questions, dilemmas, and inspirations

Discussion in 'N / Z Scale Model Trains' started by coachC, Jan 12, 2007.

  1. coachC

    coachC Member

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    I haven't posted on here in a long time. My interest in model railroading comes and goes, but I always come back to it. This, I guess, is one of my dilemmas. Anyway, I live in a small apartment now but I want to build a layout in the next couple of years and have already started gathering rolling stock and such. I haven't decided on what kind of setting that I want to model. I like the mountains. I live in Northeast Alabama in the lower Appalachians and would like to model that, but I am inspired by Papa Bear's beach layout. I have always loved south Florida, the everglades, swamps, and the Tropicana Train. I have settled on a prototype and era, however. I want to do the CSX in the late 80's and early 90's. I like the Chessie system. When I was a kid my aunt would take me to the old train tunnel on an now abandonded CSX line near our home. I loved watching the trains go through. We always looked for the "cat" on the Chessie system. I like this era because I can use so many different locos like Seaboard system, C&O, and B&O. Here are some examples of what I am talking about.
    http://www.railpictures.net/viewphoto.php?id=169751
    &
    http://www.railpictures.net/viewphoto.php?id=168533

    I want a rather small but detailed layout; small being 3x6 or 4x8. I also like the small around-the-room type layouts. There are two industries I must have on my layout. A semi-modern grain elevator, and a scrap yard. I also would like something to do with the Tropicana Train. Everything else is up in the air. I want a small southern town with a courthouse square and a couple of antebellum homes. I want a "long" single track main line. I like watching the trains run for the most part, but I do want a small yard and some switching possiblities. A couple of my friends and younger cousin's would like to "play" with the trains one day. I know I want DCC power, but one of my problems is that the wiring will be a big problem for me. I think I will be good at the modeling, detailing, and weathering aspects, however, because I have a degree in art from the University of Alabama (roll tide!). That will be my favorite part of the whole layout and I've had experience painting miniatures. Like I said before I don't want too big of a layout because I want it to be super detailed with lights (there is that wiring problem again) and all ! I guess my questions is can anyone give me any advice you might think I need. LOL ! I'll take any suggestions, layout plans I might like, advice, links & ect., ect. I heard that it is better to have a couple of large industries on your layout instead of several small ones. Does anyone have any suggestions for these and maybe how I can incorporate the Tropicana Train into my layout. All suggestions willl be greatley appreciated. Thanks for your time.

    Clint
  2. Jim Krause

    Jim Krause Active Member

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    If you don't mind my saying, you have a lot of "I wants" for a 3X6 or a 4X8. I think we all know the feeling, It comes up here on The Gauge quite often. As for your Tropicana train. Do some research on their origination point. See what you can find out about the processing and loading facilities.
    Curve radii can be a controlling factor on small layouts as far as rolling stock is concerned. Get some graphing paper and do some potential layouts in your spare time or if you like doing that sort of thing on the computer, there are several software programs that you can use to build a virtual layout and work out the bugs. Most of all, have fun while you are doing the planning as well as when you get started.
    A for the DCC wiring it is the least of your problems on a small layout.
  3. BKlein

    BKlein New Member

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    I also want to model the Tropicana train and at the local club has done a small version of it in N but I have yet to get any pictures. I live in Sarasota and work by the plant (and you dont want to be down wind of it) It has a nice sized yard and alot of buildings. Here is a google map of the area Tropicana takes up from the A marker one block north and stops at the highway on the south side and includes all the buildings that arent homes east and west

    http://www.google.com/maps?hl=en&lr=&client=firefox-a&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:eek:fficial&hs=r9i&q=tropicana&near=Bradenton,+FL&cid=0,0,15366313766442600624&ll=27.488045,-82.554190&spn=0,.02&sa=X&oi=local&ct=image
  4. coachC

    coachC Member

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    thanks B,
    I haven't been able to find much on the Tropicana train, especially in the way of photos. If I am not mistaken there is a video about it, but I don't know who produced it and I could be wrong on that.
    Thanks again for the map.
  5. BKlein

    BKlein New Member

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    my Dad works north of Tropicana and he said a train leaves every day with about 40 cars he said its going to the New York area. I have only seen boxcars at the plant with a bunch of differnt paint schemes being pulled with CSX locos
  6. coachC

    coachC Member

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    Mr. Krause,
    Putting too much on there is one of my worries. A little of my inspiration, however, comes from Kent Wood and Ric LaBan's book N Scale Model Railroad That Grows.
    http://kalmbachcatalog.stores.yahoo.net/12145.html
    They got a lot of track in a 3.3 ft by 5 ft layout without the "noodle" look of too much track. The town on their layout is about the size or maybe bigger than I plan to model. They have a small yard with industry, a high line loop, a very small mine, an interchange, a short line loop around the town and two passing sidings. I could do without the short line loop. I am probably going with 4x8 so I will have about a foot wider and a whole three more feet longer. I wish I could find a trackplan of their railroad so everyone can see it. They have a mountain and a bridge also. I hope this gives a better idea of what I want.
  7. coachC

    coachC Member

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  8. railohio

    railohio Active Member

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    The "Juice Train" currently carries the K650 symbol on CSX. The empty reefers are returned south in cuts on regular Q-series freight trains. There was an article on modeling the Tropicana reefer fleet in Railroad Model Craftsman probably back ten years now.
  9. Triplex

    Triplex Active Member

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    Early CSX has one of the widest (if not most colorful) assortments of paint schemes I've ever seen. (Modern BNSF shares its place for variety.)

    There's a huge difference between 3x6 and 4x8. Exactly how large can it be?

    One thing I strongly support: Don't use sharp curves. You'll want to handle SD50s and C40-8s. (Sure, maybe you don't have them now, but everyone always has to have more locomotives...)

    With your desire for a long single-track main, I hope you can accept going more than once around.
  10. coachC

    coachC Member

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    Curves are one of my concerns. I have a Dash-8. Like I said I am pretty new at this and it will be a while before I can even start my layout. I am buying a little bit at a time as far as rolling stock, locos, and some scenery goes. I hope I can find an expert that lives nearby. I am not really interested in joining a layout club and I'm not even sure if there are any of close by. I just need someone that can give me some insight and put DCC decoders in N-scale locomotives.

    I should probably clarify on the single track main line part. It doesn't really have to be long, but I see many layouts especially in books with two and even three track loops. Around here, you rarely see two track main lines. Once a train gets away from the yard the tracks are single with a passing siding every now and again. I want to model that.
  11. Triplex

    Triplex Active Member

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    That's what I was talking about. Very few people build three-lap versions anymore, but I have a special affection for them.
    That's why I design mostly single-track layouts myself: it's what I know.
  12. coachC

    coachC Member

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    Here is a good example of that. In this picture you can even see an old L & N in the middle and an old B&O or C&O blue paint scheme #3823 over to the left rear. The only thing that is missing is a red, black, and white Western Maryland.

    http://www.railpictures.net/viewphoto.php?id=134783
  13. Triplex

    Triplex Active Member

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  14. railohio

    railohio Active Member

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