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Thread: Portable layout in progress, looking for suggestions

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    Default Portable layout in progress, looking for suggestions

    Hi folks, this is my first post, looking forward to being part of the forum. I got an Atlas Trainman set with a GP15-1 in BN colors about three months ago, and have since developed an addiction. I'm moving in a few months but wanted to go ahead with a layout anyway, and just make it portable. It is constructed in four sections and is 30"x72" so it will fit on a folding table, or currently on the dining room table. (btw, I did not put this under the "modular" section because it does not follow any particular standard, if I'm mistaken about that let me know) I'm modeling the Oregon Trunk (OT) in the '90s, I grew up there and still lived there in the '90s. There are a ton of great pictures out there but here is a link to one of my favorites:

    http://www.railpictures.net/viewphot...=415982&nseq=7
    Last edited by OTFan; 9th Mar 2013 at 03:16 PM.

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    While I'm still figuring out the photo part... I don't have any industries on the layout yet but plan to focus on agriculture. Certainly a grain elevator (doesn’t have to be a big one) serviced by covered hoppers, and an agricultural supply outfit. It’s a bit of a stretch but it could receive tank cars of liquid fertilizer or pesticides, box cars of bagged feed/seed/etc, and maybe even larger equipment on flat cars. Maybe not 100% prototypical but (I think) a good compromise between realism, limited space, and wanting a variety of cars. Suggestions are certainly welcome. I don’t think I’ll even try for part of a town or even any individual houses just due to lack of space, but we’ll see.

    I'll get pictures up as soon as I can.
    Last edited by OTFan; 9th Mar 2013 at 03:16 PM.

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    Welcome!
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    Thanks ChicagoNW, I'll get right on it. Lets see, this makes 2...

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    Ok, looks like I can post pictures now

    The first will hopefully show a passing resemblance to the pic on railpics I linked to on my first post

    The second picture shows the overall track plan. The bridge in the front is the low point in elevation, with a 2% grade on Woodland Scenic inclines extending to the right around the curve up to the bridge in the back, and to the left all along the front of the layout and half way up the left side.

    The third shows the area where I have a run-around / really short passing siding and a spurs. As the picture shows I can fit my longest loco and three cars on the "siding", which means its not much of a siding. Being new at this I'm sure lots of you have better ideas for track layout, and I'd love to read them. I'm using true track, btw. Thanks
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    man I love layouts like that please keep the progress coming.... As far as ideas/plans/suggestions, it's all here and more... I just wish I would have found this forum BEFORE I started my layout, it sure would have saved me many hours of time and lots of money....

    Any Questions just shoot away, this forum is full of all kinds of good stuff and Great People..

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    Hi!

    Looks nice what you have built so far. As for sidings on small layouts, you have a few possibilities:

    1. Inside the loop, just as you built it. As for the looks, I prefer this version. The main line runs through the straight section of the turnouts and you see the whole train nicely lined up. The problem is, that the siding is usually quite short.

    2. Outside the loop. Gives you more length for the siding, but does not look very prototypical IMHO.

    3. Inside the loop around the curve. Maybe the best option if build it a little asymmetrical and use the landscape to hide the 180° curve a little bit.

    And of course any combination of the three ;-)

    Regards
    Jens
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    Thanks Jens. I should have joined this forum before I started building, I like the siding inside the curve idea but it will require a little "terraforming".

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    What you have is a runaround that is adequate for switching duties, but still limits you to just one train on the layout. If you want a real passing siding where one full train can meet another, my initial suggestion was gonna be to lengthen what you have by moving the left siding turnout all the way around the left end curve, kinda like the third option posted by Jens. I realize, though, that the difficulty may be in track geometry, since you're using True Track. I don't know what curve radii they offer. If you're up for a little adventure, though, you could shift gear to use cork and Code 55 flex track to do at least that siding... which would mean getting into ballasting, too. It would be a good learning experience, at least.

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    k0ncept- thanks, and I agree about coming here before building, but oh well. I'm sure I'll learn lots about what not to do next time, but its still fun.

    WP&P- great point about using flex track for a siding. By doing that on the outside of the existing curve I could still use sectional track for the parts that connect together between modules. I'd have to build a small extension for part of the curve, but it wouldn't overhang the table enough to bother anything. Thanks for the suggestion.

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    You are in the right ballpark for your AG business. The grain business is very cyclic and the silo operators often ran the Seed & Feed and sold implements. Just be sure that your storage units match the size if cars and vice versa. It always looks weird when a 100,000 gallon tanker services a 5,000 storage tank. If the county is really sparsely populated they are most likely the local coal and fuel dealer as well.
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    I love the beginning! I think the scale of your layout allows for some amazing super-detailing possibilities. You trestle scene looks to be very dramatic allowing for a very dynamic scene! I really hope you focus on it and capture the endless possibilities! Yes, I'm a bit jealous of that because my layout is very flat at the moment.

