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Thread: Sam Hill Junction - new layout

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    Default Sam Hill Junction - new layout

    Sam Hill Junction is a 4'x4' layout that has been a learning experience for my son and me.
    It has been a lot of fun, but is limited in its operational ability.

    The attached file shows the first draft of a new layout plan. It was designed using Railmodeller. Loosely based on our local area, it contains a continuous loop with enough room for structures and scenery, a branch line which is intended to allow for some switching of a few industries found on the prototype around here, and a spur that heads off to a gravel pit. In real life, the distance from the mainline to the gravel pit is probably a 30-40 mile run. A little compression there.

    The curves are tighter than I was hoping they would be. I'm using a little "if RM allows me to connect the flex track, I should work in real life..." faith with those.
    I was hoping to have a switching yard, but it was originally located where the long passing siding is, and I can't fit both. I'd prefer the passing siding. I would actually extend it to encompass the "Dover" radius at the bottom of the layout, but I think it will be too tight. I'd like an Amtrak station... somewhere... as there is one here locally in Dover.

    The Portsmouth Branch line will cross under the mainline. Haven't finalized the clearances and approaches out yet (haven't mastered that function in RM).
    The plan is for the branch line to handle 5 cars - 1 for the fish processor and 2 each for lumber and scrap metal.

    The layout wraps around a petition wall (shown in black). That wall could be "breached" (tunnel), but I like the idea of the scenic divide, and the fact that it separates the Portsmouth industries and switching from the rest of the mainline, which is the case in the prototype. The only other wall is the thin black line shown at the Dover curve. All else is open and accessible. The round circle shown midway down the Portsmouth Branchline is a lally column in the basement. Have to blend that in somehow.

    I plan to upgrade to DCC for this new beginning, so we'll deal with the reverse loop using that technology. Drawn using Atlas Code 55.

    Feel free to mark-up and/or comment. Thanks for looking

    Paul

    Last edited by pwh70; 8th Nov 2013 at 01:09 PM. Reason: Added track type

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    I like it so far. couple of points- what is the min radius? if you plan to spot 2 cars at the scrap yard and lumber yard will 2 fit in each location w/o fouling the turnout? What do the elevations look like? and it looks like the crossover from Dover to the left main is a reversing loop so you may need a auto-reverser
    Yours,

    Gene

    Turtle Creek Industrial RR

    Link to my Flickr account: https://www.flickr.com/photos/epumph/

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    I like it Paul, some very good switching ops, and continuous running, and it look like a lot of area for scenery, the trifecta of model railroading!!
    Jeff


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    I'll second Gene's suggestions and potential issues. Measure and make sure train cars won't foul other sidings/mains. And check the radius on all curves. Also, flipping switches around will help avoid S-curves and give smoother operations (and looks) to your plan. And check that grade for the over/under part as it might be a pretty steep climb. Overall though, I'm diggin' this!

    PW&NJ Railroad

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    You have two good places to include a 4-5 track yard with a yard track long enough to accommodate good switching and train assemble and breakdown, and allow room for an arrival/departure track. In both locations a run-around track will be needed.

    The space in the lower right section by the 'town' would work well with room for engine service facilities, as well as a 2-3 bay engine house.

    The larger space between the Portsmouth Branch and the gravel pit would also work well. Entry and exit from a yard there would need a bit of study to get it right. My guess is that you considered a turntable where the circle is.
    (The voices I hear in my head may not be real, but sometimes they come up with a good idea.)

    Have fun.

    Moose

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    as per Moose, if you sacrifice one track length of the long passing siding on the right then insert a LH turnout in that space you can gain access to the are between the gravel pit and the branch
    Just move the t/o that is there up a track length. hope I'm clear????
    Yours,

    Gene

    Turtle Creek Industrial RR

    Link to my Flickr account: https://www.flickr.com/photos/epumph/

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    I agree with PW&NJ's points, and would add red arrows at all the industries as their spurs are all only 1 car deep. A 50' car needs about 5" of track to fit comfortably, and need some amount of space to allow for automatic coupling and simplified uncoupling. It's a pain to try and force couplers together or apart on a curve. I like to draw using only sectional track. It does two things, makes it clear when you're using tight curves and provides reference points for how long spurs really are. In reality when you go to lay track you can still use flex, and you don't have to follow the rigid look of the plan drawn with sectional pieces, but when drawing it sure helps show what's really going on.

