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The Virginian Build Thread

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  • Member since
    November, 2008
  • From: Brooklyn, NY
  • 86 posts
Posted by hominamad on Monday, February 16, 2015 10:54 PM

Hey everyone. I had been following this thread over a year ago when I decided I was going to use the Virginian as a basis for my layout. I did a few things differently and wanted to share my progress here, as well as ask a few questions of the Virginian experts! I'll first post my progress and info, and then put my questions in a separate posting.
I should mention that this layout is not really meant to be prototypical by any means. I don't have the mental capacity to think about that for now, as this is my first real layout and it's more for my kids and I to have fun with together than to model anything too closely.

Some things I did differently: I pretty much kept the original track plan, but expanded it to a 5x9 so that I could have more leeway with curves, etc. I also am using all Peco flex track, and Peco turnouts. For my benchwork, I decided to to L-girder instead of cookie cutter - mainl because it seemed more flexible and I also wanted to learn how to do it. I'm also using NCE Powercab system, with Tortoise switch motors and a central control panel. I put the layout on caster wheels as other did and this was a great idea.

One thing I wish I did differently was to build all the benchwork a bit lower, but live and learn.

This has been in progress for about a year now, and I finally have a good portion of track laid and wired up. There are a few areas I haven't planned fully yet, which is where my questions will come in.

So finally, here are some pics. Any tips or advice are much welcome.

"BEER TRAIN"

This is a temporary control panel:

First loco:

  • Member since
    November, 2008
  • From: Brooklyn, NY
  • 86 posts
Posted by hominamad on Monday, February 16, 2015 11:15 PM

I just posted an overview of my version of the Virginian and now have some questions for the experts. Two areas I haven't completly planned yet are the Rodgers yard and the coal mine/industry. One thing I would like to have somewhere on the layout is some sort of small town area. I was considering reducing the yard down to 4 tracks with the hope of accomodating some sort of run-down grungy town next to the yard. On the other hand, I can't really conceive how I will use the yard operationally, so I'm not sure if I will miss those 2 extra tracks or not. Or if I have enough area to put in a street and a row of buildings if I keep it to 4 tracks.

Is the yard design in the original track plan operational? I thought usually there was supposed to be a run around track.

To shake things up even more, I'm not even 100% married to the idea of this being a coal mining layout. I was thikning about putting a nicer town in the area where the coal mine currently is. I could then have the Green Hill just be some sort of rurual scene, but I'm not sure what kind of industry would go up there where it would make sense for the tracks to just end.

I'm also a bit unsure of what to put on the two side spurs. I'm interested in hearing about how people think during this phase of the planning. Should I just go onlien and find some structures I like, and then build around that?

Obviously I'm having a case of indecision. Tongue Tied

Finally, the last question - I did not build a space for a bridge, even though I would like to add one. I know I can cut the roadbed and even track away, but I spent so much time making sure that the climb to the hill was smooth and even, that it kills me to cut it. I am worried about getting kinks, etc in the trackwork if I splice a section out.

This was a lot more ramblign than I anticipated, but any tips or advice would be greatly appreciated!

H

  • Member since
    September, 2011
  • From: Lexington, KY
  • 165 posts
Posted by RogerThat on Tuesday, February 17, 2015 8:49 AM

H, Welcome to the Virginian gang. First off, I am not an expert, like you this was my first build. I also built mine a little bigger than the MR plans. In my case I just added 6 inches to the width to allow me to do easements in the curves and not have the track on the edge of the table. I originally built my layout with just 4 tracks in Roger's yard. This left enough room behind them to put in a row of buildings. However, I then built a crib retaining wall that I don't want to completely hide. I still don't know what will go into that space. I then scratch built a freight house and wanted room for trucks to load/unload on the other side, and I went ahead and eliminated one more yard track. For my layout, 3 tracks seem enough. There are not enough industries to really need more. I leave trains parked all over the layout. I guess it depends on how many locomotives and rolling stock you plan on having. I had 3 locomotives until this past weekend when I picked up a 4th. However, I am currently working on plans for a big expansion and will have many more in the future.

I personally would not replace the coal mine with a town. You do need some industry or the railroad would not exist. You may find room to add a small town to coexist with the mine.

Also, in my opinion, every train layout should have at least one tunnel and one bridge. I chose to do a wooden trestle because I like the looks of them and thought it would be a good scratch building project. I would definitely do the bridge.

