Author Topic: A Newbie's First Layout, InterUrban Switching Services  (Read 4103 times)

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Tremelle

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A Newbie's First Layout, InterUrban Switching Services
« on: November 28, 2013, 10:12:58 PM »
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I am new to model railroading but not new to modelling in general.  I felt it was time I took on a fun hobby and project that I could involve my son that included spending time at home instead of on the rocks with a scale rc crawler or at a rc track.  I have chosen to do my model railroading in N scale since space comes at a premium in my home.  I live in an old 1930s and 40s era railroad building in Downtown Dallas.  After browsing this site and the internet I have decided a shelf layout would be ideal for my layout and location.  I also came to the realization that it would have to be a switching layout since I can not afford to give up enough space.  So the following is what I have come up with.

The layout will positioned along a wall, behind my couch, that has two ledges that are 8.5" deep.  So the shelf will hang 5.5" off the edge of the ledge and go around The front of a pillar.  Here are some pictures of where the layout will be located.  Yes, it will be lower than ideal but I intend to sit on a stool with caster wheels to lower myself to put it at a higher level for viewing.  When not in use, the couch will be pushed back up to it and mostly out of sight.  The fist pic has a 14" deep piece of board to show the depth and the overhang.







The layout will fit in a space of 121" x 14".  There is a pillar in the middle of the layout that will restrict the middle to a 5" working area.  The layout has 8 industries on it at the moment with a yard, a couple team tracks and a turntable.  I can not take all the credit for the layout design since I found two shunt layouts that I found interesting and took design ques from both.  The layout was designed using Kato Unitrack.  I started trying to use Atlas Code 55 track but could not achieve the desired results using the track pieces available in AnyRail 5 EN.  I am open to other track suggestions since I do not have any track at this point.  Here is a picture of what I came up with for a layout.



I have run the layout a few times using the demo of TrainPlayer 5.3.  The layout ran nicely for me with a couple tricky switching moves.  One thing I want to accomplish with this layout is to have my son learn about basic wiring and electronics as well as using his mind to come up with switching solutions.  I really like the shunting puzzle aspect of the layout.  Of course this is coming from a total novice.  Here is a link to the xml file if you would like to give the layout a trial run on TrainPlayer.  I hope you are able to download the file from this link by right clicking on it and saving it.  You will also need to right click and save the above track layout jpg picture into the same folder as the xml file.  If not, PM me and I can email the xml file to you.

http://www.sykesweb.com/images/trainlayout/InterUrbanLayoutKato.xml

I am open to suggestions and criticism of the layout or even the location.  I am also curious if any one has any experience with a layout in the same room as a large saltwater fish tank?  I am curious as to what the effects will be on the rails over a period of time.

Fire away and let me know what you think.
« Last Edit: November 28, 2013, 10:32:25 PM by Tremelle »

kelticsylk

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Re: A Newbie's First Layout, InterUrban Switching Services
« Reply #1 on: November 29, 2013, 02:05:06 AM »
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When you say "interurban" I'm gonna assume you mean steeplecab electric locomotives running in the streets, something like California's Pacific Electric. Is that correct?


Aside from a small oval in a cityscape, trolley lines (traction) are rarely modeled in great detail.. It has a small following in most scales, but traction modelers are rabid about their subject.

Your track plan looks interesting. Make it a city scape with lots of industries and it should hold your interest for quite a while. I would drop the turntable and use that area for more industries. Traction lines used loops to turn their equipment. The curves are so tight they could fit just about anywhere. Most of the time, however, the equipment was double ended. Most steeplecabs, with their centrally located cabs, could operate in either direction.

I think you could add more interest to your layout if you also ran trolleys for passengers down the straight run and model the main street of a town.

Tomix makes track that represents street trackage the curves are tight, 4" radius (I think) You'll see it mentioned at...
http://www.trainweb.org/tomix/ET/ETintro.htm

If your doing American traction in the 30's and 40's you may not find readily available models. N scale traction is a minority facet of a minority scale here in the U.S. Some sources for info and equipment...

Imperial Hobbies has some shells available
http://ihphobby.tripod.com/rseries/ho3dkits.html

Shapeways, the 3D printing service also has shells
http://www.shapeways.com/search/tag?tag=Traction

The steeple cab locomotives typically used for freight work may not be available in U.S. versions, but I believe European and Japanese models are available. Traction lines also used overhead wire to power the equipment. You can simulate this or actually make it work that way. It's a bit of a challenge to create working catenary in N scale, at least the American style. Once again I think Europe and Japan have such N scale systems you can buy.

