Author Topic: the Marmion Valley Branch - New HCD Layout (N Scale)  (Read 2479 times)

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timgill

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the Marmion Valley Branch - New HCD Layout (N Scale)
« on: August 21, 2013, 10:47:13 PM »
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Hello all,

The following is a new design concept for a freelance branch line that has been the theme of two small layouts that I have built in the past. The Marmion Valley RY is a struggling short line serving a fertile agricultural hub "somewhere" in inland Southern California, set in the late 1930's.

The Space:
First off, I'll let you know that an "Island" style layout is not usually my preferred design medium. I have always prescribed to the opinion that the for the best use of space, and for the most prototypical viewing experience, Shelf style or Around-the-Walls Layouts are the way to go. The mainline only travels through each scene once, and the viewing perspective forces the viewer to engage in one portion of the layout at a time, increasing the perception of distance.

Our current household has only one space for trains: the garage. I have access to a portion of one wall, which currently is home for my shelf switching layout. However, my thoughts have turned to designing another layout to satisfy the following criteria:

1. Continuous run for "crack a cold one and watch 'em roll" operation.
2. Track/scenery ratio that favors scenery.
3. Portability for possible show exposition, future moves, or future sale of layout to another owner.
4. Track passes through each scene only once
5. Highly controlled viewing angles for LDE's/'scenes.'

My inspiration comes from great "railfanning"/Island style layouts like Lyn St. Laurent's SP Coast Line, and John Leaders' Marias Pass.

So, here's the plan as of today:



I have decided to toss around the concept of a "vignette" or "shadowbox" style of design, inspired from another post that I read in the archives here on the Railwire. As you can see, there is an ovoid backdrop down the center, which supports a valance and lighting frame that will frame the layout like a sandwich. Check out the cross-section here:



This way, the viewer is forced to follow the train around the layout, viewing it much in the same way a shelf layout would be viewed.

Why not just use a double-sided backdrop? The one issue I have with the traditional single-divider, double-sided backdrop is that it has to have a definite end that needs to be dealt with scenically. Even if you have the background stretch from end to end, then you have to come up with an elegant solution to hiding the hole that the track must pass through.

With the above design, the background is "seamless," in the sense that it has no hard edges to hide.

Trackplan:
The track plan is very simple, intentionally. One of my first goals was to capture the flavor of a meandering single-track branch line, creating a realistic scene proportionate to the space. Right now it involves only 4 #6 turnouts, and a crossover for the "dummy" interchange diamond (which is on the list of possible "eliminations" for future revisions). The passing siding in "town" can hold a locomotive, 9 40' cars, and caboose. Not too much more operationally but "show" running, possibly some meets; one could drop cars at the interchange or house track.

Originally, the concept was that one side of the layout would be a hidden staging ladder so that different trains could take turns appearing "on stage," but as of now I prefer using all of the available real estate for visible scenes.

At this point, it's just a concept. I'd appreciate some feedback or ideas on the general concept or specifically, on the trackplan.
-Tim Gill
Subscribe to/Visit my Model Railraoding blog: www.marmionvalley.blogspot.com

timgill

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Re: the Marmion Valley Branch - New HCD Layout (N Scale)
« Reply #1 on: August 21, 2013, 10:49:44 PM »
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As a point of supplemental information, I should mention that the railroad's name comes from the street that my Wife and I had our first home on. It also means "The Little One" in French, so it seems perfect for a miniature railroad.

Already, I can say that the first revision would be to eliminate that weird-looking s-curve on the house/team track; just make it come off of the "ladder" of the passing track.
-Tim Gill
Subscribe to/Visit my Model Railraoding blog: www.marmionvalley.blogspot.com

Catt

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Re: the Marmion Valley Branch - New HCD Layout (N Scale)
« Reply #2 on: August 21, 2013, 11:43:02 PM »
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I like your ideas so far Tim.One suggestion I would make would be to run a siding off one end or side to allow a staging yard to be plugged into the layout so you could have a choice of trains to run.
Johnathan (Catt) Edwards
Sole owner of the
Grande Valley Railway
100% Michigan made

Leggy

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Re: the Marmion Valley Branch - New HCD Layout (N Scale)
« Reply #3 on: August 22, 2013, 02:59:22 AM »
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Why not have the interchange connect to the switching layout via a removable section?

Philip H

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Re: the Marmion Valley Branch - New HCD Layout (N Scale)
« Reply #4 on: August 22, 2013, 07:10:51 AM »
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Or, you could angle the crossing to the otherside at the diamonds, making it live by the switch connection, then run in into a single staging cassette inside the backdrop.  That way you can throw in an extra train for shows and such.
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

timgill

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Re: the Marmion Valley Branch - New HCD Layout (N Scale)
« Reply #5 on: August 25, 2013, 04:08:49 PM »
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Quote
Or, you could angle the crossing to the otherside at the diamonds, making it live by the switch connection, then run in into a single staging cassette inside the backdrop.  That way you can throw in an extra train for shows and such.

I had tossed that idea around a bit, but access to the "center of the doughnut," as it were, seems fraught with difficulty. Not to mention that a hidden track in that direction would violate one of my design no-no's for this plan: no holes through the backdrop. I want the "world" of this design to exist solely in the 12" depth between fascia and backdrop.

Staging will most likely be handled with an extension, as suggested...but we'll cross that road when we come to it.
-Tim Gill
Subscribe to/Visit my Model Railraoding blog: www.marmionvalley.blogspot.com

magicman_841

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Re: the Marmion Valley Branch - New HCD Layout (N Scale)
« Reply #6 on: August 27, 2013, 01:11:05 AM »
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I like this plan. It's simple and straight-forward.

Why not add a runaround at the interchange so you can operate this as a point-to-point? Set the foreign RR track at a smaller angle in relation to your RR's track and add a second track.

Lemosteam

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Re: the Marmion Valley Branch - New HCD Layout (N Scale)
« Reply #7 on: August 27, 2013, 07:25:34 AM »
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Cool, I really like the idea.  The lightiing canopy can also be used as a shipment protector.  You may want to consider rounding off the corners of the light canopy or making it oval to avoid the hard corners hitting someone's head or eye as they follow the train.   This will also make for a smoother looking valance around the canopy.  Just a thought.