Author Topic: North South layout orientation - is north to the left or right facing the layout  (Read 1808 times)

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Bill H

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In most of the layouts I have operated on or visited that are east - west oriented, the western direction when facing the layout is predominately to the right, the east to the left. I have only operated on one layout with north - south orientation. What is the usual practice - if there is one - for north - south orientation. In other words, is north to the right hand facing the layout or to the left hand?

Thoughts - experiences?

Kind regards,
Bill

eric220

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I suppose it would depend on what makes the most sense for the space. On my last layout, the lower level had east to the left and west to the right. (The upper level was reversed.) That caused a problem with the space I had for Horeseshoe Curve. Building it railroad west of Altoona meant that prototypically, the curve would have had to stick out into the room instead of into the alcove that I had. I opted to flip it, but that meant the grade was running the wrong way. Realistically, it would have been better to design it with east to the right and west to the left.
« Last Edit: November 04, 2018, 03:19:13 PM by eric220 »
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tehachapifan

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On my (table-style) layout, west is left as you enter the room as is actual west. Not sure why I set it up that way originally but I've considered turning the layout around for better access.

« Last Edit: November 04, 2018, 03:37:20 PM by tehachapifan »

BCR 570

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If you are modelling a prototype, the orientation of the operator to the benchwork with respect to direction of travel is dictated largely by the topography.  For example, if I was modelling the BCR's climb through the Fraser River canyon, I would be building the layout with north to south oriented from left to right as the railway is on a steep sidehill.

Orientation may also be dictated by available space and how the benchwork can fit into it.  Orientation can also change from one deck to another if the trains travel up a helix and reverse direction around the room on a new level.  Many multi-deck layouts have a change in orientation depending on the level.

My own layout was determined by the latter as the longest walls for the yards were on the left side of the room, so the trains had to travel north from left to right, and then the reverse on the upper deck.  Fortunately, for the area I am modelling, this orientation worked out well in terms of topography.

A good question, and one worthy of careful consideration when track planning.


Tim
T. Horton
North Vancouver, B.C.
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C855B

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West to the left here, which also happens to be the west wall of the room. This resulted in an LDE with upside-down orientation relative to 1:1, where a junction diverging north is represented going south. It bugs me occasionally in the planning, but it is what it is.
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jpwisc

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I think it depends on how you want to view your scenes. I railfan the prototype for my line predominantly from the East side of the mainline. So when I built the layout I wanted to view it from the same side. So for me North is to my right and South is to my left.
Karl
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wcfn100

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In 30 years and hundreds of layout plans, I've never considered compass orientation as part of the design.

Jason

Bill H

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In 30 years and hundreds of layout plans, I've never considered compass orientation as part of the design.

Jason
Jason:
Interesting that you did not consider orientation, my question had literally nothing to do with actual compass orientation, just left hand or right hand orientation as you face the layout- which could be from any
literal compass orientation...

Let my try putting it differently. If your train order was to proceed north to Gizmo, and you could not see Gizmo, while facing the layout would you go to your right or to your left? What would seem more natural to you?

Kind regards,
Bill
« Last Edit: November 04, 2018, 08:07:25 PM by Bill H »

davefoxx

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My layout, which is a north-south alignment, is south to the left and north to the right from either side of my table layout.  In other words, southbound trains run clockwise and northbound trains run counter-clockwise.  This was determined solely by the way I chose to model Aberdeen, North Carolina, i.e., the aisle is on the east side of the tracks.

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mmagliaro

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In every layout I've "played" on, including my own, West was Left and East was Right.  I'm sure it's just because it matches up with the way we look at maps (West=Left, East=Right on a map of the United States, for example).  I can't say I've ever seen a North/South layout.

And as it happens, these directional things end up utterly confusing because if you have an island, reverse loop, or any of a number of layout configurations, and you call "West="Left", there are going to be places where the train is turned around and is heading to the right when it is actually still headed "West" on the main.   To make matters worse, I even have arrows pointing left and right on my panels. 

I have pondered and pondered ways to get rid of all this nomenclature and still have it be crystal clear which way the engine is going to move when I touch the controls, but I still haven't solved that one!   Maybe just "Forward and Backward"


altohorn25

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My home layout is reverse from the norm; when you're standing looking at the layout, west is always to the right and east is always to the left.  It just worked better for me to set it up that way.  I've not had issues as long as I remind the operators that they're always looking south when looking at the layout.

Nate
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up1950s

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You could put the south side to the actual south side , this way you wont have to turn around 3 times before you sit down .

Bill H

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You could put the south side to the actual south side , this way you wont have to turn around 3 times before you sit down .
:facepalm:

Englewood

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Interesting question. I've always thought of west to the left. Since I model the Southern Pacific, there is no north or south.  :D

Angus Shops

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Good question. I model the CPR from Golden to Field BC. In the real world in Golden the tracks are on the north side of the Kicking Horse River with a big hillside behind and good railfanning from the south side if the river in the Golden Municipal Campground. In this situation west is left, east is right. However in Field the tracks are on the south side of the river, with the town between the tracks and the mountainside behind, with natural viewing from the north side of the river - west is to your right and east is to your left. Hard to reconcile on a model railroad without some serious weirdness and a lot of hidden track. In the end I decided to maintain the Golden west is left arrangement for the whole layout which means that Field gets modelled backwards, as if was also on the north side of the River. It's one of those compromises you need to make to make 32 miles of track and real world geography fit into your basement.
Geoff