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Roanoke - A Busy Junction You Can Model

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Understanding the Operations
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Watching, or controlling, a wide variety of trains as they snake through the junction and urban canyon would be the highlight of this layout's operations.

©2013 Ryan C Kunkle, licensed to About.com, Inc.

The track plan is arranged with east to the right and west to the left. On the east end of the junction, tracks converge from three different directions. These lines actually begin to separate here, curving away from each other beneath an expressway overpass as they wrap around both sides of the sprawling locomotive and car shops.

Moving west, the five tracks converge down to three and then back to four as they approach the classification yard which would lay beyond the edge of the plan as shown here. Switches allow trains from arriving from any track on the east end to depart on any track on the west end and vice versa. There are also duplicate crossovers which allow multiple moves to happen at once.

Trains headed into or out of the yard will use the lower tracks on the left. Through trains will bypass the yard on the upper tracks. Today, these tracks see a great mix of intermodal, auto, and general merchandise trains. Although the railroad is best associated with coal, most of these trains bypass the downtown entirely. You will get some empty and loaded unit trains however.

Adding to the fun variety of trains will be movements of engines to and from the shops for repair and newly-built cars departing the shops to the yard for shipment. The shop lead is the switch located on the second track from the top on the right. There are also several local freights, most of which still use cabooses in 2013. Just about anything can pass through this interlocking.

A Junction to Go

Since at least three tracks carry through the entire interlocking, this junction would make a great candidate for a series of modules. NTrack, HO, and the new LCCA-Lionel FasTrack modules would all make great candidates for this plan. The entire junction would require several modules, and the direction of some of the switches may have to be changed to maintain proper track spacing on the ends of the modules for standards. These modules could then be part of a larger club layout - or incorporated back into a larger home layout for multiple uses.

The plan was drawn with relatively large (by model standards) No. 8 switches for HO scale. You could easily modify the turnout size and track spacing to fit other club standards.

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