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Thread: AT&SF West Valley division, late 1950s

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    Default AT&SF West Valley branch, late 1950s

    Hi everyone.

    Having decided on the place and time, I have started planning a layout. I'm freelancing the southwest USA - primarily AT&SF - but there is (heart)room for UP and SP passenger trains as well.
    I don't have many requirements for the layout, other than:
    • It is to be used as a test bench for software development, which means I need all types of turnouts and crossovers
    • Main station with a diesel depot and if possible a maintenance yard for the passenger coaches
    • Main line with large curves, long enough to present the trains nicely
    • No visible tight curves (no minimum radius set, but the trains shouldn't look silly)
    • A hidden yard

    As I wrote elsewhere, I am setting out with 12-coach Super Chief and El Capitan, each with a 4-unit consist of F3/F7.
    Oh, and I don't have a dedicated room for it, so I will have to shoehorn the layout in between bookshelves, desks, a door opening into the room, computers and the occasional sewing machine.

    So there - go plan a layout


    Guess what ... I think I nailed it.

    Keeping in mind that at this time, the solution has not been discussed with my co-CEO, the attached picture shows the lower level of the layout. I haven't drawn the top level except in my head.

    The room is 280cm x 340cm or approx. 9'2" x 11'2".
    Green track is visible, grey track is hidden. Blue track is the connection to the upper level.
    I don't yet know if the tight loop is too tight for the long trains - that remains to be seen. I will try it out before I commit.

    Anyway, the green track is the main loop, and you can see the train almost everywhere. At the door, there will be some kind of lift-out bridge with two levels of track. The main line is the lower level of the bridge. It could be a river crossing or something more spectacular like a canyon. I don't know yet.
    The blue track is the grade for the upper level, and it goes at the top level of the lift-out bridge.
    You have to imagine the last part of the description, but I'll post a plan, once I have it ready.

    At the left wall, there are bookshelves, and the layout is designed to fit into those. No problems expected.
    At the top wall, there is already a model railroad shelf where I had some test track for H0 equipment. The new shelf will be 50% deeper. No problems expected.
    Behind the door there is a bookshelf, but this is not used for the lower level. At the top level, the diesel depot is located here, designed for the bookshelf. No problems expected.

    The bottom wall and the bottom half of the right wall will be subject to negotiations within the management. Assuming an agreement can be made, the main line leaves the lift-out bridge at the bottom and continues the grade on the outside of the green main line at the bottom level. Imagine a cliffside track here. At the right wall, the grade meets the entrance to the station, showed by the tracks in the middle of the picture. Never mind the wrong scale, it's just to show the geometry of the double-crossover, fanning out the station tracks. The station will have three platform tracks, and if possible two runaround tracks, grouped as 3+2. The station extends along the top and left walls, pretty much like the hidden yard.
    From the double crossover at the right wall, there is a track to the maintenance yard, fanning out immediately with a triple turnout. The yard goes along the right and bottom walls, and ends somewhere at the middle of the bottom wall, where a track continues towards the depot.

    I think I got it all. Any thoughts?

    plan1.jpg

    Best regards
    Jens
    Last edited by SteamPower4ever; 5th Jul 2014 at 07:25 AM.
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    That's a good start. I like your plan and I'm guessing that red part is your door swinging open? Pperhaps, you could add a second mainline track to run 2 trains at the same time if space is allowed. Are you planning on a dunk under bridge? I did built a layout similar to that back in my apartment in the 90s. I don't want to highjack your thread but just wanted to share with you about my layout and what I did. My dunk under bridge by the door.

    And a link to my photobucket page from layout; 1988 to 2005. I had to shrink the layout from 10x10.5' to 8x10' to fit in current spare bedroom and boy, did I had major problems! I was having lots of problems that I lost interest in it and finally had to dismantled it. The boards were warped so bad and made the trackwork more challenging. I finally gave up on it and sold half of stuff. No worries, I rebuild again in 2007 with a new layout. You can see my current layout thread in my signature below.

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    I think the loop at top right is very likely too tight, though it is hidden so you can get away with the aesthetics of a tight curve. But since you intend to run passenger trains, you probably should stick with a more generous minimum radius. I'd say 15" minimum would be good.

    You show a main line that is right near the front edge of the benchwork everywhere, but I think it should really be more towards the middle, with a balance of foreground and background. Where you have hidden staging yard, you can't do this, sure. I tend to prefer a main line that flows at a shallow angle to the benchwork, so that it moves from foreground to background as it moves left to right.

