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How to incorporate switch yard and round table.

497 Views 9 Replies 7 Participants Last post by  Tdreabe
If you read my signature, you'll appreciate that my plans are never set until they're built. Even then plans change.

I built my mainline last summer and will be laying the parallel track in the next few weeks. For the short term I will stick with the two lines.

This link is the build log for where I am so far.

I am starting to plan my next phase of construction.
My original plan would have a resemblance to this drawing.
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I have since put more thought into the layout, especially after seeing the current difficulty in getting to the inside of the layout to follow the trains around the loop.
I currently have no difficulty hopping over the structure. But I want the layout to be accessible and inviting to hobbyists of all levels of mobility, and to hedge against any possibility of my future mobility being limited.

I have drawn this possibly and would like input from others.
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Hi Tyler build the layout you want and as to access you will need access to both inside and outside so keeping the access lift bridge is essential and keep it as wide as possible whatever design you have. Inside running is always easier in my opinion and a railway viewed from the inside always looks better than looking at an oval of track from the outside, not as toy-train like.
Something I noticed on your plans is that you have all your running lines and sidings together that would make the reach to an engine on a far track near impossible due to huge width of the 7 tracks across. My suggestion would be to keep it only 3 or 4 tracks wide at the widest and place other sidings and passing loops elsewhere. This also promotes more prototypical operation with making up trains and switching moves with easy access to switch levers.
I would also suggest keeping your 'steam-up' area's away from the sidings as with visitors the running groups around your sidings will physically clash with the steaming group. Maybe do a take off line for the turntable and steaming bays so they point in the opposite direction you have now or maybe take off from a curve or even on the opposite side of the layout.
My experience has been that single track still gives good running, keep steaming bays separate from running areas and by placing sidings on both sides of your layout or in different places this keeps the width to reach a loco or coupling up to a minimum and also much more interesting switching when not doing just around 'n around runs.
All this is just food for thought and make whatever layout you want but your personal use of your railway will change over time and for old age keep the railway raised, keep all the tracks and switches in easy reach. Remember Murphies law says "your live steam loco will always stop where you can't reach it."
Thank you very much for your insight. It brings forward another one of the early plans I had. In this rough drawing I put the steaming area and more or less an assembly area nearer to the driveway where unloading a guest's car directly to the track is possible and out of the way of those running trains. The other two shorter sidings away from the garage are based on your recommendation, but also areas I thought of having other "towns" to drop a car or something for a chance at operations.

A note, these drawings are rough. All curves as built are 15 foot radius (30 foot circle).

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What is the grade for the raised 22 inch track? The steeper the grade the shorter (read less rolling stock) the train must be and if live steam really short.
The track is raised an average of 22 inches above ground level. Track grade is dead flat since I predominantly run steam. My Ruby can pull every piece of stock I own on this track (see my other posts for videos). But only 3 cars if I visit another track. I targeted coffee table height so that children can interact and see, as well as wheelchair bound. And you don't bend to the ground. A fit person can just swing a leg over if needed.
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The problem I found when thinking about a turntable, was how long to make it, and of course as it gets longer, it tends to take up a lot of space.
Since the friends that come over to run have locos like Big Boys and Challengers, I decided that I did not wish to use up the space, plus the complication of making a nice stable turntable, so went with a Wye, or triangular junction, instead, so after steaming up you can enter the track in either direction.
Also it is long enough so that a complete train can be turned when necessary.
Which of course is the next issue with a yard, or passing loop, is how long will the longest expected train be?
The answer is always longer than you expect!
As long as you enjoy there build.
All the best,
David Leech, Canada
I was thinking a wye may be easily added with my last drawing. Just continue the line straight from my steaming area to the East and join the siding by the fence.
My ultimate goal engine has no prototype and will therefore need to be scratch built. But it fulfills my dream of having the largest possible loco for 45mm track. It will be styled to look like it belongs on the Denver & Rio Grande. And be sized as a double K-37 Garratt.
It will require a beast of a turntable with a substantial foundation. It may ultimately become a shelf queen whenever I build it. But if I make all my track to support her operation, I'll be able to host anything.

This may be beyond what you want, but here is a page on how to design a yard, and the important components.

For example, your switching leads are probably too short. For live steam, you want to be sure switching operations do not foul the main lines.

I've looked at your site before. At this stage I will probably just be making my sidings on the mainline long enough to someday become the Arrival / Departure tracks of a yard. The area next the garage is less of a prototypical yard and more of a staging area for trains waiting their turn.

Thanks for all the input, it's helping to shape a "Do it once, do it right." Idea.
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This is my latest iteration. I like it a lot.
The general layout is the same as my previous but the turntable is eliminated in favor of a wye track. The steaming areas are created by having the switched track alternate and not turn parallel to the lead track. Hopefully creating enough space to stand between the tracks. I'll have to layout some sectional track to get the geometry right. But this is the general idea.
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For a better detailed picture.
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I think my order of attack will be crossovers first. Curved siding second. Wye and steam area lead third. Then add the other sidings and stubs at will.

Just a note. Snap Jaws new owner makes some nice turntables Saw them at the Denver show. They are metal so should stand up to weather.
I've been watching Split Jaws developments and they look really nice. Following the advice of others before, a wye will not limit the size of an engine I can turn, in fact I'll be able to turn whole trains. And I can buy a lot more track than just the wye for the cost of a table. If I was severely limited on space I would seriously consider one. I may still consider one in the future for the scenic value of adding a roundhouse.
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