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Engine Wiper

Posted - 10/11/2018 :  6:14:15 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
So after being convinced that the first two layouts that had inspired me were just just a little too-tight of a radius to fit my shed, I moved on to a third layout that caught my attention.

Interesting track plan, Tupper Lake & Faust Junction

Over the past few months I've been going back thru numerous articles I have saved over the years looking for examples I might consider for my new plan. Just a few days ago I ran across this one, and could find very little references to it on the internet. There were some 'archived references' to it on the track plan index of Model Railroader, but when I clicked on there nothing came up,...it sent me back to the home of the index.

I find this track plan VERY interesting, particularly when you consider the versatility contained in a 10 x 13 plan (with an extra little 'helix like' addition bump external to the main layout)

You can find my considerable long blog on this design here,..

In a manner of speaking I am currently working on an significantly modified version of this layout.


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Engine Wiper

Posted - 10/11/2018 :  6:27:18 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by robchant

Thanks for the link ... you got some great feedback on that thread as well ... thou it is not the one that I remember.

(BTW: I see you were in Lunenburg ... I am from Nova Scotia ... but at the other end about 500km (300 miles) north-east of there.)

Very interesting. Yes I have a old friend who retired here in St Augustine FL, who also owns an old sailor's house right in Lunenburg (just across the street from the court house). He spends his summers up there, and last year I visited with him for about 1.5 months. Beautiful place, and a sailor's atmosphere from wince we both came from formerly in Annapolis MD. I was in the boat business for quite a number of years......big fan of motorsailers and multihulls, and sailboats in general.


Edited by - railandsail on 10/11/2018 6:31:44 PM

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Engine Wiper

Posted - 10/11/2018 :  8:13:00 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
This is a quote from a fellow that I will ultimately be very interested in listening to.

Changes, dave1905

While all those suggestions are valid they basically completely redesign the track plan so it is no longer the TL&FJ.

Its an older "spaghetti bowl" type design. It would be more or less "wedding cake" scenery with trains running on "benches' with near vertical scenery between tracks.

It has no staging, no interchange, two small terminals, two sidings between them and only two industries outside the terminals. It does require a duck under, a lift out or swing gate would be tough with all the levels. It does have longer runs between sidings. The left aisle is only about 30" so it will snug but workable for two people.

Having said all that I have always found it an interesting design.

Dave Husman


Edited by - railandsail on 10/11/2018 8:14:00 PM

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Premium Member

Posted - 10/11/2018 :  8:23:19 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
You're in luck ... Dave is on this forum as well and usually follows the design thread ... from what you posted I get the feeling you're looking for a "spaghetti bowl" of track type layout ... something I avoid in my designs.

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Engine Wiper

Posted - 10/11/2018 :  8:25:35 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Then a few short weeks later I paid a visit to this layout

Double Track Mainlines
Sun, 2017-10-29 12:08 — railandsail

.....Just this morning I added this postings to a 'scenery discussion',...but it also has relevance to the subject of double-track mainlines I want to bring up in relation to the layout plan under discussion in this subject thread,...
Scenery...mostly "pros", few "cons"

A few days ago I had occasions to visit a layout up in Jacksonville built by a retired CSX fellow. Just prior to entered the room he told us of his basic idea during the planning.

He liked to run trains, and build and display freight cars/rolling stock. For that reason his layout primarily consisted of a double-track mainline all around the layout where longer trains could pass or run along one another, and a fair bit of yards and sidings where his rolling stock could be displayed on the tracks. His scenic efforts were 'delayed', but he was placing structures all around in anticipation of the ' scenic eventualities', that may come, or get furthered delayed while he had fun with running trains and weathering locos and rolling stock.

...long narrow room...

Can you believe this room is only about 10 foot wide? (9'10" to be exact) !


Edited by - railandsail on 10/12/2018 04:29:46 AM

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Engine Wiper

Posted - 10/11/2018 :  8:38:26 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
A quote from that fellow Dave Husman which I've taken to heart. I believe the CSX fellow (above photos) would have liked it as well, even while his was a single level layout.

Long Trains

If my goal was to be able to run several long trains, to watch them pass each other and not to emphasize switching or industry work, here's what I would do.