Another source would be Ncat
http://www.webring.org/l/rd?ring=trolley;id=1;url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww%2Eteamsavage%2Ecom%2Fncat%2Fncat%2Ehtml
I had some trouble getting to this page. I kept getting redirected but this link should work for you.

Some videos on YouTube...
http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL889552495232ADDF

Kalmbach and Carstens also publish books on traction modeling you could get at Amazon or Ebay...

Kalmbach...
http://www.amazon.com/Traction-Guidebook-Model-Railroaders-Schafer/dp/0890245223/ref=sr_1_sc_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1385706981&sr=8-1-spell&keywords=traction+guidbook

Ignore the ridiculous price for "New". The book has never been worth that much.

The Carstens book is similar to Kalmbachs, but I couldn't find it on Amazon. I did find a ton of stuff on E-Bay...
http://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_trksid=p2050601.m570.l2632.R3.TR4.TRC2.A0.Xtraction+models.TRS0&_nkw=traction+models&_sacat=280&_from=R40

If all of this seems too much, you could always model a "former" traction company that replaced all the electric with small diesels like GE 44 tonners...


Hopefully this is what you're thinking of for the layout. If not I apologize for such an overburden of information.

central.vermont

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Re: A Newbie's First Layout, InterUrban Switching Services
« Reply #2 on: November 29, 2013, 06:41:19 AM »
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I like what you have got here Tremelle. Kelticsylk's idea of interurban is cool but personally I would go with the Bachmann 44 Tonner as your switcher. I also would agree with Frank about losing the turntable but I would not put an industry there I would have this spot for the engine house.
There is one other thing I would do and that is flip the drawing over 180 degree's. The reason for this is so you can utilize a cassette system to take cars on and off the layout at your small yard. Like having an interchange. From the photos it looks as if doing something like this with what have now might not be able to be done because of the existing pillar off to the right in your photo's.

And one other thing is welcome to the Railwire!!!! :D

Jon

Chris333

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Re: A Newbie's First Layout, InterUrban Switching Services
« Reply #3 on: November 29, 2013, 08:12:44 AM »
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I gotta say ditch the turntable as well. Using a "switcher" of any type on a switching layout means it shouldn't need to be turned. Sweet diggs and nice first post!  :lol:

garethashenden

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Re: A Newbie's First Layout, InterUrban Switching Services
« Reply #4 on: November 29, 2013, 08:47:49 AM »
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I think you should consider raising the layout up a bit, it looks uncomfortably low. I realize that you are building this in part for you son but it should be fun for you too. Maybe up a foot or so?

Tremelle

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Re: A Newbie's First Layout, InterUrban Switching Services
« Reply #5 on: November 29, 2013, 11:54:34 AM »
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Thanks for the replies, keep them coming.  Also thanks for the warm welcome.

The name I choose for the layout is not meant to represent the layout's theme.  The building I live in is named the InterUrban Building.  This building use to house an electric interurban railway system that rain electric trolley cars all over north TX  from the 1920's until the late 1930's.  The popularity of automobiles and the lower price tickets of buses ran them out of business.

I will be using modern switch engines for the layout, at least two of them.  So I will be including dcc so me and my son can be switching at the same time.

The layout is currently set to be positioned 28" above the floor.  That height is not to accommodate my son, he is 5' 5".  That is the height of the shelf, 24", plus a 2" x4" turned on it side that will be used for the table top.  Since I live in a loft, I also wanted to keep it low so it would be out of sight when not in use.  Being a single man I thought of removing the coffee table and placing the layout in the middle of the room.  But also being a single man I know a woman doesn't want to see a man's toys out in full view all the time.  :facepalm:

This morning I pulled out the eraser and the turntable is gone.  I initially included it since it was on one of the layouts I used as inspiration.  Also after reading the comments I also realized I have never seen a turntable outside of a rail yard.  For this layout I am looking to loosely model the chemical row corridor in the Houston area in Baytown, TX.  I don't have to really worry about roads and crossings since the railroad enters most of the facilities in that area from the rear.  Of course I will be including one road and maybe a crossing since I am also including a transload facility.

