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Sheffie

Sheffie's first layout

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Sheffie

The idea here is to

  • Create something pretty in a limited space
  • Use the track pieces from the starter pack with as little waste as possible
  • Give me a nice playground for a passenger train and a freight train

It probably isn't going to be prototypical or canonical in any sense, but I am hoping that it will work out okay without too many problems.

 

Not shown in the artist's impression...

  1. terrain will be cut away under the bridges to make a small lake
  2. there will be a rural freight station front and centre (with a small siding)
  3. the hill-top area will have some kind of mining camp, possibly featuring the building from the small freight station

 

Thanks to all those who recommended SCARM. For a free piece of software, it's really very good.

 

Feedback, comments, and suggestions welcome!

Plan-A-3D.png

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JR 500系

It's nice, simple and easy to operate! Just one suggestion, perhaps a little more yard parking lines? The more yard lines one have, the more spaces to park and display your trains ~ 🙂

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Sheffie
2 hours ago, JR 500系 said:

Just one suggestion, perhaps a little more yard parking lines? The more yard lines one have, the more spaces to park and display your trains ~ 🙂

 

This is a good point. Right now, I’m seeing the passenger train being parked on the central ‘S’ curve when not in use (by a possible picnic spot/car park at the lake shore), and the freight train at the station of course. I could probably add another siding in the middle, although space might get tight. 

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Yavianice

I assume with such a small layout you will be running shorter trains, or trains without close couplers? Because S bends and switches directly after curves can make your trains derail.

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Sheffie
3 hours ago, Yavianice said:

I assume with such a small layout you will be running shorter trains, or trains without close couplers? Because S bends and switches directly after curves can make your trains derail.

I am planning on running short trains, yes. The passenger train has 3 coaches and the freight will probably have 5 small vans. 

I don’t really know much about the couplers. I was going to use the factory ones—rapido?—and see how it goes. What type of couplers would you recommend?

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gavino200
4 hours ago, Yavianice said:

I assume with such a small layout you will be running shorter trains, or trains without close couplers? Because S bends and switches directly after curves can make your trains derail.

 

This is a really important point. There are some track configurations that trains just don't like. It's really important that your layout is as derailment free as possible. Frequent derailments are frustrating like nothing else. Don't commit fully to a layout plan until it's been set up and tested. If any parts of the track are problematic, it's good to be flexible about changing them. That can be hard to do if you already have fixed plans or have made  purchases regarding adjacent layout modeling. 

 

1. An S-turn or chicane is often a derailment site. It's best to avoid them. If you must have them, it's helpful to put a straight segment between to two opposite turns (ie in the middle). It's also good to put a re-railer track on each side of any problematic segment (that's controversial, but personally I swear by it).

 

2. Junctions are a common derailment site. It's good to avoid having junctions on a curve if possible. 

 

Combining an S curve with a junction is almost begging for problems. It may work, but it's wiser to try to avoid it.

 

Other than that, it looks like a beautiful and fun layout plan.

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Sheffie

Thanks very much for the info. I will revisit SCARM and see what I can do to improve things 

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KenS

I'll second what the others have said: S-curves need a straight, preferably as long as your longest car, in the middle.  Skipping that for space reasons is a recipe for disappointment.

 

I'd also suggest reversing the orientation of the crossover in the station.  Right now, to move between the outer and middle tracks, you need to do a stop-and-reverse move, or even two, in both directions.  Reversing it would allow you to run straight from the branch, into the tunnel, and around into the station.  A bit more dynamic.  Of course, reverse moves are prototypical in lots of places, so if that's what you want, there's plenty of justification for keeping it that way (and, of course, it's your railroad so you don't need to justify it, except to yourself).

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katoftw

While s-bends can cause derailments. You have them in low speed areas. And you are using non locking rapido couplers. I'm doubtful you have issue.

 

But you can always set up some track before you build any layout to test.

