Switching area module - a design challenge?

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redbull
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Re: Switching area module - a design challenge?

Post by redbull » Fri Mar 29, 2013 8:14 pm

Geoff, I'll get Alan to post some photos of my modules once I have finished them - won't be able to post myself as will no longer be a Region Services member from Monday (long story) so will not have access to the forum.

Briefly, I have two buildings from the Walthers Papermill series - the 'pulp mill' building, which is served by 2 spurs which contain tank car unloading facilities for kaolin slurry & chemicals as well as boxcars containing kaolin & raw pulp. The mainline runs between the two buildings, with pipe work running over the tracks from the pulp mill to the main paper producing building. This building has a track running through it for boxcar loading of finished product (paper, cardboard, etc). 3 spurs serve this building to store empty & full boxcars as well as various 'waste product' cars.

My modules are two 4x2ft boards, so a lot of selective compression. I'm just finishing off the electrical work, then will get started on the scenery.

Peter
Peter Borcherds
Rochelle Intermodal N Scale Modular Layout
http://www.rochelleintermodal.com

geofftiller
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Re: Switching area module - a design challenge?

Post by geofftiller » Fri Mar 29, 2013 9:47 pm

Hi Peter
Geoff, I'll get Alan to post some photos of my modules once I have finished them - won't be able to post myself as will no longer be a Region Services member from Monday (long story) so will not have access to the forum.
I look forward to seeing you photos, sorry you won't be able to post them yourself.

Cheers

Geoff

geofftiller
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Re: Switching area module - a design challenge?

Post by geofftiller » Fri Mar 29, 2013 9:54 pm

Hi MIke
Well here is my first idea. Based on the paper mill and cement works in Glen falls. Actually looking South gives a better view of tracks in the paper mill as well as the cement works.
Thanks very much for the plan, I have a few ideas whch I need to put down, I use Anyrail (runs fine using Wine, Xtrkcad is playing up on Linux) I'll have a look and post the results later.

The research bug is biting again, while looking through the shelves this afternoon I remembered I have copies of the ZTS books for Conrail's Albany and Pittburgh Divisions, lots of very interesting industry!

Cheers

Geoff

Mike_R
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Re: Switching area module - a design challenge?

Post by Mike_R » Fri Mar 29, 2013 10:28 pm

There are other options to my plan, simplify it by removing the wood chip spur and one pulpmill spur.
Move the cement spurs on to the fourth board, then directly accessible from the mainline.
I would put all but mainline track on the left board into the tarmac and probably the rear most part of the loop on the second board.

Another industry with a variety of cars is a brewery, I was going to put one on my home layout until it's space was taken by a much needed extension to the yard. It may go on the branch when that is built around the landing. Or your other idea of an industrial park. My 11th Avenue modules has some deliberately vague industries which can take a wide variety of cars.

I use XTrackcad because it runs on my Mac, occasionally crashes, but works well enough, and has PECO 83 and Shinohara track templates. Hopefully development will start up again.
Mike Ruby

geofftiller
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Re: Switching area module - a design challenge?

Post by geofftiller » Sat Mar 30, 2013 12:51 pm

Hi Mike

The more I look at your plan the more I see how it could operate. I was wondering how it might look, and work, if the module connection on the left board continued off the mill track rather then having a main around the mill so I have put together a modified version of you plan in Anyrail. There are a few examples of mills and other large industries straddling a through track. This would allow the pulp mill to be bigger as it could go up to the board edge, and might allow some of the road and other detail to be included. I have removed the chip spur for now, as you suggested that allows more room for the canal and would also allow some of the green bits to be included.

Image

While it would allow more room for scenery I am not sure how well it would work with the main through the mill, any thoughts would be welcome.

Cheers
Geoff

Mike_R
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Re: Switching area module - a design challenge?

Post by Mike_R » Sat Mar 30, 2013 2:24 pm

Depends on how you operate your modules.
One problem we have found is that modules that occupy the main tend to reduce the number of trains running, ok on the prototype where maybe one train a day runs, but on a model can stop other traffic for while it is switched. With all our modules end to end we found it hard to run more than two locals at a time and no through trains. 11th Avenue is probably our only module that switches off the main and it is a terminal (at the moment).

