Monday, December 15, 2014

Go West Young Man!

So a few things happened recently. As you could tell from an earlier post today, I've contemplated going back and forth on simplifying, knocking stuff down, etc. Well, the first thing that happened in this questioning was removing the idea of a gate. I then designed a loop under the helix to the second level to go under the layout and back to a run through staging. I had even lowered the shelving to accommodate this and reattached the subroadbed above. The more I looked at it, however, the more I realized that the 2nd deck really had nothing to do operationally with the first and was almost a 2nd railroad in need of the same operators as the 1st level. This didn't really sit well with me so after some consultation with the others in my operating group, I decided to shelve the plan to go to Lordstown and Warren, including the GM plant and the WCI Steel Mill and concentrate solely on the Ft. Wayne Line. I kicked around a few spacing plans and came up with a pretty good plan from Alliance through Crestline. Here's level 1 from Alliance through Orrville:

Note that things have been flipped around and the Canton Yard is simplified and now across from the Republic Steel plant which has also been slimmed down some. I rearranged some of the other industries as well. Here is level 2 from Wooster through Crestline:

This plan shows the space between Wooster and Mansfield dominated by a couple of large elevators as well as the GM plant on the outskirts of Mansfield. This plant is on the old Erie mainline. I also tried to keep the plans simple with most industries straight-lined off the mainline, with the Wooster area the exception due to it being on a corner. That worked out ok because those industries are in an industrial park that loops back in on itself.

I feel both of these plans add a little more "dead" space around the layout in areas where non-railroad items could be modeled. So if I stay with everything as is, this will be the intended plan going forward.

Subroadbed Update

So while I contemplate simplifying, I've been adding subroadbed to the layout. On my last construction post, I had only done the one side. Well, I've made it around most of the rest of the layout. Below are some quick pictures of each area:

Dead-end aisle
Peninsula side
Wall Area across from end of peninsula

I also attached the other side of the peninsula and now I'm down to connecting the areas with small pieces of plywood as well as a big 4x4 piece I'm cutting up for the turnback loops. I also have some design updates which I'll post shortly.

Simplify? Get Larger?

I've actually made decent progress on the benchwork and subroadbed top (more to come on this), but since our 3rd addition to our family, I feel like I may never get this double deck layout up and running in a decent amount of time. As a result, i've been looking around at "simpler" layout plans online and in my magazine/book rack. Basically, I got advice on this from a few of my local operators that, other then just put down track, said go around the walls and then figure out if you want a peninsula of the main line, switching, both. So with that in mind, I played around with a few configurations for a single-deck layout. The first is an HO scale layout based on someone's design on, I think, a thread on the Model Railroader forums. I had to adjust it to meet my smaller space, but still have the flow.

Basically, a train would start in staging, go around into the yard, then run a loop around the walls, pass the yard again, then go back into staging. In looking at the plan, there are 2 large-ish switching areas outside of the yard, which I would imagine having industries behind it, and two smaller ones in the short peninsula and the other over at the bottom of the stairs. Obviously being in HO, not sure how much I'd be able to put in each area, but I'm sure I could find help in designing something there. I'm the only N scaler in my operating group so moving up to HO would allow me to have assistance on things like building construction, DCC wiring, etc. I'd also be starting from scratch so any purchases I made would come with knuckle couplers, DCC ready locomotives, etc., and there wouldn't be a large backlog of that work to do in my current N scale collection. Downside is I'd be selling all my N scale items and that could take a while.

I did this outlay first and then said, what about this as a footprint for an N scale layout? So I did a rough in sketch of the same twice around loop.

In this case, I'd separate the two scenes on the one wall. My thoughts were a yard on the front with perhaps a road or some building separating and maybe a TV terminal on the back. The two lines would be separated unlike the HO plan, totaling about 3 scale miles of track. There would be 2 switching areas on the long peninsula, 1 more then is probably doable in the HO plan, and the short peninsula would obviously have a larger industrial base then the HO. Same with the switching area at the bottom of the stairs. Basically, the layout could have what I call 3 mainline switching areas and 4 industrial complex type/branch switching areas. The more operating I do, the more I like the concentrated switch areas where you bring in a local and then do some jigsaw puzzle figuring out to move the cars on the train into spots and the cars in the spots to the outbound train.

So these are some of the thoughts I'm having right now as we approach the holidays and a few days off.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Getting There

This past weekend my daughter came downstairs and helped me put up the first 16' feet of sub-roadbed, 1/2 plywood on top of risers. I decided to do it in a way that would make putting it up quicker. Over on the staging side, I was putting up a riser on every support. Mentioning this to someone at my operating group session on Friday night, told me what he did to make it go quickly, do every-other one, put the sub-roadbed down, then go back later and put in the filler risers. Doing this made this 16' go up in about 45 minutes, about as long as I could keep a 5 year old entertained. This section is going to the Orrville area/representation. Here are some pictures:

Risers connected to plywood by pocket hole screws

Plywood top

2nd one
I stopped where I did because I had to figure out the rise at the end as from Orrville to Massillon I need to gain 1/2 of my elevation change needed for the swing back from Alliance into staging which goes over the line at the west end of Orrville. I went down last night and figured it all out. I plan to use the Woodland Scenics 2% starter kits and just start from the height that matches. Anyways, I figure I need 1 7/8" from the top of the plywood to the bottom of the plywood. I tested this using one of my auto racks. As I, most likely, won't have double-stacks, this was my tallest car. I could've gone another 1/8 or slightly more, but decided to give myself and extra few 1/16" to be safe. Basically, I now know that my plywood top needs to be 1 3/16 higher at Massillon then at Orrville. I'll work on those risers the next few nights as I complete up other work around the house (it's amazing what you can do when you finish various tasks around the house, just part of the momentum). I'd like to have all of the tops for the 1st level in by next weekend. The upper level should go much easier as there's no change in the elevation (that's planned). Ultimate goal is track laying starting Labor Day!

Friday, July 25, 2014

Subroadbed Construction Commences!

The first riser was installed last night:

I put up another 13 of them before hitting a wall rest wise due to tiling a bathroom for the past week. Hoping to get more done this weekend.


Welcome to the my Conrail Model Railroad site. I will document the research, design, construction and operations of my N-scale model railroad based loosely on Conrail's operations across it's system.

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