If anyone is interested to use any of these ideas, please feel free to. But I would appreciate if you please let me know about your progress, as I would love to see how these plans come to life. :)
All trackplans are designed using Atlas RTS free track planning software and other sketches are done in MS Paint.
Givens and Druthers
Primarily all my designs are for tight budget and space, but not too confined. I have always tried to keep operating and visual interests on top of everything. Here I am going to provide a 'flexible' givens and druthers - these are definitely changeable as per liking and situation, even considering myself.
- Size: ideally within 6X3 for N and 8X4 in HO - if they are tabletop. For shelf, not more than 15-18 inches for N. I have designed some layouts in 10 foot long space as well.
- Brand and Operation: Peco electro-frog with under the table switch machines - controlled remotely from a control panel - no hand thrown turnouts (Please note that this is a costly demand. Compromising here can eventually free up a good amount of cash)
- Number of turnout: Due to my prejudice towards remote control Peco turnouts, I need to keep the number of turnouts under control - ideally 12-15. You'll notice that this factor does limit some of my design criteria.
- Strong operational aspects: I like operation - especially in small space.
- Passenger operation: I like passenger operation, even if it's a single RDC! So tried to include this for most of the layouts. But even if it's not mentioned, one RDC can be included in any layout, isn't it? Well almost... :)
Transfer Layout (N Scale)
Inspired by Harlem Transfer in New York, I designed this for small space with off the shelf turnouts. Those who are familiar with rail-marine transfer business know that the transfer companies were busy entities since end of 19th century till 1960s, and New York had seen quite a few remarkable transfer facilities in the first half of the 20the century. All these transfer facilities had very complex track work packed in a very tight space - even by the prototype's standards. Yes, even 9-3/4" curve in N scale would be perfectly prototypical (if not broad) for these facilities. For prototype information, please visit: http://members.trainweb.com/bedt/indloco/ht.html
The biggest challenge for modeling these to the scale is lack of commercially available turnouts, as mostly all commercially available turnouts will be bigger than what it should be - closest could be Peco insulfrog small radius ones, may be. I have designed this with commercially available Atlas number 4 turnouts and tried to keep it as tight as possible. But even with a LOT simplified track design, this can be a very interesting layout in terms of operation and can have visually exciting urban scene:
|N Scale. 4.5X2.5. 6" grid|
Notice that round freight house in the center which can be a unique structure for this layout. A small staging/cassette on the left hand side corner will make the layout operational - but it can also be connected to another shelf layout. I have purposely omitted a runaround, because the circular track around the freight house itself can work as a functional runaround!
For those who might be interested for more prototypical representation, Tim Warris has taken up a very similar project (actually more complex in nature) for Bronx terminal - and trust me, it's hell of a project! He has also developed tools for hand laying very complex tracks, especially keeping these type of layout in mind: http://www.bronx-terminal.com/?cat=9
|HO Scale. 6X4. 1' Grid|
This is a part of my unfinished designs - but good enough to be published. Primary idea is modular design and expansion. The primary module is a 3X3 switching layout - meant for a corner. Rest two modules are in fact extensions and these can definitely be modified/extended as per wish.
The intriguing part is definitely the wye - and I personally liked the unique shape of it in a relatively tight space and with pretty broad curves. With a little bigger space (6 inches on each side) the central square module can actually become a very interesting switching layout by adding a couple of more siding and/or switchbacks
One of early attempts of layout designing. This layout is basically squeezing a John Armstrong modification of Atlas N-108 plan - so two times the squeezing from the original!
My challenge was to fit it in a 5X3 area. So I have indeed removed quite a few sidings and spurs - keeping the basic elements intact. The central ridge acts as a scenic divider, one side representing a small yard with more operating elements and the other side providing more scenic options. Minimum 9-3/4" curve.
|N Scale. 5X3. 1' grid|
Now this layout is capable of giving a very nice run for the trains - not too short, not too long. But what if you want to have longer run without permanently blocking real estate of your small apartment?
This is a simple display layout, with two large platforms, a decent sized roundhouse, a couple of industries and long stretch of tracks to display passenger trains and decent sized goods trains. The staging is one level down, connected by a helix. overall space used in this layout is much smaller than 40 sq. feet since i reduced the width on the left by 2". This one can actually be used as a module of a bigger layout in the future.
Fleetwood logging and mining layout:
This is a small OO layout built on 48" X 38", which is even smaller than my N-scale layout! 14.65" Limiting Radius wont let you run longer rolling stocks/engines. This one is designed to display Rohit's smaller Hornby rolling stocks and engines.
Although small, there is enough action and a very good opportunity to build decent scenery in this small space. the layout has 3 levels, the town of Fleetwood on ground 0, a large mine on the 2nd level and a scenic logging section around the layout. Enough opportunity to build a proper town scene in the middle as well. As usual, I kept provisions for expansion and staging yards as seperate attachments.
As you can see -the 8' wall portion is actually pretty thin, except the loop. Even that has been kept at a minimum depth possible. Smooth, broad curves on the mainline with #10 turnouts and curved turnouts, smaller #7 and #5 in spurs. Long, curved yard giving a unique view of the trains, a long, curved stone viaduct over the yard making the view even more interesting. A large area to model the oil refinery with plenty of detail. Two passing sidings in front of the yard for plenty of action and operations, as well as a big junction type look. There is also enough area to model a small passenger station right in front of the yard if that's a requirement. The layout will be divided in two 6' long sections - depth will vary as the tracks take turns on the layout.
The only challenge would be the tight loops if longer locos are running - but longer locos can travel a considerable length by bringing cars in to the Statesboro yard directly from Savannah without hitting the tight curves, and going back the same way. Also, if there is any possibility to in crease the loop radius to 11", then most locos in N scale would run pretty good - even the Athern Big Boy!
Here is the 3D plan with basic outline: