Author Topic: Cisco Bridges: a new layout concept  (Read 99503 times)

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GaryHinshaw

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Re: Cisco Bridges: a new layout concept
« Reply #15 on: November 13, 2012, 06:26:17 AM »
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Hi Scott,

I've been a bit slow to catch up with this thread but I love the concept of a Fraser River pike.  As Philip says, it seems like your druthers are in order, so you really should go for it.  That said, I'm not really a big fan of the plan you posted, mostly for the operational and space-utilization reasons Hyperion noted.  Let me throw out another concept that has a bit more operational interest, but is not without substantial flaws still.  (I must admit: the space you have available is quite challenging for a pike like this.)  Here is the sketch:



Legend:
Tan - room/benchwork lines,
Green - helix/access tracks from staging,
Red - CP line (east/clockwise running)
Black - CN line (west/counterclockwise running)

The basic idea is to have two ovals for directional running, as per the prototype, and to access fixed staging underneath with a helix.  As shown, the helix has a 16" radius and is clockwise up (only a portion of the top loop is shown).  At the top you can then access the CN line in either direction: counterclockwise would give you normal westbound access, clockwise would give you reverse running for half a lap, before you enter the CP line for eastbound running.  There is no provision for westbound (counterclockwise) running on the CP line, and to exit the CP line, you would have to back the train up the cutoff and head back to the wye/helix.  (Note that you could cut the power off the head end and pick up your train at the other end and pull it up the cutoff.  The length of the cutoff as shown is ~4.5', so if you want 2 inches of separation at the crossing, this track would have a grade of 3.7%!  You could fudge that a bit by putting opposite grades on the two mainlines.)

There are many challenges with this plan:

* The center access requires a duck-under, and room access with the entrance door as shown is challenging.  (Can that door open out, or be removed entirely?)  If you make the track height relatively high, the duck-under is not so bad.  The center opening as drawn is very notional.  It is 2 x 4, which is fine for 1 person, but it could easily be larger and irregular in shape.

* The area around the wye is complicated as drawn.  I was trying to make this work with a one track helix, but it might be preferable to have a double helix (one clockwise, one counterclockwise) so that you don't need the "balloon" track at the top.  Alternatively, it might make more sense to have a double-ended staging yard along the top - behind the White Canyon backdrop at nominal track level - that entered the CN in either direction. As long as you have bi-directional access to the CN line, the ops scheme above will work.

* There is an awkward scenery challenge in that the entire visible pike is a river valley with tracks on both sides.  This is especially awkward around the helix, where deep canyons would be a problem.  If you lose the helix, one of the challenges goes away.

Just some thoughts.  I think something good is bound to percolate with the help of the crew here.

-Gary

Scottl

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Re: Cisco Bridges: a new layout concept
« Reply #16 on: November 13, 2012, 07:36:03 AM »
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Hi Gary,

Thanks for your feedback and taking the time to flesh out an alternative.  I think you have found the subtle challenge all those doors create for using the space in this room- I call it door-challenged!  I am sure I can reverse the entrance door- honestly I don't know what I was thinking when I did it originally.  Perhaps deep down I knew I would have to change it and left all the trim off as a result.  The two doors on the top that access the furnace room and closet are rarely used and I tried to incorporate that element by using the space most of the time for staging, while having the option to move the staging into a storage position.  The floor is laminate wood so rolling a staging module would be smooth and pretty fast, I think.

Having said that, setting the scene with both sides of the river is a major scenic challenge.  In my original concept, I tried to avoid some of this by putting the track on both sides of the river in a deep scene that forced the viewer to look longitudinally along the river, with the river gracefully disappearing into a curve.  The positive with this is that I have a lot of space to develop the scene; the down side are the access issues which I tried to compensate for with an access hatch.  For the White Canyon, I abandoned the CP line and focused on the CN line only, which is scenically most interesting to me as the CN was built later and had the more difficult route.  The nice thing about the directional running agreement is that I don't need to have both lines to operate trains from either railroad.   I don't expect to have a lot of CP equipment to run, but perhaps a set of locomotives and some CP-specific cars to build up a train that is convincing.  I like CP, but not too much  :ashat:

A few challenges I see with this configuration, but it is early and I need to dash to work so I will try to digest this some more during the day.  I like the idea of double-ended storage, but helixes and under the table storage seems to me like a lot of hidden running and added complexity.  As you note, it also takes up space that further adds challenges to scenery in the river canyon.  Another challenge is the size of the Cisco bridges:  the high CN bridge is 810' total and the CP is not much less.  I allocated almost 3.5' to the former which allowed modest (75%) compression of the main arch and somewhat more compression for the approach trestle.  The only way I see getting this kind of length in a configuration like you propose is by rotating the bridge into a more diagonal position and narrowing the river.  The depth of the scene is also quite small, which is a visual compromise I am trying to minimize.  Finally, I'm not sure how I feel about a hole in the center for access and operation.  I am tall so I want to avoid ducking under where possible, and routinely doing this seems like a potential point of concern. 

As I said, I need a little more coffee and some time to think about this.  Thanks for your thoughts and I would welcome other suggestions.

Scott


Philip H

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Re: Cisco Bridges: a new layout concept
« Reply #17 on: November 13, 2012, 12:21:44 PM »
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Scott,
Putting on my carpenter's hat (!) could you change the type of doors that access the closet and furnace rooms?  For the closet you could add an accordion fold style door that would take minimal room but allow full access - Lance Mindheim did this in the basement room housing his home layout a while back, and there's a small blog post about in on his site.  The furnace door (and I don't know which of the three  it is in your plan) might be coverable by some sort of rolling track door - which you could decorate like a freight station door to enhance the ambiance.  This design (http://www.dwell.com/products/rail-door-pull.html) is probably over the top cost-wise, but it would help access, and you could design benchwork to allow the doors to slide behind it.  Essentially you'd create a pocket door without the pocket.

Hope these ideas help.
Philip H.
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Baton Rouge Southern RR - Mount Rainier Division.

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rsn48

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Re: Cisco Bridges: a new layout concept
« Reply #18 on: November 13, 2012, 02:36:50 PM »
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I agree with the accordion door idea, it will resolve some problems; I was just looking at some at Rhona the other day.

My son and I spent many a day at the Cisco Bridge site, camping "illegally" in one area (don't recommend this, its really noisy with the train wheels screeching rounding after the CN bridge, heading south).  What I find so interesting in this area is that so few Canadians know about it, most of the guys I ran into there were from Germany, Australia, the States, just about anywhere as compared to the Canadians; kind of like the Yukon River around Whitehorse Yukon where the functioning language on the river is German since so many fly in and paddle the Yukon, three flights a week from Whitehorse to Germany in Spring, Summer, Fall.  Very few Canadians vacation in our high North area (though the Inuit consider Whitehorse "south.")

There is one scene you could model, in the late spring early summer the natives go down beside the CN bridge on the highway side and put out nets to catch salmon; its quite dangerous actually.  And for the best water action, late spring and early summer yields the most "awesome" water action and sounds due to heavy run off from melting snow.

And for that modern look, there is a rail lube point I will be modelling on my N scale layout.  A guy who is tall, bald and looks like Yul Brynner used to ride a high rider and his job was to maintain and add the lub to those points for many kilometres in either direction of the bridges.  The machine is so simple I thought I'd throw one on my layout.  I suspect I'm one of the few on the planet to be modelling rail lube machines, link below so you can see what I am talking about.

http://www.lbfoster-railtechnologies.com/

I'm building a N scale layout with the Fraser/Thompson area acting as "inspiration," in fact I've toyed seriously with calling it the Frazier river Canyon so I can catch rivet counters when they tell me I have spelled it wrong; I'll bet a beer I haven't mis-spelled it and when they spell it the prototypical way, I'll say I named my canyon off of the TV series.

I think creating a layout space with a duck under to get to the center makes sense, more sense to me than your current plan.  First off, I detest duck unders, but all I have experienced in Vancouver Main Land layout tours have been low jobbies and sometimes quite long - no fun.  I'm assuming you will want this layout to be roughly at your nipple area or higher to enjoy the visuals of the trains and bridge, so a tall duck under won't be as wretched as a low one.

If it twir I building this layout, I'd get nervous about having trains just run in a circle (oval) and would want a small yard to add to the entertainment value so there could be alternative activity if I was just tired of watching a train run.  I'd turn your Thompson area into the Boston Bar area (actually North Bend) on the CP side with its small yard and a hotel or whatever its called for its trainmen.  Use to be a restaurant there my son and I loved to go to but the staff tried to unionize and that was the end of the restaurant.

I haven't read everything in your thread so I assume you will be running CP as well since the area your are running is directional running as I'm sure you know.  Actually its one of the things I enjoy with the Cisco area is the directional running of two North American RR's.
« Last Edit: November 13, 2012, 02:44:30 PM by rsn48 »
Hind sight is always better than foresight, except for lost opportunity costs.

Scottl

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Re: Cisco Bridges: a new layout concept
« Reply #19 on: November 13, 2012, 08:04:53 PM »
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Thanks for further thoughts everyone.  Thinking outside the box on the doors and a different configuration is helping me come to grips with this concept.

rsn, I agree with you about how little people know or about Cisco or the Fraser Canyon.  It is an amazing place and there are so many fantastic scenes and so much action that it begs to be modelled.  I can't wait to visit it, if only for a few hours, in early December. 