I am also eliminating the industry at the bottom left and move the whole layout down a bit to make a larger yard over on the right.  I am moving the transload facility over where the turntable was located.  Once I have it all done I will post a new layout for critique.

wazzou

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Re: A Newbie's First Layout, InterUrban Switching Services
« Reply #6 on: November 29, 2013, 01:12:53 PM »
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It should be pretty easy to make a box frame on the brick shelf to attach a raised benchwork to.  With a little effort, you can finish it to look like furniture and be proud and unashamed.
Bryan

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Tremelle

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Re: A Newbie's First Layout, InterUrban Switching Services
« Reply #7 on: November 29, 2013, 01:30:12 PM »
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It should be pretty easy to make a box frame on the brick shelf to attach a raised benchwork to.  With a little effort, you can finish it to look like furniture and be proud and unashamed.

Thanks for that suggestion.  Yes, it that should easy to do once I have a product worthy of displaying in the space.  I will definitely be keeping this in mind.

Tremelle

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Re: A Newbie's First Layout, InterUrban Switching Services
« Reply #8 on: November 29, 2013, 01:44:13 PM »
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Ok, I have made some changes to the layout after heeding some of the suggestions.  I decided to drop the whole layout to enlarge the yard.  I also removed the turntable since you don't see those outside of a yard normally.  I also revised the industry track layouts.  The track on the very bottom is the mainline and the next track up is the industry switching lead.  I also took the less is more approach.  So I took out some track and switches which meant more money to spend on other layout items.  Here is the xml file link to use with TrainPlayer and a pic of the current layout design.

http://www.sykesweb.com/images/trainlayout/InterUrbanLayoutKatoR1.xml



The track just above the yard is a transloading facility where tank car will be transferred into tanker trucks.

Thanks for the input I am receiving.  Keep the critiques coming.

avel

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Re: A Newbie's First Layout, InterUrban Switching Services
« Reply #9 on: November 29, 2013, 01:47:11 PM »
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Nice tanks!
iamaman27 on the youtubes

Tremelle

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Re: A Newbie's First Layout, InterUrban Switching Services
« Reply #10 on: November 29, 2013, 02:15:11 PM »
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Nice tanks!

Thanks.  Here is a pic of my 290 saltwater tank.  I guess I could run a bridge across the tank.  :D


packers#1

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Re: A Newbie's First Layout, InterUrban Switching Services
« Reply #11 on: November 29, 2013, 02:55:34 PM »
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Digging the switcher, and I agree less is more. One other industry you may want to consider is something like the bakery in Miami which Lance Mindheim wrote about in MRH (can't remember the issue, but they're free and all online so a search should be easy) or this cold storage warehouse in Chillicothe, MO (http://binged.it/1ilFuWb). Either of those industries will give you plenty of chances to spot and/or sort cars as the industry may only need one or two cars shifted but may need the others put back the way they were, and each would receive some rather interesting cars.

As for track, I would stick with the Unitrak; basically bulletproof and readily available, unlike Atlas C55 which is basically nonexistent right now
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VonRyan

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Re: A Newbie's First Layout, InterUrban Switching Services
« Reply #12 on: November 29, 2013, 03:12:53 PM »
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Plus with the Unitrak conversion piece it alows you to connect Tomix track.
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wazzou

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Re: A Newbie's First Layout, InterUrban Switching Services
« Reply #13 on: November 29, 2013, 05:23:03 PM »
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You could wrap that brick column with some DPM walls or another similar method to hide it as an industry with a siding at a loading dock.
Bryan

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GaryHinshaw

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Re: A Newbie's First Layout, InterUrban Switching Services
« Reply #14 on: November 30, 2013, 03:45:43 PM »
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Very nice concept (and setting); I think you'll have a lot of fun with this.   I think the left half looks good, but the right half has a few features that I would be tempted to rejigger a bit:

1. The arrangement for industry #4 is a bit awkward because you have two tracks (i.e. a lot of capacity) but only a very short lead to serve them, especially if the #6 track and/or the trans-load facility are occupied.

2. The yard is very short; e.g, the last track can probably only hold two cars.  This makes it almost not worth having.

I wonder if you could move industries 5,6 a bit closer to #4, then find a way to separate the #4 lead from the #6 track, something along the lines of this quick&dirty mash-up:



Here I moved everything right of #4 over several inches (probably too much), gave #4 its own lead, lengthened the yard, made 5 and 6 be served by one common track (kind of fun for switching), and put the transload facility off the shortest yard track.

I haven't tried to clean up the mess I made at the new join by #4 - that would still need to be hashed out some more to see if it would really work.  But I think you'd really appreciate having a bit more yard and a better lead for #4.  In any case, just some more food for thought.

Cheers,
Gary