Shelf or straight line layouts

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#1
Moved to a new location, I can no longer do the large basement layout I had planned. I might be able to do an "L" layout.

Preface: I love continuous running trains, but I might have to bite the bullet. I could do a 4x8, but after reading all of the internet
posts on why 4x8 are bad, and why it actually uses 6x10, I might not be able to put a 4x8 sheet in the room. I can, however, do a
shelf style layout along a long wall. I would have at least two feet deep, if not more, and perhaps ten to fourteen feet long.

Is this a "goog" layout to start with, thinking that I might make the top track the "mainline" and add another track above or below that?

Screenshot from 2018-01-01 17:32:02.png

I would ditch the harbour and make it an industry. Might be able to get into switching and industries.

It comes from http://www.amherstrail.org/ABEL/Downloads/Shelf-Layouts.pdf on page 11.

Thanks.
 

flyboy2610

Loveably weird
#2
I like it. I agree with you about getting rid of the harbor and adding some industries. I would also add a pair of turnouts to the lower and middle tracks on the left side. This would give you a way to get the locomotive around to the other side of a freight car, which you will need to do to service the two industries that are there now. The locomotive has to to push one in coupled to the front, and back one in coupled to the rear of the locomotive.
Looks like a nice little layout for the space you have available.
 
#3
Moved to a new location, I can no longer do the large basement layout I had planned. I might be able to do an "L" layout.

Preface: I love continuous running trains, but I might have to bite the bullet. I could do a 4x8, but after reading all of the internet
posts on why 4x8 are bad, and why it actually uses 6x10, I might not be able to put a 4x8 sheet in the room. I can, however, do a
shelf style layout along a long wall. I would have at least two feet deep, if not more, and perhaps ten to fourteen feet long.

Is this a "goog" layout to start with, thinking that I might make the top track the "mainline" and add another track above or below that?

View attachment 64805

I would ditch the harbour and make it an industry. Might be able to get into switching and industries.

It comes from http://www.amherstrail.org/ABEL/Downloads/Shelf-Layouts.pdf on page 11.

Thanks.
I don't personally think that 4x8s are really that bad, I had a fairly decent one when I was a teen. I haven't used it in a few years, but with some modifications, I'm sure it could be

Mine was similar to http://layoutvision.com/id48.html , except without those interior spurs and it ran pretty well.
 
#4
I don't personally think that 4x8s are really that bad, I had a fairly decent one when I was a teen. I haven't used it in a few years, but with some modifications, I'm sure it could be

Mine was similar to http://layoutvision.com/id48.html , except without those interior spurs and it ran pretty well.
I actually looked quite a bit at this out and back in 5x9: http://www.layoutvision.com/gallery/id53.html

The main thing that sort of stops me is there are about $550 in switches on the 5x9 out and back. I really like the plan, but I can not come up with the cash to start that. Also not entirely sure it would fit comfortably in the space as much as a 4x8, and certainly it would not fit like a shelf.

The 4x8 (and 5x9) fixes one of my criteria which is a continuous run. On the other hand, I am still in the negotiation process as to if a 5x9 (or 4x8) is too large for the room. :eek: So, this is sort of a multi-variate problem and the size of the layout is non-determinant.
 

montanan

Whiskey Merchant
#5
You can pack a lot of action into a small space in the plan you posted. Personally, I really enjoy switching a lot. My layout was built mainly for switching, but with the use of some hidden staging tracks, I do have the capability to run continuously. Most of my layout is a shelf type layout, most being about 24" deep, but with some areas a bit wider. As with the plan you posted, I purposely build switching problem into each town. I did finally time one of my "operating sessions" the other day and it took three and a half hours to run the length of the layout with a 14 car train.

My layout is a point to point with a yard and sngine servicing facility at each end. This does take up quite a bit of room, but with an industrial area as in the plan above you have a lot of opportunity to have an interesting layout.
 

Greg@mnrr

Section Hand
#6
A 4X8 can be a space eater since it requires access from at least three sides. The shelf layout plan looks interesting and should offer a lot of switching action. The longer you can make the layout, the more action you can enjoy.

A shelf layout can be highly detailed like the layouts completed by the staff at Model Railroader magazine.

And yes, make the harbor more industries for added switching locations.

A backdrop will make the layout look even deeper. Take a look at the photo background buildings on the Trackside Scenery website. The photo-back ground buildings, along with structures like those from the Walther's Cornerstone Series will bring additional depth and life to the layout.

Enjoy building your new layout.

Greg
 
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#7
I would also add a pair of turnouts to the lower and middle tracks on the left side. This would give you a way to get the locomotive around to the other side of a freight car, which you will need to do to service the two industries that are there now. The locomotive has to to push one in coupled to the front, and back one in coupled to the rear of the locomotive.
Looks like a nice little layout for the space you have available.

