and three more yard tracks.  At the bottom of the image is the caboose servicing track (with the paved platform).  The crossover at left accesses the caboose shop shown in the previous image.

Moving right along...


Next we see the remainder of the main classification tracks, plus the three shorter tracks, where I build locals and hold cars until there's enough "critical mass" to build an outbound train.
At the top is the odd "runner track" which serves as a bypass, and as a storage track.  The turnout is where it is, because the track would otherwise be blocked by the window frame.
At the bottom, we have the car shop building, where I store cars waiting to be painted or lettered.  (I have a lot more than would fit right there!)  Then at the bottom right is the beginnings of the engine terminal  The paved areas are the engine ready tracks, where there are fuel and sand racks.


From the top...
Runner track 1a
A/D-1 (westbound main)
A/D-2 (eastbound main)
A/D-3 (outbound set up)
Y-1 (through train blocking)
Y-2 (through train blocking)
Y-3 (locals/holding)
Y-4 (locals/holding)
Y-5 (locals/holding)
Sand and fuel track
Engine Ready Tracks
car shop tracks


East end of the yard, and the turntable/engine servicing tracks.
Here you can see AD/3 and the two main tracks combining down to one, and the runner track continues around the outside perimeter.  With AD/3 being a through track, it's handy for building east or west bound trains.
You can also see the relationship between the engine ready tracks and the turntable.  There's an "escape" track from the east end of the turntable back out to the main, which is handy for swapping power on eastbounds.


The current east end of the yard, where the runner track folds back into the main, and you get a better look at the turntable escape track.  From here, the single track "utility sub" continues down the wall to North Junction, as shown here...


Here's the bridge across the closet door.  The switch at right is the end of single track as you come east from the yard.  At that point, you are in North Junction.


This is the first part of the layout that's in the "permanent" design.  The first track is the PRR interchange track that loops around then crosses the WM main at NC Tower (a.k.a. Town on the PRR).  The Hagerstown yard complex will begin just west of the PRR switch.


Last but not least, North Junction itself.  Just off to the right is the drop leaf bridge that carries traffic into and out of staging.  The crossover is there to allow westbound trains to access the yard, once past the PRR switch.  Through trains (such as empty coal hoppers) would proceed straight along the westbound main, bypassing the yard.

So why do I share this with you?  Mainly to give you an idea of how my yard works at present, but also to give you an idea what the next major project will be.  My plan is to start working on Hagerstown Yard, as shown in the following illustration...



Now to avoid confusion, let me clarify, the yard you see in the pictures is NOT the yard in the diagram.  I built the current yard as a stop gap to allow me to get trains running on the layout while I plotted and schemed to get the rest of the house ready for the proposed expansion...  here's the current configuration...


Note that Andy's bed is no longer in the room.  So, the challenge is to rotate the yard 90 degrees and push it down into the corner.  Sounds easy enough.  But what's probably going to happen, is the engine terminal will be stripped and salvaged, and work will begin on the east end of Hagerstown, including the new funky piece that will have to be a lift out for the closet door, and the engine terminal area.  In the mean time, I'll be accumulating turnouts for the purpose of laying out the classification yard.  One thing I've learned from the current yard is that I don't need all those tracks to be through.  So, I'll eliminate most of the east yard ladder in favor of maybe 3-4 through tracks (including the mains) and do all the switching from the west end of the yard.  This has worked out pretty well on the temporary yard, so I can eliminate about $100 worth of turnouts.  (Mr. Wallet breathes a sigh of relief!)

This approach will also allow me to go to #7 turnouts for the yard throat without worrying about loosing track length.  Also, you'll notice the tracks that pass in front of the turntable.  These tracks will serve both as arrival tracks for trains terminating at Hagerstown, and as interchange tracks for PRR, N&W and B&O traffic, which will help generate a whole slew of new waybills.  This will also keep that traffic off the mains, and out of the usual A/D tracks next to the mains to further free things up for the yard jockeys. 

I may eliminate some of the track that wraps around behind the roundhouse, which should enable me to build a bigger roundhouse.  The Hagerstown RH was 22 stalls in almost a full 180 degrees.  Being something of a facilities geek, I'd like to get as close to that as possible.  I'd also like to have all that space available to store my burgeoning fleet! 

