Author Topic: Geographic Discontinuity In Layout Design...  (Read 2007 times)

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ljudice

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Geographic Discontinuity In Layout Design...
« on: March 27, 2014, 04:07:18 PM »
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What are your thoughts on:

- Should a layout modeled after a prototype strictly follow the map in linear fashion? 
- Is it a "sin" to swap locations in order to better fit layout topography?
- Is it preferable to find the 6-12 locations with the most character and insert them as best as possible,
   or maintain linear accuracy?

Thanks...

iccn1000

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Re: Geographic Discontinuity In Layout Design...
« Reply #1 on: March 27, 2014, 04:17:30 PM »
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- Should a layout modeled after a prototype strictly follow the map in linear fashion?
If the space of the layout can handle it, yes. But sometimes you do need to have a modelers license in some areas.

- Is it a "sin" to swap locations in order to better fit layout topography?
If I'm stating im modeling the line prototypically, then yes.
If I'm stating its a representation of the line, then no.

(Kinda like modeling the locations you like along the line.)

- Is it preferable to find the 6-12 locations with the most character and insert them as best as possible,
   or maintain linear accuracy?
Since I dont have enough room to model everything between the two cities on my IC line, I picked the places that have the most action or "operational character", but i have do have those 6-12 locations in geographical/railroad timetable order.

Thanks

Rob

Scottl

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Re: Geographic Discontinuity In Layout Design...
« Reply #2 on: March 27, 2014, 04:48:26 PM »
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Well, as a professional geographer, I can tell you that there is a distinct lack of theory on this particular subject.  :lol:

3DTrains

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Re: Geographic Discontinuity In Layout Design...
« Reply #3 on: March 27, 2014, 05:01:17 PM »
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A lot may depend on room size, single or multi-deck, and desired number of operator positions.

- Should a layout modeled after a prototype strictly follow the map in linear fashion?

A linear design is generally more pleasing than a roundy-round one. If space is tight, however, you can still get a good non-linear plan that captures the flavor of the prototype your modeling.

- Is it a "sin" to swap locations in order to better fit layout topography?

No, and I've seen some really good plans that swap one location with another. One that comes to mind is Otis McGee's Shasta Division - an HO mushroom design where Black Butte was swapped with Mount Shasta so that interchange traffic left the layout away from the operator, as well as to increase operational interest. Gary Hinshaw did the same with Monolith on his Tehachapi BC plan by placing it on the south side of the tracks rather than the north as per the prototype (which IMHO makes for a more interesting scene and that he won't have to model the whole facility with it against the backdrop).

- Is it preferable to find the 6-12 locations with the most character and insert them as best as possible, or maintain linear accuracy?

Consider first a) the overall length of your mainline (just draw point A to point B within the room) and b) find out how many LDEs (layout design elements or signature scenes) can be fit into that space. Choose the LDEs that are most important to you, and see what fits, but not to the point of overloading the room or your operators with stacked switching areas (either one above the other, or two switching areas within the same aisle space opposite each other).

However, note that it's YOUR railroad, so you can do with it as you see fit. :)

Cheers!
Marc - Riverside

mionerr

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Re: Geographic Discontinuity In Layout Design...
« Reply #4 on: March 27, 2014, 05:59:00 PM »
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Consider first a) the overall length of your mainline (just draw point A to point B within the room) and b) find out how many LDEs (layout design elements or signature scenes) can be fit into that space. Choose the LDEs that are most important to you, and see what fits, but not to the point of overloading the room or your operators with stacked switching areas (either one above the other, or two switching areas within the same aisle space opposite each other).

However, note that it's YOUR railroad, so you can do with it as you see fit. :)


I would add that you should also avoid placing the towns too close together. I like a minimum of twice the siding length. On my layout It's 3 times the length of the average siding. Makes you feel like you're going somewhere.
Roger Otto
Pueblo, CO

ljudice

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Re: Geographic Discontinuity In Layout Design...
« Reply #5 on: March 27, 2014, 06:10:15 PM »
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Thanks for the inputs...  Just some further info...   The layout itself is around the walls with an island, "blobs" on each end.  Essentially designed as a "dogbone" with the "return" that allows continuous running along a back wall.   The space is around 17x23 and the mainline length - including the semi-hidden return (behind a backdrop) is around 120'.   

