Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Track Planning

Note: There's a video towards the bottom of this post. :)

I'm rumbling along through the layout redesign and planning. While it's a fun project, it's a painful one when I start thinking about where I was and where I am now. Ouch.  :)

However, I hope that what I have going will be an improvement. I'm liking it so far.

I started with looking at my curves. Yeah, they needed to change if I was going to run longer trains. So...out with the old.
The new, larger train friendly curve

Track and station: OUT! :(

I did some fancy footwork and plotting to see what could stay and what needed to go. Turns out I yanked up over 80% of my track. I'm looking at this as a good thing - making more of an effort to place it properly and make sure it's working BEFORE bolting everything down. 

The Soyokaze Hill section at the top will be moved...somewhere. Not sure where yet.

This testing process means laying stuff down, running things around on it, then seeing if I like the arrangement and seeing if it's working for all the things I want to do with the layout. The first thing I got going was my high speed rail track. This loop runs around the outside of the layout area. I had to get this up and powered so I could run my new Kato N•EX!!!!  :) Love it.

The first pass I did seemed to be working well, but I wanted to keep things simple and "on the ground, so I wanted to find a way to get three sections in play without overpass, underpass, or tunnel work. I had one area that swept out for the high speed, so I thought I'd rethink it a bit.

High speed sweep out - top left area.

So, I took the high speed in and this created a space for my little switching area and shipping area. 

From bottom to top - Tram Track • High Speed Track • Shipping Track • Outbound and Factory Track
Again, having a ROUND ONE and ROUND TWO of this layout really helped my decision making and planning. After the Kiwamura section was set down, there were many things I wished I had included. Little things like a larger area for shipping, more area for the factory track, and a runaround track of some sort. Having played with the old section, I new what I was missing and I was able to add it into this planning.  This area is close, but needs more thought for sure.
The new Shizuka section is something I have not touched much since the first pass at laying everything back down. It could stand some attention as well, but that's a bit easier to take on.

Rolling out of the Shizuka area, I have the high speed rail on the outside and the tram track on the inside. I still need to look at solutions for some dead spots, but that's just a matter of sitting with it for a while. I'm even looking at having a little inlet area with water rolling under the bridges. Go back to my old, old, OLD layout design with the little swan boat area, perhaps.

I like the snake-like look of the tracks rolling off here. Not practical, but interesting. :)

Left to right: High Speed track • Tram Track • Currently dead track section going nowhere

Moving right along. I'm going to sit with this arrangement and see what develops. I can already see areas that need second, third and fourth passes for sure. But, that's the beauty of setting things down and seeing how they work - you can iron out issues before moving forward.

This is something I didn't take time with in ROUND ONE and it showed. ROUND TWO was better, but it was still clunky and awkward. I'm hoping that this ROUND THREE will be the charm. :)

I did a quick little video to show the progress to date.

More soon!

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