1st attempt at layout design

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LittleReggie
Posts: 150
Joined: Thu Jan 28, 2010 8:43 pm

1st attempt at layout design

Postby LittleReggie » Mon Feb 25, 2013 11:46 am

Hi folks,

This is my first attempt at designing a simple n gauge setrack layout using XTrackCad. I would be grateful for any (constructive) comments. The idea would be to have something like an HST zipping around the outside (R4) oval with something like an EMU or freight train on the inner oval, with the option to mix things around a bit with the terminus and sidings. I would be hoping to put a platform at the top straight section and also squeeze one in between the inner oval and terminus line.

Is this plan generally sound, or are there any fundamental flaws that will lead to difficult operation? I am thinking the basic oval design might get a bit boring after a while, so perhaps there is something I could do to make it a bit less symmetrical. My intention was to fit the layout on a 5 x 2.5 ft baseboard, but I have gone just over this length at the moment.

Cheers,
Reg.
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Richey1977
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Re: 1st attempt at layout design

Postby Richey1977 » Fri Mar 01, 2013 1:12 pm

Nice plan. Resembles most of my ideas, as we're in the same boat space-wise.

Just one question - does the stabling siding have to be quite so long? It creates a third inner curve in for 3/4 of the entire circuit at the moment. I came up with something quite similar which looked OK on paper (in fact, it had 4 curves, using all 4 radii), but it wasn't very pleasing to the eye when I laid it - it looked a bit cluttered. You'd save time and track by opening this siding in the north east, unless there's an operational reason why you want that much storage space. As I say, having laid my plan down (which was quite similar to yours), I quickly found that the old adage 'less is more' was certainly true. It'll also mean that you're avoiding R2 curves, which (in my opinion) look fine in isolation, but begin to look quite uncomfortably tight when there's R3 and R4 curves around them.

Now then. What have you got in mind for scenery? A station in the north of the loop with two through platforms and a terminus? Some freight capacity in those three long sidings, or will that be a depot for passenger trains?

LittleReggie
Posts: 150
Joined: Thu Jan 28, 2010 8:43 pm

Re: 1st attempt at layout design

Postby LittleReggie » Sat Mar 02, 2013 9:11 pm

Hi,

Thanks for taking the time to look at this and for your comments.

My starting point here was the basic double oval and to be honest I then just played around for a while adding bits on to see what it would look like. One consideration I did have was to place all the points on one side of the layout so they are all in easy reach to operate manually (hence the long inner curve and terminus) and at the same time keeping the station/platform area at the top free from clutter. I also wanted an excuse for incorporating a diamond crossing, for no real reason other than it adds a bit of interest. I take your point about the R2 curves entirely, though. Most of the plans like this I have come across on the internet are crammed with multiple sidings, turntables etc in the centre. Perhaps there is a temptation to go over the top here and try and fit too much track in. Anyway, I think I will be playing around with this design a lot more before I get anywhere near building it.

As far as scenery goes, I'm afraid it really isn't my thing at all - I am far more interested in playing with trains! I'm not saying I don't want my layout to look nice and scenic, I just don't have an aptitude for it. I would certainly put a station and/or platforms at the top of the layout as you say, maybe add some loco sheds to the sidings in the centre, plonk a signal box somewhere and go on from there. :D

Regards.

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whistlehead
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Re: 1st attempt at layout design

Postby whistlehead » Thu Mar 07, 2013 5:39 pm

Hi, LittleReggie, your first plan looks pretty sound to me - one thing that a lot of people miss first time on a roundy-roundy is points to cross the lines both ways. However, there are a few little things which stand out to me.

Access to the terminus from the clockwise line (assuming you're operating the outer lines as clockwise and anticlockwise) would be a bit of a complex affair - you'll have to go the 'wrong way' down the anticlockwise line for some considerable distance. Also, unless you've got some kind of intermediate station as an excuse, you will have to unprototypically reverse trains into the terminus. And as Richey1977 says, that siding is very long, and may look a little odd - though I fully understand the desire for a diamond crossing!

Personally, I'd have a look at creating a reversing loop. I don't know too much about spacing in N scale, but I reckon you'd have enough space to fit on in - maybe run it past one side of the station as a through line. It would require a little extra wiring, but that's all part of the fun! Not quite so feasible if you need to operate the points manually, though.

I'd also take advice on cluttering to heart. A simple trackplan will often look much better when heavily scenicked. However, it's your railway - it can look how you want it to.

One final thing I'd do is question the use of setrack points. I'm not too sure about N gauge, but they're a major issue in 00, often causing stalling, and being of a tight radius yo can't run trains over them at speed. Streamline points are normally worth the effort.

As I say, these points aren't too major, and your layout will operate fine as it is - but I would suggest having a look into them.

