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Help With Layout Concept

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Help With Layout Concept
Posted by ncandstl576 on Tuesday, October 02, 2018 5:30 PM

For a while now, I've been brainstorming ideas for a future layout. Currently, I have two main "concepts" at the moment.

1) Richmond & Ohio Railway
Year: 1954
Locale: Virginia/West Virginia
Operated using TT&TO

The R&O is a proto-freelanced Class I that borrows heavily from the C&O, N&W, and the Virginian in its location and motive power. It's larger than than the Virginian but a bit smaller than the N&W, with a main line running from Norfolk to Cincinnati via Richmond. 

For motive power, they have the usual 2-8-2s and 2-8-0s, along with Baldwin 2-8-4s (similar to the L&N "Big Emmas"), 4-8-2s, and 4-8-4s. In coal country, there are several articulated and mallet types. The R&O has also taken to purchasing locos from other railroads, like the NC&StL 2-8-8-2s. 

There are even a couple streamliners, all on the Norfolk-Cincinnati route. These are the Old Dominion (the R&O is "The Old Dominion Line"), and the Jack Jouett (named for the "Paul Revere of the South" - look him up). The R&O's diesels have a blue and gray scheme (I based it on the Aberdeen & Rockfish and NC&StL).

One thing I really like is having other roads make appearances via interchanges or trackage rights, but it seems coal haulers didn't really do this. Can someone who knows better explain this a bit to me? 

2) "Vague Southern US Idea"
Year: 1940s-1950s

As it says, this concept isn't very well developed, due to me not being sure what I want to do with this. I have three main ideas here:
A) Model a prototype: If I went this route, I'd probably do the L&N or NC&StL, but I'm mulling over other possibilities. This would give me much more focus, but modelling a prototype would require doing more research. I like TT&TO, but depending on what I choose, this could change (I know the NC&StL was quick to convert to CTC). 

B) Prototype railroad, but proto-freelanced line: Two of my favorite Southern roads are the NC&StL and the Tennessee Central, and while I certainly wouldn't mind doing them as straight-up prototypes, I'm considering modelling "what-if" versions of them. 

C) Proto-freelance: This one allows maximum freedom, but also could definitely be tricky. I'm trying to consider location, including plenty of prototypical roads to interchange with, and operating interest (as well as the history of my fictitious line, as that will impact how it looks in the 50s). I also get to use TT&TO here with no trouble, which is definitely a plus.

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Posted by cuyama on Wednesday, October 03, 2018 5:47 PM

Welcome to the forum. Your first few posts will be moderated, so there may be some delay in seeing them appear.

Only you can know what would be most interesting to you.

Most folks find that they need long runs between locations to make TT&TO work well. How much space do you have and what scale are you using? Have you had the chance to experience TT&TO operation on other layouts?

ncandstl576
One thing I really like is having other roads make appearances via interchanges or trackage rights, but it seems coal haulers didn't really do this. Can someone who knows better explain this a bit to me? 

Virtually all Class 1 railroads (like the C&O, N&W, etc.) have/had interchanges where freight cars are interchanged between two different railroads. Trackage rights, in which trains from one railroad run over the tracks of another railroad, are a different issue and much less common -- although there are examples from the 1950s.

What is it that you want to do with "foreign" trains on your proto-freelanced line?

Good luck with your layout.

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Posted by ncandstl576 on Wednesday, October 03, 2018 6:26 PM

cuyama
Virtually all Class 1 railroads (like the C&O, N&W, etc.) have/had interchanges where freight cars are interchanged between two different railroads. Trackage rights, in which trains from one railroad run over the tracks of another railroad, are a different issue and much less common -- although there are examples from the 1950s.

What is it that you want to do with "foreign" trains on your proto-freelanced line?

I'll be completely honest, I lack the knowledge to know what exactly I'm looking for with TT&TO and interchange traffic.

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Posted by dixieflyer on Wednesday, October 03, 2018 7:14 PM
If memory serves, the L&N interchanged with the C&O, N&W, and Southern in eastern KY. At the L&NHS convention the other week we had a class/presentation on TT & TO ops by a former division superintendent and one of the HS officers got up and recalled how when he was on the trains they got a bunch of orders when they had to run over N&W territory, etc. Warren/dixieflyer500 living by the West Kentucky Coalfields.

