Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Train Legnths

So in part of my re-examining the layout, I went back to my trusted XTrackCad to do some train length viewing. I chose a typical Amtrak train, coal train, a few intermodal train mixes, auto parts train, generic box car and tank car sets.

Clicking on the picture will give you a bigger picture of it so that you can also see the labels. I had always done 8 feet as the max train size. Looking above, it looks like a unit train of tank cars would be my largest train at 7 1/2 feet. Now, I'm not sure if 15 60' box cars is a good measurement or not, something I'll probably have to go down into the basement and pull out some cars to take a look. I remember doing this before, and 8 feet is what I had for the coal train, which I was using to set the standard length, but I also think I added at least one more engine on it, which would probably be more prototypical for a loaded coal train. So in quick closing, it looks like my 8' train length is a good measurement to build any staging or A/D yard tracks off of.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Starting Over? Maybe

Well, it's probably time for my annual "where do I want to go with the layout" post. However, I think this year is a bit different. You see, in mid-January I welcomed my 2nd daughter into the world. With the joy of her birth also came the realization that time, money, resources, will be harder to come by then they were with just one child. I also keep looking at the double deck benchwork and go "really, I'm going to build something on all this?". I've started to look back through my 2 notebooks of sketches, ideas, wants, and desires. What I've come to realize is that I want out of a layout is something that can give me a taste of the following:

  • Mainline running
  • Largeish Industrial switching
  • Yard switching
  • Continuous running
I would also like at least a token appearance by a passenger train. All of this in a room area roughly the size of 18' x 11', which would leave 3' of walkway to the other half of my basement. Here's a picture of my basement, complete with labels:
Part of my waffling also has to do with the desire to no longer have a helix that blocks the water meter in the lower right. I've also been re-reading the Building the Burlington Northern in N Scale from Kalmbach and I just got David Popp;s book, Building a Model Railroad Ste by Step, 2nd Edition. I really like it but in reading it, I've come to realize that while David's layout isn't huge, it has mainline operations, industrial switching, yard switching, and some passenger operations, all in a 10x10 area, plus aisles on 3 sides, initially. He has since expanded it to occupy a 16'x17' area (including aisles). These 2 layout books, plus a lot of the readings I've seen recently in the LDSIG's Layout Design Journal and site and some of Byron Henderson's Layout Designs have me rethinking all of this and questioning, can I get what I want with a much simpler, non-double deck layout. 

So with that, I think I'll go back to the drawing board, but if anyone has any ideas, feel free to download the picture above, sketch some stuff out and feel free to contact me and let me know your thoughts or provide some comments here if you wish. I'm not married to any of the walls currently configured, as everything is screwed into the slab floor and joists. 


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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