My Second Attempt - Long and Rambling

Discussion in 'Track Planning' started by 91rioja, Dec 21, 2006.

  1. 91rioja

    91rioja Member

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    My Second Layout Attempt - Any Thoughts

    Hello all again :wave: . For those of you who know me, it looked like progress on my layout dropped off the face of the earth. There was just something I didn't like about it, and luckily, I hadn't made so much progress that I couldn't stop. I have started on a new plan (actually, this is revision number 26), and have gotten the basic shell and main put down on paper. I would like to thank the many people here at The Gauge for making me think about the model railroad as not just a pointless venture, but rather a model with a purpose (you all know who you are; not to mention any names. . . Ocalicreek, Nazgul :D ). So these fine people and many others made me re-think the design of the layout, and hopefully, I have come up with something that actually works like a prototype would.

    I guess at this point, I must give everyone a hint of where my madness came from. I grew up in Roanoke, VA. and my grandparents lived in Blacksburg. I cannot tell you how much time I spent in Blacksburg with my grandmother. My grandfather died when I was very young, so I never knew him. But, I do know he worked for the Virginian, and also in coal mines in the area. I used to go to Whitethorne (Ex VGN line) to watch the helper units push loaded coal trains up to the Merrimac tunnel. Until I started the research, I never know of this history of that area. So that is where I took my layout.

    The actual history of the area

    In 1902, the Virginia Anthracite Coal & Railway Company opened for business. It ran from Christiansburg VA to the mine at Merrimac VA. In 1904, that line was extended from the mine to Blacksburg VA. In 1912, the line was taken over by Norfolk & Western. My favorite part of this history is the name that was given to this line, The Huckleberry Line. It is said that the name came about because the train often would stall and passengers would hop off and pass the time picking the abundant huckleberries found trackside. Also, speed was an issue, because one could step off the moving train and pick a bucketful of huckleberries without fear of being left behind. The Huckleberry saw its last run in 1958; today, the line has been converted to a walking trail by the Rails to Trails program.

    I was never aware of the history surrounding this area until I started doing my research. So, this is my homage to this piece of history. I call it Historical Proto-lancing. It is set in the N&W diesel era (between 1970 and the N&W and SOU merger), well after the mine played out and was torn down, and my freelancing will give the line another route (starting at Merrimac and ending elsewhere) than the one that was actually there. That is my story.

    The layout is an around the walls in a 9'10"x10'10" room, with an entrance (2 inward opening French doors at a 45 degree angle) at the bottom left corner of the design. I designed it as a point-to-point, but added a connector for continuous running (the nieces and nephew I have found out just want to see Uncle Chris' trains run; they are not concerned with operations). I also tried to run through each scene only once. The lowest height is 48", running up to 56" at the mine. Turnouts are a minimum of #4, and minimum mainline radius is 24". The minimum grade is 4%.

    In the towns of Prices Fork and McCoy, I have yet to add any switching for my industries because I really do not know what I wish to put in. I am thinking of the following industries on the layout, in addition to the coal; General Store, Freight Depot, Passenger Depot, Propane Dealer.

    [​IMG]

    A trip around the layout.

    A - Represents off layout staging at the 48" level. Empty Gons to Merrimac Mine and loaded cars of stuff to Prices Fork, McCoy, and the mine originate from here. This will not be hidden, just blocked somehow.

    B - Grade up 2"

    C - Town of McCoy. Contains a 79.7" siding. I am still working out industries for here. I'm thinking maybe building flats up against the backdrop to the right of town. There should also be a depot for picking up miners to go to work at the mine.

    D - Grade up 2"

    E - Crossover point for continuous running. I need a way to disguise this. This is the only real point that I do not like. But then again, who can say no to a 3,4,and 5 year old :D

    F - Town of Prices Fork. Contains a 81.3” siding. I am still working out industries for here. There should also be a depot for picking up miners to go to work at the mine.

    G - Trestle bridge across New River. This is going to be the scene you see as you walk into the room. This is going to be the Grand Scene of the entire layout, and yes Galen, the chillin' will have shoes. sign1

    H - Hidden trackage behind view block.

