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Realistic freelanced shortline?

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Realistic freelanced shortline?
Posted by Wdodge0912 on Sunday, January 19, 2020 8:41 AM

So a new house is coming much sooner than I expected,  and will have a lot of room to build a new layout.  I'm aiming for a dual track loop with some interchange tracks, a team track, and an couple industries. When we get settled in I'll start thinking more on that aspect, but I'm here for some pre-planning advice.

What I'm here for though, is some advice if my idea I have for the layout would be plausible. I want it to be realistic, even if it isn't based on anything. 

What I'm wanting to do is "own" my own shortline company. 

One of the few things I cant decide is which rail line I'd want. So what I was thinking was the shortline would just lease the locomotives from the 3 I would like to do. Pennsylvania, Milwaukee, and C&O. I figure this way I could have all 3, and could even split the lines with loco manufacturers, like C&O would be the EMD locos, and Pennsylvania would be Alco, something like that. 

Another thing I'd want to do is have a Steam Engine. The idea behind this though isn't freight but passengers, andnit would just be a tourist line. I have some really nice long Santa Fe passenger cars. I was thinking I could do (or have done) some watching to them, and make it look like the letters were blacked out (but still a little visible, as the paint over would have worn down, and It wouldnt really matter what line the cars were from. As for the steam loco, I would either do the same, or since I want to but one anyways, I'd just see if I can find one that isn't line marked.

I figured what I'd do for my layout is a double track loop. I'd have 2 interchanges on the right, one each before the curve, one would go to C&O, the other to Pennsylvania. The Milwaukee would be on the left, probably switched off the bottom but have it run off the top. I'd have a small yard on the back stretch, and in the middle, and I'd have my couple of industries.

The interchange tracks wouldnt be where the interchange takes place of course, just a way for the train to leave the track. The interchange would be elsewhere not in scene.

For industries on the tale I'm thinking a lumber mill (drop off lumber cars and take out empties) and I was also thinking a gasoline distributor (bulk oil dealer? Pretty much the tank cars are brought it full, pumped into big storage tanks, and then trucked out to local gas stations) so another load in, empties out kind of thing. I'd also have a team track, probably have it switched right off of the lumber yard, might even put a fence with a gate around the one track for the lumber yard.

That'll probably be a super big layout, so itll probably change. Bit with all that in mind at least, I can start planning, if it all makes sense. 

To summarize it, would all this seem like a possible reality?

A short line that leases locomotives from 3 major lines it would interchange with (with the locomotives still in said lines livery) the lines being C&O, Milwaukee, and Pennsylvania.

3 interchanges off of a dual track loop with a team track, lumber yard, gasoline distributor, and a passenger station for a tourist steam train using coaches of whatever line they can get their hands on.

Edit: had another thought about the rail lines. Doing it this way with the shortline, if I ever wanted to use a different line, I can always sub one of the lines for the different  line. So say I wanted to change Pennsylvania for GTW, I can just take the Pennsylvania locomotives out. And put in the GTW ones.

Was just a thought I had after posting this. I figured that wouldnt change anything really, And it could let me have a lot of different lines in the layout. I could even just say one the interchange tracks split and go to other lines and have more than just 3. I suppose I could also do that with my interchanges now and drop down to 2 interchanges to make some room on what already seems like it's going to be too big

2nd Edit. Moved here as requested, also I was fooling around in what I have for track planning and came up with something. It's probably terrible, but it has all the things I was wanting crammed onto it, and I think the size would work where it's going? For the table work I do plan to put some edges around the whole thing so there wouldn't be any trains falling off. It'll also be on castor wheels so I can pull it out and get to the sides that will be against a wall. (I'll have adjustable legs as well, and I was even thinking of getting those stick on levels for travel trailers and such.)

Idea

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Posted by mbinsewi on Sunday, January 19, 2020 10:26 AM

The blue line must be a scenic divider/backdrop?

As long as all sides are accessable, it looks like a good start.  It's too wide to reach accross, so you need to be able to walk around it.

Mike.

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Posted by Wdodge0912 on Sunday, January 19, 2020 12:00 PM

mbinsewi

The blue line must be a scenic divider/backdrop?

As long as all sides are accessable, it looks like a good start.  It's too wide to reach accross, so you need to be able to walk around it.

Mike.

 

 

The blue line is a divider, yes. 

 

My plan for the table is to have it on casters so it can be pulled out from the wall when needed. 

I'm not dedicated to that layout either.  I would like one that I could leave up against the wall, and maybe an L shape too. I'm still looking for designs.  But at least having thre design I have now I have something to compare too, as well as something for others to see and hopefully show me other layout designs that meet what I'm trying to do. 

