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Discussion in 'Track Planning' started by Tyson Rayles, Jan 11, 2003.
I have enclosed a drawing (crude though it is ) of the benchwork/trackplan of my 1st try. The benchwork running left to right across the top was about 15" wide, down the left side about 18" and the two legs of the L-shaped center pennsular 28" or about 14" on each side of the backdrop. On paper it had looked good , however it didn't take long to realize how badly I had screwed up . First problem is I don't have A/C and trying to get in to open the bay windows (above Tellico Gap yard and the ONLY windows in the room) turned out to be a major pain. The room became very claustrophic with 2 people in there at the same time. At Otter Creek a dead end track (too short to hold a train) into a tunnel represented the Graham Co. R.R. connection. At Tellico Gap there was no room to run tracks into hidden staging so traffic for the Southern and L&N had to be staged in the yard. This meant no locos or cabeese for any of the 3 connecting R.R.'s ! There was also no way to work a loop in for entertaining the grandkids, visitors or breaking in locos. With all the connecting R.R.'s having run during the night to make their pick-ups and set-outs the yards at Tellico Gap and Otter Creek were a yardmasters nightmare. And for that matter how did I end up with yardmasters on a deadend abandoned shortline anyway??????????????? I had been adding a siding here and there and the towns of Tellico Gap and Whiteoak (with all the industry I had laid out for em') were turning in to major urban centers. I was turning southern Appalacia into the northeast corridor! The KISS principle was dead as a doornail in my trainroom ! Knowing that where I live I would probably be operating solo or at best with one or 2 others I was building a railroad that would need a minimum of 4 in a room that wouldn't hold more than 2 and still be able to get around each other. Then a check of siding and industry capacities told me I was going to need around 150 freight cars ! Budget what budget? The only thing that I was happy with was the center pennsular with the backdrop that made the layout seem really big because of the viewblock. Oh well, tear er' down and start over again.
Yeah, I can see where trying to open the windows behind Tellico Gap would have been a major pain.
One thing I can really relate to in your latest installment is the turning of "small towns" into "major urban centers." It's a problem I've recently run in to myself. In my case, it's caused by FSM and DPM structure gluttony. I've got to cut back on the industries and structures planned for one small town or risk creating a big city that could never have existed in the Ozarks in 1910! But (in a whiney voice) I really like those kits... I can't stop buying them...
Awaiting your next installment.
I'm enjoying your idea's and think the 5 "Pro" points you outlined are excellent advice. I'm also glad that I'm not the only one to make some false starts. Yeah... that duckunder won't be so bad...
or... I'll get to that backdrop after the benchwork and track is down....
Looking foward to the next chapter.
BTW - Casey - cool site and story!
Now I can see why you guys like to mock things up. Maybe my layout should start out as masking tape on the floor
There is more truth to that than fiction. It is a very good way to start, if for no other reason than to see where the edge of the benchwork will be. And if you get more "tape-crazy" how the track plan will fit.
Like the story behind the railroad. Looking forward to the next installment.
This thread just keeps getting better Tyson!
Your experience reminds me of some of the pickles I've gotten myself into...& why one of the most reakistic, & most fun layouts I've built is on a 1x5 ft shelf!
As to the problem of "urban sprawl", I've discovered that one large industry can be more realistic, & more interesting operationaly than 3 or 4 small ones.
Casey, know what you mean. So many kits, so little time . Marty, trust me, you are not the only one to make false starts. Jon I'm too lazy to mock anything up, but like David says it is a good idea and can save you alot of grief. Charlie I agree that one large industry can provide more modeling and operational possibilities than several smaller ones, however there are no large industries in the area I'm modeling so ......................
