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Designing a layout, is there a similar prototype

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Designing a layout, is there a similar prototype
Posted by NVSRR on Friday, October 27, 2023 9:36 AM

Thought the collective might be helpful.   Working on designing a new layout.   Started wondering if there might be a prototype some where that is or might be similar.  Region isn't specific, nor is the railroad, nor is the era.  Could be regional or a short line or major line.   It would encompass operations at a port,  urban area, rural area, maybe quarry, farm coop,   Thought I would ask if anybody knew of one that is of a similar type  all or in part.     Was looking for a prototype to help as a guide line in the design. 
shane

A pessimist sees a dark tunnel

An optimist sees the light at the end of the tunnel

A realist sees a frieght train

An engineer sees three idiots standing on the tracks stairing blankly in space

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Posted by BEAUSABRE on Friday, October 27, 2023 10:23 AM

Jiust off the top of my head Lackawanna, Erie, New Haven, Boston and Albany, Boston and Maine

1-Ports = New York and Boston

2-Urban = New York and Boston Commuter Zones

3-Rural = North West New Jersey, Southern New York, Connecticut East of New Haven, Western & Southerrn Massachusetts 

4- Farms, Quarries - Yes

 

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Posted by dknelson on Friday, October 27, 2023 11:45 AM

When you think ports, don't forget or ignore Great Lakes ports, which often have the urban and rural elements of their operations in pretty close proximity.  Duluth/Superior for example.

 

Dave Nelson

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Posted by NVSRR on Friday, October 27, 2023 1:31 PM

Now I didn't think of the Great Lakes.  Good point and place to look

A pessimist sees a dark tunnel

An optimist sees the light at the end of the tunnel

A realist sees a frieght train

An engineer sees three idiots standing on the tracks stairing blankly in space

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Posted by hornblower on Friday, October 27, 2023 2:03 PM

Good suggestions so far.

I am currently working on a 4' by 8' N scale layout of the Ventura County Railroad in California.  The VCR is a short line railroad serving the Port of Hueneme, a Navy SeaBee base, the town of Oxnard and the immediately surrounding area with an interchange with the Union Pacific (formerly Southern Pacific).  The real beauty of this railroad is that it used to be a complete loop of track (kind of a rectangle with rounded corners).  The layout could indeed be a good mix of Urban and Rural scenes depending on the era modeled.  If you model the WWII era, most of the area was rural with a few agricultural clients served.  The area became more urbanized as time moved on.  

Check this area out on Google Maps as well as on www.historicaerials.com.  You can see how the tracks used to be continuous through the harbor area in the early days on www.historicaerials.com.  Currently, import car manufacturers use this port to offload car carrier ships.  The Navy base is still active and military ships still use the harbor.  A freight car sorting yard exists on the base property and the various Navy warehouse areas are rail served.  Various other rail served industries along this line have changed over the years so a particular era could offer most everything your are looking for.  

The N scale track plan I am working on locates a portion of the Port of Hueneme in the southwest corner of the 4' by 8' layout.  The Navy base takes up most of the west half of the layout and a three track interchange yard is located in the northeast corner of the layout.  I included a passing siding and several spurs along the east side of the layout to add industries for switching operations. Much of these areas are used for import auto storage in the present era.

I displayed this layout under construction during a recent open house featuring my large HO scale layout and the most common comment about the N scale layout was, "Hey, you could operate on this!"

This line has used several different locos over the years with interesting paint schemes.  The line was taken over by Rail America in the 1990's and is currently part of the Genessee & Wyoming family.  Some current loco offerings provide the G&W paint scheme but without a logo.  Thus, you can easily make a decal to add the VCR logo.  I am modeling the Rail America period so the locos have been painted in the red-white-blue scheme and decaled accordingly.  There is lots of information available on-line and even several YouTube videos of VCR trains.

If you'd prefer to model something in your own locale, explore the rail history of your area and use Google Maps and www.historicaerials.com to look for prototype track plans that would work for you.  Good luck!

Hornblower

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Posted by allegedlynerdy on Friday, October 27, 2023 3:16 PM

There was a layout plan in MR recently - by recently probably the last 5 years, but maybe a bit older than that, which was either themed on the Ann Arbor Railroad or Detroit, Toledo, & Ironton, which had port (including a carfloat), and rural operations in a pretty compact space.

Ann Arbor is a good example of this, particularly if you look at some of the ports they operated on Lake Michigan in the Upper Peninsula, which had very dense downtowns that give that Urban running feeling but pretty quickly transition to rugged countryside. Having a carfloat in a port is a great way to have staging for a small layout too. 

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Posted by NittanyLion on Friday, October 27, 2023 3:25 PM

BEAUSABRE
Boston and Maine

Second that.  Busy seaports, compact urban areas, rural as rural can get, farmland and quarries everywhere.  

Portland, Brunswick, or some invented town on Casco or Penobscot Bay gets you everything.