Another problem depends on how close switched areas are, too close and they foul each other, a module where most switching is off the main doesn't have this problem.

One advantage of our new crossing module is it can split the same number of modules into two route each running their own trains, with interchange trains between them, increasing the number of people running. Plus we can have one route that is mostly uninterrupted by switching so it can handle through trains, although since we haven't had our old "roundy roundy" loop setup (and it never will be, as we alter the storage yard to work with the new modules) it turns out everyone likes proper operating.
So if you have modules that use the main and a number of operators try to have a layout with several routes. This also what RS Tower do with their five way crossing module.
Mike Ruby

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Gloriousnse
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Re: Switching area module - a design challenge?

Post by Gloriousnse » Sat Mar 30, 2013 3:20 pm

I'd agree with Mike that if the module is likely to see lots of through traffic then it's best to either keep the industries very simple, or arrange the tracks so they can mostly be switched clear of the main (or, when you plan a setup you put it in a location where you don't end up trying to run lots of traffic through it!)

One idea would be if it's one larger industry, to assign a switcher (or industrial) so a 'through' train will just drop off half a dozen cars onto an interchange track for them to deliver.

CR/CSX might work for a paper mill, but it's not a very 'Chicago' industry if you wanted to add IHB to the mix in future (the midwest ones seem to be up towards Wisconsin) - my suggestions would be some kind of food processing, or steel, maybe a refinery?
Martyn Read

geofftiller
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Re: Switching area module - a design challenge?

Post by geofftiller » Sat Mar 30, 2013 3:39 pm

I can see the problems you suggest, and in fact we did see the same on the EBL where a couple of industries can block the main when switching.

Martyn, you point about a paper mill not being very Chicago is spot on, I have had a look at the Morning Sun IHB book earlier and had a scout around on Google Maps, there are a few industrial areas still rail served in North/Western Chicago on the IHB and/or BRC (one huge area in just off BRC Clearing yard in Bedford Park). One industry that seems to still take a lot of rail traffic is the plastics and plastic packaging industry I have found lots of rail served factories, mostly Pactiv. The areas I've found are Armitage Avenue, off Norpaul Yard and the afore mentioned Bedford park area. I'm going to have a scout around other parts of Chicago and see what else I can find. I do have the germ of another idea just beginning.

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Gloriousnse
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Re: Switching area module - a design challenge?

Post by Gloriousnse » Sat Mar 30, 2013 6:08 pm

Just as a brief OT interlude, I've created a new section under the Layout Design section for industry resources, I've put some info on a couple of Wisconsin based paper plants there - If folk have this kind of info feel free to add to it. :)
Martyn Read

PeterLJ
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Re: Switching area module - a design challenge?

Post by PeterLJ » Sun Mar 31, 2013 9:08 am

Gloriousnse wrote:I'd agree with Mike that if the module is likely to see lots of through traffic then it's best to either keep the industries very simple
Hi

Perhaps we need another layer of recommendations for the NMRA Modular spec to deal with different types of module and terminology? I think Mike Arnold mentioned something about modular scenic compatibility in another thread and Peter spoke of fitting detection circuits.

If we could think of some names so event organisers can arrange modules sensibly and indeed modular builders can make there modules fit in. For instance Western Union is a single track, dark territory branch line, where in the real world we would not expect a lot of traffic so spurs are worked from the main (but that's a bit of a mouth full). Other groups have rules that one can not switch on the main. Indeed some one could model a logging line.

I do not believe we should dictate what an owner does, but if a venue is featuring busy main line running a module representing a quiet backwater is not going to see much (if any) switching.

Perhaps we could kick this about at Weston?

Peter L-J

JimD17
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Re: Switching area module - a design challenge?

