White Pass & Yukon RR

Discussion in 'FAQs' started by Slice, Sep 2, 2004.

  1. Slice

    Slice New Member

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    This is my first post! I am moving from Texas to Pennsyvania next year & I will finally get a basement! We are building our house, so I get to start from scratch. My wife agreed the she will get a storage closet, but the rest of the basement will be MINE! My plan is the finish the outside walls, but leave everything else open. I am planning on having sort of a sports\train bar that will be named Daddy's Dungeon. I literally have a blank slate with about 1400 square feet to play with. The only thing I have decided on is that I want to model the White Pass & Yukon Route from Skagway, AK to Bennett, British Columbia. here is a map:

    http://www.wpyr.com/multimedia/routemap.html

    If you haven't seen the WP&YR, the scenery is what steals the show. Their website is great... lots of photos/videos and other stuff.

    To get to my question, the section of the route I want to model is about 40 miles long and has a 3000' vertical drop. I know I will have to leave sections out. What I do want to include are the vertical elements. So, I would like to have the layout start 6 - 12" off the floor, and end up at 6' or so. I am considering an L or U shaped design about 3' to 4' wide that runs against the wall in N or HO scale. Does this sound doable, or am I just dreaming? Also, how would it look for a zig-zag so that the route climbs back over the top of itself?

    The only firm decision to this point is modeling the WP&YR, so any other ideas or suggestions would be welcome. Thanks!

    John
  2. Doc Holliday

    Doc Holliday Member

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    Welcome to the Gauge.

    I've ridden the WP&YRR and understand the inspiration. I don't want to burst your bubble, but I think you need to rethink your plan though, unless you intend to install helixes. A 5' vertical rise needs 125 linear feet of track (at a max grade of 4%, which is pretty steep) just to climb. You need another 125 ' to come back down. You've got a big area to work with, but I'm not sure how you'd make it work. Just a thought.
    Doc.
  3. Slice

    Slice New Member

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    My idea is to have some sort of turn around or loop at the top & come back down the same track. I will reduce the vertical climb if I have to.
  4. sumpter250

    sumpter250 multiscale modelbuilder

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    If it's going to run against the wall, you might want to consider 30" depth so you can reach everything. You might also consider an island, this could be as much as 60" wide, with a scene divider down the center.
    Pete
  5. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

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    Looking at the link, the elevations listed on that map go from sea level to only about 3000 feet. The scenery is magnificent, but I think you could do a track plan with 3% maximum grades and do the mountains behind the track blended into the backdrop. You are going to have to do some selective compression regardless of how you model the railroad; so if you selectively compress the elevations as well as the distances, you should be fine. Having the railroad start at 6-12 inches off the floor at the Skagway docks would work, but that area would be a prime area for switching operations. I think you would want it at least "desk" height. Since Skagway is the only place on the layout that would be that low, you could put a bench at Skagway to sit on while operating the dock area. The seat wouldn't need to move around. It could get complicated, but I think if you do a "mushroom" design, you could get more railroad in the area. Also, if you are designing your new house and haven't finalised the construction details, yet, how about making the basement ceiling 12' high instead of 8'?
  6. Chessie6459

    Chessie6459 Gauge Oldtimer

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    Welcome To The-Gauge :wave: :wave: :wave:
  7. Slice

    Slice New Member

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    Thanks for the ideas! i've got almost a year to come up with ideas and a design. In the meantime, I am building a diorama for my wife's Christmas Villiage buildings. I don't get to do any train stuff, but at least I can build some scenery. I am going to try several of the tips from this forum out.
  8. Glen Haasdyk

    Glen Haasdyk Active Member

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    Funny thing, my In-law just came back from an Alaska cruise and brought back a whole bunch of White Pass and Yukon memorabilia for me. If I was starting over I'd definetly consider modeling that line as well. Anyway, Kalambach (Model railroader publisher) Published a book years ago called More Railroads You Can Model and one of the features road is the White pass and Yukon. It has some history on the line and even a track plan.
  9. pjb

    pjb Member

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    Your Layout room is a Helix

    John:
    There are several approaches to recreating the WP&Y, and there is also the matter of whether or not you are a realistic
    operations freak or not.

    You should dispose of the latter issue
    first, because the WP&Y was not a very busy line
    except for a brief period in WW2. Prior to closing down
    its principal traffic was in intermodal containers of ore
    from Mayo, that were trucked from the minehead to
    trackside.

    It was built and maintained for most of its
    life as a "Development Railroad" to encourage , as well
    as maintain, the pioneers in the Yukon (then) Territory.
    Hence, what you will have is a large forested diorama
    with little train movement, if you are modelling reality.
    The railroad was made redundant by improvements in
    motor vehicles and roads, that allowed interior lines of
    communication connecting with the PGE/BCRm or CN main
    at Prince George and elsewhere, on its run from 'BIG ED'
    to Prince Rupert,B.C.

    By the same token, the best executed; if you define that as replicating the evironmental situation , and the railroad
    within it, that I have ever seen - is a 'HO' scale replication of the D&SP. Now the prototype involved had a little more traffic than the one you have chosen, since it both served in an earlier time, and an area with more economic activity. It is a beautiful, and very costly piece of model railroading , if one defines it in both time and money. This road, as you probably know, had spectacular mountain scenery, Alpine Tunnel, and a variety of motive power and unique structures.