    Designing the lift-gate or swing-gate at the room entry is gonna be the toughest aspect of this, and what you've shown doesn't leave much room for a sturdy structure or frame. What I did on mine was to build the gate first, designing it as an element, and then build the rest of the layout up to it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by BNSF733 View Post
    I'm guessing that red part is your door swinging open? Pperhaps, you could add a second mainline track to run 2 trains at the same time if space is allowed. Are you planning on a dunk under bridge?
    Yep, the red part to the left is the clearance for the door.
    No room for an extra main line track. See below.
    The bridge will be lift-out, so it will be stowed away when the layout is not being used.

    Quote Originally Posted by WP&P View Post
    I think the loop at top right is very likely too tight, though it is hidden so you can get away with the aesthetics of a tight curve. But since you intend to run passenger trains, you probably should stick with a more generous minimum radius. I'd say 15" minimum would be good.

    You show a main line that is right near the front edge of the benchwork everywhere, but I think it should really be more towards the middle, with a balance of foreground and background. Where you have hidden staging yard, you can't do this, sure. I tend to prefer a main line that flows at a shallow angle to the benchwork, so that it moves from foreground to background as it moves left to right.
    You may be right about the loop radius, but I did say I'd test it before I committed myself. Anyway, when the upper level was added to the drawing, it was obvious that the depth of the top shelf need to to be extended 10 cm/4 inches, which allowed me increase the radius of loop slightly. Still needs testing, though. 15" is out of the question. There is no room for it, but as you noted, I have managed to hide the tight loop.

    The reason the main line is so close to the edge is not obvious until you look at the overall drawing below. I don't have two full levels - it's more like a main station with a basement. Grey areas is the upper level, yellow is the bottom level now. The darker grey with the blue track is the grade between the levels. Green tracks are visible, grey track are hidden.
    Please note that this is not a scenery-centric layout. I almost never get around to making the scenery, so it has very low priority in my planning.

    Oh, I'm using Peco code 55, and all turnouts are largest radius possible, except for the factory double crossover at the platform tracks 1 and 2, which is medium radius.
    There is no room for a middle runaround track between platform tracks 1 and 2, so I ended up using a double crossover to let the two track allow runaround for each other. There is no platform for track 4.

    This is the first go at a track plan. There is plenty of time for rethinking, because I have no money for tracks right now ...

    Here are the drawings.

    The overall view:
    overall.jpg

    The upper level:
    upper.jpg

    The lower level:
    lower.jpg

    Hope you can see the idea behind the layout.

    Jens
    nScale.net: Elsewhere Yard
    nScale.net: AT&SF West Valley Division (abandoned)
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    Quote Originally Posted by WP&P View Post
    I think the loop at top right is very likely too tight, though it is hidden so you can get away with the aesthetics of a tight curve. But since you intend to run passenger trains, you probably should stick with a more generous minimum radius. I'd say 15" minimum would be good.
    I've caved in and expanded my minimum radius to 11".
    Also, I moved the crossovers to the right, which ensures that the grade will be OK. However, there's no room for the loop now.
    This now has the potential to end up in painting the kitchen and picking new curtains for the windows ...

    Jens
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    You'll want 11" minimum AND you'll want to have gentle easements going into those turns. I recently had a big problem with an 11" hidden loop that I had to re-lay. The middle actually got a little tighter but I was able to gentle the easements which stopped the derailments. The most common source of a derailment on a curve is when the loco enters the curve but the car behind it is still going straight and the butt of the loco swings and pulls the car behind it off the track. A gentle easement solves this problem.

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    I think ... if I mirror the lower level vertically and mirror the upper level horizontally and shorten the station a bit, I may be able to fit it all.
    There is actually more room in the upper left corner than in the upper right where the loop is now.
    Should work. Will post again when I have something.

    Edit: Thanks baron, you posted just ahead of me. I'll take easements into consideration

    Jens
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    This is working out great.

    I have reevaluated and shortened the track lengths on the station and yards, and after mirroring the lower level, I can already see that the result will be much better, without sacrificing any of the features that I was happy with in version 1.

    The tightest radius is just below 12" (Peco #3) with easements using Peco #4.

    More tomorrow,
    Jens

    LowerLayer_v2.jpg
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    Thanks for posting this ... just getting back into the hobby and I was able to negotiate the use of the laundry/furnace room which is 9' 10" by 10' 10". It will be placed at least at eye level so I can run it around the back of the furnace and over the top of the washer and dryer and also high enough to give clearance to my work bench. Fortunately for me the doors swing out and not into the room.

    What software are you using to design your track layout?

    Also I would like to incorporate a semi-permanent modular aspect should I have to remove any sections for maintenance (not on the layout but for appliances).

