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 Post subject: Am I dreaming
PostPosted: Tue May 11, 2010 8:40 pm 
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Joined: Tue May 11, 2010 5:36 pm
Posts: 6
I'm about ready to spend my life savings on kits and fixtures, can anyone look at this track design and tell me if this is even possible. It's a switch layout from the cta Howard yard in chicago, as close to prototypical as NRMA standards would allow. They are L trains trains with short truck centers and 28" NWSL wheelsets. I can deal with tight tolerances but...(please, please say it's possible). Best case I would assemble as a single unit, wire for dcc and pray.

Thanks,
thad


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switchesx.jpg
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File comment: overall layout
howardyard.jpg
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 Post subject: Re: Am I dreaming
PostPosted: Tue May 11, 2010 9:38 pm 
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Joined: Tue Jan 26, 2010 8:35 pm
Posts: 29
Location: Indiana
I would guess that the best approach would be to divide and conquer with a complicated layout as you have portrayed. You do have to consider both the electrical and mechanical dimensions of this layout. On the mechanical side, it might be enlightening to layout your track plan in some sort of CAD program so you are sure of turnout positioning, track radii and clearances for ground throws etc. Sometimes, when we "sketch" these things out on paper it becomes easy to fudge a little bit here and there creating something in the abstract that just won't fly in the real world. A good layout planning program that uses components that do reflect accurately the actual turnouts and track you will build the layout with will help you to find potential trouble spots and plan around them. On the electrical side you will have to pay close attention to potential polarity reversing situations in a layout this complicated. I see some loops in your track plan and lots of crossover points, these could cause some problems if not wired and protected by the proper polarity switching hardware and/or electrical isolation gaps. If you can get it wired correctly and provide enough power drops DCC should not be any more a problem than DC. You might want to consider breaking this up into several power districts protecting each with its own DCC circuit breaker.

Also, keep in mind that this generally is a hobby and is meant to be enjoyed. I am sure you will have more than one frustrating moment during this project. Take plenty of breaks and always try to plan ahead. Don't box yourself into a corner. Something like this project is like playing chess, you need to be working 4 or 5 moves ahead of where you are and have a general working plan that carries you through to completion.

Inprinter

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 Post subject: Re: Am I dreaming
PostPosted: Tue May 25, 2010 3:49 pm 
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Location: Port Dover, Ontario
Hi,

From looking at the sketch and templates, it all looks OK except for one slip switch in the center. It has a very noticeable kink in the alignment that will not work.

If you can shift it around somewhat, it might all fit, one this to remember, if it doesn't work on paper, it definitely won't work when you set it up. With trackwork as complex as this, it has to be dead on precise, otherwise you will be forever fiddling with it.

Wiring it might be a challenge, it appears that there are a lot of reverse loops in there.

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Tim Warris
Fast Tracks
http://www.fast-tracks.net
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 Post subject: Re: Am I dreaming
PostPosted: Thu May 27, 2010 5:16 am 
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Joined: Tue May 11, 2010 5:36 pm
Posts: 6
Tim Warris wrote:
Hi,

From looking at the sketch and templates, it all looks OK except for one slip switch in the center. It has a very noticeable kink in the alignment that will not work.




Thanks for the responses, mostly positive...mostly, I have committed to making this work or die trying. My real issue is going to mate the slip switch to slip switch, on paper they need space to adjust to the complementary angles, if possible. My fixtures are on the way "so no turning back now," is it possible to build 3/4 of the slip with the fixture leaving one track un-soldered and hand adjust the radi of the two tracks for a better marriage?

Giving in to excitement and speculation, my last question on this thread is; Given the prototype, should I accept jig defeat now(cause it don't all work on paper) and custom CAD (btw what software do you use) the slip network as you did with the Bronx and just use the fixtures for the yard ladders, points etc.?


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 Post subject: Re: Am I dreaming
PostPosted: Thu May 27, 2010 9:44 pm 
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Joined: Tue Jan 26, 2010 8:35 pm
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Location: Indiana
last skunk wrote:
Tim Warris wrote:
Hi,

Giving in to excitement and speculation, my last question on this thread is; Given the prototype, should I accept jig defeat now(cause it don't all work on paper) and custom CAD (btw what software do you use) the slip network as you did with the Bronx and just use the fixtures for the yard ladders, points etc.?


last skunk,

I use XtrkCad for all of my track layout designs. It's free for the downloading and there are quite a few track libraries available. Lots of the standard Fast Tracks items are available in those libraries for use in the program. Being free, you basically have to do lot of self-learning so that you can use the program effectively. I have a lot of experience with some CAD programs and also daily use with most of the popular graphics programs in my day job. There are some tutorials available and Yahoo hosts an XtrkCad user group forum where you can get a lot of help with any issues you might have with the program. It took me about a 8 or 10 hours to become familiar with the program(over about a months time). In my opinion the time spent learning the program was very worthwhile. You can download the program at the follow website.

http://sourceforge.net/projects/xtrkcad-fork/

I hope you stick with your project to completion. Please post some pictures as you go along. I thought I had chosen a massive project when I decided to build a staging yard with all hand laid turnouts(over 30 turnouts) but I think your project takes the prize.

Inprinter

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If the light at the end of the tunnel doesn't stay at the end of the tunnel, then it is time to beat a path in the opposite direction.


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 Post subject: Re: Am I dreaming
PostPosted: Sat May 29, 2010 6:14 am 
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Joined: Fri Apr 16, 2010 9:25 am
Posts: 6
You might also take a look at "Templot" - it is not a layout design program per se but rather allows complicated (or simple) track designs to be plotted and then printed at full size for whatever scale/gauge you input.
Worth a look anyway.

Best, Pete.