Constructing this section next will also allow me to build out at least a temporary yard for Elkins.  This has become another thorn in the side, having nowhere to originate my coal trains, nor to send additional on-line traffic.  Finishing this out will be a lower priority, since it will be easier to access to build in place after the section is installed.  I also want this in place before I start reworking the peninsula.

If I play it right, I should be able to build most of Hagerstown out in the garage, similarly to how I built the paper mill section.  This will allow me to continue running on the temporary trackage for at least the next two years.  Then when the time comes, just like when they closed Memorial Stadium, I'll just dig up the turntable (home plate) and transport it to the new location.

That's my story, and I'm sticking to it...

Lee




« Last Edit: October 07, 2015, 03:29:35 PM by tom mann »
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Ed Kapuscinski

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Re: Yard Layouts
« Reply #1 on: February 19, 2009, 10:29:31 AM »
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This is awesome, but I must take umbrage:

Quote
One thing I've learned from the current yard is that I don't need all those tracks to be through.

I wouldn't be so fast to say that. We get by with the single ended yard, but as things get busier, having an east and a west crew would be REALLY helpful.

The east end job would classify cars, while the west end would be the "puller" who takes the classified blocks and makes them into trains. Right now one of the bottle necks is that classification has to stop when you're making an outbound train up, or when you need to pull that cut and insert it into a train. Having a double ended class yard will solve that. Of course, you'd need the crews to staff it...



wm3798

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Re: Yard Layouts
« Reply #2 on: February 19, 2009, 10:44:49 AM »
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Not a bad idea...  the "puller" crew could double as the Elkins crew, too...  Neither will have a ton of work, but between the two, that could keep them pretty busy.

I'll have to work that into the scheme to allow for yard tracks as long as possible...  Due to the geography, I'd keep the class work at the west end, though.

Lee
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N_DaveS

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Re: Yard Layouts
« Reply #3 on: February 19, 2009, 03:19:32 PM »
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Lee,

I noticed in several of the pictures that you have mounted some of the Caboose Industries throws away from some of the more crowded turnouts; it looks like you've run a tube under the tracks through which the connecting wire passes. Can you describe how you did that? I've got a similar engineering problem to resolve...

Thanks!

Dave (have not been assigned a Dave # yet)

wm3798

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Re: Yard Layouts
« Reply #4 on: February 19, 2009, 03:50:20 PM »
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I rebuilt this the week before an ops session, so I didn't have time to get all civil engineering on it...  I took some scrap rail, bent up the ends, and made throw bars.  I cut out the ties that were in the way, Threw some ballast over the whole mess, and when the glue dried just wiggled the rods loose.

Very low tech.

Lee
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Ed Kapuscinski

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Re: Yard Layouts
« Reply #5 on: February 19, 2009, 04:17:52 PM »
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I had started writing up another reply that seems to have been eaten. Basically, I think that you'd be much better served by putting the long A/D tracks (that are toward the front now) between the class tracks and the mains, so that stuff can arrive and depart without stopping classification work.

Like I had mentioned, it was tough this past weekend when I had to stop what I was doing because there was something either entering or leaving the yard.

How wed are you to that track layout at the throat / ladder area?

I'll get out the pencil and do some sketching.

davefoxx

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Re: Yard Layouts
« Reply #6 on: February 19, 2009, 04:43:40 PM »
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This is awesome, but I must take umbrage:

Quote
One thing I've learned from the current yard is that I don't need all those tracks to be through.

I wouldn't be so fast to say that. We get by with the single ended yard, but as things get busier, having an east and a west crew would be REALLY helpful.

The east end job would classify cars, while the west end would be the "puller" who takes the classified blocks and makes them into trains. Right now one of the bottle necks is that classification has to stop when you're making an outbound train up, or when you need to pull that cut and insert it into a train. Having a double ended class yard will solve that. Of course, you'd need the crews to staff it...

Now that I have assisted Ed with the operation of Ridgely Yard during an ops session, I believe that I may be able to add my two cents worth.  Understand that I do not mean to be critical of your existing layout or your new plan.  I just hope to help you build the best layout possible.  It never hurts to have a devil's advocate to avoid potential problems.

That said, I agree with Ed.  A double-ended yard would allow us to practically halve the time to build, sort, and break down trains.  With the current layout of the temporary yard, we really could operate only one switch engine at a time, so I was left watching Ed and handling his paperwork.  Don't get me wrong.  I'm not complaining, as I had an absolute blast.  But, the ability to run two switchers would increase the efficiency of the yard immensely.  Obviously it was all in jest, but it seemed everyone was ribbing us for holding up the railroad.