    I - Brush Mountain and Tunnel. Rise 4" up to Merrimac Mine

    J - Merrimac Mine team track. Used for passenger operations to bring miners from town, and for unloading raw materials used at mine. Along the length of the peninsula, behind the mine will be another backdrop/view block simulating Price Mountain, where coal from the Merrimac Seam is to be mined.

    K - Small tipple

    L - Merrimac Tipple #1. Track configuration includes an arrival/departure track (bottom 2 tracks) and a RIP/Engine track for engine serving the mine area (closest track to tipple). Empty Gons will go in, and loaded Gons will go out.

    I would love to hear what ya'll think about this new layout, and of course, suggestions are welcome (if not needed :D )
  2. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

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    Chris: the track plan looks OK to me. You might think about an extra siding at A.
    Check out the photographs of O. Winston Link. There's a museum to him in Roanoke. He made very evocative pictures of the N&W and there are all sorts of vignettes that could be modelled.
  3. Triplex

    Triplex Active Member

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    #4 turnouts don't match with 24" curves. The closure radius of an NMRA-standard #4 is 15". However, if those are Atlas Custom-Line #4s, which are actually #4.5s, you're probably fine.
  4. pgandw

    pgandw Active Member

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    The plan looks very good, and well thought-out.

    Suggestion: at the end of the peninsula (at L), put short diagonal pieces or round off the 90 degree corners. My scars, the resulting 9.8 model earthquakes on the Richter scale, and the teaching of new colorful vocabulary to my kids are my reasons for never leaving sharp 90 degree corners on relatively narrow aisles. Your reasons may differ, but I'm sure given enough time, you'll have some.

    yours in free movement
  5. 91rioja

    91rioja Member

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    David: The area "A" is currently 27" wide. I think that adding another track might mess with my reach across the bench and into the corner. I thought about putting one on the inside of "A", but then it would be too close to the main line I feel. I am a big fan of O. Winston Link; his works are a good source of material to draw from.
  6. 91rioja

    91rioja Member

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    Triplex, I sit corrected :oops: . You are correct about the #4's. I am using all Custom Line Turnouts, so therefore, the minimum turnout should be #4.5.
  7. 91rioja

    91rioja Member

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    Fred: Thanks for the advice. Now that I am aware of the possible issue, I sould not ever run into it (yeah right). As I have always said,

    Once is a learning experience.
    Twice is a mistake.
    The third time is plain utter stupidity!
  8. Nazgul

    Nazgul Active Member

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    Chris
    I really like the new plan!:thumb: Lot's of opportunities for switching, scenery, and of course, railfaning. I also like your approach and name for it: "Historical Proto-lancing" (as opposed to what I do: " Hysterical wing-it and hope nobody notices-lancing" ):D
    I'm just glad to see you back at it! Good luck:thumb: :thumb: :thumb: :thumb:
  9. ocalicreek

    ocalicreek Member

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    Well planned. The pinch point at the end of the peninsula looks fine and the aisle width should work well for a couple people inside the layout, one or two on either side of the peninsula.

    Since the mine in the center is going to be visible from all sides, I'd spare no expense of time and effort getting it just right and well done. Add lights, interior walls if necessary, coal conveyors, etc.

    One BIG suggestion...make a model of this plan. Decide on a workable scale then print out a few copies of this plan, cementing them to cardstock. Then cut it accordingly and shim the tracks until the grades are right. Add any view blocks or backdrops. Use some clay or floral foam to rough in the scenic contours, and perhaps even a cardboard or balsa mock-up of the mine and any other structures where the clearance will be crucial (like building flats).

    Then miniaturize yourself somehow and walk around in the scene, er, well, just imagine this bit. Live in it for a few days first before proceeding.

    One point of concern - the passing track into staging/fiddle yard area is on a grade. If you plan to park a train here for switching/fiddling you'll need some sort of brake, either a retractable rod between the rails, or a manual wheel stop or something. Otherwise, just do away with the crossover and use it as two long sidings. If you'll be swapping cars on and off the layout here manually anyway, then running an engine around the train isn't really a big plus. AND, you'd need to keep one track free as a runaround, losing any staging capacity in the process.

    Is there going to be a backdrop between G and B? If so, then how high? Will it block the view in and out the door from the center of the layout? (That could be a good thing, when you need some quiet time...) But it also means you won't be able to see the bridge from inside the layout.

    Also, consider moving the tunnel portal near H back toward the H, just to make more of the run visible.