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 Post subject: Re: Am I dreaming
PostPosted: Sat May 29, 2010 1:25 pm 
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Joined: Tue May 11, 2010 5:36 pm
Posts: 6
I tried using 3pi, xtrakcad, and wintrack is what I did the layout plan on but it only had Atlas code55 track in the library. It would almost be as easy to manually load Fast Tracks into my AutoCAD. With all the store bought track and FT fixtures it still isn't prototypical but waste not... e.g.the prototype has a 100' radius curve, which is at scale a 7.5" radius and switches are like a #3!

So I am planning to build the switch and yard ladder network first and adjust the layout to be functional using a few custom solutions god willing.

Thanks,
thad


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 Post subject: Re: Am I dreaming
PostPosted: Mon May 31, 2010 10:20 am 
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Joined: Sat May 29, 2010 4:50 am
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You asked if you're Dreaming??? When I first saw this trackwork you wanted to build I thought you were smoking something illegal. Then I noticed that you said this was "from the CTA Howard yard in Chicago". I had to see this. Thanks to the good folk at Google Earth I found it (those of you who want to see the prototype just cut and paste the coordinates 42 01 12.59 N 87 40 27.46 W into Google Earth's "Fly to" box and press Enter). Whoever designed this prototype trackwork was seriously disturbed, even more so than the guy who designed the prototype for Tim Warris's Bronx Terminal.

Jokes aside, I think you have found a wonderfully complex and challenging piece of trackwork to build. Talk about a switching layout. You will have hours of fun building it and switching it when it's complete.

I was intrigued by the fact that you couldn't get the switches to line up properly. I noticed that you wrote #6SW on each of the Double-Slips. If you zoom in and print a Google Earth view of these switches then print out the FastTracks Double-Slip Templates and superimpose them on top of the Google Earth view you will find that they are not #6s. They are in fact an exact match for #5 Double Slips (available in HO but not in N scale).

I also noticed a slight difference in your layout compared to the prototype - the double slip 2nd from the right in your design is oriented differently in the prototype.

If I may make a suggestion. Why not open a blog on the Model Railroad Hobbyist website (FastTracks is one of their main sponsors) and document your construction of this yard (with photos). Hundreds of us would love to follow your efforts as we did with Tim Warris when he constructed his Bronx Terminal.

All the best,

Un3k


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 Post subject: Re: Am I dreaming
PostPosted: Wed Jun 23, 2010 2:18 am 
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Joined: Wed May 27, 2009 7:46 pm
Posts: 6
That's some track work. Not being one to pass up a good puzzle I took a quick stab at it in my cad program. I'll try to attach a PDF below.

In drawing over your template there were a few kinks in the centerlines. I took a fairly conservative approach with 1 1/4" track centers and most covers are 18-24" radius. Tangent Centerlines are in red, curves in Green. Good luck with your project.


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Crazy Junction.JPG
Crazy Junction.JPG [ 289.19 KiB | Viewed 2978 times ]
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 Post subject: Re: Am I dreaming
PostPosted: Fri Jun 25, 2010 11:32 am 
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Joined: Tue May 11, 2010 5:36 pm
Posts: 6
djtowle wrote:
I took a fairly conservative approach with 1 1/4" track centers and most covers are 18-24" radius. Tangent Centerlines are in red, curves in Green. Good luck with your project.



Thanks, that is great, I was playing with paper dolls and couldn't get it to work the past couple of days as I'm joing the ironwork. un3k pointed out they are most likely #5 in the prototype. Like a typical skunk works I went all in on the #6 because that is all that is available off the shelf but I kept getting tripped up trying to match the network visual. As you show there is a slight elongation and shifting, it is great to have conformation before I started cutting the switches and can follow your cad blueprint, cheers. Only one issue left and that is how to start a 2.7% grade in the middle of a slip switch as I made the error of cutting the framework based on the paper layout that didn't work quite right, looks like I need to add another module to extend the real estate.


thad


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 Post subject: Re: Am I dreaming
PostPosted: Fri Jun 25, 2010 11:36 am 
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Joined: Wed May 27, 2009 7:46 pm
Posts: 6
I think that jpg is full size at 36 x 24.

Also It was a 1st pass through and I think it could be compressed somewhat, partly this depends on what the surrounding trackage is doing. FOr example the two slips and the #6L around the crossing could all be slid together a bit if you are willing to cut/overlap the ties between the pieces. Also I used #6's as thats what I saw on your drawing, and it matched the #6 slips; but if you are building them #5's might help. I can send you a PDF if you like of what I drew, the resolution will be much better, it was too large to post here.

Good luck with your project.


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 Post subject: Re: Am I dreaming
PostPosted: Tue Oct 26, 2010 2:11 am 
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Joined: Tue Apr 08, 2008 6:31 am
Posts: 190
Location: Melbourne, Australia
INprinter wrote:

I use XtrkCad for all of my track layout designs. It's free for the downloading and there are quite a few track libraries available. Lots of the standard Fast Tracks items are available in those libraries for use in the program. Being free, you basically have to do lot of self-learning so that you can use the program effectively. I have a lot of experience with some CAD programs and also daily use with most of the popular graphics programs in my day job. There are some tutorials available and Yahoo hosts an XtrkCad user group forum where you can get a lot of help with any issues you might have with the program. It took me about a 8 or 10 hours to become familiar with the program(over about a months time). In my opinion the time spent learning the program was very worthwhile. You can download the program at the follow website.

http://sourceforge.net/projects/xtrkcad-fork/

Inprinter


Thanks for the tip. I have been using the program from AtlasRR ( Track Right ? ) for a few years just to get the basic concepts of how much space I need. This could well make it possible to fine tune the track plotting even closer to perfect.

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