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Sheffie's 3rd (2.5th?) layout


Sheffie

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Apologies for the delay since my last post. I was sick in January (with something that may or may not have been COVID-19) and I have been working from home through much of the pandemic. Without going into too much detail, I haven't done any work related to model railways for many months. My second layout remains largely foam-pink an unfinished, the house and shop model kids unassembled.. in short, the layout was too daunting at 8x4 feet, and just never made me want to work on it.

 

So now (for those who were still wondering why I would put all the above information in this particular forum) I'm planning something new. Something that, hopefully, is less ambitious technically but more pleasing artistically. Something that will support, even demand, three trains running at the same time. Something, in fact, with clearly separated Japanese and English areas.

 

Without further ado, here are the first plans for the third-or-possibly-2.5th-considering-that-the-second-was-never-finished-layout (working title).

Sheffie3-v2.thumb.png.1de892f3808efc7d9f3e97077d8f0dd0.png

 

This is an attempt to capture the complexities of the intersections between the high loop and the main-line loop.

In the middle of this picture the branch line starts winding up from the mainline to meet the line coming down from the bridge. After they join, the line climbs a little more to the English station and village area. It then splits, and one line continues to climb so that it can clear the double line (which is in a tunnel at that point) before looping back to the bridge. The other line dives down into its own tunnel (far right, below) which rejoins the main-line loop just before the Japanese station. SCARM tells me that this is feasible using uphill gradients of 2% or less, and downhill of no more than 4%. Considering that the sort of layout that makes me happiest is curvy tracks winding through forested hills... I really like this.

 

Sheffie3-v2-3D.thumb.png.8550dfbad30a286c2b60510e149aace5.png

 

(P.S. This layout does not include room for all of my trains. This is okay. At some point I plan to make some display shelving for them.)

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I like the new plan!  It looks like a lot of fun to just let your trains run, and also has enough yards and switches to make running interesting too.

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Glad you’re feeling better, Sheffie. It looks like a nice plan. Space along the long wall for a good sized station and some interesting options for both urban and rural scenery in various places. Nice that you can have 3 trains running around and possibly powering the larger yard separately for some problem solving freight work.

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12 minutes ago, Kamome said:

 Nice that you can have 3 trains running around and possibly powering the larger yard separately for some problem solving freight work.

 

I’m planning on three controllers, with the interior freight yard and engine shed running from the inner loop control.

 

I don’t want to use different  controller for sidings and mainline, because it’s too easy to forget that the two are set to opposite directions, and then when a train crosses the insulated unijoiner, something is likely to blow. Not that I ever lost a controller that way. Hmm. 

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Welcome back sheffie! Looks like a fun new layout, interesting track plan.

 

its easy for a layout to overwhelm you and stall things out. Good recovery here to step back and re-evaluate.

 

cheers

 

jeff

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52 minutes ago, cteno4 said:

its easy for a layout to overwhelm you and stall things out


Even when you haven’t started to build or even design said layout.


Damn layouts!

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Martijn Meerts

Really fun and interesting looking track plan, like others have already said.

 

As someone who's also working on a large/complex layout, I can relate to not having motivation to work on it, definitely best to re-evaluate in that case 🙂

 

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Tony Galiani

Glad to see that you are felling better and posting again.  Like the layout plan and the concept you are developing - might appropriate a few ideas from it ....

Cheers,

Tony Galiani

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Well, I don't think anybody really expected the first draft to last very long. The major impetus for reworking this was that I wanted to have the more open, artistic, English countryside layout on the left side, and the more packed, technical, Japanese station layout on the right. So it's more or less completely redesigned.

 

Sheffie3-v5.thumb.png.8408f2c40eddeb4d9e94e46dc668c9b2.png

 

There's even less space than before for storage of trains. I've really made an effort to prioritize here.

I'm also adding another crossover, and arranging them so that, with both set in the X position, a train can loop over almost all of the track (almost two full circuits on each side) before retracing its steps, with no intervention on my part. Alternatively, with both crossovers in the 'straight' position, up to three trains can run simultaneously.

 

Sheffie3-v5-3D1.thumb.png.51d905a93948f22f3dc8c211487c7809.png

Notable features on this side of the layout:

A. Engine shed. Will probably hold a Kyushu DE10 and the EF-510 but this is far from fixed.
B. Train maintenance factory. I am thinking that this will store my Hankyu 6300 and E127 trains, which my daughter most wants to see running every day (she has named these Grandpa Train and Grandma Train respectively).
C. Island platform. The siding will be the home for Train Suite Shikishima, which is an enormous pain to set up because of its fiddly electrical connections.

D. One-sided platform.

E. Container yard. Finally this is getting the space it deserves. There's a dedicated loop of track allowing space for 20-car container trains to drive past this and be un/loaded.

F. Freight storage. Enough space for at least 20 kokis.

G. Launch pad. This is a dedicated siding for me to use the railing tool and assemble any trains that are going to run on the layout but that don't have a permanent storage spot.

H. Mine working. I have these R150 curves and some goods wagons (both British and Japanese) that can navigate those curves, so this may be a nice little feature at some point.