    Any ideas or suggestions from the depth of experience of others here would be greatly appreciated.
    Kevin


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    Kevin, I am using a program called RailModeller. It's Mac only. First time I use it, and it does have some quirks, but it's OK. Once I have attached elevations and grades, it can also give me a 3D view of the layout. Looking forward to that.

    Anyway, here's the layout plan version 2, where the minimum radius is 11.7" with easements, there are no curved turnouts, most mainline turnouts are the largest radius possible (Peco code 55) and no turnouts are tighter than medium.

    Warning: If you're looking for remotely realistic scenery, read no further.
    Trains are running in canyons here, tracks glued to vertical cliffs.

    planv2total.jpg

    Above is the overall view.

    The main station is now at the bottom, with platform tracks long enough to hold 12 coaches and a consist of E or F units.
    Leaving the station at the right wall, you go through a double crossover, allowing you to enter the yard or the main grade. The double crossover is combined with a double slip and a triple turnout, which is of course ridiculous, but the layout is a testbed for my software development, so I felt like challenging myself.

    Suppose you enter the yard, there are two tracks for staging and one (supposedly) for access to the depot at the left wall. The depot ends at the door with a two-track shop and outside tracks with inspection pit and whatnot. Two tracks leading up from the depot is a fueling track and a track for supply tankers.

    Going back to the double crossover at the right wall, you can opt to enter the main grade towards the main line. This is blue track on a lighter shade of grey board. The grade goes counter-clockwise round to the bridge at the door, where it crosses the bridge on the upper of two decks.
    Having crossed the bridge, you pass a short tunnel under the main station and continues counter-clockwise at the lower part of the grade, indicated by an even lighter shade of grey board.

    planv2lower.jpg

    Above is the lower level with the top level removed.

    The grade reaches the lower level at the crossovers at the top, and the grade track continues through the hidden loop towards the hidden yard. You choose, however, to cross over to the main and have a few rounds while your passengers are dining. Going counter-clockwise, you cross the bridge at the door on the lower deck, and immediately after the bridge, there is a turnout allowing you to enter the hidden yard. Staying on the main, the trains remains visible and continues to the crossovers at the top where you now cross over to the track towards the hidden yard. You can park there or continue through, but once turned, you're set to go back to the main station. Take as many trips as you want on the main - eventually you go onto the grade and up towards the main station.

    So ... this layout actually gives me room for long trains such as El Capitan and Super Chief, both on the station, the yards and the main line. In addition, it will be a working test bench for software development, the main line being long enough to experiment with block detection, interlocking, signaling etc.

    Mission accomplished. N scale rules!
    Time for coffee

    Jens
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    I'm polishing the layout and experimenting with RailModeller's 3D effects.
    Below a few impressions of what the layout will look like. I haven't settled on elevations yet, but the grade is currently well below 2% and that is my limit, whatever happens.

    It looks like free standing layout, but that's the 3D rendering for you. In real life, it will be a shelf layout, so the walls are see-through here.
    The first picture shows a view "through" the door. Then a few shots from different angles and finally a detail view, showing the beginning and the end of the grade (blue track).

    Still looking good, I think.
    Jens

    v3-1.jpg

    v3-2.jpg

    v3-3.jpg

    v3-4.jpg
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    Lots of tweaks since the last post.

    I have received the three Super Chief sets, so I could adjust the length of the yard and the platform tracks on the West Valley station to fit a 12-coach train. The turnout cluster between the station and the yard has been moved a bit, providing slightly longer yard tracks. Also, I decided to use Y turnouts instead of a triple at the entry to the yard - and I added an additional yard track. It looks like it may be a busy place.

    When I talked to the guys at my MR club (1:32 scale), one of them said he actually has a string of Santa Fe coaches at home, and he'd love to give them a run at my layout when it's operational. He also has an F7 and a Big Boy ...

    Oops. A Big Boy?

    There is no way I am suggesting that a Big Boy should go tender first down the grade, so I need to be able to turn it. No room for a wye, so the depot was redesigned to make room for a 130' turntable.


    I ended up with this overall plan:



    Coming in from the mainline grade, you have your pick of platform track on the station. If the neighboring track is free, you can run around through the double crossovers at the end of the tracks. There is room for an F3/F7 ABBA consist to pass. I still need to check if there is clearance for an E8 ABBA consist ... you never know if Union Pacific sends an excursion train one day.
    You can push or pull out to the yard or you can wait for a switcher to pull the coaches away, and after the yard there is the depot with a small workshop, inspection pits and the 130' turntable. This design is much better than before, I think. The refueling track doubles as a pull-out track in case you need to do some switching from the depot end of the yard.