Attempting to model the L&N and NC&StL in western Kentucky

Ride the Battlefield Route!

Ride the Dixie Line!

To and From Dixieland

NC&Stl Railway

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Posted by ncandstl576 on Monday, October 08, 2018 5:11 PM

 I've been considering modelling the Georgia, Florida & Alabama Railroad, which ran through my local area between the 1890s and 1926 (link: http://www.taplines.net/gfa/gfa.html) The Seaboard Air Line acquired it in the 1920s, but it could be interesting to show what it could have looked like in the 1950s. Perhaps they expand into the Alabama coal and coke fields? They interchanged with the Seaboard Air Line, Atlantic Coast Line, and the Central of Georgia, so this add some operating interest. 

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Posted by cuyama on Tuesday, October 09, 2018 9:44 AM

ncandstl576
I'll be completely honest, I lack the knowledge to know what exactly I'm looking for with TT&TO and interchange traffic.

If you are at the beginning of the learning curve on model railroad design, a great place to start is John Armstrong’s Track Planning for Realistic Operation

Concepts like TT&TO unfortunately can sometimes be like “flavors of the month.” The high profile of some things in the commercial press and forums can make it seem that it’s something that every modeler should aspire to. But in fact, TT&TO suits a small percentage of era, locale, and traffic density situations and an even smaller percentage of available spaces for modeling.

So my suggestion would be to start with the fundamentals and layout deign best practices in parallel with your search for prototype inspiration – and certainly before making a final decision. 

Good luck with your layout.

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Posted by riogrande5761 on Tuesday, October 09, 2018 10:33 AM

Another plug for John Armstrong’s Track Planning for Realistic Operation.  I've worn out my copy and found most of it to be very helpful.

Rio Grande.  The Action Road

Silly Aspie's, I have NT syndrome

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Posted by ncandstl576 on Tuesday, October 09, 2018 12:11 PM

cuyama

 

 
ncandstl576
I'll be completely honest, I lack the knowledge to know what exactly I'm looking for with TT&TO and interchange traffic.

 

If you are at the beginning of the learning curve on model railroad design, a great place to start is John Armstrong’s Track Planning for Realistic Operation

Concepts like TT&TO unfortunately can sometimes be like “flavors of the month.” The high profile of some things in the commercial press and forums can make it seem that it’s something that every modeler should aspire to. But in fact, TT&TO suits a small percentage of era, locale, and traffic density situations and an even smaller percentage of available spaces for modeling.

So my suggestion would be to start with the fundamentals and layout deign best practices in parallel with your search for prototype inspiration – and certainly before making a final decision. 

Good luck with your layout.

 

I understand what you mean, and I'll definitely take your advice into account. That said, I'd like to model a Southern Class I railroad in the late 1940s-early 1950s, and many of the prototypes of the era used TT&TO, making it something to include for prototypical operation.

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Posted by cuyama on Tuesday, October 09, 2018 1:23 PM

ncandstl576
That said, I'd like to model a Southern Class I railroad in the late 1940s-early 1950s, and many of the prototypes of the era used TT&TO, making it something to include for prototypical operation.

How much space do you have and what scale? 

The key to operating TT&TO realistically is long runs between passing points so that crews have room and time to think about their next move while considering the timetable, their orders, train registers, and the clock. 

Many people model prototypes that used TT&TO, but their space isn’t practical to actually operate under TT&TO rules. So they compromise and use some other method of train control.

 

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Posted by ncandstl576 on Tuesday, October 09, 2018 2:30 PM

cuyama

 

 
ncandstl576
That said, I'd like to model a Southern Class I railroad in the late 1940s-early 1950s, and many of the prototypes of the era used TT&TO, making it something to include for prototypical operation.

 

How much space do you have and what scale? 

The key to operating TT&TO realistically is long runs between passing points so that crews have room and time to think about their next move while considering the timetable, their orders, train registers, and the clock. 

Many people model prototypes that used TT&TO, but their space isn’t practical to actually operate under TT&TO rules. So they compromise and use some other method of train control.

 

 

I'm afraid I'm just an armchair modeller for the time being, I'm still in high school and have limited space. As far as actually building a layout goes, that will have to wait at least a few years. In the meantime, I've been reading up on prototype and model railroads.

