What is your planning process?

Post your design ideas for any layout that you are planning to build in the future. Keep members up-to-date with your designs and future plans for your layout.
Buelligan
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What is your planning process?

Postby Buelligan » Sun May 03, 2020 1:53 pm

Hi all, I'm about to ask probably the most basic question. I'm finally at a stage where I can start to plan the layout. But in which order do you decide things? I assume the first and foremost thing is to ascertain the available space, which in my case is a shed that is 10'x6', allowing for framework etc lets say 9'9" by 5'9", with an outward opening door half way along 1 of the short sides, and windows all the way along one of the long sides. I then assume I'll have to decide the rough dimensions of baseboards I can have, allowing a little leeway here and there for when they're actually built and to allow alterations to take the track plan.

However, do you decide on scenery and features you want, then design the track plan around it, or the other way around? Or a mix of the 2 and then keep some blank areas for later decisions?

At the moment I can't even decide on whether to have an L shape, or go around the edge of the shed with a space in the middle. Either way I will need to have a hinged or removable section where the door is.

As per my other thread, provision will be need to be made to later allow extensions into the garden.

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Mountain
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Re: What is your planning process?

Postby Mountain » Sun May 03, 2020 3:36 pm

It all depends, but I usually have rough ideas in my head, and then decide on ways and means on how I am going to achieve them.

I would generally say that I tend to make the basic track plan and then add scenery around it, as if the track plan does not work, there seems little point in adding the scenery. However, if one is going to plan one of those layouts that has quite a scenic depth to it (As in scenic contours below and above track level), then one needs to design this from the start, or make such a design that is easily adaptable as one goes along.

I prefer a continous loop to an end to end type layout even if it is operated as an end to end, as having the ability to sit back and relax watching the trains go by is a luxury missed when it comes to the end to end approach. Certainly the end to end may well appear more realistic, but it is better to have the continous run (In my view) then become bored with a short length of run.
I have noticed at exhibitions how many of the end to end layouts operators have abandoned them after a few hours as they have become bored of the tediousness of shuttling trains back and forth, while the ones with a continous run layout are fresh to entertain some more!
But whatever you decide enjoy it!

Buelligan
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Re: What is your planning process?

Postby Buelligan » Sun May 03, 2020 10:11 pm

Thanks, I'm finding it really difficult as all I've ever done is simple tracks for the kids. Only buildings being some platforms and an engine shed or 2. Trying to plan a bigger layout I'm really struggling. I've already decided that I'll have to stick with 3rd and 4th radius curves. I've just spent a couple of hours having a play on RailModeller. I've got a rough plan, for baseboards and for track, I've got the station side of the layout pretty much sorted, though not set in stone so can allow for some tweaks.

As for features, I'm thinking that a hill in the corners, one corner with a tunnel for the double track to pass through, another corner with a cutting. At the far end of the shed I'm considering a dip in the baseboard to allow a bridge crossing, ideally across a river but I know water is hard to get right, so more likely just spanning a valley or road.

The bit that I am really struggling with the most, is the other long side, where I'd like to have sidings and a little area for some shunting. But I've tried several different designs and I'm never happy with them. They never allow for the associated buildings, or there's not any real useable space.

The 2 corners in the top of the plan below will be left clear for the future extension in to the garden.

Image

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Bufferstop
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Re: What is your planning process?

Postby Bufferstop » Sun May 03, 2020 11:33 pm

I've ended up with something that goes like this
What sort of locos and trains do I want to run?
What sort of line would they run on, main/branch/industrial?
What railway features station/goods shed/loco shed/sidings?
What scenic features would it have?
How can I fit that in the space?
Do I try to include a continuous run?

You don't have to stick to it too rigidly but it helps. I notice you've allowed a lift out section for the doorway, my answer to that is, go higher, track level at chest height, a tall stool/chair for operating and a decent kick stool for construction and maintenance. Then it's easier to shade the section across the window from the sunlight, you can duck under the entrance part and if lord forbid you have to share the space with some garden tools they'll go readily under the boards.
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Bigmet
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Re: What is your planning process?

Postby Bigmet » Mon May 04, 2020 12:32 pm

Buelligan wrote:The 2 corners in the top of the plan below will be left clear for the future extension in to the garden.