I would prefer a longer yard, and one more spur if possible. I have a 44 ton loco I'll shi the blacked out lettering and weathered idea too, and have that run the yard. 

 

Right now though I'm really wondering if thre concept I have for the short line is something that could have happened. Something that seems like it would be real. 

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Posted by mbinsewi on Sunday, January 19, 2020 12:22 PM

OK, what seams to be most popular is an around the room type, and for continous running, you'll need a return loop on each end.

As far as "could this have happened?"  Your freelancing, anything is possible.

You'll have to get people in here that model and have knowledge of the different roads you want to involve, than the "hypothetical" discussions begin, which can usually drag on and on.

I'd just go with it, and skip all of the "what if's" and build what you want.

If it didn't really happen anyway, why waste all of the conjecture on "what if it did".

I know some like to come up with long and detailed back stories on the justifications of their railroads excistence, but for me, that's just a waste of time.

As far as your track design, just some basics of how you'll do the continuous running, and having a layout you can reach across, along with staging.

I never considered staging on my small layout, and if I build again, I will.

Mike.

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Posted by davidmurray on Sunday, January 19, 2020 12:35 PM

Wdodge:

This layout seem large for pulling out from a wall.  Also how smooth/level is the floor?

You might want to check the idea of a "DOGBONE"   of "FOLDED DOGBONE"  along two or three walls, as this gives a loop at each end for continous running and more layout space for floor space used.

Dave

 

David Murray from Oshawa, Ontario Canada
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Posted by rrebell on Sunday, January 19, 2020 1:01 PM

need to know the layout space.

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Posted by floridaflyer on Sunday, January 19, 2020 4:50 PM

Agree with rrebell, what does "a lot of  room" mean. Would make a big difference in the suggestions that would be made.

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Posted by Wdodge0912 on Sunday, January 19, 2020 10:53 PM

I dont really know how big the room is right off hand. We looked at it a week ago. And I didnt remember to bring a tape to measure the wall or anything. We still haven't truly decided where things are going either.

 

I know I cant do an around the room style, as the room this is all planned in will have some other things in it, like my computer, and probably a couch. The house has 2 living rooms, so the one with hardwood floors will have the train layout. I do know that an L shape would fit in the one corner, so that could free up and create some space too.

I would prefer a smaller layout for sure, just not sure how to do that. I do want the 22 inch curves, and a dual track line for when I step up for DCC. 

For spurs if I can have 4 inside the layout,  2 on the outside, and a small yard, I'd be happy. One of the inside spurs though I would like to cross over the inside track and lead into the outside with the 22" curves so I can run the steam on that one. I have some Santa Fe passenger cars that I'll be using for the tourist steam train, and they can roll around 18" curves, but they are a tad long. Most of my freight cars would be shorter and should handle the 18s fine.

 

If anyone has an idea of a layout like this, I'd be grateful to get the info on it.

 

I've also been thinking once we do get in, measuring up the area and getting set up with a paid layout design service. 

 

 

EDIT: I was looking through the trsckplan database and found one that caught my eye, so I purchased an e-copy of the issue, March 2016.

 

The layout is from the "Hauling coal on the PENN CENTRAL" article. It is a 4x8 that I think could work for what I want to do. It's also a 4x8 layout. I would just need to figure out what I'd have to buy to build it with code 100 though as I have an abundance of that. I kinda wish there was a bit more of a breakdown on the layouts, showing at least what was used. I'd build the track how it's used and detail it all up myself. I'd even keep the industry ideas as wel . But I'd probably change the feed one to just a team track, and the mine would become a small engine yard for the steam passanger train. 

 

Also seen the South Jersey & Delaware Ry. That's a free one on the database. Looks like it could be much simpler because of not having an elevation change. Again though, I wouldn't have the slightest idea on where to start with it. Also not sure if it uses 22" radius curves.

 

I'm beginning to think though I may need to switch to N scale. So I can have all the stuff I want on a smaller layout. Only reason I went HO was I was able to source 5 transformers (2 being really good MRC ones, a tyco, and 2 bachmann) a ton of track (4  4x6 18" radius ovals worth)and a ton of Locomotives (I think I got 7 in the deal) l plus for $40. plus I've picked up a ton more track when the local hobby store owner retired and a different o e took over, but did not deal with trains. AMD I've bought a few more used DC locos as well.