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    Quote Originally Posted by epumph View Post
    what is the min radius?
    Quote Originally Posted by PW&NJ View Post
    And check the radius on all curves.
    I fooled with these a ton, and couldn't come up with a better way to get the "out and return" in the space allowed. I didn't consider a curved bridge, though. I'll keep fooling with it. I don't know how to measure the radius (in the design stage) given that it's flex track in Railmodeller. I could use Kalbert's suggestion below and build it with known sections, than flex it during construction.



    Quote Originally Posted by epumph View Post
    if you plan to spot 2 cars at the scrap yard and lumber yard will 2 fit in each location w/o fouling the turnout?
    Quote Originally Posted by kalbert View Post
    A 50' car needs about 5" of track to fit comfortably, and need some amount of space to allow for automatic coupling and simplified uncoupling.
    This is another area that I've struggled with through multiple attempts... I just can't fit in the runarounds/leads/spur lengths needed in the 40" available. I looked at a lot of different small switching layouts online but I can't squeeze it any tighter. Valid points, though - I'll keep trying.

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    Quote Originally Posted by MooseID View Post
    The space in the lower right section by the 'town' would work well with room for engine service facilities, as well as a 2-3 bay engine house.

    The larger space between the Portsmouth Branch and the gravel pit would also work well. Entry and exit from a yard there would need a bit of study to get it right. My guess is that you considered a turntable where the circle is.
    I hadn't considered the "town" space, as I was hoping to leave it for some structural and street scenery. I'll take a second look. Engine servicing, etc hadn't been a part of my plans. That circle isn't a roundhouse thought, it's the physical location of a lally column in the basement that I have to work around.

    All good ideas, thanks a lot. I welcome any additional thoughts. I'll sit on these for a little bit and revisit. The tight curves are my biggest concern. I might be able to scrap together a little extra space to make the switching yard work a little better.

    -Paul

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    here is a thought on how you might get what you want. I only had time to sketch this in xtrak cad - 11.25" rad curves

    Yours,

    Gene

    Turtle Creek Industrial RR

    Link to my Flickr account: https://www.flickr.com/photos/epumph/

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    sorry for the limited sketch - we are having family this weekend. I just tried to get some of the tight radii out of the plan. the t/o shown is the access to the gravel pit. I still think if you move the t/o on the upper right one section you can still get another LH t/o which gives access to the area Moose was referring to.
    got to go
    Yours,

    Gene

    Turtle Creek Industrial RR

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    Thanks Gene,
    At first I was leary of your solution - it looked like it would head right through the partition wall. But now I think you didn't show the complete length available just to illustrate the placement of the turns. I'll try it out tomorrow using sectional curves (per your suggestion and kalbert's advice) and see how it works out.
    I'll also fool with adding the LH turnout and shortening the passing siding to see what becomes available in the center of the Dover Curve.

    thanks!
    Paul

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    The basic concept is not bad, but there's some tweaking that needs to be done to get it to actually work right. Here's my suggestion:

    First, the grade to make that branch work as you had it drawn would amount to over 5%, on both the upper and lower tracks, which to me means it doesn't work. By tying in the branch further away from the bridge location, we can get more linear run for the same amount of rise, getting it down to 3% or maybe less.

    Second, the bridge on the tight curve is problematic, so what I did was to flip things vertically... let the loop go down low, and have the branch bridge over it! This way you can get in a comfortable big bridge of whatever design you like.

    Third, by having the branch up high, you have an opportunity, in that now all of Portsmouth, including its industry spurs, are up high too... so you could conceivably put the lowest part of the loop inside of a tunnel, and extend the Portsmouth scenery over it! I didn't show this, I just reorganized the spurs in Portsmouth to give them a bit more length. A crossing lets you avoid having to do switchback moves on spurs that would already be crowded with spotted cars. I sketched in an urban fabric that is set at an angle to the backdrop - this configuration will make it easier to suggest a larger scene, as your brain wants to fill in the city block pattern that it detects.

