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The Track Plan


After 6 or 7 months of using "3rd Plan It" software to do my track plan, I came up with one that met all my criteria:

  • Long mainline run
  • 5 or more towns to switch
  • A classification yard
  • Staging yards
  • 30" minimum radius on the mainline
  • Loop-to-loop design that would allow me to run a local switcher, while having a through freight make the circuit on its own

I discovered after struggling with many plans that the space I had in this new house was only about 70% of the space in the old house, so concessions would have to be made.

In order to ge the long mainline run I wanted, I decided to build a multi-deck layout. This would mean less "sky space" over photographs, but that was a detail that was easily overcome. The question was then, "Helix or No-Lix" ("No-Lix" is basically a gradually rising track that reaches the elevation to create a double-deck plan...basically a "corkscrew." Because my minimum radius was to be 30" I realized that a helix would eat up roughly 5 feet of floor space and worse, the trains would vanish for several minutes at a time. So I decided on a No-Lix.

The biggest problem I encountered during the No-Lix planning was how to get a long enough run at a low enough grade to give me the separation between the decks that I wanted -- a minimum of 16". The solution wound up by being a track plan that snakes back and forth, simply to gain altitude.

Here are three photos of the den, so you can see the space I'm working with. It's actually two rooms separated by two, large pass-through windows

.Train room

This is the room I call the "train room" because that's all it'll have in it. That's an outside window on the far wall, and the pass-throughs on the right wall. The "office" room is to the right of the wall, and barely visible here:

Office room

This is the office room, on the other side of the dividing wall. At the far wall (which extends farther out than the train room wall) is a walk-out patio door. You can see the pass through windows in the center. My desk is just out of the frame on the right, across from the couch. The window visible through the pass-throughs is the window in the train room.

Alternate Office room

Here's one more shot of the office room, taken from the patio door. The steps at the far end lead upstairs (duh), and the pass-through windows are now on the right. The tracks will come about halfway into this room, over the area where the couch currently is.

Now, to the trackplan. Here's the Lower Deck plan. It begins in the top center at the lower return loop, travels to the left where it will branch off into a double-ended staging yard. It travels along the bottom of the room, across a doorway (engineering for this has yet to be worked out), travels around a "bump-out" in the room (to gain altitude), then passes through the dividing wall into the main part of the basement -- the part I call my "office." Around a peninsula, then back into the original room where it becomes the Upper Deck. I've listed the elevatios from the floor on this plan, also. The gray boxes on the right are my desk and a credenza. The weird circle/hexagon geometry at the lower right is a person from an overhead view.

Lower Deck

And here's the Upper Deck. By necessity, the track almost identically follows the lower track. The Upper Deck ends at the upper reverse loop, which is stacked directly above the lower loop, but has its opening facing toward the right. Again, I've listed elevations. The highest point on the layout is just under 5 feet tall.

Upper Deck



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