Post by JimD17 » Sun Mar 31, 2013 3:48 pm

Peter
This is a major problem with the N Gauge modules, even with our double track main. We have used two different solutions one to have "switching windows" whereall drops and lifts are done; the problem with this is it makes a lift an one plant and a drop further down the line difficult. Also getting all trains to the correct spot at the correct time is not easy. The other is to have a main line run and a switching branch, the main problem here is setup for a one day club meet.

We are working on having more crossovers to help the first and re-building modules to give better switching setups for the second. We are also rebuilding some of our larger modules to allow switching to take place without affecting the main.

Jim Dickinson

Mike_R
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Re: Switching area module - a design challenge?

Post by Mike_R » Sun Mar 31, 2013 8:37 pm

Indeed some one could model a logging line.
Got one of those, but not DCC, it does have a single track feeding it though, but stock has to be able to take an 18" curve and 4% grades!

I think at our next meeting we plan to have two separate routes joined by our crossing module. One route will run from the storage yard to 11th Avenue for more mainline use and another will have the modules where switching tales place on the mainline.
Note we will not be totally dark territory, the storage yard already has signals, the crossing will be getting them and I plan to fit them to 11th Avenue.
Mike Ruby

PeterLJ
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Re: Switching area module - a design challenge?

Post by PeterLJ » Mon Apr 01, 2013 4:57 pm

Mike_R wrote:Note we will not be totally dark territory, the storage yard already has signals, the crossing will be getting them and I plan to fit them to 11th Avenue.
Hi Mike

That's quite exciting, indeed we could perhaps say we have one "leg" of our layout CTC and the other dark territory! (Goes back to my opening remark about what we call stuff).

BTW I have purchased some 8 Pin Din Chassis sockets which I intend to put in the middle of my module, connected to two Lenz LA 152s (and each other if you see what I mean ;)

Peter L-J

geofftiller
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Re: Switching area module - a design challenge?

Post by geofftiller » Mon Apr 01, 2013 5:17 pm

Hi Mike/Peter

I'd not thought about having an agreed description/theme notation for modules, at least in part because we have two different, but connected, module systems in Thameisders. We have a "main" or "mainline" standard and a "branch" standard. Given the single NMRABR specification perhaps having some kind of theme descriptor would be useful so like themed modules could be placed together by the run chief in much the same way as you plan the orientation of modules to make switching/running as interesting as possible.

I very much like the idea of junctions allowing for CTC or other signal control systems along side dark or TWC dispatched lines. Not only could you have two different types of operation but you could also factor in crossings and junctions which will always add interest.

Our Mike Meadows has built a basic signaling system, like yours it covers the staging yard and main modules but doesn't cover the actual operation of our junctions. This is something we will look at adding to improve control and interest at the junctions.

regards
Geoff

geofftiller
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Re: Switching area module - a design challenge?

Post by geofftiller » Mon Apr 01, 2013 5:51 pm

Hi All

I've been spending rather too much time on Google Maps researching Chicagoland for ideas for this module, not only does a full paper mill not really fit the IHB I feel rather intimidated by the idea of attempting to produce a model of such a big and complex industry.

Not only are there industrial areas just off Norpaul and and Clearing Yards but I have found some other industrial areas. Most are fairly modern industrial parks but there is a mix of older buildings.Probably a good mix for me with little layout experience.

One of the most interesting areas is the Town/City of Alsip just north of Blue Island Junction, there are two industrial leads off the west side of the IHB lines, one just south of 127th St and one north of 115th St. The first area does include, of all things, a paper plant! In this case Future Mark Paper, a major recycled paper manufacturer. See http://goo.gl/maps/6YzQs, and http://goo.gl/maps/oUsjI. This areas have a mix of plastics manufacturers, petroleum distribution/processing and general warehousing. See http://goo.gl/maps/tI9lM for a very high level view of the area.

The second area is a similar mix although no paper plants! See http://goo.gl/maps/LHIJI for a similar high level view of this more northerly areas.

In my searches I also found the current IHB customer list, http://www.ihbrr.com/IHBCUST20130318.pdf which makes quite interesting reading.

I plan to work up a plan or two based on these areas.

I've also got to paint up my gaggle of SW1500 switchers!

Cheers
Geoff

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