    At the station end of the yard there's a long pull-out track (or is that a yard lead?) for switching without interfering with mainline traffic to and from the station. Crossing the main, there's also a small stub, which really has no other purpose than to allow me to use a single slip. I can't find a suitable place for a single slip anywhere else. Bear with me here ...


    The lower level looks like this:




    I had an idea that this should be a division of the AT&SF, but that is probably not the right setting. It sure didn't feel right after a while.
    Instead, it's looking more and more like a fairly busy branch line to a popular mountain resort. Almost no freight, but lots of streamliners going and coming.

    Trains going to West Valley come from Elsewhere Yard which is hidden. The branch line to West Valley meets the AT&SF main at Dos Cruces Junction, from where a 2% (max) grade climbs the canyon walls up to West Valley.

    Yeah, I know, why is West Valley placed on the upper level, but you should see the surrounding mountains
    I may yet change the name, too. West Valley was the name when I thought of it as a division, and it's a rough translation of my last name. It doesn't really make sense anymore.

    The Puerta de Salida Bridge passes a deep canyon or maybe a river. I haven't decided yet. I may also end up using two bridges instead of the planned twin-deck bridge, which is probably going to be a pain.

    I had to move Elsewhere Yard a bit, because the track from Dos Cruces Junction to Elsewhere Junction is in fact the reversing track, and it must hold one full train for the DCC reverser to work properly. While I was at it, I added an extra track at Elsewhere yard.

    So there you go. West Valley version 4.
    It's very close to what I want. I may tweak some more, but not much. I have tracks and decoders for the lower level in stock.

    Jens
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    Jens, maybe its just me, but I do not see any attachments with your last post...
    ~ Moose (Co-founder of the Mt. Tahoma & Pacific Railroad, located some where in the Pacific Northwest)

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    I was using inline pics from a private album, so I didn't see any problems myself
    Better now? I made the album public.
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    Jens, much better now ... Very nice layout design; you've managed to place quite a bit of track along the wall spaces.

    I'm trying to imagine the access issues that you might have with wiring, maintenance of lower hidden tracks, and so forth, with the multiple layers tracks above each other, as well as what kind of landscaping, structures and similar details you'll be able to create, given the density of track.
    ~ Moose (Co-founder of the Mt. Tahoma & Pacific Railroad, located some where in the Pacific Northwest)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Moose2013 View Post
    I'm trying to imagine the access issues that you might have with wiring, maintenance of lower hidden tracks, and so forth, with the multiple layers tracks above each other, as well as what kind of landscaping, structures and similar details you'll be able to create, given the density of track.
    Tons of issues for sure, but it can't be helped. This layout is about operation rather than scenery.
    Besides, knowing myself, I probably never get around to doing the landscape at all. If or when I do, I will need to make the cliff sides removable for access to the lower level.
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    The track plan is being fine tuned, and I've been considering the bridge spanning the entry to the room.
    In the end I decided a two-deck bridge was too weird and would end up in a scratch build, and I didn't really want that. So, a minor adjustment to the track plan was necessary.



    The passage is renamed to Salida Canyon, and I've decided on two different types of bridges for the low and high bridge:

    Low bridge (well, lower than the high bridge anyway) by Faller. Several kits combined, including pillars and abutments:


    High bridge by Micro Engineering. I always wanted this kind of very US-style bridge, and I'm happy to be able to incorporate it in the layout.
    I'll be using the 320' kit plus two 120' extensions.


    That was the final issue I needed to address ... I think

    Jens
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    I'm almost ready to start the benchwork, and the final details are being sorted out.
    This is the track plan version 6:



    The management has been given clearance to cut down the bookshelf at the depot area, freeing an additional one or two inches of board space. This is used for an extra track outside the workshop house and some rearrangement of the trackage in the depot. There are now two fueling tracks at the entry to the depot and a couple of storage/pull-out tracks next to the turntable. Further, there are two junk tracks along the wall from the inner shop track for maintenance of way equipment, storage or whatever the workshop may use them for.

    At the top left corner by the passenger coach yard, there is now small freight yard with a warehouse. The resort needs supplies after all.

    Finally, the small stub track at the entry to the station is gone. Its only purpose was to justify using a single slip, but that has now been moved to the depot area.

    Jens
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  33. #19
    Vince P Guest

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    looks very interesting there can't wait to see saw dust

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  35. #20
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    Oh yeah, me too ... and get some trains running

    I have three weeks staying-at-home holiday coming up and nothing major scheduled, so next weekend hopefully ...
    nScale.net: Elsewhere Yard
    nScale.net: AT&SF West Valley Division (abandoned)
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    Failure is always an option.
    - Adam Savage

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