Track Plan for a Liberty Village layout – Version 1.5?

In the nine days since I presented my first version of a track plan for Liberty Village, I have received a lot of feedback both on the blog, and off from friends in the hobby.  All of it has been very helpful in getting me to critically look at what I drew, what I want to achieve, and what will make my layout a better layout.  There are pieces of advice that I have taken and acted on, and others, that I have not acted on so far.  I don’t think the plan below quite rises to the level of a 2.0 design.  But it’s definitely a Version 1.5.

Oct 31 17 - Liberty Layout Concept 1-FastTracks 3.anyNovember 9, 2017 – Version 1.5.  Nov 09 17 – Liberty Layout Plan (PDF)

Major changes include:

  • Eliminating Curved Turnouts
  • Overall straightening of the main line adjacent to Liberty Street
  • Reducing number of industry car spots by 2
  • Adjusting building sizes to be closer to prototype where possible
  • Adjustments to Mowat/Liberty Trackage angles and spacing
  • Widening Jefferson-Atlantic and Atlantic-Hanna blocks to let industries/buildings breathe and even out spacing
  • Eliminate Run Around Loop (though this very much has the feel of the Dead Collector Scene from Monty Python and The Holy Grail, it’s still hanging around “I’m not dead yet…”)

I’ve looked at other options like providing an ability to run around on the staging cassettes, or making allowances for a train to use the staging for switching the last industries even if both full length tracks are occupied.  I haven’t quite figured out what I want to or can do with that, but as the Staging are both removable, they don’t have to be fully formed ideas at this point, though it wouldn’t hurt if they were for analyzing potential operations.

The run around loop remains something that my brain tells me I want for operations, my heart tells me that friends who are saying that extra trackage isn’t necessary and will bother you long-term are right.  So, for now, this version does away with it.

One thing I am really happy with is the fact that the Jefferson-Hanna area doesn’t feel so compressed in this version.  It has room to breathe, and lets me get a bit more detail of buildings that aren’t served on the layout, but where It doesn’t look as unnaturally squished as it did before. It also gives me the opportunity to model more of the Brunswick-Balke-Collender Company Building between Hanna and Atlantic (and I really need to pick industries with names I can reliably spell and pronounce between this and “Hinde and Dauch”!).

Where I am at now is looking at the track plan, and trying to visualize how an operating session would potentially work.  In a bit of opportune timing, I got together last night with my friend Trevor Marshall to talk about a bunch of modelling and layout stuff, and have dinner.  As always, most of our chatting was done while running a freight on his Port Rowan Layout.  Different from my past visits, instead of me being the engineer and driving, I took on the conductors role and did the paperwork.  In the few op sessions I’ve done, I’ve never been the paperwork end of it.  This is important, as while building the layout is fun, operating it, and that being enjoyable is also a part of the hobby.  Trevor wrote in detail about his Car Card forwarding system on his blog, and building an understanding of how to give operators directions to run the layout will be part of figuring out if what I’ve design will work.  I need to work on my understanding of car cards and forwarding and such if I am going to be able to come up with a scheme to operate the layout, I need to be able to explain what people who come to operate are supposed to be doing.

The layout as designed above would see some sidings which could only be switched by a locomotive pushing cars into the scene from the yards represented by staging.  From the CNR staging there are 3 sidings that could only be served by pushing cars onto the layout, and 8 which could be served by a locomotive pulling cars.  The opposite numbers apply for a train entering from the CPR staging. Given my staging is only big enough for a locomotive, caboose and 4 cars, and with two railroads serving the area, this means a lot of jobs would be 1-2 cars in and out for each railway.  I see an operating session being two jobs for each railway.  Because there is a larger area beyond the staging, it’s entirely possible that trains would bring in cars that they are leaving with, having been picked up or not yet dropped off off-scene.

Before I commit to a final plan, and start looking at construction and buying track supplies and such, I think my next step is to take the plan and make up some paper cutouts and play it like a board game to see if I can make sense of operating session schemes and switching.  If it seems to make sense, then I can continue on with the track plan refinements, if it doesn’t, then I’m back to the drawing board on the trackplan.  Regardless, its continue on apace with searching for information on the industries and buildings, and starting to sketch up what my model versions of the Liberty Village industries will look like.

5 thoughts on “Track Plan for a Liberty Village layout – Version 1.5?

  1. Hi Stephen,
    This is looking good….I like it a lot.
    Seems more spread out, balanced visually.
    Pushing cars is what they had to do back them, it may seem awkward, but entirely real.
    I also like the double-tracked staging in that one track can be used as a drill track for the railway coming from the opposite end, switching industries near the staging.
    This will be an awesome place to work.
    Are you still going to Ancaster?
    I will be there at 10AM and will stay a little past noon.
    I’ll bring that 0-6-0 locomotive in case I see you.

  2. Hi Rick, I was going to email you tonight, yes, i will be In Ancaster Sunday. I’m carpooling with a couple of others from Toronto, and we’re aiming to be there for opening at 10, so we should see you there if nothing changes.


  3. Hi Stephen:
    I like this one a lot better. I agree with you that the layout breathes more. When one has a smaller layout, it’s hard to resist the urge to pack in the track – and yet if one gives into it, the result ends up looking like a train set instead of a model railway. Since I know you are an accomplished photographer, I’m confident in saying you’ll want a layout on which you can pose models in realistic settings, so avoiding that train set look will be extra important for you.
    Our ops session at my place earlier this week (which I have not yet blogged) was one of the busiest sessions I’ve ever held, in terms of cars to spot and lift. The addition of an off-spot car on the run-around in Port Rowan added a further wrinkle. But I think it demonstrated the opportunities inherent in a layout that is designed with realistic train operations in mind. The layout you present in this post is that kind of layout.
    When do we start building?!?
    – Trevor (Port Rowan in 1:64, Achievable Layouts blogs)

  4. Thank you Trevor, it was a fun and challenging session for me thinking through the moves and trying to think of things the real crew would have wanted (like getting the caboose dropped off at the station in as few moves as possible so the crew would have been able to banter with the staff).

    Yes, My goal will definitely be to build something which is photogenic for taking pictures on, both of the models and stock for the layout, and other equipment (I can totally see me posing wrong era equipment on the layout for photo shoots just to provide a nice background!).

    Construction is a 2018 task. January/February I’ll do all the furniture changes to the office to be ready for the layout, and then it will be finding somewhere to build the benchwork. One of the remaining challenges is designing my mounting system for attaching the layout to the furniture to make sure its level and stable.


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