    You have an option, which I would encourage , to create
    traffic that did not exist, and employ devices like marine
    - rail transfers for use as staging , which also did not exist
    at Skagway (but does/did at Prince Rupert, the Hyder,Ak/
    Stewart,B.C. joint facility, and elsewhere leading up to
    the Alaska R.R.'s facilities).

    Regardless of any of these matters, there is the possibility of dispensing of much of the background scenery along the route , because it simply is too time consuming to create
    on a grand scale. Except if you regard the room walls as a helix such as Gary Saxton has done in his innovative recreation of the southern part of the NYO&W.
    For which see:
    < http://home.swbell.net/gary46/home.html/ >

    He is working in 'N' scale and that means he can pack more
    scale miles of layout in. However, he has less wall space than you do , and is modelling more than twice as long
    a mainline. Believe me, you can come off the wall on an island-form(s) recreation of a spectacular finished feature
    or two, and still have a great deal of diorama drama to
    build and view. That is essentially: all your immediate track
    side is detailed on the shelving; and only the one or two
    featured elements come off a given shelf and return to
    the shelving , after wowing all concerned.

    The consideration that you can probably get by with a thousand trees, instead of ten thousand using conventional
    model railroading approaches (at a minimum), by itself
    is sobering. At least to my available time, and budget, the
    savings in going on the walls is really controlling. It also
    allows you to get the distance separation between places
    in a manner unreplicable by any other means in the space.

    I hope this helps, Good-Luck, Peter Boylan :)
  10. sumpter250

    sumpter250 multiscale modelbuilder

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    Seems to me, if you can model a thousand trees, and not do something that arouses the suspicion of Homeland Security, you can go for the remaining nine thousand..........

    Just for the sake of creating all that scenery, I'd go ahead with the layout, even if you have to "invent" traffic to justify it.
    Pete
  11. TrainClown

    TrainClown Member

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    What I would do would be to create the railroad in it's hay-days of the 1890s. I would also include lots of sowerdoughs and all there pack horses and stuff. Last night I saw a program on Public TV about the Gold Rush Train. It's a real good show.

    That's what I'ed do.

    TrainClown
  12. Slice

    Slice New Member

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    I'm not really looking to model realistic ops. Actually, I would like to have everything run hands off in a continious loop.

    I can picture the conversation with my wife... no, honey, you can't have your double ovens, gourmet cooktop, or whirlpool tub. I need the money for my train layout! That would go over like you know what. :) Actually, we are going to do 9' ceilings.

    Thanks, I will try to track it down. (sorry about the bad pun, it just kinda happened.)
  13. pjb

    pjb Member

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    Your Layout room is a Helix

    John:
    There are several approaches to recreating the WP&Y, and there is also the matter of whether or not you are a realistic
    p[erations freak or not.

    You should dispose of the latter issue
    first, because the WP&Y was not a very busy line
    except for a brief period in WW2. Prior to closing down
    its principal traffic was in intermodal containers of ore
    from Mayo, that were trucked from the minehead to
    trackside.

    It was built and maintained for most of its
    life as a "Development Railroad" to encourage , as well
    as maintain the pioneers in the Yukon (then) Territory.
    Hence, what you will have is a large forested diorama
    with little train movement, if you are modelling reality.
    The railroad was made redundant by improvements in
    motor vehicles and roads, that allowed interior lines of
    communication connecting with the PGE/BCR or CN main
    at Prince George and elsewhere on its run from 'BIG ED'
    to Prince Rupert,B.C.

    By the same token, the best executed; if you define that as replicating the evironmental situation , and the railroad
    within it that I have ever seen - is a 'HO' scale replication of the D&SP. Now the prototype involved had a little more traffic , since it both served an earlier time, and an area with more economic activity. It is a beautiful, and very costly piece of model railroading , if one defines it in both time and money. This road, as you probably know, had
    spectacular mountain scenery, Alpine Tunnel, and a variety of motive power and unique structures.

    You have an option, which I would encourage , to create
    traffic that did not exist, and employ devices like marine
    - rail transfers for use as staging , which also did not exist
    at Skagway (but does/did at Prince Rupert, the Hyder,Ak/
    Stewart,B.C. joint facility, and elsewhere leading up to
    the Alaska R.R.'s facilities).

    Regardless of any of these matters ,there is the possibility of dispensing of much of the background scenery along the route , because it simply is too time consuming to create
    on a grand scale. If you regard the room walls as a helix
    such as Gary Saxton has done in his innovative recreation
    of the southern part of the NYO&W. For which see:
    < http://home.swbell.net/gary46/home.html/ >

    He is working in 'N' scale and that means he can pack more
    scale miles of layout in. However, he has less wall space than you do , and is modelling more than twice as long
    a mainline. Believe me, you can come off the wall for an island form(s) recreation of a spectacular finished feature,
    or two, and still have a great deal of diorama drama to
    build and view. That is essentially: all your immediate track
    side is detailed on the shelving; and only the one or two
    featured elements come off a given shelf and return to
    the shelving , after wowing all concerned.

    The consideration that you can probably get by with a thousand trees, instead of ten thousand using conventional
    model railroading approaches (at a minimum), by itself
    is sobering. At least to my available time, and budget, the
    savings in going on the walls is really controlling. It also
    allows you to get the distance separation between places
    in a manner unreplicable by any other means in the space.

    I hope this helps, Good-Luck, Peter Boylan