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Posted by HO-Velo on Friday, October 27, 2023 4:20 PM

Santa Fe & SP in Richmond, Ca. on the shores of San Francisco Bay, (now BNSF & UP).  Classification-hump yard, Port of Richmond (up until mid-80s carfloat operations), big oil refinery.  Many and varied industries depending on era: fertilizer & chemical plants, ship yards, canneries, automobile & Pullman car mfg., whaling station (until 1972), naval fuel depot, quarry and brick mfg., etc.  Urban not rural.  tunnel & wig-wag signal protected crossing.

Regards, Peter  

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Posted by dti406 on Friday, October 27, 2023 8:44 PM

DT&I in Michigan and Ohio, serves the Ford plant and port at River Rouge, various other auto parts plants in Michigan. Toledo has auto parts plants and General Mills cereal plant. Further down in Napoleon is the massive Campbell's Soup plant. Then in Lima the Ford Engine plant. As you get further south there are grain elevators and  feed mills.

 

Rick Jesionowski 

Rule 1: This is my railroad.

Rule 2: I make the rules.

Rule 3: Illuminating discussion of prototype history, equipment and operating practices is always welcome, but in the event of visitor-perceived anacronisms, detail descrepancies or operating errors, consult RULE 1!

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Posted by kasskaboose on Friday, October 27, 2023 9:23 PM

For anyone wanting info on busy ports: https://www.atsinc.com/blog/busiest-us-ports-how-to-choose-one.

Depending on the layout size, it seems you've got a lot of variety happening.

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Posted by MidlandMike on Friday, October 27, 2023 10:46 PM

A couple of smaller lines out of New York harbor: New York, Susquehanna & Western; and New York, Ontario and Western (abandoned in the 1950s).  The had everything you asked for, plus coal until the 1950s

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Posted by NVSRR on Monday, October 30, 2023 4:38 PM

working on making the layout smaller and finishable.  following the rule there is always a prototype.  Using that as a guide. 10x12 is the space.  possibly 10x14. By avoiding intermodal ports, i can squeeze a decent port in a modern era layout.  foloowing the northeart ports, some on thegulf, misiippii and lakes. that would be old ports in use.  same with the urban city trackage.   a general port format idea is easy.  I have a basic idea there.no track plan. just a basic idea of what will work  that can be adjusted accordingly.  its everything else that is the challange. my creativity an inspiration dried up.  its a new spark that is needed. 

 

shane

A pessimist sees a dark tunnel

An optimist sees the light at the end of the tunnel

A realist sees a frieght train

An engineer sees three idiots standing on the tracks stairing blankly in space

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Posted by MidlandMike on Monday, October 30, 2023 9:58 PM

What scale are you working in?  

Here is a Google satellite view of a Chicago port on Lake Michigan, apparently run by the State of Illinois.  You can zoom in to see track arrangement.  Looks like lots of steel and lumber type cargo.

https://www.google.com/maps/@41.7276104,-87.5337289,1052m/data=!3m1!1e3?authuser=0&entry=ttu

 

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Posted by allegedlynerdy on Tuesday, October 31, 2023 3:52 PM

NVSRR

working on making the layout smaller and finishable.  following the rule there is always a prototype.  Using that as a guide. 10x12 is the space.  possibly 10x14. By avoiding intermodal ports, i can squeeze a decent port in a modern era layout.  foloowing the northeart ports, some on thegulf, misiippii and lakes. that would be old ports in use.  same with the urban city trackage.   a general port format idea is easy.  I have a basic idea there.no track plan. just a basic idea of what will work  that can be adjusted accordingly.  its everything else that is the challange. my creativity an inspiration dried up.  its a new spark that is needed. 

 

shane

 

 

If you're looking at modern, the Port of Duluth was quite interesting when I went by a few years ago. They get some big ships, mostly lakers but some salties too, carrying various things. You could get away with lumber, bulk materials (gravel) and of course iron ore in the area. It goes pretty much immediately rural once you get out of the city. As an added bonus if you are doing pure prototype, the Lake Superior Railroad Museum in Duluth runs steam exclusion services, and takes visitor motive power/excursions (it was visited by the UP 4014 a few years back), so you have a prototype justification for any steam you want on the modern layout.

When I was there a few years ago they were routinely getting in shipments of wind turbine components, but I believe those would be shipped by oversized truck. Looking at google maps, there's grain elevators, aggregates, and scrap as the main harbor industries besides the couple of ore docks still kicking around.

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Posted by MisterBeasley on Tuesday, October 31, 2023 6:08 PM

I model the Milwaukee, not terribly prototypically, in the Transition Era.  It did engage in carfloat operations through smaller lines like the Ann Arbor and Port Huron and Detroit.  Carfloat operations can be modeled, even with operations, while large ship ports are an opportunity for modeling but lacks much in the way of operation.

I have boxcars from the PH&D and the Ann Arbor, and I also have a carfloat and carfloat terminal area.  That was my choice, but it was a personal one.  I haven't regretted it.

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

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