    Looking good!

    Galen
  10. 91rioja

    91rioja Member

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    Steve, you always have the ability to keep me on the floor laughing until my side hurts, and oh yeah, you're a pretty good modeler too :D :D !

    Hysterical wing-it and hope nobody notices-lancing <-- Now that's a good one. It was better than pictures of "snookums". How's she doing anyway???

    Galen, actually I was planning on using a backdrop behind the mine (where it says Additional Scenic Backdrop), so it was only visable from the front. Or at least that was what I pictured when I came up with the plan. I was thinking to put a mountainous backdrop to add the conveyor to, and possibly maybe some narrow gauge track going off somewhere to simulate the cars coming from/to the mine. Would that be reaching too much in the space I have?

    As for the area of concern in and around "A" and "B", you would be correct that I will be using the trusty 0-5-0 to construct and deconstruct trains; might be a better idea to remove the switch.

    Between "B" and "G" there will be a backdrop. The plan was to see each "vignette" from the inside of the room and layout, but the bridge scene was only going to be viewable from the front of the room (or in this case, outside). The plan was to have the grand scene on the front (you know, spare no expense, do it right, and spend more time there than any other place). I keep coming back to the vision of the VGN trestle at Glen Lynn when I picture the scene. So to answer the height question, I'm not sure how high, but at least 12"-18"; possibly sloped a bit inward.

    I like the idea of reconfiguring the area around "H"; the reason for me putting it there was to try to keep from seeing two sets of tracks in each vignette. But you do have a good point.

    Keep the suggestions coming. You've kept me thinking until my head hurts, but I needed to. I now have a vision of what this should look like.
    Hope
  11. 91rioja

    91rioja Member

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    Steve, you always have the ability to keep me on the floor laughing until my side hurts, and oh yeah, you're a pretty good modeler too :D :D !

    Hysterical wing-it and hope nobody notices-lancing <-- Now that's a good one. It was better than pictures of "snookums". How's she doing anyway???

    Galen, actually I was planning on using a backdrop behind the mine (where it says Additional Scenic Backdrop), so it was only visable from the front. Or at least that was what I pictured when I came up with the plan. I was thinking to put a mountainous backdrop to add the conveyor to, and possibly maybe some narrow gauge track going off somewhere to simulate the cars coming from/to the mine. Would that be reaching too much in the space I have?

    As for the area of concern in and around "A" and "B", you would be correct that I will be using the trusty 0-5-0 to construct and deconstruct trains; might be a better idea to remove the switch.

    Between "B" and "G" there will be a backdrop. The plan was to see each "vignette" from the inside of the room and layout, but the bridge scene was only going to be viewable from the front of the room (or in this case, outside). The plan was to have the grand scene on the front (you know, spare no expense, do it right, and spend more time there than any other place). I keep coming back to the vision of the VGN trestle at Glen Lynn when I picture the scene. So to answer the height question, I'm not sure how high, but at least 12"-18"; possibly sloped a bit inward.

    I like the idea of reconfiguring the area around "H"; the reason for me putting it there was to try to keep from seeing two sets of tracks in each vignette. But you do have a good point.

    Keep the suggestions coming. You've kept me thinking until my head hurts, but I needed to. I now have a vision of what this should look like.

    Hope this answers some of the questions.

    Sorry about the double post; got a little click happy :)
  12. Nazgul

    Nazgul Active Member

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    Chris......
    How's it going.............
    announce1 Don't make me come down there!
  13. 91rioja

    91rioja Member

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    Steve,

    Thanks for looking in on me :). I've been tweaking the track plan a bit since my latest run to TLCCS; I came back with 9 new structures for the layout. Now, I've got to find a place to put them all. I got 4 background buildings that are less than 3" wide, and 5 others that will need a home. I've also converted my plan to Code 83 track as well.

    I haven't laid a piece of track one. I've got to clean out the room (that will cause me to have to organize some stuff :cry: ), and I may paint and hang track lighting before I start. Nothing like having to go to the hardware store to "shop":D .

    I am also thinking of taking my Code 100 track that I have now and building an 8'x12" swictching layout as well.

    All of this in between working 5 days a week, and having record setting weekend temps in the 70's in January where I can play golf (like I did last weekend and the weekend before that). Not much going on here. . . . . .