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Posted by carl425 on Wednesday, October 10, 2018 11:02 AM

ncandstl576
I'm afraid I'm just an armchair modeller for the time being, I'm still in high school and have limited space. As far as actually building a layout goes, that will have to wait at least a few years.

Deja vu all over again. Smile

I have the right to remain silent.  By posting here I have given up that right and accept that anything I say can and will be used as evidence to critique me.

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Posted by BigDaddy on Wednesday, October 10, 2018 11:56 AM

Now, now, the OP did warn us it was for future planning.  In fact his only question was how does interchange and tracking rights work.  We need the younger folks to carry on this old man's hobby.

ncandstl There is another prolific poster in the forum who like yourself is in high school.  He starts a lot of threads asking for specific how to advice and after people take the time to give detailed answers, he drops that idea and brings up a new one. 

People get discouraged when they spend the time to give elaborate answers, only to find that the question was only a hypothetical one. 

Keep your enthusiasm and ask your questions.  Your interest in what you want to model may well change once you have the money and space to build your own layout.

 

 

Henry

COB Potomac & Northern

By the Chesapeake Bay

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Posted by ncandstl576 on Thursday, October 11, 2018 4:18 PM

BigDaddy

Now, now, the OP did warn us it was for future planning.  In fact his only question was how does interchange and tracking rights work.  We need the younger folks to carry on this old man's hobby.

ncandstl There is another prolific poster in the forum who like yourself is in high school.  He starts a lot of threads asking for specific how to advice and after people take the time to give detailed answers, he drops that idea and brings up a new one. 

People get discouraged when they spend the time to give elaborate answers, only to find that the question was only a hypothetical one. 

Keep your enthusiasm and ask your questions.  Your interest in what you want to model may well change once you have the money and space to build your own layout.

 

 

 

Thanks BigDaddy! I'm grateful for the responses I've gotten so far and hope there will be more to come! I do understand why providing answers to questions that won't be needed for the forseeable future can be off-putting, but I did try to make that clear in my original post. 

 

I've always wanted to model the transition era: first-gen diesels painted in eye-catching colors, the streamliners, steam making its final stand - all appealing to me. What location I'd like to model, and if I went with prototype or proto-freelance is where I tend to flip-flop. If I go with the GF&A, doing research - as in, "walk into a library and ask to look in the archives" - will be made easier, only requiring me to drive perhaps 70-80 miles at most. I suppose that's my fall break sorted!

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Posted by ncandstl576 on Wednesday, October 24, 2018 8:51 PM

I recently contacted the Cincinnati Northern Model Railroad Club to ask how they created the backstory for their Cincinnati Northern Railroad. This was a real railroad that was absorbed into the CCC&StL in the 1900s, but in their alternative reality, survived into the 1950s. They provided me with a brief outline on the background of their club, and, by extension, the Cincinnati Northern. The contents are reproduced here:

Creating the Cincinnati Northern Railroad’s Story

 

When our club first formed in the 1960s, members were seeking a name for their proposed model railroad.  Cincinnati Northern was adopted because it was a defunct railroad that was "local."  The two earliest layouts included modest attempts to capture a Cincinnati Northern flavor through the use of town names, but modeling and layout plans were more about trying to fit an operating layout into the available space rather than modeling what the Cincinnati Northern was about.  An early fictitious history had the road starting in the eastern Kentucky coal fields and continuing beyond its real terminus in Jackson, Michigan, to somewhere farther north.  However, the area actually being modeled is flat, western Ohio territory, with no coal mines or mountains.  The prototype Cincinnati Northern was absorbed into the Big Four and then New York Central, but we decided to keep the original name and make it an independent railroad in the time frame of the early 1950s.

 

Our modified history developed over a number of years as we learned more about the actual history and began representing the railroad in a more prototypical fashion.  It really didn’t gel into a realistic story until we started designing the current layout.  By that time, we had a stronger understanding of actual CNor history and a relatively good feeling for how the NYC had operated the line during the 1950s.  Members also made field trips to explore what had once been the CNor right-of-way and towns along the line.  Eventuallyit became possible to imagine scenarios of what could have happened if the CNor had remained independent.  For example, the CNor ran north-south through a mostly agricultural region, but it interchanged with east-west railroads serving major cities of strong industrial importance – think of the “Rust Belt” in the ‘50s.  Industry was also developing in the small towns along the line because of their closeness to those “Rust Belt” urban centers.  Under NYC ownership, the CNor route was used more to service the local industries and agriculture than as a bridge route between major industrial areas.  But, by making the CNor independent of the NYC, we can represent a little bit of competition as a bridge line between Cincinnati & Jackson, and from there to Detroit, Chicago, and other centers in Northwest Ohio, and all of Michigan.