Good luck with your project, and keep the pictures coming.

Roger

  • Member since
    November, 2008
  • From: Brooklyn, NY
  • 86 posts
Posted by hominamad on Tuesday, February 17, 2015 1:30 PM

Thanks Roger. I probably will keep the mine, but maybe try to find a smaller one so that I can fit a small town in there.

Also, about the bridge, I'm wondering if it is possible to just buy girder bridge sides, and attach them to my existing sub roadbed. I searched around a bit and couldn't find anything, but I'm sure I could take apart any kit. I'm not sure how that would look though.

Will definitely be posting my progress here.

Thanks!

h

  • Member since
    May, 2003
  • From: Morgantown, WV
  • 1,451 posts
Posted by cheese3 on Tuesday, June 30, 2015 6:39 AM

Well its been a while since I have been modeling and I have been looking for something to work on. I came across this thread the other day and even though it has been a few months since someone has replied, I would like to get in on the action.

After moving to go to WVU a few years ago I only have a small apartment to work with. Im planning on building the layout in N Scale. The layout will be 26" x 54". It will be a little more work than just using a 2' x 4' sheet, but I think it will provide better results. I would also like to build the staging yard and adapted turtle creek extension as the fine folks of MR have done.

The first step for me was designing the layout with the free Atlas track planning software and printing it out in actual size.

Resized virginian

 

(Cat shown for scale Wink )

I am really looking forward to this project!

Adam Thompson Model Railroading is fun! Click here to view my layout(s). Past and present.

  • Member since
    September, 2011
  • From: Lexington, KY
  • 165 posts
Posted by RogerThat on Tuesday, June 30, 2015 7:10 AM

Cheese,

Nice to see a fellow Mountaineer on this site. Looking forward to seeing your progress.

Roger

  • Member since
    May, 2003
  • From: Morgantown, WV
  • 1,451 posts
Posted by cheese3 on Tuesday, June 30, 2015 9:51 AM

Roger, I have to admit I was a little excited the first time I read through this thread and spotted that picture with the mug.

Also, I have seemed to have overlooked saying great work everyone! Reading through this really gave me a spark of inspiration and helped me decide on this track plan.

Adam Thompson Model Railroading is fun! Click here to view my layout(s). Past and present.

  • Member since
    May, 2003
  • From: Morgantown, WV
  • 1,451 posts
Posted by cheese3 on Tuesday, July 07, 2015 3:42 AM

The layout is progressing nicely. I chose to use foam core board for my bench work because this layout needs to be ultra light and portable. Overall I am surprised by the results. It is sturdier than I thought it would be without adding extra supports and braces. The first step was to transfer the track plan onto the board I am using for the cookie cutter elevations. Next I cut 3" wide strips to build the frame. I covered this with a top that will remain mostly intact. This will make it easier to add braces to elevate the cookie cutter sheet and also provide stability for the whole layout. Everything was taped together for placement and then hot glued.  I started cutting the top at the river. I hope to have the rest cut and elevated within a week or so.

Adam Thompson Model Railroading is fun! Click here to view my layout(s). Past and present.

  • Member since
    May, 2003
  • From: Morgantown, WV
  • 1,451 posts
Posted by cheese3 on Friday, July 24, 2015 9:37 AM

Elevations are in and the roadbed is down on my N scale version of the Virginian. I used a combination of Midwest Products N scale cork roadbed and a roll of cork that I picked up at Office Depot. I used Liquid Nails Projects to hold it all in place. I am thinking aboyut adding either a 1" or 2" piece of foam around the sides of the layout so the track isnt as close to the edge. 

Adam Thompson Model Railroading is fun! Click here to view my layout(s). Past and present.

  • Member since
    December, 2008
  • From: In the heart of Georgia
  • 2,555 posts
Posted by Doughless on Friday, July 24, 2015 11:58 AM

hominamad

Is the yard design in the original track plan operational? I thought usually there was supposed to be a run around track.

To shake things up even more, I'm not even 100% married to the idea of this being a coal mining layout. I was thikning about putting a nicer town in the area where the coal mine currently is. I could then have the Green Hill just be some sort of rurual scene, but I'm not sure what kind of industry would go up there where it would make sense for the tracks to just end.