 

Does anyone know of a hobbystore in Michigan that might trade what I have for some N scale stuff? Lol

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Posted by mbinsewi on Monday, January 20, 2020 6:34 AM

A 4x8 that I really liked is in the Feb. 2011 issue. It starts on page 52 and 53.

"Capturing a Slice of Appalachia"

Good luck with whatever you decide.

Mike.

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Posted by BRAKIE on Monday, January 20, 2020 9:38 AM

mbinsewi
I know some like to come up with long and detailed back stories on the justifications of their railroads excistence, but for me, that's just a waste of time.

A realistic freelance railroad is more like the old Midland Road,V&O,Utah Belt, Maumee Route and other famous freelance railroad. My C&HV is realistic as is my SSRy,HR, and SCR. A back story is needed for layout details. One wouldn't call his railroad "Appalician Western" and have Florida type scenery. Now should the name be Appalician Southern and he models (say) the Jacksonville District then that Florida scenery would work. 

Believability and pause is what makes a freelance railroad believable.

A collection of locomotives from various railroads does not make a freelance or even protolance railroad.

What's wrong with that style of modeling?

Absolutely nothing but,like(say) the term "expert modeler" "freelance" is used to freely to discribe a layout.

Larry

SSRy

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Posted by mbinsewi on Monday, January 20, 2020 10:01 AM

Point well taken Larry.  I wasn't knocking the process, sorry if it sounded that way.

I actually did come up with a back story on my shortline, for me.  I never got into the details and writing a long essay for others to read about it, for their "approval", or input as far as "Is this plauseable, or could this have happened?"

In my world, it happened. Smile, Wink & Grin  

I understand where those that do, are coming from.  Always good to have some reassaunce that your idea is workable.

As I mentioned to the OP, others that model and have knowledge of the roads he wants to include, will have to chime in and give input, so he (the OP) can justify, in his own mind,  what he wants to model.

To me the East coast roads are complicated, with so many overlapping areas, so I won't add any input as to "could this road and that road done this or that with another road", because I don't have any real knowledge of any of them.

I grew up in, and have lived in the upper midwest all my life.

Mike.

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Posted by Wdodge0912 on Monday, January 20, 2020 12:36 PM

So I was able to get over to the house today, but of course I forgot a tape measure. I sid grab pictures of the 2 places my table could go. 

 

I've also been messing around in my track software,  and came up with those 4x9.5ft layout.  I do believe I can get a 4x8 table, so I'll just need to add 9 inches on each side.  I do believe though it will need work as I'm certain there wasn't much frame work to keep it from warping and such

 

LayoutWall 1Wall 2

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Posted by mbinsewi on Monday, January 20, 2020 12:56 PM

As long as your able to pull it out to where you can walk around it when your operating it, It looks good.

Then when your done running it, you can push it back into a corner.

Mike.

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Posted by Wdodge0912 on Monday, January 20, 2020 12:56 PM

So the wall with the window, I think I'll have the table up against it width wise, so it'll stick out the 9.5ft. I'll have to put my computer on that wall too, bit with the 4ft width, I think if the edge is lined up with the right side of the window,  that should give me plenty of room. 

 

I'm also thinking instead of the out of scene tracks going on the outside of the loop,  I'll turn it the other way,  and have a little peice jutting from the table against the the wall for that. 

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Posted by BRAKIE on Monday, January 20, 2020 3:03 PM

I think you will like that 4x9.5ft layout size better then the standard 4x8'. Your track plan should work quite well for your plans.

Larry

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Posted by cuyama on Monday, January 20, 2020 3:09 PM

Track right at the edge of the benchwork creates problems in terms of both derailments and cars being brushed off the edge by viewers and operators. There's nothing magical about a 4-foot-wide HO layout. Five feet or so in width fits in 99% of the places a 4X8 would fit – and offers broader radii and more flexibility.

Good luck with your layout.

Byron

 

Tags: HO 4X8 , 4X8
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Posted by BRAKIE on Monday, January 20, 2020 3:32 PM

cuyama
Track right at the edge of the benchwork creates problems in terms of both derailments and cars being brushed off the edge by viewers and operators.

A 2" high piece of  Lexan along the top edge of the  fascia should end that problem.

Of course the safer bet would be to have 2-3" between the edge of the ties of the nearest track to the edge of the board.

Larry

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Posted by mbinsewi on Monday, January 20, 2020 5:11 PM

If the OP can squeeze out the space, I'd go for adding a little on the width.  I did on one end of mine, and I'm glad of it!

Mike.

