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mtarnett

Posted - 2010 November 30 :  11:35:33 AM  Show Profile
All,

I am in the process of designing my model railroad in AutoCad and would like multiple opions regarding the centline spacing of tracks in a yard.

My original intent was to put the tracks on 2-1/2" centers. I concluded that cutting a proper lenght of track to insert in between the #6 turnouts would be a pain in the arse. On the other hand, installing each #6 turout consecutively would look much better and would conserve space. My only concern with the latter option is getting my big hands in between cars on adjacent tracks should I have to rerail a car.

Thoughts and experiences welcome.

Regards,

Todd Arnett

Country: USA | Posts: 27

steve turner

Posted - 2010 November 30 :  11:50:55 AM  Show Profile
My experience is the 2.1/2. Whats the issue with the small piece of track.I use Pecos and have small peices soldered in between switches.The upside to the piece of track is it gives you something to solder a feeder. The small piece of straight track will also be an advantage for maybe smoother trouble free operation from one switch to another. I have small hands if you have big hands i could see less than the protocal of 2.5 being an issue.


Edited by - steve turner on 2010 November 30 11:52:52 AM

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Selector

Posted - 2010 November 30 :  11:52:18 AM  Show Profile
I guess it depends on what your priorities are...or what weight you would assign in a matrix if you were solving a problem of this nature. Do you favour looks over performance? Length of storage/classification over proximity of parallels in a ladder? Ease of manual manipulation of items in your yard parallels over their lengths or looks?

If I wanted looks for the sake of viewing appreciation, either standing 300' scale feet away on a tower, or in imagery, I would accept that the tracks were going to have to be close and I'd have to devise an implement to get my meat hooks in there when I needed to. I could get a pair of tongs, line their working surfaces with some felt or foam, and use them to lift cars...I guess.

But, that's all it is, an exercise in determination based on your self-imposed priorities.

Crandell



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Brakie

Posted - 2010 November 30 :  12:08:38 PM  Show Profile
Here's my preference.I like 1 3/4" for my yard track.

Larry
Summerset Ry.

Country: USA | Posts: 7537 Go to Top of Page

steve turner

Posted - 2010 November 30 :  12:20:19 PM  Show Profile
quote:
Originally posted by Brakie

Here's my preference.I like 1 3/4" for my yard track.



Brakie is that N scale!!!!



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Brakie

Posted - 2010 November 30 :  12:26:03 PM  Show Profile
quote:
Originally posted by steve turner

quote:
Originally posted by Brakie

Here's my preference.I like 1 3/4" for my yard track.



Brakie is that N scale!!!!



Actually Steve that is indeed HO..

Yard tracks are close.


Larry
Summerset Ry.

Country: USA | Posts: 7537 Go to Top of Page

detroitterminal

Posted - 2010 November 30 :  12:28:28 PM  Show Profile
I've found a two inch space to be a good "rule of thumb." (No pun intended.)


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SD24

Posted - 2010 November 30 :  12:30:35 PM  Show Profile
On the prototype I've measured 13'6" track centers in a yard before. I'm not sure if there are examples of tighter centers (I suppose there may be 13'0" centers somewhere). I can't say off hand right now what an HO scale 13'6" C-to-C distance equates to in real inches (close to 2" I suspect). I'd say if your yard is going to be fairly lengthy then you may want to think about the tracks being close to maximize space and to give a better appearance.


Country: USA | Posts: 322 Go to Top of Page

steve turner

Posted - 2010 November 30 :  12:38:20 PM  Show Profile
Wondering if which brand and what number switch you use has a bearing on the minmum too ?. So we have 2.5,2.0,1.75........whatever is good for you your the one using it........aslong as its fun and functional.


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mtarnett

Posted - 2010 November 30 :  12:44:55 PM  Show Profile
All,

Thanks for all of your input. I have considered all distances and decided to do a quick mock-up.
My big hands were much more comfortable and able to handle cars with 2-1/2" track centers (as originally planned) as opposed to the 1-7/8" track centers that would be the result of stacking Walthers code 83 #6 turnouts together continuously.

I appreciate all of your help.