I think I understand what you are saying on the middle, but not the lower. Do you mean add another turnout to get to the lower industries?
 

new guy

Active Member
#8
The Shelf can be 6" or 6' wide for running back and forth. A 54" square on each end of a shelf will give you continuous running options. You can turn big HO steamers around and keep going and going...
 

flyboy2610

Loveably weird
#9
I think I understand what you are saying on the middle, but not the lower. Do you mean add another turnout to get to the lower industries?
Draw a diagonal line between the lower and middle tracks, to the left of the turnout on the lower left. The line should run from top left to lower right. I'll try to make a pic of what I mean. This way you can uncouple from a car and move the locomotive to the opposite end. This is called a runaround track.
The thick line between the two tracks, on the left side, shows what I mean. Shelflayout.png
 

Sirfoldalot

Plucked Tailfeathers
Staff member
#10
I have (I think) decided on this one except will add an extension on each main line enough to hold a loco and car - so about 2x10 rather than the 2x7 shown. I like all the different industries! This plan is from July 1960 MR.

West Agony 01 (Large).jpg

West Agony 02 (Large).jpg

West Agony 03 (Large).jpg
 

Greg@mnrr

Section Hand
#11
Sherrel: Are those photographs of a Wit Towers layout? Sure looks familiar from the early 70's or late 60's.

Thanks.

Greg
 
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#12
Sirfoldalot: I h ave seen that before. Very interesting.

I think if I were to do the St. Antoine Sur Mer, I would like to change the "fiddle yard" to be a "real yard", or at least the beginning of one. (three of four tracks)?

Another question would be I currently own ten #6 PECO insulfrog turnouts. Should I go with #5 to gain 3/4" per turnout? (doesn't see necessary)

Just to be clear, I have not drawn up any of this, and the site I pulled the drawing from has no dimensions. I am also not sure if I can make it 11' long. Maybe.
 
#13
Preface: I love continuous running trains, but I might have to bite the bullet. I could do a 4x8, but after reading all of the internet
posts on why 4x8 are bad, and why it actually uses 6x10, I might not be able to put a 4x8 sheet in the room.
You can't believe everything you read on the internet (especially things on that forum on the other side of the tracks). A lot of that is "made up" badness just to prove someones' point. Of course it requires 6x10 amount of space, no one would build it assuming they didn't have to access it. Even a 2' by X shelf layout really consumes at least 4' by X.
 
#14
I actually looked quite a bit at this out and back in 5x9:...
The main thing that sort of stops me is there are about $550 in switches on the 5x9 out and back. I really like the plan, but I can not come up with the cash to start that. Also not entirely sure it would fit comfortably in the space as much as a 4x8, and certainly it would not fit like a shelf.
One doesn't have to put all the switches in at once. A bare bones out and back could be built with as few as 5 turnouts, and add the others as time/money permits.

And yes the concept does fit on a 4x8. As below. This is one I built for my son's birthday present in 1995 or so. Note I had to use two 22/18" curved turnouts to get the passing siding to fit. One could squeeze in even more track and industries, but then it is getting to be almost solid track like the Byron Henderson one. The out and back is one of my favorite designs, even for large layouts. The same industrial sidings can be worked as either trailing point or facing point, or both. In my opinion most model railroads are "over yarded" anyway. Having 1 serve as many is a great conservation measure.
 
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#15
One doesn't have to put all the switches in at once. A bare bones out and back could be built with as few as 5 turnouts, and add the others as time/money permits.

And yes the concept does fit on a 4x8. As below. This is one I built for my son's birthday present in 1995 or so. Note I had to use two 22/18" curved turnouts to get the passing siding to fit. One could squeeze in even more track and industries, but then it is getting to be almost solid track like the Byron Henderson one. The out and back is one of my favorite designs, even for large layouts. The same industrial sidings can be worked as either trailing point or facing point, or both. In my opinion most model railroads are "over yarded" anyway. Having 1 serve as many is a great conservation measure.
No to jump off the rails, but can someone explain to me the allure (or not) of going with the "out and back" over say a "shortline" type setup? Again, I could start and add the switches later on. I might be able to swing the innermost circle of the Classic out and back 5x9 with parts on hand. The shortline I would only be short a few parts for building.

Another poster noted that the 4x8 requires more room, as does a shelf, which is true. The 4x8 does require considerably more square footage. I will have to really re-examine the area to see if I could indeed go that route.

For reference, I am picturing: Classic out and back 5x9

and: Shortline (Falls Mill in 4x8)
 

Sirfoldalot

Plucked Tailfeathers
Staff member
#16
Sherrel: Are those photographs of a Wit Towers layout? Sure looks familiar from the early 70's or late 60's.