This is a repurposing of my existing benchwork, with the addition of the blobs, which was done to eliminate a duckunder in the old layout. 

The railroad being modeled is modern NS, and the subroadbed (WS foam) is 85% complete - and laid as a double track rr  (most of the cork roadbed is in place). 

Recognize I was repurposing the benchwork, which leaves me with a number of "does this make sense here or there" type decisions.

I am leaning towards completing the RR as a "representation" of the NS Pocahontas District.  In fact, my son and I have planned a little vacation around the N Scale Convention
to spend several days railfanning there.

I have convinced myself that with little chance of an operating crew, I'm better off building a double track RR that I can sit back and watch and build equipment and structures
for.   One idea I have is to interleave a single "branch line" in and out of the backdrop to represent the many, many coal branches on the prototype...

- Lou


GN Fan

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Re: Geographic Discontinuity In Layout Design...
« Reply #6 on: March 27, 2014, 07:38:31 PM »
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Remember the Primary Rules of Model Railroading:
1.  It is your railroad.
2.  If I see anything I do not like see Rule 1.

Tom Todd

robert3985

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Re: Geographic Discontinuity In Layout Design...
« Reply #7 on: March 27, 2014, 08:04:21 PM »
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- Should a layout modeled after a prototype strictly follow the map in linear fashion?

As much as possible.  However, sometimes it just isn't possible.  In my experience as a prototype model railroader, I've had to pick and choose which stops and which scenic elements to include in my space.

- Is it a "sin" to swap locations in order to better fit layout topography?

It is you who writes the rules and regulations which govern your layout so it's up to you (and nobody else) to determine what's a "sin" or not on your layout.  For me, it is a sin because the operational aspects of the section of road I'm modeling depend on each other and what order they're in, and...I want to model them in correct order.  For example, my Ideal Concrete Plant/Devil's Slide LDE has cars that are both dropped off and set out at the Echo/Park City Yard, which is about 20 miles east.  The Park City Local picks up and sets out cars both at the concrete plant and at Echo as part of its daily job.  Long mainline mixed freights pick up concrete plant cars (and others) at Echo (cars which have been sorted and set out by the Park City Local) and set out cars for "the plant" and cars for delivering to customers on the Park City Branch (to be picked up and delivered daily by the Park City Local). Because I am also modeling prototype track arrangements at both of these places, if I reversed their order, I would have to also "flip" the scenes which would destroy their appeal for me.

Any prototype scenes (LDE's) between Echo and Devils Slide just add distance between the two locations, but are very distinctive and model-worthy such as Wilhemina Canyon and/or Henefer all of which (if I had enough space and time to include both of them) need to be in order because of the functionality of the railroad...meaning having two mainline center sidings adjacent to each other does not make operational sense.


- Is it preferable to find the 6-12 locations with the most character and insert them as best as possible,
   or maintain linear accuracy?

Or 2-3 locations...or whatever number you can fit in.  I model one major railroad hub (Ogden/Riverdale) and 65 miles of the mainline to the top of the grade at Wahsatch.  Some LDE's are "operational" meaning they involve picking up and setting out cars, so those are "holy", meaning I model them as closely as I can and in the order they are in prototypically.

 Because I model two canyons, Weber and Echo with a flatter area between Wilhemina Pass and Echo (which includes Henefer), the freeway is generally on one side of the mainline, except in one long stretch between Devils Gate (in Weber Canyon) to just before the Devils Slide Center Siding.  I have several planned LDE's of those areas which will be viewed from the non-freeway side (which is my aisle) and a couple, because of high cliffs,  that will get "flipped"...because they are just scenic and would be virtually unviewable if I modeled them oriented correctly with the high cliffs towards my aisle.  They'll look "right" when I take photos of them, but in operation, the trains will run the wrong way on the double track mainlines, which doesn't mean anything from an operations standpoint.

One that I am working on right now is Taggarts, which is two curved tunnel holes blasted through granite cliffs with twin bridges on the East side of the bores, with the Weber River running like a blue-green snake on either side of the tunnels.  From a visual standpoint, the only giveaway that this scene is "wrong" is that the Type D signals in this LDE will be facing in the wrong direction.  When I take photos of it, I'll turn the signals to face the correct way.


