Sunday, December 27, 2009

Designing my train layout - 6 - Why it works for me

In my last posting, I explained the process that led to my final design. In this posting I'll try to explain why the design works for me.

The first aspect of this layout that I feel happy about is that of staging. Let me digress a bit and show you an old Marklin layout that I built back in 2003:

This layout was also essentially an oval but the key difference compared to the current design is that I had placed some bare staging tracks at the back of the layout separated by a view blocker (1/4" plywood). The intent was that viewers would stand at the front of the layout and watch trains stop at or pass through the station. While operating this layout, I realized that I could have made a second station instead of the bare staging tracks.

In the current layout, one possible style of operation would be to simulate time-table driven movements through a station. In this mode of operation, each station can act as the staging area for the other station.

In the diagram shown above, each green arrow represents a train. As you can see, it is possible to have as many as eight trains staged around station 1 in order to run a timetable sequence of trains passing through station 2. Of course, in a similar manner, I can use the station 2 as staging for running traffic through station 1. A word about the term "timetable": Unlike the US where most trains on freight railroads are extras, in India, Most trains are actually listed on the timetable.

In addition to timetable driven operations, I also plan to use the layout as two bidirectionally signaled single lines. This style of operation is often used in places where traffic density is higher than can be supported by dedicated double lines. This happens near big cities and on hill sections.

Finally, I have made provisions for four storage sidings for trains not used in the main sequence of operation. Since I tend to be very careful in my rolling stock purchases, I don't thing I will exceed this relatively modest amount of storage space for a while.

Since there is a considerable amount of available space in the center of the layout, I could add storage sidings there in the future if I need the space.

So this concludes the postings on the design of the layout. Next, I will cover the construction as well as some tips and tricks that I have learned in the process.

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