Also, I love the hostling of motive power, which explains my affection for railfanning the RF&P's Bryan Park Terminal in Richmond, Virginia when I was in college. Make sure to add thoroughfare tracks to get that power to and from the trains.  I felt hemmed in a little bit on the temporary yard this weekend.  But I can vouch for that escape track to the east end of the yard being a godsend.  I even got a pair of SD35s through that radius without derailments or stalls.  There was quite a bit of flange squeal, though.  ;)

Lee, I'm concerned about the other yard being directly in front of the Hagerstown yard.  That's going to be a lot of people in a very small space, don't you think?  You may want to also test those aisle widths before committing to the final plan.  I can't imagine ten people in the room with the new plan, like we did last Sunday.

Otherwise, I look forward to the expansion and hope I can be of assistance whereever possible.

Dave #273

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Re: Yard Layouts
« Reply #7 on: February 19, 2009, 04:52:40 PM »
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I agree 100% with my esteemed colleague.

davefoxx

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Re: Yard Layouts
« Reply #8 on: February 19, 2009, 05:09:28 PM »
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Ed,

Thanks!  I'm glad to see that we think alike on this issue.  I'm also glad to see that you're still talking to me after being in your way for several hours during the ops session last Sunday. ;D  If you're going to do some sketching for Lee, see if you can add in some dedicated yard leads at each end.  They would help keep the way clear for the arrivals and departures, and your switcher wouldn't be caught blocking the main.

Lee,

What's the schematic of the prototype yard at Hagerstown?  Is it a flat yard?  Were there dedicated eastbound and westbound classification yards?  On the RF&P, which was a bridge route and handled mostly through traffic, the main line went down the middle of the yard separating the northbound classification yard from the southbound classification yard.  It might help (or not) to see how the prototype handled the problem.  Ooh, another thing: if you add that coal operation you were talking about earlier this week, how will that impact Hagerstown Yard?  Are you going to need some sort of marshaling ability/storage in the yard?

Dave

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asciibaron

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Re: Yard Layouts
« Reply #9 on: February 19, 2009, 06:08:01 PM »
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The east end job would classify cars, while the west end would be the "puller" who takes the classified blocks and makes them into trains.

i completely disagree.  what is needed are arrival and departure tracks.  if he has enough A/D trackage, the yard is only used to classify.  once a train is broken down and the magic number of cars is reached for an outbound, pull the track and set it on the A/D, attach a cabin and let the road crew get the power from the round house.

i did this for 5 hours on a stub ended Enola last Saturday - as long as you work smart, and have 3 tracks for A/D you can get it all taken care of.  putting another crew on the other end of the yard is asking for trouble, plus it will EAT up the layout - you would need double the yard leads and putting on the cabins wouldn't work very well from the opposite end of the ready track.

consult the John Armstrong planning book for a decent yard setup.

-steve
« Last Edit: February 19, 2009, 06:11:21 PM by asciibaron »
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wm3798

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Re: Yard Layouts
« Reply #10 on: February 19, 2009, 06:59:42 PM »
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Steve has a point... When I'm operating by myself, that's about what I do.  Y-1 and Y-2 are long enough to hold a full train of about 16-18 cars.  By consulting the schedule, I can see who's due in next, and set up the A/D track accordingly.

HOWEVER, since there's a lot of power swaps and caboose changes with the thru freights, it does make sense to have a second crew working the a$$ end.  Presently, I block all the through cars at the end of the train.

Anyway for those of you taking notes, the length of the side where the yard is is 13'2", and the the depth of the deck should be no more than 36".

The location of Elkins remains a conundrum.  I suppose the best, most practical place for it would be in the corner where Ridgely now sits.  That would keep the operators from bumping elbows too much.  I'm also assessing the aisle width issue.  There's no way I'd have a 10 man crew, but I think things could work out pretty well with 4-6 in the crew. 

Here's a google map I built that has my most reasonable guesses as to where everything was in Hagerstown.  It was a hump yard, with an east and west hump.  I'm just not sure where they were.  Perhaps there are some blanks that someone could fill in for me there...

http://maps.google.com/maps/ms?ie=UTF8&hl=en&msa=0&msid=105474372662890503029.0004529e28bf54485f06e&ll=39.641537,-77.741961&spn=0.011699,0.019312&t=h&z=16
I've included tags with the descriptions as best as I can recollect.