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Posted by dknelson on Monday, January 20, 2020 6:26 PM

Back when I was a beginner and most of us started with 4x8 layouts using the standard and readily available 4x8 sheets of plywood, the lumberyards also sold sheets of plywood billed as ping pong tables and were I think 5x9.    It is easier to cut away than to add, and perhaps given your space 5x9, assuming they still sell sheet plywood in that size, would work, even if you cannot use all that wood.  It does however mean that the very center of the layout might have access challenges since it stretches the ease of working on tracklaying, wiring and derailments.

And it always warrants repeating that any oval based track plan has its limitations when it comes to operation and retaining interest.  Tony Koester in Model Railroad Planning and his Trains of Thought columns regularly advises thinking about having the lumberyard rip that 4x8 into two 2x8s and having an L shaped point to point layout.

 

Just a comment on your "green" track plan.  That is a high desnity of track for the amount of space, and a large number of turnouts.  Once you assume that each siding presumably has a structure or two large enough to justify rail service, then you are looking at a sort of semi-urban industrial park density that might or might not be consistent with the desired theme.  Your layout will be mostly filled with track and the structures of rail served customers; not much room for homes, stores, or yards and fields.  And remember that those structures by the sides of the track can also make uncoupling a challenge - again particularly in the middle of the plan.

Also it is easiest to switch trailing point switches - you just back in to drop the load or pick up the empty.  Since our cars and locomotives do not have the "inertia" that the real ones do, and thus we cannot do flying switches, it is necessary to use that run around track on the top of the plan, or the sort-of run around track on the right edge of the plan, for facing point switches where the locomotive has to shove a car in or remove a car using the front of the locomotive and then find a way to get that car behind the locomotive using the run around tracks.  Depending on direction of the train either you have just one lonely facing point switch (the far left edge of the plan) or you have, in one interpretation, all the other eight!  Dealing with facing point switches is realistic but perhaps there should be a balance between facing point and trailing point.  

Again with switching of this density (and with the locomotive constantly having to return to the runaround track to handle facing point switches) a point to point layout should not be dismissed out of hand.  Indeed an L shaped point to point that retains the intense switching activity of this track plan could use two locomotives at the same time to switch. On the oval layout the two engines would be constantly fighting each other to see who gets the run around track, and if it has to be used as a run around track then it cannot also be used as a passing siding at the same time.     

Dave Nelson 

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Posted by Wdodge0912 on Monday, January 20, 2020 11:00 PM

I am highly considering going to N scale. Since I'd be starting out with nothing, I can jump into DCC. And of course can fit more in a smaller space. If I can find an L shape point to point I can build a loop around to stick in the one corner, I'd be happy. 

At least having 1 loop around to let a train just cruise around the table is a must. I was hoping to be able to run a steam train around it, just to watch and listen to.

 

I'm working on the wife with the scale change. I told her that she has 3 options if she wants to make the room a sitting room/den with my trainer and computer. Either give me the whole room and dont worry about it, buy all the N scale stuff I need to make a layout, or let me put the table sticking into the middle with one of the short sides of the table up against the wall

What is considered maximum reach? My grandma's layout as a kid was a 4x8 double oval that was stuck against the wall in a corner, for the back side if the loco got stuck, she just pushed it with a pointing stick (a wooden dowel worh a rubber cap on one  end, and the other had a rubber cap that had a cone useful for pointing)

With N scale, do you think I could do like a 3.5ft wide L layout in that corner that could loop around on the outside? Would that  be too wide?

One  thing I've been trying to avoid is elevations when I have been doing the layout designing, but I might see about getting some paid help with it. I figure a folded dog bone where there is a section that comes up and over might work. I just wouldnt know how to do the elevation and all that.

 

I will talk to the wife though about not having a loop. I do want one, but I could forgo it for a full freight operations. I would just need to change a little bit, go a bit earlier for timeline where there might be steam and diesel for locomotive power.

 

I am thinking to about the 3 lines I want and am leaving towards C&O, so I guess if I can find the locomotives I want from them, I can model that. 

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Posted by mbinsewi on Tuesday, January 21, 2020 7:25 AM

The "reach" part, you'll have to figure out yourself, as it also depends on the height of the layout.

And remember, you'll be reaching over scenery, not just bare plywood.

N scale would certainly make it easier to get the return loops on each end for continuous running.

Mike.

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Posted by SPSOT fan on Tuesday, January 21, 2020 10:15 AM

I think an around the walls layout would be better than a 4x8 and the like! They are a better use of space and give more easy to assess to the railroad! There is a lot less likelihood of having reaches over 2ft. The only advantage of a 4x8 is the simplicity of the benchwork!

