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Posted in Layout Designs by Rob Chant. (Last activity on Tuesday, November 23, 2021 at 8:49:20 AST.)

HO SCALE: 22nd Avenue Warehouse & Freight District

I recently started going through my old 3PI layout files, and I remembered this design as soon as I opened the file. I played with this for fun back in 2000 and it was my adaption of a track plan that I found online. The original design was for a 1-foot by 4-foot space, and used a track arrangement very close to what I show in my version, although (of course) the spurs were a bit shorter.

I was impressed with the original design, but I also felt that it could be much better if another 12" was added. I didn't finish the design back in 2000, but now that I am more experienced with 3rd PlanIt's 3D capabilities, it was relatively easy to complete.

For its size, I am actually quite impressed with how much operation could take place on this little layout, and the dock side setting just makes it all that more appealing for me. This is quite the gem for a small layout.

Track Plan:

2019.10.21A-001.gif (22000 bytes)

Overall views of the layout:

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2019.10.21A-003.jpg (163765 bytes)

3D screen captures from the layout:

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2019.10.21A-005.jpg (180466 bytes)

2019.10.21A-006.jpg (192751 bytes)

2019.10.21A-007.jpg (162961 bytes)

TAGS: Staging Options: Car Float, Layout Size: Mini Layouts, Theme: Terminal Railway, Theme: Waterfront, USA (States): New York

User Comments:

Posted by John Reynolds on Tuesday, February 04, 2020 at 12:57:58 AM.

I love this plan for a lot of reasons... small space and lots of switching...

Posted by Robert Chant on Tuesday, February 04, 2020 at 7:11:37 AM.

Thanks John Reynolds ... this one has a lot of appeal for me too ... I love waterfront scenes and old brick warehouses ... it would offer plenty of detailing opportunities as well.

Posted by John Brian Sommers on Saturday, July 11, 2020 at 12:37:37 PM.

This is amazing. So tempting to do this in HO but it would rock in N using the same space. But oh HO isn't as fiddly.

Posted by John Brian Sommers on Saturday, July 11, 2020 at 12:46:52 PM.

Some more comments:
With the carfloat there it makes this an almost no brainer. Such a fun way of getting cars off the layout.

Another pro for doing this in N is that you would have room for a reacher car that way you wouldn't have to mess with powering the float.
I might be able to put in another switch somewhere to store my reacher.

Posted by Robert Chant on Saturday, July 11, 2020 at 2:57:10 PM.

Thanks John, if using this same footprint in N-scale a lot more could be added that would really increase the operating potential of the layout. You could easily add two or three more industries and a much larger car float. Take care, Rob.

Posted by Rob Hupfield on Thursday, July 16, 2020 at 5:44:36 PM.

Another gem of a plan in a tiny space. Well done, Rob! It is very hard to get more switching fun than this in 5 square feet.

It also amply demonstrates the power of wye turnouts to maximise operations in a minimal space. I think the count is 6 wyes in 7 turnouts. Wow.

I know you're aware, but the one flaw in the design is the lack of a ramp and pylons for the barge. The ramp adjusts the rail elevation for normal changes in water level. Pylons are clusters of wood pilings to help align and secure the barge during docking. Easy to include although another linear 6" or so on the barge approach is perhaps needed for this element, and contributes to believability.

For those not interested in barge operations, the barge tracks could also just be an interchange track or two.

Best regards,

Posted by Robert Chant on Thursday, July 23, 2020 at 6:24:11 AM.

Hi Rob,

Thanks for the comments. The choice of leaving the apron track out was due to wanting to keep the size of the car float inside of the layout's footprint and make it as long as possible. If you wanted to add the ramp track it would be very easy to do by allowing the float to "hang" outside the footprint ... you could also probably make it a little longer since it should be removable anyway.

Take care,

Posted by on Sunday, March 14, 2021 at 1:18:53 PM.

Rob, did you save the original plan? If not, do you know where I might be able to find it?

Posted by Rob Chant on Sunday, March 14, 2021 at 2:50:14 PM.

Sorry ... I don't have the original track plan ... nor do I know how to find it 20 years later ... I am not even sure of the name of it.

Posted by Chris Broughton on Sunday, October 10, 2021 at 10:26:00 PM.

Could this plan be done in N using Atlas C55 track and 2.5 Wyes on a 6" deep shelf?

Posted by Rob Chant on Monday, October 11, 2021 at 10:03:55 AM.

Hi Chris, just doing a fast mock-up, I would have to say that it is not going to fit in a 6-inch wide space in N-scale using the Atlas 2.5 wyes. The Atlas wyes are actually a little bit longer the the HO-scale PECO ones that I used in the original track plan.

Posted by Will on Thursday, November 04, 2021 at 2:23:34 AM.

The original plan was a John Allen design (1970 era) called the " time saver". For a game of 4 players he connected 2 layouts back to back

Posted by Rob Hupfield on Thursday, November 04, 2021 at 7:45:09 PM.

Hi Will,

Anyone looking for a compact design probably looks at John Allen's Time-saver plan for some inspiration.

I understand the John Allen “TIme-saver” was a similar size to Rob’s plan, and perhaps a similar vibe, but note the track plan was quite different. The Time-saver featured a central run-around (just like Rob’s plan) but had a single spur on one side and an opposing switch-back on the other. When two Time-savers were connected back-to-back in a contest, the connection was via the two switched-back spurs using extra turnouts, so cars could be exchanged. The car lengths of the various spurs were also constrained.

The Time-saver was very much intended as a game, as very well documented in the excellent Kalmbach book on John Allen and the Gorre & Daphetid. Rob’s design is very much a mini-layout, with a believable location and operating concept, and quite different.

One of John Allen’s original Time-savers, somewhat smoke damaged, was rescued and is currently in the NMRA’s Magic of Scale Model Railroading exhibit at the California State Railroad Museum. With Rob’s kind permission to post this, there’s a Charlie Getz video tour (42min) of the exhibit available on yt where you can see the original time-saver at about 20:00 min. See: q5y8SLis9s8

Btw, this is an excellent promotional video for the hobby, with some good ideas from hobby icon Charlie Getz on why we do this crazy thing and why new people might want to get involved.

Rob H

Posted by Michael Solms on Tuesday, November 23, 2021 at 8:49:20 AM.

If you do a Google search for “Development of the Carfloat Transfer Bridge in New York Harbor” you will find a great page on It goes into extensive detail about construction and operations of car floats and terminals, including the moves prototypes used to get cars off and on the floats. It was not a job for the inattentive.

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