The layout would be two laps of double track around the room , one on each level. At the bump out one end on each level would go into a balloon loop, and the other end would go into a double track helix. On the top level on two sides I would put a double ended yard with 2-6 train length tracks. Since its high on the upper level, I could hide it behind a very low backdrop (4-6 in high) , row of buildings or row of trees.

Optionally could put a connection track on the one or both mains at the bump out to create a continuous run on each level. Optionally I could put the peninsula in and use it for a little switching or an engine terminal to display or swap out engines.

I would shoot for 4 tracks in the staging yard. I would put a passenger train, a bulk train and a couple freights in the staging yards, all facing the same way, then I could let some or all of the trains out of the staging yard to run. Since its a glorified dogbone, once the trains are speed matched, they can run forever around the loop. Since its a dogbone, every train will appear to operate in both directions, so I could constantly have the trains passing each other.

If I put in the optional connection by the bump out, I could run trains on the upper level on that loop, and leave the lift out open on the lower level for visitors to enter leave without stopping all the trains.

With the optional engine facility, I could stop one train and swap out engines and with a couple crossovers, route other trains around it.

With only a double track main around the room, the benchwork can be as wide or as narrow as I liked. It will leave a lot of room for scenery or buildings. It I wanted to add a few industries along the main, I could have some switching and still run a train around the larger loop, once again using a few crossovers.

Dave Husman

Not to scale, not a detailed plain, just a sketch, helix in the bump out between levels. Assumes door in the right end or bottom side.




Edited by - railandsail on 10/11/2018 8:54:40 PM

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Engine Wiper

Posted - 10/12/2018 :  04:45:35 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I'm was now at a point of liking that basic plan of Dave's above, but I chose to reverse his two levels,...his bottom would become my top, his top my bottom.

I am of a similar inkling as the CSX guy I just referenced. I like to run trains, and I like to see them passing one another in close quarters, either going in the same direction, or opposite directions. For that we need 'double tracks', or long sidings, or BOTH.

I'd like to see if I can get both, long sidings & dbl track,...which this layout does. I can well imagine one train leading the other at such a distance that it has gone around a loop of the helix area and is returning on one mainline while the following train is still on its way to the loop,....they pass in opposite directions on the 2 mainlines.

Want to complicate it a bit more, ....a third train could be waiting on one of those long sidings.

I can appreciate the criticism about the total number of tracks on a very narrow portion of the shelf, and the terracing of those tracks, and the lack of space for scenic elements. I offer in response,...
1) I believe I know how to eliminate one of those tracks on the narrow side of the layout.

2) I believe I know how to lessen the terracing effect there, and in fact hope to do so as I look forward to the 'passing effect' I spoke of before.

3) My shed will allow for a 11 foot wide layout verses the 10 foot wide original's plan, so I might add extra width to either shelf on each side.

4) There are many modular layouts, that we all see at train shows, that accomplish a lot of scenery in a relatively narrow space, (and most with double track mainlines). So I figure with at least an 18” shelf on that side, there are a number of 'structures/scenes' that might be added to original plan/idea.

Some have referred to it as a Spagetti Bowl. I'm not exactly sure of that definition, but if it involves placing a lot of 'scenes' in close proximity (as with modular layouts we see at train shows), then I am guilty.


Edited by - railandsail on 10/12/2018 07:40:05 AM

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Engine Wiper

Posted - 10/12/2018 :  05:01:59 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Hey Dave,.... thanks for those suggestions. I'm going to have to print that out and reread it a couple of times (slow on the uptake some times).

Meanwhile I thought I would go ahead and post a few mods I had made to my recent dwg,.... and it does not yet show the latest idea of moving the helix loops entirely to the outside of the main shed.

You might notice the dotted train line over on the left side, and down toward the center of the peninsula. I was beginning to entertain the idea of a 'sub-helix loop' taking the trains down to staging areas.


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Engine Wiper

Posted - 10/12/2018 :  05:13:35 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
As I've indicated Dave I like some of your ideas. So here is my first modification to your suggestions. I have basically taken your top level and bottom level and reversed their loop ends somewhat.