Sorry I took so long to make this post
but stuff happens (like broken water lines from deadfalls, snowstorms, etc.) . I forgot to note on the drawing that the leg running left to right across the top is 32" wide and the leg on the left running top to bottm is 24" wide. For those of you that are familar with pics of the layout the tobacco farm is in the loop on the top right. The main drag into Tellico Gap is directly below the pallet company. Note that there are only 5 on-line customers. One of those (the quarry) is represented by a spur that disappears into the trees. Oddly enough that was the case in real life also. The trackage in the quarry at Marble, N.C. was so bad the loco's were not allowed in. They left the cars at a gate outside the quarry and a front-end loader came out and got them. Besides the 5 customers the NM also has to work the interchange track at Otter Creek for the Graham Co. R.R. and shuffle cars around on the interchange track at Tellico Gap for the L&N and Southern. I can now get to the windows and 4 people can be in the room at the same time (and don't have to know each other real well either ) . Double headed trains for the Southern and the L&N can now come out of staging do their thing and return. Also the same applies to the Graham Co. R.R. The staging tracks above Tellico Gap (under the ridge) didn't have to be hooked together for operation as Tellico Gap is the dead-end of the branch for both the Southern and L&N so both R.R.'s would return the way they came. I hooked the two together so I would have a track to break in new loco's and a way to leave a train run when I wanted to. That turnout is controlled by a automotive choke cable. All other turnouts are manually thrown, why? Well it saves a ton of $$$$$, is more realistic IMHO (besides the more you have to do on a R.R. this small the better), and there are no switch machines to install, maintain and replace (major maintence hassle eliminated) . I forgot to mark on the drawing also that the G.C.R.R. staging track under Whiteoak represents Robbinsville, N.C. The only thing I don't like about this is with no center pennisular for a viewblock the layout seems a lot smaller even though the mainline is 75% as long as before , oh well, some compromises have to be made, for me it was a worthwhile trade- off. I even had room to put a table and a couple of chairs in across from Tellico Gap.
Hi Tyson, You don't know how much I'm enjoying this .....keep them posts 'acomming
Glad you are enjoying it Vic!
A good example of what was
going wrong on the first attempt. In real life the G.C.R.R. interchanged with the Southern at Bear Creek Jct., which was a small 2 or 3 track yard in the middle of nowhere. Being as I rewrote history and moved the R.R. a little further south acording to the map it was now on Otter Creek. My new version (while not sceniced yet) holds true to this. However as the picture shows my first attempt when wayyyyyyyyyyyy astray of this. The Southern boxcars to left of the blue L&N boxcars are on a track that goes into a tunnel and represents the line going to the G.C.R.R. and Robbinsville. However at the bottom of the picture we also now have a frieght house and dock. And up at the top of the picture is a lumber yard with it's own siding. And what's this???? A main street with stores? Where the hell did this town come from????? To make matters worse as the train gets to the other side of the mountain there is the hamlet of Sulfur Springs with a pulpwood siding, where did that come from? Not to mention 4 ft. to the left of this picture was yet another town springing up with a farm implement dealer and a wood chip operation (neither of which ever existed around here!) All this is what led to the problems jamming up the yards at each end of the railroad and explains why I had lost the sleepy little shortline that I had orginally started out to model.
Some operational notes
I had mentioned in my last post about the "sleepy little shortline". A friend, when hearing I was tearing it down and doing the rebuild, thought that this new version wouldn't have enough to do. While I admit it won't take 15 people 4 hours to operate, there is more to do than you would first think. I don't fill every siding and interchange track to capacity then move every single car (which would require 50 plus cars even on this little pike) as that doesn't happen in real life. Having said that if I had a small switching pike in which total capacity was only 8 or 9 cars I probably would in that case. Moving about 25 to 30 cars a session takes about a hour and a half with just me, about 1 hour with 2 or 3 people. The few people that I have had over seem satisfied with that (we actually kill a couple hours after you allow for some bull shooting and refeshments ). And a hour and a half is perfect for just me. If one wanted to spend more time in a session you could simply have the L&N and/or the Southern have a morning and afternoon run. A "doodle bug" or something along those lines could also be added for passenger service between Tellico Gap and Whiteoak twice a day. The passing siding at Straight Ridge was put in with that possibilty in mind. I guess what I'm getting at is the layout doesn't have to be big or hold a zillion cars to get a lot of fun out of it!