Regards,

Todd Arnett



Country: USA | Posts: 27 Go to Top of Page

jbvb

Posted - 2010 November 30 :  12:53:55 PM  Show Profile  Visit jbvb's Homepage
In HO, 2" is 14.5 scale feet. So the cars won't sideswipe on straight track at 1.75", but if you need to pick one up or rerail it, you'll need small fingers. I've used 2.5" myself in staging, but I prefer the look of 2" for straight yard tracks in visible areas. One way of getting the larger spacing with commercial turnouts is to increase the angle of the ladder. This needs a curve at the beginning and another curve from each switch frog to the yard track.

James      http://www.faracresfarm.com/jbvb/rr/

Country: USA | Posts: 212 Go to Top of Page

Brakie

Posted - 2010 November 30 :  1:05:31 PM  Show Profile
quote:
Originally posted by SD24

On the prototype I've measured 13'6" track centers in a yard before. I'm not sure if there are examples of tighter centers (I suppose there may be 13'0" centers somewhere). I can't say off hand right now what an HO scale 13'6" C-to-C distance equates to in real inches (close to 2" I suspect). I'd say if your yard is going to be fairly lengthy then you may want to think about the tracks being close to maximize space and to give a better appearance.



SD24,Yard tracks are indeed close-IIRC 13'.

As a rookie brakeman I was instructed to lay face down between the tracks if both rows of cars start to move.

This was for 2 reasons:

1.Protruding loads,loose metal straps,loose chains etc.

2.You could become dizzy/disoriented and walk into one of the moving cars.

However..

As modelers we must leave room for our fingers.

My 1 3/4" centers doesn't allow that and therefore not for everybody.

Of course excellent track laying is a must as is trouble free cars.


Larry
Summerset Ry.

Country: USA | Posts: 7537 Go to Top of Page

Graham Line

Posted - 2010 November 30 :  6:13:26 PM  Show Profile
Yards built recently have greater center to center track spacing than yards built in about 1960 and earlier. 1 3/4" looks good if you don't need to make cuts in strings of cars, but check photos from your era.


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Brakie

Posted - 2010 November 30 :  7:51:40 PM  Show Profile
quote:
Originally posted by Graham Line

Yards built recently have greater center to center track spacing than yards built in about 1960 and earlier. 1 3/4" looks good if you don't need to make cuts in strings of cars, but check photos from your era.



I suspect the new yards are much wider then the yards I worked in.

I have no problems making cuts in a string of cars.

I use a small flat tip screw driver to uncouple the cars-I learn to do this years ago with the X2F coupler.


Larry
Summerset Ry.

Country: USA | Posts: 7537 Go to Top of Page

riogrande

Posted - 2010 November 30 :  10:13:51 PM  Show Profile
Get a copy of a classic book, Track Planning for Realistic Operation by John Armstrong. In that book he states that yard track centers are 13' but in HO he recommended 2-inches as a good compromise between getting fingers in and fairly close to prototype in appearance.

Rio Grande - The Action Road
Atlas forum member since 1994

Country: USA | Posts: 5508 Go to Top of Page

dmitzel

Posted - 2010 December 01 :  02:23:54 AM  Show Profile  Visit dmitzel's Homepage
Lance Mindheim is also recommending 2" centers for parallel tracks in HO, both for simplicities-sake as well as practicality (when designing a yard, etc.). Between him and Armstrong I'd heavily consider whether going wider is worth the price paid in appearance, large hands or no. I was originally sweating 13' or 13.5' centers myself, but later just decided to use the KISS principle and go with a straight 2" separation.

As an aside I often hear the argument that you can't read car numbers in a yard if the cars are lined up closely together (i.e. 2" or less track separation). I counter that with the way the real railroads operate - rarely does the ground man or yard clerk walk the body tracks to look for car numbers. If a railroad employee needs to determine the standing order of cars in a yard track, he'll usually have the switch pull the cut past him and do his checking from a fixed position. It safer than going between cuts of cars on adjacent tracks (as Brakie pointed out the obvious dangers) and sure beats walking, especially in bad weather!


D.M. Mitzel
Oxford, MI
Div. 8-NCR-NMRA

Visit my blog at http://danmitzel.blogspot.com/

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