Additionally, a prototype modeler always has to compromise as far as distance is concerned.  My Echo LDE is 24' long, but should be at least twice that length if I were modeling mile-long freights which the UP ran all the time through Echo and Weber Canyons during the era I've chosen to model.  If I modeled the whole 67 miles (including Ogden and Riverdale yards) I'd have 2,211 actual feet of trackage.  My finished modular/sectional layout will occupy a 40' X 40' space and will have approximately 182 feet of mainline distance to run, which is only 5.5 scale miles of N-scale track.  Those LDE's I've left out are Uintah, Sheepshead Rock Tunnel #10, Petersen LDE (comprised of two sub-LDE's), Morgan LDE (comprised of 3 sub-LDE's), Tunnel #9 LDE (comprised of two sub-LDE's), Tunnel #8 LDE (comprised of two sub-LDE's), the Hennefer Center Siding, Emory, and Tunnel #7.

Those LDE's I've been able to incorporate are the 40' long Ogden LDE (comprised of ten sub-LDE's), Devil's Gate,  Devils Slide LDE (comprised of five sub-LDE's), Wilhemina Pass, Hennefer Station, Echo LDE (comprised of six sub-LDE's), Echo Curve,  Baskin, Castle Rock, Curvo, Tunnel #4, Abandoned Tunnel #3, and Wahsatch LDE (comprised of three sub-LDE's).

So, in my 182' feet of mainline track, I'm able to incorporate 13 major LDE's, which range in length from 40' to 6'.  Some of my "Sub" LDE's are over 12' long, but overlap other sub-LDE's and are going to be MAJOR projects such as the SP Engine Facilities in Ogden...and I don't even run SP trains!

Since I've designed my layout to be modular/sectional, each major LDE has a modular standard on both ends, which allows me to insert other appropriate LDE's as I find more room, change my mind, or finish layout portions, so those major LDE's that I've chosen to leave out perhaps will be incorporated if I find more room.

Another aspect of my modular/sectional design is that I attend shows with parts of my layout that I've finished or which are operational.  A few other model railroaders have decided to incorporate my modular standards into their home layouts also, so we are able to buckle up at shows in a few configurations.  This involves "adapter" sections and I've been able to do LDE's on those sections which I will probably never use in my finished home layout, but I am very happy to display at two or three shows a year, such as my Taggarts Adapter LDE and my Emory Center Siding Adapter LDE.  I've also started my Curvo LDE, and I will use it as a photo diorama until I get the appropriate sections built with the grades needed to incorporate that LDE into the overall layout.

So, there can be a lot of thought and planning involved in deciding where to compromise, how to operate, which scenes best represent the stretch of real railroad you're attempting to represent in miniature, and what pleases YOU.

Although I've got most of my preferences well-defined and my compromises decided upon, I can still change things up pretty easy because of the modular/sectional nature of my layout.

If you're mostly interested in operation, then there's no need to make your scenes much wider than the track you put down.  However, if you're interested in the scenery and ambience of the prototype, then wider benchwork would be better.  Not much we can do about length most of the time, but it really helps if you've got a space that will allow at lest 18" minimum mainline visible radius curves, preferably 24", which makes a huge difference in the overall "prototypey" look when you put your trains into the scene.

Also, use good looking track.  As opposed to writing your own rules for compromises that you're willing to make when you build a model railroad after a prototype, code 80, Kato Unitrack, Peco 55 are just not going to cut it, and are a "sin" no matter what.  The reason?  It's ironic at best to go to all the trouble to do research, plan and build something that looks and feels like a prototype railroad, then use track that looks like a toy.  Simple.  Do the right thing and use code 55, then become extra-good and learn to lay your own turnouts.

As Forrest says:  "And that's all I got to say about that..."

« Last Edit: March 27, 2014, 08:20:59 PM by robert3985 »

glakedylan

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Re: Geographic Discontinuity In Layout Design...
« Reply #8 on: March 27, 2014, 09:28:58 PM »
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leave the "sinning" to the theologians...

