Author Topic: Help on a HCD Layout Plan  (Read 12528 times)

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dowish

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Help on a HCD Layout Plan
« on: October 23, 2011, 05:14:48 PM »
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After two and half years that included losing my job, moving, finishing my college degree, and finally getting a new job, I am finally able to start building a new layout and need help coming up with a track plan.  I have attached a diagram of the room (149”x111”), but don’t take it too seriously.  My wife and I are expecting our first kid, so we are planning on moving soon.  Because of the expected move, I am think that using two HCD in an ‘L’ shape gives me a reasonable chance of being able to keep the layout after the move.

To help the track plan guru’s out there, I’ll list my givens and druthers.

Givens:
  • N Scale, code 55 track.
  • Modern era freight:  The two exceptions would be my Athearn Big Boy and I would eventually like to get the Spokane-Portland leg of the Amtrak’s Empire Builder.
  • Modern era freight:  The two exceptions would be my Athearn Big Boy and I would eventually like to get the Spokane-Portland leg of the Amtrak’s Empire Builder.
  • Prototype:  Columbia River Gorge.  UP and BNSF mainline running from Portland, OR/Vancouver, WA east up the gorge to Hermiston, OR/Pasco, WA.
    15” radius/#7 turnouts min.  This could be fudged some in industrial areas, but even there I’d rather not.
  • Continuous running.
  • DCC.

Druthers:
  • Continuous running for two trains.  Two main lines, instead of a single double track mainline, would be preferable since this would follow the prototype which has the BNSF main on the north side of the Columbia River and UP on the south.  BNSF and UP would then interchange in Portland/Vancouver.
  • Celilo Bridge (just west of Wishram, WA):  This bridge lets BNSF trains go south across the Columbia so they can get to central Oregon.  The interesting part of the bridge is the wye on it that lets east or west bound trains turn south.  There also appears to be an interchange track with UP here.  I recognize that this will probably not work because of the space required.
  • A reversing loop
  • Most industries connected to the Portland yard.  There are some industries located on the mainlines (mostly on the BNSF side), most of the traffic is generated from Portland or off layout.
  • A “design train” of two or three 6-axel diesels with 24 coal hoppers.  If I did the math right, that will be about 10 linear feet.
  • Grades, if any, less than 2%.

Operations:
The way I envision the layout operating is that the Portland & Western RR will switch the yard at Portland/Vancouver along with any locals that layout industries generate.  BNSF/UP will be moving taking that off layout, along with running trains that just pass though Portland/Vancouver.

I realize that most of this is dreaming big and will seriously have to be trimmed down because the space I have isn’t that big.  Thanks in advance for the help.

https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/Cy6AsU69-Nj5Oj5RBbHO7Q?feat=directlink

EDIT: Changed the subject since I am no longer planning on using 2 HCDs.
« Last Edit: November 24, 2011, 09:49:58 AM by dowish »

wm3798

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Re: Help on a 2 HCD Layout Plan
« Reply #1 on: October 23, 2011, 07:26:11 PM »
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Is this the bridge of which you speak?  I shot this at the Portland N trak club in the basement of a hobby shop on the east end of town... can't recall the name.

I believe you're looking to bite off more than a couple of hollow core doors can chew... especially in regards to the BigBoy.  I'm not sure how much radius that needs, but you'll be hard pressed to make it look right and still shoe-horn in all the scenic splendor you're considering.

My suggestion would be to whip up a simple track plan for the space configured, and use it as a test bed for your trackwork, wiring, scenery, etc.  When you settle into the new family abode, then let your imagination run wild down the Columbia gorge.

Lee
Rockin' It Old School

Lee Weldon www.wmrywesternlines.net

M.C. Fujiwara

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Re: Help on a 2 HCD Layout Plan
« Reply #2 on: October 23, 2011, 08:06:56 PM »
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I think you're refering to this bridge:



Which is the Oregon Trunk bridge spanning the Columbia up near Wishram (where my great great uncle was stationed in the 30s & 40s).

Which is also an epic undertaking on two HCDs.

You could have one main on each HCD and have the bridge span the two, but it seems you'd also like to get Portland yard / industrial in there.
Since you plan on moving sooner or later, I'd suggest either doing a single HCD in the middle of the room with a scenic divider down the middle: you can mock up Portland on one side and get the Columbia River gorge flavor on the other.
A layout like that could take 2-3 years ;)
Then you'd be ready to go, skillz & scenery wise when you get to your new place.

