Sunday, January 10, 2010

Staging ideas

As I packed away Christmas stuff in the basement I played around a little with the storage boxes and decided my little "dispatching" area in the full-length plan would be a little too small. I had also talked with my dad about the plan and he suggested I rework the plan to put staging as well as the dispatching/work area back against the wall with the Gas Meter, allowing unfettered access to the meter for whenever it has to be changed out (which occurs every 15-25 years and I have not idea when the last time was). The more I looked at the plan, the more I realized that while I like the overall flow, I think I could give myself some more staging area, with some hidden, and keep the same amount increase the amount of actual mainline run.

Since I seem to lack slightly the ability to come up with a decent plan by myself (although feedback I've gotten on various posts here and the forums basically has said I have a good base on things), I think I'll post as I work around from staging and go "eastward" on the layout and get feedback as I hit each "LDE" or section of the layout. Also, this will make it easier for me to throw up some prototype track work and then the modeled portion.

With all of that said, first up is staging. I basically came to the same conclusion as my dad. Staging should be around the utility area and built so I can have a desk/work area underneath it (desk at 30", benchwork at 48"+). I came up with two plans, one has two 13 track, stub ended staging yards where the tracks are all technically 150"+ inches and the other has a 13-track through staging yard, again with 150"+. Here is option one, the stub ended:

From Conrail Harrisburg Line - N Scale

The top yard would represent West staging and all the tracks area parallel to the wall. There's 2' of space between it and the furnace and it would come up close to the gas meter itself. The bottom one curves slightly to allow for the rest of the layout to go deeper along the right-side wall. If it had been straight also, that would have meant less tangent track on the layout on the right side of the basement. Track centers are 1" with 1.25" on the angled portion.

Here is staging option 2 (ignore the parallel tracks on the rights side of the pic):

From Conrail Harrisburg Line - N Scale

Now, on this one, there would be no difference in the amount the layout could go on the right side, still to the table edge line 24" from the gas meter. However, the area becomes less confined in this arrangement as there wouldn't be two yards separated by only 24" of aisle space. The dispatcher/work area could be on either side. The only downside is a duckunder at 48"+ to get to the area. I'm leaning towards option 2 because I can continuously run trains, reusing them during an ops session, etc., however, the final arrangement could be modified some, like making the shelf of the yards smaller around the furnace area, getting the turnouts along the edge of the layout, etc. The other thing is there is a window directly to the left of the gas meter, well, one of those "let the light in" basement windows. I'm thinking if I put the workbench area there, it wouldn't be too hard to hook up exhaust for say a paint hood or something to it and it would require tremendous engineering on my part.

So, essentially, I'm looking for feedback on these ideas or other suggestions on staging. It should be noted, the Harrisburg Line under Conrail during the timeframe of the layout (1996ish) saw over 50 named trains a day plus coal extras (some have documented 10 coming off the Lurgan branch from NS/CSX itself). The reason I mention that is to understand to get even a slight representation of the traffic density, a large number of staging tracks or the ability to rerun trains to give the appearance of more traffic is a given.


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Welcome to the my Conrail Model Railroad site. I will document the research, design, construction and operations of my N-scale model railroad based on Conrail's Ft. Wayne Line in Ohio.

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