Alberta & Columbia v4

This time around we’re going to jump ahead to version 4 of a track plan for the future space in my basement. I have a post on multiple bits and pieces, some of which were drawn between versions three and four, but that will come at a later date.

I titled this plan “Keeping It Simple” It’s a response to a challenge issued by Lance Mindheim back in January. I found it through Trevor Marshall’s blog on his Port Rowan layout. His argument is that layouts sometimes fail due to being overly complex. As such, the suggestion was made to take your typical space, and set a hard limit of 15 switches, as the number of switches is a good measure of the overall complexity of a layout. I kind of cheated by including a multi-train sector plate, but the balance of the layout uses a total of 14 switches.a-and-c-v4

A couple of notes should be made about the plan here. Starting at the bottom at Whisky Gap, I started drawing at the left side, and realized that I needed an aisle to be able to reach into the wye area. To make that happen, the whole town must be shifted to the right, as is noted on the plan. In keeping the layout simpler, I was able to use larger curves for most, and larger switches, particularly on the mainline. The mainline switches are primarily number 7s, with number 6s used on the spurs. Where I fit one of these branch lines into my other plans (schematically), it requires a minimum of a 22″ radius with number 5 switches, here, I’m able to use a 30″ minimum.

The next town is very simple as well, the only complication here is a curved turnout into the elevator track. As generous as the plan is, this space saver was needed to get an elevator track long enough for 3 cars at each elevator. I still wanted to maintain a longer open country run between the two towns, and this forces the town in the middle of the line up into the corner of the room. The rest of the line is more open running to the terminus on the sector plate.

That sector plate, as drawn, obviously won’t work. I need to remove at least one track from it, narrow it, and curve the ends so they will line up properly. I’d have to design a mechanism to both pivot the table at the end (where marked), and slide back into position to send trains out onto the line. That enables it to be used not just to stage trains, but also as a train turntable.

Overall, it’s a very simple plan. Perhaps, that would be a good thing which would allow the layout to be significantly completed. If you decide to build this plan, let me know and send some pictures!

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