Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Hershey Layout Design Element

As the layout area takes shape, I've gone back and started doing some alterations to the plan. I've decided to start on the edges, Hershey and Harrisburg, and work towards the center. The first thing I did in redoing the plan was to start with the Hershey Main Plant/Silos area. This area also includes the north yard, where set outs and pickups were made by one of the ALHB trains. The yard was the area for sorting cars for their destinations, either the silos, the main plant (extraction), Reese's plant or Hershey West. Today, the Silos are no longer used and the main plant is losing its manufacturing function in the next year as more work is moved to either Hershey West or other plants (some overseas). During Conrail's day, this area had 3 other buildings as well to server, which I've decided to not model. There were two more warehouses near the yard as well as an additional facility between the main plant and the Reese's plant. For my purposes, Hershey will be the main plant, the silos, and the yard. The Reese's plant and Hershey West will be the Swatara/Brownstone area. Here is a map of Hershey, Pa, marked with what the LDE will represent.

View Hershey, Pa. in a larger map

As I stated above, my representation of Hershey concentrated on the yard, the silos, and main plant. I also added the run-around opposite the yard as this was used to double-end the switchers since there are a lot of trailing point switches in this complex as well as the other plants. Also, during Conrail's days, this area was referred to as CP Derry for the crossovers between the mainlines as well as the siding switches. Below is the plan to represent this area of Conrail's Harrisburg Line.
From Conrail Harrisburg Line

I tried to put the main on a slight angle to the aisle to result in some curvature to give the feel of the S-curve through the Hershey complex, as can be seen here and here. For reference, each dot in the plan is 2" and each grid line is 1'. This is probably the first plan of Hershey that I'm actually please with. The yard is large enough to accommodate the cars to be left for the plants, the narrowing of the aisle allows for the silos to not push the main plant complex too far back into the backdrop and the use of #5s and some 12-13" radius for the plant tracks themselves allows this to fit on 15-18" wide shelf.

Next up is the Harrisburg yard and station area.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Layout Progress - June 27, 2010

Just a quick update on my progress. I don't have pics, sorry. I finished the rest of the wall in the center of the basement, around the posts. I then measured and cut all the studs I will need for the long wall, the one that runs along the right side of the layout plan. This will be a fun one to put up as it has about a 3/4" drop going from the top of the plan through the bottom. I know I will probably have to make spacers of some kind to solidify the top plate to the floor joists above. The plan is over the next week to slowly build the wall itself so I can put it up this coming weekend.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

To Enclose or Not to Enclose

So now that I've made a little progress on the layout area, I'm now beginning to visualize the layout in the space. One thing I keep going back and forth on is whether I really want to enclose the layout area or not. There are many thoughts on this and I put together a list of pros and cons for both a closed room and an "open" room, meaning whether I create a room separate from the rest of the basement by building out the 4 walls or a leave the room open on the 4th side by the stairs. Here's the list:

Closed Room
  • Keep out the cats that frequent the basement
  • Allows for a better design for Lebanon
  • Easier to design the staging on the 3rd Level
  • Duckunder to Enter
  • Helix from Level 1 to Level 3 is outside the layout room
  • Short center peninsula
  • Must put paneling/sheetrock around the room to truly enclose it
Open Room
  • Longer Center Peninsula, approximately 60"
  • No need to drywall room
  • Can see both Helices from the layout area
  • Can use more area for the yard, lead and/or locomotive servicing area
  • Doesn't keep the cats out of the layout area
  • Staging is harder to design, unless it goes "above" the head
  • Larger Helix for access into staging (4 tracks versus 2)
I've done designs before with the "monster helix" but I always went too far into the area by the water meter. I was never thrilled with the idea of the duck under to enter the layout room and not having it would, I think, make the layout more enjoyable. I believe I really need to limit where the end of the yard is so as not to interfere with the water meter area, which will already be tight with the helix. Also, going open would allow me to get the benchwork a little quicker and not create a room that really wouldn't be useful if we ever had to sell the house. If I were to finish the basement, I'd be doing it completely differently anyways. I'd be interested in hearing what others thoughts were on this.


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.

Conrail Ft. Wayne Line © Header image from J. Alex Lang Template Nice Blue modified by Indian Monsters. Original created by