Potential problem here: you will need to replan the two 'top corner' curves if you want the inside running loop in the shed to have access to the garden circuit. There are no crossings available with a curved path. So there needs to be a straight section in the outer loop curves to accomodate a diamond crossing. Best to plan and build in these junctions from the start as their orientation will also define the garden access holes through the wall.
Buelligan wrote:...As per my other thread, provision will be need to be made to later allow extensions into the garden.

Specific to this, there is something more that needs to be in the early plan, and that's making the accesses through the building wall. Three major considerations, planning and making them before you obstruct the interior access with a layout, closing them to prevent ingress of wildlife, and no chance of the exterior track base directing a river into the shed and onto the interior layout and floor when there is a downpour. Not too difficult to solve but best thought through and done before any other construction gets in the way. Rain ingress prevention: make the outdoor track base slope down slightly away from the shed, so the water runs down hill; second a small tunnel over the trackbase outside the shed to act as a 'porch' to stop wind driven rain, with a vertical shutter slide on the outside end to seal it against vermin. (Trust me on this, the mice will scamper in on the track base unless you make a secure close fitting barrier.)

Buelligan wrote:...The bit that I am really struggling with the most, is the other long side, where I'd like to have sidings and a little area for some shunting. But I've tried several different designs and I'm never happy with them. They never allow for the associated buildings, or there's not any real useable space.

Most of us have to compromise on the 'fiddle / storage' yard, and make it non-scenic, because you need all the track space possible - preferably arranged as through loops as in your station plan - to both store and form trains as required, without jamming the layout solid with stock. You will get the most track space by eliminating the straights in the end curves and starting the loops on the end curves, the lines 'peeling off' around the curves, so that the whole section parallel to the long wall is largely occupied by parallel straight tracks. This can be shunted, if crossovers are put in between the parallel tracks.Roughly two thirds the way along in the running direction is often a good plan; the loco can come off and a new one put on, the train vehicles can be moved and rearranged in short 'cuts'. 'Stub sidings' going into the back corners are good for loco storage.

Oh, and go for at least 30cm wide, that way you can have six parallel tracks: two of which will necessarly be reserved for running to avoid jamming up the layout circuit inside the shed. Then you have storage for six trains, four in the yard, and two in the station loops, and also two more trains running; which can stop on the station through lines when you want to shunt the yard, or stop in the yard when you want to shunt the station.

Buelligan
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Re: What is your planning process?

Postby Buelligan » Tue May 05, 2020 9:24 pm

Bufferstop wrote:I've ended up with something that goes like this
What sort of locos and trains do I want to run?
What sort of line would they run on, main/branch/industrial?
What railway features station/goods shed/loco shed/sidings?
What scenic features would it have?
How can I fit that in the space?
Do I try to include a continuous run?

You don't have to stick to it too rigidly but it helps. I notice you've allowed a lift out section for the doorway, my answer to that is, go higher, track level at chest height, a tall stool/chair for operating and a decent kick stool for construction and maintenance. Then it's easier to shade the section across the window from the sunlight, you can duck under the entrance part and if lord forbid you have to share the space with some garden tools they'll go readily under the boards.


Thanks, I had considered having the track higher, but I decided that this would make it too difficult to work on, and I don't trust myself to not turn around and walk in to it at that sort of height, plus, when I get on to the garden extension, chest height would be too high outside. The only garden tools I've got is a lawnmower which folds to around 30" tall, and a couple of spades, which if necessary, can hang in the garage. Shading the track will either be with venetian blinds, or some antiglare window film from work, still lets light through, but take the heat away from it.

I'm trying to keep a notebook and answer those questions from your process, for me its:
A: Express type locos, with a couple of freight locos too, and maybe a tank engine in a shunting yard,
B: Mainlines
C: I'd like a largish station, with a small engine shed a some sidings for waiting coaches,
D: Just like every kid, I want a bridge over a valley or river, and a tunnel.
E: I think I just about squeeze it in the space available, but whether it will all flow and fit together is another matter,
F: absolutely, I don't want to be stopping trains every 30 seconds to go backwards.

Bigmet wrote:
Buelligan wrote:The 2 corners in the top of the plan below will be left clear for the future extension in to the garden.

