As promised, here is my updated “Somewhere in Germany” (“Irgendwo in Deutschland”) trackplan. I would call this the final version since for the past 2 weeks I have discussed and finetuned with a fellow N-scale modeler from Germany this trackplan. He has been kind and helpful to translate my 1st version paper drawing into a digital plan using SCARM. A BIG DANKE SCHÖN, DIRK!
Basically, he took my requirements and wishes (what John Armstrong would call as “Givens and Druthers“) and made some modifications to my trackplan while still retaining my basic concept. I am pleased with the final result.
In my initial plan, I had some spots with tight curves (as tight as 20cm radius), which would be a NO-GO for modern rolling stocks. My minimum radius requirement is 40cm.
In addition, at some spots the incline/decline (gradient) would be 5-6%, which again would be a big NO-GO for any rolling stocks. We doubt any trains even in real-life could make such climb without some forms of assistance such as cable or rack tracks. A part of the ICE high-speed stretch between Cologne and Frankfurt has a 40% (1:25) gradient and only ICE 3 could operate on this stretch (update: Opss … I was wrong. Thanks Misha for the clarification)
Furthermore, I added too many tracks at one side of the layout, which will pose a nightmare for wiring and future maintenance.
The result of our joint efforts is as below. Sorry for the descriptions in Deutsch as it was posted mainly on a German forum where I met Dirk. I shall explain this trackplan in English (with the Deutsch terms in brackets for cross-references)
1. This is basically an operation-focused layout (Fahranlage) as opposed to one that is switching-focused (Rangieranlage). Very little switching will be involved as I have only one low-relief factory (Industrie/Fabrik) planned at Module A. I like to see trains – passenger and freight operations – running around. Hence, it is important to have a larger staging yard – up to 7 tracks (Schattenbahnhof) at Module E and long tracks so that trains have sufficient length to move without being seen as appearing at the same location in a short time.
2. The track arrangements are actually made of 2 ovals (update: In fact there are 3 ovals). Trains will crossover from one oval to another before appearing again on the same oval sometime later. If you trace the track arrangements, you would understand what I meant.
3. The former Module F and G – each 140cm long – will now be 3 modules. This will be of the same size as Module B, C and D – each 92cm long. I standardised these smaller, similar-sized modules so that they could be easily stored and transported.
4. The size of the module layout (Anlage Maße) remained at 1.37m x 3.96m. The maximum wide on the long side is 30cm.
5. As this is a walkaround layout, I am using my NCE Powercab with a single UTP panel. I am still considering if I need an additional UTP panel. As I would be the only operator, I could at most handle only 2 trains simulteneously.
6. The markings between levels (Ebene) are shown in cm from the floor level. The tracks would be between 100cm and 110.5cm but the maximum height of the whole layout is 120cm, taking into account height of structures (buildings) and landscapes (hills). The vertical distance (Vertikaler Abstand) is as far as possible 7cm between levels except on 1 spot.
7. The gradient is between 1.8% and 2.2%. Now, you must be wondering how we achieve 1.8% gradient with a 7cm vertical distance. Well, watch out for the layout construction progresses for the answer.
8. All signals and turnouts will be manually controlled and operated via 2 small centralised traffic controllers (Stellpult). One will be located in front of the central railway station (Hauptbahnhof, Hbf) to control all the tracks and signals to and from the station and the secondary track (Industrie Anschluss) to the factory. The other CTC will be in front of the staging yard (Schattenbahnhof). At other modules, smaller switches will be installed to control turnouts and signals manually.
In total I would be adding 73m of flex track (equivalent to about 12km in real-world) and 45 switches and crossings! I think the process of realising this layout would be an interesting one, which I am truly looking forward to. As always I will update my progresses in this blog. I welcome your comments.