Maps Live has the Bird's Eye view available for this area now, too...
http://maps.live.com/default.aspx?v=2&FORM=LMLTCP&cp=qm6xk08hpmck&style=b&lvl=1&tilt=-90&dir=0&alt=-1000&scene=38840981&phx=0&phy=0&phscl=1&encType=1 
 
This starts at the east end of the yard.  The four track overpass is the result of the 1958-59 grade separation project.  The two tracks on the right are the PRR, which originally ran in what is now Walnut Street, and the WM is on the left, originally in Burhans Blvd. (You can see the old passenger station just west of the overpass, now the Hagerstown 5-0.  Just east of here is North Jct, you can see the remains of the tower to the right of the tracks.  Head back west and you can trace your way through the yard.

Lee
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davefoxx

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Re: Yard Layouts
« Reply #11 on: February 19, 2009, 08:26:41 PM »
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Lee,

Do you have a copy of Tony Koester's book, "Realistic Model Railroad Building Blocks"?  There's a small gold mine of information in this book for you.  On page 38, there's a sketch of the layout of the Westvaco paper mill at Luke, Maryland (circa 1981).  On page 52, there's a track schematic (and a couple of small pictures) of the yard at Elkins, which is briefly described on page 54.  Apparently, the climb out of Elkins on the Black Fork grade required helpers (see pages 74-75).  Finally, two commodities to come out of Elkins were wood chips and coal, with the wood chips at the front of the train to avoid contamination from the coal dust (see page 53).  That's interesting for blocking trains properly.

With the knowledge of a helper grade out of Elkins on the prototype, could Elkins on your layout go under the area to the west of Hagerstown Yard in the location of the present day Ridgely Yard?  This way, the operator at Elkins should be out of the way of Hagerstown yard crew(s), and if you need additional power to get up the grade and out of the yard and on the main portion of the layout, it would be prototypical.

Dave

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wm3798

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Re: Yard Layouts
« Reply #12 on: February 19, 2009, 08:53:03 PM »
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I don't have Koester's book, but I bet I have most of the source material he used for research.  I'd be interested to see the schematic for the Luke paper mill, although I doubt I'd ever be able to do much more than I already have with that.  The complex is vast, and would require a room unto itself.  As for Elkins, the other wicked thought that keeps going through my mind is to just run the Thomas sub right on through the closet wall and into the other attic room (behind where the TV was).

Tell me, does that house you're taking care of during the messy divorce have a big basement?

Really, the WM is the ideal multi deck layout.  As Steve has said, it's really two railroads, with the fast freight bridge route running from Connellsville to Lurgan, and the coal hauler running from Elkins to Baltimore.  If Hagerstown to Cumberland was single decked, the other arms of the "X" would be the double decks.

... or.... maybe I just need to simplify and do the East Sub between Highfield and Emory Grove...  Geez.  the more I think about it the more my head hurts...

Lee
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davefoxx

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Re: Yard Layouts
« Reply #13 on: February 19, 2009, 09:08:43 PM »
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Lee,

PM me your mailing address and I'll drop my copy of Koester's book in the mail for you tomorrow.  You can borrow it for as long as you need.

By the way, pages 56-57 of Andy Sperandeo's book, "The Model Ralroader's Guide to Freight Yards," has a yard designed for Frankfort, Indiana on the Nickel Plate Road.  Yeah, I know, that's not the WM, but since you're probably not going to put in that hump yard, this is a yard design that I think Ed and I would agree would be perfect for your Hagerstown Yard.  It's got westbound and eastbound classification tracks, two yard leads, a turntable with roundhouse, and caboose tracks in the appropriate places.  If you don't have a copy of this book either, I could send it, too.

I'm not sure about the basement of that house in Hurlock, but I have the feeling that if you bore through the wall, the divorce in Hurlock won't be the only "messy" one on the Eastern Shore.  ;D

Dave

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Bob Bufkin

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Re: Yard Layouts
« Reply #14 on: February 19, 2009, 09:13:33 PM »
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Lee:

Have you looked at the WM track diagrams I gave you.  I know you can't actually do the whole Hagerstown yard but it should give you an idea on how they laid out the yard and you could modify it for optiumum operations.