Strangely, I am distantly related to Simon Fraser, the explorer for whom the river and canyon is named after.  But I'm not going to make a fuss about Frazier Canyon!

I've thought a bit about the doors.  The entrance door comes in from the right side and can pretty easily be reversed.  The other two doors are for a closet (top left) and the furnace (center).  I'm not sure what benefit would come from alternative door styles there, as we need regular (weekly to monthly, respectively) access to these spaces, so I've avoided any permanent installations on that wall.  In my original concept, I have used the space for a moveable staging yard that can be easily moved out of the way, but 95% of the time is actually very easy to work with.

I guess I am reluctant to pursue a hidden staging yard, accessed by one or more helixes.  I have found hidden track to be a pain for cleaning, derailments and simply accessing the trains, and I would really like to avoid it as much as possible.

I am concerned about the permanent duck under needed to get into a central operating pit.  I understand how that provides much improved access, but I can see that being a real pain because you need to get in there to build, scenic and operate a large part of the layout.  By contrast, my hatch would be for construction and in operation only for occasional mishaps and some periodic cleaning.

There are definitely some inaccessible points in the bottom left corner, and a small area of scenery above the crossover. 

Still, I am very attracted to the notion of trying to represent this scene in a way that is both reasonably prototypical, but also gives a high scenery to track ratio and some big open spaces.  That is a lot for a room crammed into the corner of a basement with the furnace.

Cheers,
Scott

BCR 570

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Re: Cisco Bridges: a new layout concept
« Reply #20 on: November 13, 2012, 09:00:44 PM »
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Scott:

Cisco would make a spectacular feature for an N Scale layout and I would love to see you do it.  I remember our convention in Prince George in 19999 to which Doug Hole brought his HO Scale Cisco bridge.  I believe that the plans were published in an issue of Mainline Modeller.

Tim
T. Horton
North Vancouver, B.C.
BCR Dawson Creek Subdivision in N Scale
www.bcrdawsonsub.ca

Scottl

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Re: Cisco Bridges: a new layout concept
« Reply #21 on: November 13, 2012, 09:12:17 PM »
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Thanks Tim, Doug Hole's model of the high Cisco bridge is remarkable.  I have the plans from Mainline Modeler and several issues of RMC with Doug's articles.

I have rotated everything and opened a 16" edge along the bottom, which is enough for me to work in fairly easily (but not turn around!).  This is meant for access on a limited basis, mostly during construction and mishaps.  I would still expect most of the operator activity would be in the bottom right corner where space is more generous.  I've switched the entrance door out but after some contemplation, decided it would be a lot of trouble to change the other two doors.  It is a bit rough, but it deals with the most egregious access issues, I think.


GaryHinshaw

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Re: Cisco Bridges: a new layout concept
« Reply #22 on: November 13, 2012, 09:59:30 PM »
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I think the rotated version is better, but it looks like the staging will need to encroach on your workbench space.  Is that ok? 

I would still be tempted to find a way to form a staging wye in here somewhere to simplify the operations.  I would personally grow weary of having to back a train off the line every time I was done with it, and I'm sure I'd be tempted to do some wrong way running now and then... ;)  But that's just me.

Do you have the space to make a crude mock-up of this?  I did that with the Loop shelf and it really helped me to visualize the space and get a sense of how the sight lines would work, especially at the benchwork height I was contemplating*.  I just printed the full size track plan, clamped up some supports, laid out some foam panels and set it up.

Cheers,
Gary

P.S. If you go with track at "nipple height" you'll find the duck-unders to be quite manageable.  Come see for yourself at TBC!  :lol:

Scottl

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Re: Cisco Bridges: a new layout concept
« Reply #23 on: November 13, 2012, 10:13:17 PM »
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Hi Gary,

You are right, I've bought space for access at the expense of the staging...  I think I can overcome the access issue, but I can't deny the single-ended staging challenge.  I'll keep plugging away on that.

A mock up might be the thing, but my existing layout is in the way (for now  :trollface:).  I might build a scaled model to get a feel for it.  I did this with my previous layout and it was an easy and fun way to visualize what it might look like.  Here is a shot of it, I think it is 1:640 scale.





Funny, those photos are variations of my current layout but I went with the northern Ontario version instead.

As to TBC, after my visit to Cisco, I'm heading to Vancouver...

Cheers,
Scott

GaryHinshaw

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Re: Cisco Bridges: a new layout concept
« Reply #24 on: November 13, 2012, 10:28:34 PM »
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Hey, that mock-up is really cool.   But don't hesitate to lay out a full-size printout on the living room floor and set up some trains on it to get a sense of scale. The family will understand, especially if you make some choo-choo noises while doing so...  :tommann:

As to TBC, after my visit to Cisco, I'm heading to Vancouver...