What is the OPs room size, that would be helpful for giving you and idea of how much fits in your space (and I’m curious!). N scale does fit a lot more railroad, and as your just starting out, cost of switching scale is nonexistent! And it’s close, or even less, in price!

Regards, Isaac

I model my railroad and you model yours! I model my way and you model yours!

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Posted by cuyama on Tuesday, January 21, 2020 10:43 AM

Wdodge0912
What is considered maximum reach?

Many builders find that a 30" reach is the maximum over a scenicked layout.

Edit: Benchwork edges that curve and modulate in depth aren't too hard to build, so you don't need the same depth everywhere. The layout can bulge out for the turnback curves and then be more shallow elewhere. See the space, not rectangles.

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Posted by MisterBeasley on Tuesday, January 21, 2020 11:52 AM

Since you are starting with nothing in particular, I would recommend picking one road rather than a jumble of engines, cabeese and rolling stock.  It could be a branch line rather than a short line.

I "proto-lance" my layout with mostly Milwaukee equipment, but no particular place specified.

It takes an iron man to play with a toy iron horse. 

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Posted by mbinsewi on Tuesday, January 21, 2020 1:26 PM

Isaac, scroll way up and start from top.  The OP has ruled out around the wall because of other things in room.  He even shows pictures of the room, and where the layout will be positioned.  Yes Wink

Moving to N scale is probably his best bet for use of space.

Mike.

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Posted by Wdodge0912 on Wednesday, January 22, 2020 5:06 AM

N scale is tempting, but with HO I do have lots of stuff, I'm not exactly starting from nothing. 

I have quite a collection of various Locomotives, some work some dont, some really needs to be cleaned before I can even tell. I'd say at least 15 that I can count off of the top of my head.

I also have a huge box of track, a mix of the copper and nickle. I also have brand new stuff too that I bought cheap from the hobby store when the owner retired and selling off what the new owners weren't going to carry. I bought turns and straight for $2 a package, and turnouts for $5. I bought out all he had in stock .

I have 8 DC transformers.  Also, I do have a 4x8 that just has 2 loops made with 18" curves. I also have an odd collection of rolling stock and buildings.

I'd say for starting out and having only about $150 into it all, I made some good deals for the HO stuff, even if it is older stuff.

If I can cram a dual mainline with the outside being 22" curves, and have a few industries on the inside, I'd like that. I think I just need to do something that isn't as complex as I'd like. The 4x8 has the Great Planes and Simplicity layout from Atlas already marked out on it, so maybe I'll do that and try to add a 22" outer loop somewhere on it, and see about a crossover at some point.

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Posted by doctorwayne on Wednesday, January 22, 2020 11:08 AM

SPSOT fan
I think an around the walls layout would be better than a 4x8 and the like!....

mbinsewi
...The OP has ruled out around the wall because of other things in room. He even shows pictures of the room, and where the layout will be positioned....

With at least two doors in the room, and fairly low window sills, it's certainly not ideal for an around-the-room layout, whether in N scale or HO.

However, it's certainly do-able and if built at an appropriate height would allow for continuous running, generous curves, and, as Byron mentions, variable widths to accommodate the other needs for the room, such as the computer desk.  
At, f'rinstance, a 4' height,  various furniture could still be placed against the walls, as long as the track at those places was mainline, without switching, which might otherwise require the operator to be close to the scene.

Even at 1' wide, you could have reasonably generous curves, but 2' would give you room for more scenery and structures, even if the latter were only low-relief.  I'd suggest simple lift-outs at the doorways.  This would work for either N or HO scale.

If the liftouts are a deal-breaker, go with N scale between the doors, with a return loop at each end, or stick with HO, and make it point-to-point.  I find continuous loops, unless they're room-size, don't take too long before they become boring - the Christmas tree layout, minus the tree.

Wayne

 

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Posted by Wdodge0912 on Wednesday, January 22, 2020 12:40 PM

Well I know 4x8s aren't the greatest, but I do have access to a 4x8 table ready built. I was talking with my grandpa and he gave me all my grandma's old stuff, and I went yesterday to check it all out, and he still had the table. 

I tried my hand at taking one of the layouts in the database I liked and making it in the Atlas software using the code 100 (Green layout). I didn't think I did too well, but I'm not sure if it can be done using code 100 and snap switches. It was the South Jersey and Deleware layout. 

The black and white layout however is the layout that has been painted around on that 4x8 table, so that was at one point a layout my grandma used (or my grandpa had before he went back to work, before she took it over) I may have to go with that one and see about sticking an oval around it with 22" radius curves, and try to get it to switch between them.

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