;-)

Gary
« Last Edit: March 27, 2014, 09:30:37 PM by glakedylan »
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and all may care for each..."

wmcbride

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Re: Geographic Discontinuity In Layout Design...
« Reply #9 on: March 27, 2014, 09:44:08 PM »
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I have convinced myself that with little chance of an operating crew, I'm better off building a double track RR that I can sit back and watch and build equipment and structures
for.   One idea I have is to interleave a single "branch line" in and out of the backdrop to represent the many, many coal branches on the prototype...

- Lou

This sounds quite appealing.
Bill McBride

PAL_Houston

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Re: Geographic Discontinuity In Layout Design...
« Reply #10 on: March 27, 2014, 11:52:42 PM »
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My C&I Sub layout is "topologically similar" to the real thing, meaning the LDE's appear in prototype order from east to west, and the number of tracks, sidings and spurs and their relative positions are (approximately) the same as the prototype.  But there is a huge and selective compression of the mainlines running between the LDE's, especially, which is taken up chiefly by going around significant curves between those LDE's.   I only have 4 LDE's, ( Galena Jct., Savanna, Oregon, and Flag Center) but there are lots of interchange possibilities provided (again in topologically-correct locations).   In my case this is done thru (mostly hidden) reverse loops (CGW at Galena Jct., MILW at Savanna), and spurs.  Mt. Morris branch is actually a reverse loop, and the Rockford branch enters the layout at Flag Center wye.

You are fortunate to have a lot more room to work with 150 feet hidden return vs. my 25 or 30 feet along the back wall (where there are also a couple of hidden passing sidings).

The drastically foreshortened distances between LDE's means the timetables need to be significantly adjusted to account for the short travel times between LDE's.

I hope these comments are useful to you.  :)
Regards,
Paul

Philip H

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Re: Geographic Discontinuity In Layout Design...
« Reply #11 on: March 28, 2014, 08:48:07 AM »
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so go read Lee's WM layout threads.  He had all sorts of contortions to get scenes in roughly geographic order for running, but physically in the space, they were back to back or over each other's tops . . . no worries about it operationally though
Philip H.
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"Yes there are somethings that are "off;" but hey, so what." ~ Wyatt

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ljudice

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Re: Geographic Discontinuity In Layout Design...
« Reply #12 on: March 28, 2014, 08:51:33 AM »
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These comments have been very helpful...    I think what was twisting me in knots was that I was envisioning
one stretch (on the island) based on how it had previously been laid out, instead of using the clean slate approach I
took everywhere else...


Rossford Yard

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Re: Geographic Discontinuity In Layout Design...
« Reply #13 on: March 28, 2014, 09:43:22 AM »
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Even in 17 x23, it would seem nearly impossible to be totally correct.  No guilt in using just the best scenes, in as close an order as possible.

My room is similar - 10 x 24. I put Blue Island junction on one side, prototypically modeled, but the 90 degree bend had to go the wrong way.  They, where BI yard was, I chose Gibson Yard instead, so I could include a roundhouse.  In operations, I plan to change the function of the yard from all Autorack switching to a mix of industrial and transfer switching for more fun ops.

I haven't lost any sleep over those compromise decisions......

randgust

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Re: Geographic Discontinuity In Layout Design...
« Reply #14 on: March 28, 2014, 10:09:50 AM »
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I had to make several decisions like that on my layout in the design phase. 

I managed to get Flagstaff to fit, albeit compressed, with pretty much the track plan and street layout 'dead on' geographically and directionally.

I moved the Nelson Tunnel futher east so I could do it, and put trees around it as it would look in the Maine/Riordan area.

Winslow was the kludge.   The only way to make it 'fit' was to flop it horizontally, putting the yard on the NORTH side of the main line and putting the station/yard ladder on the WEST end instead of the EAST end.   To fit the service tracks in and fit the space, I mirror-imaged the entire station, and La Posada, to make it fit.    So while everything is there, it's an alternate universe.  You can still pretty much match it up with photos, but if you're really good with the prototype you realize that east is west, west is east, and up is down.   The highway overpass I have modeled faithfully, is on the wrong end of town.

The funny part is that in 20+ years of this layout, I'm the only person that's caught that.   Even when I show photos of the actual scenes and buildings, I have to prompt people to realize that something's not quite right here....

So in the end, you're the only one that has to live with it and gauge how much it's going to actually bother you.