New Layout Space with Puzzle

Discussion in 'Track Planning' started by Donn Welton, Apr 5, 2003.

  1. Donn Welton

    Donn Welton Member

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    Hi All,

    This is my first post to the Track Planning Forum, which I have recently discovered at precisely the right moment. I am about to begin building a layout in my basement, which present an interesting problem that you might be able to help me with. First, a few specifications.

    I model the Rutland during the transition era (1945 to 1955) and am keen on reproducing some of the distinct towns and business that one finds in Vermont. Since there was a time when the Rutland and the Boston and Maine worked together, I will also have some B&M locomotives as well. The layout has a focus on operations and runs between the Bellows Falls yard and the Burlington yard and dock area, which will allow plenty of switching. Between the two I am hoping to model Middlebury, Proctor and a composite of New Haven and Vergennes. In particular I want to feature milk and marble operations with general freight and coal as well. At the same time that this is a point-to-point layout, I am keen on having at least one track that is a complete loop so that I can simply let a train run if I want.

    Here is my puzzle. The problem is that between two thirds and the last third of the layout there is a furnace room. Since the only way to the bottom third is through the furnace room, I have already constructed a hidden over-under bridge with one track above and another below, with 4" separation between the two tracks. But the effect of this is to create a double ended funnel: all the trains going from one side to the other converge on two points, one on either side. (The track cannot go in front of the furnace room as I need access for servicing.)

    This is related to another issue. The top right hand section of the layout is suspended between two corners that have only 5' of space between them. Thus I cannot create a 180 degree turn without going to a radius too small for the main (24" or under) and without serious access problems. This means, as far as I can tell, that any track in that corner must head into the furnace room or terminate along the top wall of the furnace room.

    Let me give this to you to think about before I post the plans that I have drawn in a few days. I only hope that this drawing is readable. It is of the whole basement with the space dedicated to the layout.

    Cheers,

    Donn
  2. shamus

    shamus Registered Member

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    Hi Donn,
    Do you think you could post a drawing of room size and proposed baseboard area, that way it could be looked at and even drawn to by some of our members.
    Cheers and thanks.

    Shamus
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
  3. Dave Hagan

    Dave Hagan Member

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    Hi Donn, you need to save the photo as a jpeg or gif before you can upload it. Max dimensions are 1024X768, 102K file size.

    TrackPlan:

    Attached Files:

  4. shamus

    shamus Registered Member

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    Hi Dave,
    That your area for a model railroad, come on own up:D

    Shamus[​IMG]
    [​IMG]
  5. Donn Welton

    Donn Welton Member

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    Thanks, Dave, for doing the conversion. I think I have finally figured out how to convert my photoshop images to JPEG. The next post should be in order. :)
  6. TR-Flyer

    TR-Flyer Member

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    Hi & welcone aboard the gauge:

    I'm envious already of your space! What about a removable or lift-up bridge across the furnace room doorway?

    Regards,
    Ted
  7. Donn Welton

    Donn Welton Member

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    At this point, Ted, I am open to all suggestions and the idea of a liftout bridge across the opening of the funace is worth considering. My initial concerns would be two. (A) Whatever space would be used for the bridge would be taken away from the space between the sliding door to the furnace and the right side of the middle island. I need to keep that space open enough for two people to pass. And (B) to get a track to curve around the top furnace wall might push the bridge even further out, perhaps as much as two feet. Unfortunately the middle island cannot move any further to the left (though I might be able to add a foot to its length). Still, let me try some sketches.
    Cheers,
    Donn
  8. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

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    Is the desire for a greater than 24" minimum radius because of operational difficulties on the tighter mainline curves, or just because it looks better? If it is a question of esthetics, but the equipment will operate on a 24" radius, put a big city in the restricted area with tall buildings to make a sort of "urban tunnel" to hide the unrealistic tight radius turn back curves. Is there room to run two tracks side by side behind the furnace? If so, spread them out going in and coming out to hide the "double track, and again use view blocks either buildings, cuts, etc. In the Northeast, a forrest would hide one line from another in a small area. One other method of utilising the area behind the furnace if it is too narrow for a double track is to build a "gantlet" track. That would add some operational challenge as well since you would have to have one train wait for the other to clear the gantlet before continuing on.
  9. Donn Welton

    Donn Welton Member

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    Phase I

    Thanks, Russ, for your response. Unfortuantely, there is only room for one track, not two on each of the two levels running behind the furnace. (Even as it is, the frame butts against the exhaust pipe.) I am going with your suggetion of a gauntlet track with a passing track in the mountains of the commercial section or Middlebury, though the plan that I attach does not have one in what I am calling Burlington. I should consider this, perhaps beside the main on the right elevated side.

    Let me post the two plans that I have for Phase I (Burlington) and Phase II (Commercial: Middlebury, Proctor and New Haven). This is an indication of my thinking thus far. Just a word of explanation. Burlington has three layers, the waterfront docks (-3"), the bottom main into the yards (0") and the return main (up to 4.5"). The commercial section has two layers, the main through the mountains (4.5" to 3") with a branch to New Haven (4.5") and the main through Middlebury and Proctor (3" to 0"). The incline on the latter may be too steep but it looks like I can extend the table another foot or maybe two, which should help.

    Even with my emphasis upon operations here are my worries: (a) the commercial section may be too cluttered; (b) hidden turnout on the way to the waterfront in Burlington and on the way from Proctor to Bellows Falls; (c) should I double the main?; and (d) the layout seems to work better in one direction (counterclockwise) than the other (clockwise).

    All suggestions are most welcome. Have fun!

    Attached Files:

  10. Donn Welton

    Donn Welton Member

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    Phase II

    This is the commercial section that is above the furnace.

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  11. Donn Welton

    Donn Welton Member

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    Phase III

    Just to complete the picture, let me also add this sketch of the third phase, Bellows Falls.

    Attached Files:

  12. Donn Welton

    Donn Welton Member

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    Phase III

    Just to complete the picture, let me also add this sketch of the third phase, Bellows Falls.

    Attached Files:

  13. cidchase

    cidchase Active Member

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    Hi Donn, :)
    I would think about angling the Middlebury peninsula a little more over to the column (west?) and keeping the access clear to the utility closet. Sooner or later that water heater will have to come out :( through the door (or the wall).
    I think that layout has many interesting features and will look great!
  14. Donn Welton

    Donn Welton Member

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    Middle Island

    I would like to straighten out the middle island ("move west") as you suggest, Cid, and also make it 12' long. That might also allow me to double the track after the bridge (on the left side) and thereby have a passing track in front of Middlebury Station that would continue around the bottom of the curve to the right side. Thanks for the suggestion.
    Donn