 

So, in developing the line as a model railroad, we looked at how the NYC operated the line (serving the local agricultural communities), and then added to it a little bit of bridge traffic the CNor could capture as it tried to compete in the region.  For example, coal resources coming up from south and east of the line, and the steel industry alongside the southern end of the line in Middletown.  The paper industry was all over the region, and the auto industry was just off the north end of the line in Detroit, with auto-parts spread across the region.  We also considered needs of the area, such as vegetables and fruits coming up from the south and far west.  So the abundance of possible bridge traffic really helped picture the CNor as being able to compete for some of the traffic.

 

Looking at any rail line and developing its “story” involves understanding how the line was actually used, what resources existed in the area, what needs were in the area, and what resources and products could travel through as bridge traffic.  Study its history; know the towns through which it passed and the industries it served; and imagine the traffic potential.

 

All credit for this goes to the Cincinnati Northern Model Railroad Club, who can be found at their website: https://cincinnatinorthernrr.wordpress.com/

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Posted by Bigjim7 on Thursday, October 25, 2018 6:53 AM

Since you are young and never built a layout I would forget this prototype stuff at first and when it is time and you have a place just build a small layout and have fun. learn all the in and outs of laying track' scenery work' electrical' ect. It takes a few layouts before anyone really get's good at it. Then one day dive into a prototype layout. But the main thing is to have fun and not get to caught up in making every thing to real.

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Posted by kasskaboose on Thursday, October 25, 2018 8:05 AM

Bigjim7

Since you are young and never built a layout I would forget this prototype stuff at first and when it is time and you have a place just build a small layout and have fun. learn all the in and outs of laying track' scenery work' electrical' ect. It takes a few layouts before anyone really get's good at it. Then one day dive into a prototype layout. But the main thing is to have fun and not get to caught up in making every thing to real. 

I concur.  My 1st layout was a "testing ground." It offfered me numerous opportunities to learn about different aspects of running a train.  For example, I realized that having a circular layout wasn't very conducive for operations.  Plenty of other lessons learned gained on the 1st layout enabled me to produce a larger layout in the new house that got built much faster and easier.  

~Lee 

 

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Posted by "JaBear" on Thursday, October 25, 2018 11:53 PM
Gidday Young Fella, nothing wrong with being an armchair modeller, gives you time to do even more research, and possibly confuse yourself even more as to which prototype to model.Smile, Wink & Grin
 
As a break from research, I see that your “time frame” spans 1940s- 50s, so you could start, as the finances permit, acquiring freight cars, and if you get adventurous, you could even paint and decal one or two for the“Richmond & Ohio”because even though you may settle on the “Deep South Southern” the car (s) will fit right in.
 
Most importantly, Have Fun.
Cheers, the Bear. Smile

"One difference between pessimists and optimists is that while pessimists are more often right, optimists have far more fun."

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Posted by ncandstl576 on Tuesday, November 13, 2018 12:59 PM

My NC&StL thread has got me thinking about what an independent NC&StL would have done to reach Florida. I realized my Georgia, Florida & Alabama Railway could do the trick. If the NC&StL running south to Columbus, with the GF&A going north, the NC&StL could run St. Louis-Florida trains via the GF&A and Seaboard Air Line. 

Any thoughts?

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Posted by ncandstl576 on Wednesday, November 14, 2018 3:46 PM

Gidday Young Fella, nothing wrong with being an armchair modeller, gives you time to do even more research, and possibly confuse yourself even more as to which prototype to model.Smile, Wink & Grin
 
As a break from research, I see that your “time frame” spans 1940s- 50s, so you could start, as the finances permit, acquiring freight cars, and if you get adventurous, you could even paint and decal one or two for the“Richmond & Ohio”because even though you may settle on the “Deep South Southern” the car (s) will fit right in.
 
Most importantly, Have Fun.
Cheers, the Bear. Smile
 

Thanks! If anyone has any other ideas for the paint schemes of the Richmond & Ohio or Georgia, Florida & Alabama locos and rolling stock, feel free to suggest them.

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