The other option is to get a smaller HCD (like 18"-24") and start doing a section of your "real" layout.
Like 6' of Columbia River Gorge, or some industrial sidings, etc.

Right now it seems to be about scope vs space, with moving looming in the future.
Just food for thought.
M.C. Fujiwara
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conrail98

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Re: Help on a 2 HCD Layout Plan
« Reply #3 on: October 23, 2011, 08:16:10 PM »
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The other option is to get a smaller HCD (like 18"-24") and start doing a section of your "real" layout.
Like 6' of Columbia River Gorge, or some industrial sidings, etc.

That was actually my thought, you could do 3 or 4 of the 18" bifold doors and have a nice square layout and be able to build 80" sections of a future layout with ease,

Phil
- Phil

wazzou

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Re: Help on a 2 HCD Layout Plan
« Reply #4 on: October 23, 2011, 09:10:09 PM »
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Celilo Falls Bridge

http://bridgehunter.com/or/wasco/celilo/

The hobby shop Lee speaks of is The Hobbysmith. 
Bryan

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GaryHinshaw

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Re: Help on a 2 HCD Layout Plan
« Reply #5 on: October 23, 2011, 09:27:47 PM »
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Here's another shot that put the challenge in perspective:

http://www.railpictures.net/viewphoto.php?id=368276&nseq=6

I'm not really sure how to do this justice in anything less than a warehouse, but it is a fun project to contemplate.

-Gary

dowish

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Re: Help on a 2 HCD Layout Plan
« Reply #6 on: October 23, 2011, 11:50:15 PM »
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Ya, even as I was typing that, I realized that the Celilo Falls Bridge will have to wait till the next layout.  Every time I drive by I dream of having a layout big enough that including that would be realistic.

My current thinking is Portland on one door, the other door would be going up the Columbia River with lots of scenery consisting of short tunnels and tracks right next to the water.  Or maybe I'll do as M.C. suggests and just do one door for now.  Maybe make it the the gorge part with a divider down that middle, then when I know where I'll be, I can had Portland.

I've ran my Big Boy on curves as small as 11"R, but it isn't pretty.  I figure 15" to turn it around would be good, and I'd have room for a couple of curves big enough for it to actually look good on.

wm3798

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Re: Help on a 2 HCD Layout Plan
« Reply #7 on: October 24, 2011, 08:04:15 AM »
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If you live in the Portland area, surely you're familiar with the big HO model railroad club there.  The N trak group there is pretty active, too.  There's a guy named Rick Ernst (Ernest?) who showed me around when I was out there last year, really nice guy, and has an amazing layout.  You should be able to connect with him by way of the Ntrak club.  He lives up on the hill over by the university.  There's a bunch of them that have a round-robin group, mostly N scalers, too.  Maybe you can scratch your Big Boy itch on one of those layouts while you're penciling out ideas...  Here's a link to the pictures I took at his house:
https://plus.google.com/u/0/photos/106978907148382696950/albums/5463883252718662289

I believe the bridge crossing the aisle behind Rick is the bridge you're talking about...


Lee
Rockin' It Old School

Lee Weldon www.wmrywesternlines.net

dowish

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Re: Help on a 2 HCD Layout Plan
« Reply #8 on: October 25, 2011, 03:25:46 PM »
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Lee, thanks for the pictures of Rick's layout.  When I lived in Portland, I belonged to the Tualatin Valley Model Railroad Club and heard a lot about the HO layout and Rick's.  I have moved to the Walla Walla, WA area and have yet to find a local N scale club, or other N scalers for that matter.  If there was a local club I could join, I would probably postpone building a layout and just run on the clubs.

I am currently trying to decide between going forward with a 2 door layout that would have the mainline though the gorge as an outside loop with Portland/Willamette Valley on the inside.  This gives me longer trains, but not as prototypical scenery.  Mainly I don't see how I could get the tracks between the river and towering cliffs and still have the layout look plausible.

The other option would be a single door with Portland on one side and the Columbia Gorge on the other separated by a divider.  The plus side of this is I'd have at least half a layout with the cliffs/track/river, but sorter trains.

I will draft up each in XtrackCAD over the next couple of days and post the plans for comment.

wazzou

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Re: Help on a 2 HCD Layout Plan
« Reply #9 on: October 25, 2011, 04:37:06 PM »
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I'd check around Pasco.  I think there is a decent hobby shop in Pasco if I recall.  I'm sure that they could give you some guidance on clubs in the area.
Bryan

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dowish

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Re: Help on a 2 HCD Layout Plan
« Reply #10 on: October 30, 2011, 10:38:56 PM »
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Well, it took longer than I thought, but I've got two plans, one uses 2 HCD, and the other uses one HCD.