On the bottom level I have the 'balloon loop' ,as you termed it, attached to the tracks on the left hand side of the layout, and the 'double trackage to the helix' attached to the tracks on the right hand side. Naturally this 'reversal' would also take place on the upper level where the dble tracks from the helix would enter on the left side and do their 'balloon loop from the right hand tracks. For brevity I only included a sketch for the lower level,...

I've also moved those balloon loops & the double track helix totally outside the main shed walls, and anticipate its outer radius to be 32" and inner radius 29"


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Engine Wiper

Posted - 10/12/2018 :  05:18:25 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Double Track Helix

The design of the "double track" helix is so you can keep multiple trains running. If you use a single track portion, especially in the helix or have to wye a train, on a small layout like this, everything else has to stop. That's because the runs are so short the other train will reach a spot where it will conflict with the other train before the other train can make it thru the helix or turn.

The real choice is, do you want to be able to run multiple trains at once, hands free, where you can just sit back and watch or do you want to run one train at a time and have to stop things to control a train turning or navigating a looooooooooong single track portion (about 1/3 the run). There is no right answer, its your preference. But it is a choice. If you go with the single track version you will give up watching multiple trains run without having to manually intervene. You can add some form of automated control to handle switches in the single track portion, but any of the other trains will most likely have to stop while the other train turns or navigates the single track.

The basic idea of my design is to support your desire to see trains passing each other and watching trains run. If you get rid of that aspect you greatly reduce the ability to meet that goal and the railroad will require a great deal more manual intervention.

Dave Husman


Edited by - railandsail on 10/12/2018 05:20:09 AM

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Engine Wiper

Posted - 10/12/2018 :  05:44:06 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
At this point of my planning I had another gentleman (semi pro) who offered to help for free, but I would have to wait for maybe 6 months. I thought why not, I have enough to do with just planning and getting my 'outdoor helix structure' built, and my now 3 area staging planned.

To clarify, I am concentrating at this time on the helix end of the layout, and the associated balloon loops of the double track mains,....NOT the rest of the layout, NOR tracks other than the mainlines, and NOT the 'configuration' of the mainlines in the other portions of the layout.

In this particular first iteration, the balloon loop is shown in a blue color, and it is a simple level loop of track that connects the 2 mainlines running down the left side of the layout. Note there is also one turnout on this loop that feeds a track running to the center peninsula (similar to the original Tupper Lake design)

On the other side (right side) of the layout these 2 mainlines become elevated to subsequently fly over some tracks below, and to enter their double-track helix phase. Note here there is a track bearing off of one of these mainlines that subsequently joins back into the one of the mainlines on the left side. This track will provide for an 'escape' for a train to avoid the helix, and simply run continuously around the lower level.

The upper deck is generally about 20” above the lower deck. It's balloon loop here is shown in red. It was purposefully brought back thru that shed back wall as far to the left as possible so it might have good 'exposed' track on the interior for a 'reason' (undefined at this moment). It also is provide with a 'connection track' so that trains might avoid the helix, and run continuously around this top level.

Note that 2 mainline tracks arrive to this top deck at a 16” high height, then rise up to the 20” height of the top level in general.

Summary: The two balloon loops are at 0” & 20” respectively. The helix track itself rises 12” in 3 turns. The first 4”, and the last 4”, (8” total) is taken care of by the 'approaching tracks' on the 2 decks themselves.
Within the helix portion the trains will climb counter clockwise, and descend clockwise, regardless of which double-track they are on.


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Engine Wiper

Posted - 10/12/2018 :  06:11:45 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
The problem I have arrived at now is that I have been ignoring the track planning and industry/structure placements. And now that fellow that was going to help out has said it might be another 6 months or more.

I've got a REALLY NICE helix structure all built, and only needing the trackwork installed. And I have my 3-area, 15 plus track staging all planned and ready to install.

If you want to read more about this helix and staging track development, please visit here,..text and photos of construction
Multiple Staging Areas & Access to Them

BTW, I also have a rather unique 'metal benchwork' I'll be installing.
Metal Benchwork

I'm stalled on cutting out my lower and upper shelfs as I do not have a firm trackwork plan in place. And some of those shelfs may well be 'shaped' by the industries/structures placements.