    Looking forward to the progress!

    Cheers


    Cheers!

    CG

    The Denver and Milwaukee Northern

    The D&MN Build Thread: http://www.nscale.net/forums/showthr...870#post285870

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    Thanks everyone for the feedback and suggestions. ChicagoNW, good points about the ag supply business. I don’t think we actually had a coal distributor or used much if any coal, but that doesn’t change your overall point: small town ag businesses involved in lots of ag related activities, because what is profitable at one time of the year won’t necessarily keep the lights on at another time of the year.

    And yes, despite what I just said about coal, that is a coal hopper in the picture. What can I say, it came with the set that got me into this and I’m still new enough to think it’s fun to put every piece of rolling stock I own in a consist and watch it go roundy-round. There’s really only one solution- get more rolling stock…

    This weekend I've put in a few more rock faces and outcroppings, and am experimenting with how much to dilute the WS "Earth Undercoat" to get the color I want. I've been tinting the sculptamold that I've been applying, but am going through the undercoat pretty quickly doing that. I think I'll still tint the sculptamold at least a little bit just so I don't have bright white showing through anywhere, but apply a little more to the surface to darken it a little. That picture also shows what passes for my "workbench" at the moment- sitting on the floor with a module on top of a cardboard box to raise it a little. Not pretty, but it works for now.

    While waiting for that to dry, I've also been messing around with the arrangement of the spurs. I'm thinking of replacing the curved section the pencil is pointing to with a left hand turnout to create another parallel spur, illustrated with that piece of unconnected straight track. Maybe have the ag supply business on what will eventually be those parallel spurs, and a grain elevator on the spur to the right. I'm thinking that the spur where the two box cars are sitting will be an interchange. I read a great article on the web by a Brit living in South Africa, if I remember right, that talks about interchanges as a good excuse to run all different types of cars. Wish I could find the article again, both to give credit and because it was really informative. On the "prototype" Oregon Trunk the City of Prineville runs its own rail line with an interchange. It doesn't see much traffic these days, but still... Passing freight trains can place cars on the spur (which will represent an interchange), where they are handled by the city's "0-5-0 switcher" and replaced with other cars going out, or something like that. As always, suggestions are welcome and appreciated.

    cgleiss, thanks and I do plan on focusing on that bridge/trestle (does that count as a trestle?), to be honest that scene is really why I started a layout at all. Very nice structures on your layout, by the way, it will take some practice to get from the franken-bridge I've created to that level.
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    Actually, interchange traffic is, and always has been, the backbone of the US rail system. Think of it primarily as any car, anywhere, at any time. Back in the day it was said that at any given moment you could find a Pennsy boxcar in every train in the country - their fleet was that big. Seriously out of place cars can be justified as bridge traffic going from one Class 1 road to another via the shortest route.

    Also, if you add an implement dealership, aside from the tractors delivered on flats, they will need diesel fuel, engine oil, grease, spare tractor tires, replacement parts and so on. And a fertilizer dealer could have incoming granular fert. in covered hoppers as well as liquid fert. in tankers AND flats for delivering the chemical sprayers for application.
    Cheers!,
    Ron




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    Coal hauling is just one of those things that almost every railroad has done at one point in time. Even the CTA has done it on the L Tracks!
    Depending on your era the fuel dealer sells coal, oil or LPG, sometimes a combination. Many cement coal silos still stand today. Many times they are just the billboard for the dealer. The faded and pealing paint can make a great exercise in weathering.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wrath_of_Wotan View Post
    Actually, interchange traffic is, and always has been, the backbone of the US rail system.
    I wont argue with you there, I was just saying that for that one particular short line, owned by a city with a population of around 9,000 and which only serves that city, traffic is down compared to what it used to be. They have a cool excursion train called the Crooked River Diner Train, though. Great idea about the implement dealership.

    Quote Originally Posted by ChicagoNW View Post
    Coal hauling is just one of those things that almost every railroad has done at one point in time. Even the CTA has done it on the L Tracks!
    That's awesome! Would not have guessed that, about hauling coal on the L I mean.

