Tuesday, January 10, 2012

0007 Savannah Central - Here We Go Loop De Loop

Yeah!  The FUN PART!  I'm so excited.  Marie has been coming down to the basement all day catching me on the computer drawing on the layout.  She always has a chore for me.  !@#$!#$.  Go away!

I've decided the layout is a point to point railroad with a continuous run option.  There are folks out there that design true point to point layouts.  Usually they do it once.  The ability to continuously run trains is almost mandatory.  First of all, its fun to have trains running mindlessly around the track when you are working in the basement.  Two, it is great for breaking in locomotives and testing rolling stock.  Three, you'll want to show your layout to friends and having them run in circles allows you to answer questions.  Four, it helps when you are videoing your layout.  So I ALWAYS design a continuous run.

Just like the Heart of Georgia or "HOG" layout, I'll use a continuous run to lengthen the layout.  Each town, instead of being next to each other is one lap around the layout away from each other, thus lengthening the mainline run.  It works very well and the Dixie Central used this concept, too.

In my head I know what I'm looking for.  For NMRA's AP Engineer Civil and Scenery I only need the equivalent of a 4x8 in HO.  Our room, though inhibited by several objects around the wall, is 12' x 14' feet.  This is much larger than a bedroom layout, so we've got ample layout room.  However, unlike most folks, I don't want to cram the room full.  I want it comfortable and not stacked on top of itself.  So our goal is to make a pleasant mainline that is easily reachable.  This layout must be built quickly.  Its not a life long project.  I want it done in 1.5 years.

I'd like larger radius curves, but I'm running small locos and 40' cars, so it is not needed.  I'll start with 26" radius curves as the standard and draw two circles.  Using these circles I'l move them around the room to get ideas for how the turning loops can or will fit.

 Here is something very simple and easy.  Actually too simple and a bit boring.  I'd put a divider down the middle and separate it to two scenicked sides.

 We can also flip it, but I really don't want the layout in front of the fireplace like this.  The open space in front of the bookcases is nice, though.

 A "waterwings" design was what I was thinking originally, with the opening on the fireplace side.  Let's kick it around.

 One thing I'm noticing is that there are a lot of obstructions in the room.  I need to be able to use the bookshelves.  I also need access to the cabinets and windows.  Need to be able to stand in front of the fireplace and warm my feet as well.  Let's do this.  I'll create a layer called OBSTRUCTIONS ZONE in red and map out what needs to be protected so that I can walk in the room and access what I need.

 Now I know where I can move the circles without obstructing anything.  Great!  The three circle "waterwings" design mind work.  Let's sketch a bit.

 First, I think I want to drop my radius down to 24" to give me a little more room.  It won't affect performance on this old steam layout, so we're safe.  I changed the radius of the three circles.

 Here you can see the walk in area in front of the fireplace as the aisle in the waterwings plan.  The long wall makes for a nice yard or industry, and I'm thinking port.

 By elongating the bottom area I can install some industry, towns or other objects and a passing siding.  I put in a continuous loop.

So the layout could be point to point, but a loop could be turned on at any time.  The continuous loop could also double as the Southern Railway interchange track or a yard lead.  Always try to use your tracks twice when you can on a small layout.

More later...

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