Regards,
Chris

EDIT: Ignore the bit about a reversing loop - I've had a play around and it just won't fit

LittleReggie
Posts: 150
Joined: Thu Jan 28, 2010 8:43 pm

Re: 1st attempt at layout design

Postby LittleReggie » Sat Mar 09, 2013 9:52 pm

Thanks for the comments, whistlehead.

You are right, there is an issue with clockwise trains getting into the terminus, but I guess there will always have to be compromises with a design like this. I was planning to run an HST on the clockwise loop, so reversing into the terminus wouldn't really be an issue here. However, trains on the anti-clockwise loop would have to reverse out of the terminus, which is perhaps more of a problem.

Re the setrack points. As a relative newcomer to this game, I sort of feel compelled to start with the basics and work up to the more advanced stuff, rather than jump in at the deep end. I feel happier with the geometry of setrack at the moment, but I do understand its limits and shortcomings.

Anyways, my design has gone through a couple more incarnations. I'm not sure if its better or worse to be honest - the temptation to add more loops and sidings is hard to resist. I'm using SCARM now, and I'm finding it hard to stop tinkering with the thing - maybe I should stop and actually build something now.

Regards.
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Richey1977
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Joined: Wed May 02, 2012 9:45 am

Re: 1st attempt at layout design

Postby Richey1977 » Sun Mar 17, 2013 8:36 pm

Hi Reggie.

As I say, I've been starting out with a similar space, and I've also gone down a similar path - adding more loops and sidings for effect, only to find that I might have over-stretched myself when it comes to the budget and skill required.

also, as has been mentioned, there is the matter of setrack points. I laid out a twin-track layout with them, but every so often, I'd have to give the train a prod, which annoyed me.

Eventually, I settled on a single-track design for ease of building and wiring. I'm quite looking forward to making buildings and scenery, so it was more important to me that there was enough room for the buildings and trains to have their own space to 'breathe' and bit. Also, it allowed me to get Electrofrog points in, which made all the difference.

LittleReggie
Posts: 150
Joined: Thu Jan 28, 2010 8:43 pm

Re: 1st attempt at layout design

Postby LittleReggie » Sun Mar 24, 2013 10:02 pm

So, can I simply replace the setrack points in my layout with streamline? The geometry of setrack points means that they fit in easily with the other setrack components. Can I fit streamline points into my setrack layout, or would it mean a complete re-design?

Cheers.

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Bufferstop
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Re: 1st attempt at layout design

Postby Bufferstop » Sun Mar 24, 2013 10:20 pm

I think you would struggle to replicate the pointwork above in streamline points and still fit it in that length. It would close up the track centres a little which would need a bit of juggling to keep the clearances on the set track curves.
Growing old, can't avoid it. Growing up, forget it!
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LittleReggie
Posts: 150
Joined: Thu Jan 28, 2010 8:43 pm

Re: 1st attempt at layout design

Postby LittleReggie » Mon Apr 15, 2013 1:26 pm

Just trying to push forward on this now, can anyone tell me how much space I need to leave between two single tracks to fit a platform in between (as per the upper platform on my last picture)? Looking at their website, Peco seem to have N gauge platforms with two different widths, 50mm and 55mm, which I find a bit confusing anyway. But what distance do I need to leave between the tracks (sleeper edge to sleeper edge or centre to centre) to fit the platform in nicely?

Thanks.

LittleReggie
Posts: 150
Joined: Thu Jan 28, 2010 8:43 pm

Re: 1st attempt at layout design

Postby LittleReggie » Thu Sep 12, 2013 4:17 pm

Can anyone help with this please? Is there a standard distance between two parallel tracks that will accommodate a 55mm wide Peco platform correctly? Or would a sleeper to sleeper distance of 55mm do it?

Thanks.

georgehgv
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Re: 1st attempt at layout design

Postby georgehgv » Fri Sep 13, 2013 9:30 pm

Peco make a plastic track spacer, under a couple of quid I think. I started layout like this but ended up over complex but after persevering has developed nicely. PM me your email and will send track plan of mine and photo of work in proress. Geo
Enjoying the ride playing trains like never before. Building a model railway but not too specialised.

LittleReggie
Posts: 150
Joined: Thu Jan 28, 2010 8:43 pm

Re: 1st attempt at layout design

Postby LittleReggie » Mon Sep 16, 2013 12:11 pm

Hmm, my follow up to my previous post seems to have disappeared. I think I have found the answer to my question here:

viewtopic.php?f=20&t=637&start=15

Georgehgv, thanks for the info. I think I've found the gadget you mention. Are you able to post your plans on the forum? I'm a bit paranoid about giving out my email address. :lol:

Reg.


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