    I didn't get as much done this weekend as I planned, but here are a couple of pics of what progress I did make. I diluted WS earth undercoat pretty heavily to lighten the color and tinted the sculptamold just a little darker. It is still pretty light, but here is a link to a pic to compare to

    http://www.railpictures.net/viewphot...=416619&nseq=3

    I also got started adding some scree (or talus, whatever term you prefer), going to need plenty more. Thanks to everyone for the input.
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    Default track plans

    Thanks to the feedback above, I have come up with a couple of options for adding a siding. The first picture is my current track plan with the addition of one parallel spur that isn't there in reality yet (waiting on Atlas to ship track from China, but that's another topic). The curve doesn't quite line up in the computer program because I am using a switch instead of one section of curve, but it works fine on the table. The lines around the outside show the outline of the space I'm working with, and the lines down the middle are right about where the seams between sections are. And yes, I really did cut two corners off my layout. So I can set the throttle, a cold beverage, or whatever else on the table in that space. It seemed like a good idea at the time. Option 1 only moves the current curve out two inches, shortens the runaround in the back (top of the picture) and fits a siding inside the current curve. I would have to come up with something to keep a derailed train from proving Christopher Columbus wrong after all on that corner, but it wouldn't require too much modification. Option 2 keeps the current curve right where it is, and adds a siding outside of it. I would have to do something like glue some more extruded foam to the edge of the layout to support the wider curve, not exactly sure how I would tackle that yet but it doesn't seem like it would be too hard. Please excuse the gaps in the main line in options 1 and 2, I'm using the trial version of AnyRail and it only lets me have 50 pieces of track. I hope it wont be too confusing.

    Either way, the switch towards the front of the layout (bottom of the picture) and about 1/3 of the siding will be on a 2% grade, but the only parts of my layout that aren't on a grade are the bridges and the area where I already have a runaround and spurs.

    Jens, thank you for the three different options for sidings and I know I'm only using one of them, but with the bridges in place I don't have enough room on the straight sections. I could go with double track bridges, but there aren't any of those on the line I'm trying to model.

    Does anyone see a big reason why I should go for one option over another, or something I'm completely missing? Thanks
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    I guess I was thinking more along the lines of keeping the runaround that you now have (middle of the top edge) but then extending it around the left end, running "parallel" (really "offset") to the curve there, to join roughly where you show the turnout at lower left in one of those options. But doing so requires the use of flex track, because the actual curve geometry might not be achievable in sectional. By doing so, you'll have a decent passing siding length. As you show it, though, a passing siding that is only equal to the length of 180 degrees of curvature is still a bit on the small side.

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    Ah, thanks WP&P, I think I get it now. I am concerned that I will end up with too small of a radius curve doing that, but that may be the "lesser of two evils" so to speak. Can't have everything, right? Existing curves are 15.5" radius for 45 degrees where the curve meets the straight, with the 90 degrees in the middle at 11". I'll play around with the track planning software some more.

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    Default Scenic progress

    Well, this is never going to grace the pages of a model railroad magazine, but its still fun. While figuring out the rest of the track plan on the left half of the layout, I'm continuing with scenery in the canyon on the right side. Based off some advice in a thread on this forum

    http://www.nscale.net/forums/showthr...ons-Pond-River

    Which linked to this thread:

    http://www.modelrailroadforums.com/f...ad.php?t=11253

    I was trying to match the color I'm painting the river bed to the river I want to model, the Deschutes River. The coordinates for a nice spot, if you want to check it out on your favorite map program are: 45.287418,-121.024368

    That's actually a pretty interesting spot, the tracks cross a bridge, straight into a tunnel, then out of the tunnel and across another bridge. Interesting piece of railroad engineering. The north bridge is the inspiration for the one at the front of my layout.

    Here is a link to a picture from the same general area that shows how blue the water can look when reflecting a nice, bright Central Oregon sky:
    http://www.railpictures.net/viewphot...d=3010&nseq=55
    Still, I think I might have gotten the river bed a little too blue. I will have time to fix it though as I'm not going to pour the "water" until I have most of the ground cover down. I'm planning on a high desert spring, like you see in this picture taken in early May, 1995 (not by me, that's why I'm linking to these pictures rather than posting copies)
    http://www.railpictures.net/viewphot...=416263&nseq=4

    So far I'm sprinkling out Woodland Scenics blended turf as a base, and will add in "burnt grass" (its actually fairly green) and maybe some green grass for a little color, with the greener stuff following the little draws and depressions. Eventually, after I pour the water, I'll add some nice green bushes by the edge. I'm using "olive green" bushes for sagebrush, it was the closest thing I could find. All of this is WS, and I don't mean to sound like a commercial for them but it's all the arts and crafts store down the road carries. That general plan is based on what I've read on this forum, and if anyone has suggestions on techniques, or certain materials to check out, or anything else I'd appreciate it.
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