H

 

One thing to consider is to switch the location of the mine and the truck dumps, putting the "mine" at the higher point and the truck dump (or other industry) currently where the mine is.

There isn't enough space at the top of the hill for the Walthers mine structure, so some improvisation is needed.

In so many layouts, coal mines are modeled with the crusher and sorter superstructure sitting atop the tracks, much like the Walthers model.  Yes, that's cool.  But in real coal mining, oftentimes that superstructure is set back hundreds of feet from the tracks, up a hill, through trees etc.  and a simple covered conveyor takes the coal to the loading area. 

On the Virginian, you could simply model the covered conveyor/unloader poking through the trees on the hillside and over the tracks and "imagine" the superstructure to be off in the distance (unmodeled).  That way, you could still have the "mine" generating the coal hoppers (farther up the layout than it currently is BTW), and use the current mine's location for an industry or town.

- Douglas

  • Member since
    July, 2012
  • 152 posts
Posted by sjhenry on Sunday, July 26, 2015 3:06 PM

Adam,

Very nice. Very different in construction to what I did, but very much the same as well. Looks like you have built a few layouts , but I found it perfect for my first layout. I have also been slowly building the Thin Branch extension over the last year to extend my empire.

Cheers,

Steve

  • Member since
    February, 2016
  • 1 posts
Posted by Kansascitysouthern96 on Friday, February 05, 2016 9:21 PM

Would you or anyone on here happen to have a list of track that is needed to complete this layout 

 

  • Member since
    September, 2011
  • From: Lexington, KY
  • 165 posts
Posted by RogerThat on Monday, February 08, 2016 4:37 PM

Here are the items I purchased for this layout:

From Walthers:

Manu       Item Description                 Qty    Price     Ext
 948-      8826 T/O #6.5 Crvd LH code 83      1 @ $  36.98  $   36.98 (Sale)
 948-      8827 T/O #6.5 Crvd RH code 83      1 @ $  36.98  $   36.98 (Sale)
   

From ModelTrainStuff:

Code Item Qty Price Grand Total
ATL-545 Atlas HO 545 Code 83 Track 22" Right Hand Manual Snap-Switch 1 $11.49 $11.49
ATL-544 Atlas HO 544 Code 83 Track 22" Left Hand Manual Snap-Switch 1 $11.49 $11.49
ATL-542 Atlas HO 542 Code 83 Track 18" Left Hand Manual Snap-Switch 1 $11.19 $11.19
ATL-561 Atlas HO 561 Code 83 Track #4 Left Hand Custom-Line Turnout 4 $13.99 $55.96
ATL-562 Atlas HO 562 Code 83 Track #4 Right Hand Custom-Line Turnout 5 $13.99 $69.95
ATL-500-25 Atlas HO 500-25 36" Code 83 Super-Flex Track w/ Wood Ties (25 Pieces) 1 $99.99 $99.99
MID-3013 Midwest Products HO 3013 Cork Roadbed 3' length 25pcs per box 1 $22.99 $22.99
ATL-170 Atlas HO 170 Universal Rail Joiners (48 Per Package) 2 $2.59 $5.18




  • Member since
    September, 2011
  • From: Lexington, KY
  • 165 posts
Posted by RogerThat on Monday, February 08, 2016 4:38 PM

Be aware that my yard did not have the six tracks that the MR layout has.

  • Member since
    July, 2012
  • 152 posts
Posted by sjhenry on Tuesday, February 09, 2016 8:26 PM

The thread that won't die Big Smile

For track I ordered what was specified in the magazine which includes the staging yard. Here is what I ordered. I got most things from MB Klein. I did end up with some left over flex track and re-railers as in the end I did not build the staging yard.

