Friday, July 3, 2009

Layout Parameters

Below are the listing of parameters I had when I first started planning my layout:

Theme: Mid-atlantic Conrail in the mid to late 1990s focusing on an east-west main line connecting the Northeast with Alleghenies.

  • N scale (1:160)
  • Walkaround
  • Protolance
  • 1 Major Industry
  • "Division" yard w/engine facilities
  • Mainline operations
  • area of basement for workshop (both for railroad and woodworking projects)
  • Good-sized mainline run
  • 3-4 industrial "areas" to support 1/2 locals
  • 2% or less grade
  • Staging
  • Minimal duck-unders, no less than 48" high
  • Amtrak representation
  • Continuous "one-way run"
  • visible sharp curves
  • sharp turnouts
  • no blocking of storage area
  • no way to get to gas meter or water meter or furnace filter
So after trying a few different freelanced plans, I realized I was using quite a bit of design elements from the Reading, Harrisburg and Lehigh Lines of Conrail. The more I looked into Conrail's operations on these lines, the more I grew into the idea of doing a prototyped based layout. I then purchased the Mail-3 cab ride video from Neff Video to view the lines I mentioned above. After viewing the video and looking at my nice-to-haves, I realized that the Harrisburg line starting at Harrisburg was the area for me, so I started out looking for track charts, ZTS maps, locomotive rosters, etc., related to that portion of Conrail. After a while, I came up with attempting to model the line from Harrisburg yard through Lebanon, at the least. This would give me a decent sized yard, moderate engine facility (fueling/sanding rack), Amtrak representation with Harrisburg station, two major industries (Hershey plant(s) and Wimpey mineral's Millard quarry) as well as some other local indsutries, some which may/may not be respresented, depending on space.

My first few iterations of a design had half of a second level used as staging and really didn't leave ample room for the gas meter. Later designs went to 3 levels, one solely dedicated for staging. After realizing that I'm not going to be able to move the gas meter without costing more than I want, I decided to move the back wall out 3 feet. Unfortunately, this had the equivalent of removing 12 feet on each level, over 2/3 a scale mile! What the previous designs had shown me, however, is the makeup of the LDEs on each level. Here is a listing I have come up with:

Level 1
  • Harrisburg yard
  • Harrisburg intermodal/TV
  • Amtrak Harrisburg station
  • Rutherfod RoadRailer complex
  • Swatara/Hummlestown area
  • Hershey Plants
Level 2
  • Palmyra
  • Millard Quarry
  • Annville/Cleona
  • Horntown Yard
  • Lebanon/Lebanon Station
  • Avon
  • Myerstown
It is with this LDE base that I will be basing my new plans off of. Stay tuned ...


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Welcome to the my Conrail Model Railroad site. I will document the research, design, construction and operations of my N-scale model railroad based on Conrail's Ft. Wayne Line in Ohio.

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