The 2 HCD layout has a mainline loop that contains "Portland" in the center.  I used 16.25"R curves to form the outside loop, figuring I could double track the mainline if I felt the need.

The second layout uses one HCD "Portland" on one side and the Columbia Gorge on the other.  I used 15"R curves for the mainline loop so I could run larger cars, although normally, I would be modeling a sortline.

I would rather build the larger layout but I am leaning toward the single door since the future home of the layout is uncertain.  If I do build the single door one, I most likely would stretch it to 8' long.




nscalemike

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Re: Help on a 2 HCD Layout Plan
« Reply #11 on: October 31, 2011, 10:06:42 AM »
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My thoughts would be option #1 with some incorporated staging track.  It looks like you could add three tracks or so around the rear of the layout for staging and it will greatly enhance your operating potential.  You could hide the tracks with a low backdrop or tree covered ridge, whatever will fit your location the best.  Also, if this room is only to house your layout, it looks like you could either 1, put the tables on wheels to pull out from the wall, or 2, just leave it about about a foot or so, just enough to slide around the address and troubleshooting you may have.  Doing so will also keep trains from passing through each area only once. 

Another thing I would consider is adding a runaround track in somewhere.  I'll admit that I took one of my runaround tracks out because I didn't think I would use it, but I have others on other areas of the layout.  You don't have any, and once you leave the yard you can't get back in with out backing up.  Maybe a passing track on the main and a incorporate a second runaround in the yard area?  I don't know if this fits your prototype and if it doesn't you might not want to stray that far off, but something to think about. 

That plan looks like it will provide good operation with long trains for continuous running. 

Option 2 would work as well, and maybe would be better for your situation as it is smaller.  Smaller equals faster to build, cheaper to build, easier to fit into a new home, etc.  But your train lenght won't look right on a layout that small.  My opinion would be about a 5' long train max. 

Just some thoughts,
Mike

MichaelWinicki

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Re: Help on a 2 HCD Layout Plan
« Reply #12 on: October 31, 2011, 11:42:53 AM »
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Nscalemike made some great recommendations.

I second thoughts about staging and the addition of run-around tracks.

I know it doesn't mesh with the prototype, but I'd take the branch line and run it off the main in order to give me another reason to put a train on the mainline.

dowish

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Re: Help on a 2 HCD Layout Plan
« Reply #13 on: November 06, 2011, 01:02:56 AM »
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Well, after thinking about it, I think the single door is the way to go for now.  I can always add another door or just start over later.  Once I made the decision to cut back to a single door, I went though my reference material and found a couple of layouts I think would be good starting plans.  The first plan I saw was in Model Railroad Planning 2010 called Dallas on a Door.



The plan originally used a 30" door, which I expanded to 36".  I did that by expanding the loop radius to 13.75" and using #7 turnouts.  I also lengthened the plan to 8'.  I used curved turnouts to make lengthen the siding on top.  There are a couple of things I don't like about the plan.  The first is that only one train can operate continuously.  The second is that I think the 3 tracks at the top (interchange, main, siding) take up to much room.  If I got rid of the interchange there, I could up the loop radius some.  The original plan had a view block so all that was hidden staging, but I'm leaning toward un-hiding it and adding an industry off the siding.

The second layout that caught my eye was #30 in the classic 101 track plans called the Denver & Northwestern RR.



My first thought when trying to draft this in XtrackCAD was "Do any of these plans actually work as drawing without using #2 turnouts and 5"R curves?"  I increased the size of the plan to 3'x8' and used 15" and 16.25" curves for the double track main.  As you can see, I'll need to bump out some areas so I can put scenery by the track.  If I go with this plan, though, I will probably cut back those to 15" and 13.75" curves.  The two points I like about this plan is the double track main, and the reversing loop.  The down side is I don't like the industry/yard as much.

I'm not sure which way to go right now, so more thinking and playing in XtrackCAD.  I'm also thinking of adding a staging yard to make an L.  Good thing there isn't a big rush. :)

MichaelWinicki

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Re: Help on a 2 HCD Layout Plan
« Reply #14 on: November 06, 2011, 12:02:24 PM »
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I think both are good. 

The "Denver" plan looks a little more interesting.

You could certainly change the industrial area to more suite your fancy.