In the past couple of days I've sketched up some ideas for both decks. I'll post them later today for comments/suggestions


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Engine Wiper

Posted - 10/12/2018 :  09:22:56 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
3-Areas of Staging
All located 8" under main deck, and fed by a 2 circular loop drop inside the helix structure

(older image, so disregard the framing support brackets)


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Engine Wiper

Posted - 10/12/2018 :  11:53:16 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
New Top Deck Track Plan
Fri, 2018-10-12 12:01 — railandsail

Trans-Continental Theme

I'm at the point now that my new layout plan has progressed significantly past the TL&F Junction plan, the one that originally inspired me. With that in mind I seriously considered starting a new subject thread titled “the Trans-Continental Connector, East meets West”, and proceeding with new postings and layout discussions under that title.

But there is so much material already contained in this subject thread that will have relevance with the new plan, I will just continue on this path for the moment.

My hopes that a more professional or inspired computer trackplan designer would come along and help me with ideas/images of alternative track plans for the 2 main decks of my layout have been delayed again, ….maybe as much as another 6 months.

So I had better get started on some new ideas myself. I sketched this up just recently for the very top deck
TOP DECK, Idea #1

I previously suggested that the bottom deck would represent Balt and east coast, and the top deck would represent LA and the west coast. Well that is NOT going to work. My debate centered around the fact that if I had the entire upper deck representing the west coast and primarily a source of container trains,...how was I going to get to run all my beautiful steam engines up there if i remained true to the idea that steam engines didn't pull container trains??

I think I will do 2 things, the second one most important,....
1) Like you I will run some container trains with steam engines,

2) I have divided up my upper deck in half,...one side will represent the LA area and source of container trains headed to the east coast (lower level), and the other half will be coal mines, timber, etc with freight cars that would have been pulled by steam engines. There will be a 'hidden track' behind the west coast scene so the good old steam trains can pass over to the other half of the upper deck without having to pass in front of the Santa Fe station and the stacked containers/ docks/ships.

That 'hidden track' is on the left had side in the dwg and likely accomplished with some sort of scenic blocker just tall enough to hide that steam train, and camouflaged by being painted with ships & cranes that blend in with the container yard.

The other mainlines and sidings out in front of of the Santa Fe station and the container yard will be for those diesel powered trains that are pulling long container trains or passenger trains. One of those 'sidings' out front should be reserved to hold a full consist of the infamous Santa Fe passenger train (I've got both the Walthers set and some nice MTH cars).

That inside corner (in front of the station) could well serve 2 functions.

1) A parking area for some of the nice Santa Fe diesels I have

2) A big fueling and sanding area for those diesels getting ready to make the trip east.

3) I had thought there might be a loco maintenance building somewhere here, but it would not be a good idea to cram it in here ,...how about down that side at the other end,...in an area of that 'continuous loop track'? There might even be some more extensive fuel oil tanks down there.??

Across the entrance-way bridge on the right had side of the layout is a fairly big piece of real estate that is open to suggestions.?

That right hand side will represent 'industries/scenes' from the middle of the country or the Appalachians. Some sort of coal mine is needed to fill up coal hauling trains and bring some to the steel mill. I just randomly placed that coal mine scene in there , but I like some of its trackage and non-liner design.

On this upper level I am proposing to put some logging tracks and trains down that peninsula. There might be a very tight loop at the free end of the peninsula for the short logging locos to run. Or it might be just a back and forth operation for them. They will bring logs out to the saw mill scene at the trunk end of the peninsula. I have the whole Walthers saw mill kit(s) and would like to make this scene some sort of transfer of logs to cut product that would be loaded onto mainline log cars and center-beam loaded cars, and a number of other wood carrying cars ( I have quite a variety).

Then to just throw a curved ball at the situation. I've actually thought that these two sides could be reversed? The upper deck on that left hand side is a little bit deeper than the one on the right.


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Engine Wiper

Posted - 10/13/2018 :  08:25:18 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
New Bottom Deck Track Plan

..just going to post the dwg this morning and I will add some text later this weekend. If you have been following this blog you will notice I changed the location of a number of 'scenes'


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