Potential problem here: you will need to replan the two 'top corner' curves if you want the inside running loop in the shed to have access to the garden circuit. There are no crossings available with a curved path. So there needs to be a straight section in the outer loop curves to accomodate a diamond crossing. Best to plan and build in these junctions from the start as their orientation will also define the garden access holes through the wall.
Buelligan wrote:...As per my other thread, provision will be need to be made to later allow extensions into the garden.

Specific to this, there is something more that needs to be in the early plan, and that's making the accesses through the building wall. Three major considerations, planning and making them before you obstruct the interior access with a layout, closing them to prevent ingress of wildlife, and no chance of the exterior track base directing a river into the shed and onto the interior layout and floor when there is a downpour. Not too difficult to solve but best thought through and done before any other construction gets in the way. Rain ingress prevention: make the outdoor track base slope down slightly away from the shed, so the water runs down hill; second a small tunnel over the trackbase outside the shed to act as a 'porch' to stop wind driven rain, with a vertical shutter slide on the outside end to seal it against vermin. (Trust me on this, the mice will scamper in on the track base unless you make a secure close fitting barrier.)

Buelligan wrote:...The bit that I am really struggling with the most, is the other long side, where I'd like to have sidings and a little area for some shunting. But I've tried several different designs and I'm never happy with them. They never allow for the associated buildings, or there's not any real useable space.

Most of us have to compromise on the 'fiddle / storage' yard, and make it non-scenic, because you need all the track space possible - preferably arranged as through loops as in your station plan - to both store and form trains as required, without jamming the layout solid with stock. You will get the most track space by eliminating the straights in the end curves and starting the loops on the end curves, the lines 'peeling off' around the curves, so that the whole section parallel to the long wall is largely occupied by parallel straight tracks. This can be shunted, if crossovers are put in between the parallel tracks.Roughly two thirds the way along in the running direction is often a good plan; the loco can come off and a new one put on, the train vehicles can be moved and rearranged in short 'cuts'. 'Stub sidings' going into the back corners are good for loco storage.

Oh, and go for at least 30cm wide, that way you can have six parallel tracks: two of which will necessarly be reserved for running to avoid jamming up the layout circuit inside the shed. Then you have storage for six trains, four in the yard, and two in the station loops, and also two more trains running; which can stop on the station through lines when you want to shunt the yard, or stop in the yard when you want to shunt the station.


Hard to reply fully without waffling on too much, but I will try my best:

Yes the top 2 curves will need to alter, I have got the layout for that from a previous plan, I've overlaid the 2 plans and it 'should' (fingers crossed), be fairly simple to remove the curves, and replace with flexitrack, points and crossovers. Though when I get a moment I intend to look at it again and see if I can change it again, as I do have another idea, just need to see if it works. So I do have those junctions in mind, I was just trying to keep this plan simple to look at to save any confusion.

You make a very good point about the access, I think I know how I'm going to do it. As you say it will be on a slight downward slope away from the shed, so water won't flow in to the shed, and also to get the track at the right height in the garden. I hadn't thought of a tunnel on the outside of the shed, that's a very good idea, maybe with some small hinged barn doors. On the inside of the shed I was going to fit a sliding hatch that could be closed, with a foam seal to keep the draught out. Though having said that, under the layout will be my tortoises indoor enclosure, which will have a small doorway leading outside for him, so there will be a permanent opening anyway, except during winter when he's hibernating.

I'm possibly being a bit dense with regard to your last point, but is this the sort of thing you mean? Just quickly mocked up in RailModeller:

Image

Bigmet
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Re: What is your planning process?

Postby Bigmet » Wed May 06, 2020 9:30 pm

Almost. Use the curved route of the points to form the curve, with the loop tracks coming off as spurs on the outside of the curve.

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Lancastrian
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Re: What is your planning process?

Postby Lancastrian » Wed May 06, 2020 10:36 pm

It doesn't really matter what I plan because it either gets changed during or not long after doing the work is finished.
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RAF96
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Re: What is your planning process?

Postby RAF96 » Fri May 08, 2020 11:04 am

A lot will depend upon what height your outdoor track is going to be or is already set at. This will affect your indoor height or to resolve the crossing problem mentioned above you could build (or buy) in a helix as the interface for height change and then arrange the joining point convenient to the main track.