..and if you don't come to visit then, you'll never be invited back.   :trollface:

Leggy

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Re: Cisco Bridges: a new layout concept
« Reply #25 on: November 14, 2012, 12:06:03 AM »
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My 2 cents, as you can see from my dodgy Paint addition I've pretty much solved the return to staging problem with 2 hidden turnouts, a section of hidden track and a removable section of track. I'd say have the points as close to the access hatch as possible and have that area under the scenery quite hollow to allow easy access to those switches. Other than that I've got nothing, I love the scene and think it'd look great modelled with as little compression as possible.

Philip H

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Re: Cisco Bridges: a new layout concept
« Reply #26 on: November 14, 2012, 08:59:22 AM »
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Scott,
My thought on the doors was simply that if you didn't need the swing arc space for the hinged doors, you might be able to get a layout plan that wasn't so constrained . . . . if the entracne door was on a track that ran "away" from the bottom of your drawing, you could have benchwork across the entire bottom of the room, perhaps moving to a more penninsular approach to your scenes and bridges (and thus getting rid of the access hatch.  The Closet could still use an accordion door - I aped Lance's brand for doors in my teenager's bed room and that door see's daily use with no problems.  You could still run a sliding door out from the furnace - it would have to cover the workbench but I suspect you aren't using the workbench and the furnace access at exactly the same moment.
Philip H.
Chief Everything Officer
Baton Rouge Southern RR - Mount Rainier Division.

"Yes there are somethings that are "off;" but hey, so what." ~ Wyatt

"I'm trying to have less cranial rectal inversion with this." - Ed K.

"There's more to MRR life than the Wheezy & Nowheresville." C855B

Scottl

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Re: Cisco Bridges: a new layout concept
« Reply #27 on: November 14, 2012, 06:57:58 PM »
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Thanks Phil, I appreciated the suggestion.  I like those doors but my wife vetoed any serious room modifications.  I'm open to all suggestions and thinking at this point, and the doors are a something I would love to remove as a barrier to construction of a layout, but it is just not in the cards.

Leggy, that is a good solution for the staging access- I'm just not sure if I like a complicated hidden area.  I am definitely trying to daylight as much as possible on this layout as I have found no end of frustration on my current layout with hidden track.

I came up with an alternative concept today at lunch and sketched it, but I need a little time draft it up in 3rdplanit.  Swamped trying to get some projects submitted so it may take a few days to get there.  It is a very different approach and it makes use of my existing yard arrangement while eliminating all hidden track and giving a generous space to the Cisco Scene.  I guess the yard could become Boston Bar.  I'll post something very soon.

Cheers,
Scott

Scottl

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Re: Cisco Bridges: a new layout concept
« Reply #28 on: November 15, 2012, 08:46:52 PM »
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And now for something completely different...

Thanks everyone for the feedback.  I was really having difficulty with the single-ended staging and had lingering concerns with the access of some spots.  Posting some of my mock-up photos took me back to original designs I was working on for what is now my current layout and a lunch-time Eureka! moment led me to a new concept.  It is a bit rough, but the essential elements are there.  There is a removable duck under that connects the loop and allows continuous running.  I have put an alternative location for the high Cisco bridge which better reflects the geometry of the prototype, but either would work.  Most of the benchwork and the yard already exists, I would be reworking the currently sceniced peninsula and extending it about 18"  This is even better if I reverse the entrance door so it opens outward.



Pros:
-Few if any access issues.
-Double ended staging, switching if I find some interest in it or if someone else is here to operate with me.
-No hidden track, none!
-No issues with the closet/furnace doors
-A pretty good representation of Cisco, with a good long view from the duck under.
-Similar compression as my previous concept.
-Makes use of existing benchwork and trackwork
-No grades (except Cisco cutoff)

Cons:
-Makes use of existing trackwork
-Yard could be Boston Bar, but prototype area has no industry.  I could foob it to fill the space.
-The CP line becomes non-functional, but remains a prop for photography
-Slight reduction in my curve radius goals:  new track is mostly 15-18" radius.
-Rolling stock long term storage dust protection is more complicated.

How does this look?

packers#1

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Re: Cisco Bridges: a new layout concept
« Reply #29 on: November 15, 2012, 09:36:01 PM »
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Overall I like it; rather than filling space with industry, why not fill with scenery from that area. a quick view with google earth and bing maps shows some good relief etc, and the yard looks perfect to store trains. If you don't enjoy switching, why not focus on what matters, which is the Cisco bridges?
Sawyer Berry
Clemson University graduate, c/o 2018