    I added a small yard in Dover, so that operations can be out-and-back from yard to Portsmouth. There's still plenty of room to develop a town center for Dover, too. And the runaround that you had, serving the Grovel Pit, I relocated so that it also serves the yard. You could add a second grovel pit spur if you wanted to. Same thing goes for the big Fish Heads industry in Portsmouth, there's room to add a track and really make that a big shipper. Or, you could add another turnout just after the crossing and add one more industry where I put the name "Portsmouth" (good name, BTW).

    Incidentally, I tried to sketch this all with 11" minimum radii, though of course it is just a pencil sketch and not by any means accurate geometry. I'll leave the accuracy up to you and your track planning software.

    ForPWH70-110813.jpg

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    Michael,
    Great great stuff! I was hoping you would get a chance to take a look at it.
    All your suggestions and proposed changes make sense. The perception created by the angled town setting is really there, but it's something I would never have been aware of.

    Your sketches have some real character to them. It's a skill I don't have, so I'll work through it with the less lively software.

    thanks again!
    Paul

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    My first big worry is with the grade. They need at least four feet to get something close to a 2% grade with a 2 inch rise.

    There are a couple ways of doing them. One tough part is the dual track/switch interlock. Preventing you to do a grade when it hits a track connected to any other track. To get a grade to work I often isolate it by temporarily remove the track on either end. Remember that RailModeller uses Euro style grade which are "per thousand" rather than "per hundred" as used in North America. So for a 2% grade you want 20 showing on screen.

    Then there are the curves.

    While you may be using flex in the final layout, sectional track will give you a neat track plan with smooth curves. Because the software doesn't really care what brand track you use you can mix track to get better and smoother curves. By using the Connect With Sectional Track… Rather than Connect With Flextrack… clean, even spacing can be had on your passing tracks.

    If you need any RM help just ask. It gets easier and easier as you use it.
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    Quote Originally Posted by ChicagoNW View Post
    So for a 2% grade you want 20 showing on screen.
    THANKS FOR THAT. It was driving me crazy.

    Quote Originally Posted by ChicagoNW View Post
    By using the Connect With Sectional Track… Rather than Connect With Flextrack… clean, even spacing can be had on your passing tracks.
    ...and for that.

    Quote Originally Posted by ChicagoNW View Post
    If you need any RM help just ask.
    ... and for that. I certainly will.

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    ok so Michael has some great ideas ( as he always does ) and I would certainly give his plan a try on the software. I would but my time is a bit limited due to family (and fishing)
    Yours,

    Gene

    Turtle Creek Industrial RR

    Link to my Flickr account: https://www.flickr.com/photos/epumph/

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    Quote Originally Posted by ChicagoNW View Post
    By using the Connect With Sectional Track… Rather than Connect With Flextrack… clean, even spacing can be had on your passing tracks.
    Can you elaborate on this method? I keep getting "no connection with 1-4 tracks was found. Make sure you've chosen the correct library..." etc etc.
    Seems like it's only searching one library and not all of them (which is what I understood you to say it would do.) If it's a perfect missing section (like when I built with sectional and then just removed a couple pieces to see if it would find/fill in on it's own) it will fill in. Otherwise, I haven't been able to get it to "fill in with sectional track".

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    Check your Preferences, the program should look for up to 8 pieces. But it won't search across libraries. You can do the search after changing libraries.

    Usually that error comes up when one of two things is true.
    • The space is too large or small
    • There is no alignment between the two tracks.


    The spacing problem can be fixed by adding or subtracting tracks

    If working in a siding the alignment can be fixed by mirroring the two switches and a couple of tracks beyond them.

    Sorry about the misunderstanding.

    I think I need to run the simulation on this end.

    Do you have the current version? It is up to 4.1.8
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    Quote Originally Posted by ChicagoNW View Post
    Do you have the current version? It is up to 4.1.8
    Yes - just purchased the program last week.
    Thanks for the other tips, I'll keep fooling with it.
    I went to preferences and adjusted the 4 pieces to 8 - thanks.

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