Edited by katoftw

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Sheffie

I’ve been thinking about flipping the crossover too. Doing so would effectively make the straight across the front of the layout into a pure siding, and that’s a great spot to park a train. As well as making it easier to get onto the line running up the hill. 

 

I guess I need to revise the idea of having the points immediately after the turns. I don’t want to upgrade to nicer looking couplers later on and find out that the layout is broken. 

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gavino200
32 minutes ago, Sheffie said:

As well as making it easier to get onto the line running up the hill. 

 

Another thing to think about is the gradient of your incline. Lower inclines are better. 2% or less would be ideal. Trains really don't like to run up steep hills.

 

Edited by gavino200

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Sheffie
1 hour ago, gavino200 said:

 

Another thing to think about is the gradient of your incline. Lower inclines are better. 2% or less would be ideal. Trains really don't like to run up steep hills.

 

 

I don't know where to begin on this one. I mean, how high does the track have to be, to sit on top of a hill that contains a tunnel? I was hoping that the top there could be flat, for ease of construction. That leaves the length of the back straight and the big curve for the train to climb up. If I need 60mm height gain, SCARM says I'm looking at 3.6% inclines.

 

Plam-B.png

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railsquid

55mm is about the minimum safe height, depends on your trains, track and what you're using to cover the tunnel with.

 

However, as the inclined line doesn't cross the lower line at any point, you don't necessarily need to bring it up to full height.

 

Note that shorter trains can usually cope better with steeper inclines (however small lightweight units like trams may have problems).

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Sheffie

Okay. So.

If I lower the height of the truss bridge to 30mm and redefine the mining camp to be behind the hill rather than on top of it (arguably much more realistic anyway) and if I also re-jigger a couple of pieces to use almost everything from the start kit and as little as possible otherwise, I get this.

  • Gradients on the hill are now all 2% or less.
  • The S-shaped storage line now has the two R481-15 curves on it, to continue the curve of the points, and the road crossing, to break up the S curve.
  • The power feed is on the inner loop, so I think that if the points are set to disconnect power when switched, then it should be possible to park a train either at the station or on the S.
  • I'm not sure whether it's possible to configure the crossover how I'd like. I have a long straight siding on the front edge of the display, but I don't know if it's possible to disconnect that from power (to park a train there) but keep the power on the big outer loop at all times. Do I need another power feeder?

Anything else I need to worry about?

Plan-B-3D1.png

Plan-B-3D2.png

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katoftw

Inner loop needs a power feed and outer dead ends need a feed also.

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Sheffie

I've thought and thought about this, and I think that I prefer not to cut off the outer loop after all. I know, it was the one thing that made this layout unusual... but at the same time, thinking about what would be involved in actually running trains on it, I think it would be a lot less fun. I still plan on having the truss bridge be the high point of the track, but I think I can still complete the loop with gradients of 4% running downhill in the "southeast" corner. This does mean that the trains should probably only try to travel in a clockwise direction, but I'm really okay with that. So the new plan looks more like this:

Plan-C.thumb.png.feae3786568279eef90a19524d9baba5.png

Of course, once I made the decision to run two loops, the double crossover was an obvious upgrade from the previous plan. I also decided (after some real-world measurement of the folding table in my office) that I could afford to make the loop slightly longer than the standard Kato M1 loop, which is why I now have 3 x 248 straights, and a little more breathing room inside the loops.

 

Note that the inner branches are just placeholders, for now. They represent my best effort to make something nice using all of the parts, assuming I also buy a set of 4x124, 4x248 straights, 8 curves, 3 points, and a feeder. (I think it's just the road crossing that didn't get used). I'm still planning on a rural freight station somewhere near the front, and a parking space for trains nearer the back.

 

Yes, I've got a point right next to the end of a 180 degree curve in the southwest corner. I'm thinking that trains that are actually trying to make this curve will be "reversing" into the station branch, and so will be going slowly.

 

Random thought: one thing I will definitely be doing as a temporary decorative technique will be leveraging resources left over from an earlier pastime, i.e. a table top war-gaming system of my own devising. Long story short: there will be Lego trees :)

Edited by Sheffie

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Sheffie

Thanks Jeff, very interesting!

