Prototype Trackplan: Sn2 K&DR (Part 3: Concepts)

Before drafting a detailed plan, one has to evaluate ways to use the space. I do
the evaluation through a series of concepts. John Armstrong, the dean of
layout design, did this through square squares.  Any technique that works is acceptable as long as an evaluation is completed.

For Gary’s K&DR, I’ve crafted more than six  concepts and some of those
have variants. I’ll rate a number of those posts in the this post. In subsequent posts, I’ll add detail to the concepts until we can find the winner(s).

The information presented in the prior posts will be used to evaluate the concepts. We’ll look to see if the Givens and Druthers can be met and if the desired elements can be included.

Here are the most critical requirements to be used in evaluating the concepts.
1) 32″ radius
2) Sufficient Isle space (targeting 30″ plus)
3) Inviting space (I feel a layout should invite the visitor/operator into the layout space)
4) Inclusion of Bigelow’s main yard, sawmill and lumber yard
5) Mountainous scenery and log loading areas
6) Kingfield with Junction switch.
7) Continuous run (highly desirable in my mind)
8) Staging for south end.

Most of the concepts go against the convention wisdom of “No Duck unders”.  Personally, I think the duck under is a tool to get more railroad into a smaller spaces such as Gary’s.  The duck under works best when a layout high (50+ inches to bottom of benchwork) and wide (36 or more inches wide).  Gary is tall (6’2″ or so), I fully expect his track height to be greater than 55″.

Concept #1: Around the walls

Gary White K&DR Concept #1: Around the walls

Usually, the best use of a small closed space is to have the layout go around the walls. This provides for a large open space and allows for the broadest radius curves possible.

As I drew this concept, I was thinking Bigelow would be at A, with the K&DR going south through Carrabasett at B, then to a logging location and on to Kingfield at D. The Bigelow sawmill would be at the angled wall just left of the door as one entered. Admittedly the tracks to the sawmill would curve the opposite direction of the prototype.  In my mind, an acceptable compromise. The space at D is insufficient to model Kingfield. Kingfield would be a disappointing representation. In this arrangement, I’d probably abandon modeling Kingfield; instead modeling the turning mill of Huse. This concept does not have a good place for staging. The options would be 1) stub staging under Bigelow (possibly with a continuous run connection back to B) 2) a sector plate to behind D (along the wall). The sector plate could double as the duck under 3) behind the Bigelow sawmill (with optional continuous run connection at the second freight house in Bigelow)


Concept #1b: Around the walls

Using the same diagram as Concept #1, it could be possible to locate Bigelow at B. This would put the most important town on the longest wall. Carrabasett would then be a C and the less important log loading could be at D. Kingfield would now be at A, much better than at D. Still Kingfield would mostly be a representation without the highly desired Kingfield switch.

Concept #1b could be employed in reverse too, going B, A, D, C. The reversal of Bigelow may be desired as the engine house could be compressed on the backdrop.


Concept #2: Stubbed Peninsula

Gary White K&DR Concept #2: Stubbed Peninsula

This has long visible main line and most opportunities for towns. Bigelow could be at A or E and Kingfield at the other. However, this concept is completely unacceptable for several reasons: 1) The isles are tight 2) A and E are two tight back to back 3) adding a backdrop between A and E would make the room claustrophobic, uninviting 4) neither A or E is long enough or wide enough for Bigelow.


Concept #2b: Stubbed Peninsula with Staging

Once option would be to make E a narrow 2-3 track staging yard. By narrowing E to 8-12″ in width, Bigelow could be pushed back, making for a more open front Isle. To make the room more inviting, a backdrop need not be required, instead E could be 4-8″ below A, thus mostly hidden from site. Kingfield would then be at D, and would only be representational. Kingfield could have novelty mills and covered depot, but not junction switch and need not contain the turntable. I like the open staging at E because trains could be turned using a turntable or cassettes.


Concept #3: Center peninsula

Gary White K&DR Concept #3: Center Peninsula

This concept provides the longest mainline run, but has too many problems to name. The must fundamental problem is isle space. Reducing radius to 28″ helps, but still there is not enough layout width fo Bigelow or Kingfield


Concept #4: Flipped peninsula

Gary White K&DR Concept #4: Flipped Peninsula

This concept gets a long mainline at the cost of having track cross over each other. I like the inviting entry space between A and D. This space is sufficient for 4-5 visitors to watch trains run on the layout. I picture Bigelow at A and a Kingfield representation at B. C,D,E would be great for representing the mountainous railroading. There is no space for the Kingfield switch

Another alternative would be Bigelow at B and Kingfield at A. Either way, staging would likely be under Bigelow.


Concept #5: Point to Loop

Gary White K&DR Concept #5: Point to Loop

To this point, no concept have captured the feel of Kingfield. The idea here would be to use the loop (D) as Kingfield. Bigelow would be at A. It would be possible to model the Kingfield junction switch and have diverging yard. Operationally, the layout would operate point to loop. As I look at this more, it seems a stretch, Kingfield would likely still end up being representational.


Concept #6: Kingfield in the middle

Gary White K&DR Concept #6: Kingfield in the Middle

This is basically concept #1 reversed such that the Kingfield station can be in the middle of the room. Bigelow would be at A, a compromise of wrapping the main yard into the space would have to be accepted. Kingfield would be at D,E,F, and the Kingfield switch is justafiably operational. X would be staging with an option to complete a continuous loop to B. Carrabasset could be at B with logging at C. This layout could be built in stages, with the around the walls portion first and the Kingfield section later. Actually that could be Free-mo (Hey Gary, I have a Kinfield Piano Module I could sell you 🙂

This concept uses space well, and I love the open space between Bigelow (A) and Kingfield (E/F). Such space is could support multiple viewers. What’s great about putting Kingfield down the middle? No need for a backdrop, thus the claustrophobic feeling is avoided and Kingfield can be operated from both sides. High mountainous scenery along the walls would server as backdrop enough. This concept should be simple to execute.

To me, the challange is staging. It would be hidden from view, and requires backing in/out during operating sessions or a duplicate passenger train. I wonder if Gary has room for a reversing loop in an adjacent utility room?

Should Bigelow not fit at A, the whole concept could be rotated 90 degrees to the
right, putting Bigelow on the long wall. This would make Kingfield more angled than desired, but worth consideration.


Concept #6b: Kingfield focus

If Bigelow and Kingfield do not fit well together in Concept #6, it might be worth abandoning Bigelow on the layout. Kingfield alone has all the interest one might need for a layout. In this way a loop over loop layout with Bigelow/Stong staging on a hidden loop below. Then A might become Salem and two duck unders could exit, each leading to staging below D. A simple 4-6 track staging yard could store all trains required and emulate branches!

GRADE=B (it does not get a B+ as Bigelow is lost)


I’m sorry, but A’s are hard to come by in my track planning class. Even for me. Honestly, it’s hard to give a concept an A, as there are still to many unknowns. So the next step is to break down the unknown on the concepts that seem to have promise.

At this point in time, the most significant unknown is “Does Bigelow really fit anywhere?” So the next step is to fit Bigelow in the room and then dive down on the leading concepts. In this case, there is really only one lead, that is Concept #6.

While I’m working on Bigelow and diving in on Concept #6, let’s hope Gary chimes in on the Concepts.

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1 Response to Prototype Trackplan: Sn2 K&DR (Part 3: Concepts)

  1. Gary says:

    David, I think option #6 is the most promising so far. Look forward to see where you take it. I hope Bigelow fits…. we’ll see… Thanks for your interest.


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