Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Where to Next

So the blog has been quite. Reality is the entire benchwork has been taken down. The basement area is a mess of stuff I saved and stuff I moved in the dismantling process, plus those stupid plastic bins I now need to move around or find a permanent spot for (more on this later). The other thing I've been questioning is area/locale to model, again. In going simpler, I had mentioned that one of the things I missed with just about any of my previous plans was coal operation and/or mountain scenery.

A fellow modeler said I should look at the Reading cluster up in Hard Coal Country. This became tempting, very, very tempting. In fact, I had looked at the plan Byron Henderson had done on this area. It could fit my space and a few adjustments could be done but otherwise it would've worked. Unfortunately, I love mainline, heavy duty railroading just as much. I tried to come up with good plans adapting from this but never found something I really liked nor was I into it that much to really find a good solution.

With the release of ModelRailroader's Digital Archive, I realized I had access and went back through old issues. Two plans/layout write-ups jumped out at me based on Conrail or former Conrail. One is Bob Sprague's Hershey Plan which can be found in the September, 2013, Model Railroader.  The other was a write up on the Boston Line by Jeff Wilson from October, 1993.

Whenever I've described what I kind of like in my model, more than most will say why don't you look at the Boston Line. It's single-tacked, good amount of rolling stock, has many interchanges, a few yards along it's route, etc. It seems to be a good modeling subject. The article definitely shows that to be the case and access to some ZTS charts for the area also shows it would be good prototype to model.

However, I keep coming back to the Hershey area. While I was going off looking at the steel industry, one of the things I liked was the ability to keep someone busy at just that industry during an ops session, and if done well, they might have to avoid other traffic through the area as well. Well, with there being 3 major plants and a few storage items, Hershey's complex would fit that bill as well. That's something I probably didn't really look at initially but have become more attuned to with operating. Also, one of the drawbacks I've had with these plans is trying to get the Harrisburg area itself into the plans, thus requiring some kind of second deck, which we all know I just took down. Bob's plan incorporates the more modern TV terminal at Rutherford. I believe I could move some things around and leave myself enough room, first by eliminating the M&H peninsula, and incorporating a peninsula that could include the quarry in Annville and a condensed version of the Lebanon area. This would allow for more expanded operations.

Operations is another aspect I'm looking at simplifying. While I am part of a group of operators, it's becoming clear that there are going to soon be more operating layouts then space available on a calendar. I'm also the last person to have joined the group so when it comes to roster's, I'm the AAA call-up and as a result only are only 2 or 3 regular crews. While I understand it, trying to come up with a layout design that could keep 7 or more operators probably isn't really needed. I could do one that could keep a handful busy and call it a day, operating whenever I think it would be ok.

So that's where I'm at, still cleaning and planning. Hopefully as the weather gets nicer and we get adjusted to having the 3rd kid, I'll get more focus on what I'm doing moving forward.


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 http://ourblogtemplates.com.