04 The Planning Process   Leave a comment

The Framework.

Title; Kaley Yard

Era; 2005 – 2009

Region; Middle Deck – California, Lower Deck – Florida. There are representations of actual locations but they are not accurate replicas, they just create the ‘flavour’ of an area or location

Railroads; UP, BNSF and CSX with some short line workings and “out of context” operations (Tri-rail and Railrunner “on trial” in other areas.)

Space; 14′ x 17′

Lighting; Compact Fluorescent Lamps on ceiling and on wall above lower deck.

Bench-work;  Walk in design, no duck-unders. 2” x 1” timber frames with 9mm ply surface. Nominal board size 2’ x 2’. Twin slot uprights and U brackets fastened to wall. Easy access to helix from the inside. 16” vertical separation between decks. 36” isles.

Operators; Individual with occasional visitors.

Operations; Main line running with some individual shunting operations in the industrial areas.

Scale; HO Scale.

Main lines; Peco code 83 concrete sleepered flexitrack. Minimum radius 27″. Ruling grade 3%. Pointwork minimum – #8 Peco code 83 points.

Sidings; Peco code 83 wooden sleepered flexitrack. Minimum radius 20″. Pointwork minimum –  #4 Peco code 83 points.

Roadbed; Cork. Woodlands Scenics fine grey ballast for main line, beach sand for sidings.

Rolling Stock; Mainline UP and BNSF diesel locomotives with some short line and industrial locomotives. Twin stacks, piggyback, Tri Rail, New Mexico Rail Runner, long freights with DPUs, Amtrak’s Sunset Limited, short locals working the industrial areas. Kadee couplings, metal wheels.

Control; DCC by Lenz. Handheld controllers with multiple plug in sockets.


Modelling Interests; Continuous running – to be able to watch trains go by in a scenic environment. Switching – local workings delivering cars to small industries. Small locomotive depot – (Napa Junction). Passenger trains – Amtrak long distance plus commuter workings – Florida Tri-rail and New Mexico Railrunner – because of their livery schemes. Freight train maximum length – 20 cars. Long “off scene” storage for six complete trains – easily accessible.

Further Interests; Automated turnout control – solenoid motors with mimic diagram and stud and probe activation. Working street lights and traffic lights. All stock appropriately weathered.

Signature buildings; Orlando Amtrak station. Palm Springs Amtrak station. Extensive use of Summit Model’s buildings to determine locations and era. All buildings with interior lights.

Planning Process;

Stage 1 – Research; Once the decision had been made to create the purpose built model railway room, I started the planning process. I spent many hours surfing the internet and viewed all the layout plans on the Model Railroader site. I read a number of books and referenced back copies of Model Railroader. This research, plus my own ideas began to form a concept in my minds eye.

Stage 2 – The Linear Plan; I choose to use a paper and pencil approach to layout planning. I have taught Computer Studies in a college and regard myself as computer literate, but layout planning is a “one off” process and I could not justify the time spent on the learning curve to be comfortable with layout planning software. My initial sketches were developed from the locations I have visited and that had created favourable impressions. I tried to organise these locations into a linear representation, with each location on one sheet of A4 1cm square graph paper.

  • San Diego Santa Fe Depot
  • Indio
  • Palm Springs
  • Cajon – Palmdale cut off, Swarthout Canyon,
  • Kaley Yard, Orlando
  • Charlotte Street, Orlando
  • Fort Lauderdale
  • Miami.

I used Google Maps to determine the accurate track plans and then simplified the plans to create the flavour of the location rather than an accurate representation. I knew the size of the space available and the length of running track that would fit the two decks. I created a linear plan of the decks again using 1cm square graph paper. At the end of this stage, I laid out the two sets of A4 graph paper plans end to end and then transferred the linear concept to the deck plan. The linear plan was far too long for the deck length and decisions were made about what could be incorporated and what could not.

After three attempts I finally had a linear concept I was happy with.

Stage 3; – Doodling by the Squares. In Stage 3 I followed the principles adopted by John Armstrong. I used A4 1cm square graph paper and created the floor plan of the room. John Armstrong’s squares concept allows the user to determine a minimum radius. I transferred the linear design onto the floor plan using the squares to ensure I maintained the minimum radius. I made six different designs with the helix, peninsulars, storage sidings and turn back loops in different positions in the layout space before I was happy with the design. Doodling with squares also helps determine aisle widths.

I then had a two week break from layout design before I returned to my planning file.

This two week break allowed me time to think, contemplate and review my design. Some minor tweaks were needed. The design determined the position of the door, the location of the light fittings and the location of electrical sockets. Click on the track plan page to view the outcome of the planning process.


Posted May 5, 2011 by trevorsmith3489

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