New Layout Design Ideas

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#1
First off, let me say that though I have been a Model Railroader for many years I have never had to plan a layout. I have belonged to various clubs depending on my place of residence, and I have worked on layouts, but I have never had to trackplan one.

So I am looking for some help and ideas.

The space I have available to me is 11', 11.25" x 24', 8", with no obstructions. It's half my basement, and it's the half without the door, furnace, or anything else. There is an electrical box, but if it becomes an issue I can help steer away from that.

For those of you who may use Google Sketchup, I have a 3D model of my basement with the layout area defined. It's located HERE in the Wharehouse

What I want to go for is a functional logging layout in the steam era. I want the logging area to branch to a mainline transfer where the logs are transported to a lumber mill. I am thinking of some kind of passenger service as well.

Other details are: H0 scale, and DCC. I would prefer a completely fictitious railroad, as I am planning on decaling my own loco's and rolling stock with a name that I honestly haven't thought of yet, but then again some say the best fiction is based on truth. I am also thinking about designing a website to document the progress through photos, and live webcam. I was also thinking about having some separate dedicated track somewhere in the layout that will have a train that is strictly controlled through JAVA on the website, so website users can activate and operate a train. I am still fleshing out ideas though.

Basically I am looking for some direction on where to start on track planning this large layout so I can start laying some bench work. Any feedback will be greatly appreciated.
 
#2
Welcome to the forum!

The first thing I would do is get some good resourses on the stuff you want to model. For example, you want to do a logging layout, get some books about logging railroads. I too am planning a small (4'X6':() logging railroad. One of the books I have is The Model Railroader's Guide to Logging Railroads by Matt Coleman, and that has a lot of good info on what to look for and some guidance on designing your layout.

You also metioned that you want to have branch lines feed a mainline and transport them to the mill. That book I have classifies that as a long haul logging line. In a nut shell, shays/small drivers locos deliver to sidings along the main line, larger locos pick those up and bring them to the mill then return the empties. One thing to note is that by early 1900's, Class I and logging main lines were kept seperate.

I'll let others help out on the benchwork of that size.
 
#3
Hi,

That's a pretty decent size you've got there - Congratulations!

Given the generally accepted "maximum reach requirement" of no more than ~30" this is obviously going to be some kind of walk-in layout - Attached below is a quick sketch I did for someone else to illustrate.

I also strongly recommend John Armstrongs famous "Layout design for realistic operation" tome - It really is the "bible" for this stuff. He uses the concept of "squares" which are ~24" for HO scale - Two will therefore allow a 180 turn. It's *very* easy to get carried away and "squeeze" it tighter - Don't do this at this stage! [If *really* needed later to solve an insurmountable problem, then do it, but for now don't "fudge" your minimum.]

Good luck,
Cheers,
Ian
 
#4
Yay SketchUp!

I am very envious of your space. I suggest using XTRKCad and a lot of time and coming up with something like Fast Ian mentioned. If your return loops were peninsulas on the unwalled side of the layout you would have easy access to all areas of visible layout.

And researching the theme that you wish to model is very important. You might find aspects of the industry that you want to model that you were unaware of previously. Log pond, crazy switchback designs, etc.
________
YAMAHA MT-100 HISTORY
 
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#5
Thanks for the great sugestions.

I have very little experience with XTRKCad, but I will give it a go.

As fas as the benchwork goes, I like the peninsula idea, but I am thinking of doing something along the lines of a very large "M". I will post more as the idea fleshes out a little, but I am still looking for suggestions.

Thanks again everyone.
 

NYC_George

Well-Known Member
#8
This is my lower deck. The two yellow circles are the piers that hold up the house and is the center line of the basement. I have the one yard and helix that go beyond the center line.

George
 
#9
I just grabbed up "The Model Railroaders Guide to Logging Railroads" and "Layout Design for Realistic Operation" through Amazon, so hopefully those will be helpful.

Lately I have been sitting in the middle of the empty space that is going to be my layout, trying to envision what I want it to look like, but I am coming up blank.

What I know is that I want it to be "operational" (at least that's what I've termed it, I don't know if there is another word to use). I want it to have a section where logging takes place and just cut logs are loaded onto a train probably pulled by a Shay. That train will be taken to a yard down the line where either the lumber mill will be or it will be assembled into a longer train pulled by a larger locomotive to the lumber mill.

Lumber will then be loaded onto a train for delivery throughout the layout, possibly with a port or some kind for drop off to be shipped across the ocean someplace.

I would also like some kind of passenger operations, and very likely other freight operations throughout the layout so that boxcars and gondolas can be utilized.

The basic sketch in my head is mountainous, but that is about it. I don't want FLAT. I live in FLAT and hate it. The local model railroad club has a layout that is pretty much built on flat pieces of plywood with no dimension and it really annoys me. Also it's N scale so nothing that I have will fit (I did buy a very nice Daylight set from Kato for it though). Anyway, I want MOUNTAINS DAMMIT! Plenty of tunnels and bridges and a lot of action.

I think a small airstrip would be nice too.

I guess I am just rambling now, I will keep updating this thread as I move along.

Thanks everyone for the help thusfar.
 

Cjcrescent

Master Mechanic
#10
...
Lately I have been sitting in the middle of the empty space that is going to be my layout, trying to envision what I want it to look like, but I am coming up blank.
...
I would also like some kind of passenger operations, and very likely other freight operations throughout the layout so that boxcars and gondolas can be utilized.
...
The basic sketch in my head is mountainous, but that is about it. I don't want FLAT. I live in FLAT and hate it. The local model railroad club has a layout that is pretty much built on flat pieces of plywood with no dimension and it really annoys me. Also it's N scale so nothing that I have will fit (I did buy a very nice Daylight set from Kato for it though). Anyway, I want MOUNTAINS DAMMIT! Plenty of tunnels and bridges and a lot of action.

...

Thanks everyone for the help thusfar.
When you are just "sitting" there and thinking, have a note book in front of you and start writing this stuff down.
It helps greatly when designing a layout, to have a concrete concept of what you want. One of the other members of the forum has developed a "track planning form" for solidifying what's in your head. I have also been given permission to let others us it as well. All it does is make you write down what you're thinking about and how to tie it all in together. It is a massive help when designing a layout for someone to know what all their thoughts are. If you would like a copy of this form and one that has been filled out, (to use as an example), contact me offline and I'll sent you one. Feel free to make as many copies of it as necessary to develop your plan with. When you get down to the "final concept", you'll be in a position that will make the actual designing of the layout go alot easier.
 
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RW&C

N Scale with Stone Tools
#11
+1 on writing everything down. Even if you don't organize it, just writing it down can help you to remember and clarify it. Remember to look at the space now and then for a reality check. :rolleyes:

You ideas so far point to animation, which is always fun. With a little extra work you could design your trains to haul live loads (pick up logs, dump them off, that sort of thing). HO is pretty well suited to this sort of thing, and it adds a lot imo.

Just one more thing to add to your massive log of ideas. ;)
 
#12
Thanks for the great ideas, now that I have started taking notes and sketching some ideas out on paper it's really helping me see the layout more in my head. I still don't have a knack for the track planning software yet, but I am working on it.

One of the ideas that cropped up in my notebook is that I don't have to make it one continuous railroad. One of the plans all along is to make it functional with a pick up and drop off point, and since I have the space I can build the layout in two sections. One section being the scenic mountain side where the logging industry is performing it's duties and across the wall, I can transition to the delivery point.

I will scan my idea when I get a chance and attach it here.

Once again, thanks for the help.
 
#14
CJ,

Got PM, checking email shortly.

CJ

All Others,

I have attached the afore mentioned scan of the idea I had where I could separate the two areas with a wall. Hopefully the attachment of the file has been performed correctly.

Thanks,

CJ (again)

EDIT: Got email, thank you, this is going to help immensely. It seems almost like putting a simple business plan together. Once again, thanks.
 
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