 

side note 

Isnt the Internet an amazing resource? How quickly we take for granted the opportunity to talk to individuals around the world who share a common interest, and to publish our own documents, images, and videos. 

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railsquid

You might also be interested in Railsquid's Modular Scenery Method, which is a fancy way of saying none of the bits on my layout are actually fixed down; the first few photos in this album: https://www.flickr.com/photos/129145651@N06/sets/72157691220217880 give an idea of how it fits together. I went about it this way partly because I need to be able to remove part of the layout, and partly so I can work on bits of scenery in comfort as the layout is 90cm deep and parts are not very accessible. It does require some thought as to how to hide the joins, but is working quite well for me so far.

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Sheffie

Thanks, railsquid. I saw your photos on your own thread, and I was impressed by your ability to e.g. run power conduit to hide gaps. In my case, I was thinking that the top of the hill should be detachable. But since the terrain is all rural, I may have to use a lot of shrubbery. And I have no idea where to start with that. I’m sure people are happy to sell me stuff. I’m just not sure if there’s a reasonably easy way to make it myself 

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Sheffie

Alright, revised plan.

Plan-D-3D.thumb.png.2c9fa2504287e31beecd0668272e229e.png

Flipped left-right (thank you SCARM) so as to fit in better with the positioning of my layout area, the inner sidings are a bit simpler. All trains will now run anti-clockwise around the loops and will reverse into sidings when needed. I wanted to make the freight station into a through platform design, but in order for that to really work (1) I need to know that the platform is going to be long enough to make it work (I really don't think it is) and (2) I'd need a longer loop in order for the siding to be symmetrical (the double crossover is a bit of an odd length) and there simply is no more table available. Unless my laser printer catches fire. Mysteriously.

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Sheffie

Revised again, in the light of setting fire to moving the laser printer off the table, and seeing how many little bits and pieces I'm actually going to own. This is now 186mm longer than a standard Kato loop, which makes me happy.
(Please excuse the poor placement of the track relative to the baseboard. The dimensions are more specific than the positions, and my knowledge of SCARM is least precise of all.)

Plan-E.thumb.png.8bdde29b7f61435d124beaca68bdce35.png

The re-railers / crossing are a prominent new feature.

I'm hoping to make a nice feature of the rural freight station (a future purchase) which will sit at the end of the front siding. I've bought an illuminated concrete buffer for that, and plain old wooden box style buffers for the two storage sidings in the background.

At present that leaves me with more space than I need to store trains, which is either a good thing, or it will encourage me to buy more freight cars. HobbySearch is quite addictive.

Potentially I could add a dual engine shed. Kato makes a fairly nice looking "wooden" building which is quite tempting, but I'm not sure what track spacing it expects... and I'd need to find somewhere else to store the passenger train.

 

The most likely upgrades after all this? An extra siding for another train, perhaps. It's difficult to fit more into the space without it starting to get crowded, I think.

Edited by Sheffie
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katoftw

No station?

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Sheffie
25 minutes ago, katoftw said:

No station?

Well, I thought about that. I really liked the look and feel of the rural freight station platform (https://www.1999.co.jp/eng/10003176), and that makes it a strong contender to live at the front of the display. I did look at Kato's rural passenger station (https://www.1999.co.jp/eng/10003175), but I was put off it by uncertainty. I thought that it might be too long, and it wasn't clear how much platform was actually included in the set, if any—and I was bewildered by Kato's options when it comes to add-on platforms. And I worried that the layout might be swamped by too big of a building.

 

But now I wonder if the rural freight platform could be used to extend the rural station set. Maybe if the station is 248mm and the platform is less, that's actually the perfect size. Maybe

Edited by Sheffie

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Kiha66

The kato rural station is 248 mm long (= to one kato long straight). I dont believe it includes any additional platforms, but it can be combined with the freight platform set (as well as the normal rural platform set) and looks quite nice doing so. 

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