 

Sheffie3-v5-3D2.thumb.png.0ae5c69781cc965274e59612f83ae156.png

On this side...

A. Station/village complex. Point A will be the site of the Metcalfe Models Settle & Carlisle goods shed, through which goods trains can move. Houses and other buildings will sit behind here.

B. Island platform. Passenger trains can stop on the branch line before continuing, and parcel/goods trains can back into the little siding.

C. Siding. This allows permanent storage for my British passenger train and locomotive. I moved it to the front of the layout, partly so as not to overwhelm the small village-like atmosphere of the station at A/B, partly to show off the detailing on the green/yellow rolling stock.

Edited by Sheffie
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That looks amazing sheffie. Any tips you can give on learning to use scarm? Particularly the landscape functions. You seem to have mastered it well. Did you use a tutorial or just play around?

 

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4 minutes ago, gavino200 said:

That looks amazing sheffie. Any tips you can give on learning to use scarm? Particularly the landscape functions. You seem to have mastered it well. Did you use a tutorial or just play around?

 

 

Thanks!

 

I don't really understand the landscaping in SCARM at all. I know that you need to tag tunnel and bridge sections so that it renders properly. After that it's mainly just a question of setting the height of each end of each piece of track that isn't flat on the deck. The grassy slopes just happen automatically, and I can't see any way to control them.

 

I googled one or two things but I learnt the interface pretty much by playing around and experimenting. I use double-click a lot, to select all the connected pieces of track, and Ctrl-drag to move them around. I felt like I was really getting somewhere when I learned that I don't need to rotate pieces to make them join together. The piece that's being moved will be rotated as needed - and also its height will be set to match the end that it's joining on to. I also recently learned that pressing Space places another copy of the last track piece used. Very handy for those 180-degree turns and long straights.

 

What I do like about SCARM is being able to hide track pieces that you're not interested in, and I really like being able to get an itemized parts list. Comparing the new list with one from an old layout allows me to make a shopping list for the new layout. Now, I really wish it would show a running total of how many of each piece is currently on the layout. And then, to take it to the next level, instead of counting up from zero, if it could count down from the number of pieces I currently own, it would become more like a virtual train set, and I could very smartly make the best use of my stuff. But that's my wish list.

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Next iteration.

Sheffie3-v8.thumb.png.021e98ef78e22b280a95bb37f57b1ec7.png

  • I've removed the long single track tunnel at ground level, and added a tunnel on the high loop. This tunnel is there mainly to allow construction of a nice high hill to provide a backdrop for the mine working branch, which is now just next to the green bridge.
  • All kinds of minor adjustments to the Japanese half, with the engine shed, train repair factory and goods yard all being shifted about to look nicer (in my opinion) as well as standing clear from the mainline loop.
  • This plan doesn't show any level crossings at all. My original idea was to have a road leading from the container yard across the single line loop (where the crossing is in the previous diagram) and crossing the mainline loop at the bottom-middle of the loop. This constrained my adjustments quite a bit, until I realized that I don't really have any interest in modelling roads and crossings—it feels like rather a lot of technically tricky and precise work, for a not great payoff. Realizing that I'd rather just have trucks parked on a concrete slab, with no road connection, was quite liberating.
  • I am actually planning on fitting level crossings in the double tunnel at the north end of the mainline loop. I just haven't made them part of the plan, because they don't add anything.
  • I've adjusted the position of the left-hand crossover, which allows the downward sloping line to get back down to ground level at just a 4% slope.
  • This layout requires a lot of odd short straights to "join up" the various branches. I've increased SCARM's tolerances beyond the default 2mm precision, to allow easier joins. I know that in practice there is plenty of tolerance in these big loops. I do have one set of 46mm and 29mm straights. This should be enough.

 

Edited by Sheffie
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24 minutes ago, Sheffie said:

Next iteration.

  • This layout requires a lot of odd short straights to "join up" the various branches. I've increased SCARM's tolerances beyond the default 2mm precision, to allow easier joins. I know that in practice there is plenty of tolerance in these big loops. I do have one set of 46mm and 29mm straights. This should be enough.

 

 

Interesting. Didn't know you could do that! 

 

It's looking good, Sheffie!!

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11 minutes ago, inobu said:

Get a good miter box and saw and cut them to length. I have some that you cannot tell they were cut. 

 

Inobu

 

 

Thanks, I do have a razor saw and mitre box set.

I've used it to saw through the ballast at either side of the track, so a piece can bend to make vertical curves for the top and bottom end of inclines. It works really well for that.

I don't think I will need to cut any track for this layout, though.

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You will be surprised how the .25 mm adds up on large layouts. I just finished one custom layout where I was using the 29, 33, 45.5 60 62 64 to get all the numbers.

After I while the small pieces were getting to be a hassle with potential power losses.

 

I started cutting them to length and eliminated the hodgepodge of track.

 

This was my first proof of concept test piece. When I figured out how to cut them you could hardly tell

 

 

IMG_3292.thumb.jpg.8c856e0499ca7d2d6fb7524a70c2be26.jpg

 

You cannot get 137.5 with any piece of track. you can get 138.5 or 136.5

 

Inobu

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