Cheers,

Steve

Manufacturer Product Quantity
Atlas 170 Rail Joiners 2
Atlas 500 Flextrack 16
Atlas 532 18 inch radius 14
Atlas 535 22 inch radius 12
Atlas 540 18 inch snap switch left 1
Atlas 541 18 inch snap switch right 3
Atlas 546 22 inch snap switch left  1
Atlas 547 22 inch snap switch right 1
Atlas 2540 track nails  
Caboose Industries 202 sprung ground throw 10
Micro Engineering 10104 HO Code 83 flextrack 7
Midwest Products 3013 HO scale cork roadbed  1 Box
Midwest Products 3030 HO Scale Cork sheet 2
Peco SLE8351 no 5 turnout right 3
Peco SLE8352 no 5 turnout left 3
Peco SLE8361 no 6 turnout right 1
Peco SLE8632 no 6 turnout left 1
Peco 244 Code 100 curved turnout right 1
Peco 245 code 100 curved turnout left 1
Walthers 8827 6 1/2 curved turnout right 1
Atlas Code 83 rerailer 2
Peco SL8311 insulated rail joiners 2

 

  • Member since
    October, 2007
  • From: Foster, RI
  • 92 posts
Posted by mammay76 on Wednesday, June 15, 2016 11:59 AM
What a great inspirational thread!! I've been reading it over and over the past few days. Due to a downsizing move my wife and are making, my basement empire in the planning stages is halted. Instead of a large finished basement, I now have a large unfinished garage for the next few years. I've decided 4 x 8 layout with good operations could hold me over for the next few years, Virginian layout was the first one that came to my mind.
It's been a good seven or eight years since I've had a layout, and I've been wanting one ever since! I'm a few weeks away from the move, which means I'm a few weeks away from getting started on construction. I'm a huge operations type of guy, so the staging yards Will be huge for me. Congrats to everyone who's been working on there layout, they all look awesome and I can't wait to make my contribution to this classic thread!!!!

Alaska Railroad

HO scale

  • Member since
    September, 2011
  • From: Lexington, KY
  • 165 posts
Posted by RogerThat on Wednesday, June 15, 2016 2:42 PM

This thread just won't die.  Looking back through it, there were alot of folks working on this layout. It would be nice to see updated pics from all these layouts.  Mammay76, look forward to seeing your posts.

  • Member since
    October, 2007
  • From: Foster, RI
  • 92 posts
Posted by mammay76 on Thursday, June 16, 2016 3:29 PM
Im not gonna lie I'm a little nervous/apprehensive! Mostly on transferring the track to the board!! Is there a way I can transfer the plan to the board without having all the switches? Any advice for this procedure? This in the wiring are the only things making me nervous. I have to make a run to each do you tomorrow, to pick up some things for our new apartment, Think I'm going to try to score the wood for the benchwork too!!!!

Alaska Railroad

HO scale

  • Member since
    October, 2007
  • From: Foster, RI
  • 92 posts
Posted by mammay76 on Thursday, June 16, 2016 4:30 PM

Hmm.. My talk to text screwed up some of the words there! What I meant to say was "I'm making a run to Home Depot/Lowes tomorrow to pick up some things for the new apartment. So I'm going to try to grab some of the wood for the bench work tomorrow. " Tonight is train night, going to a weekly round robin operation session! It's been holding me over for a few years, but not anymore I need my own layout!

Alaska Railroad

HO scale

  • Member since
    April, 2005
  • From: West Australia
  • 2,110 posts
Posted by John Busby on Friday, June 17, 2016 5:35 AM

Hi

First off the real Virginian was a coal road so coal mine should stay or its not the Virginian any more.

They did move other freight as well so your not restricted to just coal.

There are some company houses on the layout so my sugestion is work the town up the hill behind them using suitable small structures so as not to over power the scene to much.

I would start with the original structure list for the layout and work from there changing any your not keen on with similar sized ones.

There is not a lot of Virginian stock about so if you can get what you can now while you can that is if you plan on running it as the Virginian.

regards John

  • Member since
    October, 2007
  • From: Foster, RI
  • 92 posts
Posted by mammay76 on Friday, July 29, 2016 2:06 PM

All moved in!!! I have a large unfinished basement to build the layout. I have the bench work complete, and getting ready to transfer the track plan to the plywood. I'll try to post some pics, but bear with me the unfinished basement is very ugly!!!

 

question, how many 55ton coal cars, including a caboose and fbm loco can the siding in green hill hold? 

figuring out operations now in my head, not sure if I want to ditch the trestle and add a curved turnout to gain more siding length

Alaska Railroad

HO scale

  • Member since
    April, 2018
  • 2 posts
Posted by Outsailing86 on Monday, June 04, 2018 11:23 PM

I’ve been thinking about getting a new layout project, and I keep coming back to the Virginian. 

I am thinking a taconite hauling based on the DMIR would be interesting. 

Any examples of the Virginian with different industries? 

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