Frustrated with trying to arrange a suitable lifting section with twin double tracks set at two levels in the doorway of my room I made my removable section slide out instead. Power transfer is by way of plug in choc blocks at the rear of the ‘drawer’, which also isolates a section either side of the gap when it is open.
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Buelligan
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Re: What is your planning process?

Postby Buelligan » Fri May 08, 2020 11:15 am

I've already got a 'head' start in the baldness, highest forehead in the area! I expect there'll be a lot of me getting annoyed and throwing things, but I'm sure it'd eventually be worth it.

I don't think I'm getting what you mean with the points, but I have had a play around and come up with something workable, though I'm unsure about a couple of diamond crossings. I've yet to add in the junctions for garden extension, I'm still trying to decide exactly what I want outside, and where. Hopefully it'll be easier to try and visualise once the shed is here and built.

Image

Height of the tracks was going to be a compromise of the heights I'd like for both. Ideally indoors I'd have it at around 4'6", outdoors, the lower the better as I was hoping to use raised flower beds for the supports for the track sections. I think what I'm going to do is wait to decide things like that, until the shed is actually here and built. Then I can clear the rest of the overgrown rubbish along the fence, and see exactly what I've got. Where I'd like the track is sloping down from the shed, so the track would get higher from the ground the further from the shed it goes. If I went out the other end, it'd be the opposite, which would be better, but it's in a less visible, accessible part of the garden.

Buelligan
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Re: What is your planning process?

Postby Buelligan » Sun May 10, 2020 12:58 am

I've had a further play around today, I think I've decided on a track plan. I will continue this on my other thread 'Possible shed/Garden Railway'.

viewtopic.php?f=44&t=54791

Dad-1
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Re: What is your planning process?

Postby Dad-1 » Sun May 10, 2020 9:44 am

Excessive planning is alright, so long as the plan's right and you don't know that until much later !!
I rather liked Mountain's first three words "It all depends"
I have even drawn contour lines on the baseboard for my scenic element, the landscape in which the
railway is to run once a basic track requirement is settled on.
Probably one of my first thoughts is to try and introduce some height to the landscape. Your available
space will limit what you can do, but I'd plan for the track bed to be no less that 3" (75 mm) above a
datum of your actual layout boards. Sometimes early on it can look extreme, but later you'd be pleased
you did it.
Just to show how extreme it can look, a before and after.

Image

Image

Perhaps not the best shots, but all that's currently available.
But this is the same piece of track.

Geoff T
Remember ... I know nothing about railways.
viewtopic.php?f=22&t=32187 and Another on viewtopic.php?f=22&t=28436&start=60&st=0&sk=t&sd=a

Buelligan
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Re: What is your planning process?

Postby Buelligan » Sun May 10, 2020 2:06 pm

I'd like to add some height into the layout, but I'm already on the limits of my abilities as it is, and I think trying to get would push it too far for me.

Sjay
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Re: What is your planning process?

Postby Sjay » Sun Nov 01, 2020 12:29 pm

Personally I start with a concept, look at a space and start to build. Attached is a 9x6 idea done in Hornby I had a while ago. It's a bit intense and built on at least two levels. With an additional foot of length you could add a fiddle yard somewhere or just extend the platforms. But I show this as it started out with the idea of "What if I put the upper station on the shortest wall rather than the longest one?". Keeping it an urban setting with no freight (except passing trains), and sacrificing a fiddle yard to fit into a garden shed. Built in hornby set track it could do with trying to fit in a fiddle yard. I show it as an example of a "What if?" idea and saw where it took me.

But I always find, that having a good idea of the overall operations/era/look & feel you are trying to achieve first then look at the space you have and start to build.
Attachments
Hornby 9x6.jpg

jimread
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Re: What is your planning process?

Postby jimread » Tue Nov 03, 2020 6:11 pm

Hello,

I make micro layouts and always start by doodling plans on odd bits of paper. I then work out the movements in my head and if I can work them out straightaway then it will be boring to operate, I like shunting.

Once I find something where I can't immediately imagine all the movements then I know I am onto something that I will enjoy operating.

I made my first micro in 2009 and this is the track plan;
Image

Aerial view;
Image

Eleven years later and countless shows I'm still finding new ways of doing things.

Cheers - J
O Gauge is the cheapest of the smaller scales.


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