Thanks.

Greg
GREG - I have searched over the 4 page article and the only reference I can find is that it was written by TERRY WALSH.

It is a basic switching problem for operation with tracks that can only take a loco and 1-2 cars at a time. They created a switching problem that takes 52 moves to accomplish per prototype ops.

It is a small town setting in a larger layout that the main line passes through.
 
#17
A 4X8 can be a space eater since it requires access from at least three sides. The shelf layout plan looks interesting and should offer a lot of switching action. The longer you can make the layout, the more action you can enjoy.
Greg
If you put it on sliders, you can reduce that two only one or two sides. It does involve some compromises, but apart from the initial stages of constructing terrain, it's not so bad.
 

wombat457

Active Member
Staff member
#18
The size of the bench work really doesn't matter all that much, it is where you position things on that bench work that matters.

You can have 4' wide bench work so long as your track work is placed at a "reachable distance" for YOU. Granted, some thought may need to be taken with the scenery construction and how that would/could be done.

The other thing to take into consideration is the type of bench work you use. If a table top then the afore mentioned applies. If open grid, you have less to worry about.
 
#19
can someone explain to me the allure (or not) of going with the "out and back" over say a "shortline" type setup?
Not certain what you mean by shortline type setup, but I can assume that it means a point-to-point with the end-of-the-line just dissipating into the terminals industries.

Under that assumption, one can easily simulate the short line on an out and back layout. The yard is the interchange yard with the larger railroad. The train departs from there and goes out to the terminal which are the industries on the layout. It then reverses direction and goes back to the interchange yard. Real Petticoat junction, mixed train daily type short line operations.

In my opinion one of the great benefits of an out and back is duration of run. On a true short line track arrangement; one gets the train, runs through to the terminal and you're there. Even on a 3 times around 4x8 and running really slow that would take what 2 minutes? With an out and back, one can go out and run around the loop as many times as the schedule requires before getting to the terminal. A train run could be an hour if one wanted it to be.

On a direct point-to-point type track plan an east bound train will have certain industry tracks that are always facing point and some that are always trailing point. A west bound would be opposite. When simulating way freight operations on an out-and-back, an east or west bound train can approach all sidings as either facing point or trailing point. So one can make the trains as challenging as one desires. From the easiest with all trailing point switching, to the hardest with all facing point.

The 5x9 in reference has another advantage. Two trains can be run as a single track mainline with opposing traffic. From the yard release one train east bound that goes out and immediately reverses, the yard then releases a west bound and they can keep having meets on the two passing sidings. At the operators will the east bound can return to the yard and another westbound be released. Then one can run nose to tail for a while, or even do an overtake. Bi-directional running.

As noted before an out and back consumes 1/2 the amount of space for yards and engine facilities since one of each represents both ends of the line.

The big disadvantage of an out and back design is the yard is the same in every "town". Normally yards have their little quirks when working them. On a large layout it is fun to move from one to the next such that while the operation is the same "break and make" a train, how it is done is different. With and out an back there is only 1 yard and 1 set of quirks to deal with. Can make yard work more monotonous than it normally is.

Here are two layouts I did for someone on that forum on the other side of the tracks. They had a very small and strangely shaped space. One is point to point, the other out and back. Even at that I cheated and made the engine terminal shared between the two points. I think I also got lazy on the out-and-back and didn't add the industries.

 
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#20
Not certain what you mean by shortline type setup, but I can assume that it means a point-to-point with the end-of-the-line just dissipating into the terminals industries
I linked to them before, but here is the "shortline" (the author calls it falls mill): http://www.layoutvision.com/sitebuildercontent/sitebuilderfiles/falls_mill_component.pdf

The Description is here: http://layoutvision.com/id48.html



In my opinion one of the great benefits of an out and back is duration of run. On a true short line track arrangement; one gets the train, runs through to the terminal and you're there. Even on a 3 times around 4x8 and running really slow that would take what 2 minutes? With an out and back, one can go out and run around the loop as many times as the schedule requires before getting to the terminal. A train run could be an hour if one wanted it to be.
I really like a continuous running train, and this one is really interesting, but it is larger at 5x9: http://www.layoutvision.com/gallery/id53.html

One of the big issues I have with that layout is that there are not two separate tracks as in the first link I posted in this post. They all join up at "Conn Jct".

I will admit I am still in this stage where I am asking myself "what can I build in the space provided to give continuous run fun and also something like a yard or industries (in case I want to do that sort of thing)"? Note, the size of the space I have now is "variable" based on what I come up with and if my SO accepts the idea.

NOTE: Yes, I really am one of those odd people that can watch a train go round and round. I have a 56" oval around the christmas tree, and yes, I can watch my SW-1500 move slowly around it for hours. It is strangely relaxing.
 



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