Design a HO engine-service yard, or fuel tank dump Yard

Homer's picture

I am trying to come up with a good yard layout (2' x 6' open on one end only). engine-service yard, 3 stall and or fuel tank storage yard. I have buildings for both.  Have any Ideas or places to veiw a HO yard of this size?


rfbranch's picture

I'm not sure what you are after but...

Hi Thomas-

Your request is a fairly broad one, but if you are looking to pack in a large amount of track in a fairly confined space (which 2 x 6 isn't huge) then I can recommend from personal experience how useful a compound ladder arrangement can be.  My experiences with it can be found here.  There are bigger heavyweights in the hobby on this site who can give you better guidance than I but my stuff might still be worth a read.

Maybe you are looking for a full yard design (i.e. placement of engine terminal facilities, sanding tracks etc.) then this won't be much help but I thought I would put it out there.



Proto-Freelanced Carfloat Operation, Brooklyn, NY c.1974

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CAR_FLOATER's picture

Look To The Real Thing

What Rich said it correct, you are asking a very un-defined question that will result in many different answers, but we want to help if we can.

My suggestion is to always look to the real world first, but  since I don't know what interests you (RR, location, era, etc) I can't say more than that, other than don't just try to copy someone else's model RR. I know that modeling a real RR can sometimes be daunting, but I am not suggesting modeling something exactly, track for track, but rather to observe what the prototype has done, or did. Just get an idea, and go from there. Please let us know some more details, and we'l lgo from there.

Where's Blue and Byron, they should have a comment or two to add to this discussion.....................

marcoperforar's picture

this yard, that yard, what kind of yard

What type of yard do you need and what functions are expected to be performed?  For instance, a branchline terminus will look a lot different than a coach yard, an engine-service yard, or whatever.  Is it to be self-contained or to be part of a larger layout or staging?  A yard should be designed in conjunction with the rest of the layout so they are compatible.

Six feet is very short.  Hopefully you will be satisfied with trains/car cuts 3 to 4 feet long.  A yard which is 1by12 would be better than one 2by6 in most instances.  For example, my planned HO branchline terminus is 20 feet long and the only "yard" is merely a run-around track (which is OK because I "hate" yards) designed to handle trains up to six feet long, and a small turntable and round house.  The remaining trackage is industrial.


Mark Pierce

Not much space, and what's the purpose?

2X6 is not much space in HO for a yard, unfortunately. Just as an example, this yard from a custom project is 2X8 and would need a little additional length to allow the runaround if placed at the end of the line.

In some cases you can save a little room with a compound ladder (or a pinwheel ladder, if the track leading into the area is curved), but yard ladders always take up a lot of length and the resulting yard body tracks can end up too short to be really useful.

But as Mark noted, the most important question is "How is the yard intended to be used?" The answer to that question will indicate what the yard should look like, or if you need a yard at all.

LayoutVision Custom Layout Design and Ops Planning
Model RR Blog

What kind of a yard?

The prototype may have some huge yards that do classification for interstate trains, locomotive service, etc., but they also have much smaller yards where they drop cars for local industries and pick ups from those local industries.  When the UP took over the SP, they noted that the SP had small yards all over the Los Angeles area, and thought that was stupid.  The UP closed a bunch of the small SP yards and centralized everything in large yards.  Then they discovered that the large yards becamse choked with excessive car inventory and they couldn't get any work done.  Very shortly thereafter, they reopened all of the small yards that they had closed.

2 x 8 in HO will probably allow a small engine facility, or a small classification or local yard.  It won't be big enough to simulate a large classification yard.

2X6 in HO

 2 x 8 in HO will probably allow ...


The Original Poster doesn't have 2X8 -- that was just an example I had on hand. His space is 2X6.

LayoutVision Custom Layout Design and Ops Planning
Model RR Blog

That will teach me to post from memory!

After reading through the replies, I should have3 gone back to the original post instead of trying to post from memory.  It just makes the point I was trying to make even more important for him to consider.  With 2 x 6 he is going to need to make choices, and then tell us what he wants before we can really be of help. 

Title change -- now engine terminal and oil depot

Newly added: engine-service yard, 3 stall and or fuel tank storage yard. I have buildings for both

OK, with the change in title and text of the original posting, seems like you aren't planning a yard, at least not as some would define it. Instead, you need an engine terminal and a place to deliver tank cars, right?

Since you have a small space and probably a fixed track arrangement based on the structures, you don't have a lot of choices to make, it would seem.

Engine terminals are pretty different for diesel vs. oil-burning or coal-fired steam, but I'll assume this is a diesel terminal for now. These tend to be straight-line affairs, with the tracks arranged to match the spacing required by your structure models. So a simple two-turnout ladder to give you the three tracks.

Now, turning to the "fuel tank storage yard" Assuming this is a place to deliver fuel (not fuel tanks) for storage, it can be pretty simple. If it's a large oil storage facility, there might be two parallel tracks for delivery of tankcars, although one track would also work just fine.

In real life, these tend to be straight parallel tracks.

So one turnout to branch between engine terminal and fuel storage, two more turnouts on the engine terminal side with straight tracks to match your engine service structure, and one or no turnouts on the fuel storage side depending on whether you want one or two track here.

Bear in mind that the more turnouts, the shorter the resulting tracks, so simpler is often better in a limited space.

Perhaps you are new to online forums, but often folks seem to get better results if they provide more information. Telling the forum up front what functions were needed and telling the forum now what kits you have may provide more meaningful responses and less grasping at straws to try to help.

Also, it’s often a good idea to provide additional information in the form of a reply to the thread, rather then modifying your original post, so that those who are reading along get the information. Not everyone monitors the original post for substantial changes.

Best of luck.

LayoutVision Custom Layout Design and Ops Planning
Model RR Blog

marcoperforar's picture

Please don't substantially change opening post

OK, with the change in title and text of the original posting, ...

That substantial change to the original post causes the subsequent posts to seem largely unresponsive.

Mark Pierce

marcoperforar's picture


Kevin, who sent me a private message, would you please send me another? I want to respond to you directly.  For whatever reason, I can't find it anymore.

Mark Pierce

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